Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A Week of Community...

Wow!  What a week we've had!  The theme for the past week has been Community Living and it has been an amazing experience.  At the beginning of the week we had lectures about what community life is and how we can all contribute to the life of the community with our different gifts, talents, strengths and weaknesses.  We had the great pleasure of meeting and learning about some different communities; we met Paula, from the Cenacolo community, a community for those who suffer from addictions.  They have a prayer group here in the Parish on a Monday evening.  On Thursday we spent the day with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFRs) in Canning Town, where we helped with their soup kitchen and experienced a little of what a typical day is like for them.  Friday was a long yet great day for the boys who headed out to Ealing Abbey early in the morning to spend the whole day with the Benedictines there.  But I think I can safely say the weekend was our highlight!  NightFever was happening here at St Patrick’s on Saturday and it was the first time we have been out evangelising as a community.  Let’s hope all our nights are as fun and exciting as our first.  Sunday meant wrapping up warm and finding our walking boots as we all headed off on the John Paul II Walking Pilgrimage along the Thames from Westminster Cathedral to Hampton Wick.  It was a long tiring day but it was so good, definitely going to make it an annual event!  You can read more about our adventures this week in the next few days as we update more posts.

Tomorrow (1st November) is a very important day, not only is it All Saints Day but for us here at SPES it is our Commitment Mass.  Please join us if you can; the Mass is at 6pm with a bit of social time afterwards.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Where have we been and what have we done!?

Oh no!  Can't believe it's been almost a month since we updated our blog! Here at SPES we have been very busy and there just hasn't been time to hop on the internet to update.  Apologies, but hopefully this post will bring us all up to speed and we can try to get a more regular post happening.

So some of the students arrived on Saturday 29th September and we headed out to have dinner together at the house of one of the Board of Management, a great night was had by all.  We were also joined that weekend by Christina, one of the past SPES students from Deanna's year group.  She came over from Germany to not only say hi to the new students but to say goodbye to Deanna.  By Monday 1st October we had gathered together all of the new students; our new group consists of Alfonso (from USA), Ben (from England), Terry (from England), and Ola (from Poland).

Week 1

Our first week was mainly a chance for us to get to know each other and to find our way around.  On Tuesday 2nd October we consecrated the year to Our Lady with a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Willesden and a Rosary walk from there to Tyburn Convent, where we met some of the nuns and were shown the relics of the Martyrs.  Before returning to St Patrick's we knelt and prayed at the place of Tyburn Tree.  It was a great day and a wonderful experience for us all.  Wednesday saw us pack up and head off to Whitstable for our first SPES retreat.  We spent a wonderful 4 days getting to know each other and taking time to thank God for bringing us to SPES and asking Him to continue to strengthen us during this year.

Week 2

Our second week was a great week learning about Prayer and the different types of prayer; personal prayer, Holy Hours, the Rosary, the Mass, Divine Office, Discernment and Lectio Divina. Now we are prepared and ready to tackle what this year has in store for us. On Thursday 11th October we joined many others at the opening Mass for the Year of Faith in Westminster Cathedral. This year will provide us with a great opportunity to not only learn more about our Faith but to grow in it also. After Mass we went on a Catholic History Walk through London led by Joanna Bogle; it was
good to hear about the history of the Catholic Church in England, especially for those in our group who are not from England.  On Saturday 13th October we took part in our first 'Cookathon', a whole day dedicated to preparing and cooking meals for the next few weeks.  For some it was their first proper experience of cooking a meal from scratch.  Many thanks to those who came and joined us for the day, especially to Della, without whom the day just wouldn't happen.

Week 3

This past week the students have been learning about Divine Providence, and
experiencing it! They have been hearing the personal testimony of people in different
circumstances and how God has provided for them in their lives. During the week they
also learnt about some of the outreaches that happen here in the Parish; SOS Prayerline,
Open House, NightFever, and of course the monthly Church cleaning! Thank you to
all those who also helped with the Church cleaning, again the Lord provided us with
some good cleaners and our Church is looking beautiful. We had the pleasure this week
of having a guest lecturer from Australia; Fr Gerry O’Collins, who spoke to us about
Vatican II. On Thursday night we headed out to the cinema to watch October Baby; a
pro-life movie being presented by Good Counsel Network and 40 Days for Life. A must

Next week we are focusing on Community Living. The students have already spent
three weeks living together so now it’s time to give them the secrets of how to survive
the next 8 months together.

Hopefully we will be much better at posting over the next few weeks and we will update with some photos of the things we have been doing.

Prayers and God bless