Who am I?

My name is Brother James Hayes f.i.c.

I was born in Southampton in 1968, the youngest of five children. My parents were both born in Ireland, coming over to England after their marriage. When they both retired in 1991, they decided to move back to their beloved Emerald Isle and the green countryside of Co. Limerick.

I'm a former pupil of St. Mary's College in Southampton, run by the De La Mennais Brothers, and I am a life-long Southampton F.C. fan. I joined the De La Mennais Brothers in 1990 after completing a Music degree at Liverpool University. At the moment I am College Chaplain and part-time teacher of Music, RE and Film Studies in a Liverpool boys comprehensive run by my order, St. Francis Xavier's College. I have for many years worked in parish music ministry with and for young people and for 5 years was Music Minister at a LifeTeen youth group in St. Austin's R.C. Parish, Liverpool.

I am mad keen on cycling (and am a member of Birkenhead North End CC), swimming and sport in general. You will see on my blog information about various sponsored cycles for charity that I have undertaken over the years, the latest this year for the Royal British Legion (from Berlin to the Normandy beaches).

Much of my energies go into finding and arranging worship songs and Mass parts to use in youth Masses as well as sometimes writing my own. I am passionate about giving young people the chance to attend Catholic liturgies that, especially through the words and music of the worship songs we use, may bring them closer to God, may help them to start and develop a personal relationship with Jesus and may also help them to find a home in the Church. Such worship songs are a tremendous source of spiritual nourishment for me, so I simply want to share what I have been given.

Since 1993, I have brought various groups of young people on retreat to monasteries in England and Wales, to De La Mennais Brothers' youth gatherings in France (where our order was founded), to three World Youth Day festivals (Cologne, Madrid and this year in Krakow). I have also taken 4 groups of young people to Africa (Togo x2, Senegal and Uganda), as well as to Haiti, to participate in Educational Projects with local young people in each country.

I find my life as a Brother incredibly fulfilling. There are obviously challenges that one has to face, just as in any walk of life, but following what I believe to be my calling (vocation) from God has given me a level of joy, peace and fulfilment that I cannot imagine having elsewhere.
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