Sunday 14 December 2008

Blog-gap coming up

I shall be in UK over Christmas and most probably will not have much opportunity for posting. I begin my break with a FWC Pilgrimage to Ars, France; Fr Julian, Fr Stephen and myself are taking a group of lads there just before Christmas.

Friday 12 December 2008

Some of the local fauna I have encountered


Koala, mum and tot






One of three families of ducks which live on Campus

Two Frog-mouthed Owls just outside my window.
No snakes or spiders yet!

Thursday 11 December 2008

The Mother of Life

Bearing roses in December as a sign, Our Lady of Guadalupe brings to the world the message of hope - that the night is over and a new springtime of life is here. The mystery of the images in the eyes of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is something which has come to light only in our day. The whole image is itself a mystery, but photography has revealed the reflection of images in her pupils of the kind that you would see only in real, living eyes. In fact, thirteen people in all can be seen in the pupil of her right eye. These include the Bishop who received the original message of Juan Diego and Juan Diego himself. There is also a family group in which one parent is carrying a baby on the shoulders. This is surely a message from Our Lady for today - that God wishes to safeguard the mystery of the family. Let us give thanks for the presence of the Mother of God in human history.

Guiding the NE

Yesterday evening I attended a book-launch at the "Mustard Seed" bookshop in Sydney. Fr Flader, who launched the book "The New Evangelisation - developing evangelical preaching", described it as a manual for our day and age. Bishop Julian Porteous (pictured) spoke about how the idea for this book had arisen through discerning that the New Evangelisation requires a new kind of preaching, one which presents the Gospel and seeks to move and transform the heart. I look forward to reading this book on my flight back to the UK for Christmas.

Wednesday 10 December 2008

Setting out on Mission again

The week before last I took part in a Parish Mission in Annandale, Sydney. This nine day event was lead by the Parish Priest and Bishop Julian Porteous, an auxiliary Bishop in Sydney. I joined them and a whole team of seminarians, Franciscan postulants, members of the Immaculata Community and members of a month-long formation course for young people. We took the Mission to the streets, to house to house visits, to the shops, the schools and a number of secular venues in the parish. "Open the doors to Christ" was our moto and theme. It was a great joy and privilage to work with a Bishop during a Parish Mission, and to make so many new friends from among this huge new wave of young missioners of Sydney. During the Mission I was employed in leading a whole primary school in Adoration, in house visits, meeting parents, celebrating Mass, preaching and hearing hours on Confessions - the New Evangelisation is certainly warming up in the city. Next time they may use me in the kitchen as well! Special thanks to Fr Julian and the students of Catholic Chaplaincy of Birmingham University, UK, for their prayers throughout the week in support of this Mission.

Monday 8 December 2008

The TLM in Sydney

Last Sunday I visited the Church of the Maternal Heart in Lewisham, Sydney, which belongs to the FSSP and took part in their Solemn Sung Mass. The Mass was celebrated beautifully. The congregation was large and mixed and they all stayed on after the Mass in the precinct of the Church for sandwiches, pizza, tea and a chat - this was the first time that I have ever seen an entire Catholic congregation do this. I'm used to people going off as soon as Mass is over, if not before!

Saturday 6 December 2008

Inaugural Graduation

Friday 5th December was a splendid day for Campion College: our first Graduation ceremony, held in the Great Hall of the University of Sydney. The whole College Foundation was present and supported by a host of family, friends and supporters of the College. Our Third Year students shone with pride as a representative of the Prime Minister of Australia, Jason Clare MP, presented the degrees. Below are a selection of photographs of the day. Of course, I wasn't able to take photos during the ceremony itself - which was a pity because the Ceremony was magnificent - the Great Hall being a replica of Westminster Hall in London.
The Bishop of Parramatta, Mgr Kevin Manning, took part in the Ceremony which was presided over by the Chairman of the Campion Institute, Mr Joseph de Bruyn.
Below, I am joined by Mr Heywood the Registrar of Campion College.

"Father in Heaven, we thank you for all the graces which you have given to Campion College, and especially for the joy of this Graduation Day. Hear the prayers of St Edmund Campion for us; lead our young graduands now to share their knowledge and to witness to your truth. Lead the College founded in his name so that it may be recognised by the quality of its learning and the constancy of its faith in Christ and His Church. We ask this through the same Christ our Lord."

Thursday 4 December 2008

Please get in touch ...

Here's a photo of the lower Wharfedale valley near Ilkley which was taken two days ago - I will be there soon and I'm looking forward!

On to other matters:

John Mallon is trying to assemble an email list of Blogs in the English speaking world, especially in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines. He is currently working as Contributing Editor for Inside the Vatican magazine, doing media relations for Human Life International, and assisting at the Envoy Institute in a promotional capacity. He has two degrees in theology and frequently has items of interest to Catholic Bloggers worldwide. With 25 years of experience in the Catholic Press, he has found that major secular outlets are often closed to these messages. If you have or know of Blogs that would be interested in receiving press releases and other pertinent materials for your Blogs, he would very much appreciate getting a mailing list of these blogs for this purpose. This is not spam. Anyone not wishing to receive these materials will be removed from the list immediately upon request. Catholic Blogs are absolutely critical for spreading credible information on the Church. This mailing list could serve as a News Agency supplying news and other information to Catholic Blogs.It is absolutely maddening trying to harvest emails off of Blogs, where people won't post their emails. He is only interested in people who want to receive these messages, not bothering anyone.For more on John Mallon please visit his website at: Please let me know if you can help. Mail

Monday 1 December 2008

Open territory 5

One of the most significant aspects of the 2001 Letter "Ecclesia in Oceania" is its treatment of evangelisation at the level of culture - how the Church should approach the indigenous culture of the people. John Paul II in paragraph 16 speaks first about "inculturation" - the idea of how Christian and indigenous culture come together: "The process of inculturation is the gradual way in which the Gospel is incarnated in the various cultures. On the one hand, certain cultural values must be transformed and purified, if they are to find a place in a genuinely Christian culture. On the other hand, in various cultures Christian values readily take root." Authentic inculturation, which is the incarnation of the Gospel within culture, has been the work of the Church since the Gospel was first preached and today lies at the very core of the New Evangelisation - planting the Gospel anew into culture such that "in each culture the Christian faith will be lived in a unique way." However, in the New Evangelisation there is a new awareness of culture, not simply a sensitivity to it but discernment and appreciation of the culture for the sake of evangelisation, for the sake of Christ. "The Gospel is not opposed to any culture, as if engaging a culture the Gospel would seek to strip it of its native riches and force it to adopt forms which are alien to it. It is vital that the Church insert herself fully into culture and from within bring about the process of purification and transformation."
"The process of inculturation engages the Gospel and culture in a dialogue which includes identifying what is and what is not of Christ. Every culture needs to be purified and transformed by the values which are revealed in the Paschal Mystery."
"The Gospel is a genuine liberation from all the disorders caused by sin and is, at the same time, a call to the fullness of truth. Cultures are not only not diminished by this encounter; rather they are prompted to open themselves to the newness of the Gospel's truth and to be stirred by this truth to develop in new ways. Transformed by the Spirit of Christ, these cultures attain the fullness of life to which their deepest values had always looked and for which their people had always hoped. Indeed, without Christ, no human culture can become what it truly is."
This teaching shows the richness of the New Evangelisation, of its understanding and concern for humanity, and also how it differs from last era of Evangelisation. The New Evangelisation is not seeking to implement or impose a new and foreign culture upon indigenous culture; even so the Church is aware that the cultural expression of the last era of evangelisation is still at work in many Christian communities today. But rather, that indigenous culture should - if possible - become a basis for the expression of the Gospel. The New Evangelisation then, while seeking to employ new methods, is nonetheless conscious of presenting the whole Gospel, the whole Faith, the whole Truth. The New Evangelisation is seeking a new encounter with culture, that by respecting culture, the Gospel become implanted within it. I remember John Paul II once saying that if the Gospel doesn't reach culture, the Gospel itself falls silent. This is a strong call to all Catholics not to live according to our own cultural models from the past - which today require discerment themselves so that they too can contribute to evangelisation - we are being called to take the Gospel to today's culture. This is our focus and our priority.