Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Priests of Jesus Christ - Reflections on the Priesthood

Priests of Jesus Christ - Reflections on the Priesthood.

In this new book, Pope Benedict gives an insight into various aspects of priestly life and demonstrates how the life and work of the priest is centred on Jesus, the Eternal High Priest.

The reflections contained in the book are taken from the writings of Pope Benedict from the time of his election as Pope in April 2005 to the end of 2008.

This beautiful book contains extracts from the writings and homilies of Pope Benedict and have been selected for publication by Fr Gerard Skinner.

I recommend this book to priests and anyone discerning God's call to the priesthood and indeed to the laity who encourage and support us by their prayers and example.

You can order a copy from Family Publications, price £12.95.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

First Confessions ...

For the last two Saturdays our First Holy Communion children have been making their First Confession during our regular period for parish Confessions.

What a joy to see three generations of the same family at Confession. This is a great example not only to the children of the family but indeed to other children and adults present in church - including myself.

I feel that having First Confessions within the usual time for our parish Confessions is so much better than setting aside a separate time for the Sacrament. It also helps our children to realise that Confession is part of regular parish life and not a 'one off' occasion.

Friday, 23 January 2009

New Vatican channel on YouTube ...

Did you know that the Vatican has just launched its own channel on YouTube?

At the moment it doesn't seem possible to embed the videos into our blog but you can have a look at one of the first videos here.

This is one is entitled, 'Internet - a new way to speak to God.'

So far there are 12 videos to choose from. I would think that they would all make interesting viewing.

By the way, when I looked this evening, this video had already been viewed by over 4,000 people and it is only one day old - the power of the Internet!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Inauguration of Barack Obama

One of the things that really struck me about President Barack Obama's Inauguration Speech was how many times he referred to God.

I can't imagine any other country where this would have happened and as President Obama finished his speech with the words, 'God bless you, and God Bless the United States of America', we pray that God will indeed bless the new President of America and give him the grace to bring to fruition all the hopes that he embodies for so many people around the world.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

'Reconcile Your People'

Each year the theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is developed by one country which produces outline material that is adapted for use in other parts of the world. Korea is the selected country for 2009 and they have chosen Ezekiel 37.15-28

God spoke to the Prophet Ezekiel and said "they shall be one in my hand...They will be my people and I shall be their God".

And so we pray:

We pray to you for the unity of all Christians
According to your will,
According to your means,
May your Spirit enable us to experience the suffering caused by division
To see our sin and to hope beyond all hope.
God, you alone are our hope.
You alone are our hope.

As in previous years, we in Banstead opened the week of prayer with a united service organised by The Banstead Five Churches. This year it was held at St Paul's (Anglican) Church, Nork.

There will be prayers for Christian Unity every day this week at each of the churches in turn:

Monday 19th: 12 midday All Saints' (Anglican) Church

Tuesday 20th: 12 midday Banstead Methodist Church

Wednesday 21st: 8.00 pm St Ann's Catholic Church

Thursday 22nd: 12 midday St Paul's (Anglican) Church, Nork

Friday 23rd: 8.00 pm Banstead United Reformed Church

I do hope many of you will be able to spare a few moments this week to pray for this important intention. If you are unable to attend any of the times of prayer listed above, perhaps you might set aside a few minutes at home to pray for Christian Unity.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Today's Gospel Reading ...

What fantastic faith those men had, in today's Gospel; to be prepared to take their friend up onto the roof of the house and to lower him down into the room where Jesus was without even thinking twice, or worrying about what people might think of their actions.

The Lord relies on us to bring people to Him, in our own situation. He doesn't ask us to do anything as apparently extreme as this. Nevertheless He does present us with opportunities to bring people to him. How would it be if we were to offer to take a friend along to Mass with us; someone who had been away from the Church for a while. We might even think about inviting them to accompany us to the Sacrament of Confession.

Science and Religion ...

Three cheers for Fr Stephen Dingley who delivered a wonderful lecture last night to a packed audience at Banstead United Reformed Church.

His theme was 'Science and Religion' and he spoke with great conviction and enthusiasm. Being very well qualified to talk on this subject, he nevertheless managed to approach his subject in such a way as to be very accessible to all present.

He referred to the arguments put forward in the infamous book, 'The God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins, and refuted them with insight and a touch of humour.

Fr Stephen summarised his lecture with the conclusion that Science and Religion are not 'at war with one another' but rather complement each another.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Our call to holiness ...

Yesterday we celebrated the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord after which He began his public ministry. In the Gospel for today’s Mass we find Jesus seeking out those people He will ask to be sharers in his saving work.

He first comes across men who earn their living on the sea, they are fishermen;

‘He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.’ (Mt 1:14-20)

The apostles responded immediately to God’s call without the slightest reservation. From this moment Christ will be the centre of their lives

It is in the midst of our ordinary daily work that Jesus invites us to make Him the centre of our lives. And from the moment we decide to make Him the centre of our live then everything we do will be affected by our decision.

We can make our ordinary daily tasks into a vehicle for growing in intimacy with Our Lord.

Our heavenly Father sees all our work and it has an importance that we cannot begin to imagine.

As Josemaría Escrivá said,

You asked about what you offer the Lord. I don’t have to think twice before I answer, offer the same things as before, but do them better, finishing them off with a loving touch that will lead you to think more about Him and less about yourself’

Friday, 9 January 2009

Sit, Stand or Kneel?

Thank you to Idle Rambler for posting this video. I have in the past put out various leaflets and explained in 'asides' the reasons for different postures adopted during the Mass, but nothing reaches people as well as seeing it and hearing it in a light-hearted way. This video gives an excellent explanation in a humorous way. I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

This is the day which Abraham saw and was glad, and David sang of in the Psalms, ‘all the nations you have made shall come and worship you, O Lord.’ Pope St Leo the Great, from the Divine Office.

In the remaining days of Christmas let us visit the crib and renew our faith so that we too may shine out to those with whom we meet.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the beginning of a New Year.

"As Catholics, we firmly believe in the incarnation of our Lord: Mary conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Lk 1:26-38 and Mt 1:18-25) Through her, Jesus Christ ... entered this world, taking on human flesh and a human soul. Jesus is true God and true man. In His person are united both a divine nature and a human nature."

"Mary did not create the divine person of Jesus, who existed with the Father from all eternity. "In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly 'Mother of God' (Theotokos)" (CCC, No. 495)."

More on Mary, Mother of God from Fr William Saunders writing here for EWTN).

At the beginning of this New Year, we ask God's blessing on our parish and on our readers.

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.