Monday, 27 May 2013

Learn from the journey

You know sometimes you see a sign that makes you think. Well I saw this on the internet and it made me think 'vocation'. (Okay it may have been a slow day!) It just struck me that for some of us, we seem to have to travel a number of different paths that may not fully satisfy and travel down some cul -de-sacs before we stop and listen and truly look. Others seem more able to read the sign earlier.
We're off tomorrow to our Provincial meeting that happens every 3 years to reflect on how we as a province live more fully our vocation to the young and the vulnerable. Please pray for us.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Congratulations to Fr. George Robson, 60 years a Salesian, 50 years a priest

Today I went up to our parish in Easterhouse to celebrate George's jubilee. It's always great to be back in Scotland; and to celebrate someone becoming a priest even before I was born! Besides some health challenges, he's still going strong. What a wonderful celebration of a life well spent caring for young people and serving, I think, in 3 different parishes. Thanks to the parishes of St. Benedict and St. Clare for their hospitality. The weather was bright and the journey was hassle free. A great day.

Friday, 12 April 2013

New term, sunny weather (well almost) and lambs in the fields....looking good!

The Easter break is now coming to an end. It seems such a long time since we had 30+ young (and a little older) people here for the Easter Triduum. What a wonderful celebration of the creative spirit of God in the young that turned out to be. Afterwards, I spent a few days up North, 'touching base' with family and friends; and then we had some days with just the SDB community here at Savio. Both were renewing experiences. Even though you can live in the same place as others, it is surprising how little time you have to simply sit down and chat about anything or nothing.
Now, nearly all the volunteers have returned. The truth is after a couple days, we do miss them. But don't tell them, because the days without them are important.
We have a full schedule of retreats coming up, with some of our favourite schools. So, we're all quite excited.
At present, I'm trying to finish an essay on 'Practical theology' which I'm not finding easy. It has to be in by a week on Thursday; the last course essay for my Masters in 'Youth Ministry'.
I hope that Easter was a time of blessing for you. If you have a moment please keep us here at Savio house in your thoughts and prayers as we begin again our retreat ministry with young people.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Snow before Holy Week!

You just can't plan for this; snow at the end of March. We had a happy and uplifting retreat with year 9s from Leeds, and were looking forward to welcoming a group from Sheffield; when over night there was snow and lots of it! The retreat had to be cancelled because the school couldn't get over the Pennines. In this weather, it is time to keep warm and be community together. However, it's been very pleasant to have the time just to focus on Palm Sunday. We have a group in our self-catering block, called the 'Barns'. It's the old cow barn which was converted many 'moons' ago into dormitory accommodation and kitchen, dining room and large activity room. The group is from a parish near Manchester, made up mainly of primary age youngsters and their youth workers. When I went over yesterday evening to see if they were okay, they were having a 'onesies' party. So, the children are having a real adventure and thoroughly enjoying it. It's always a joy to hear the laughter of children around the place.
Tomorrow's Palm Sunday. It seems like just yesterday we celebrated Ash Wednesday. I'm really looking forward to the Mass tomorrow. It will be an unusual experience processing through the snow, shouting "Hosanna!". I just hope the Parish group manage to get down the drive. It's covered completely in snow. The words of St. Francis de Sales come to mind:
"Just trust in God and He will continue to lead you safely through all things. Where you cannot walk, He will carry you in His arms."

God may have to do a lot of carrying tomorrow to get the group home.

Whatever you are doing this Easter and how ever you choose to celebrate it; I hope the joy and peace of the risen Christ shines brightly in your life.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Since the last time I blogged, so much has happened. We finished last week but one on a high. The retreat went  well. The young people responded with real openness and they were a joy to work with. When some people tell me that young people are not open to the spirit and to spiritual things, I just look at them in disbelief. My experience overall is quite the opposite. Given the right atmosphere and trust, the openness is clear to see. God is indeed walking with them wherever they are. I just hope that we can help them to recognise that more deeply. Whether we do or not; it is a great privilege to walk a short time with them.
We've also just finished a short break which has helped the volunteers who have returned with renewed energy. It wasn't quite a break for me. I was down in Kings College London, at my MA in Youth Ministry course. The lessons were very interesting. I'm already apparently a practical theologian. I just have to now write 6000 words explaining how. I remember looking forward to leaving University back in 1989 and to stop studying but I never seemed to have stopped. I suppose you never do; especially if you want to be able to communicate and reach out to people where they are at.
I've just left the volunteers as they start this weekend's retreat. I have a formation weekend starting today; so no retreat for me. However, it'll be good to see the others who are journeying with me in initial formation. There are 3 Polish brothers who are over here for the year, plus Sandy, Joe and Joseph who are from this province. We're reflecting on the vows of Chastity, poverty and obedience that we make. It should be very helpful. The socialising though may be a little 'drier' this time. It's Lent. I'm fasting from alcohol. But before my Rector gets on the blog to remind me....I do understand that fasting doesn't mean just giving things up! You can read his reflections at
It's actually very good but just don't tell him, he may get a big head!

Monday, 11 February 2013

It seems the need to blog over comes all of us at some point in our lives. This is my first blog ever! I've just come back from weekend with my sister and family. The last time was new year; too long. My neice was 19 on Sunday. On the Sunday morning, we, the oldies, sat down stairs waiting to wish her happy birthday. She was upstairs, in her room, texting her friends. It reminded me of where we were in the pecking order. I was very pleased I went up to Scotland. I may have only been able to spend a short time with my neice, but I know she appreciated me being around. To be at these little but important moments, makes family.
We've now a couple of days prep. for the next retreat group coming in on Wednesday.