‘I am the vine; you are the branches’

Juliette Bone is a new Columban Faith in action Volunteer. She details the final celebratory Mass which brought to an end her month-long induction period in her new Faith in Action Volunteer role with the Columbans in Britain.

The Columban ‘Faith in Action’ programme is an opportunity for enthusiastic young adults to join the Columban Mission team in Britain, to explore their faith through active participation in mission and to give their time, skills and energy in support of disadvantaged and vulnerable people.

The programme offers young adults the chance to put faith into action through projects and activities connected to refugees and asylum seekers, inter faith initiatives and justice and peace education. Tobi Oyedele and Juliette Bone joined the year long programme in September, and have successfully completed four weeks of orientation.

Juliette explains, “After a four-week induction period, which included orientation, spiritual guidance and first-hand experience, we came to the final celebration. The Mass would bring everything together, set us on our course and unite us with our fellow Lay Missionaries Columban ordained and co-workers.”

“Before the Mass myself and Tobi, gathered together at Fatima House talk to Lay Missionary Roberta Kim, about her journey to England and what her previous mission work had involved. Her determination, sense of awe and openness to change and be challenged in her missionary work as a Korean in Japan set the tone for the day ahead. From a sour history emerged a sense of respect, forgiveness, peace and care for creation, and I hope to carry this forward with me as I continue in my work.”

Juliette adds, “For lunch, we shared pizza, salad and laughter with Lay Missionaries Nathalie Marytsch, Roberta Kim, Teresa Chuah Hui-Ling, Sophia Ting and Gertrudes Samson. James Trewby and Mauricio Silva also joined us. As we ate, we recalled what we had experienced over the past few weeks, the friends we had made and celebrated our arrival at this point.”

“After lunch, Fr. Ray Collier led us in Mass on the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila which just seemed perfect. St. Teresa, who formed the Carmelite nuns, encouraged reformation in her order a returned commitment to poverty and finding God in the everyday. One of her most famous quotes is about finding God in the ‘pots and pans’ and so must we find God in our everyday tasks and experiences. She truly listened to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, and her life goes before us as a model of listening and attentiveness to the needs of others.”

Juliette, with fellow FiA Volunteer Tobi, Lay Missionaries, Fr. Ray Collier and Interreligious Dialogue Co-ordinator Mauricio Silva outside Fatima House.

Juliette explains, “The readings of the day were based around care for creation, a vision of God in the vines and branches. Fr. Ray provided a space in the room to share our own interpretation of the Gospel and readings. As we travelled through them together, new challenges, affirmation and interpretations ebbed and flowed, intertwining in my mind like the branches we were talking about. On one hand we had the stronger branches of wisdom and experience of those who have been here longer and the younger branches ready to burst into bloom together. On the other hand, Fr. Ray talked about God the gardener who knows how to make his branches fruitful through pruning versus the leaders of COP26 who are just using dead branches for profit instead of pruning them for sustainability. Both areas carried the message of discipleship, of answering God’s call to action and immersing ourselves in community.”

To conclude, Juliette adds, “So, we are left with Roberta’s openness, St. Teresa’s attentiveness and the Columban community’s spirituality that will inspire and guide us to action wherever we are. Using our faith as a motivation to act, this year we follow in the footsteps of many who have come before us and continue to discern God’s message of love for creation and care for our common home.”

group of people have their hands over two females praying
Faith in Action Volunteers Tobi and Juliette complete their induction and are welcomed officially by the Columbans during a celebratory Mass.