Posted on 06. Jan, 2014 by alannevillemsc in Communal Work, Compassion, Latest News, Volunteering
It’s 2014 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.
Last year we sent our first volunteers out 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.
Posted on 30. Dec, 2013 by alannevillemsc in Latest News
It’s been a busy year. There’s an understatement. It’s like saying that Pope Francis is doing a pretty good job. Strictly speaking it’s true, but it doesn’t do the year or our new Pope justice. Our MSC vocations ministry programme has taken us from all over Europe to the US to Brazil to South Africa to Venezuela and back. More than that though it has been an amazing year filled with countless opportunities to journey with people reflecting on their call to be a priest or brother with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. We’ve been at festivals, walked the Camino, took part in World Youth Day on the Copacabana Beach, and organised ‘Vocations Road Trips’ to name a few of our events. We also launched our hugely successful Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Volunteering Programme, with three volunteers working in the Holy Family Care Centre, South Africa.
While it has been busy, it has also been a graced time. Each of these events have created a space that allowed people to reflect on their lives and discern how God was calling them. They were about celebrating faith and reminding us that God has a plan of everyone, a plan that encourages us to be our truest selves. It can at times be challenging, even difficult, but it is the one that leads to the deepest joy and fulfillment that we can know.
Now we’re getting ready for 2014. It’s a new year and it’s full of promise. We’re already looking at new and exciting festivals, including the Spirit in the City in London and Kingdom Come in Walsingham. We are developing our work on the Camino by organising a young adult pilgrimage and taking part in a ministry of welcome in Santiago Cathedral. World Youth Day was the big event of last year, but this August we’re planning to take a group to Medjugorje for the Annual Youth Festival. exploreAway has begun in Dublin with seven people seriously reflecting on their vocation. We’re planning to set up a Samuel discernment group for the north of London. As usual we’ll be in Lourdes on pilgrimage over Easter with the HCPT / Irish Pilgrimage Trust. Finally we’re expanding our volunteering programme in South Africa for those who want an experience of missionary life in a range of challenging, but amazing projects that make a real difference.
If you feel that you might be called by God to explore a vocation to priesthood or religious life you would be most welcome to get in touch with us by phone or email. We’re always happy to have a chat and coffee and see where that may take us. That first step can be a bit daunting, but it could be one of the best decisions you ever made.
If you thought that 2013 was busy, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
Posted on 03. Oct, 2013 by alannevillemsc in Belonging, Communal Work, Community Life, Community Prayer, Compassion, Engaging Vocations, Latest News, Our Values
This autumn, as part of our exciting new vocations programme in Ireland for the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart ( MSC ), we invite you to go on a journey of faith. It’s an opportunity to take a step back from the business and rush of your world and listen for that still, small voice of God. Where is God inviting you?
We all have a calling. For some it’s to married or single life and if that’s for you then that’s wonderful. For others though there is another possibility, that of religious life and priesthood. Maybe it’s been an idea at the back of your mind for a while or perhaps it’s something more recent. Whatever the case it hasn’t gone away. The possibility that you may have a vocation as a priest or a brother keeps on coming back to you in times of quietness and prayer. It’s not about certainty, but about openness to the invitation of God.
Posted on 24. Sep, 2013 by alannevillemsc in America, Communal Work, Community Life, Community Prayer, Latest News
Fr. Vinnie Screene MSC celebrating a wedding in his parish in Maracaibo
It was an interesting experience. One of my first Masses here in Maracaibo, Venezuela was celebrated with a packed church in pitch darkness. I had an altar server with a torch, prodigious endurance and a steady hand. This isn’t a tradition or idiosyncrasy of the Latin American Church. The night before some robbed the copper cable that ran the electricity in to the church of Nuestra Senora de la Paz ( or Our Lady of Peace to you and me ). Apparently it goes for a hefty price around here.
Posted on 07. Sep, 2013 by alannevillemsc in America, Belonging, Communal Work, Compassion, Latest News, Prophetic, Solidarity, What we do
Fr. John Jennings MSC working in a local school
What does it mean to be a Missionary of the Sacred Heart? Who are we and what do we do? How are we different from the diocesan priests and members of other religious congregations? It’s a difficult question to answer, but perhaps the best I can do is to show you. As part of our vocations blog we’ll follow four members of the Chevalier family, ministering in radically different parts of the world, but united in a common MSC mission: That the Sacred Heart of Jesus be everywhere known and loved.
Fr. John Jennings is an MSC missionary from Cork, Ireland working in one of the most marginalised barrios in Caracas, Venezuela. In addition to parish work John ministers as a part time chaplain in some of the country’s largest prisons.
Posted on 02. Sep, 2013 by alannevillemsc in Africa, Belonging, Communal Work, Compassion, Inspiring Others, Latest News, Our Values, The Life, Volunteering
All good things come to an end.
It is hard to believe we are nearing the end of our stay at Holy Family Care Centre. It has been the most enriching experience. There has been much laughter, a few tears and alot of reflection over the past few months. As well as enjoying our surroundings here we have had the pleasure of enjoying the stunning scenery of ‘Gods Window’, Pilgrims Rest & many more scenic spots. It was lovely to get out as a group and share some quality time together. We are looking forward to seeing family and friends, yet finding it difficult to deal with saying goodbye when the time comes, but like everything in this world it will never be as hard as it seems at the time. We have really got to know all the kids and workers here at Holy Family over the past months. We can recognise the voices calling out for us at our gate, the different cries of the crèche children and the different laughs that echo around the centre. We opened our hearts fully and really connected with each and every one. We have learned more from them than they have from us and boy o boy can these kids teach you a thing or two.
Posted on 27. Aug, 2013 by alannevillemsc in Inspiring Others, Latest News, Openness, Pilgrimage, Solidarity
Moments of wonder during the Pilgrims’ Mass
This August saw the beginning of a new idea. It’s about welcome. It’s about both the beginning and the end of a journey. This year the MSC Vocations team, along with priests and religious from the La Retraite Sisters, the Faithful Companions of Jesus and the Redemptorists, set up a ministry of hospitality in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostella.
Welcoming team of Sr. Lynne, Sr. Maryanne, Sr. Helen and Fr. Alan
The Camino of Santiago has been a site of pilgrimage for well over a thousand years. People have walked from all around Europe and more recently have journeyed from the four corners of the world to ‘abrazar’ or embrace the famous statue of St. James and pray at his tomb. But the Camino is about the journey as much as it is about the destination. The Camino Frances begins just inside the French boarder and meanders across the north of Spain through town, villages, fields and woodlands. It’s during this time that people on the Way take time to relfect on their lives and explore the sense of their vocation in the broadest sense. The landscape is as varied as the people you meet. You’ll find pilgrims coming from everywhere, of all faiths and none. However they are all searching, very much aware that they are on a spiritual journey.
Posted on 03. Aug, 2013 by alannevillemsc in America, Belonging, Engaging Vocations, Festivals, Latest News, Openness, World Youth Day
Following World Youth Day in Rio 2013 some of the young people with the MSC Vocations team reflect on the week’s highlights.
One of my favourite experiences of the World Youth Day (WYD) so far had to be the visit to the Sugar Loaf Mountain. Despite the wind and cold, spirits were high as pilgrims from the world over united in song and chants, sharing photos and gifts. This was our first real experience of the WYD atmosphere and I’m pleased to say that it only grew bigger throughout the week as we made new friends.
The Opening Ceremony was another highlight for me, since although we were divided for our group it was easy to meet other groups and everyone was happy to mix and invite us in. For me, it is this feeling of togetherness, unity and celebration that has made WYD such a fantastic experience.
Posted on 26. Jul, 2013 by alannevillemsc in Inspiring Others, Latest News, Prophetic
We all suspected something different was happening when the newly elected Pope first knelt down and asked for the people’s prayers before he gave his first blessing. It seems however that Pope Francis has exceeded those expectations and as his papacy continues he challenges the young people of the world at World Youth Day to be agents of the Holy Spirit. When asked about his hopes for World Youth Day Pope Francis replied:
“What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses! […] I want to see the church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools or structures. Because these need to get out!”
Posted on 22. Jul, 2013 by alannevillemsc in Festivals, Latest News, World Youth Day
Okay, so the title is a little misleading, but the event itself is spectacular! MSC Vocations is over in Rio for World Youth Day 2013. The weather is perfect! We’re right next to Copacabana Beach! Pope Francis is en route! The atmosphere is AMAZING! Over the week you can follow our blog to keep up to date with all that’s happening in Brazil for the largest youth gathering on the planet!
Fr. Alan and Francis in Rio
Day 1 Next Stop Rio