Showing posts from July, 2010

Study Session - part 2: settling in

We are now just over a week into our Session.

From right to left, Bro. Ewald (Haiti), Bro. Guy (Canada), Bro. Emmanuel (Togo) + Bro. Alain (France).

Bro. Arturo (Argentina)
Our activities have included:

- talks given by Bro Merino (Spain - Assistant Superior General), Bro. Jean Pétillon (France - former Assistant, co-responsible for Ongoing Formation) and Bro. Guillermo Davilla (Uruguay - co-responsible for Ongoing Formation).

- small group discussion/sharing

- personal study

Topics for these 3 activities include: our religious consecration, our congregation's charism and identity, Mary as a model for religious life, the spirituality (+ writings) of our Founder, Fr. Jean-Marie De La Mennais, our 3 religious vows (poverty, chastity and obedience), Vita Consecrata (Pope John-Paul II), a return to our sources of inspiration (Bible, Rule of Life, Vatican II, the Fathers of the Church, culture)... In a future article I will summarise some of the important points for me personally that hav…

Study Session at the Mother House, Ploërmel, Brittany

I arrived at St. Malo, Brittany, on the morning of the 15th having taken the overnight ferry from Portsmouth (the ferry as opposed to the Southampton - Rennes flight as I had my bike with me). One of the Brothers from our St. Malo community met me and took me back to his community for breakfast and lunch, after which a visiting Brother from Rennes drove me to our Mother House in Ploërmel in readiness to begin that evening our 5-week study session for Brothers aged between 35 and 50.

There are 23 of us in the group, plus 2 Brothers leading the session and 2 Brothers doing the translating. The nations represented include France, Spain, Uganda, Tanzania, Congo, Togo, Indonesia, Haiti, Canada, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and England. There is a relaxed, fraternal atmosphere here that is typical of all the international Brothers events I've ever been to.

Tomorrow, we visit a place I know well, St. Malo, the birthplace of our Founder, Jean-Marie De La Mennais. For many of the Brothers in …

Daily re-conversion... let yourself "be formed every day" of your lives

Following on from what I wrote in the previous article about the need for daily re-conversion/consecration, about the sense of wonder and openness to new experiences, I found this quote in a document sent to those Brothers (including myself) who are preparing to take part in a 5-week renewal course in our Mother House in Brittany, starting on July 15th. It's a quote from Vita Consecrata and couldn't be more appropriate:
“...the formation process is not limited to the initial phase. Due to human limitations, the consecrated person can never claim to have completely brought to life the "new creature" who, in every circumstance of life, reflects the very mind of Christ. Initial formation, then, should be closely connected with continuing formation, thereby creating a readiness on everyone's part to let themselves be formed every day of their lives.(VC 69ª)

Spoilt for choice - St. Ignatius, discernment + modern living

I've been ordering equipment for our school's Music Dept., seeing as I am going to be Head of Music here next year. One such item is an Apple Mac music sequencing software package that upgrades the functionality of the Mac's built in GarageBand software. Such software nowadays allows you to create on your computer layered compositions using the sounds of hundreds of classic and modern synthesisers with their own seemingly limitless possibilities of creating different sounds, hundreds of electric guitar and guitar amp sounds, as well as all the standard orchestral instruments, all in immaculate quality.

Faced with such a multitude of digital and analogue sound possibilities, the problem is not one of lack of choice, rather the opposite. Where do you start???

Such abundance of choice seems to be a feature of modern living. , e.g. tv channels - with limited numbers of channels back in the '80s/'90s more people watched the same things and certain shows had a real "…

An excellent news bulletin about Invocation 2010...

... can be found here and by then clicking on the link at the top of the left-hand column "Invocation 2010". Here is a snippet:

“It’s been a phenomenal success,” said Oscott Seminary Vocations Director Father Paul Moss.“All we hoped for was that this would provide young people with the opportunity to come and discern their vocation, to make new friends, and to have fun in fact, and I think on all three counts it’s been a great success.” “I was told that one young girl actually misread the advertisement for this Weekend.She thought it was going to be just a general Retreat for young people, and she came and realised it was something quite different, and she said it’s changed her life. She hasn’t discovered a vocation to religious life, but what it has done is deepen her Faith and opened up a whole new way of seeing Living the Christian Life.So again, it’s been a great thing and people’s lives have been changed because of this weekend.”

Invocation 2010 - photos

A big thank you to everyone involved: a wonderfully joyful, inspiring experience. Left with the thought, "Why haven't we done this before?" I felt it a privilege to be asked to give a talk at one of the workshops about my own discernment journey (focusing on the early years). For once, religious life seemed to be placed on an equal footing with the priesthood as a valid and valued vocation within the Church. And there wasn't the slightest hint of competition between the different orders/congregations themselves, nor between them and the diocesan vocations directors (secular priesthood). Here are some more photos from the weekend:

Me with Fr. Sean Riley. Sean was a youth volunteer with us for a few years in St. Austin's Parish, Liverpool, helping with our LifeTeen group before going off to seminary.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols together with Archbishop Bernard Longley (Birmingham) after having celebrated our final Mass on the Sunday.

Invocation 2010

I'm at Oscott Seminary, Birmingham for the first ever National Vocations Festival with about 300 young adults, nuns, monks, brothers and priests. There's a very joyful, positive atmosphere here - we need joy and optimism badly in the Church right now.