Sunday, 22 July 2012

Why Children Matter

It is not often that I recommend books on Parenting, but I was given a copy of this book during the Sydney Scene Congress and read it over the next couple of days. It is superb. "Why Children Matter" is wriiten by Johann Christophe Arnold. Its simplicity and directness resonate immediately with both our human nature and with the Gospel. If I were a parish priest I would have a stock of these books to give to newly weds.
Although the author is not a Catholic, when you read this book you realise that truth is definitely not the exclusive preserve of Catholics, and that genuine wisdom is the heritage of humanity.
In our age the whole vision of family is somewhat obscured; in this book it is not. I recommend it without reserve. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Holding out against the truth?

The excellent web initiative "Mercatornet" has published an article by Eamon Duffy about the English Reformation, in association with his new book, "Saints, sacrilege and sedition". Read this great article here.
There were about 320 Catholic martyrs who died horribly at the gallows; many more died in prisons. They suffered horribly. But they absorbed in their own flesh the terrible wrench which was caused when England tore itself off from the great movement of grace. It was England however, who suffered more and has continued to bear this sapping wrench down through the centuries. The suffering of England, cut off from the unity of Christendom has been great. It is impossible to imagine the scale of this spiritual suffering, through the Civil War, through the Industrial Revolution, and through the contemporary age in all its raging anti-life folly. But the Martyrs gained England for Christ; they enthroned Him in the land, they joined England to Him. We will, with God's grace, be merry in heaven together, one day, because of them. 

Monday, 16 July 2012

24 years

Today, the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, is my twenty fourth anniversary of ordination. In that time the world and the Church gave changed so much. Yet, more and more, I am aware that my vocation and my very identity, was fashioned in the heart of Jesus Christ. I celebrate this anniversary in Sydney - I could never have engineered such a thing. Particularly, I give thanks to God for this time in Australia (I have been in Oz for four years now), which has actually been a time of priestly renewal for me, not least because I am living and working in a seminary. May the life of every priest be the cause of helping to engender more vocations to the priesthood. May Our Lady of Mount Carmel be a hinge of grace in all our lives. 

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Scene into the streets

On the third day of the Scene Congress, Friday evening, four processions formed up at different locations in the city (locations which had been hubs of WYD08), to carry an icon of the Saviour through the streets by candlelight. The processions left from The Opera House, the Haymarket, Darling Harbour and the Sacred Heart church in Darlinghurst. I accomapnied the procession from Darlinghurst, which was led by the French Emmanuel Comunity. We prayed the rosary and sang as we walked, and again, so many people were amazed to see us moving through the Friday evening city streets, and many people came up to us to enquire about what was taking place. The processions finally converged on the Cathedral where a group of about 400 strong joined in adoration of our Eucharistic Lord. He really is preparing His Church here in Sydney. 

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Scene III

The third Sydney Congress embracing the New Evangelisation is underway in the city. The Congress began on Wednesday and will conclude tomorrow, Sunday. This year the Congress has focussed on the great grace that WYD08 was to the life of the Church in this city. The majority of the participants are young people who have, again, filled the Cathedral and the city centre with their enthusiastic presence. And again, for the third year running, the Vocations Expo has been set up in Martin Place, 11am - 4pm, Wednesday to Friday.This is an extraordinary witness of faith and Catholic identity right in the heart of secular Sydney. Its presence has drawn many people in, turned many heads, and provoked innumerable moments of reflection. I don't know of another city which has hosted WYD in which the momentum caused by WYD has been so maintained. May the Holy Spirit continue to bring great renewal to the Church in Sydney. 

Friday, 6 July 2012

His heart is in England

"The giving of our hearts surely lies at the foundation of every Christian vocation and it lies at the foundation of every calling to priesthood and diaconate ... " Here is the full text of Bishop Davies' wonderful homliy yesterday in Manchester. 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

A much awaited visit

From the 5th to the 9th of this month the relic of St John Vianney will be in England. It is extraordinary just how much this humble parish priest had to offer in life; there has always been a superabundance of priestly life and grace in the person of the Cure d'Ars. The first visit of the relic of his heart to the shores of England is surely a great grace.
Bishop Ullathorne, the first Bishop of Birmingham after the restablishment of the English Hierarchy, relates in his autobiography how he visited the cure in Ars and spoke to him about the difficulties the Church was facing in trying to evangelise England, St John Vianney looked up and said "Ah yes, but it wont always be like that!"
I always visit the shrine of the heart when I'm in Ars and am sorry that I wont be in England for this visit. I wanted to include a photo of the heart's shrine in Ars here but I cant seem to get the software to cooperate on this occasion.
Special thanks go to Bishop Mark Davies for initiating and hosting the visit of this relic.