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John McCaffrey, right, with fellow young Verbum Dei Missionaries in Manila (The Catholic Weekly)

Sydney teenager John McCaffrey has embarked on an adventure of a lifetime, travelling to the Philippines for a two-year discernment with a dynamic new religious movement in the Church. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

The former Macquarie University student and member of its Catholic society has already lived and worked alongside Verbum Dei missionaries in Sydney for the past nine months, having deferred his medical science studies to do so.

The ninth of 11 children to Dr Simon and Felicity McCaffrey, John said his faith really came alive when his father took him to help Marist Sister Fidelis McTeigue serve meals to homeless men and women in the crypt of St Patrick’s Church in Church Hill.

“Before that I wasn’t really taking my faith seriously but that experience with poverty when I was around 16 helped to open my heart with regards to the questions I had at that stage about life,” he said.

“I’d say that would be the first shaking of the acorn in my faith journey and it has been an adventure.”

He came to know Verbum Dei’s contemplative and active way of life through the university’s Catholic chaplain and Verbum Dei priest, Fr Daniele Sollazzo, and began attending Ryde-Gladesville parish where the missionaries also serve.

Drawn to their style of prayer, which is centred on the scriptures and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, John also liked their enthusiasm and commitment amid a “joyful and relaxed” community and apostolic life.

Now a new student of the formation course for new Verbum Dei missionaries based in Quezon City in Manila along with two young men from Vietnam, John is open to the possibility of being called to be a priest in the fraternity.


Sydney teenager takes on mission of a lifetime in the Philippines (By Marilyn Rodrigues, The Catholic Weekly)