“Even if only one of you shows up… we will still hold our weekly meeting!”
(An ex-youth leader / member of the MSSP oratory community)
I am not just a number, I am cared for, prayed for, listened to and loved… I am known. This is what defines the community to me…a second home. I have thrived and served within the community and I can honestly say that it has molded me into the woman I am today. I attended my catechism lessons here and eventually I also prepared children for their First Holy Communion. I was part of teen groups in my adolescence and later formed part of a committed group, named G.L.O.W, for 6 years. I received formation through courses and delved into scripture through monthly catechesis and developed a better understanding of different aspects and personalities in the Bible
The enthusiasm of the community and the commitment of the leaders set the basis for an honest friendship and an accepting and safe environment for all the members.
Catechism taught me facts about Jesus, however, it is through listening to the Word, discussing and sharing of experiences that I have encountered Him and continue to thirst for Him. Throughout Advent and Lent, the weekly 6 am appointment of praying the Psalms has always been a challenge but also a boost to my spiritual roller-coaster ride. Psalms have become the tool I seek in prayer when I have no words to articulate my feelings and prayers to God.
For around 3 years I stopped being part of an MSSP youth group, however, I still participated in the Eucharist at the Oratory regularly, and also remained committed to the Youth Music Ministry. During this period I also explored other communities outside the MSSP. This helped me discover different methods of prayer and worship, and of serving God through voluntary work with the poor and needy. I also had the opportunity to live through the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola in daily life. The latter experience helped me deepen my relationship with God through disciplined and structured prayer time and reflection. By the end of this journey I realised that there was still a void. It is then that I desired to go back to my roots and share my spiritual experience with others within the MSSP community.
After a process of discernment, last year I decided to join one of the Lectio groups. The enthusiasm of the community and the commitment of the leaders set the basis for an honest friendship and an accepting and safe environment for all the members. Most of us were strangers to one another, however by time we got to know each other and built our trust in one another. This was most evident through the sharing of personal experiences and life events during our meetings whilst also keeping each other in prayer. Our WhatsApp chat is never quiet, and between one task and another at work, I find myself either smiling when a random inspirational quote pops up or opening my diary to jot in dates to meet up with the rest of the group! Weekly meetings are varied and this always keeps it interesting.
My Friday evenings have been dedicated to the Oratory for quite a while now and after a whole week of work and long days where I get caught up with everything else except prayer, being surrounded by a group of friends in the presence of the Sacrament, feels like taking a huge load off my chest. It fills me with energy and enthusiasm to keep journeying.
The Eucharistic experience is the center and the backbone of the community. It brings all the smaller communities within the Oratory together and the sense of belonging and the feeling of being part of something bigger, motivates me to be faithful and to persevere in my spiritual journey. In my humble opinion, faith cannot be lived alone, and this is probably the reason why I keep coming back and continue to yearn for others to receive from this manna!