From Camino to Kitale...
by on September 30th, 2014

On August 28th 2011 when I entered the Seminary in St Patricks College, Maynooth I could never have imagined the opportunities that would come my way. Having worked in a business environment for the previous 11 years I was well used to having limited time for creative interests and developing hobbies and interests as I wished.

From Camino...
Seminary life is different, it involves living with many other people in relatively close confines but it also allowed for me to get to know myself so much better and deepen my faith through an understanding of what builds me up and with the strengths that God has given me.
In the Summer of 2012 I undertook the Camino to Santiago from Pamplona to Fisterre over 33 days and this opportunity like so many others allowed me to develop both spiritually and personally through the people I met and the knowledge that the road of discernment that we undertake in Seminary is so very similar to the journey of faith and discovery that so many others long for in today’s world. I was delighted to be able to meet and journey with so many on the Camino that assisted in building my understanding of what is needed from a follower of Christ in 2014.

With ADYC I went back both this year and last year to journey a stage of the Camino that opened up to the youth and the young at heart that came with us an experience of faith that is as unique as each and every one of us.

...To Kitale...
This summer I also travelled to Kitale in North West Kenya to offer some help to the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent De Paul who are engaged in ministry there. On this eye opening journey I was blessed to see how the Daughters of Charity are bringing hope to the people in the area in the way the first Christian followers did. Through their nutrition programmes they are bringing food to the hungry, education programmes mean they are bringing hope to those who had given up and working with other organisations funding medical needs they are literally bringing sight to the blind.

The opportunity to work with the Daughters of Charity was a clear indicator to me of how the universal church operates, while there I felt very much that I represented my family, friends and indeed the people of the Archdiocese of Armagh however the Daughters reminded me that they act on behalf of and in the name of Jesus Christ and this was most likely the greatest insight that I got while there.

I am reminded of the great prayer of St Theresa of Avila, “Christ has no body but yours, no hands or feet on earth but yours” and feel so very grateful that I have been able to respond to God’s call at this time and continually discern what experiences He wants me to grow through while in seminary. I think that the motto used by the Vincentians for their mission programme is also relevant to anyone discerning a Vocation to Priesthood or religious life – “Do one thing, Do Something.”
Barry Matthews
Year 4 Seminarian, Armagh
For more conversations from Barry,
visit our Seminarians' page:  Click here!

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