"Dear young friends: only Jesus knows what “definite service” he has in mind for you. Be open to his voice resounding in the depths of your heart: ... he needs priests, good and holy priests, men who are willing to lay down their lives for their sheep. Ask our Lord what he has in mind for you! Ask him for the generosity to say “yes!” Do not be afraid to give yourself totally to Jesus. He will give you the grace you need to fulfil your vocation". Pope Benedict XVI, Hyde Park, September 2010
September was a busy time at the Vocations Centre as we went through our month-long induction for the new Vocations Team. For four weeks the six team members received an intensive formation to help them as they prepared to embark on a series of evangelisation projects. In addition to formation in the faith - which included training from 'Catholic Voices' - the programme has included a considerable amount of spiritual formation with daily meditations and classes on different aspects of the spiritual life. We have also had 'taster' experiences of the various types of evangelisation projects we will be involved with, including the preparation and delivery of retreat days, speaking at parishes and engaging with university students.
The Chapel before...
... and after.
Our day begins at 7.30am with half an hour of prayer in our newly decorated chapel. On Thursdays the prayer is done during a period of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Holy Mass follows just after 8.00am.
After Mass we have a quick breakfast followed by time to tidy up the house and to do some spiritual reading before classes begin at 10.00am. Lunch is at 1.00pm after which we have a short visit to the Blessed Sacrament before meeting in the common room for a get-together. Sometimes there are classes also in the afternoon although more usually it is free for manual labour and study. Whenever suits the individual there is another half-hour of private prayer in the Chapel or elsewhere and the team prays the Rosary each day either individually or in groups. We have supper together at about 7.00pm. The afternoon and the evening periods are also good times for us to prepare the talks and testimonies we gig when we are engaged in evangelisation projects. A get-together after supper helps us share our experiences and reflect on how things have gone. At 10.00pm we meet again in the Church for the Examination of Conscience and Compline.
An Excursion to Richborough - where the Romans landed
During the week Tuesdays is a 'House Day" when we don't have external classes apart from a fortnightly class on spirituality. It is also a day for the team members to meet with their Spiritual Director and confessors. The House Days give us more time to spend in prayer and to rest in the Lord's presence. About once a month we also have a group excursion which helps us grow together in our fellowship as disciples. There is also a monthly day of recollection which is open to any lads considering the priesthood as well as a monthly "Frassati Society" meeting for anyone we meet to join us for a period of Eucharistic Adoration and catechesis followed by a meal.
In the posts that follow I'll try to give a flavour of one or two of the things we have been up to recently. For more up-to-date news Tony, one of the team members, posts regularly to the Southwark Vocations Facebook page.