Thursday, 31 December 2009
...that's right, I was in London; a friend of mine is home for Christmas so I thought I'd pop over to London for a visit; we went to Westminster Cathedral (it seems to grow on me each time I visit), the Brompton Oratory, Harrod's and the National Gallery; for an exhibition "the Sacred made Real".
We stayed for Mass in both churches and I know which I preferred; both were in English but, as my friend said; it's the ad orientem which is the major difference; and it adds to the reverential aspect of the Mass.
Both churches are truly beautiful in their own ways! But there was something breath-taking about the Oratory; it is truly a House befitting the Lord!
The exhibition was, as another friend pointed out; a specialist exhibition. Meaning if you went without any interest in religion then they would just have been paintings, but for those who believe there was another aspect to them, the life size crucifixion made us feel like we were there!
All-in-all I had a very enjoyable day, concluding with dinner at Wagamammas... the portions are huge, and delicious!
Also, Harrod's was... interesting.
Saturday, 26 December 2009
Merry Christmas to all!
I hope you all had a truly blessed day! But let us not forget that Christmas continues all the way until the feast of the Epiphany.
Alas, I had to work today and therefore took part in the over commercialisation which makes me weep how sad is it that people queue up outside shops waiting for the post-Christmas sales to begin? Actually how wrong is it?
For the secularists in our society Christmas is just one day; the 25th December, for some ‘Christians’ it is the same, it truly makes me sad.
In the sacristy before Midnight Mass I was told of and shocked by the unprovoked attack on the Holy Father and Roger Cardinal Etchegaray; they both need our prayers, whilst the Holy Father may not have physical injuries like Cardinal Etchegaray, he must have been shaken, to say the least! Let us also pray for the woman who carried out the attack, there is obviously something not quite right with her and therefore she is in need of our prayers.
I also bring joyous news of an engagement; my brother proposed to his girlfriend of 2 years on Christmas Eve; they need your prayers as well!
I shall leave it there for now, as we look forward to the New Year let us look on it as a ‘fresh start’ and make resolutions that we know we can keep!
Monday, 21 December 2009
I had to polish it about but I think it came out quite nicely! I might have to 'go over' the crucifix again but for the time being I am happy.
The crucifix now hangs on one of my bedroom walls, it will be the first thing I see when I rise in the morning; as well as the crucifix I have quite a nice icon that I bought on my trip to Poland:
Thursday, 17 December 2009
I first noticed this during Solemn Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent, but it also occurred during Vespers with University Students in St. Peter's Basilica. I was wondering if any liturgists out there in the blogosphere could tell me why there were two Deacons incensing the Altar during the Magnificat?
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Anyway, all the figures are out and around the living room apart from the child Jesus, of course! I have set the three wise men in a location on the other side of the room of the actual Nativity scene, they will be moved closer on Christmas day and then will take the final move to the nativity scene on 6th January. Here are a couple of pictures I took earlier:
Yes those are the Harry Potter books *awaits smiting*
And the FRIENDS dvds...
On a side note, the crucifix, candles, and statues (of Our Lord and Lady) are usually atop the bookcase currently dominated by the Nativity scene.
*I should have used my more impressive camera*
Monday, 14 December 2009
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Let us begin with a little reflection on the most of important of today's events; the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
There is one thing that I get asked often by non-Catholics especially around the 8th December, mainly from people who don't understand what 'conception' is; the 'statement' is "You Catholics are strange; you believe either that Mary had the shortest pregnancy in the history of man, or that Jesus was late by over 3 months!"
Now I don't care who asks this question but they do get a look off me that is usually reserved for small animals and children, the look of "are you serious?!"
I then explain to them that the 'conception' is not that of Jesus, but of Mary. The feast commemorates her conception! On it we honour Mary without whom (if we look at Mary as co-redeemer) our redemption would not be possible.
After explaining that and going further to explain that Mary could only have borne Jesus unless she was sinless they then ask "but how? she was only human!" I am then reminded of the passage from Luke, when Gabriel visits Mary and announces to her that she will bear a Son; Gabriel salutes Mary with "full of grace" therefore making it impossible for us to deny that Mary was conceived without sin, or at the very least that Mary had been 'cleansed' of her sins. To be in a state of grace is to be without sin.
Pope Pius IX in Ineffabilis Deus states;
The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.Mary was chosen by God to bear His Son she is the first human to receive the grace of redemption, because as Pius IX made clear; God gave Mary this special grace and privilege so that she would be able to carry Himself incarnate.
Onto the second event of today. A joyous event in the Archdiocese of Birmingham!
Today was the installation of Archbishop Bernard Longley as Archbishop of Birmingham! Let us pray for him in his new position!
The third and final event of today is that I have finally caught up with the modern age and have a new mobile phone, no, not an iPhone... I went with the Blackberry Bold instead!
Sunday, 29 November 2009
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
So let us look at the 'leaders' shall we?
H.M. the Queen.
Supreme Governor of the ''Church'' of England
Dr. Rowan Williams
'Archbishop of Canterbury'
H.M. the Queen: "I hope, that like me you will be comforted by the example of Jesus of Nazareth, who often in circumstances of great adversity manged to live an outgoing and sacrificial life ... he makes it clear that genuine human happiness and satisfaction lie more in giving than receiving, more in serving than in being served." (Christmas Message 2008)
Dr. Rowan Williams: All I have to do is mention what he said about Sharia Law and how the adoption of it is unavoidable.
Who's the better Christian? In *my* opinion it is Her Majesty, who, staying true to her coronation vow has defended the faith.
Sunday, 22 November 2009
I often use the Feast of Christ the King as a day for reflection; on what I've done in the year and thanking God for His guiding hand.
I also reflect on things which I haven't done, or things I have done that I shouldn't...
...but most of all I thank the Lord for getting me through another year!
Monday, 16 November 2009
I was a stranger and you took me not in: naked and you covered me not: sick and in prison and you did not visit me” (Douay-Rheims: The Holy Bible)
I was on my way home tonight and a thought occurred to me;
Sunday, 8 November 2009
Hmmm...is it me or do a few people (clerics) seem to be 'just there' doing absolutely nothing, but merely filling spaces?
However, one must admire the solemnity of the event; and of course Blessed John XXIII personally guiding the ‘book’ to where he wanted it to be!
Pray earnestly for his canonisation!
Pray for us
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
I was reading a book recently and I came across a quote; it really stuck in my mind. It's an extract from the celebration of the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum in Rome, from the year 2005; the meditations were written by none other than Pope Benedict XVI (as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.)
"How often is the holy sacrament of his Presence abused, how often must he enter empty and evil hearts! How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that he is there! How often is his Word twisted and misused! What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many empty words! How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency!"
I'm not going to talk about this issue myself; but I will post a picture of the Holy Father (depicting what I did when I read what the Czech Republic was going to do) and a video which I found when I was a politics student (A-Level) and which I subsequently sent to both my lecturers, who subsequently showed it to the class as an example of the House of Commons ‘in action.’
The fact that the Foreign Secretary laughs makes me smile...
Monday, 2 November 2009
...All Souls, what's the difference?
I was once asked (a few years ago) what the difference between All Saints and All Souls was, being young(er) and dare I say, less 'rounded' [or should that be grounded?] in my faith I waffled some meaningless twaddle coming to a totally unintelligible answer.
Anyway, yesterday’s homily from the dean of St David’s Cathedral, Cardiff gave me the answer. In his homily he said that on All Saints day we rejoice for those that we know are in Heaven, those that the Church has officially recognised and those the church hasn’t, who are fully embraced in the joy that would encompass our immortal souls whilst in the presence of the beatific vision. [OK, I dressed it up a little.]
He then went on to say that this is different to All Souls day, because on “All Souls day, we remember and pray for those in purgatory.”
I WAS SHOCKED! For the first time in a while I had heard mention of ‘purgatory’ something which, unless you watch EWTN, attend Mass celebrated by a truly orthodox priest/bishop you will not have heard of in a while. By most the idea of purgatory has been shelved, never to be spoken of again... along with the Devil.
What does that mean? Could it mean that the Devil has won? There is nothing better or more powerful than a silent enemy. An enemy who has been forgotten. But no, he hasn’t won! As long as many remain faithful to the eternal teaching of the Church the Devil will never win!
Thursday, 29 October 2009
When did the celebrity ‘culture’ get so bad? Could it have been with the advent of reality T.V. shows? I think so! What does this mean? Does it detract from parts of our life with real meaning? Simply, yes.
The ‘crazy’ fixation the young have with the celebrities has gone beyond mere fascination.
I’m quite happy with one ‘celebrity’ in my life;
I'm not going to beat around the bush, I am infamous (amongst friends and family) for making fun of people, it's highly un-Christian of me, and I try and turn the other cheek, but sometimes they bring it on themselves...
Tom Cruise.... no comment.
H/T Damian Thompson for the link to the video
**OK I couldn't resist; he seems to talk a lot, but does he actually 'say' anything?!**
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
...the main reason I wish I would have taken my camera was because of the local church; St Theresa of Jesus... it was dreadful! It was a 'modern' building, with a pretty plain sanctuary and a pillar blocking the view of the Tabernacle...
...as if that wasn't bad enough it was a 'Eucharist service' instead of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Apart from that I read quite a bit and enjoyed receiving the funny looks from fellow holiday-makers as I laughed whilst reading the "Yes, Minister" and "Yes, Prime Minister" books.
Thursday, 22 October 2009
Monday, 19 October 2009
Pretty non-de-script, nothing of any actual interest, apart from the cathedra. I have it on good authority that it is in fact the original Abbot’s ‘throne’ from Belmont Abbey, and that there is a part missing, the missing part is said to be an Abbot’s mitre! **note no high altar**
So, what is the point of this post? I'm not just going to 'bash' the cathedral at which I attend Mass.. I am going to praise it for what it used to look like, and what, with a little care and attention the cathedral could look like again...
I know the picture is black and white but you can get an idea of what the cathedral looked like. This too had problems, the sanctuary was far too small for a cathedral, however it wasn't built as a cathedral or even intended to be one at all. St David's was the principal church of Cardiff, but the archdiocese wasn't constructed until 1916, the church was built in the 1800s.
How amazing it would be to have the last two pictures in colour! I am told that the cathedral was truly beautiful, one can get a taste of the beauty by looking at these pictures. The next picture may shock you...
After the incendiary bombing all that was left was a shell, the sheer beauty of the pre-WWII church disappeared and what was replaced was pile of rubble.
Cardiff has quite a rich history, quite a rich religious history. With one of the most powerful Catholic families in Briton (well they were converts) owning most of Cardiff, I speak of course, of the Bute's.
I pray that sooner, rather than later the people of the archdiocese will return to the faith.
pray for us
pray for us
Sunday, 18 October 2009
There had been a leak over night from one of the upstairs apartments and as the water trickled down each floor it took that floors electricity with it.
So I went about my business, using the candles from my 'devotional area.'
Morning Prayer this morning was blissful, none of that background noise which usually accompanies my supposed "quiet" moments! It was utter bliss.
My point? I think it did me the world of good, too often we take electricity for granted, and when it's gone we don't know what to do. I got more uni work done this morning (by candle-light) than I have most of the year, so far!
My advice, take a little time out of your day, turn off devices that can be turned off and sit in silence, say a few prayers, pray a few psalms, then sit and listen. God is all too often inundated with our requests but we too frequently don't listen for the answer.
Friday, 16 October 2009
I have trawled through the Flickr page of the Bishop's Conference, looking mainly at pictures from the visit to Cardiff. I have a few favourites, which I will put up in this post. The pictures are all from the Flickr page, so full credit goes to them!
This is the first of my favourite pictures. It features one of the sisters from the Dolgellau Carmel, they were certainly most welcome! Most of them seemed quite frail, but they were so full of Love! They were all smiling!
Here is my second favourite image, why? Well it features three flags of great importance to me as a Welshman, a Briton and a Catholic. They are; the Welsh flag, the Union flag and the standard of St David. Also, Canon Peter Collins (with the biretta) is in full choir dress, a rare glimpse of a by-gone era.
The last image is of Archbishop Peter Smith during the preparation of the gifts. Mainly because it's a good picture, but also because I'm baffled by why the book is facing the wrong way... I was on the sanctuary and didn't notice a thing!!
Thursday, 15 October 2009
My question is; do we rely too much on it? Have we forgotten what *real* silence is?
I was listening to a homily today; the homilist was a Franciscan Friar of the Immaculate. He spoke briefly about today’s Saint; St. Teresa of Avila. He spoke of her vocation, what she was eventually called to do. But he spoke about what lead to this, a life of prayer. A life of silent prayer.
It is hard for many of us to pray during the day, harder still if the television/radio/computer is on; if we have an e-mail we have to send to someone or a phone call which has to be made by the end of the day. “I can always pray later” I often tell myself, I usually forget, but when i do eventually pray he who is always ready to listen is attentive, He never goes away, I praise him for staying close!
Too often our lives are filled with ‘hustle’ and ‘bustle’ how are we supposed to hear the Lord if we don’t take a few minutes out of our day to sit in silence, before a lit candle, crucifix or even the Blessed Sacrament, if you’re fortunate enough to live close enough to a church with regular adoration? The answer for many of us is we don’t or we can’t.
I beg, beseech and implore you to take the time, as the friar said in his homily, set aside a few minutes of your day, every day, for prayerful reflection.
pray for us
I plan to take a photo of the focal point of the flat, It will be posted sometime soon.
I realise that the US Dioceses have a lot more money than our Diocese but seriously, where are our truly inspirational/mind blowing vocations videos?! On second thought, where are our truly inspirational/mind blowing bishops?
Thursday, 8 October 2009
I hope you are all well, stay tuned for regular postings!
Thursday, 1 October 2009
the Holy See has announced the new Archbishop of Birmingham (England and Wales' second see)
"Il Santo Padre ha nominato Arcivescovo Metropolita di Birmingham (Inghilterra) S.E. Mons. Bernard Longley, finora Vescovo titolare di Zarna ed Ausiliare di Westminster."
Huzzah! The Holy Father had nominated the Rt. Rev Bernard Longley for the See of Birmingham! A self professed 'conservative' I get the impression from a few blogs I've read that he is the favourite of those who are orthodox.
So here goes;
1. Male Altar Servers - You may say this is sexist of me, but I genuinely believe that the 'corps' of altar servers should be all male. It is a fact that the role of altar server leads many young men to discern the possibility of a vocation to the Priesthood; woman can never be ordained priests.
2. A sensible distance between the hands of the celebrant during the opening prayer, Eucharistic prayer, Pater Noster and post-Communion prayer. None of this "I believe I can fly" rubbish [picture to follow].
3. Every parish church (in England and Wales... actually universally) offering both 'forms' of the Mass.
4. A return to beautiful vestments and the abolition of 'over-lay' stoles.
5. Priests wearing cassocks (even if it's just worn during the Mass, or when they're in a church) and religious wearing their habits.
[A note on habits especially women’s Religious Orders; a return to the habit of the founder, not the post-Vatican II dress]
6. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in EVERY parish.
7. Priests not just saying the Mass but praying it! Taking the time to prayerfully recite the Order of the Mass, and not doing a rushed job!
Most of these seem to be liturgical, but as an Altar Server you do notice liturgical abuses more than most other things.[exactly what i'm on about! "I believe I can fly"]
It's just a pity there haven't been any world disasters recently!
[note the sarcasm]
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
It appears that so far one party is coming out above the rest, for the Tories to win it’d take a massive swing, I believe it’s going to be a very interesting few months!
I am now a student of Cardiff University, my goodness how different it is! It can be argued that the university itself fails by the fact it is not a “campus” university, but what it lacks in that department it makes up for in the courses it offers and the quality of the lecturers!
This semester I am studying; Greek, Beliefs in the Crucible (from what I can gather it’s about the development of some Christian doctrines) and Monotheism: from Moses to Freud. It looks like it’s going to be an interesting semester!
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Firstly, I am now connected with the world via the internet, yes that's right! Finally! I am back and will hopefully be blogging regularly!
The visit of the relics of St Therese of the Child Jesus has taken UK Catholics by storm! The churches where she has visited have been filled with joyful Catholics (and some non-Catholics) seeking inspiration from the Little Flower!
I was blessed, in so much as; I was serving on the sanctuary of St David's Cathedral, Cardiff. 4,000 people are believed to have passed through the Cathedral over the 24 hours that the relics were held at the cathedral. Not only was I fortunate to be present during the masses and benedictions but I also held a private vigil.
How truly fortunate and blessed I felt during those two hours that I prayed in the presence of the relics and of course Our Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle. Initially I couldn't think of what to do, this was my first time of keeping a vigil of any sort, I clutched my Rosary beads in one hand and prayed the Glorious Mysteries. After I had finished that I fell to my knees and talked to the Little Flower.
Know that all my readers have been in my prayers whilst I have been away and I prayed for you in particular during my private vigil.
Friday, 14 August 2009
As some of you will know, as of September I will be a student at Cardiff University (my home university) which will be a welcome change from Canterbury. I felt totally disconnected from my family, friends and even my Faith. The three important "F" words!
...I promise that I will update the blog as much as I can, obviously for the next week or two I will not have access to the internet, but please don't give up on the blog!!
Thursday, 6 August 2009
What greater witness is there for a priest or religious (both male or female) to make than to set themselves apart from the materialistic values of the western world and wear the clothing that is deemed suitable for their role? Answer: There isn't a greater witness...
The cassock? "But they're expensive" I hear some of you cry. This is true, they can be expensive, but you get what you pay for. The cassock (or clericals for that matter) set a priest apart, when I work around Cardiff and see a man in clericals I will acknowledge him and say "good morning" or "good afternoon" why? because there is a certain amount of respect that goes with the 'uniform'
The habit? If it was good enough for the founder, it's good enough for them now! The 60s modifications to some of the most ancient habits (Franciscan, Dominican etc...) are awful! Knee length skirts with woolly jumpers, blouses a cross (not crucifix) and a piece of cloth on the head which doesn't cover the head entirely...
...now I realise that the old habits would be slightly unsuitable for the works some of the Sisters do (soup kitchens etc...) but still! I firmly believe they're showing too much leg! At the very least they should have an ankle length tunic with a scapular and a full 'veil'...
...NOW! The male religious orders, to be fair most have kept the habit of their respective founders (Benedictines, Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites etc...) but why don't they wear them outside their religious houses?! I know a few Dominicans and they refuse, point blank to wear the habit outside their priory and it is most disheartening...
...having said that! There are a few 'good ones' who do bear the witness well, and wear the habit as a witness outside their religious houses! One that comes to mind is the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, such a wonderful, vibrant and young order! Highly orthodox and loyal to the Holy Father, appealing because you get what you expect with them...they are stable!
Pictures: Friars - Traditional Vocations Blog. Sisters - Damian Thompson
They are truly inspiring! Did I mention they're flourishing?? Well they are!
Monday, 3 August 2009
The (wonderful) Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate will be moving "up north" this month, actually, they should have moved already! They were, as some of you will now in the London Borough of Lewisham, in the diocese of Southwark. However, the need for an actual church became too great and they began looking around!
It was the incumbant Archbishop of Westminster in his previous position as Archbishop of Birmingham (Most Rev. Vincent Nichols) who had the insight to allow the Friars to take over a parish in the diocese of Birmingham.
I have it on good authority that the church has a beautiful interior!
Anyone who has met the Friars will understand how much of a 'big deal' it was for them.
The official opening mass will be celebrated on Sunday 9th August 2009 beginning at 4pm. The celebrant will be His Lordship the Right Rev. David McGough, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham.
The address of the new mission of the Friars is;
St. Joseph’s Parish Church
Stoke-on-Trent ST6 4BB
Saturday, 18 July 2009
After a brief discussion/debate about the post-conciliar church, during which I hinted at my love of both 'forms' of the Roman Rite he concluded our conversations with a question then a statement...
Man: "Are you in seminary?"
Man: "You should be a priest!"
This has happened numerous times, by people who've known me a while, and those who I meet briefly (as in this case). I've heard it remarked that, when I'm busying myself with purely secular issues I can get a little annoyed, and generally be a bit grumpy. However. When the topic turns to religion there is a new release of life and I become passionate!
I think I do have a vocation, I pray on it regularly, and I ask for Our Lady's guidance... but it is people like that man yesterday who really inspire you, they see something in you that makes them ask the question, they seem something that makes them make quite a profound statement.
So my question to my reader(s) is.. have you ever planted the idea of a vocation in a young man or young woman's minds? what I mean is, have you asked them? If not, do! They may very well think they have a vocation, or they may have never even thought of it, but what your question will do is begin the questioning process.
*** I have a poll, please vote!
Thursday, 16 July 2009
I have come across this video on two blogs that I follow, the blogs are those of Fr. Ray Blake and Fr. Timothy Finigan (I had the pleasure of meeting the latter during my visit to the Franciscan Friars).
Basically, the video is about a programme in America, whereby seminarians spend a period of time (6 weeks I think) in the Eternal City. Having visited Rome twice as a pilgrim I can certainly understand why this programme is popular!
I firmly believe that a similar idea should be placed in front of the Bishops Conference, or maybe even just one Diocesan Bishop, the idea being that a seminarian should understand the universality of the Church before being ordained, he should be close to the centre of the Church, if even for a couple of months. Some, of course are fortunate enough to be sent to Rome for their studies.
If, God willing, I am one day to become a seminarian, if I'm not sent to Rome (my Bishop tends to send students to Wonersh, not that we have any!!) i'd like to think that there would be an option for me to spend a couple of months studying in the Eternal City.
I myself seem to be edging closer day-by-day to my home diocese, something which I know one priest in particular would be very happy about! I think, whilst, like most diocese there are some who, shall we say, are unorthodox, there are a few humble priests who get on with the life given to them, and they do it well!
It is for these priests that prayers are needed. Of course, we can not forget those who have lost their way... in this year of priests we should pray for all priests, for those we like, and for those we don't necessarily see eye to eye with!
The priests and religious of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate are the most orthodox I have come across, they are also more than loyal to the Holy Father! Whether I feel called to them or not is another matter.
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
Many religious orders have a particular affiliation to Our Lady. We should pray to Our Lady every day, it is through her that Christ was born, who better to aid our petitions than the Mother of Christ?
I would ask you this day to pray for the Rev. Canon Peter Collins STL KHS. Today is Canon Collins' 25th Anniversary of his ordination to the Priesthood, he asked me today for prayers, and therefore I ask my readers to pray for his intentions as well!
Monday, 13 July 2009
I am back, and apologise unreservedly for my absence! I have no excuse apart from my own laziness...
...well a few updates and I think I’ll begin with the most recent; I passed my first year at the University of Kent, yes, I am rather pleased. This should mean that I will be transferring to a university closer to home, I missed home too much!
In June I spent 10 days with the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate at their London house... they are (for now) a community of two friars, serving the sisters in Catford, the parish, and the needs of orthodox Catholics all over London. Their apostolate mainly takes the form of Marian devotion and the media. Continuing the work of the great 20th Century Saint, Maximillian Kolbe, the FI’s main apostolate is the media, mainly producing books, DVDs and cds! The order are the most orthodox I’ve come across, they have a wonderful devotion to the Mother of Our Saviour (the co-redemptorix) and they are loyal to the Holy See, what more could an orthodox young Catholic want?! I strongly advise any young Catholic men and woman to seek out where the FI’s are in their part of the world! Truly inspirational.
Before this I went to Krakow. I was quite literally blown away by the beauty of a city which had (lets face it) in the last century had one hell of a turbulent time! From Nazi occupation to Communist shall we say... ‘Governance’?? I was expecting to find a city which would be a shell of its former glory... I was blown away. The Cathedral is small but very beautiful, and it was wonderful to stand in the Cathedral of the late Holy Father of blessed memory! The Basilica in the main square did not disappoint either, simply beautiful!
Of course a trip to Poland would not be complete without a visit to two sights of acts of sheer horrendous evil. Auschwitz Berceanu; was... difficult. I walked around, praying for the souls of those as I went. When we went to the Guard Tower and one had a chance to survey the entire ‘camp’ I found a tear trickle down my cheek and a question pop into my mind “God, where we you?” It is the first time in many years that I have felt an absence... It sounds rather stupid to say it now, but when one was there I felt God’s absence...
... Anyway, that’s enough for now. I will keep this space updated and create a new layout. I have a new camera so expect pictures!
Monday, 13 April 2009
The Triduum was...well, let's be charitable and say "interesting"! The singing at the Mass of Lords Supper was good, for what it was, and what it was, was largely out of key! I took this out on my knees afterwards before the Altar of Repose!
Good Friday was, quiet. But even then they managed to have some happy clappy-ness! And then the journey to Bexhill began!
The triduum for me, concluded at the church of St Mary Magdalene, Bexhill. My plan to go to Brighton to Fr. Ray Blake's parish fell through, and I went here instead. Three hours, so I can't really complain!
My main problem came the next morning...I was in the church of St Martha, Bexhill. And it was fine, until the priest lit the Paschal Candle and intoned "Light of Christ" i cringed, but cringed further when the congregation replied "Thanks be to God" - what's wrong with "Lumen Christi"?? Hopefully next year i'll be in Cardiff!
Apart from that, my Easter was quite peaceful, and joyful! We celebrated it with a fine dinner and a wonderful bottle of Rioja!
That'll be me signing out, until tomorrow dear friends!
Thursday, 9 April 2009
Unlike last year when i had to rush off after the Mass of the Lord's Supper, I shall be spending a few minutes in silent prayer at the Altar of Repose, something i must confess, I have never done before! I may stay for Compline, or I may pray it on my own and have an early night ready for the 'Big Move' tomorrow.
The 'Big Move' involved me moving home! Not straight home, we're going to the south coast first for the weekend which will be nice, and will mean I will participate in the Triduum in two different Catholic churches...which will be interesting (I'm used to the Cathedral back home!)
Over the next few days I will not be blogging, but will resume the blogging when i get home, on Monday!
Well I think that's all for now. I would ask you for prayers for myself and my dear friends over the next few days but especially tonight! You can be assured of mine for you.
I wish you all a Happy Triduum, and a Holy Easter!
Wednesday, 8 April 2009
A dear friend and I recently had a discussion about all things Catholic (and Christian). And the conversation turned to Her Majesty, the Queen and her Christmas Message 2008. Too often I feel we are quick to criticise Her Majesty and her family, but what we fail to realise is that they, like us are ordinary people, trying to living ordinary lives (when not being in front of the cameras).
Whilst the royal family is not Catholic they are Christian, and whilst some may scoff at them being Anglican i say to you "at least they try" they are holding up one of Britain's greatest institutions and if they all converted to Roman Catholicism then it'd cease to exist, or at least cease to be an English queen/king, and then we'd have to resort to a foreign ruler...or dare i say, a Republic.
What i'm trying to say is, the Queen, for all her faults, was bold this Christmas and, when her Government is turning away from the Truth and when her 'Bishops' are spouting un-Christian drivel she remains the Supreme Governor of the Church of England and as such tries her hardest to be a Christian, even taking the bold step of mentioning Jesus of Nazareth in her televised address to the nation!
So next time you think ill of the Royal Family, remember, that when her Government is making abortions easier, and pseudo-Bishops are advocating certain elements of Shari'ah law being embedded in the UK legal system, she in her role as Defender of the Faith promotes strong Christian ideals.
God Bless the Queen!
Long live the Pope!
Sunday, 5 April 2009
Radio 4's Decision Time, was interesting last night. Ruth Gledhill, the Time's newspapers Religious correspondent seems to be under the impression that, like the Anglican *Ecclesial community* Communion, significant theological matters are up for discussion in the Catholic Church.
I assume she means (she doesn't actually reveal what she means) the matters of faith surrounding, Anglicans receiving Communion in a Catholic Church and I assume the *true* claim of the Church of Rome that it is THE Church founded by Christ, as such is the ONLY Church.
Does she not realise that these matters are not up for discussion? Or at least change? The theology behind the ban on Anglicans receiving communion is because of their 'beliefs' not ours.
The former Bishop of St Albans, makes an odd point. About the monarchs children having to be Catholic...yes this is true, it is part of the marriage vows, a vow made with GOD.
Ah well. Let us *Catholics* hope and pray that one day Christians will be united under one banner, that of Catholicism...
...I appear to be rambling.
Saturday, 4 April 2009
I think it's pretty safe to assume that some of the readers of the this blog will not have heard that song before. Traditionally it is played at World Youth Day. Well, it was at Toronto and Cologne, so I imagine it was played in Sydney as well. It was played as the Pope entered the area where the Vigil and Mass were to be held, and he was met with cheers and shouts of joy! To see the look on his face was something that lit a fire in everyones heart! Young Catholics love the Pope and the Pope loves us!
It is through the Church (headed by the Pope, on earth) that we encounter the Love of Christ, the same Christ who gave himself up for our sins.
that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost
but may have eternal life"
(John 3:16 New Jerusalem Bible)
As Catholics we remember that sacrifice every time we attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, it is a constant reminder to us of the ultimate price paid so that we can live for eternity with the Father.
Love is fundamental to Christianity. In this week that is Most Holy, let us remember that.
I'm going to post soon on the Westminster announcement and numerous other things...
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
The Right Honourable Mr. Gordon Brown
Dear Prime Minister,
During your recent visit to the Vatican, you kindly briefed me on the Summit taking place in London from 2 to 3 April 2009 with the participation of representatives from the world’s twenty largest economies. As you explained, the aim of this meeting is to coordinate, with urgency, measures necessary to stabilize financial markets and to enable companies and families to weather this period of deep recession, in order to restore sustainable growth in the world economy and to reform and substantially strengthen systems of global governance, in order to ensure that such a crisis is not repeated in the future.
It is my intention with this letter to express to you and to the Heads of State and Heads of Government participating in the Summit the Catholic Church’s appreciation, as well as my own, for the meeting’s noble objectives based on the conviction, shared by all the participating Governments and international organizations, that the way out of the current global crisis can only be reached together, avoiding solutions marked by any nationalistic selfishness or protectionism.
I am writing this message having just returned from Africa, where I had the opportunity to see at first hand the reality of severe poverty and marginalization, which the crisis risks aggravating dramatically. I was also able to witness the extraordinary human resources with which that Continent is blessed and which can be offered to the whole world.
The London Summit, just like the one in Washington in 2008, for practical and pressing reasons is limited to the convocation of those States who represent 90% of the world’s gross production and 80% of world trade. In this framework, sub-Saharan Africa is represented by just one State and some regional organizations. This situation must prompt a profound reflection among the Summit participants, since those whose voice has least force in the political scene are precisely the ones who suffer most from the harmful effects of a crisis for which they do not bear responsibility. Furthermore, in the long run, it is they who have the most potential to contribute to the progress of everyone.
It is necessary, therefore, to turn to the multilateral mechanisms and structures which form part of the United Nations and its associated organizations, in order to hear the voices of all countries and to ensure that measures and steps taken at G20 meetings are supported by all.
At the same time, I would like to note a further reason for the need for reflection at the Summit. Financial crises are triggered when – partially due to the decline of correct ethical conduct – those working in the economic sector lose trust in its modes of operating and in its financial systems. Nevertheless, finance, commerce and production systems are contingent human creations which, if they become objects of blind faith, bear within themselves the roots of their own downfall. The only true and solid foundation is faith in the human person. For this reason all the measures proposed to rein in this crisis must seek, ultimately, to offer security to families and stability to workers and, through appropriate regulations and controls, to restore ethics to the financial world.
The current crisis has raised the spectre of the cancellation or drastic reduction of external assistance programmes, especially for Africa and for less developed countries elsewhere. Development aid, including the commercial and financial conditions favourable to less developed countries and the cancellation of the external debt of the poorest and most indebted countries, has not been the cause of the crisis and, out of fundamental justice, must not be its victim.
If a key element of the crisis is a deficit of ethics in economic structures, the same crisis teaches us that ethics is not "external" to the economy but "internal" and that the economy cannot function if it does not bear within it an ethical component.
Accordingly, renewed faith in the human person, which must shape every step towards the solution of the crisis, will be best put into practice through a courageous and generous strengthening of international cooperation, capable of promoting a truly humane and integral development. Positive faith in the human person, and above all faith in the poorest men and women – of Africa and other regions of the world affected by extreme poverty – is what is needed if we are truly to come through the crisis once and for all, without turning our back on any region, and if we are definitively to prevent any recurrence of a situation similar to that in which we find ourselves today.
I would also like to add my voice to those of the adherents of various religions and cultures who share the conviction that the elimination of extreme poverty by 2015, to which Leaders at the UN Millennium Summit committed themselves, remains one of the most important tasks of our time.
Right Honourable Prime Minister, I invoke Almighty God’s abundant blessings upon the London Summit and upon all the multilateral meetings currently searching for ways to resolve the financial crisis and I take this opportunity once again to offer you warm greetings and to express my sentiments of esteem.
From the Vatican, 30 March 2009
© Copyright 2009 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
You can find the reply from our PM here.
Saturday, 21 March 2009
Whilst many regard this as a great step forward it could be, for us Christians anyway, a double-edged sword.
This would, it seems, begin the process of the disestablishment of the Church of England, the same as what happened in Wales. The Anglican hierarchy would no longer have a place in the establishment, or Parliament.
Whilst this may be seen as a good thing, it can only be seen as, by myself anyway, a two fingered salute at Christianity. With the disestablishment the 'Christian' voice in Parliament would be silenced. Sure there are many 'Christians' in both houses but none can speak with the authority of a Bishop, no matter what denomination!
Whilst we should rejoice that discrimination against Catholics in this country will finally come to an end, we should lament the Christian culture which is slipping...fast!
Friday, 13 March 2009
Whilst walking yesterday evening with my friend (mentioned in a previous post) i was reminded of an encounter I had with a Christian at Cardiff's central bus station a few years ago...
...I was waiting for my bus to college, and my crucifix was on show. I wa stood, quite happily reading the bus timetable, when someone i've never met in my life came up to me and said; "Why do you wear that?". "Where what?" I asked. He looked at my crucifix and said something along the lines of, "I'm a Christian and i don't see the point in wearing a crucifix, we should celebrate His resurrection!"
I was a little annoyed that firstly, this man had appeared from nowhere and that he was (essentially) mocking me. So my reply was quite short, and quite fast for me. "Yes, I realise we should celebrate His resurrection. BUT to rise he had to die" At which point the Christian turned on his heel and walked off...
This whole episode put me off wearing my crucifix in public, but since then have regained my confidence and when i get a new one it shall be worn with pride!
Monday, 9 March 2009
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit there and would commend it to anyone. Especially young men who believe they may be called to religious life.
Saturday, 7 March 2009
What's that Bishop Williamson? How can a cleric deny something that the church has always acknowledged happened? An event that Bishops spoke out about? An event that Pius XII tried to hide Italian Jews from??
I think + Williamson is in dire need of our prayers.
Friday, 6 March 2009
No where is this more realised than at Holy Mass, be it during the week or on a Sunday. On the whole one looks around and you see old people, families (with children sometimes forced to go) and sometimes you see middle-aged singletons... after Sunday Mass i often reflect on what happened? where did all the young people go? And I'm reminded of this song:
...but maybe that's the wrong question. We should not be asking where, but why. Why did all the young people go? I've heard it often blamed solely on Vatican II and the changes that followed...but i think it's something much deeper than that.
No. It is something a lot deeper. You can't tie the loss of faith to Vatican II, you can only tie the loss of faith to ourselves. To those of us who still attend Mass and are only truly Catholic or Christian for those couple of hours we spend in worship. How does it look to those who don't attend regularly/or at all, and then see supposed Catholics rolling out of pubs at the early hours or generally behaving in an un-Christian manner to our neighbour?
I might just be speaking for myself, but i know for a fact that on the whole I act like a very bad Christian, most of the time. I look down on people, I pre-judge people, I occasionally drink in excess, and I don't do nearly as much charity work as I should - but then I wonder, would that be enough?
Well sure it'd be a start. I've acknowledged my faults, but what do i do now? Now I have to change...and is this what Lent is all about? Changing yourself, for the better? I think it is. Lent is a time when we look at ourselves and think "huh, maybe I could do this or that" but why restrict it to Lent? Why not offer it to God as a personal penance? Giving up something you love, is there any great gift?
...Moving on before I bore you. Friendship. Having mentioned loneliness and the feeling of isolation above, I find it fitting to talk of my friend Joe who's moving to Canterbury for a few weeks. It'll be nice to have someone to pray Vespers and Compline with and of course attend Sunday Mass with. Please pray for us both at this time, as we are praying for a sign of what the Lord may want of us.
Thursday, 5 March 2009
But what are we looking for in the future leader of the English and Welsh Church? Someone charismatic? Someone who inspires those around him, especially the young? Someone who has a proven track record of sound theological and doctrinal knowledge? Someone who isn't afraid of tradition, but understands that in Britain there is a balance between orthodoxy and 'liberalism'?
Personally i think the future Arch. of Westminster needs all the above characteristics...the question is: who fits the bill??
Hopefully the appointment will be made from a cleric currently serving in the U.K. - no necessarily one of the current hierarchy!!
Monday, 2 March 2009
Sunday, 1 March 2009
So instead I wish those in blogsphere a Happy First Sunday of Lent. I think this is to be a theme i have picked up for lent. Whether it is indeed a happy time?? As i mentioned in my previous post, i think it is a very happy time. But some of you may disagree.
St David, is the principal Patron Saint of Wales, and as a Welshman am proud to wear (on occasion) a daffodil/leak as it is my national day.
The above got me thinking...being a proud Welshman/Brit does it contradict with my Catholic faith? And on reflection i suppose it does. Being proud of the country you come from tends to mean you like everything that is going on. I must say as a Catholic I am not proud..
I am not proud of a country that seems to have lost its way, turned from the path of Christianity and is heading in which ever way it is dragged. Proof of this would be His Grace, the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr Rowan Williams and his view regarding the adoption of certain aspects of Sharia Law into the British legal system. (I almost wrote constitution, but technically we don't have one.)
So this leaves me in a bit of a pickle. I'm Catholic and I'm Welsh. I love my faith and I love my country. And as such i pray for Britain's conversion every day. Or should that be re-conversion.
*gets off high horse*
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
Dear Reader(s) (i thought i'd start this post differently, don't worry i'm not adopting a preachy style!)
Is saying 'happy lent' a sort of oxymoron? Should we as Christians see this as a joyful time? I think the answer is, Yes. What are we waiting for? Essentially we're waiting for the anniversary of our Salvation.
I think this is a beautiful thought. Advent - we are in waiting of the arrival of the Lord. Lent - we are in waiting for the anniversary of our Salvation, or atleast the moment Salvation was attainable.
I shall end that there before i get caught up in my own words and probably utter a heresy.
I have had a wonderful day, and mass was beautiful. The Church was full to capacity. It was a beautiful sight!
I promise i will update this blog more from now on. Actually one of my Lenten promises is to update the blog more.
Saturday, 7 February 2009
Mum: "I always thought he was a fascist. The sooner he goes the better!"
Mum: "Benedict" *she then held up a copy of The Week in which was a picture of Bishop Williamson and said "readmitting an anti-Semite, who does he think he is?"
I was naturally quite dumb struck by this. First, that my mother, who, for as long as i can remember has been sceptical of the British press, believing something she reads, and secondly, accusing the Pope of doing this on purpose.
For some unknown reason her and my father believed Williamson and the others had been excommunicated in '88 because of their views on the holocaust. When i pointed out that it is only Williamson who has publicly stated such views, and they were excommunicated for a totally different reason. They both refused to listen. My father going into a long tirada of how "SSPX is a well known traditional [therefore far-right] group, and by readmitting them the Pope has affiliated himself with far-right ideologies". I really don't understand my parents logic. Even when i tried to say they hadn't been readmitted [yet] they only had the excommunications lifted they went on about how it's all the same with my "made up" religion.
Still she would have none of it, and i left the room after trying to argue my point, only to be jeered.
Please pray for my parents.
Gail Marie James - lapsed Catholic
Ian Malcolm James - lapsed Methodist
and also keep up those prayers for our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, he is surely in most need of them right now.
Thursday, 5 February 2009
What do we think? "there is a God: So bow down and worship Him. HEATHENS"
Friday, 30 January 2009
I am now going to explain my reasoning behind the choice of layout for the blog. Blue - firstly, blue is my favourite colour. It is also the colour that Mary the Mother of our Lord, is often painted in. And as such, it is my favourite colour.
The guy, i do believe, is the angelic doctor and Dominican friar himself! St Thomas Aquinas. I thought it was particularly poignant to include him. Firstly because it was his feast day on Wednesday and, Secondly, because he is one of my favourite thinkers! I am a Thomist.
Being a 'member' of a 1Billion person strong church, it can often feel as if you're isolated. Cut off from your fellow Catholics. However the internet seems to be breaking down the barriers, from Catholic blogs to the recent creation of the Vatican's YouTube Channel, technology is making life as a young Catholic an awful lot easier!
This is a thoroughly exciting enterprise! And a *hat tip* from me, to the chaps that thought of it!
I would ask your patience as my grammar and spelling can be way off sometimes, heck, most of the time, but at least I'm honest.