14th May 2012
Catholic Societies’ Vocations Network
May 2012 (4)
The renewing fires of Pentecost are upon us! As we approach the birthday of the Church let us pray for its renewal and for a deepening of ourselves to service of God and neighbour. Wherever we are in life we must never forget God- In dark and in light He is sovereign! In our journey of exploration we might at times become disheartened or complacent. Putting oneself up for selection is a risky business- there is always the possibility that the answer might be “no” or “not now”. Whatever we are called to do we must seek God in ourselves from the call of our baptism. In baptism we are called to become Sons of God and that is suffice a work for each and every one of us. Let’s strive to achieve, through grace for the throne of Glory. Strive to be saints this Pentecost!
We want to be able to pray for you and support you in the most appropriate way for your situation. If you have a BAP date in the diary then please let us know and we will pray for you mightily! OR if you are through BAP let us know how it went! The facebook page is doing exceedingly well with over 50 “likes”- you can find it here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/God-Calling/118442418282140.
This month’s reflection comes from a candidate from the diocese of Coventry who has just got through BAP and who is starting his formation at St Stephen’s House in September.
Pray for those with upcoming Bishops’ Advisory Panels:
Edward Morrison (York), Adam Wogan (York), Guy Willis (London) Tony Baggs (Lichfield) and Chris Brading.
Tom Wintle (Coventry) has recently been selected for training! Please continue to pray for Daniel Howard (Liverpool), Sean Gilbert (Chichester) and Philip Godsell (Monmouth) as they prepare to start their formation at theological college in September.
NOVENA 2012- PRAYING FOR THE CHURCH- 17th- 27th May
Please join in with this Novena for the Church of England from Ascension Thursday to Pentecost Sunday. Please encourage your friends and parishes to offer some time in prayer too!
Vocations Conference 2012
The Catholic Societies of the Church of England are holding their conference at St Stephen’s House between Friday 31st August and Sunday 2nd September. It is open to all men exploring a vocation to the priesthood or the religious life. Do you know anyone who might be interested? http://www.additionalcurates.co.uk/vocations.html
ROYAL NAVY PLACEMENT
There is a year placement working with the Royal Navy Chaplains in HMS Drake, Plymouth. Would suit a person exploring vocation who wants to do something different. Good accommodation in a FifF parish, good pay and loads of fun-: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
At lunchtime one Friday in April, I found myself in St Michael, Camden Town, where I have been working as a pastoral assistant for the past eight months. I felt my ‘phone buzzing in my pocket and I knew that it was the call that I’d been anticipating - the call that would reveal what the future held! I was, of course, desperate to answer, but I was talking to someone who’d wandered in from the street. One of the very many things I’ve had to learn since moving to Camden is that, when you work for the Church, your own life, very often, simply has to wait! Eventually I found myself free and snuck into the quiet garden round at the back of the building to return the DDO’s call and discover that I had been recommended to train for the Priesthood.
It had been just over a week since I left Shallowford House, in Staffordshire, after two days on my Bishop’s Advisory Panel. That week of waiting, hoping, fearing the worst, and looking for jobs, had been, as you might expect, rather tough. I had mulled over the notion of getting away from it all immediately after, but, actually, it was the best thing that I could have done to get back to the parish and return to normal. The clergy and I, of course, engaged in a little ‘post-match’ analysis, but the life of the parish waits for no man – not even for one who’s just done his BAP – and I am glad of it!
Actually, that week was, in many ways, rather more gruelling than the BAP, itself. Since entering the vocations process, I had come across one or two people who claimed to have enjoyed the experience. I’m not sure that I would go quite that far, but it was by no means as awful as I’d expected! I was extremely fortunate to attend the same panel as my housemate. I expect that’s probably a unique situation and it most definitely made being trapped in the Staffordshire countryside and being grilled about the minutiae of one’s life and faith a lot more bearable!
But, really, the fact that the BAP was not as awful as I’d imagined it might be comes down to two things: the first is the wonderful support of the phenomenally kind and generous people I have met over the past two years; people whose friendship, enthusiasm, and prayers have sustained me and kept me going. The second is the remarkable preparation that I have had in Camden Town. This pastoral assistant scheme, which is supported by the Additional Curates Society, has given me the opportunity to experience some amazing things, to work with some remarkable people, and to really get a grip on what ministry is really like, especially in a busy, diverse, urban setting. More importantly, it has given me the opportunity to really share in and be a part of that ministry!
Those opportunities and the enthusiastic support of those wonderful people fill me with tremendous confidence for the future. God continues to call men to serve Him in Holy Orders in the Church of England; but those men, and the Church, would be much the poorer but for the amazing work of initiatives like God Calling, pastoral assistant schemes, and organisations like the Additional Curates Society.
Please pray for all of those who encourage and foster vocations, for those with responsibility within the discernment process, and for all men seeking to discover whether or not God is calling them to the Priesthood.
Thomas Wintle is 30 and is currently on placement with Fr Philip North in Camden Town.