Monday, March 05, 2012

The School Vocation Project

“To be a priest you don’t only have to turn up at Mass, you have to be caring, thoughtful and much more. You receive a special calling from God to request you. It means you want to spread the word of God. You have to support everyone on their journey of life. It’s a great honour.”
“To be a Priest or a Nun you have to be kind. A priest that is in my parish is always helpful and kind he also always puts others before himself. If you talk about kindness, this man he has lots of it.”
“A nice and happy nun came to our school to talk to us about her life and being a nun she was called Sister Maria and she came from the Philippines.”
“Sister Maria is a Carmelite nun, she wears chocolate brown clothes.”

Those are some snippets from the essays that poured in to the Southwark Vocations Office in our first-ever Schools Vocations Project.  Primary schools in the diocese invited local priests or nuns in to talk to the children, who then later wrote up the interviews. The resulting essays were impressive, many of them surprisingly moving, some occasionally comic: “I think if a priest does something wrong at Mass he just carries on. Because then you will know for next time to do it differently.”   “Sister was 18 when she wanted to be a nun but 20 when she became one. That’s because of all the forms she had to fill in.”
Prizes for the best essays went to:  (1st prize) Halle Ralph, St William of York school, Forest Hill, (2nd, jointly,) Michael Donovan and Clare McKeown St Fidelis School, Erith, and (3rd)Mary Fitzmaurice of St Thomas School, Sevenoaks. A number of pupils at schools across the diocese won runner-up prizes or certificates. Every child taking part received a holy medal and a Southwark Vocations wristband.
Final snippet, with a message that if the going gets tough, you just keep going!
“When Fr Michael left school at the age of 16 he went to work at Barclays Bank. He was 18 years old when he applied to be a priest, he had to do 8 years study before be could become a priest and Fr Michael said when he had his Ordination ‘I felt so happy and overjoyed it felt like I had won a gold medal in the 100 metre sprint.”

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