A year for God

year for god slider

“It changed my life, it helped me to love and accept myself”

Craig Lodge Community is a response to Our Lady’s call to holiness at Medjugojre.  Some of us are young people who choose to spend a year living at Craig Lodge leading a life based on prayer, service and evangeliation.

We offer up to 10 young people at a time the chance to experience a year of Community life.  Community has long been recognised as a means of growing spiritually.  This can be a real time of transformation and healing. It is also an opportunity to establish a prayer life and to study Scripture and the Catechism.

“Craig Lodge was the place I needed before joining the friars”

Young people choose to do this year for all sort of reasons – they may be at a crossroads in life and want to take time out to discern where God is calling them.  Sometimes a young person comes at the recommendation of a Vocations Director as the year is a good preparation for starting studies for the priesthood or religious life. Others come because they have experienced a recent conversion and want to learn more about living the Catholic faith.   The focus is on prayer service and evangelisation. This is how we live them out:

Prayer: Eucharist, Adoration, Divine Office, Rosary, Lectio Divina, Way of the Cross. Moving through the Church’s seasons together celebrating the feasting days, persevering through the fasting days.  “Let us encourage one another!”

Service: offering hospitality to the guests staying at Craig Lodge – yes that does mean lots of washing up but it can also mean playing capture the flag with children in the woods so that their parents can have a few precious moments of quiet prayer.

Evangelisation:  sharing your gifts during our youth events and family events or just chatting with a guest over a cup of tea

“An evangelizing community knows that the Lord has taken the initiative, he has loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:19), and therefore we can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast. Such a community has an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of its own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy.”  Pope Francis, Evangelli Gaudium


Contact us to: find out more, to arrange a visit or to get an application form.
T: +44 (0)1838 200216  E: mail@craiglodge.org

Frequently asked questions

People join us for a variety of reasons, but first and foremost because they feel called to grow in holiness, through living in community. Other motivating factors maybe: a desire to serve in a Catholic ministry, a time to discern a future vocation, an opportunity to deepen our understanding of The Faith and to develop a prayer life.

The Community has developed from a desire to answer Our Lady’s call to holiness particularly by trying to live out the messages she gives through Medjugorje (more info at www.medjugorje.hr). We have a particular love for the Eucharist and Our Lady and all the rich traditions of our Church. Our life together is based around prayer, service and evangelisation.

After a trial period volunteers join our “House Community”. Normally the expected commitment to this is for one year. We also have a “Permanent community” of members who are committed for the longer term.

No. You will have to cover the cost of your travel here and have sufficient funds to pay for your return journey home at the end of the year. On joining the community you are provided with board and lodging and all you need . We offer limited help with travel expenses for home visits at Christmas and a week’s holiday during the year here.

No. People who come and live as part of the Community for a year are volunteers.

The Divine office of Morning & Evening prayer, with the Holy Rosary, and Eucharistic adoration is the daily routine of prayer here. We also love to praise & worship God in song, using the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Every day is different in Craig Lodge! However the majority of our work is in the house, and is all the cleaning, serving and hospitality jobs that one would expect in a guest house. It’s not all hoovering though – sometimes we visit schools, sometimes we organise children’s activities, sometimes we work outdoors. Sometimes people have special skills which enable them to do special jobs too.

Yes. We encourage people to maintain good family links, however we want our lives to be free to serve and to pray so we limit our phone/internet time – except for emergencies of course. There is a phone in the community house which you can use, and receive calls on in your free time. There is a computer which you have an allocated time-slot on during your day off. Stamps are provided free if you like to write letters.

We invite people to give up these things during their year, so you are left more free to make the most of the year’s experience. Mobile
phones may only be used on your day off or if travelling away from Craig Lodge. They don’t actually work very well on the premises
(limited signal) so you might want to consider giving it up for the duration of your stay.

House community members each get an evening off followed by one full day off each week. This is free to spend as you choose. Additionally, some evenings are free if the house is not busy. We try as much as possible to keep Sunday afternoons and evenings free to spend relaxed time together.

The community leadership provides spiritual direction for all House community members

This community is not a rehabilitation centre providing specialist care or therapy, but a year at Craig Lodge is often a very healing experience. Counselling may be available with our trained Parish priest at the suggestion of your spiritual director– but this may need to be in your free time as our daily life can be very full.

The community was founded and is still led by Calum & Maryanne MacFarlane-Barrow, who are advised by an elected council of permanent community members. We have an independent Spiritual Director – Canon Fraser – and we are under the authority of the Bishop of Argyll & the Isles who has granted us permission to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in our chapel.

First of all pray and ask yourself “Is this what God wants me to do?” If so, potential members are invited for a “come & see” visit, during which they, and we, will discern if this is the right community for them. Having done so, there is a trial period of living within the community, before anyone is accepted to join and make their “consecration” – a commitment for one year. In the first instance you should contact Ruth, and she will send you an application form which will help you and us, decide which step to take next. Email: mail@craiglodge.org

Community life is a calling and not everyone is called to it. God speaks to us in different ways; through our circumstances, through other people, through his Word and in the silence of our hearts. Generally speaking if the calling is genuine then the desire to follow up this call will persist over time. Then as you find out more about the Community it will speak to your heart and leave you feeling at peace. However we are all different! For some people they just know immediately that they are supposed to join Community. Others need more time to consider and test it out and that is why everyone, regardless of how sure they feel, is asked to spend at least one month living with the Community before they make a final decision to commit for one year.

Time in this community will help you develop and further your Catholic faith, but if you haven’t yet been initiated into the Catholic Church then you would need to be instructed through the RCIA course. It would be advisable to do this in your home parish before coming here.

For those interested in coming for a spiritual gap year, the minimum age to join is 18 and usually the maximum is about 30. The Community is also made up of permanent members – families and single people who live independently, close to Craig Lodge and commit to our life of prayer, service and evangelisation as their family/work responsibilities allow.

No, people can join us throughout the calendar year, though the prayer house is closed for holidays around Christmas/New Year so these times are best avoided for a new application.

We begin our day with Morning Prayer and Rosary, usually at 7.30am, and then breakfast together. Work time begins around 9. We all get together for a relaxed coffee break mid morning. Some days there is Holy Mass at noon, followed by lunch at 1pm. Afternoons are generally taken up with our Adoration time, maybe Bible or Catechism study and of course, a good walk to work off lunch! Evening prayer is always at 5pm. Evenings are different depending on what day it is, but it may be our Prayer & Praise meeting, serving guests who arrive late, quiet time alone with a good book, or relaxed fellowship with other community members.

First of all see FAQ “How do I know if God is calling me to community?” Your personal desire to join this community to grow in holiness must be your main reason for wanting to join. As our charism is serving all those who come to our door, and living in close fellowship with each other, then a sufficient grasp of English is required.