Wednesday, 25th May 2016
Missionaries of the Sacred Heart - Vocations

Surfs Up!

Posted on 04. May, 2016 by in Engaging Vocations, Ireland, Latest News

Surfs Up 1

After twenty minutes of pushing and pulling wet suits we’re ready to go!

There are moments in your life when you’re certain you’ve made a terrible mistake. You don’t need anyone to tell you. You just know. I had one of those experiences earlier this year on a Saturday morning when I looked out the window of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart retreat house in Myross Woods and saw a wet, grey, cold day. Time for a good fire and a cup of tea. Definitely not the day to go surfing with a group of young people from Cork as part of our Surf, Son, and Sand Retreat!


Surfs Up 2

Lesson 1 Surfing is easy on sand

So it was, with a smiling face and a heavy heart, I joined our team and our young people on Inchydoney Strand. It had taken us the better part of fifteen minutes to put on our wetsuits, boots, hoods, and gloves. It wasn’t looking good. Once we were in however everything changed. We all had a great morning. Some of the young people even managed to stay up on the board. I ended up with an extra wide board for those fledgling surfers who need ‘some extra support.’

Volunteering in South Africa in 2016

Posted on 01. Apr, 2016 by in Africa, Ireland, Latest News, UK, Volunteering

Volunteering in South Africa

Summer with the MSC Volunteering Project is an unforgetable experience

It’s 2016 and perhaps it’s time for something new. Maybe 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.

We send volunteers to South Africa for five weeks from the start of July until the end of the first week of August. There they work alongside the fantastic team based in the Holy Family Centre. It’s in the foothills of the beautiful Drakensburg Mountains in the Northern Province, about one hour east of Kruger National Wildlife Park. 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.

Kevin, our volunteer electrician, giving cycling lessonsWe 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. Volunteers are asked to contribute €1,000 and we match this with €1,000 ourselves. This covers flights, food, accommodation, insurance, transfers, and training. 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 MSC Volunteering Project made a deep impression on those who have volunteered with us.

Samuel Groups in Cork and Dublin

Posted on 19. Nov, 2015 by in Belonging, Inspiring Others, Ireland, Latest News, Prophetic

Dublin Samuel Group Facebook Image“It was fantastic”

“The group was really supportive and easy going”

“I loved being able to look at the big questions in life with others who were thinking about the same things”


Okay. So, what’s next? I’m not really sure. Things are so busy and I’ve got so much going on right now.


We all have times when we have to make important decisions. It can seem challenging, but joining a Samuel group could help  make the best choice possible for you.


Samuel Groups are for single young adults between the ages of 18 and 35, who are wondering what God is calling them to do with their lives. The aim is to help participants discern their direction in life, whether this is to marriage or dedicated single life, to priesthood or religious life. It would also suit those who are making decisions about their career, life choices, or about moving abroad.

Celebrating Joy on Mission Sunday

Posted on 18. Oct, 2015 by in Belonging, Communal Work, Community Life, Community Prayer, Compassion, Engaging Vocations, Festivals, Inspiring Others, Latest News, Openness, Our Different Ministries, Pilgrimage, Prophetic, Solidarity, Spirituality, Volunteering

Mission Sunday Vocations Ireland

Henry, one of our students, at the Spirit in the City Festival Cropped

In 2015 we have been called in a special way to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life. It’s an opportunity to give thanks for the men and women who have worked so selflessly to serve the people of God at home and abroad. It has led the priests and brothers of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) to minister in over fifty countries around the world, working with some of the most marginalised communities. However it’s not just about the past. This is a story that is ongoing and that today moves us into areas that are both challenging and prophetic. The call to mission, wherever it may lead, is as important now as it ever was before.

Mission Sunday Vocations Ireland 2

On the Way

The Holy Spirit continues to inspire people to follow their vocation as a religious sister, brother, or priest. Some may question if such a way of life has anything to offer our world today. However it’s clear that in a society that esteems money, sex, and power as all-important, perhaps the gentle witness of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience may call us to a more genuine living out of our human dignity.

Courage for Mission
Living out your vocation is less about certainty and more about having the courage to explore the possibilities. Many feel that they are not strong enough, not holy enough, or not prayerful enough to serve God as a priest, a sister or a brother. There must be so many others better suited to the task. However, it’s striking that Jesus didn’t go directly to the Temple or to the synagogue to call his first disciples. He invited fishermen and tax collectors. As it says in 1 Samuel 16:7 “People judge by outward appearances, but God looks at the heart.” He looked for those who felt a call to be part of something great; who had a sense of commitment beyond themselves; and above all had an openness of heart for God and others.

NET Team Makes a Wonderful Mess

Posted on 05. Oct, 2015 by in Communal Work, Engaging Vocations, Festivals, Ireland, Latest News, Openness, Prophetic

NET Team

The NET Team, along with some of the MSC students, help with the youth programme in Knock for the Eucharistic Congress

During the Rio World Youth Day celebrations two years ago Pope Francis called for a new culture of evangelisation in our Church. He said that the greatest evangelisers of young people were other young people. He called them to go out, be courageous, spread the Good News and ‘make a mess.’ Sarah, one of the Cork NET team, tells us about the mess she has been making.

“Hello from the NET Team! We are so excited to be here! We are a group of five young adults that have come from four different countries, America, Canada, Australia, and Ireland to be a part of NET Ministries of Ireland. NET stands for National Evangelisation Teams. Our mission is to encourage young people to love Jesus and embrace the life of the Church.

The Promised Land: Youth 2000 Festival

Posted on 09. Sep, 2015 by in Compassion, Engaging Vocations, Festivals, Ireland, Latest News, UK

Youth 2000 Festival 2

The atmosphere is amazing!

Every year well over a thousand young people gather in Walsingham for the Youth 2000 Festival at the end of August. It’s an amazing gathering of people from all over England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales for five days of music, prayer, workshops, and especially great fun. The atmosphere there is noticeable straight away, from the moment you arrive in the door of the welcome tent and Barbara gives you a big hello. It’s a sign of things to come!


Youth 2000 Festival 4

Is there anything to be said for a cup of tea?

I arrived on the Friday and it was like coming home again. It’s only my second year, but everyone is so open and friendly it’s like I’ve never been away. We had a beautiful reconciliation service in the evening. There were dozens of priest helping people to put aside the mistakes of the past and to move on in life assured of God’s love and understanding.

Pop Up Church on the Camino

Posted on 18. Aug, 2015 by in Compassion, Engaging Vocations, Latest News, Openness, Pilgrimage

Camino de Santiago 1

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.

Living Faith and Joy at MSC Youth Festival

Posted on 11. Aug, 2015 by in Belonging, Community Life, Community Prayer, Engaging Vocations, Festivals, Latest News, Openness

MSC Vocations Croatian Youth Festival 2

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.


MSC Vocations Croatian Youth Festival 3

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.


MSC Vocations Croatian Youth Festival 4

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!

Year of Consecrated Life Mass on RTE 1

Posted on 19. Jul, 2015 by 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.

RTE Mass Year of Consecrated Life 1

We had people from a variety of religious congregations and a number of lay groups

Celebrating the Spirit in London

Posted on 14. Jul, 2015 by in Belonging, Festivals, Latest News, Openness, Prophetic, UK

Spirit in the City Festival MSC Vocations Priest 2

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.

Spirit in the City MSC Vocations Ireland Priest 1

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.


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