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.
Posted on 14. Oct, 2014 by alannevillemsc in Belonging, Compassion, Engaging Vocations, Festivals, Latest News, Openness, Pilgrimage, Prophetic, Volunteering
Spirit in the City Festival in London
It has been a summer of celebration for the MSC vocations team, filled with festivals, pilgrimages and volunteering. Most exciting of all we opened our new student community in Dublin on September 8th with two candidates, Kevin and Henry. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. In fact we’ll start at the very beginning of summer. It is, as the song goes, a very good place to start.
Arriving after 111Km on the Camino
June opened with a young adult pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago. For those of you who haven’t heard of The Way it’s an 800km walk across the north of Spain to the resting place of the Apostle James. It has been part of Catholic tradition for well over a millennium. Each year it inspires hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to leave hurry and noise of life behind, to walk or cycle or ride on horseback to Santiago in a spirit of reflection and prayer. Our group this year came from Scotland and Ireland and they were profoundly moved by the experience, in spite of the torrential rain once or twice. June was also a good time for festivals and we took part in Brightlights young adult weekend and the Spirit in the City evangelisation day in Leicester Square. They are at the forefront of engaging young adults and exploring what faith means today.
Posted on 08. Sep, 2014 by alannevillemsc in Belonging, Engaging Vocations, Festivals, Latest News, Prophetic, Volunteering
Kevin, Clare, Fr. Alan and Henry
It’s a real day of celebration for the Chevalier Family. Today we have three young adults entering formation in Dublin, two with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) and one with our sister congregation, the Daughters of our Lady of the Sacred Heart (OLSH). It is an exciting new departure, as they take that courageous next step exploring where God is calling them in life.
Meet the Students
Posted on 31. Aug, 2014 by alannevillemsc in Africa, Latest News, Volunteering
Clare Brady, a nurse from Monaghan, shares her experience in South Africa with MSC Volunteering.
We arrived in South Africa on 12th June and traveled to Holy Family Care Centre with Fr Frank Bray one of the MSC priests. On arrival to Holy Family we were greeted by the children, Sisters and other volunteers. From the moment arrived we were welcomed into their family and it really began to feel like home.
So far I have really enjoyed getting to know the children and as time goes on I am beginning to learn their routine, their likes and dislikes. At the moment some of the girls are teaching me the games they like to play. I enjoy spending time with the older girls and boys who tell me about their local traditions, and are eager to learn about other traditions. I am having a great time here and I just hope that the children are having half as much fun as the volunteers are.
Posted on 05. Aug, 2014 by alannevillemsc in Engaging Vocations, Latest News, Pilgrimage
Pilgrims from absolutely everywhere!
The first thing that strikes you when you arrive for the first time for the Medjugorje Youth Festival is the heat. It’s hot and I mean roasting. The second thing you notice is the sheer diversity of young people gathered from all around the world for a week of prayer, testimonies and fun. You have pilgrims from Paraguay, Vietnam, Congo DRC and even the UK and Ireland.
Prayers offered in every imaginable language
There are even pilgrims from Syria and the Ukraine, who share on how their faith has helped them to deal with the challenges of life in their countries. This what the Medjugorje Youth Festival is about. The week is not about being some sort of holy huddle, separated off from the world. It’s about sharing stories and exploring faith. Above all it’s about celebrating what we feel and know to be true about God’s love for us and His invitation to share that message with the world. As part of the celebration pilgrims are adding their prayers to a hundred metre tapestry that will brought up during the final Mass on Tuesday. It represents the hopes and petitions of over 40,000 pilgrims, written in every language imaginable. During each of the youth Masses this week we have had over 500 priest concelebrating. Honestly we look likes clowns coming out of a mini there’s so many of us – if that’s not too irreverent!
Cenacolo Community’s production of Credo
Later tonight I’m going to see Credo, a musical and theatrical presentation by the Cenacolo Community. Cenacolo is an integral part of the Medjugorje experience. It is not simply a residential centre for people struggling with addiction. Rather it is a place of hope. Working without psychiatrists, doctors and social workers it bases itself on a Catholic ethos of prayer and compassion. The results speak for themselves and the community has spread and there are now 60 houses world wide. I’ll let you know how it went.
Posted on 03. Aug, 2014 by alannevillemsc in Community Life, Latest News, Pilgrimage
Shelter from the Storm on the Camino
Travelling Light and The Journey are the themes of two of the biggest Christian festivals this summer. It seems that the idea of being a pilgrim is becoming increasingly popular in our world today. It’s not really a surprise, as many of the aspects of a pilgrimage echo that of life.
As part of our young adult ministry and vocations programme we ran two pilgrimages along the Camino in June. It was a perfect opportunity to leave everything behind, except for a sleeping bag, a small backpack and comfortable boots. There a freedom to The Way, that is difficult to find elsewhere. It’s about waking up before dawn each morning and heading off with the rising Sun at your back. As you walk to the first horizon, you know that when you get there you’ll simply walk on to the next one.