A new team of young ‘volunteer missionaries’ have been commissioned to begin their work at SPEC.
Bishop John Sherrington commissioned the young adults last Thursday at St Aloysius, Somers Town, home to the diocesan Centre for Youth Ministry. They celebrated a special Mass for the Evangelisation of Peoples and were joined by friends and staff from SPEC, and by parishioners from Somers Town.
Bishop Sherrington welcomed each new missionary to their important work and presented them with a copy of the Divine Office. He reminded them of the words of Pope Francis at World Youth Day: Go, have courage, do not be afraid.
SPEC is Westminster Youth Ministry’s residential and day retreat centre for young people. This year, SPEC will move from its original base in London Colney to a new home in Pinner.
During the coming year, the twelve new volunteer missionaries and two new members of staff will join the SPEC community to lead retreats for children and teenagers from the diocese’s schools and parishes.
Some of the new volunteer missionaries come from parishes across London and Hertfordshire, while others are from further afield. One young missionary, Tim Mangatal, has travelled and volunteered as a Red Cap in Lourdes with the Westminster Diocesan Pilgrimage for the last seven years. New staff member Dominic Cunliffe comes from a parish in north London, and Frances Ross has just finished a university degree. Her home parish was Ponders End and her parents now live in Enfield. They form a team with volunteers from the UK, US, Germany, Switzerland and Australia.
The volunteers began their induction and formation at SPEC almost four weeks ago when they were welcomed by the Diocesan Youth Chaplain, Fr David Reilly. He reminded them they are beginning their work here at the highpoint of the Year of Faith and that their mission is central to the New Evangelisation. Now that their induction is completed, the first retreats will begin at SPEC this week.