Showing posts from April, 2015

Vocations Sunday - Pope Francis

Here’s the beginning of Pope Francis' letter for Vocations Sunday (last weekend). For the whole letter, click here.


Theme: Exodus, a fundamental experience of vocation
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Fourth Sunday of Easter offers us the figure of the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep: he calls them, he feeds them and he guides them. For over fifty years the universal Church has celebrated this Sunday as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. In this way she reminds us of our need to pray, as Jesus himself told his disciples, so that “the Lord of the harvest may send out labourers into his harvest” (Lk 10:2). Jesus command came in the context of his sending out missionaries. He called not only the twelve Apostles, but another seventy-two disciples whom he then sent out, two by two, for the mission (cf. Lk 10:1-6). Since the Church “is by her very nature missionary” (Ad Gentes,…

Sponsored cycle + swim for Haiti

Last Sunday week I undertook another of my crazy sponsored sporting exploits, this time to raise money to buy sports and audio-visual equipment to take out to Haiti when I take a group of pupils there in July. This time the context was a bit special given I’d not been well the previous few days (see below for details). Here are the Facebook comments and photos that I posted as the day progressed, plus a couple of photos from the swim that I’ve kept private till now. If anyone would like to donate to our fund for equipment to take out to Haiti and give to the schools we will be visiting I’m prepared to pick up from anyone in the Merseyside area. If you are further afield a cheque would be simplest, made out to “Brothers Of Christian Instruction”.

Address =
Bro. James Hayes, St. Francis Xavier’s College, Beaconsfield Road, Liverpool, England L25 6EG.
Here are the Facebook posts:


It's 9.40am in the morning and I am halfway through my 100 mile cycle from Parkgate (Wirral) to Mar…

A meeting for the Province's youngest Brothers…

… at our Mother House in Ploërmel, Brittany. A chance for us to share experiences, offer each other support and plan for the future. We are very much "living joyfully" and haven't given up the fight.

Called + chosen - Vocation Sunday

In honour of Vocation Sunday tomorrow here's an excellent post from DVO app.

March 1He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace... 2 Tim 1:9 (NIV)Vocation - Part 1What's your calling?

Growing up in church this question was bandied about almost as much as "how are you today?" The urgency of the way in which it was always asked made me nervous.

What IS my calling? Am I called? Am I one of the few chosen? Are we all chosen? What if I'm not chosen? What if I'm just normal? I want to change the world? How will I do it? What will I do? Will I succeed? Will I fail? Am I the ONE?

These are the questions/thoughts/fears that would flood my mind and heart at the very mention of 'calling.' The pressure was paralysing and I made many of my choices more in accordance with what the perceived outcome of my life should be rather than what I felt in my bones. There was a sense of sacrifice…

Summer reading

Yesterday I received in the post 2 recently published books, one by my sister, Mona Villarrubia (née Hayes) and one by my film mentor, Jean Collet, whose inspiration, influence and friendship lead to me teaching Film Studies after I came back from my 4 years study in Paris from 1995-99. I look forward to reading both in the coming weeks /months.

Vulnerability + growing up

Mont Aigoual, Les Cévennes, France, 1997

An unforgettable day back in 1997 with my good friend Frère Henri in the Cevennes (S. France, where we were staying for hiking and cycling in the area) on top of Mont Aigoual after a long hike to the top. During the climb he'd put me in front to lead the way for the first time in our 7 years of summer hiking since my Noviciate where he was the Assistant Novice Master. Sounds banal but this gesture had a profound effect on me during the climb and I got very emotional. Someone was putting their trust in me in a way that no one else had done before. On top of this the views around me were so beautiful. A couple of times in the climb I had to stop and sit down as a wave of emotion broke over me.

One such break, with Mont Aigoual itself in the distance.
Then when we arrived at the top I could have sat there for hours with the view you can see in the photo below. I feel now that it was a key experience for me in the process of growing up. I was …

Last weekend on the way back from Brittany (yes, 2 trips there in one week) where we'd been for the Easter weekend young adult event #TeamWin

via Instagram

Train journey to Brittany via London + Paris courtesy of French air traffic controllers strike. For once the "Quiet Zone" does what it says on the tin. Gonna catch up on some zzzzzz...

via Instagram

The seed + vulnerability (Mona Villarrubia)

Just found the below article about the need to be vulnerable on one of my sister’s blogs (Mona Villarrubia - Christianity in the 21st Century) and I think it’s quite wonderful.

Today’s Gospel was from John chapter 12. One verse caught my attention.24
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”In the homily we were reminded of the process whereby a seed grows. It has to be in the right temperature and level of moisture. Then its protective shell has to soften and crack open. Only then can the seed send out a root and a shoot and make food and grow. The hard shell has to be broken.Two things came to mind as I listened. The first is the obvious prophecy of Jesus’ death and the beginning of the church. Without Jesus’ death would his words have taken root? Without his death would others have been willing to die for their faith? Secondly, I reflected on what happened to bring about his death? He be…