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Showing posts from September, 2015

Feast of the Archangels

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Today is the Feast of Michael, Raphael and Gabriel, Archangels
In the new calendar today three Archangels are celebrated, while in the older, traditional calendar we focus on St. Michael. This has been the time of year to honor angels for a long time in the Roman Church. The ancient Veronese Sacramentary has an entry for “Natale Basilicae Angeli via Salaria” for 30 September. The Gelasian Sacramentary has a feast for “S. Michaelis Archangeli”. The Gregorian Sacramentary has “Dedicatio Basilionis S. Angeli Michaelis” for 29 September.


In the presence of the angels, come, let us adore the Lord.
St Michael He is mentioned in the Apocalypse as the leader of the heavenly host. He is a patron of soldiers. See the article in the Catholic Encyclopaedia.
St Gabriel He appears in the book of Daniel to explain some of the prophet’s visions, and was also the bearer of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary. See the article in the Catholic Encyclopaedia.
St Raphael In the Book of Tobit, he is th…

Exploring the Readings at Mass-Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

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Welcome to my reflection on this week's Sunday readings at Mass, where I look at the Scripture we will hear at Mass on Sunday in its historical, social and theological context to see what wisdom can be gleaned.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I sincerely hope that this reflection will inspire you, answer some questions you may have, help you to see how fantastic Sacred Scripture is and perhaps begin to share some of my love and passion for the Bible as you begin to comprehend how layered and multi-faceted, and what a carefully considered part of the Mass the readings are. If you want to know how these posts came about, please read my first post in this series here.
This Sunday the theme for the readings might be summed up as:
The Work of the Holy Spirit in Our Hearts

The readings are: Numbers 11:25-29Psalm: 18:8, 10, 12-14; Response: v. 9.Second Reading: James 5:1-6Gospel: Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48First, a little preliminary survey of each of the books.
I will post the same…

Bishop Robert Barron at the World Meeting of Families

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Newly ordained BISHOP Robert Barron delivered an excellent key note speech at the World Meeting of Families this week. I really do recommend you watch it as it contains some great teaching on the laity's role as priest, prophet and king. He also addresses the idea of Imago Dei and making that a missionary priority; the problems of false worship and the consistent need for orthodoxy— right praise. He articulates the reality of the Christian message as a deep humanism which holds up mankind in a profound way unique throughout all the religions and philosophies of the world and suggests that what came after Vatican II was in fact  a failure because it failed to produce what it intended: great Catholic doctors, lawyers, teachers, politicians, writers and parents who would go out into the world and evangelise (that is what was meant by full and active participation, not lay people pretending to be priests).



Bishops of England & Wales Attacking the Church?

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My Twitter feed is not a very cheery place to be this morning. Between the ongoing migrant misery, the fact that VW could be about to pull Europe into a new financial crisis due to their record inventories coupled with the emissions scandal, and the deaths of hundreds of innocent Muslims killed on pilgrimage in Mecca, it's all pretty black out there. To make matters worse, respected Anglican blogger Archbishop Cranmer reports that we’re seeing a mass shift in identity from residual cultural Christianity to ill-informed agnosticism, with 40% of people now believing Jesus is a myth, he is forced to ask, has religious education completely failed?

However, by far the most depressing thing in the news this morning is the shockingly inept release, by the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, of the survey results. The Tablet editorial this week plumbs a new low in distortion of orthodox Catholic teaching and praxis. "The laity has spoken & the Church must learn". Becau…

The Importance of Prayer for Evangelisation

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Building on yesterday's conversation about the fundamental link in the Gospel between mercy and conversion, and the ministering of that mercy through the Sacraments (specifically Confession), which seemed to be starkly missing from the narrative in Sunday's Pastoral Letter from Archbishop's Nichols and Smith, I found this video of my own bishop, Alan Williams, who presented a workshop at the recent Proclaim '15 event (see here for more on this somewhat lack-luster initiative) entitled: "How to make prayer the foundation of your missionary parish".

What's interesting is that Bishop Alan starts off (as Jesus did) by marking out the central focus on conversion (μετάνοια) and its relationship to a personal encounter with Christ. He also markedly points out the importance and need of prayer at the centre of our action, its efficacy and the need to convince people of this reality in order they might have faith and utilise the gift of prayer in their own lives.

Bishop's Message for Home Mission Sunday

If, like me, you found yourself roused by the Creed last Sunday following the soporific platitudes of the Pastoral Letter from Archbishops Smith & Nichols, and wondered at the lack of any Sacramental dimension to their predictable and agenda ridden diatribe, you might be interested in watching this video from Bishop Mark O'Toole in Plymouth:



Bishop's message for Home Mission Sunday 2015 from Catholic Church (England/Wales) on Vimeo.

Reassuringly Catholic, isn't it?

As for the other thing, it was so blatantly sycophantic it was frightening! One of the most disappointing things about the CBEW, apart from their lack of evangelising and catechesis, is the way they seem to swim with political trends. Anyone who watches knows this and ++Vincent, especially, is so into this "mercy" without consequences narrative now, I'd love to see how he back-peddles out of any contrary message post synod. It's all terribly predictable if you know where he was trained and h…

Exploring the Readings at Mass— Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

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Welcome to this reflection on this week's Sunday readings at Mass, where I look at the Scripture we have heard at Mass today in its historical, social and theological context to see what wisdom can be gleaned.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I sincerely hope that this reflection will inspire you, answer some questions you may have, help you to see how fantastic Sacred Scripture is and perhaps begin to share some of my love and passion for the Bible as you begin to comprehend how layered and multi-faceted, and what a carefully considered part of the Mass the readings are. If you want to know how these posts came about, please read my first post in this series here.
This Sunday the theme for the readings might be summed up as:
Jesus the Wisdom of God
The readings are: Wisdom 2:12, 17:20Psalm: 53:3-6,8; Response: v. 6Second Reading: James 3:16-4:3Gospel: Mark 9:30-37First, a little preliminary survey of each of the books.
I will post the same, or similar prelims week on week…

Daily Mass in Southend Deanery

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Going to daily Mass was practically the most important thing, when my daughter Ruth died, that kept me functioning. An opportunity to commune with heaven, to pray, to plead with God. Daily Mass is quick and quiet, more intimate with more 'space' to pray. If you have never been, you might be surprised at how much you get out of it.

With so many churches so close together in Southend Deanery, we really are spoilt for choice, but until now, all the daily Masses have been in the mornings, making it difficult for those of us who work to attend regularly.

Fortunately, we now have a new initiative at Saint John Fisher, (Manners Way, Southend-on-Sea SS2 6PT) which provides the faithful of Southend Deanery the opportunity to come together for Mass after work.

The Mass is just Mondays and Wednesdays at the moment, but really beautiful. Times are 7:30pm Mondays and 7:00pm Wednesdays. If it's well supported, I'm sure it would be extended- please try to go!

If you are unsure, Sain…

Slavery to Sin

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My life is far from perfect, I have many issues, struggles, and challenges that I deal with every day, as do all of us. In today's society, mediated & transmitted to us as it is by Facebook and Twitter, I think it can often seem that everyone else has all the fun, that everyone else's life is perfect. This can lead you to think that you are the only one struggling. This is not true. everyone struggles.

This morning, as regularly happens in my life, I found myself in conversation with someone, face to face, about the troubles in their life. There are lots of petty troubles in this persons life which seem to be fairly obviously about a lack of spiritual depth, but he just does not get that. He regularly asserts his general affinity with Catholicism, but states that a lot of it is rubbish. When I ask him what bits he is referring to, he demurs to answer, usually saying something like "Let's not get into that!"

Why does this chap always, always, want to talk to …

Who do you say I am?

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Further to our exploration of the Scripture on Sunday, Fr. Kevin offers this succinct and pertinent reflection: The most fundamental question ever for us is that which Jesus asks: Who do you say I am? Following the answer of Peter, which expresses our belief in the divinity of Jesus, we are asked if we have truly put Christ at the centre of things: our life, our family and relationships, our work and society. God has proved His love for us by sending His Son into the world; we now have to show by a reciprocal love that Jesus is the foundation of our being. The goal of the Christian life to become one with Christ through grace, through living His life. It is the goal expressed when St Paul says that It is no longer I that lives but Christ who lives in me. This union with Jesus always goes by way of the Cross, and so Jesus tells Peter that even though He Is the Christ, the Son of God, He is destined to suffer. This is the extent of His love, a love that is prepared to lay down His…

Socialism re-born in Britain.

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So yesterday I was excited to watch what I saw as the inevitable outcome of the achingly drawn-out Labour Leadership process. The contest was populated by several drones, Blairites, Brownites, (whatever!) but one candidate stood out from the outset: Jeremy Corbyn. He stood out because he struck me as a real Socialist. Someone who actually believed in Socialist ideals. Labour has been populated by Liberal elites for some years now and seemed to have betrayed its working class roots very blatantly to me.

Damian Thompson deliciously articulates the issue with extraordinary literary precision here, although the dish is served with a somewhat inevitable and rather generous side-salad of schadenfreude:
British liberal-Left professionals are obsessed with money. Spending it, mostly. Peckish? Try the Chiltern Firehouse red prawns – ‘an echo of Sicily in Marylebone,’ gushes the Guardian, ‘an impression intensified by their pool of almond milk, slivers of toasted almonds and delicate flower bud…

Exploring the Readings at Mass—Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

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Welcome to this reflection on the theology of the Sunday readings at Mass. 
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I sincerely hope that this reflection will inspire you, answer some questions you may have, help you to see how fantastic Sacred Scripture is and perhaps begin to share some of my love and passion for the Bible as you begin to comprehend how layered and multi-faceted, and what a carefully considered part of the Mass the readings are. If you want to know how these posts came about, please read my first post in this series here.
Great readings this week, some really powerful themes; Saint James on the Reformation classic- faith or works, Isaiah's stunning prophecy about what would happen to Jesus and Peter's God-given insight into the true identity of Jesus.
This Sunday the theme for the readings might be summed up as:
Jesus the Suffering Servant
The readings are: Isaiah 50: 5-9Psalm: 114: 1-6, 8-9; Response: v. 9Second Reading: James 2: 14-18Gospel: Mark 8:27-35F…