Every year a group of Catholic young adults age 18-25 volunteer to serve as missionaries at SPEC in order to enter into a year of formation: intellectual, spiritual, communal, and pastoral. These young adults form our missionary family, committed to living an authentically Catholic Christian communal life based at SPEC’s home in north London.
Discerning the Call
SPEC missionaries may be interested in volunteering for a year for different reasons. Some may be discerning vocations to religious life or marriage; others may be contemplating what educational path to take before university. Some applicants are looking to devote time to God in order to prepare for practising their Catholic faith in a career path, and others may simply feel called to volunteer and be part of the new evangelisation.
Applicants interested in pursuing a job in youth ministry, social work, or in the Catholic Church may find that living and working at SPEC in London provides great experience for future Christian ministry and charity work.
SPEC provides a great space for discernment and spiritual growth. If this sounds like a place where you feel God is calling you to mission, take it to prayer. It’s important when looking at different volunteer opportunities to pray about where God wants you most. Applicants to SPEC come from everywhere, from right here in London, elsewhere in the United Kingdom, other European countries and – visas allowing – places much further abroad.
The mission community team includes a broad spectrum of different nationalities, cultures, and languages, all united by the common goal of bringing the Gospel to the young people in London. The Catholic missionaries who volunteer at SPEC will be expected to join in the life of the community which includes regular prayer and weekly Mass.
Living the Mission
Each volunteer missionary has the opportunity to bring their own unique gifts, talents, and skills to share the gospel with the young people of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster. In order to answer this call, they offer a year of their life to work, proclaim, and lead young people to Christ. This year of sharing Christian charity produces excellent spiritual fruit for the young people we serve and for those missionaries who are serving.
Living in community in order to accomplish this mission also provides volunteer missionaries a unique opportunity to enter deeper into their own relationship with Christ. The trials and triumphs of the year all serve to draw volunteers into closer communion with God, as well as deepen knowledge of the Catholic faith.
A rhythm of prayer and ample time for spiritual development help to build a foundation on Christ that can sustain life after mission. Every Monday is dedicated to spiritual formation and includes lessons and talks from visiting speakers, community Mass, discipleship, and opportunities for Confession and conversation with the SPEC chaplain.
Our life here at SPEC is lived out in community, responding to God’s invitation to a full life in Christ and the call to evangelisation. Sharing a desire to live an authentically Catholic life, our community lives, prays, and serves together, all for the Glory of God. The communal life offers a safe, yet challenging place to live out our faith.
On a human level, the communal life offers us the opportunity to grow in our understanding and living of pure, chaste, and healthy relationships with a particular focus on brotherhood for the men and sisterhood for the women. Weekly community events, men’s and women’s nights, recreation and leisure all serve to enrich our lives as we journey together towards Christ.
Am I called to be a Volunteer Missionary?
Do you have a love for young people? Do you desire to share the good news of Jesus Christ? Do you desire to live an authentically Catholic life in the support of a community? Do you desire an opportunity to journey deeper into a relationship with the Lord?
If so, take some time to prayerfully consider if the Lord may be inviting you to spend a year as a volunteer missionary at a Catholic retreat centre like SPEC. Take a look around the website and read some of the testimonies written by former volunteer missionaries and feel free to contact us with any enquiries.
Frequently Asked Questions
Our ‘Mission Year’ runs from the end of August until Mid July (exact dates vary slightly from year to year).
Where do I live?
You will live in the SPEC Community at our new home at Waxwell Farm in Pinner in the north of London. The accommodation wing for the community was opened in 1957 so has a much more modern (and warmer!) feel than our former home at All Saints Pastoral Centre. The bedrooms are relatively large and en-suite. All missionaries will be expected to share a room.
What do I live on?
We provide volunteer missionaries with board (i.e. meals) during term-time and lodging throughout your year. On most days – those when we are busy with retreats – our cook will prepare meals for the community but on occasion, and particularly during holidays and on the weekends, the community cooks for itself. We also provide £210 per month pocket money to cover necessary expenses for volunteer missionaries (e.g. travel, toiletries).
What happens to applications?
We review all applications carefully and with an open mind to the calling of each individual. In most cases – especially if you live far away – we will arrange for an initial telephone/Skype conversation after which, if mutually agreed, we invite potential candidates to come and visit us for a few days, to experience the life and work of the community. This is a valuable opportunity for our core community and candidates to discern if SPEC is the right place for the individual concerned. Fill out an application here.
Apply to be a Volunteer Missionary
If you feel God may be calling you to Catholic mission at SPEC, you can apply by downloading an application form in MS Word format or PDF format. Fill out the form with all relevant information, then e-mail it us at email@example.com or post to us at the following address.
125 Waxwell Lane