“Let our love not be mere words and talk but something real and active.”1 John 3:18
A reflection by Susan Brebner ( DRS Marist College)
1 Corinthians 13 tells us that as Christians we are called to faithful, hopeful and loving. What does that mean for the Marist girls involved in Vinnies? They are called to be faithful to their commitments, faithful to each other, faithful to the Gospel call to love their neighbour, as they do this they become faith-filled. I see girls who are hopeful, (and hope-filled) that they can make a difference, even if it is to one person, even if it is for this moment in time. They are hopeful that as a Catholic community we are working for the Common Good and all our small efforts combine to make a big difference. And then there is love. I Corinthians 13 is used in weddings so often that we can forget it is a call to us all. Jesus tells us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves. That is the scary bit isn’t it? From my experience you learn to love yourself a bit more kindly when you learn to love your neighbour. When you see how your actions can be so meaningful to others, you learn to be more generous and to step out and take a risk. The Marist College staff put money together to buy duvets at a Briscoes sale. The reaction we got when we arrived at Kingsland was humbling, it was even more moving to hear that by 3 o’clock four families had already collected some new warm bedding and that one family had left in tears. As I went home to my warm house, my cosy bed and a fridge full of food I felt good, the weird thing is the more you give the more you open yourself to receiving. “Let our love not be mere words and talk but something real and active” 1 John 3:18
Sunday 29th June
Leading a retreat @ Tyburn Monastery
Delphina Soti and Helen Robinson were invited away by the Mangere Legion of Mary group to lead their weekend retreat Tyburn monastery.
Del wrote: “Getting invited to go away and run a retreat for the Legion Mary came as quite a surprise, given that the group were much older. I was quietly excited and daunted at the task that that lay ahead. On arrival the communal spirit, humour and hospitality of the group eased us in quite gently. As the day unfolded I was struck by just how powerfully connected this group was to the Gospel and how poignantly simple their faith was. Nothing prepared me for the their devotion to prayer, the length and the sessions that went late into the night and at the early hours of dawn. It transported me right back to my childhood sitting next to my grandparents as a 5 year old under a sheet pretending to be awake and struggling to sing along with them as they sung and prayed from dawn into the morning. I look back now and am grateful for the faith journey of my grandparents and the impact it has had on my life and then for groups like the Legion of Mary amongst many others that allow the expression of this type of faith to be lived out.
I came away from a weekend at the Tyburn Monastery invigorated and not quite sure of what just happened…am still sitting with it all..the fellowship,the connections, the truth telling, the beauty and humility, the music and laughter,the sharing of meals the praying and praying and praying and the celebration of Mass. The Legion of Mary from Mangere are quite an extraordinary group of faith-filled and faithful people. Thank you for the opportunity for the Vinnies family and Legion family to come together we are very honoured. We look forward to how the journey will unfold. Ia viia le Atua
Saturday 28th June
Young Adult Vinnies – Prepare meals for Emergency food centres in Auckland
Those who are labelled “vulnerable” have alot to teach us. When we choose to engage, we get enlightened about our our blindspots and vulnerabilities and what really is important. It is always a good reminder tin terms of our own personal and spiritual growth. Today tertiary Vinnies came together to cook some meals. They are beginning to understand that it is not so much the work they do in making the meals that matters but the connection with the people that counts. The meals are only a vehicle to connect with others. What the “vulnerable people” have to offer is priceless. Their open declaration of their vulnerabilities, their grace and truth telling is startling and so “Gospel” At the end of every encounter the Vinnies youth realise they still have so much more to learn and so much growing to do in terms of their own faith journeys.
We wish to acknowledge Jennifer Angela-Marie Navarro Martinez and the Vinnies tertiary team for their work and the management of James Liston Hostel for use of their facilities
Friday 27th June
Sancta Maria College – Theme: “Homelessness”
With this harsh cold weather and sky rocketing power bills to heat houses, blankets and warm clothing have been in high demand for families. Sancta Maria College decided they wanted to help out and launched an appeal for good quality warm clothing and blankets. This warm clothing and blankets will be distributed to families seeking this assistance.
SVdP Kingsland Centre – Baradene College Alumini
It was lovely to have members of the Baradene Vinnies Alumni drop in for a meeting at the Kingsland centre today. Over the past few uears these young women have traveled to Samoa on service trips to volunteer at the Fiamalamalama School for young people with Intellectual disabilities. These talented and passionate young women drew up session plans for the students and delivered wonderful art, music , craft and dance sessions. These lessons were thoroughly enjoyed by the students and staff. Chloe Rose and Elle Plank who have recently arrived from Samoa have launched an appeal for resources and are proposing some amazing ideas to support the developmental needs of this school. They plan to send these resources over in the next few weeks.
SVdP Kingsland Centre & Polynesian Shipping Ltd. – Clothing for Samoa
The shipment of clothing has finally arrived. This young women’s group are sorting all the clothing to go out to distribute around 50 families in the villages who have sought assistance for clothing. It is so awesome to receive the photos and see how appreciative and excited everyone is. Thank you again Polynesian Shipping for your kindness and generosity in sponsoring the cartage and also the wonderful people who donated clothing. Your love and commitment really makes a difference.
De La Salle College – Theme: “Vulnerability”
Today the students of De La Salle College spent some time learning about “vulnerability ” The team led them in activity called “Unpack the reality” The young men were astounded by what they discovered and how so many different lives are actually impacted by the poverty cycle and that one can never assume they know the face of poverty.
Thursday 26th June
Sancta Maria College – Servant Leadership Retreat.
“Until we remove the stereotypes that mask our vision, our understanding of Service becomes distorted”. It has been an insightful experience to step back and witness the students of Sancta Maria College grow in awareness of what Servant Leadership means. The students that attended participated well and the youth team were quite impressed during the feedback sessions where the students expressed their depth of understanding and also their deep sense of call.
Tuesday 24th June 2014
Helping young people in schools
It makes all the difference to young students in schools that attend schools that don’t have a budget for new educational resources and school furniture. Over the last few years , resources and school furniture has been highly sought after by schools in the Pacific region. Over time we have received generous donations of refurbished furniture as well as quality educational resources. These resources have made a significant difference to the students of these school in the Pacific.
We wish to thank the staff and students Marshal Laing School in Mt Roskill for your awesome donations of good quality used school desks and chairs. We would also like to especially thank Mike Swan, the management and staff of Polynesian Shipping for sponsoring the cartage of these items. This work in support of people would be impossible without you. Thank you for your commitment to these young people.
A special acknowledgement also Kevin Krigg and Rock for all the hard yards you put in to haul and pack all the furniture and also to Mark and Suzanna for all your coordination to get the furniture overseas.
Baradene College – Theme: “Homelessness”
It is such a privilege to sit in solidarity with those who are in the midst of finding their feet once more. But who is truly finding their feet? – By immersing ourselves in the reality, we come to realise that the issue ultimately lies in our tendency to judge and place stereotypes upon the “vulnerable”. There is no “us” and there is no “them”, only “we”.. and we are all seeking the a place belonging to ground our feet. Having the opportunity to come in week by week to serve at emergency housing centers in Auckland has been nothing short of the Gospel being lived out in its truth. We are so blessed to have the young people and the whanau at James Liston walk this journey together. Nothing but aroha for you all.
Monday 23rd June 2014
Marist College Vinnies – Theme: Poverty
Another collection of over 1000 items of clothing and food from Marist College today to support families during Winter.
“We need saints without cassocks, without veils – we need saints with jeans and tennis shoes. We need saints that go to the movies that listen to music, that hang out with their friends. We need saints that place God in first place ahead of succeeding in any career. We need saints that look for time to pray every day and who know how to be in love with purity, chastity and all good things. We need saints – saints for the 21st century with a spirituality appropriate to our new time. We need saints that have a commitment to helping the poor and to make the needed social change.
We need saints to live in the world, to sanctify the world and to not be afraid of living in the world by their presence in it. We need saints that drink Coca-Cola, that eat hot dogs, that surf the internet and that listen to their iPods. We need saints that love the Eucharist, that are not afraid or embarrassed to eat a pizza or drink a beer with their friends. We need saints who love the movies, dance, sports, theatre. We need saints that are open sociable normal happy companions. We need saints who are in this world and who know how to enjoy the best in this world without being callous or mundane. We need saints.”
.- Pope Francis (World Youth Day 2013)