Posted on 18. Aug, 2015 by alannevillemsc in Compassion, Engaging Vocations, Latest News, Openness, Pilgrimage
There’s something amazing about the pilgrims on the Way
Buen Camino!’ It’s a familiar phrase that pilgrims say as they meet one another on the Way. It’s both a greeting and a blessing for those who walk to Santiago de Compostella across the north of Spain. There is a strange sense of community out here, where people of all religious backgrounds and none undertake a journey of faith.
I was watching a documentary recently about the Church in Ireland. One of the contributors pointed out that in Irish the word for church translated literally was ‘teach an phobail’ or simply ‘the house of the people.’ It’s with this understanding in mind that I’ve joined a group of people on the Camino, welcoming pilgrims on the Way. Some of the team are working in Santiago de Compostella. I’m based halfway along the Camino Frances in the little town of Moratinos, where I live with the wonderful Rebekah Scott, her husband Patrick, five dogs, two cats, and a budgie.
Posted on 11. Aug, 2015 by alannevillemsc in Belonging, Community Life, Community Prayer, Engaging Vocations, Festivals, Latest News, Openness
We had the opportunity to embrace Croatain culture
It’s a hard knock life really. This summer a group of thirteen young people and four adult leaders had the opportunity to leave behind the clouds and rain for a five day youth festival in Croatia with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. There we joined other MSCs and young people from Germany, France, Austria, and of course Croatia.
We celebrate Mass with the Bishop of Krk
It was a wonderful celebration that brought together really engaging catechesis with great craic. We looked at what it meant to be part of God’s family in the morning and then headed to the beach for canoeing and water volleyball in the afternoon. There were days away, where we had the opportunity to experience some of Croatia’s fascinating history, food and culture. We also sailed around one of the national parks and swam in some of the bluest water we had ever seen.
Back home exhausted by happy!
Above all the festival was about exploring our faith in the light of the spirituality of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. It’s no accident the importance of community and the need for a good sense of humour are deliberately included in our MSC Constitutions. This was evident throughout the festival as great fun was had and good friends were made. It’s all part of being MSC!
Posted on 19. Jul, 2015 by alannevillemsc in Engaging Vocations, Ireland, Latest News, Openness, Spirituality
Last Sunday we had the extraordinary opportunity to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life with a powerful Mass in the RTE Studios in Dublin. We had a viewship of around 60,000 people not just in Ireland, but around the world.
You can view the programme by clicking here.
We had people from a variety of religious congregations and a number of lay groups
Posted on 14. Jul, 2015 by alannevillemsc in Belonging, Festivals, Latest News, Openness, Prophetic, UK
It’s a point of encouter for people exploring faith
June was another busy month for the MSC Vocations team. Henry and I just finished the Camino when we hopped on a plane for St. Albans. We had one day to wash our clothes and clean our boots before our first summer festival.
Spirit in the City is a three day celebration of Christian faith in the heart of London, hosted by the Catholic churches in the West End. This is the second year the MSCs have been involved and it’s one of the highlights of our calendar. It’s about sharing the Good News of Christianity, while welcoming people of all faiths, ages and walks of life in the middle of the entertainment district. It gives an opportunity to raise deeper questions about life and to show that Catholicism can’t be pigeonholed around a few issues. The festival was set up with the understanding that we are all searching for new ways to connect with God and others around us.
It’s a day for everyone to celebrate God’s love
Spirit in the City does this through live music, workshops, talks, opportunities for prayer, reflection and reconciliation. We began on Thursday evening with a Mass in Warwick St. Church with Bishop Nicholas Hudson, followed by an open air party in Golden Square. People who stopped to find out what was going were invited to join the festivities and more than a few were really surprised that it was a Catholic festival. Apparently it’s not the sort of thing normally associated with us! We finished the evening with a simple night prayer.
Posted on 08. Jul, 2015 by alannevillemsc in Latest News, Pilgrimage, Spirituality
Only 100km to go!
The plane was late. Only an hour, but in Spain connections are precarious. However finally everybody touched down and we managed to make a mad dash to get our bus. When we arrived in Sarria we began to move at an entirely different pace. On the Way you have to leave the hurry and bustle of the world behind, if only for a short while. It’s an experience that has drawn people from all around the world, including nine pilgrims making up our MSC Camino group.
Just after dawn the next day we began our 111km journey to Santiago de Compostella. It’s an incredible experience of walking from horizon to horizon across the beautiful Galician countryside. We followed in the footsteps of countless thousands of pilgrims, stretching back over a thousand years, towards the resting place of St. James the Apostle.
Follow Your Heart – Wisdom on the Way
Our group was made up of college students and staff, with Henry and Giacomo along for good measure. We walked about 25km per day, arriving at our destinations before the heat of the noon Sun. Then there was the opportunity to have a siesta, explore the town, and chat with fellow pilgrims. In the evening there was time for Mass and the famous €10 Camino three course dinner. There were surprisingly no blisters ( well, not many anyway ) and everybody got on like a house on fire.
Posted on 15. Mar, 2015 by alannevillemsc in Engaging Vocations, Festivals, Latest News
Welcoming all the youth from St. Albans to Flame 2
For Cardinal Tagle it was all about mercy. For the youth it was an opportunity to gather to celebrate faith. For the MSC Vocations team it was all about the Smarites!
Flame 2 was the largest Catholic Youth Event in UK in 2015. It brought together amazing speakers like Cardinal Tagle from the Philippines, Baroness Shelia Hollins, and Fr. Timothy Radcliffe OP. Worship was led by the double Grammy Award winning Matt Redman and his band. All in all it was an incredible day, but it was a lot of hard work!
Henry and Pat O’Brien running the Guinness Book of Records Smartie Challenge
Seeing as the MSCs were one of the main sponsors of Flame this year Henry and I were at Wembley SSE Stadium bright and early with our Starbucks in hand. Once we got our high vis. vests and event passes it was off to set up the vocations stand before the onslaught of thousands and thousands of teenagers. They came from all over England and Wales and created an atmosphere that could normally only be found at World Youth Day. It’s hard to describe, but it’s one of joy and hope and once you feel it you can’t forget it.
Posted on 31. Dec, 2014 by alannevillemsc in Africa, Ireland, Latest News, UK, Volunteering
Summer with the MSC Volunteering Project is an unforgetable experience
It’s 2015 and perhaps it’s time for something new. Maybe now you’re looking for a challenge. You want to push yourself, move out of your comfort zone and make a difference in the world. If that’s the case our MSC Volunteering Project could be just what you need.
This is our third year sending out volunteers to South Africa to work alongside our sisters and brothers for ten weeks. They were based in the Holy Family Centre in the foothills of the beautiful Drakensburg Mountains in the Limpopo Province. Holy Family is home for up to seventy children who have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS or TB. They range in age from babies and toddlers to teenagers. As you can imagine it’s a lively place! The kids are simply wonderful. They are so full of life, enthusiasm and joy. They love to sing and dance, run relay races with tyres and play football, go on outings and sit around and chat.
We are looking for people who would like to take part in the Project. It is aimed at those between the ages of 23 and 40 and who perhaps have some practical skills. We need people with backgrounds in teaching, nursing, carpentry, electrics, mechanics and anything else. There is some fundraising involved, but not too much. We look to support the children, but also to share our skills with others. For our volunteers it’s a learning experience that they will never forget. The Project made a deep impression on last year’s volunteers.
Posted on 30. Dec, 2014 by alannevillemsc in Latest News, Pilgrimage
Take time to walk the Way
You’ve heard about it from a friend. Perhaps you saw the movie. You know, the one with Martin Sheen. Maybe you stumbled across it somewhere online. For whatever reason as the New Year begins you’re thinking of walking the Camino, but you’re not sure where to start. Look no further.
The Camino is about walking each day towards the horizon and seeing what could happen
This summer we’re leading a group of young adults along the last week of the Way from Sarria to Santiago de Compostella. This will be our third year leading groups on the Camino and so far it has been a fantastic experience. It’s both profoundly spiritual and great fun. It’s a wonderful opportunity to try something entirely different, as each morning you take up your backpack and walk to the horizon with the sun rising behind you. You’ll follow in the footsteps of hundreds of thousand of pilgrims stretching back over a millennium. We’ll make our way through he beautiful Galician countryside by roadside, forest path and cobbled lanes, until we reach the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostella.
Posted on 24. Dec, 2014 by alannevillemsc in Belonging, Compassion, Latest News, Prophetic, Solidarity
This year it seems that Christmas has crept up on me. In the midst of the busyness of meetings, carol concerts and shopping all my hopes for Advent were quietly forgotten. As I was thinking this morning of something to write about for our vocations blog I came across a letter from Pope Francis sent to a group of prisoners earlier this month.
In it he apologies for not having written sooner and encourages the men there with a Christmas message of hope. He prays that as the feast of the Nativity approaches that Jesus will be born in the crib of their hearts. He asks them to seek those occasions “for genuine growth in order to find peace of heart and the strength to be reborn, a return to living the hope in the Lord who never disappoints.”
Posted on 24. Nov, 2014 by alannevillemsc in Africa, Belonging, Compassion, Engaging Vocations, Festivals, Latest News, Pilgrimage, Prophetic, Volunteering
Vocations ministry in Ireland is busy at the best of times, but it looks like 2015 is going to be exceptional! Pope Francis has continued to revolutionise and encourage the Church by designating November 30th 2014 until February 2nd 2016 the Year of Consecrated Life. He believes that, “Religious life ought to promote growth in the church by way of attraction. The church must be attractive. Wake up the world! Be witnesses of a different way of doing things, of acting, of living! . . . It is this witness that I expect of you. Religious should be men and women who are able to wake the world up.”
A Year for Getting Up and Going!
This year in Ireland we are going to continue and expand our vocations ministry. We will have opportunities to walk the road less traveled along pilgrim pathways to Lourdes, Medjugorge and Santiago de Compostella. We’re going to take part in festivals at home and abroad where you can celebrate what it really means to be a Catholic with thousands of others. We’ll have Samuel groups, discernment weekends and Road Trips for those of you who are perhaps looking to really listen to where God is calling you, whether it’s marriage, the single life, priesthood or a religious vocation. We’ll also have our third year of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Volunteering Project for people wanting to work in solidarity with the margnialised in South Africa. If the challenge is to wake up the world, then the question must be, ‘Why are you still lying around?!”
Over the coming week we are going to be advertising all of our programmes for 2015. Like our Facebook page or subscribe to our blog to make sure you get all the up to date information for the Year of Consecrated Life.