Explore A Way with Missionaries of the Sacred Heart

 The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) plan to send  lay missionaries to South Africa this June in a new initiative.  MSC Vocations Director, Fr Alan Neville, has put out a call for men and women, aged of 25 and 40, who will volunteer three months of their time over the summer. Ideally applicants should have skills in teaching, mechanics, carpentry, nursing, electricity, or medicine, but preparatory training will also be provided. 

Fr Neville took over the role of Vocations’ Director last year and has formulated a programme that will engage with young people. “You have to look at where they are. A lot of young people are volunteering and some of the best places to volunteer with are missionary organizations abroad. So we are linked to South Africa and the sisters there and a great project – a refuge for kids,” Fr Neville told CatholicIreland.net.

He hopes that the young Irish people who volunteer may be able to impart some of their skills to the young people at the Holy Family Centre, in Ofcolaco, Limpopo Province, South Africa. There the Daughters of the Lady of the Sacred Heart congregation work with up to 70 sick and vulnerable, orphaned children with HIV and AIDS. This is the first year that the Sisters will be joined by the small group of MSC volunteers from Ireland who could get involved in teaching the young people their own skills like plumbing or building or plastering.

“With young people the emphasis is on education because in South Africa it is not really prioritized. They need that extra support from the volunteers,” said Fr Neville.

Another initiative for vocations is the exploreAway programme which is supported by MSC and many of the religious orders in Ireland and has six participants in this its second year in existence. MSC will also be getting involved in young people’s pilgrimages and youth festivals throughout the summer.

“Since I took over (as Vocations Director) I looked at it and thought ‘where are our young people?’ They are not in the pews, but they are out there and they are searching through pilgrimage, World Youth Day, volunteering,” Fr Neville said.

The MSC programme this year will involve; a pilgrimage to Lourdes with the Irish Pilgrimage Trust after Easter; and visits to the Knock Summer Festival and the Brightlights World Youth Day gathering.  There will also be a pilgrimage on the first stage of Camino to Santiago de Compostella, from St. Jean to Logrono, passing through the Pyrenees into the Riojan Province of Northern Spain.

Of course the main event of 2013 is World Youth Day in Rio and MSC has a group of ten young people traveling to Brazil from Ireland and England for almost two weeks. They will meet people from all round the world, as well as linking in with Missionaries of the Sacred Heart from Venezuela, Canada, Indonesia and Brazil.


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