God calls each person to praise, love and serve Him. That is what ‘vocation’ means. Discovering your personal vocation takes time and prayer. Some people feel called to follow Christ as Jesuits. That is why every Jesuit Province or Region has a Vocation Promoter. His job is to accompany people in this search.

Vocation Promoters know about prayer, discernment and community life and the struggles involved. Together with other Jesuits, they organise retreats and social activities for young people and offer individual guidance.

European Jesuit webmasters and European Vocation Promoters use to meet every year for some days, somewhere in our continent. This year, for the first time both groups planned their meeting in Malta, in different retreat houses, but spent a day together to share, pray and discuss their common interest. Delegates from the Jesuit Conference for Africa and Madagascar (JSAM), Australia and North America also made the trip to Malta, where the JesWeb meeting was hosted at the Mount St Joseph Retreat House in Mosta. Survey Fr José de Pablo (CEP Socius) shared with delegates the results of a survey into existing levels of collaboration between province vocations and communications teams which showed that there was a need and desire to work more closely together, to be more strategic and to evaluate the effectiveness of new initiatives.  A large majority of those who approach vocations directors have first found out about the Jesuits online rather than through our schools or other ministries.  A strong online presence, including social media, is therefore vital, but it can be a challenge to present the right messages in the right way to young people, especially if you are an older Jesuit.  Fr Mathew Power (vocations director BRI) said “it’s been really useful to find out how other provinces share some of our challenges, and to be inspired by ideas for future collaboration both within and between provinces.” Delegates shared experience and heard about examples of good practice from the Irish Province and from the US Mid West Province.  Inspiring vocation stories from current Jesuits, and gentle help with discernment through video were shown to be effective tools. Communication for the entire Society of Jesus On the agenda of the communication managers was also an analysis of the public work around the 36th General Congragation last year. The American Father Robert Ballecer SJ ("The Digital Jesuit"), who was responsible for video production and social media in Rome, reported on the work of the 12-man communication team. The head of the General Congregations Communication Office in Rome, Father Patrick Mulemi SJ, announced that the General Superior had meanwhile formed a "taskforce" for the further development of the communication of the Society of Jesus with the aim of establishing a new Internet presence for the Order world-wide. Social It was very useful for members of these provinces to meet together to plan for further co-operation, and also to spend time getting to know each other in social situations.  Delegates were very grateful to their Maltese hosts, who organised a boat trip around the historic harbour of Valletta, and Mass at the spectacular Cathedral of St John which was concelebrated by Fr José de Pablo, Fr Martin Stark (German province) and Fr Michael Bugeja (Maltese province).
The third phase of the Jesuit digital vocations strategy, an online course entitled ‘Why would you join the Jesuits?’, went live on Wednesday 20 July. The first phase, the building of the new website jesuit.ie, was launched in January 2015 and resulted in a three-fold increase in the number of unique visitors to the site. It was quickly followed by the second phase, the online 8-Step Guide to Making Good Decisions. Almost three thousand people from around the world have signed up so far for the 8 e-mails delivered over 30 days on various steps toward making a good decision based on Ignatian spirituality and wisdom.  Everyone who signs up receives  a personalised email every few days which features a short video in which the late Michael Paul Gallagher SJ addresses themes such as talents; dreams; alternatives; commitment etc. The video material for each day is expanded on, in an accompanying text. Phase Three, ‘Why would you join the Jesuits?’,  just launched, is another video email course. Those who sign up for the ‘Making Good Decisions’ series are offered this online course which can also be signed up for on jesuit.ie. The course features a number of Jesuits and novices who are interviewed on camera about a variety of aspects of Jesuit life and work such as: Jesuit and Ignatian spirituality; community life; missions; obedience; and more.  In addition, all speak frankly about their personal vocation story. The course is only available to those who subscribe to it but the video from day two of the course features a photo story video on the history of the Jesuits in Ireland, and that is available on the website. You can watch it here: http://www.jesuit.ie/news/featured-news/why-would-you-join-the-jesuits-series/