The St John Paul Prayer Movement meet on Thursday evening, 8th October 2015, for their regular weekly prayer group at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre, St Joseph’s Convent, Lawside Rd, Dundee, with Bishop Stephen Robson in attendance. His encouragement and support has been much valued.
The two hour prayer meeting was a very uplifting, blessed and anointed time together, taking people deeper into the presence of God with its variety of prayer, adoration, worship and prophecy followed by a rich teaching on the origins of the Bible. The group gathered afterwards for refreshments and fellowship with Bishop Stephen.
This is a recent move to new premises, following an initial four years at St Pius X, Dundee. Having grown from strength to strength and in many ways having out grown the venue at St Pius X, Bishop Stephen, who took up office in the Diocese almost two years ago, invited the group to base themselves at St Joseph’s Convent in order ‘to be of greater service to the whole Diocese’.
A welcome addition has also been the sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a community of five Nigerian sisters who have recently taken over running the Pastoral Centre and whose attendance, openness and hospitality has been greatly appreciated.
Another welcome boost is the return of Fr Jim McManus CSsR, who as the group’s Spiritual Director has recently returned to Dundee after spending two years with his Redemptorist Community in London. His insights and continued ongoing support and advice have proved invaluable.
There are currently two prayer groups operating in the Diocese, these being at St Joseph’s Convent under the auspices of Bishop Stephen and at St Fillan’s Church in Crieff under the auspices of Canon Martin Drysdale VG.
These ‘Schools of Prayer’ to quote Pope John Paul II, are centred on Prayer, Adoration, Worship and Education so that all who attend leave feeling nourished and blessed by what they have received. The group’s facilitator adds, ‘We remain open to help facilitate new groups who may wish to gather in their Parishes around the Diocese to help develop their faith and deepen their relationship with Christ.’
Retreat Days are also organised which help to bring the groups together and foster a greater sense of family, as well as providing the opportunity for others around the Diocese and beyond to be spiritually renewed and strengthened. There were four very successful days held throughout last year, at Kinnoull Monastery, Perth where there were some 50 people in attendance at each one who left feeling enriched and refreshed by the experience.
Having started in Jan 2011 in response to the call for a New Evangelisation, the St John Paul Prayer Movement has been engaged in the formation of faith by helping to lead people into a fresh encounter and deeper relationship with Christ and fostering a greater openness to the Holy Spirit whilst increasing knowledge of our faith and developing a greater understanding of Scripture and its practical application to our lives. This spiritual renewing of people’s faith, with its combined focus on prayer and education has proved to be not only an uplifting experience but one that has served to create meaningful changes in people’s lives. There have been many stories of the ways in which people’s lives have been changed, how fresh meaning and understanding of their faith has impacted them and the ways in which a new found confidence and conviction of their faith has helped them approach various circumstances in their lives to produce better outcomes.
The St John Paul Prayer Movement are planning to embark on two new outreach initiatives to further help people develop their faith and grow in relationship with Christ as well as engage in the practical outworking of faith. The first is to recognise those who, for whatever reasons, are unable to attend prayer groups. To this end, they plan on establishing ‘cell groups’ where resource material and support can be made available to those who are able to meet with a few others within the comfort of their own home. Such resource would include a structure, prayer guides and material, teaching and educational material from a well stocked DVD library, as well as ongoing support and transport where required for Retreat Days.
They also recognise the need for the practical outworking of faith in areas of Social Justice and have therefore engaged in the process of partnering with the Dundee Foodbank in order to support the growing numbers ‘on our doorstep’ who are in poverty and hunger, through prayer, financial and practical voluntary support.
The next Retreat Day, which is open to all, is on Saturday 5th December 2015, in the Pastoral Centre and will be led by the group’s Spiritual Director, Fr Jim McManus. Should anyone like to join us or indeed form a group within their own Parishes, start a ‘cell group’ or simply seek further info, please contact Chris McCrosson on 07887-606807.