Celebrating Mission Sunday Vocations Ireland

In 2015 we have been called in a special way to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life. It’s an opportunity to give thanks for the men and women who have worked so selflessly to serve the people of God at home and abroad. It has led the priests and brothers of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) to minister in over fifty countries around the world, working with some of the most marginalised communities. However it’s not just about the past. This is a story that is ongoing and that today moves us into areas that are both challenging and prophetic. The call to mission, wherever it may lead, is as important now as it ever was before.

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Henry, one of our students, at the Spirit in the City Festival

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On the Way

The Holy Spirit continues to inspire people to follow their vocation as a religious sister, brother, or priest. Some may question if such a way of life has anything to offer our world today. However it’s clear that in a society that esteems money, sex, and power as all-important, perhaps the gentle witness of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience may call us to a more genuine living out of our human dignity.

Courage for Mission
Living out your vocation is less about certainty and more about having the courage to explore the possibilities. Many feel that they are not strong enough, not holy enough, or not prayerful enough to serve God as a priest, a sister or a brother. There must be so many others better suited to the task. However, it’s striking that Jesus didn’t go directly to the Temple or to the synagogue to call his first disciples. He invited fishermen and tax collectors. As it says in 1 Samuel 16:7 “People judge by outward appearances, but God looks at the heart.” He looked for those who felt a call to be part of something great; who had a sense of commitment beyond themselves; and above all had an openness of heart for God and others.
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Some of the Youth from the MSC Croatian Festival

We are, each of us, called to be part of God’s great mission, to be bearers of Good News and witnesses to hope, truth, and compassion. According to Shaw “This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what I can. … Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

Creating Space to Listen
This rejoicing in life is part of the underlying mission of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. Each year our Vocations Team creates opportunities for discernment, where people can find the time and space to listen to the still small voice of God in their lives. This summer alone we have led young adult groups along the ancient pilgrimage routes of the Camino de Santiago de Compostella. We’ve also been part of several youth festivals at home and abroad where people have celebrated life and grown in faith.
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Working hard on the MSC Volunteering Programme

In addition this coming year once again we’ll be running our MSC Volunteering Project. Participants will be trained and sent to work with our sisters in South Africa who care for children who have been orphaned by HIV / AIDS and TB. 2016 is also going to be the year of World Youth Day. We had an incredible trip to WYD in Rio 2013 with a group of young people from Ireland and England. Next year we’ll be travelling to Krakow to join over 4,000,000 other pilgrims to meet Pope Francis and rejoice in hope together.

Discernment Road Trip
If you’re interested in getting involved in pilgrimage along the Camino, volunteering in South Africa, Catholic youth festivals or World Youth Day 2016 we would be happy to hear from you. There are so many different opportunities now for people to explore God’s call for them, wherever it may lead.
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Feeling the heat at the FLAME II Festival

In addition for those who are exploring the possibility of a vocation to religious life or priesthood we have our Road Trip. Over a weekend we’re going to be travelling to a number of different MSC communities in Dublin and Galway. You will have an experience of the richness of religious life and the breadth of MSC ministries, including our parishes, student community, hospitals, prison chaplaincy, and our retreat spirituality centre. The Road Trip takes place this coming November.

If you would like to know more you can contact me by email fralan@mscvocations.com or by phoning (086) 7857955. You can find further information about the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart on our website www.mscvocations.ie