Monday, 1 September 2014

Ars! Ars! Ars!

Our 7 seminarians

13 of us (7 seminarians, 3 enquirers, 3 priests) have just returned from our annual pilgrimage to Ars.  As ever, the good folk at the Foyer Sacerdotal Jean-Paul II looked after us admirably.  It was a time of prayer, formation, fraternity and  relaxation. This annual visit has actually happened there years in a row: it must, therefore, now be a tradition!

I attach the schedule for you to share in what we got up to ...

Click to enlarge
Please pray for Tristan, Edmund, Joe, Tom, Andrew, Martin and Peter as they start at (or return to) Wonersh (or, in Tristan's case, return to Rome).  They need our prayers - and they are courageous young men!  God bless them!  (What is it with the blue and purple shirts?  Is that a seminary requirement these days?)

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Lourdes and vocations


The internet is awash with lots of amazing stories and photographs of people of all ages who have been pilgrimage-ing in Lourdes with their dioceses.  This is an exciting time of year as the faithful, young and old, connect deeply with their faith through the experience of pilgrimage and journeying together.

I am delighted that, thanks to Fr Aaron Spinelli, our A&B Pilgrimage featured a homily on vocations and a successful meeting for young people who are courageous enough to consider a specific call from the Lord.  Thank you, Fr Aaron!

As ever, the vocations leaflet was handed out ...

We now need to pray that people whose hearts have been stirred through the Lourdes experience will have the courage to follow-through and find real, authentic opportunities to continue their faith-deepening.  Perhaps they might even approach the Vocation Director to explore the possibility of a vocation  to priesthood or Religious Life?
May Our Lady of Lourdes give us many vocations in this diocese!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Following a Plan of Life ... (and trying out a new app too!)



I wanted to see what this new (free) app was like and, in a matter of minutes (literally), I created something!  The app is called, simply, Adobe Voice.

This is what I prepared.

It's all pretty hilarious really ... but I can see how it could help with inviting people to reflect on God's call in their life.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

God has a dream in his heart for us all!



Arundel & Brighton Vocations has been kept excitingly busy recently.

I am grateful to St Richard's Catholic College at Bexhill for an extremely warm welcome recently.  I spoke to a gathering of about 300 young people who had voluntarily chosen to come and explore how God might be calling them to live their lives.

Thanks to the sterling efforts of Fr Simon Dray in promoting and resourcing the event, and to School Lay Chaplain, Katrina Avery for her energetic encouragement to both students and Vocation Director,  the whole experience felt like a happy and blessed time.  God was definitely at work in that room on that day at that time!  Laus Deo!

Seminarian Joe Cook also provided a suitable reflective and inspirational contribution as part of the whole day/weekend.  Thanks, Joe!

It has to be said that there were some technical issues due to the Vocaiton Director's use of Apple products and the schools use of different software and equipment - but we worked around that and the staff were absolutely FAB in provide in assistance, support and a thoroughly professional approach.

Many thanks to all who helped - and to the young people who were courageous enough to ask the Big Question.

The gathering was part of a whole weekend promoting and resourcing a culture of vocation in that part of the diocese.

Here's to the next time!

Fr Simon has written about the event below:

On the weekend of 31st January to 2nd February 2014 the Parish of St Mary Magdalene in partnership with St Richards Catholic College, Bexhill hosted a Vocations Weekend for the St Leonard's Deanery. 

On the Friday afternoon just under 300 young people came to meet and chat with Fr Terry Martin (Vocations Director) and Seminarian Joe Cook in the College Hall. The event called 'Are you hard-wired for happiness?' invited our young people to reflect on the dream that God has in his heart for each one of us. The event, held on a voluntary basis and open to both boys and girls, created some valuable space for reflection on the plan that God has for each one of us. It gave them permission to ask tricky questions on the nature of discipleship and how to discern a vocation. The questions that the young people asked demonstrated that they sincerely wish to respond to the Lord's call to discipleship, but are looking for frank and honest guidance on how to achieve this. I'm pleased to say that Fr Terry handled all the questions sensitively whilst remaining faithful to the truth of our Catholic Faith, something very much appreciated by the young people themselves who recognize that true fulfillment in life comes doing it God's way, not our way.

On Saturday morning 75 people came to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered for Vocations to the Priesthood, which was followed by a Holy Hour, also for vocations. Later that same day Fr Terry gave a presentation outlining the work of the Vocations team, including giving information on the two discernment groups (Alive in Christ for Women and the St John Vianney Group for Men). Fr Terry then joined the parish for our Sunday Masses where he preached at our Masses, asking us all to consider our call to Christian discipleship, encouraging us to speak openly about Vocations to the Priesthood with our Sons, Grandson and Nephews, as well as imploring us to 'pray, pray and pray for Vocations'. At the 11am Mass, vested in a cope for the Procession, Fr Terry then presided at a sung Mass for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

Following the success of the weekend, the invitation is now extended to other parishes and Deaneries to host a Vocations Weekend.  

He kindly provided the photograph above too.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

It's all happening in A&B Vocations!

Organ and West Window, Arundel Cathedral
Despite my tardiness at posting recently, lots of exciting things have been going on in the diocese and, therefore, many good people have been asking the Big Questions for their lives.  It's an exciting time to be involved in vocations work.

Most recently, we had a very happy day at the Dominican Sisters convent in Gossops Green, Crawley.  It was a day for women who were exploring a possible cal to Religious Life.  About 12 of us gathered for a brilliant time of catechesis, exploration of Vita Consecrata, and prayer.  I had taken a photo but decided that those there might prefer a little anonymity so I won't, in fact, post it!

Very soon the St John Vianney group will gather again ...   This month we're looking at prayer: how we pray; forming a plan of life to make prayer a priority; fitting our lives around our prayer-time not our prayer-time around our lives.  Hopefully, it will inspire us all to commit again and again to deepening and nurturing an authentic interior life.  It goes without saying that prayer is essential for those who are seeking to discern God's will in their lives.

On the near-horizon is the annual vocations retreat at Wonersh and, in the summer, our yearly pilgrimage to Ars.

Go to A&B Vocations website for information on all events.

Recently we had  a great meeting of the womens' Alive in Christ Group when Fr David King from Eastbourne came and helped us look at how we deal with fear and anxiety when discerning a vocation.  As ever the evening was rounded off with a good solid time of adoration and confessions.

Our SJV gathering for Christmas/New Year was supported by a record attendance and, once again, proved a very worthwhile experience in bring together enquirers, seminarians and priests.

As I say, it's all happening in A&B Vocations!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

The Day (and month) of the Dead


Holy Mass(es) for the souls in purgatory. A privilege for a priest. Our prayers (and especially our Masses) really really really make a difference. At Mass heaven is joined to earth and the life, death and resurrection of Jesus makes a difference for the dead (and the living!). Those in purgatory cannot pray for themselves - so let's pray for them! One day, please God, others will do it for us ... What a great and loving act of charity.

Don't forget that the whole month of November is given to us to pray for the dead.  Try to offer little sacrifices and mortifications for their eternal rest ...

Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Return of the King

You are invited to

The Return of the King

Young Adults (1835) Advent Retreat
Friday 29th November – Sunday 1st December
@ Worth Abbey Benedictine Monastery, Sussex
Talks - Space & Stillness - Prayer - Friendship
A retreat to enter more deeply into the themes of Advent in preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas.
The weekend will offer the chance of encounter with Christ in prayer through the Benedictine monastic tradition, with talks from the monks, space for reflection, participation in the rhythm of prayer with the monastic community (The Divine Office), Lectio Divina, walks in the beautiful Sussex countryside, and time for building community and friendships (… plus mulled wine and minced pies!)
Main Speakers: Abbot Luke Jolly (newly elected Abbot of Worth) and Br David Jarmy OSB.

Further details:
Cost: £65 for students/unwaged and £95 for waged... bargain!
For more information please contact jessls@hotmail.co.uk or call 07731777615
Booking Deadline: 21st November – but please book ASAP as places are limited!
Hope to see you there!
In Christ,
Jess Smith and Wellspring Team

www.wellspringbrighton.org.uk