Students in search of God

Students at Freshfield
Students at Freshfield

Students at the Manchester Universities’ Catholic Chaplaincy took advantage of the offer of some quiet time for prayer and rest on a recent weekend retreat at the Prayer Centre of the Poor Servants of the Mother of God at Freshfield, near Formby.

Nine students took part, most of whom are part of the music group which enhances the liturgy at the 7pm Mass at Holy Name Church.  The group was accompanied by chaplaincy team members Sr Cecilia FCJ, Br Geoff te Braake SJ and Senior Chaplain Fr Peter Scally SJ.  A highlight of the weekend was the opportunity to sing at Sunday morning Mass for the residents of the care home run by the sister.

“We did some reflection on the ministry of music, had some silent prayer time, and also had time to enjoy walks on Formby Sands, some games and a DVD,” commented Fr Peter.

Students and staff will have further opportunity to develop their prayer life during the annual week of guided prayer which takes place next month (10-15 March) at the chaplaincy and gives people the chance to take time out, deepen their relationship with God and explore new ways of praying.  Steve Hoyland, chaplaincy outreach lead for the Jesuits in Britain says, “When we are generous, God is more so. Even people who only take part because they feel sorry for their chaplain, get a lot out of the week! We encounter a God who loves and calls us.  It can also be a great help in making or confirming decisions, big or small.” 

Steve will be giving three evening workshops on prayer during the first half of the week on: Ways of Praying, Discernment and Images of God.  To enquire about participating please email

Is that a dog?

In the picture the new chaplaincy dog, a two-year-old border collie called Penny, who attended the retreat, is looking very at home.

“The students have all fallen in love with Penny,” said Fr Peter, “she is making a huge difference in the chaplaincy. Her presence is very therapeutic and relaxing and I think it’s good for everyone’s mental health to have a dog around.  She has fitted right in.” 

Penny wasn’t available for comment but could be seen in the distance playing catch with students on Formby Sands.