Inspiring faith-in-action vacations

Shannon Philip from Jesuit Missions, Fr Matthew Power SJ, Nick Hanrahan from JRS UK, Fr Simon Bishop SJ
Shannon Philip, Fr Matthew Power SJ, Nick Hanrahan and Fr Simon Bishop SJ

Things are decidedly lively just now at the Oxford Catholic Chaplaincy: on Sunday 20th January they held for the first time a “Vacations Projects Fair”, to offer students some exciting ways of using their vacations to be “men and women for others”, or “contemplatives in action”.

At all four of the masses on the day, before and after (and even during) there were stalls run by the Assumption volunteers, CAFOD, Faith in Politics, the Faithful Companions of Jesus, Focolare, Jesuit Missions (represented by Shannon Philip) and Jesuit Refugee Services (represented by Nick Hanrahan), MAGIS 2019, the Oxford Lourdes Pilgrimage, the Oxford Hub (centre for volunteering and social action in Oxford), Student Cross (represented by Fr Simon Bishop SJ) and Quarr Abbey. It was an extraordinary day of powerful interaction, not just between our students and the individual projects, but also between those manning the tables for the particular projects.

The range of possible options was immense, including at least four pilgrimages, some weekly volunteering and residential summer camps, different ways of accompanying refugees and advocating on their behalf, opportunities for longer and shorter periods of working overseas with refugees or teaching or organising summer camps for young people. There was the opportunity to have a parliamentary internship, with intensive experience of political and social action in a spiritual context. There was even the possibility of a ten-day immersion experience in the Lebanon.

It was a vibrant day, and Fr Nicholas King SJ, Assistant Chaplain, remarked that “there was a real buzz in the Chaplaincy, all that day”.