Between 2009 and 2013 the Society of African Missions has added 87 more priests to their ranks.
Included among the 2011 class is Fr Kevin Conway SMA who was ordained in his home parish – Dunamanagh, Co Tyrone – by Bishop Patrick J Harrington SMA, bishop emeritus of Lodwar, Kenya. For the last three years Kevin has been living and studying at the SMA House of Studies in Nairobi, Kenya.
His training would not have been possible without the help of a wider SMA family – our Family Vocations Crusade Sponsors. Coming from every county in Ireland, they are the spiritual and financial backbone of the SMA training programme.
Fr Kevin (on right) is pictured here with Fr Damian Bresnahan SMA (Omagh) after the Ordination ceremony.
How it all began…
Since 1929 the SMA Major seminary was based in a property near Newry, Co Down. Dromantine College served its purpose as a training centre for SMA priests for more than 40 years. In 1959, some people from around the North who knew of Dromantine expressed an interest in becoming more involved in the Mission of the Church. And this was BEFORE the opening of the Second Vatican Council (1963) which speaks of the essential vocation of the laity in the mission of the Church. From that interest a support group for SMA seminarians started. We know it as the Family Vocations Crusade or FVC.
In recent years the SMA has seen considerable expansion and vocations for Africa, Asia and Poland. This has necessitated opening new Houses of Formation in these continents and countries. At present we have 270 SMA students studying in our Formation Houses. It costs more than €1.5m (One and a half million Euro) per year for their maintenence and college fees. Many African and Asian countries are materially less well off so SMA relies almost totally on outside support for the training of our missionaries.
We need generous supporters to finance the education and training of our SMA students for the missionary priesthood.
The mission is still the same. The responsiblity for the evangelisation of people is the responsiblity of the whole church. “The whole church is missionary” said Pope John Paul II.
Joining the FVC can give YOU the opportunity to contribute directly to advance the mission of the Church.
Our picture shows FVC Director for Leinster, Fr John Bowe SMA, laying hands on the head of Fr Kevin during the most solemn part of the Ordination ceremony.
Will you help us in our work?
Would you consider becoming a sponsor?
There are two ways of getting involved in the FVC.
Group Membership: A Leader, known as the Head Sponsor, invites a number of others – family, relatives, friends – to form an FVC Group. Members of the Group are called Sponsors. The Head Sponsor is the contact person with the FVC Director attached to the nearest SMA House. The Head Sponsor organises the Group, arranges for the collection of contributions, keeps in touch with all the Sponsors and communicates special requests and needs for prayer to the Director.
Individual Membership: For Sponsors who are unable to join a Group who may send an annual contribution directly to the nearest FVC Director.
FVC Members do three things:
- Pray for vocations daily
- Encourage vocations in their homes through a positive attitude to the Christian faith
- Make a financial contribution annually to the SMA
How to start a Group?
Contact the FVC office at one of the following:
SMA House, Blackrock Road, Cork
Telephone 021 – 4616316 or email@example.com
SMA House, Dromantine, Newry, Co Down, BT34 1RH
Telephone (+44) 028 30821224 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SMA House, Claregalway, Co Galway
Telephone 091 798880 or email@example.com
SMA House, 82 Ranelagh Road, Dublin 6
Telephone 01-4968162 or firstname.lastname@example.org