Order of Friars Minor in Great Britain

Sharing my Faith, Hope and Love

So how could I hope to derive from such a range of behaviour some indications of where I would be able to share my faith, hope and love today? It was not a matter of following a blueprint. Yet I have found ways to be involved in certain activities that echoed his sensitivity. Collaborating with L’Arche communities in their commitment to building up an interesting and humanising home life for mentally handicapped adults was a great experience of how those on the margins of our society can be most open to the love of God. This was an international, multi-denominational community with a network of supporters covering a large area. I found it a place of many fruitful lessons in ecumenical collaboration and friendship. It also stood in support of gentle people who, when accompanied through a shopping centre, were clearly not always welcome.
Wanting to devise a style of preaching that might include some theatrical characteristics (as Francis did), I have been fortunate in writing a musical called Echoes of Peace, and putting this on to celebrate our Edinburgh parish Jubilee. Some fifty parishioners, young and old, took part, reliving stories about reconciliation from the early Franciscan writings. Other such opportunities have included two Peace vigils, and visits to a Primary School to act out some Bible stories with the children, who were then able to reflect on how Goliath’s bullying, for instance, was a reminder of problems they too had to face. Catechetical work has also sometimes allowed me to explore how receptive a new group would be to making Christianity’s best stories of salvation their own.
In our formation house we have had a tremendous variety of visiting students from many parts of the world: Mexico, Pakistan, Taiwan, Korea, South Africa, Australia, Uganda, Italy, France, Croatia, Germany, Malta, Singapore, Lithuania and many more. Helping these visitors to have a lively and memorable experience of community was always a challenging task, but also a rewarding and life-enhancing one. Community in these circumstances is not monastic, in that it is not a long-term settled existence. But it opened up hearts and minds with a dynamism of respect, attentiveness and readiness to learn that I have rarely found in other English social settings. Praying, studying and relaxing together can allow the gifts of God’s Spirit to permeate levels of our personality that would otherwise stiffen and grow antagonistic.

Chris Dyczek - noviciate year

Chris with his noviciate year

Chris Dyczek - youth theatre

Chris with the youth theatre