I write this on Wednesday the 26th of September sitting at reception here in the Xaverian Mission Spirituality Centre reflecting that a week ago we were welcoming a group of Massai Warriors from Kenya!
The Osiligi Group (Osiligi means “hope”) entertained 80 of us with stories and song from the herdsmen and women of Kenya. They presented the great work that their small charity does including building schools, refurbishing wells, building and equipping clinics and bettering the lives and health of their village community. They also sold some homemade jewellery and artefacts. For 8 weeks they have been performing and presenting their story up and down the UK and Angela managed to book them and so we had the honour to host them here.
They are a Christian based group and their smiles were a reminder of our call to be and beam the Good News wherever we are. Apart from the embarrassment of me trying to emulate their movements through dance and jumps (there are bits of me that I didn’t know I had) the evening was a great success with everyone going away reminded that the Spirit is moving in very different cultures and contexts.
On the Thursday night we had our weekly celebration of Eucharist. Thursday is traditionally were the Xaverians all over the world and in all our communities gather to pray to encourage each other in our mission and recommit to the mission of the Church. The Mass was well attended with a good cross generational presence. Our Eucharist is an attempt also to emulate the reality of our Base Communities throughout the world, where we break the Word of God and the Bread of life together.
Afterwards we had a Jacob’s Join with an abundance of wine, cheese, salads and snacks and enjoyed each other’s company. (I am still nibbling various cheeses – though the wine seemed to go quicker!)
On Friday Joseph Cooper and his team held another Via Creativa session. Joseph’s friend Sharon led the group in dances and movement entitled “Energy Movement – Simple, life affirming dances”.
Unfortunately, I had to travel to Scotland for a wedding, so I couldn’t take part as I had hoped to redeem myself after floundering with the Massai Warriors. Those who took part in it thoroughly enjoyed it and we look forward to more such activities. There are another 2 Via Creativa sessions coming up…so come along and surprise yourself.
Finally on Sunday we held our first Open Day which was an attempt to draw people in and let the world know that the Centre is up and running. There were a variety of stalls, foods from around the world, a display of all we have going on and a Storytelling Festival to offer something for everyone.
As I ended up flipping burgers, I didn’t get to see Mary and the team tell their stories. Those who took part were full of praise, so I hope there will be other occasions for me to take part.
Thanks also to all our collaborators from Fulwood, Ribbleton, Bamber Bridge, Scotland and Brazil for making the day resemble Isaiah’s “Mountain of the Lord”. We are grateful to all who came, who gave of their time and energy, who spent weeks preparing things and who allowed those who came to see a little of what we are trying to build here.
The weekend also saw new signs being installed on the wall of the building and hopefully the Xaverian Mission Spirituality Centre, our centre, can nourish our spiritual life in order to develop our missionary life too.
Many thanks and blessings
Jim Clarke, s.x.