Saturday, April 30, 2011


Just in from my Vigil Mass in St Patrick's, one of the chapels of ease here.  We blessed and enthroned the Divine Mercy Image in the church - the other two churches will be done tomorrow.  This is the reason I am not in Rome - I promised the Lord when I arrived I would enthrone his Image in the parish on Divine Mercy Sunday, so I'm staying true to that (hope he remembers it when he's totting up my time in Purgatory - if I make it there - mercy, Lord, mercy!!).

I'm watching the Vigil for Pope John Paul's beatification in the Circus Maximus live on EWTN.  Great event.  Friends are there and I have been getting texts - I hope they are praying for me.  

As I watch I am intrigued - as they pray the rosary they are going live to various Marian sanctuaries around the world  - John Paul loved doing that.  But it has left me a little puzzled.  Rome has been reminding us that beatification is a local event - the cult of a Blessed cannot be celebrated outside the local area without permission.  Strange, this universal emphasis in this celebration.  As I say that, of course I recognise that Pope John Paul is of universal significance, so one might wonder, is beatification meaningless in his case? 

I wonder - should the Congregation not just have examined more miracles, skip beatification and just canonise him - as they did in the early church?  His cult, influence and significance is already universal.  I realise there is a procedure and it has to be followed, even though the critics of Pope John Paul are trying to make out it is all rushed and the Cause not properly adhered to.  Anyway, just thinking out loud.

Monday evening - St Mary's, Drogheda, Fraternity Mass of Thanksgiving for the Beatification and declaration of Blessed John Paul II as co-patron, 7.30pm.  If you live in Ireland - COME!!  We will have relics of Blessed John Paul for the veneration of the faithful, so bring a crowd - bring the sick - we might get the miracle for his canonisation at the Mass. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Consecration Programme Starts

My former Legion of Mary Praesidium begins a progamme of preparation for the Act of Total Consecration to Our Lady today, as devised by St Louis-Marie de Montfort (whose feast it would be today if it were not Easter Thursday.  The ceremony of consecration will take place in St Mary's Church, Drogheda, on the 31st May next.

St Louis-Marie's famous book Treatise on True Devotion to Mary is a spiritual and theological classic, well worth a read.  It transformed the lives of Pope John Paul II and Frank Duff, founder of the Legion of Mary.  I often wonder how long we have to wait for St Louis-Marie to be declared a Doctor of the Church - I always thought Pope John Paul would have done it.  His theology and teaching has had an enormous influence in the Church, one of the criteria for proclaiming a Doctor.

That said, if you want a good spiritual exercise, then this Consecration is as good as you will get.  And if you are around Drogheda on the 31st May, you might come to the ceremony.

New Feasts

My attention was drawn earlier today, to two new feast days in Ireland.  It seems, according to Liturgy Ireland, we finally have a feast for Our Lady of Knock - the 17th August (and not the 21st, the day of the apparition, since it is the feast of St Pius X).  Also, Blessed John Henry Newman's feast, it seems, has been extended to Ireland, which is wonderful (See National Calendar here).  So kudos to our bishops for these two wonderful additions to the calendar.  The texts for both feasts are proper, and a new collect for Blessed Columba Marmion has also been added  (memoria of Our Lady of Knock, optional memoria of Blessed John Henry Newman, collect for Blessed Columba Marmion).   From what I can gather, these feasts were approved on the 2nd April last (Prot. N. 454/10/L).  I must say, reading through the Mass of Our Lady of Knock, the texts are lovely.  I have to reproduce collect and prayer after communion: 
O God, who give hope to your people in a time of distress,
grant that we who keep the memorial
of the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Knock
may, through her intercession,
be steadfast in the faith during our earthly pilgrimage to heaven,
and so come to eternal glory with all the angels and the Saints.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Prayer after Communion
Having been nourished at the banquet of the heavenly Lamb,
we humbly beseech you Lord,
that we, who have honoured in veneration
the memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God,
may live for you always in justice and holiness,  
and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart.
Through Christ our Lord.
I presume these new feasts and texts will be included in the new translation of the Missal.  All that said, I cannot find any announcement from the Episcopal Conference about this anywhere.  I rang the Communications Office - they seem not to know about it either.  So that's not good, how are our priests and people to find out about these new feasts?  I rang them when I found out, so they said they would look into it and get back to me.  So I am going to hold my breath now.  

UPDATE:  Just received a call from the Communications Office (fair dues to them returning the call so soon).  No announcement or Press Release has been made.  So I asked them to do so, to draw people's attention in the Church in Ireland to these new celebrations.   Let's hope they do so.  Minor matter, perhaps, but there are a lot of people out there who will be delighted to hear now have an official liturgical commemoration of Our Lady of Knock.

Monday, April 25, 2011

How Hard Could It Be?

I came across this short this weekend - a wonderful film on the difficulties of being an actor and those endless, excruciating auditions.  Called Resting (the euphemism used for 'out of work') it follows Jamie who wants to realise his dream to become an actor.  Fobbing off his mother, pretending he is more demand than he is, doing the "darling" thing and plodding from one disaster to another, he keeps his heart up.  And then, the end.......  Well worth watching, so put your feet up and when finished, say a prayer for all those trying to realise their hope of following their call to theatre.  I love the "Funnyfaces" audition - surreal and so real!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He Is Risen!

Jesus Appears to His Mother

There is an ancient tradition in the Church which tells us that the first witness to the Resurrection was in fact Our Lady.  We rarely hear of that today, although a number of religious families and churches have reflected on it: Franciscans, for example, have a tradition of devotion to Our Lady as the first witness and in some of their churches there are paintings or mosaics of the encounter.

The Scriptures proclaim that Mary Magdalen was the first public witness, and indeed it that encounter we see the renewal of humanity as the new Adam meets, in the garden, with a woman who symbolizes the new Eve, reclaimed by grace.  That encounter is important for the Church for it is a reversal of what happened in another garden at the Fall when man and woman disobeyed God and the community of mankind lost their inheritance: with the Resurrection of Jesus mankind becomes, once again, the heirs to God’s kingdom.  The encounter with Our Lady is different.

Pope John Paul II in his homily in Guayaquil in Mexico in 1985 reflected on this special appearance of the Risen Jesus to Our Lady and concluded that it must have happened.  He said: “The Gospels do not tell us of the appearance of the risen Christ to Mary.  Nevertheless, since she was so specially close to the Cross of her Son. She must also have had a privileged experience of his Resurrection”.  And if we reflect on it, was appropriate.  Mary is the first and principal co-redeemer of the human race, sharing in perfect union with her Son the passion that was his, but also hers by participation.  She was now Mother of the human race and in those hours between the crucifixion and the Resurrection, she alone held the hope of the Church in her heart, and we rightly call her Mother of the Church and Type of the Church.  

Jesus’ apparition to Our Lady is deeply personal: it is the Son coming to his Mother, to the one who bore him and raised him.  That encounter will remain, for now, locked in the Hearts of Mary and Jesus.  But while we cannot enter into it yet, there is also a message for us as we consider Our Lady as the faithful disciple, the most perfect follower of Jesus: in this context we understand that Jesus comes in a most personal way to those who follow him and that the Resurrection is as much a personal mystery as a community one: we are saved as the Church, the people of God, but that corporate identity is one comprising of individual souls: each of us must also be saved and renewed.  So today, as we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus, we are also called into a personal encounter with Risen Lord, and through lives of fidelity to him enter into his Resurrection as the promise of our own.  

We have just completed our Lenten observance.  Throughout those weeks we have sought to be renewed through prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  The great solemnity and season of Easter brings our penance to a culmination as we celebrate not only the victory of Christ, but the mystery we hope to have fulfilled in our lives. Human flesh defeats death in the person of Jesus, our human flesh hopes to be victorious too as we incorporate ourselves into his life.  Lent, as a season of renewal is one in which we come to terms with the fallen nature of our humanity, and through our willing cooperation with grace, die to ourselves in order to be born into Christ, and so, like Our Lady, encounter in the most personal way possible the Risen Christ who brings with him our resurrection. 

Another aspect of the Lord’s appearance to his Mother which we might consider: Mary received this privilege because she shared in the suffering of her Son: as she also bore the Cross in spirit, and as her Heart was also pierced with the sword of sorrow, as Simeon foretold, she shares in the Resurrection of her Son, first in the encounter early Sunday morning and later in her Assumption.  Here the Lord teaches us a profound message for our suffering and darkest moments – in participating with him in his suffering by our suffering we will come to share in his Resurrection.   The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is indeed the symbol of hope for humanity in its darkest hours, and it is also the context in which we may also enter into the mystery of the Cross, not as something which will defeat us, but ultimately as that which will save us.  Our crosses, whatever they may be, if embraced in union with Jesus, can be a sign of victory if we allow them to be. 

A third aspect of the encounter between Jesus and Our Lady on Easter Sunday speaks of the triumph of hope.  When all the disciples ran away, even when the most faithful could not see through their grief, Mary remained the woman of hope.  Holy Saturday is the day when the Church enters into the hope of Mary as we wait by the tomb for the Lord to emerge in victory.  Mary, the Mother of hope is, therefore, the first to greet her Son as he rises from the dead: her hope is fulfilled in the vision of her Son in glory.  And so in imitation of her we seek to orient our own lives into the spirit of hope through our faith and our love.  For us Christians the resurrection of Jesus is the ultimate symbol of hope: a hope that tells us that even death, the great destroyer, will crumble. 

For those who put their trust in Jesus there is nothing – absolutely nothing, that can overcome them – not even death.  He is our strength; he is the one who can take this meaningless living and make it the most significant and meaningful adventure on the face of the earth: look at the lives of the Saints.  In them he took ordinary lives and made them extraordinary, not only in the reward they received after death, but also in the example they left behind.  They are the people of the resurrection: the people of hope, and Mary is the supreme example among them, and she is also the supreme teacher formed as she is in the spirit of her Son. In these weeks as we contemplate the vision of the Risen Christ, perhaps we might so with Mary at our side so we too may share in what she saw and what she received. 

Easter Greetings

Wishing you all every blessing and grace this Easter Day. 
May the Risen Lord keep you safe in His Sacred Heart
and lead you, by the path of holiness,
to the life he has promised.

Christus surrexit
sicut dixit


Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

Traditionally the Latin sequence Stabat Mater is used today to help us reflect on the Crucifixion of Jesus through the eyes of his Mother.  As we stand with her beneath the Cross, gazing at her beloved Son through her Immaculate Heart, we come to understand in a deeper way the mystery which is unfolding before us, the sacrifice which was offered to save us, and the redemption which is there for us.  There is also a beautiful poem by St Robert Southwell on the Crucifixion as seen through Our Lady's eyes: it provides us with much "meat" for our meditation today:

What mist hath dimm'd that glorious face?
What seas of grief my sun doth toss?
The golden rays of heavenly grace
Lies now eclipsèd on the cross.

Jesus, my love, my Son, my God,
Behold Thy mother wash'd in tears:
Thy bloody wounds be made a rod
To chasten these my later years.

You cruel Jews, come work your ire
Upon this worthless flesh of mine,
And kindle not eternal fire
By wounding Him who is divine.

Thou messenger that didst impart
His first descent into my womb,
Come help me now to cleave my heart,
That there I may my Son entomb.

You angels, all that present were
To show His birth with harmony,
Why are you not now ready here,
To make a mourning symphony?

The cause I know you wail alone,
And shed your tears in secrecy,
Lest I should movèd be to moan,
By force of heavy company.

But wail, my soul, thy comfort dies,
My woful womb, lament thy fruit;
My heart give tears unto mine eyes,
Let sorrow string my heavy lute.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

This Holy Night

The Venerable Pope John Paul II in the Upper Room of the Last Supper in Jerusalem

As we begin the Sacred Triduum, this evening reflecting on the Holy Eucharist, the priesthood and the Lord's agony in the garden of Gethesemane, my thoughts turn to Pope John Paul's reflections in his encyclical on the Eucharist. To aid our meditation this evening an appropriate extract:
During the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 I had an opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist in the Cenacle of Jerusalem where, according to tradition, it was first celebrated by Jesus himself. The Upper Room was where this most holy Sacrament was instituted. It is there that Christ took bread, broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying: “Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you” (cf. Mk 26:26; Lk ; 1 Cor ). Then he took the cup of wine and said to them: “Take this, all of you and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all, so that sins may be forgiven” (cf. Mt ; Lk ; 1 Cor ). I am grateful to the Lord Jesus for allowing me to repeat in that same place, in obedience to his command: “Do this in memory of me” (Lk ), the words which he spoke two thousand years ago. 

Did the Apostles who took part in the Last Supper understand the meaning of the words spoken by Christ? Perhaps not. Those words would only be fully clear at the end of the Triduum sacrum, the time from Thursday evening to Sunday morning. Those days embrace the myste- rium paschale; they also embrace the mysterium eucharisticum. 

The Church was born of the paschal mystery. For this very reason the Eucharist, which is in an outstanding way the sacrament of the paschal mystery, stands at the centre of the Church's life. This is already clear from the earliest images of the Church found in the Acts of the Apostles: “They devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (). The “breaking of the bread” refers to the Eucharist. Two thousand years later, we continue to relive that primordial image of the Church. At every celebration of the Eucharist, we are spiritually brought back to the paschal Triduum: to the events of the evening of Holy Thursday, to the Last Supper and to what followed it. The institution of the Eucharist sacramentally anticipated the events which were about to take place, beginning with the agony in Gethsemane. Once again we see Jesus as he leaves the Upper Room, descends with his disciples to the Kidron valley and goes to the Garden of Olives. Even today that Garden shelters some very ancient olive trees. Perhaps they witnessed what happened beneath their shade that evening, when Christ in prayer was filled with anguish “and his sweat became like drops of blood falling down upon the ground” (cf. Lk ). The blood which shortly before he had given to the Church as the drink of salvation in the sacrament of the Eucharist, began to be shed; its outpouring would then be completed on Golgotha to become the means of our redemption: “Christ... as high priest of the good things to come..., entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption” (Heb 9:11- 12).

The hour of our redemption. Although deeply troubled, Jesus does not flee before his “hour”. “And what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour?' No, for this purpose I have come to this hour” (Jn ). He wanted his disciples to keep him company, yet he had to experience loneliness and abandonment: “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Mt 26:40- 41). Only John would remain at the foot of the Cross, at the side of Mary and the faithful women. The agony in Gethsemane was the introduction to the agony of the Cross on Good Friday. The holy hour, the hour of the redemption of the world. Whenever the Eucharist is celebrated at the tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem, there is an almost tangible return to his “hour”, the hour of his Cross and glorification. Every priest who celebrates Holy Mass, together with the Christian community which takes part in it, is led back in spirit to that place and that hour.
This is a beautiful night, a holy night, a night of grace, may it be full of blessings and graces for all of you.  I will be remembering all the members of the Fraternity, and all readers of my blog, in my Mass this evening and during the Holy Vigil.  Can I ask you all to pray for me also and for all my brother priests?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Royal Wedding

As we are about to enter the Sacred Triduum, and then celebrate Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday and the beatification of Pope John Paul II, across the water our neighbours are getting ready for a royal wedding on Easter Friday.   Some, or even most of you, have probably seen this video of the "Alternative Service for the Royal Wedding" - it has been doing the rounds of the internet and I thought I might post it for a laugh.  I must say Rowan Williams is quite a mover!

After that, something for our great celebration on 1st May:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Money, Money, Money....

Film Club in Dublin tonight.  This month our Council Treasurer will be presenting Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps - quite appropriate really.    Given the state of the country and our financial crisis, a reflection on greed might be no harm at all.

Come if you can and bring a friend: Ely House (Knights of St Columbanus HQ), Ely Place, Dublin 2, at 7pm.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Heavens Above

Dismiss the Saints at your peril!   Following the Second Vatican Council a number of Saints were (not so quietly) dropped from the Calendar.  Two reasons were given - the Universal Calendar was so cramped full of Saints there was no room for new Saints and no room for Ordinary Time.  Some Saints were deemed not to have existed, and so they were removed under a shadow.  Among these Saints were St Philomena - the most controversial, St Christopher and St Catherine of Alexandria.  However since then there has been a lot of research and the three above have been (quietly) rehabilitated;  St Catherine of Alexandria has even been put back on the Universal Calendar. 

Debate still rages over Philomena, a debate which, I believe, is concentrated on the wrong area - the arrangement of the tiles which sealed her tomb.  As historians fight it out they seem to ignore the fact that the skeleton found within was that of a teenage girl who seems to have been martyred and was accompanied by a phial of blood - the ancient symbol of martyrdom.  They also ignore the fact that thanks to the miraculous cure of the now Venerable Pauline Jaricot, Philomena had a kind of process in the investigation carried out by Pope Gregory XVI who authorised devotion after he ruled the cure to be miraculous. Some of the debate about Philomena concerns the visions an Italian nun, Sr Maria Luisa di Gesu.  I do not know if they are authentic, but we can safely put the visions to one side if we do not accept them; without them we have enough.    There are many Saints about whom little is known.  As for St Christopher, he seems to have just slipped back in.

Another case was St Simon Stock. He was on the way out and with him the Scapular devotion.  Historians swore there was not a shred of evidence that he existed and so his cult was quietly put to one side.  Not happy with getting rid of Simon, there was a move to get ride of the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: logic - no St Simon no vision.   Horrified Carmelites went into overdrive and initiated a major historical study, and guess what?  Bingo there was more than a shred of evidence to show he existed, and so, he was quietly restored and the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel untouched.  It was all just part of the crazy Sixties and Seventies when some of the most capable people in the Church seemed to have lost their heads.  In recent times we saw an attempt to get rid of St Juan Diego, and of course the visions of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Pope John Paul was warned not to canonise him because.....yes, you guessed it: "there is not a shred of evidence to suggest he ever existed".  Thankfully John Paul did not fall for it.

So why the post on unknown Saints?  Well two skeletons have been found under the Cathedral of Reggio Emilia and it seems they well be the relics of SS Chrysanthus and Daria, a husband and wife, who, according to legend, were martyred for the faith by being buried alive.  So this may put the cat among the pigeons for those who argue they did not exist at all.  Prudence is necessary in all these things and we must take care not to make definitive statements about Saints not existing. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Catholic Education In Ireland

The future of Catholic education is now exercising the minds of many in Ireland today.  No doubt you have been following Caroline McCamley's posts on the St Genesius Blog: as a Catholic parent of four school-going children she is more qualified than most to speak, but, as experience teaches, she and those like her will be the last the powers that be will listen to in the debate. Why?  Because of agendas.   With a country that has the most liberal approach to education - allowing parents decide and our Constitution demanding that the government support them and provide finance for the schools parents have chosen, there seems to be little desire on all sides to actually respect this liberal approach.  Instead, it seems to me, many movers and shakers want to impose a State system which will restrict choice.  Now there's a thing - I'm pro-choice....when it comes to education.  Why?  Because that system allows for and respects religious freedom.

That said, the Catholic Church does have a lot of schools, and it is unfair for the Church to have to carry the burden of providing education for all the children of the state.  Now that, of course, is no problem if there is no other provider, but there is, or if the majority of the parents in the state want a Catholic education for their children.  This burden is even more unfair when you have a system where government insists on secularising Catholic schools in the name of "equality" to cater for non-Catholics who have no choice but to go to these schools.  There is also the problem of sacramental preparation which takes place in school and that has not been as successful in recent years as it has in the past.  Part of the problem there is an awful catechetical programme which should be consigned the flames and a new team of orthodox catechists appointed to write a new one.

So I'll put my cards on the table.  I favour Catholic schools primarily for Catholic children.  If we have to lose some of our schools to achieve that, well and good, but we do not let go without getting a very good deal from the state and cast-iron guarantees that we can have Catholic schools with a Catholic ethos with Catholic teachers, or at least those who support and will implement a Catholic ethos.  I do not think getting palsy-walsy with the government is a good idea - we have to have our wits about us to get a good deal and the freedom we require, so doomsday speeches and homilies and a quick rush to the solicitors to sign over properties is a bad idea.  If that is the way things are going to go, then we will be a pushover and we will lose our schools, even those we are "allowed" to keep.  The Constitution allows us to keep our schools and our freedom - time we used that wise document to our favour. And we do not give away schools if we have a Catholic population to fill them - so the numbers game is a no-no for now.  We do not hand over 50% or 40% or 90% unless the Catholic parents do not require these schools. 

Regarding sacramental preparation.  Well my personal opinion is that it needs to be taken out of the schools and returned to the parish.  In our Catholic schools we should have a strong catechetical programme taught by those who know and practice the faith, but the preparation for sacraments should then require additional catechises in a parish context.  Now some may say that is unreasonable - it will take too much time: exactly, that's the idea.  Such a programme might finally finish the "rite of passage only" dimension to the sacraments where those who are not committed to the faith go through the programme for the day out, the dressing up, the photographs etc.  This system will also provide for children who cannot get into Catholic schools but who are committed to their faith.   Will this system exclude people?  Yes, of course it will - it will exclude those who do not really want to be included. 

We can look to the US and the UK for examples of how all this can be done.  Now the Church in the UK is having difficulties at the moment, the old guard, left-wing by nature, is trying to enforce its own agenda and it seems that they having some success, as recent developments in London's Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School affair reveal. So we have to be careful.  If we play our cards right and stick to our guns, and get the right people involved, we will be successful and we will find that our schools, as in every other country, will rise to the top.  Of course there will be accusations of elitism, and our socialists in the Church may not like that, they may prefer "bog comprehensives", but such ideas and those who insist on them will just have to be pushed to one side.  We must give our Catholic children the best education we can - in faith, and for the world.   If we bear that in mind we will do well.  Indeed if we put half the energy we have put in to the Child Protection procedures into building a new Catholic educational system and exorcising the old, then we will have one of the best in the world.  But will the Church in Ireland bother........?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Blessed Pope John Paul: Office of Readings

The Vatican has released the text for the second reading for the Office of Readings for the future Blessed Pope John Paul II's feast.  Here it is:

Second reading

From the Homily of Blessed John Paul II, Pope, for the Inauguration of his Pontificate

(22 October 1978: AAS 70 [1978], 945-947)
Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ.

Peter came to Rome! What else but obedience to the inspiration received from the Lord could have guided him and brought him to this city, the heart of the Empire? Perhaps the fisherman of Galilee did not want to come here. Perhaps he would have preferred to stay there, on the shores of Lake of Genesareth, with his boat and his nets. Yet guided by the Lord, obedient to his inspiration, he came here!

According to an ancient tradition, Peter tried to leave Rome during Nero’s persecution. However, the Lord intervened and came to meet him. Peter spoke to him and asked. “Quo vadis, Domine?” — “Where are you going, Lord?” And the Lord answered him at once: “I am going to Rome to be crucified again.” Peter went back to Rome and stayed here until his crucifixion.

Our time calls us, urges us, obliges us, to gaze on the Lord and to immerse ourselves in humble and devout meditation on the mystery of the supreme power of Christ himself.

He who was born of the Virgin Mary, the carpenter’s Son (as he was thought to be), the Son of the living God (as confessed by Peter), came to make us all “a kingdom of priests”.

The Second Vatican Council has reminded us of the mystery of this power and of the fact that Christ’s mission as Priest, Prophet-Teacher and King continues in the Church. Everyone, the whole People of God, shares in this threefold mission. Perhaps in the past the tiara, that triple crown, was placed on the Pope’s head in order to signify by that symbol the Lord’s plan for his Church, namely that all the hierarchical order of Christ’s Church, all “sacred power” exercised in the Church, is nothing other than service, service with a single purpose: to ensure that the whole People of God shares in this threefold mission of Christ and always remains under the power of the Lord; a power that has its source not in the powers of this world, but instead in the mystery of the Cross and the Resurrection.

The absolute, and yet sweet and gentle, power of the Lord responds to the whole depths of the human person, to his loftiest aspirations of intellect, will and heart. It does not speak the language of force, but expresses itself in charity and truth.

The new Successor of Peter in the See of Rome today makes a fervent, humble and trusting prayer: Christ, make me become and remain the servant of your unique power, the servant of your sweet power, the servant of your power that knows no dusk. Make me a servant: indeed, the servant of your servants.

Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power. Help the Pope and all those who wish to serve Christ and with Christ’s power to serve the human person and the whole of mankind.
Do not be afraid. Open, I say open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of states, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows “that which is in man”. He alone knows it.

So often today, man does not know that which is in him, in the depths of his mind and heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of his life on this earth. He is assailed by doubt, a doubt which turns into despair. We ask you, therefore, we beg you with humility and with trust, let Christ speak to man. He alone has words of life, yes, of life eternal.

R/. Do not be afraid. The Redeemer of mankind has revealed the power of the Cross and has given his life for us. * Open, open wide the doors for Christ.
V/. In the Church we are called to partake of his power. * Open, open wide the doors for Christ.

O God, who are rich in mercy and who willed that the blessed John Paul the Second should preside as Pope over your universal Church, grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching, we may open our hearts to the saving grace of Christ, the sole Redeemer of mankind. Who lives and reigns.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why Do You Want To Live?

Imagine being asked that question by a doctor - "Why do you want to live?"  Well an Irishman had to answer that question as his doctor, it seems, was trying to persuade him to give up the ghost, literally.  Not always a fan of the Irish Times, I must say kudos must go to "Madam" and her paper for covering the story of Simon Fitzmaurice who suffers from Motor Neurone Disease.  Read the article here.  I love the answer Simon gave to the doctor:
"They ask me why I want to live and the answer is the same as given by “mostly-dead” Westley in The Princess Bride, when replying to the question posed by Miracle Max, “What’s so important? What you got here that’s worth living for?” “Truue loove” is his response. That’s how I feel. Love for my wife. Love for my children. My friends, my family. Love for life in general. My love is undimmed, unbowed, unbroken. I want to live. Is that wrong? What gives a life meaning? What constitutes a meaningful life? What gives one life more value than another? Surely only the individual can hope to grasp the meaning of his or her life. If not asked if they want to live, it negates that meaning."
Every life is precious: that is a message the advocates of euthanasia and abortion need to learn.  They need to read what this man has to say in the article and rethink their "compassion".

I think this article is timely as Ireland seems to be running to bring in abortion and euthanasia, I also think it is great because instead of people on both sides of argument debating,we are listening to the person's whose life was in question.

For more coverage of this story see LifeSiteNews

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fraternity Members Please Take Note

The Holy Father has brought his General Audience talks on Saints to an end this week, and what a wonderful catechesis: that we are all called to be saints.   He reflected on the many "simple saints", those who will never be canonised, but who have left a reputation for holiness.  We should all strive to be saints, and the lives of the saints -which should be necessary reading for all of us - inspire us to reach for holiness: to live our lives in Christ, as the Holy Father said.   Here is an extract:
"As a conclusion to this series of catecheses on the lives of the saints, I would like today to speak of the holiness to which each Christian is called. Holiness is the fullness of the Christian life, a life in Christ; it consists in our being united to Christ, making our own his thoughts and actions, and conforming our lives to his. As such, it is chiefly the work of the Holy Spirit who is poured forth into our hearts through Baptism, making us sharers in the paschal mystery and enabling us to live a new life in union with the Risen Christ. Christian holiness is nothing other than the virtue of charity lived to its fullest. In the pursuit of holiness, we allow the seed of God’s life and love to be cultivated by hearing his word and putting it into practice, by prayer and the celebration of the sacraments, by sacrifice and service of our brothers and sisters. The lives of the saints encourage us along this great path leading to the fullness of eternal life. By their prayers, and the grace of the Holy Spirit, may each of us live fully our Christian vocation and thus become a stone in that great mosaic of holiness which God is creating in history, so that the glory shining on the face of Christ may be seen in all its splendour."
Fraternity members please take note: as we pray and offer sacrifice for those in the arts, we also seek to be sanctified.   If our Fraternity lasts (it is in the hands of God), I hope my successors as Father Director will be kept very busy with processing the Causes of members.  I think we already have two potential candidates for the altars in the four short years since our foundation, we leave that matter to God and to time. 



As the Vatican prepares for the beatification of Pope John Paul II (still can't believe it's happening - so soon, but so wonderful!), his shrine is being prepared in St Peter's Basilica.  His remains will rest under the altar in the chapel beside the Pieta (and opposite Pope St Pius X).  It is a good spot because there will be plenty of space for pilgrims to congregate, although perhaps in time congestion might develop and there may be a need to move the body.

While all that is happening, the sacred remains of another saintly Pontiff have been relocated.  Pope John Paul is going to occupy the altar once the resting place of Blessed Pope Innocent XI.  Now for those of you who have been to St Peter's and have seen his tomb, this pope probably did not register - he has been largely forgotten, and yet he was a wonderful man, renowned for his simplicity and piety, and man who, in a number of areas, was ahead of his time.   He was a reformer and set his sights on sorting out the Curia - every Pope seems to have issues there. 

Born Benedetto Odescalchi in Como in 1611, he was of minor nobility.  At the age of nine he just managed to survive the plague.  At 15 he went to work in his brothers' banking business as an apprentice, but eventually went to Rome to study civil law.  He became a priest and then Cardinal Deacon in 1645.  He served the poor of Ferrara during a famine and was called "the father of the poor" by the reigning pope.  In 1650 he was appointed Bishop of Novara, but in 1656 he resigned, returning to Rome and served in a number of congregations as a consultant.

In the Conclave of 1669 he was a strong candidate, but the French vetoed his election.  At the next Conclave, in 1676 he emerged again and King Louis XIV was going to veto his election again, but he was informed that the cardinals and Roman people wanted Benedetto, and so the king had to agree.  Benedetto was elected on the 21st September 1676 taking the name Innocent.

Apart from the usual Papal duties and difficulties, Innocent was very much involved in European affairs, and it was during his reign that the Battle for Vienna took place - he supported the Polish king, Jan III Sobieski who led the Christian armies and saved Europe from Islamic invasion.  Blessed Innocent also had his struggles with the French king, Louis XIV, who was always trying to control the Church.  One of the contentious issues between them was the antics of  French diplomats in Rome who were hiding criminals on the run from the Papal courts, so Innocent abolished the right of asylum. Spurned, the French tried to intimiate Innocent by sending an armed force to Rome, but the pope excommunicated the leader and placed the French Church in Rome, St Louis', under interdict - you did not want to mess with this Pontiff!  Ironically, Blessed Innocent was a supporter of William of Orange in his campaign against the Catholic King James II of England - James, you see, was a supporter of Louis XIV.

Blessed Innocent died on 12 August 1689, and was beatified by Pope Pius XII in 1956.  His feast day is the 12th August.   An interesting pope who was not afraid to take on the secular authorities of his time, sought to defend Catholicism even in the face of Islamic threats.  Seems like he might be quite at home on the Papal throne today.  Next time you are in Rome, don't forget to spent a few minutes in prayer at Blessed Innocent's tomb - now under the Transfiguration mosaic. Perhaps we might also say a prayer or two for his canonisation.

Video: Blessed Innocent XI on the move:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"There's Geometry Behind This"

Annual candlelight procession in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes on Kreqratoueen

Imagine my delight as I was reading the online headlines - it seems a certain portion of the world is reeling after the FBI is said to have disclosed files which confirm that they were investigating a number of incidents possibly indicating the existence of extra terrestrial life, and confirming the legendary crash at Roswell.  I say delight because I think it is all just a great laugh altogether.  I had to look at the date to make sure it was not April 1st, and then when I saw it was not I wondered if somewhere someone had not yet adopted the Gregorian Calendar.

Now as I say that I am not ruling out the existence of life outside this planet.  Even the powers that be in the Vatican say that it is possible - we cannot limit God's creation to this little plot of earth.  However, I have to lay my cards on the table and say that I am an agnostic when it comes to all this.  Now I do love a good Science Fiction movie - well I did when I was a child, they don't hold quite the same fascination for me now, though I would settle down with a bowl of popcorn and some good company for the lovely Signourney Weaver and the Alien movies - great night's entertainment.  But as for flying saucers, big-headed aliens (cf Paul movie), I'm afraid I am most definitely an agnostic.

But this is not mere biased opinion, it is my theological opinion.  I do not rule out the existence of other life forms in the universe, but I do believe in the basic message of creation - that mankind is created as the pinnacle of creation with an eternal destiny to be with God and to share with Him eternal life, that the universe was created for man.  Now that does not rule out other life forms, but I believe, if they exist, they would probably be insect or animal, or perhaps no greater than microbiological life forms.    My opinion may indeed change if I ever meet an ET life form which is as intelligent, or more intelligent that your average human (although given the state the world is in at the moment, that might not be hard at all!). 

All that said, as I think about it, a few aliens would be handy to have around.  A new frontier to preach the Gospel, "Jesus died for you too, dear Klingon".  The Catholic Church would indeed fulfil her destiny as being truly universal.  American Papist would be speculating on who the new bishop of Karzon Sector 7 Diocese might be, and no doubt the Archdiocese of the Ebbulantia Nebula would be seeking Patriarchal Status.  And of course there would blogs exposing the inauthencity of the alleged apparitions of Our Lady to an ewok on Jejugglraitta  because Our Lady does not appear on alien soil.  Papal trips would have a more interesting dimension. And then of course the media would be speculating on when the Cardinals would elect the first Betazoid or Cardassian Pope, and the liberals would be looking for the ordination of Wampas.  All this and the Ssi-Ruuk Ordinariate too!   

Blessed John Paul's Feast Day Announced!

The Vatican has announced that the future Blessed Pope John Paul II's feast day will be celebrated on the 22nd October, the date of the inauguration of his papacy.  The feast may only be celebrated in Rome and in the dioceses of Poland, for any other diocese, institute, etc to celebrate the feast, permission will have to be obtained from the Holy See, although a Mass of Thanksgiving will be permitted during the year after the beatification.   The Fraternity is presently preparing the documents for our request to celebrate the feast within the association, and we hope to submit this request in the next few days. 

The Collect from the Mass of Blessed John Paul II:

Deus, dives in misericórdia,
qui beátum Ioánnem Paulum, papam,
univérsae Ecclésiae tuae praeésse voluísti,
praesta, quaésumus, ut, eius institútis edócti,
corda nostra salutíferae grátiae Christi,
uníus redemptóris hóminis, fidénter aperiámus.
Qui tecum.

Zenit's translation (unofficial):

O God, who are rich in mercy
and who willed that the Blessed John Paul II
should preside as Pope over your universal Church,
grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching,
we may open our hearts to the saving grace of Christ,
the sole Redeemer of mankind.
Who lives and reigns.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Little Treat

It is amazing what you find on the internet.  Taylor Marshall has drawn our attention to a video hosted on Gloria TV of Pope Benedict's ordination, believe it or not.  So for all the fans out there, here is the video:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bloggers Called to Rome

I see the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications have invited Catholic bloggers to come to Rome for a chat.   Due to take place on 2nd May, after Pope John Paul's beatification, there will be a limited number of seats - 150.  The invitation states that the councils want to listen to the bloggers and to hear of their experiences so as to understand the needs of the blogging community.  Interesting.   I suppose we'll have to get Mrs McCamley of the St Genesius Blog on the first flight to Rome to get her spoke in (Ryanair, I afraid, and she'll have to bring a tent - seems all the accommodation in Rome is booked up that weekend).  

I do hope, though, there will be a real mix of bloggers there.  But who else will be there?  Will Fr Z (peace be upon him) arrive pots, pans, birdcage and biretta in hand?  Or Fr Longenecker, wife and children in tow?  American Papist, with his briefcase, iPhone and filofax with contact numbers and blank pages for more?  Te Deum Diane with the anti-Medj brigade?  The Archbald brothers with their laptops to update CMR/NCR at any given moment?  Good old Damo Thompson, equiped with radio contact to the English Episcopal Conference?  The lovely Elizabeth Anchoress who would bring peace and common sense to the lot of them?  Even with just those few it would be a most interesting gathering - and they are just the English speakers, who knows what delightful characters would emerge from the Francophones and Germanophones, and as for the Italians - the sky's the limit!   Oh to be in Rome!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth

I see Oscar Wilde has come up on some blogs in the last few days. Given the times we are living in, he has become an icon for gay militants, and yet, ironically, the man would have had little to do with them, particularly in his last years.  While he married and fathered children, Oscar did have homosexual relationships, referring to homosexual love as the love that dare not speak its name.   We have heard a great deal about him in the last few decades. 

However, there was a very important side to Oscar which has been ignored - and willfully so, because it is reveals that he is not the candidate for patron and gay martyr.  While he may have referred to the love that dare not speak its name, he also described his homosexual tendencies as a "degeneracy", one he longed to be free of.  And where could he have found that freedom?  Shock, horror - in the Catholic Church and her moral teachings - here, for Oscar, was the cure. 

Oscar struggle with his sexuality and with faith for years.  He wanted to become a Catholic, but fear prevented him, as did his desires.  He wanted to satisfy his sexual desires, and was afraid that if he became a Catholic those desires would undo his good intentions and he would be in a worse situation.  A noble thought, perhaps, but his willingness to continue living an immoral lifestyle was not as noble.  Yet the desire was always there - you see it in his plays, novels and stories which are very moral - you can hear the voice of one who wants to be good but falls time and time again.

Here is an article I wrote on Oscar and his conversion to Catholicism in 2004.  It might prove useful if ever you get into a discussion:

The Conversion of Oscar Wilde
The year 2004 marks the 150th anniversary of Oscar Wilde's birth. Living a controversial life, and leaving behind a controversial memory, he is an icon for the gay rights movement whose condemnation they consider to be the epitome of society's homophobia. But Oscar's life was not so simple and the truth is quite different from the myth: instead of dying a martyr for gay rights, Oscar took another road in converting to Catholicism, a decision taken after a long, tortuous struggle.

Oscar always said he had a faint memory of being baptized a Catholic when a child. Many years later, a Fr Laurence Fox, would confirm this in his recollections, recounting a visit from Lady Wilde in which she asked him to baptize her sons, Willie and Oscar. After a few weeks preparation the young priest obliged. Lady Wilde was having a flirtation with Catholicism at the time and soon moved on to something else, but Oscar did not forget. Curiosity remained and it would emerge most forcefully when he began his studies at university. Entering Trinity College Dublin, he soon found himself in Catholic circles befriending a number of priests. When news of this reached his father Oscar was dispatched to Oxford to continue his studies. But if Dublin had too many priests for his father's liking, Oxford had even more and soon enough Oscar was socializing in Catholic circles again and now attending Mass.

In 1878 he made a serious attempt to convert, meeting Fr Sebastian Bowden at Brompton Oratory for what was a very candid interview. Another meeting was arranged, but Oscar got cold feet and with a threat of disinheritance hanging over him, cancelled it, postponing his conversion. Social and literary success over the next two decades allowed him to put his struggle with faith on the backburner. Delving into the works of the Decadent Movement, enjoying the lifestyle of an aesthete and succumbing to the weaker side of his nature, life had enough distractions for him. He cultivated a public face: that of a decadent artist who rejected Christianity and conventional morality while exalting the aesthetic. But all was not as it seemed: Oscar was in turmoil.

Oscar often said that his life was his art: to understand him do not look at the public image - look at his art. When we do two faces emerge. The first is seen most potently in his critical essay 'The Critic as Artist'. Here Oscar presents a dialogue in which the prevailing view is that art should be completely separated from ethics: "When they are confused", he says, "Chaos has come again". Sin is to be exalted and there is far more to be learned from the sinner than the saint. Indeed, it is those who are evil in the world who will, in the end, be the ones who rejoice, not the good. Oscar offers no real critique of these opinions and this strange essay appears to confirm the decadent thinking which seemed to be at the heart of his lifestyle. His artistic works, however, reveal a very different face.

The Picture of Dorian Gray, for example, presents a tale in which the degenerate lifestyle of the protagonist finally claims not only his life, but his soul. It is a moral parable in which the wages of sin are clearly seen and what appears to be beautiful is in fact hideous and morally distorted. His play The Duchess of Padua dramatizes a situation in which a good woman, the Duchess, succumbs to sin by killing her Machiavellian husband partly for his degeneracy and partly for love of another man and in doing so poisons love. Even his most risqué play Salomé is moral as he plots the inevitable destruction of the lustful dancer. His stories are famous for their moral pedagogy: 'The Happy Prince', for example, is a story about charity and self-sacrifice as 'The Selfish Giant' is about the importance of selfless love. In his art Oscar contradicts everything in 'The Critic as Artist'.

Meanwhile it was his conviction and imprisonment that rekindled his faith. His prison letter, De Profundis, is an angry and remorseful account of how he had been ruined by Lord Alfred Douglas and their lifestyle and at its heart is an extraordinary discussion on Christ. De Profundis marks his spiritual re-awakening; one he acknowledged could only have come through suffering. Following his release and in miserable exile in Paris, Oscar again dallied, even as he saw many of his friends converting. Remarking to a journalist he said: "Much of my moral obliquity is due to the fact that my father would not allow me to become a Catholic. The artistic side of the Church and the fragrance of its teachings would have cured my degeneracies. I intend to be received before long."

On 29th November 1900 as he was dying, Oscar finally gave in. His friend Robbie Ross, who was caring for him and was Catholic himself, realizing Oscar was dying went to look for a priest. Oscar had often spoken to him about conversion and of dying in the Catholic Church: now was his last chance. Returning with an Irish priest, Fr Cuthbert Dunne, Robbie asked Oscar if he wanted to see him, he indicated that he did. Fr Cuthbert asked him if he wished to be received into the Church, Oscar again indicated that he did. He was conditionally baptized, absolved and given Last Rites; he was physically unable to receive Communion. The following afternoon, Oscar died. Years later a monument was constructed over his grave in Père Lachaise cemetery bearing the inscription that he had died "fortified by the sacraments of the Catholic Church". Rather than being the "greatest queer martyr", as recent biographies have declared, Oscar is one who needs to be reclaimed by those he longed to be identified with: the Catholic Church.


To quote a classmate of mine whenever he was shocked at something: "I'm staggered, I'm speechless, staggered, aghast, ooh Lord, staggered".  I am gradually catching up on my internet reading - these last few days have been very busy between parish work, Fraternity work and dialoguing with printers.   I was reading Fr Z (peace be upon him) and discovered the Pastoral Letter of Archbishop Sheehan of Santa Fe, dealing with the problem of cohabitation among Catholics.   The reason I react is because I cannot believe a bishop could respond today in the way that he has to one of the foremost moral problems in the contemporary Church. 

In his Letter the Archbishop has confounded the "compassion/let's not offend brigade" by pointing out the moral and spiritual consequences of irregular unions in a straightforward way while being compassionate.  I am surprised at the confident way in which he deals with the subject: no cringing, endless apologies; no fearful ambiguity, just the truth, take it or leave it, but if you leave it there are consequences, but God still loves you, and the Church loves you and asks you to come to your senses (cf. the Prodigal Son).

This is refreshing, but of course not without response - the usual suspects have wheeled out the rusty objections citing lack of compassion etc etc.   Fr Z (peace be upon him) has one example of such an attack on his blog.   There is one thing those who object to this teaching do not get, and will probably never get because they have compromised truth with opinion and emotion: the Church and her ministers can still love and reach out to those who are living immoral lives without having to compromise or cover over the truth. 

Every single one of us today know people in these situations, and most of us have members of our families in these irregular unions.  Our response: keep the door open, love them, do not shun them, but do tell them and remind them that their way of life is wrong and try to bring them to regularise their situation.  That is what I try to do with members of my own family in that situation.  They know where I stand and some of them try to avoid you at times because you prick their conscience and make them feel uncomfortable - and that is actually good because that means the gravity of situation is apparent to them and while they try to ignore it or dismiss you, they can't do it forever, eventually (we hope) it will get too much for them and they will seek to calm their conscience and do the right thing.  And the priest should be there to help them. 

Compassion and truth, as all of us know, are not mutually exclusive, they each come into their own when they are in harmony with each other.

On another topic (staggered, aghast etc) I see the ACP are still trying to create a rebellion against the corrected translation of the Missal.  My word they are persistent!  I think they are so because they know the game is up: the Church is reforming in the Catholic tradition rather than the protestant/liberal/realitivistic tradition and the new translation is the symbol of that.  They have wheeled out Angela Hanley to do the necessary and she is using the language of abuse (I wonder what she could be alluding to there).  Reading her article it appears to me that she is trying to bully the bishops by equating the promulgation of the new Missal with their failure to protect children in the past.  It seems to me she might be saying that in both situations they are abusing their power and allowing the abuse of the innocent.  I suppose we had to expect that approach to raise its ugly head at some stage.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


The last few days have been quite busy.   I went down home to spend some of Sunday with my mother for Mother's Day and yesterday parish and Fraternity work ensured I was kept running.  Today has been no better, the phone has been ringing all day.  I have a Mass in Dundalk this evening - a Mass for the sick.  I am bringing the relic of St Genesius, who is patron of epilepsy, so we might get a few more miracles through it.

Catching up on news I see the situation in Ivory Coast seems to be getting worse.  I read with great sorrow that a thousand Catholics were massacred by Muslims in the Salesian Mission in Duekou.  The mainstream media seems this event was unworthy of attention.  I do not want to be anti-Muslim - we should strive for peace, but why is the persecution of Christians is ignored by the mainstream media?  We are the most persecuted religion in the world today, why does that not register on the international radar?  Is it because some of those persecuting Christians today are involved in the media?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Teyve the Teacher

I was watching Fiddler on the Roof last evening with some friends.  I have to say I love that musical - one of the best movie-musicals in my opinion.  Apart from the wonderful music and comic moments, it has an excellent message, and the character of Tevye has many admirable traits.  I realise there are a few difficulties - one could interpret the insistence of Tradition as being rigid, and that we must move on and abandon it for the sake of love - love of our family who may be leading us to a more tolerant existence - a test Teyve ultimately fails.  But there are other wonderful things.

Teyve is a man of faith, he lives what he professes, and he loves.  He lives a simple life and even though he would like to be rich, he accepts his lot (somewhat) and does the best he can.  As a faithful Jew he follows the Law of Moses most particularly in his hospitality.  Though they do not have much, what he has he shares with his poorer brothers and sisters.  He gives milk to the beggar and apologies when he has overlooked him.  He gives the Marxist Perchik cheese and gives him food and a place to stay. 

I am always impressed with Teyve's prayer - it is authentic - true prayer.  He speaks to God as naturally as he does to another, and his prayer reveals that he is in a real relationship with God.  He praises, implores and yes even complains.  At one moment he is King David and in another Job.  I have sometimes referred to this example of prayer in homilies - if we could pray like Teyve our relationship with God would be so much better.

Most of the songs are religious in nature reflecting the characters's daily lives lived in the presence of God.  They recognise that good things come from God and they are ready to praise him and thank him.  In his song "Miracles of miracles" Motel thanks God for being able to marry Tzeitel, comparing this gift with the miracles of God in Scripture. 

In the face of oppression and then exile from their home, the characters express a sort of fatalistic resignation: "This place was never good to us anyway".  While that may be pessimistic and a means of overcoming their pain, their detachment is remarkable - they just move on.  The Jewish people know all about this - they have wandered all over the earth as others have deprived them of a homeland, so I supposed the best way to deal with this is to wipe the dust of their former home off their feet and move on.  Ultimately if this attitude is combined with virtue we recognise that our true home is in heaven, so we must not plant our roots too deeply in this "vale of tears": our Jewish forefathers and mothers can teach us a thing or two about this.

Of course the musical has much to teach us about oppression and the lack of understanding between peoples.  The harmony between Jews and Orthodox Christians is in reality an illusion - when pushed the constable turns on Teyve whom he is supposed to regard as a friend.   Perchik is trying to create a society in which all people are equal and workers's rights are respected - we see he is an avid apostle of Marxism which will "turn the world upside down" as Teyve remarks not realising he will, but not for the good.  Teyve teaches us that we cannot disregard our most cherished beliefs (Tradition?) otherwise we will break.  However, while he may seem to be rigid and rejects his daughter, his approach is better than Perchik's: without his faith he is nothing.   There is a way for him to be true to his Jewish faith and still accept his daughter, he has yet to find it, but it does not include abandoning the faith of his fathers. 

Just a few thoughts - movies can teach us valuable lessons and be enjoyable.  So if you can, get a DVD of Fiddler on the Roof sit back and enjoy. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Godhead Here In Hiding

First Friday today, so I spent the morning on my Communion Calls - a great day - many of those who are housebound are wonderful characters, and people of great faith.   This evening we have Mass in the parish church - St Louis and St Mary's but with a difference, we have a relic of the Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem - some of the Blood which flowed from the Host.  I announced that we would have it this evening, so I wonder how many will come to Mass.

I was reflecting on Eucharistic Miracles today as I was driving around the parish with the Lord in my car, working out what I was going to say after the Gospel.  We have a number of them in the world, over thirty I believe, many dating from the Middle Ages.  There have also been a few in recent times, including one in Poland which is being investigated at the moment.  They are most unusual phenomena, science is baffled.  The Miracle of Lanciano, the most spectacular of them of all, defies explanation - an explanation outside faith that is.

I think we need to look at these Miracles, more Catholics should know about them since they can be a means of deepening our Eucharistic faith.  The sight of a Host bleeding is not a sight to merely marvel at or study, or even gawk at as if it was an item on Ripley's Believe It Or Not, it is a sign to remind us that here, in the Holy Eucharist, is the Lord in hiding: Christ himself, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.  That is not a popular thing to say in some Catholic liturgical circles, but it is the truth.   A truth which calls us to the proper celebration of the Holy Mass, adoration, worthy reception of Holy Communion and, that big problem for Irish people, being reverent and quiet in the church where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved - the Irish like to talk (part of our charm) but we do have a nasty habit of talking (very loudly) in church before and after Mass - another sign that the Church here needs renewal.

Here is a good video on Eucharistic Miracles.