New Weekly Men's Group, Vespers and Spiritual Exercises, SF East Bay, California

The Vision for You, a group devoted to discerning personal vocation through guided prayer and reflection meets weekly at St Jerome Catholic Church, El Cerrito, Califonia, every Wednesday 7.30pm starting Wednesday 18th January.  We offer a series of workshops that explain a program of prayer and spiritual exercises rooted in the Western mystical tradition. Each week we sing Vespers according the structure of Evening Prayer of the Anglican Ordinariate. As the patron of the church of our first group, we have chosen St Jerome as a patron. This painting by Caravaggio seems so appropriate to me. St Jerome is being inspired in his work of writing the Vulgate. I like the figure of St Jerome particularly because it shows me that a man who was by no means perfect, could contribute so greatly to the work of the Church because of his faith and desire to serve God.


While the Vision for You Group is rooted in Christian spirituality, you don't have to be Christian to benefit from this. I know this because I went through this process nearly 30 years ago when a man called David Birtwistle promised me I could have a life 'beyond my wildest dreams' and showed a program of prayer, meditation and contemplation that he promised would open up my life.

I was a frustrated wannabe artist who was so dispirited I hadn't even picked up a paint brush for several months. I was attracted by the possibility of getting some structure and direction in my aimless life and thought I'd give it a go. I was a bitter atheist at the time, but put aside my prejudice sufficiently to enable me to do what was suggested (even though I was highly sceptical). This began a spiritual journey which gave me just what David had promised, and led me to being recieved into the Catholic Church.

I am still on that spiritual journey today - this is what the Way of Beauty is - and a group of us who have been through this process offer this to any who wish to participate, free of charge. David died of a heart attach nearly 20 years ago now, but this method of discernment, inspired by Christian mysticism, is still working in the lives of many people. We are inspired also by Pope Benedict and his method of promoting supernatural transformation in Christ, as explained in his paper on the method of  the New Evangelization.

Please do come along if you are interested.

For those who are nervous about the singing, don't be. First of all, you don't have to stay for the Vespers if you really don't want to. But second, singing experience is not necessary and we will teach everyone, no matter how poorly you think you sing. Everyone can sing well enough to pray the psalms with us! As a taster here are recordings of two the works we sing. The St Michael Prayer and Paul Jernberg's Our Father and the Canticle of Mary. Believe me, you will be singing with us on week one!