The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) plan to send lay missionaries to South Africa this June in a new initiative.
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.
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.
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.