“How can you learn to trust God’s plans for you, asks Fr Alvan Ibeh in his latest Voice of Hope series.
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’(Jeremiah 29:11)…
“One thing is clear, dear friends; God may not reveal His plans to us; he does not need to give us any explanation as to why certain things are happening in our lives (He owes us no explanation); if not, we will not see any reason to trust in and wait on Him. All He wants is for us to trust wholeheartedly in His plans. God is saying, ‘All you need to do is trust my plan and timing’. Proverbs 3:5 says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not rely on your own insight. In all you do acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.’…”
Diocese of East Anglia, Keith Morris, 28 May 2023. See the full article at https://www.rcdea.org.uk/how-to-trust-gods-plans-for-you/
“…Today, we all claim to be friends of Jesus, but the question is, “Do people see Jesus in us?” Those who do not believe in Jesus Christ but are aware that we are Christians, encounter Him through us when they come into contact with us and then have the desire to know Him. Do people meet us and feel they have met Jesus because of how we speak to them, help them, and welcome them? Do they mistake us for Jesus? Or do they leave us regretting ever meeting us?...”
Diocese of East Anglia, Keith Morris, 28 Apr 2023. See the full article at https://www.rcdea.org.uk/do-people-see-jesus-in-you-asks-fr-alvan/
“…During his visit to Hungary the Pope said he saw ‘so many humble and hard-working people proudly cherish the bond with their roots’ adding that ‘among these roots are first and foremost the saints…so many saints of the past who today exhort us to overcome the risk of defeatism and the fear of tomorrow, remembering that Christ is our future.’…"
Independent Catholic News, 4 May 2023, Source: Vatican News. See the full article at https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/47088
“ The Pope explained how life would be so beautiful if we were to imitate [Jesus’ washing of His disciples’ feet] and spirit in our daily lives, helping one another, rather than following worldly ways of cheating or taking advantage of each other. Helping each other, even through simple human gestures, springs from a noble heart, he observed, and Jesus today wishes to teach us and encourage us to have this ‘nobility of heart.’… the Pope observed … Jesus knows all about us and ‘loves us just the way we are,’…The Pope said we should never be frightened by our weaknesses and be assured that the Lord wishes to accompany us on our journey, ‘to take us by the hand so that life is not so hard for us.’…”
Independent Catholic News, Source: Vatican News, 7 Apr 2023. See the full article at https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/46912
“…[Fr Alvan Ibeh in his latest Voice of Hope series said]…What exactly does it mean to live life to the fullest as a Christian? It is not about having a lot of money, material things, friends and family, going to Mass every Sunday, etc. It is more about living our lives for God and being open to the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. It is more about being spiritual than just religious. I believe that a full and meaningful life begins with a deep reverence for God. Life is made more meaningful when we worship our Creator….God’s plan for us is that we should live and not just exist. He has given us all it takes to do this through the power of the Holy Spirit, which we have all received as Christians. Are you, therefore, living or just existing?”
Diocese of East Anglia, Keith Morris, 26 June 2023. See the full article at https://www.rcdea.org.uk/gods-plan-is-for-us-to-really-live-and-not-just-exist/
“…We can never emphasize enough the fact that Gospel means ‘Good News.’… The Good News is that God is our Father and our Mother! God loves us! Christ is our Brother. We are the children of God, truly possessing spiritual life. We are brothers and sisters of Christ and of each other.
“The Spirit of God’s love lives in us. Our lives are holy and secure in Christ…. live according to the Good News, live as God’s children, brothers and sisters of Christ, temples of the Holy Spirit….”
Franciscan Spirit Blog, 6 June 2023, Jovian Weigel, OFM
Used with Permission, Franciscan Media (www.FranciscanMedia.org).
“St Paul's conversion teaches us that it is never too late to let Jesus completely change and transform your life, Pope Francis said….
"’In Paul's case, what changed him was not a mere idea or conviction: it was the encounter with the Risen Lord that transformed his whole being.’…
“The Holy Father stressed: ‘Jesus concretely can transform us and our lives, if we let Him. St Paul himself said: So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.’…"
Independent Catholic News, Source: Vatican News, 29 Mar 2023. For a complete version of this article, see: https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/46855
“…Fr Alvan Ibeh says it might be a good time to reflect on the weights we have in our lives in his Voice of Hope series.
“The most important weight we need to let go of, and should not even allow into our lives, is apathy towards God. Just as fish cannot survive without water and humans cannot live without air, we, as Christians, will not live a comfortable and fulfilled life without God….
“We must stay connected to God … in every moment of our lives. We should therefore be people of prayer, as this gives us access to Him, and God’s line is always available 24/7; there is never such a thing as network failure, but the only thing that disconnects us from this line is sin….
“Another weight almost all carry is worry, which is a difficult battle for many of us…. when we let go of worry, faith comes into place. It is our faith that attracts God’s attention to our situation…
“Anger is another weight many of us carry around today…. James 1:19-20 says: ‘Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for man’s anger does not produce the righteousness of God’.
“Whatever weight you have decided to drop, I pray that God will grant us grace, especially in this season of Lent, so that our year will run smoothly till the end, even amid challenges and obstacles. God bless us all.”
With Permission, Diocese of East Anglia, Keith Morris, 19 Feb 2023. See the full article at https://www.rcdea.org.uk/let-go-of-apathy-worry-and-anger-this-year/
“…’The Church cannot try to hide the tragedy of abuse of any kind. Nor when the abuse takes place in families, in clubs, or in other types of institutions. The Church must serve as a model to help solve the issue and bring it to light in society and in families.’
“’The Church must offer safe spaces for victims to be heard, supported psychologically, and protected.’
“’Let us pray for those who have suffered because of the wrongs done to them from members of the Church; may they find within the Church herself a concrete response to their pain and suffering,’ says Pope Francis.
“Responding to the video, Bishop Peter Collins said: ‘…As Bishop of East Anglia I offer my own declaration of commitment to the safeguarding of all, a commitment that focuses upon those who are most vulnerable in our midst. In the light of the Gospel, every member of the Church is duty bound to the embrace of this commitment.’”
Diocese of East Anglia, Keith Morris, 7 Mar 2023. See the full article a https://www.rcdea.org.uk/forgiveness-is-not-enough-in-abuse-cases-says-pope/
“In defending his atheism, philosopher Bertrand Russell had some unkind things to say about the role of fear in religion: ‘Religion is based primarily upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly as the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. …’
“Unkind, but perhaps not untrue. Because I write about faith, I sometimes have people who bear a grudge against God, Christianity, or religion in general attack my beliefs. Their challenges often follow established ruts: faith is for the weak; religion is the opium of the masses; it’s all just a big racket….
“What I do think can be helpful is faith. I don’t mean to draw some sort of spiritual-but-not-religious distinction here, but I do think of religion as knowledge that we accept or inherit. Faith, on the other hand, is something we earn not by accepting what we’ve been taught to believe, but by doubting, asking, challenging….
“Fear is a universal—perhaps even essential—human condition. Denying it is no solution, but neither is frosting over that simmering lava cake with a veneer of religious fondant. We have to sit with our fears, carefully probe what scares us, and find out why. Our traditions might have wisdom to offer, but those need careful examination as well.
“Explored with care, religion might not be a crutch; it might just be training wheels.”
Used with permission from Franciscan Media (www.FranciscanMedia.org), Carol Luebering, 31 Oct 2022
For a complete version of this article, visit the following web link:
“As Christians await their death and the final judgment of God, the Gospel tells them what they must do to be welcomed into heaven: love others because God is love, Pope Francis said.
“In life ‘we are in the waiting room of the world,’ hoping to hear Jesus say, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father,’… the pope said during a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on 2nd November, the feast of All Souls….
“The Gospel reading at the Mass was St. Matthew’s description of the last judgment when those who fed the hungry, welcomed the stranger and visited the prisoner are welcomed into God’s kingdom, and those who neglected to care for others are sent into ‘the eternal fire.’…
“’The best careers, the greatest achievements, the most prestigious titles and accolades, the accumulated riches and earthly gains-all will vanish in a moment,’ the pope said.
“But the Gospel of Matthew makes clear what will last, he said: love and care for others, especially the poor and those usually discarded by society….
“The Gospel teaches people how to live while awaiting death and God’s judgment-‘loving because he is love,’ Pope Francis said. God ‘waits for us among the poor and wounded of the world. And he is waiting to be caressed not with words but with deeds.’…”
Used with permission Universe Catholic Weekly, 2 Nov 2022
For a complete version of this article, visit the following web link:
“Ben Bano, Director of ‘Welcome Me as I Am’ that promotes mental health and dementia awareness in parish communities, reflects this month on what the Scriptures teach us about sustaining our mental health.
“Life can be bleak in these troubled times, …. When so many uncertainties need to be faced, it is not surprising that our well-being and mental health suffer at the same time.
“The Bible is full of references which touch on the anguish we feel in times of trial. Psalm 88 reflects some of the deep feelings we can all experience in times of difficulty. But we don’t have to wait for an expression of hope in this psalm – it’s there at the beginning….
“In the midst of the challenges to our own mental health and those of our loved ones, someone we can turn to is often an anchor for sustaining our wellbeing. I find the story of the road to Emmaus (Luke 24: 13-35) particularly comforting at these times. Just as Jesus walks alongside bringing comfort and hope, so we can walk alongside those whose lives have been touched by the virus in the same way….”
Used with permission, The God Who Speaks, The Bible and Catholics, 30 Oct 2020
For a complete version of this article, visit the following web link:
“In the latest in his Voice of Hope series, Fr Alvan Ibeh explores what to do when you think all hope is lost.
“Have you ever felt like all hope is lost, and all you want is to call it quits? Have you been waiting on God for an answer to a prayer request you made a long time ago, yet it feels like nothing is forthcoming, and now you feel like the whole situation is hopeless and God is no longer worth waiting for?
“Let us look at the story of a man in the gospel of John 5:1-14 and see the message God has for us.
“The gospel reports that there was a man who had an illness which has lasted for 38 years. Jesus met him lying close to the pool of Bethesda, which is believed to have healing powers. The belief is that whoever manages to enter the pool first, whenever the pool is stirred or troubled, will be healed. Well, we are unaware of how many people were healed. We are more interested in Jesus’ encounter with this man.
“Now, when Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed, his answer was not Yes or No, but ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me’ (verse 7).
“As we can see from his response, he has been coming here every time since he became ill, yet not even a single person has noticed him and offered to help him. Guess they were all busy with their problems, too busy to notice him. Sometimes we are also too busy with ourselves that we don’t see others around us who may need our help.
“We can imagine the frustration in the answer this man gave Jesus. But I think this man has something to teach us still. He had been coming to the pool for almost 38 years and yet had no one offering to help him into the pool like others.
“Remember, 38 years is a very long time. That he continued coming even when no one was noticing him means that he was not ready to give up even when things seemed hopeless for Him. Can you pause and ask yourself this critical and challenging question: As a Christian, can I wait on God that long? Can I still trust Him when it looks like the future is bleak? Do I think God is worth waiting for?...
“[Jesus] noticed him straight away, and the gospel says, when Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’ (verse 6). Isaiah 49:8 says, ‘ Thus says the Lord: At the time of my favour I have answered you, on the day of salvation I have helped you.’
“God has his appointed or favoured time (Galatians 4:4). No matter how long it takes, He is never late but arrives at the right time….
“He often comes when we are not expecting Him. When it feels like we are feeling hopeless, he comes and restores our hope. God can minister to your deepest needs, no matter how trapped you feel in your problems. Don’t let your situation cause you to lose hope. Don’t give up too soon because giving up is never an option. Stay faithful to God’s promises for you in his word, and He will come through for you. Remain blessed.”
The Diocese of East Anglia, Keith Morris, 29 August 2022. https://www.rcdea.org.uk/what-to-do-when-you-think-all-hope-is-lost/
“Treating everyone as a brother or sister is the clearest, most simple way to live the Gospel each day, Pope Francis said.‘It is an invitation without exclusion: brothers and sisters all in humanity and love,’ the pope wrote…
“[The president of] FOCSIV, a federation of mostly Italy-based Catholic volunteer organisations that work internationally…. told Pope Francis: ‘We seek to be a neighbour in the most abandoned peripheries, in the most remote villages, in the most inhumane prisons, along the cruellest migratory routes, in the most crowded refugee camps and in war-torn countries.’…
“’Think of how many young people today are forced to leave their land in search of a dignified existence; how many men, women and children face inhumane journeys and violence of all kinds in order to seek a better tomorrow; how many continue to die on the routes of despair, while their fate is discussed or we turn away,’ the pope wrote.
“’Forced migration-to escape war, hunger, persecution or climate change-is one of the great evils of this age,’ he wrote, and ‘we will only be able to address at its root by ensuring real development in every country.’
“Volunteering …’ is one of the most beautiful things’ because it involves making a free choice to go out and personally help someone in need….
“[H]e said, volunteering is ‘an ode to fraternity’ and to recognising that, no matter the differences of culture or opinion, all people are brothers and sisters.”
Used with permission from Universe Catholic Weekly, 28 Nov 2022. For a complete version of this article, visit the following web link: https://universecatholicweekly.co.uk/brother-or-sister/
"Caritas Westminster made an appeal for long-term solutions for those sleeping rough or in poor quality homes, ahead of the Coronation of King Charles III….
"’We also encourage Catholic parishes and schools to consider the hidden homeless, such as families and young people living in temporary accommodation; in hostels, sofa surfing and in B&Bs….Friendships formed through strong Church or School communities can provide a social safety net for people going through tough times, helping to prevent homelessness….’”
Independent Catholic News, 6 May 2023, Source: Caritas Westminster. See the full article at https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/47102
“…Pope Francis reflected on the day's Gospel, which he said calls us to persevere in our daily prayer, good works, serving others, and keeping our focus on what really matters in life.
“He said that in the Gospel, … the Lord reminded them of the transitory nature of things on earth that are here today and gone tomorrow, saying: ‘there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down’….
“The Pope observed … that there is a way out from the precariousness and volatility of human life. We can find it in the Lord's words, when He says: ‘By your perseverance you will secure your lives.’ The key word is "perseverance", he said, which means being disciplined and persistent in what the Lord has at heart and matters most.
"’Jesus says to concentrate on what remains, to avoid devoting our life to building something that will then be destroyed, … and forgetting to build that which will not collapse, to build on his word, on love, on goodness.’…
“Striving for perseverance, he said, means: ‘building goodness every day...to remain constant in goodness, especially when the reality around us urges us to do otherwise.’
“In practical terms, this means praying even when we believe we are too busy, playing by the rules even if everyone else may not be, offering our time to our community, the poor, our parish.
“In conclusion, Pope Francis said it would be good if we asked ourselves about how well we are trying to persevere in remaining in the Lord's goodness: do we strive to live by faith, justice and charity in our daily lives, do we make sacrifices to dedicate time to prayer or helping others, are we able to keep our hearts steadfast in the Lord even when circumstances around us make it difficult? ‘If we persevere - Jesus reminds us - we have nothing to fear, even in the sad and ugly events of life, not even in the evil we see around us, because we remain grounded in the good...May Our Lady, servant of the Lord, persevering in prayer fortify our perseverance.’…"
Used with permission from Independent Catholic News, Source: Vatican News, 13 Nov 2022.
For a complete version of this article, visit the following web link: https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/45900
“…Pope Francis said the common religious heritage of Jews and Christians should be seen as an ‘incentive to act together’ for a more fraternal and peaceful world…. He noted that Jews and Christians, not only profess faith in the one Maker of heaven and earth, who created every human being in His own image and likeness, and has revealed Himself to humanity, but also ‘share a similar outlook on the final things, shaped by trust that on the journey of life we are not advancing towards nothingness, but towards an encounter with the Most High who cares for us’….”
Used with permission from Independent Catholic News, Source: Vatican News, 22 Nov 2022
For a complete version of this article, visit the following web link: https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/45965
“We know that God is a pure and infinite spirit. But Scripture also attributes human characteristics to him. In his wisdom, God wanted to be real for his children. He wanted to be someone we could hold on to….
“We understand how our own hands are so important in expressing our love and care for one another—a touch, a caress, a protective hold….
“The image of us being held in the hands of God is such a help in understanding how close he is to us. We even think of God as picking us up after a fall….
…[W]e are all in the Almighty's hands. This should remind us that God is not distant from us. He is not just with us, but actually within us….
“Thus, when we pray for our loved ones, there is that beautiful way of telling God, 'Lord, I give my loved ones to you. Take them and hold them safely in your hands.' Even for ourselves, we can say, 'Lord, I give myself into your hands.'
“First-time mothers have told me that when they are home from the hospital with their newborns, they can’t keep their hands off them. They can only gaze at the miracle of new life in their arms. Now imagine how the Almighty looks upon us as sons and daughters. Imagine God speaking to us, “You are mine. I will do anything for you. I want you with me for all eternity.”…
Used with permission from Franciscan Media (www.FranciscanMedia.org), Franciscan Spirt Blog, Jim Van Vurst, OFM, 4 Nov 2022
For a complete version of this article, visit the following web link:
“The political noise may have subsided recently from the fever pitch of a few weeks ago but the cost-of-living crisis has not gone away. In our country, more people are being dragged into poverty by steep increases in the costs of food, energy and mortgages….
“Pope Francis, in Evangelii Gaudium, reminds us that ‘each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society’ ….
“In line with the Bishops' Conference and their Department for Social Justice's briefing paper, we are calling on the new government to make urgent changes to the welfare and tax system for the benefit of the most vulnerable in our society. We are also calling on them to work with the Catholic community and all other faith groups on a vision for a poverty-free country….
“Bishop Terry Drainey, Chair of Caritas Social Action Network, said: ‘We urge the Catholic community to support the vision of the bishops' Department for Social Justice in working to alleviate the impacts of poverty in our communities and promoting a vision for the common good where all can flourish and lead fulfilling lives.’…
Used with permission from Independent Catholic News, 7 Nov 2022
For a complete version of this article, visit the following web link:
who walked with us,
this is a prayer.
who have gone ahead,
this is a blessing.
who touched and tended us,
who lingered with us
while they lived,
this is a thanksgiving.
who journey still with us
in the shadows of awareness,
in the crevices of memory,
in the landscape of our dreams,
this is a benediction.
© Jan L. Richardson. janrichardson.com.
The Painted Prayerbook
“…The Holy Father … asked those present to stop and reflect on the phrase ‘to love always and to love everyone’.
“Jesus' words today invite us to love always, said the Pope. ‘He knows that within our relationships there is a daily struggle between love and hatred’, and in this way, too, within our hearts ‘there is a daily clash between light and darkness’. With this in mind, the Pope noted that Jesus suffers when He sees, all around the world, ‘ways of exercising power that feed on oppression and violence, seeking to expand their own space by restricting that of others, imposing their own domination and restricting basic freedoms, and in this way oppressing the weak’.
“We must always strive for peace, said the Pope, adding that ‘peace cannot be restored if a harsh word is answered with an even harsher one, if one slap leads to another.’…”
Used with permission from Independent Catholic News, Source: Vatican News, 6 Nov 2022
For a complete version of this article, visit the following web link:
“In this month’s Voice of Hope series, Fr Alvan Ibeh asks what will you do, when God says ‘no’ to your prayer.
“From time to time, we find ourselves asking God for one thing or the other. Whenever we ask, the only that will make us happy is getting a positive response, a ‘Yes’ to our request.
“No matter your age, you will always want your request granted whenever you make it. Some of us do actually shy away from asking, because we don’t like getting a ‘No’ for an answer, so we will prefer dying in silence to asking and never getting what we asked for.
“This itself is still not the best thing to do. The scripture says ‘for everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened’ (Matthew 7:8). This has come from Jesus Himself in the scripture…. In 1 John 5:14, the scripture says, ‘And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us’.
“So basically, we all feel great when our prayers for whatever reason, are answered. We rejoice and give praise to God for His goodness endures forever…. Now the question is, ‘What will you do, when God says ‘no’ to your prayer…. What will you do if you prayed so fervently and passionately for the healing of someone so dear to you, who has been on their sick bed for long…. But unfortunately, one day, the news came that your cherished has sadly passed away. This I know can be so heart-breaking and very painful to bear….
“When God says No, we should be aware that He is not trying to mean or to hurt us. There are lessons to be learned when He says ‘No’. ‘… His ‘no’ is always merciful, even when it hurts'(Mary Lynn Johnson). So what exactly do you or will you do when God says ‘No’!
Diocese of East Anglia, Keith Morris, 25 Oct 2022
For a complete version of this article, visit the following web link:
“Transform is an initiative from the Diocesan Youth Service for young adults (age 16+) wanting to go deeper in their faith and held at the beautiful Clare Priory.
“Transform for Holy Week is on March 31 – April 2, although people can come for just a day. There will be contemporary music, times of prayer and reflection, and talks, with Bishop Peter Collins giving the main talk.
“Come and take some time out from the busyness of life, as we ponder the journey of Holy Week,” says Youth Services Director Hamish MacQueen.
“Full details at www.transform4.co.uk.”
Diocese of East Anglia, Keith Morris, 24 Mar 2023. See the full article at https://www.rcdea.org.uk/transform-weekend-for-young-adults-at-clare-priory/
Fr Luke writes:
“One of the many joyful and inspiring things I experience as a parish priest is seeing young families come to Mass together. There are so many pressures these days on family life and countless things that compete for the Sunday morning slot that I think it is both a heroic and beautiful thing when I see parents with their children at Mass….No member of the Body of Christ, (the Church) is more valuable or more special than any other. The eldest member, the youngest member, the fittest member, the sickest member are all equal before God and all have their place in the Church. Children and young people are not “the future of the Church” as many people enthusiastically say. Children and young people, along with every other member of the Church, are the present of the Church, the Church of today! As such they must have a rightful place in the public worship of the Body of Christ….
As a Church, as a Christian community, we must always be compassionate. Being a parent is hard, and being a Christian parent is a real challenge in today’s world. Parents must feel welcome to attend Mass with their children, not least because they need to be nourished by the Mass as much as anyone does. Older members of our parish have so much to offer and can be a real support to younger families by acting as spiritual grandparents in the community. All of us, old and young, are members of the one family of Christ and it behooves us to have compassion on each other, especially those who are more vulnerable members of the flock and that can include young families.”
Brief excerpt from: “Please stop saying children are the future of the Church! - Some thoughts on young families in Church.” by Fr Luke Goymour
https://www.frlukegoymour.com/search?updated-max=2019-10-31T21:53:00Z&max-results=7&start=7&by-date=falseHaving a big sale, on-site celebrity, or other event? Be sure to announce it so everybody knows and gets excited about it.
….we've turned to the Bible to find our top ten quotes about the home.
“And thus you shall greet him: ‘Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have.’
“Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there for ever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.
“By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established;
by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
“My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting-places.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, ‘Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, “The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.’ And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
“Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you.
“And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.
“And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.”
With Permission, The God Who Speaks, The Bible & Catholics, 4 Feb 2021
For a complete version of this article, visit the following web link: https://www.godwhospeaks.uk/our-top-ten-home-quotes/
“…The human rights of children to live free of fear of trafficking, rape and sexual abuse in their families and community and on-line, have to be protected….
"The reports of online sexual abuse of children [have] soared during the pandemic and it is continuing until the present….”
Used with permission, Independent Catholic News, 11 Dec 2022
For a complete version of this article, see: https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/46093
“What is the meaning of life? This question may become significant at any stage of life. It may be a fleeting feeling, or something more profound. The answer may seem obvious. The question may also seem perplexing, and prompt further reflection. This series is for all who are touched by the sense that life itself raises questions that need to be explored, for the sake of our own understanding of ourselves, of how we relate to other people, and how we may respond to God….
“John the Baptist is an interesting character. Jesus talked about him occasionally when he was prompting people to think about himself. John attracted the attention of many, who came to him at the river Jordan in order to repent, be baptised, and have their sins forgiven. John’s actions, his forthright preaching, his clothes, and his austere diet prompted that feeling of expectation and the question that was put to him – ‘Who are you?’
“John answered the question in a negative and a positive way. He openly declared that he was not the Christ, and appealed to scripture for his own description of himself as ‘the voice of one crying out in the wilderness.’ His confidence and truthfulness are impressive.
“John is a good example of someone who was entirely at home with who he was. He knew what account to give of himself, yet he also knew that it was not all about him. His identity was formed by self-knowledge, and by his relationships with God, with Jesus, with his contemporary religious authorities, with the crowds who came to him, and with his religious heritage, expressed in the Hebrew scriptures. He knew the tensions and kept them in balance.
“The French philosopher, René Descartes, has been called ‘the father of modern philosophy’….
“For someone who prized simplicity and clarity, Descartes gave a complex account of his identity. What he believed about himself overlaps with John the Baptist’s sense of his identity. He differs from him too. What they have in common is an underlying sense that who they are is not all about them. That ‘it is not all about us’ is true of how we behave, but also of who we make ourselves to be. We cannot be who we are by ourselves, but only by including what has been given us by others from the beginnings of our lives until now. [emphasis added] …
“Our self-worth is often calibrated by other people’s opinions of us. Our identity defined by their approval. This creates a burden and a vulnerability which is hard to erase. At other times, so consumed with our own worries, we fail to see the need of help or of a hand.
“I am because you are. John the Baptist and Descartes teach us this today through their relationship with God. When we know who we are and who we are not, only then can we navigate a room, a person or a crowd.
With Permission, The God Who Speaks, The Bible and Catholics, 31st January 2022 https://www.godwhospeaks.uk/the-god-who-speaks/focus/preparing-for-lent-and-eastertide/the-meaning-of-life-part-1-identity
“What is generosity and what does it mean for us today? Bishop David Evans explores how Jesus and Arthur Schopenhauer show us that generosity is the capacity to recognise the lack of something good in a person and to act to supply it….
“Scripture passage: Luke 6:35: But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil….
“The present reflection on generosity follows naturally from [the] description of human beings created by God and dependent on him, living in the world created by God, among other created things, particularly other human beings.
“The passage from St Luke that I have chosen presents Jesus’ demands on the new people that he has gathered around himself – a people called to be holy. He was preparing them to receive the Holy Spirit in due course, by already living in this world the life that is as natural as breathing in the kingdom of God. Jesus invited people to become children of God, as he was Son of God, through the acts of reckless generosity that he demanded of those who wanted to follow him. In effect, he was asking them, and is asking us today, how highly do you value your life? Or paradoxically, how little do you value your life? Are you able to give it up for the sake of others, and for the sake of your Father, as I am doing?...
“There is… one philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer, (1788-1860), who identifies compassion as the foundation for morality. He contrasts compassion with egoism and malice, defining compassion as that ‘which wills the well-being of an ‘other’ (and by extension, noble-mindedness and magnanimity).’
“There are three key words in this definition: ‘will’, ‘well-being’ and ‘other’. Schopenhauer believed that action is the result of the will being stimulated; that is, action is urged into being by something different from the will itself. In the case of compassion, the stimulus is the lack of something in someone other than oneself, which is to that other person’s benefit. Compassion is not passive. It is a positive response in the real world intended to stop a person suffering by providing them with what they lack….
“Compassion arises from recognising that someone else possesses a reality distinct from my own, and that their suffering is their own and not mine. Action to address the need that causes pain in the other person also has to be taken in the concrete circumstances of everyday life. Schopenhauer teaches us that compassion is not a feeling, but the taking of practical steps to restore a person’s well-being. He does not give examples, nor does he say how he would regard the examples given by Jesus and the motives for them; but he does point to the basis for moral action as the capacity to recognise the lack of something good in a person and to act to supply it….
“Generosity and memories are what bind [mother and daughter, for example]. There might be duty and guilt too, but above all there is love for the other, for the vulnerable who knows us from birth and brought us into life. No matter how stressful this day might be, it is the wellbeing of her mother that matters most.”
With permission, The God Who Speaks, The Bible & Catholics, 28 Feb 2022
“What is adaptability and what does it mean for us today? Bishop David Evans explores how Jesus and Hans-Georg Gadamer show us that adaptability is the capacity to scrutinise the situation one is facing and to change oneself significantly in order to benefit from what it promises….
“Scripture passage: Matthew 20:20-28: But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave….
“Our lives are given meaning in the company of others and through our putting other people before ourselves. … [G]iving meaning to our lives is something individuals do for themselves, which demands that they change. A further element of this enterprise is adaptability….
“Hans-Georg Gadamer … a German philosopher… believed that understanding and interpretation are similar. Both require engagement with a text or person different from oneself. For this to succeed, the interpreter, or translator, must become aware of their own prejudices, the significant aspects of their personality and history that they bring to bear on understanding someone or something. Interpreters must also be willing to be changed by what they receive from the other. Or to adjust their horizons, that is the parameters within which they live, in order to grasp the subject matter of the conversation or text that they are attending to. As well as being interpretation, understanding is also conversion of a sort. This makes language a living reality, even if the text belongs to the past, or the conversation has finished….
“Spiritual adaptability is very subtle, the fruits appear much later than the seeds we planted. Adaptability is as much about risk as it is about courage. To step out in faith and not much understanding requires humility. Whether we’re chatting with friends, or praying in Mass, negotiating a problem at home or struggling at work, our decisions and behaviours can be transformed by the wisdom and compassion of others. And when we serve another, enable them to become all that they can be, these are the moments of God’s grace. The kingdom of heaven begins with us, in the coffee shop, the school, and the boardroom. The Spirit speaks in the language of every cry and every plea. Words are not always necessary to understand God’s will….”
With permission, The God Who Speaks, The Bible & Catholics, 31 March 2022
“What is empathy and why is it relevant today? Bishop David Evans explores how Jesus and the philosopher Edith Stein understand empathy, and its relevance to the flourishing of our relationships and the deepening of our faith….
“Genesis 4:1-16. He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”
“John 14:15-23 We will come to him and make our home with him….
“Cain’s punishment for killing his brother Abel was not physical death, but the spiritual death of complete isolation from the human race while remaining under God’s protection. Cain was punished as much for his callous rejection of his relationship with his brother as for his murder. The question ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ has become famous …. Cain’s punishment made public the isolation that, … he had already chosen for himself. One element of the fellow feeling that Cain lacked is empathy. This is the ability to enter into another person’s thoughts and feelings to such an extent that they become one’s own….
“At the Last Supper, before leaving for the Mount of Olives, Jesus prepared the disciples for the new relationships that would be among the fruits of his resurrection. He told them about the Holy Spirit who dwells with them. He revealed the love that will be shown them by the Father and himself and which will manifest him to them. He promised that he and his Father will come and dwell with them. The unity between the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and human beings is not superficial or fleeting. It is a harmony of nature, love and knowledge as real as anything solid and material that human beings run up against in everyday life. It underpins the bond of empathy.
“In 1916, Edith Stein … was awarded her doctoral degree for a thesis … called ‘On the Problem of Empathy’….
“She took a simple example as her staring point: that of a friend who tells her that he has lost his brother and she feels his pain. Empathy is her ability to feel his pain even though his pain is not her own. It is not something she feels directly, or remembers or imagines, but it is hers nevertheless, as well as being her friend’s. Stein investigated the essential factors of being human that made this possible. One of these is the ability to recognise another human being as a person in the fullest sense, just as I am myself. The ‘I’ that I am recognises, acknowledges and reacts to another person as an ‘I’ having the same physical and psychological nature as I have.
“At the end of her initial exploration of this reality, Edith Stein made bold claims for empathy. She stated that empathy was a kind of perceiving that involved body, intelligence and feelings. She called this type of perception ‘foreign consciousness.’ This was not a negative definition; it simply implied that empathy leads to the confident assertion that others exist, who are different from me as individuals, while having the same human nature as I do. Empathy in this sense allows people to understand the inner life of others. Edith Stein also asserts that this is how believers understand the nature of God, and how God understands human beings. God fully understands human beings, but human beings can misunderstand God in the same way as they can misunderstand each other…. empathy is not just a harmony of human and divine faculties of intelligence, emotion and will, but a source of the divine and human unity revealed at Jesus’ resurrection.”
With permission, The God Who Speaks, The Bible & Catholics, 28 April 2022
“How do we understand and manage paradox in our lives? Bishop David Evans explores how Jesus and the philosopher Blaise Pascal interpret paradox through the values we pursue, including some gospel encounters with children and the woman’s mite….
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’
“Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 9:33-37 and Luke 18:15-17
“Then children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them, but Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’ And he laid his hands on them and went on his way.
“The Widow’s Offering - Mark 12:41-44
“He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples … ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.
“When the disciples became accustomed to Jesus talking about the kingdom of God, they interpreted that phrase in the light of their own experience of the worldly kingdom in which they lived. ‘Kingdom’ meant ‘power’. ‘Power’ meant survival, wealth, respect, and having to concern oneself with no one but oneself. To be a friend of the emperor, or king, or governor, gave a person protection and permission to disregard the rights and even lives of anyone else. These privileges appealed to Jesus’ disciples. When Jesus succeeded in establishing his kingdom their lives would be a success such as few people from the fishing community of Galilee ever attained.
“But there were twelve of them, including two sets of brothers, a tax collector, possibly a political agitator, and one or two nonentities (in that society’s way of thinking). Who was to be the greatest in Jesus’ kingdom? The previous reflection in this series raised that question, found in the mouth of the mother of the sons of Zebedee. Mark recalls another occasion, when Jesus, who had obviously become aware that something was going on, asked what the disciples had been discussing along the way. After a silent pause, they admitted that they had been vying with each other as to who was the greatest….
“The paradox at the heart of life’s meaning is that it is the weakest who are the greatest. The kingdom is promised to the peacemaker, not the warmonger; the merciful, not the ruthless.” [Emphasis added.]
With permission, The God Who Speaks, 28 May 2022
“Adopt - legally take (another's child) and bring it up as one's own.
“In Biblical Jewish culture, there was not adoption as we know it today. When a child was without parents, someone else in the family would take the child in and raise them. However, we have a unique example of adoption in the Holy Family…. Joseph and Mary were engaged but she was still living with her parents when she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph knew he wasn’t the father and he had to decide what to do about his pregnant fiancée.”
We know the outcome of his selfless decision and of this unique adoption.
With Permission, The God Who Speaks, The Bible and Catholics, 22nd June 2021 https://www.godwhospeaks.uk/the-god-who-speaks/education/primary-schools/families-in-the-bible-worksheets/
“When Jesus speaks to us in the Gospels, his words illuminate, strengthen, refresh, and clarify. It is the way he spoke to those he encountered in the Gospels, the stories he told, the insights he gave; the prayers he said. Jesus spoke to the people he met about the realities of their own lives. He understood their relationships, their pathways through life, and how they could overcome their own difficulties. Jesus offered a radical vision of how they could enrich their lives and love God in a more meaningful and enlightened way.
“He spoke to them about the same issues that we, 2000 years later want to talk about, because that which made their lives real, also make our lives real today. Therefore, we should not shy away from using the Gospels, the words of Jesus, to guide us today in how we might deal with issues in our lives, our families, our parishes, communities and in wider society.
“The story of the Good Samaritan is as relevant for us today as it was at the time of Jesus. This story tells us that Jesus saw no barriers between people despite the prevailing hatred of different tribes and groups. We are all, no matter where we come from, no matter what our ethnicity, age, gender, equal in the eyes of Jesus. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. Therefore, everyone deserves our love and respect, our kindness and our love.
“The jealousies, squabbles, selfishness and love we encounter in the story of the Prodigal Son, are as real today as they were then….
“There is nothing new in sibling rivalry. How many of us, as parents have been caught between the love we have for one child and another? The heartache of the father caught between the return of his “prodigal” son and the hurt of his dutiful son is raw. Desperate trying to bring his two sons together, the father chooses to celebrate the return of the son, who now has nothing and is at the mercy of his more powerful and angry brother, who owns everything….
“Today we are experiencing a unique situation, we have experienced a pandemic of worldwide proportions, we’ve witnessed tragedy and human courage, selflessness and ingenuity. We have been brought together (mostly via technology) in sorrow and grief, euphoria and joy. After this crisis, the world seems a smaller, more fragile place. How do we re-engage face to face with our families? How do we return to our parishes, our communities? How do we respond to each other? What is the God who speaks saying to us now, at this time and in this place?
“Maybe it is the cry of the traveller lying on the road, pleading ‘please help me.’ Or maybe it is the cry of the Father appealing to the hardened heart of the older brother ‘your brother was lost and now he is found’ that we need to listen to. We are called to learn from this pandemic and to be more attentive to each other, just as Jesus showed us in these parables. Many blessings can be had by simply reading and reflecting on these two stories from the bible in the light of our own neighbourhoods.
“As we read these stories, let us ask the Holy Spirit to open up our hearts and respond to God’s call. As we physically return to our families and parish communities, we pray that we may be a “found” people, returning to the Father, responding to the cry of our fellow travellers, whether they be in our families, our parishes or our community….”
The God Who Speaks, The Bible and Catholics, 30 June 2021. https://www.godwhospeaks.uk/family-life-and-the-bible/
“Faith and prayer. These sisters of my spiritual journey walk hand in hand. Faith draws me to prayer, and prayer reactivates my faith. One nurtures the other.
“My faith was birthed within a farming community who worshiped at a small parish church. Amid that congregation I was baptized, made my first Communion, and received Confirmation. It was not in church, however, that I learned to pray in a way that nourished and strengthened my religious faith. This took place in the schoolhouse next door.
“There, a young Franciscan sister taught me that prayer is about relationship. She encouraged her young students to “talk to Jesus, who is always with you.” I never comprehended this tremendous gift until my younger brother drowned at age 23. Amid the shock and grief of that death, I turned to my belief in a God who stays with us when life goes well and continues to be there when life goes miserably. I didn’t stop praying during that bleak-hearted time, because faith assured me of God’s compassionate closeness.
“Trappist monk Thomas Merton insisted prayer is often the best when “our hearts have turned to stone.” When we least feel like praying, it’s the very time to do so. That’s when faith takes us by the hand, lifts us up, and urges us to go to the One whose love strengthens and sustains us.
“Etty Hillisum, a young Jewish woman who died at Auschwitz, knew how faith and prayer intertwine. One day she knelt to pray. She had never knelt before. It was a powerful moment of surrender. Etty didn’t ask to be released from her situation. Instead, she gave herself over in faith, trusting that, whatever happened, God would be with her. I have come to see how I need this kind of faith to bond me daily with the heart of God. And I need prayer to keep me there.
“When I allow faith to hold me steady in prayer, I bring a richer and fuller awareness to liturgical worship. Likewise, when I allow prayer to hold me steady in faith, I experience the ups and downs of daily life with significantly greater peace.
“Thomas Merton: A Prayerful Life
“Thomas Merton has been called one of the most influential Catholic writers of the 20th century. … Merton converted to the Catholic faith in 1938 and entered the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, Kentucky, four years later.
“During his time at the abbey, Merton traveled a path of self-understanding and became involved in a number of political issues, such as civil rights and the nuclear arms race. In his later years, he worked to promote East-West dialogue. In 1968, Merton traveled to the Far East, where he met with the Dalai Lama ….. It was during this trip that Merton died.
“But it was his thirst for God that lingers with us still. He once wrote, ‘As Christ said, the seed in the ground must die. To be a seed in the ground of one’s very life is to dissolve in that ground in order to become fruitful. One disappears into Love, in order to 'be Love.'"
Used with permission from Franciscan Media (www.FranciscanMedia.org) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/franciscan-spirit-blog/a-faith-prayed?utm_campaign=Franciscan%20Spirit&utm_medium=email&utm_content=213646427&utm_source=hs_email
“Fleur Dorrell looks at how we can build community using the Bible as our guide and key Catholic Social Teaching principles.
“As Catholics we believe that our Faith underpins all our thinking and that the Bible has much to say to the state, the market and wider civil society. The world of reason, of secular thought, of different faiths, all need one another in order to live peacefully and for the sake of the kingdom. We should not be afraid to enter into profound dialogue for the good of our world, to find some common language and common ground. Without such engagement we see the rise of fundamentalism, terrorism and oppression.
“There are no obvious biblical instructions to vote, join a political party, stand for office, or to take part in democratic societies. [I]t may seem odd to some of us to be so involved with politics. Yet politics is the art of living together in community and that is precisely what the story of God’s people and the Jesus parables of the Kingdom is all about. As both a local and a global church we need to live in ways that enable everyone to flourish. We recognise that basic justice and dignity are crucial to positive relationships and that they require commitment and education to succeed. The human dignity that we all share as God’s gift is not defined, nor derived from, our gender, beliefs, background, age, health, wealth or sexual orientation, it is a dignity shared by virtue of being human. This shared humanity lies at the heart of both our religious freedom and our respect for fundamental human rights.
“As a global church, we understand, and live with, enormous cultural diversity. Our calling is to hold in balance all the tensions and challenges, as well as celebrate the diversity this creates. Everything we do and say shapes our values. Our values come from the fact that we are not only individuals but are relational. We need each other because we need each other to realise our potential – that is what our faith is all about and is modelled by the perfect relationship found in the Trinity. That is why each person matters and no one should be excluded. This instantly takes us towards a particular concern for the most vulnerable – the old, the very young, the disabled and the ill – and to ask of each of us – how well their needs are being met. It was in response to such concerns that Catholic Social Teaching has been developed in the last two centuries….
“[I]t is not enough for us to focus purely on legislation, regulation or finance as we engage in community-building and politics. Our strength lies in being grassroots-led. We know that societies thrive when their citizens are inter-dependent, seeking mutually beneficial ways to uphold each other’s dignity and to ensure that we all have what is needed to live a fully human life. Our political engagement is not only concerned with advocating rights or pursuing goals for individual gain but with promoting wider responsibilities and the concept of service at all levels of society. These responsibilities and service are important whether they affect the individuals promoting them or their neighbours in other countries. As such our engagement is three tiered: local, national and global. But to this end, we need to be equipped spiritually and practically if we are to make significant contributions to community building….”
"Two themes stand out for us in our community-building from the Gospels: We are called to care for God’s world and we are called to care for others, especially the vulnerable. Using our Gospel values we can put into practice these two themes by working towards justice, compassion and reconciliation. By living out Christ’s teaching and mission in this way, we bring about his kingdom on earth. That is both immediately and ultimately what our voting, our faith and community building are all about…. The more we know of God, the stronger our relationship with him becomes and the more we become aware of the needs of others. For this reason, our faith and policy work are in constant dialogue. Word and witness must always walk together….
“[W]e can challenge the mechanisms that perpetuate injustices; advocate policy reform; and influence public opinion in the church, communities, schools, legislative and government bodies, campaign headquarters, boardrooms worldwide, and to commit to vote whenever we have the opportunity. We know that in order to challenge the power structures that perpetuate global injustices, we first have to change ourselves. Social Policy is not an abstract process relevant only to MPs or academics in remote university silos – it is our voice and our opportunity to make a difference in every corner of the world.”
With permission, The God Who Speaks, 30 June 2022.
"Around 50,000 pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square on Sunday …. In his homily, Pope Francis encouraged the faithful to recognise how God loves us unconditionally and how the path to holiness is "so simple" and requires seeing Jesus in others….
"’God has a dream for each and every one of our lives.’ he said.
“The Holy Father then recalled how in today's Gospel according to St John, Jesus told His disciples: ‘Even as I have loved you, so you must love one another.’ This, the Pope said, is the legacy that Christ bequeathed to us, ‘the ultimate criterion for discerning whether or not we are truly His disciples, the commandment of love.’
“The Pope considered two elements of this Commandment: Jesus' love for us, and the love He asks us to show to others.
“Jesus loved us so much, the Pope reminded, that He gave the total gift of Himself. ‘Let us never forget this. Our abilities and our merits are not the central thing, but rather the unconditional, free and unmerited love of God.’
"’Our Christian lives, do not begin with doctrine and good works, but with the amazement born of realising that we are loved, prior to any response on our part.’
“The Pope warned that the world frequently tries to convince us that we are valued only for what we can produce, but yet the Gospel reminds us that we are loved. Being loved, he highlighted, is an integral part of our Christian identity and our strength. Acknowledging this truth requires a conversion in the way we often think of holiness….
"’Being disciples of Jesus and advancing on the path of holiness means first and foremost letting ourselves be transfigured by the power of God's love.’ The love that we receive from the Lord, the Pope said, is the force that transforms our lives, and opens our hearts and enables us to love.
"’In practice, what does it mean to live this love? ‘ the Pope asked. ‘To love means this: to serve and to give one's life….
“Our calling, the Pope said, is to serve others and offer our lives without expecting anything in return.”
With permission, ICN, Source: Vatican News, May 15, 2022.
“’The Holy Trinity ‘is not so much a theological exercise,’ but ‘a revolution in our way of life’ - Pope Francis stressed this during his Angelus address to pilgrims in St Peter's Square, today, the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity.
“The Pope began by recalling today's Gospel reading in which Jesus presents the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus explains that the Spirit, ‘will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears, He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come.’
“The Pope pointed out that the Holy Spirit speaks, but not of Himself, rather He announces and speaks about Jesus and reveals the Father. Likewise, the Father, ‘who possesses everything, because He is the origin of all things,’ gives to the Son everything He possesses and keeps nothing for Himself.
“The Holy Father encouraged the faithful to look at themselves and about what we pronounce and possess. He observed how normally, when we speak, we tend to speak about ourselves and what we do. ‘How different this is from the Holy Spirit, who speaks by announcing others!’
“Moreover, the Pope lamented our tendency to hold tightly onto our possessions, not sharing what we possess with others, ‘even those who lack the basic necessities!’
“The Holy Father stressed that our words must translate into actions. ‘This is why,’ Pope Francis said, ‘celebrating the Holy Trinity is not so much a theological exercise, but a revolution in our way of life.’ God, in whom each Person lives for the other, not for himself, provokes us to live with others and for others.
"’Today we can ask ourselves if our life reflects the God we believe in: do I, who profess faith in God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, truly believe that in order to live I need others, I need to give myself to others, I need to serve others? Do I affirm this in words or with my life?’
“’God, One and Triune, must be shown with deeds rather than words. God,’ the Pope continued, ‘is transmitted not so much through books, but rather through the witness of life.’
"’Think about good, generous, meek people we have met; recalling their way of thinking and acting, we can have a small reflection of God-Love. And what does it mean to love? Not only to wish them well and to do good, but first and foremost, at the root, to welcome others, to make room for others, to give space to others. This is what it means to love...
“The Trinity, the Pope said, teaches us that one can never be without the other. ‘We are not islands... we are in the world to live in God's image: open, in need of others and in need of helping others.’
“Pope Francis encouraged the faithful to ask themselves: ‘In everyday life, am I too a reflection of the Trinity?’.. ‘The Sign of the Cross that I make every day, remains a gesture for its own sake, or does it inspire my way of speaking, of encountering, of responding, of judging, of forgiving?’
“Pope Francis concluded with the prayer: ‘May Our Lady, daughter of the Father, mother of the Son and bride of the Spirit, help us to welcome and bear witness in life to the mystery of God-Love.’"
With permission, Independent Catholic News, Source: Vatican News, 12 June 2022, https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/44885
“On his papal flight to Canada on Sunday, Pope Francis remembered and praised grandparents, as the Church observed the second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly celebrated close to the feast of Jesus' grandparents, Saints Joachim and Anne.
“Pope Francis introduced this Day in 2021 because, he said, grandparents are often forgotten, but yet ‘are the link between generations, passing on the experience of life and faith to the young.’
“He said: ‘It's Grandparents' Day, grandparents, grandmothers, who are the ones who have passed on the history, traditions, habits and many other values. Today we need to go back to grandparents, I would say so as a leitmotif in the sense that young people must have contact with their grandparents, go back to them, go back to their roots, not to stay there no, but to take them forward like the tree: which takes strength from the roots and carries it forward in the flowers in the fruit.’
“He emphasized how grandparents are responsible for blossoming and maturing future generations and should be respected.”
Independent Catholic News, Source: Vatican News, 24-25 July 2022, https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/45155
“During Wednesday's General Audience … Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the meaning and value of old age, noting that bonds uniting the generations can prove enriching for families and for the growth of society.
“Inviting the faithful to rediscover the Book of Ruth which he described as ‘a jewel in the Bible’ - Pope Francis said this story ‘sheds light on the beauty of family bonds.’
“The Pope recounted the relationship of love and mutual support between the older widow Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth. Naomi, living in a foreign land, is left alone when her two sons die.
“But despite her grief, she encourages her two daughters-in-law to remain among their own people as she returns to Bethlehem, her native town, a gesture Pope Francis described as an ‘act of love.’
“Ruth makes the decision not to abandon Naomi, and accompanies her to Judah, telling her: ‘Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.’
“The Pope underlined that ‘Naomi, moved by Ruth's devotion, will emerge from her pessimism and even take the initiative, opening up a new future for Ruth.’…
“Pope Francis explained that the story of Naomi and Ruth demonstrates that in God's providential plan, faith and love enable challenges to be overcome.
“He went on to say that these bonds uniting the generations can prove enriching for our families and for the growth of a society that respects the dignity and gifts of each of its members, however young or old.
“Pope Francis concluded: "If the young open themselves to gratitude for what they have received, and the elderly take the initiative of relaunching their future, nothing can stop the flourishing of God's blessings among peoples."
“He also recommended that young people talk with their grandparents and to their elders, and that old people talk with young people. This, he said, will … forge that ‘beautiful bridge that we must guard and watch over.’”
With Permission, ICN, Source: Vatican News, 27 Apr 2022
“During the General Audience on Wednesday, … Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the meaning and value of old age and encouraged young people to overcome the generational gap to embrace the 'credible witness' of the elderly. …
“After walking onto the stage, unassisted - just using a stick - the Pope reflected on Daniel's prophetic dream about the Ancient of Days (Dan 7:9-10); the Pope said the vision highlighted the connection between old age and youth.
“Everything about the man in the vision is full of ‘vigour, strength, nobility, beauty, and charm.’ Yet, noted the Pope, the man is described with hair as white as snow, like an old man. ‘The snow-white hair is an ancient symbol of a very long time, of time immemorial, of an eternal existence,’ he said.
“Pope Francis stressed that there is no need to strip our faith of symbols when trying to explain the Bible to others. ‘The image of God, who watches over everything with snow-white hair, is not a silly symbol. It is a biblical image; it is noble, and even tender.’ God, added the Pope, is both ancient and new, since He is eternity.
“In the same way, humanity needs to rediscover the importance of allowing the old and the young to interact and share experience and enthusiasm. ‘Old age must bear witness to children that they are a blessing’ by embracing the ‘mystery of our destination in life’.
“The Pope said the elderly have a unique way of bearing witness in such a way that is ‘credible to children.’... ‘It is irresistible when an old person blesses life as it comes their way, laying aside any resentment for life as it goes away. The witness of the elderly unites the generations of life, the same with the dimensions of time: past, present and future.’
“At the same time, said Pope Francis, it is painful and even harmful to separate the ages of life and pit the old and the young against each other as if they were competing for the same resources.
“Pope Francis concluded his catechesis by encouraging parents to allow their children to interact with the elderly, even as they near death's door, so as to pass on ‘the wisdom of dying’.
"’The alliance between the elderly and children will save the human family,’ he said.
"’Death is certainly a difficult passage from life-but it is also one that concludes the time of uncertainty and throws away the clock. For the beautiful part of life, which has no more deadlines, begins precisely then.’
“During the Audience a small boy ran up on the stage. Pope Francis welcomed him. They had a brief chat and and he stood with Pope Francis for several minutes before returning to his family.…”
Independent Catholic News, Source: Vatican News, 17 Aug 2022, https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/45304
“Pope Francis made another heartfelt appeal for an end to the ‘barbaric and sacrilegious’ act of war, in his address to pilgrims … on Sunday. He warned that ‘war does not devastate only the present, but the future of a society as well.’
"’There is a need to repudiate war, a place of death where fathers and mothers bury their children, where men kill their brothers without even having seen them, where the powerful decide and the poor die,’ he said.
“Pointing out that half of all Ukrainian children are now displaced, the Pope said this is what it means to destroy the future: ‘causing dramatic trauma in the lives of the smallest and most innocent among us.’
“He said: ‘War should not be something that is inevitable. We should not accustom ourselves to war.’ Instead, he said, ‘we need to convert today's disdain into a commitment for tomorrow.’ He called on all political leaders to commit to putting an end to war: ‘Before the danger of self-destruction, may humanity understand that the moment has come to abolish war, to erase it from human history before it erases human history!’
“Referring to ‘battered Ukraine,’ Pope Francis urged leaders to recognize that every day the war continues makes the situation worse for everyone.”
With Permission, Independent Catholic News, Source: Vatican News, 28 Mar 2022
“Today's Budget announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak is delivered against the backdrop of an inflation rate expected to peak four times above the Bank of England's 2% objective, and an economic outlook which is at best uncertain.
“A recent Resolution Foundation report suggests that the conflict in Ukraine could push peak inflation in 2022-23 above 8%, which could leave the typical real household income for non-pensioners 4%, or £1,000, lower than in 2021-22.
“Wholesale energy prices have risen much faster than expected since the last Budget, and the war in Ukraine is expected to further increase fuel and food prices over the coming months….
“The cost of living crisis is affecting millions of households, many of whom are being supported by members of the St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) and St Vincent's centres across England and Wales. Without the support of the SVP, tens of thousands of families would fall into poverty and be denied the help they need to survive and the empowerment to pull themselves out of poverty and regain their dignity….
“The SVP has been extremely vocal over its concerns …. We pointed out the need for policies which promote secure employment, and we urged the government to listen to the experiences of frontline service providers….
“The government continue to squander opportunities to lead the country out of the pandemic and into a fairer and more just future built on every sector of society. This Budget could have addressed the financial mechanisms which unfairly punish those on lower incomes as inflation rises. Mr Sunak could also have lessened the impact of rising wholesale fuel prices on people who simply cannot afford the startling increase in heating and fuel bills, and the government could have better consulted with frontline service providers, such as the SVP, to provide more robust and targeted solutions to the epidemic of poverty effecting England and Wales during these uncertain times.”
With Permission, Independent Catholic News, James Robert Welton, 23 Mar 2022
“Three Christian organisations have called on the Chancellor to make the tax system fairer for families … in light of rising inflation and soaring energy prices….
“The three organisations called on the Government to implement fully transferable tax allowances and bands ahead of the Autumn Budget last year so that all families with the same income pay the same amount of tax regardless of whether they are single-earner or dual-earner households….
“The intervention from the three organisation is intended to help bring about a system whereby all families pay the same amount of tax whatever the split of income between individuals within the family….
“Professor Philip Booth, Professor of Finance, Public Policy and Ethics at St Mary's University, Twickenham, said: ‘The UK is unusual in the Western world in discriminating in such a marked way against single-earner couples or couples whose earnings are not equal. We probably tax families more severely than any other comparable country. It would not only be fairer to move to a tax system where tax rates were based on family income, it would remove the penalties on family formation that exist in our current tax and benefit systems. Furthermore, it would remove the penalties faced by couples where one member takes on caring responsibilities.’"
With Permission, Independent Catholic News, James Somerville-Meikle, 16 Mar 2022
“Houghton Regis resident Peter Stannard, 62, is taking part in CAFOD’s Walk against Hunger challenge, which raises money to tackle global food poverty.
“Instead of doing the suggested 5km per day over 40 days of Lent, retired priest Peter will be walking 200km in 13 days. Peter will be walking the length of the Portuguese Camino from Porto to Santiago de Compostela in Spain – an ancient pilgrim route at least a thousand years old. Peter has a fundraising goal of £10,000….
“His challenge starts on 2nd April, and he plans to reach Santiago de Compostela in 13 days….
“Peter is fundraising for aid charity CAFOD. ‘I believe that people often overlook the suffering which goes on in other countries-it just doesn’t receive enough attention,’ he said.
“CAFOD supports communities in the long-term through training people in farming methods, and savings and loans schemes which can help people to start small businesses. CAFOD’s Deborah Purfield paid tribute to Peter’s efforts.
“’So many of our wonderful CAFOD volunteers and supporters are rising to the challenge and Walking against Hunger this Lent,’ she said. ‘They want to support communities to tackle global hunger and malnutrition. I’d like to say thank you to our supporters, particularly Peter Stannard who is planning such an arduous walk in solidarity with our brother and sisters who are in great need. What an inspiration he is.’”
With Permission Universe Catholic Weekly, 25 Mar 2022
“Pope Francis told an Italian interviewer that forgiveness is ‘a human right.’…
“’We all have the right to be forgiven if we ask for forgiveness. It is a right that flows from God’s nature and has been given to humans as an inheritance,’ he said. ‘Someone who asks for forgiveness has the right to be forgiven.’
“A criminal, he said, must pay his or her debt to society, but still has a right to be forgiven.
“In the hourlong interview, Pope Francis repeated what he often has said about the scandal of weapons’ sales and the futility of war, the obligation to protect the environment and the need for a better-coordinated European process for welcoming migrants and refugees….
“Pope Francis [said], ‘I imagine the church of the future the way St. Paul VI imagined it after the (Second Vatican) Council … [we need to create] new ways to share the Gospel message with the world.
“’This spiritual worldliness within the church makes an ugly thing grow: clericalism, which is a perversion of the church,’ he said. It increases ‘rigidity’ and a reliance on rules rather than on God….
“Pope Francis insisted that Jesus’ incarnation and his death on the cross meant that Christian faith must take flesh in practical signs of love and care for others and in going out to preach the Gospel.
“Pope Francis said people who are born in developed countries to families who always have enough to get by and where health care, education and jobs are fairly easy to come by must recognize that they are no more deserving of those things than a person born into poverty with little or no access to any of those things.
“And while it is tempting to ‘look the other way’ when the news reports on victims of war or migrants drowning or when one sees a person begging on the street, it is ‘a very ugly temptation.’
“’It is not enough to see, one must feel it, touch it,’ the pope said, [adding] that allowing one’s heart to be touched and recognizing a victim as a person, a brother or sister, is the only way to move toward finding a solution.”
With Permission, Universe Catholic Weekly, 7th Feb 2022
“In his pastoral letter for the start of January, Bishop Alan Hopes writes, let us truly allow Jesus Christ to bring his light into our dark winter nights and into the dark winter nights of those around us by our sharing of the God-given gifts of love, hope and peace….
“God made each one of us. God loves each one of us. God fills us with hope.
“At the moment of the Incarnation, God pledges that there will be peace on earth to men of goodwill. As we begin the new civic year, we pray fervently with the whole Church that the gift of peace may become a reality for all peoples – all those who are caught up in war and conflict, for all who daily face persecution because of their faith, and all those who do not know real freedom or human dignity in their lives.
“Because of the Incarnation our prayer must lead to action:
“As we continue to turn aside to contemplate and to worship the Incarnate Son of God …, let us truly allow Jesus Christ to bring his light into our dark winter nights and into the dark winter nights of those around us by our sharing of these God-given gifts of love, hope and peace.”
(With permission) Diocese of East Anglia, Keith Morris, January 4, 2022
“Tuesday 17 May 2022 [marked] the Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Abuse. This is observed on the Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter in England and Wales.
“The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) has highlighted the importance of prayer and suggested to Pope Francis that the worldwide Catholic Church should join together in a day of prayer. The Holy Father has welcomed this initiative.
“The Bishops have chosen Tuesday of the 5th Week of Easter as the Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Abuse - 17 May 2022. There were two connected reasons for moving the Day of Prayer from Lent to Easter: this is not a penitential day for the failure of the Church and others to respond to the scourge of abuse but a day of prayer for those who have been abused in a season of hope and new life. [emphasis added]
“The Isaiah Journey has prepared a range of resources for prayer, action and reflection for use throughout the year which are launched on the day of prayer.
“The Isaiah Journey is a working group of the Bishops' Conference and has grown out of the need for a pastoral-spiritual response to the suffering of victims and survivors of abuse in the Church. Inspired by the writing of the prophet Isaiah, it has three strands: seeking truth; bringing hope; finding healing. [emphasis added] “What is important is for the local Church to acknowledge and respond in prayer when it is able rather than restrict its activities to just one day in the year. Much of the material in this resource has been written by and with survivors. Though it is hoped that survivors will be included in any local initiative that may not always be possible.
“For resources, information and prayers, see: www.cbcew.org.uk/prayer-for-survivors-of-abuse-2022/ “
With permission, ICN, Source: CBCEW, May 15, 2022
“[Pope Francis] greeted the people of Malta, the Mediterranean island where St. Paul was shipwrecked and found ‘great humanity’ and hospitality, and where, still today, the people are dedicated to welcoming so many people in search of refuge, he said.
“The pope’s trip to Malta from 2nd-3rd April will be a chance to ‘go to the source of the proclamation of the Gospel, to get to know firsthand a Christian community’ that has such a long history and is so active and alive, he said.
“In his main audience talk, the pope continued his series of talks dedicated to the meaning and value of ‘old age,’ and the importance of maintaining a sense of ‘spiritual sensitivity.’…
“Being sensitive to the Spirit means accepting that one is not the protagonist, but a witness to the presence and greatness of God, he said.… When the elderly are able to keep their ‘spiritual senses’ sharp and alive, he said, then they are able to feel a kind of consolation that their lives have meaning and are able to share a sense of hope with younger people, he said.
“’It is so important to visit older people, to listen to them, to talk to them,’ to have an ‘exchange of civilisations’ between young and old, he said.”
With Permission Universe Catholic Weekly, 30 Mar 2022
is taking place Monday 1st - Friday 5th August 2022 at the Catholic National Shrine & Basilica of Our Lady of Walsingham.
This year will be our 36th Conference and for the first time the main adult programme will take place within the Shrine & Basilica grounds!
New Dawn is a residential Conference that welcomes approx. 2,500 pilgrims in person and has reached over 150,000 online, with the purpose of bringing each pilgrim to a deeper personal relationship with God the Father in His Son Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the words of its founder Myles Dempsey, New Dawn is a Conference where pilgrims can experience “the beauty of the Church… in all her splendour; the Church with all its lights on and all its aspects celebrated – the Charismatic, the Liturgical, the Marian, the Eucharistic, the Sacramental, the Mystical… and for the whole family to be there.”
This year we have amazing faith-filled and inspirational speakers from all over the world, a gifted music ministry, healing/prayer ministry and children's and youth ministries. We are especially excited to share that this year's youth ministry will be headed up by two expert youth ministers from the USA to provide fun, faith-filled, and practical ways for our young people to live out their Catholic Faith!
There will also be social & food tents for refreshment and fellowship. Register at WWW.NEWDAWN.ORG.UK
“Elizabeth Palmer, CEO St Vincent de Paul Society of England and Wales writes:
“[It] seems incongruous that people who work and earn money for their family are at risk of falling into poverty. It also seems unjust that low wages, work contracts which are not flexible enough, and high childcare costs can have a disproportionally adverse effect on those who do not have the reserves to weather the storm.
“And yet, this is the reality for many. Reading our latest report, Stealing futures: In-work poverty and its impact on children and young people, I was both reminded of the daily struggle facing many and of the need for our work, and why the SVP continues to serve and support people in need.
“The report points out that people experiencing in-work poverty often have other challenges in their lives, and it's the cumulative effect of this which drags them down. …
“We are in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis. Inflation hit 3.8% in October driven by rising fuel bills and spiralling food and clothing costs, … Add inflated childcare costs, stagnant wages and the proliferation of zero-hour contracts and it's easy to see how life is not getting any easier for those who are already struggling.
“Our Stealing futures report says that ‘charity is not the solution to in-work poverty’ and that ‘we need a strong commitment from the Government to tackle this hidden crisis, including policies to tackle insecure work, the high cost of childcare and low wages.’ In the meantime, the SVP will always be on hand to support people in poverty of any kind with kindness and dignity, and without judgement.
“We don't stand alone on poverty. We need to raise as many voices as possible in support of people for whom affording the basic essentials of life - food, fuel, and shelter - is becoming increasingly difficult in the current financial climate.
“Our report highlights the growing challenges the cycle of poverty means for people who want to work, provide for their family and live with dignity.” [Download the full report at … https://www.svp.org.uk/sites/default/files/content/In-work%20poverty%20and%20its%20impact%20on%20children%20and%20young%20people%20-%20report%20Dec%202021.pdf ]
With Permission, ICN, Elizabeth Palmer, Dec 15th 2021
“Stealing futures - In-work poverty and its impact on children and young people [a report by St Vincent de Paul Society(SVP)] shines a light on ‘one of the most daunting silent issues facing the UK today’, with the impact on children and young people often going undetected and ignored….
“In Spring 2021, the SVP ran a listening exercise across the country to speak with children and young people, aged between seven and 17, and their teachers to understand their personal experiences of living in, or supporting, households affected by in-work poverty.
"’Growing up in a household experiencing in-work poverty has a deep and lasting impact on children,’ comments SVP National President Helen O'Shea. ‘The experiences of the children and young people we heard from were striking. Many spoke about the extreme hardship of having to be almost entirely isolated due to Covid restrictions, and how that led to mental health issues, anxiety and a deterioration in their physical health. Many children were also aware of the pressure on families living on low incomes who are struggling to afford food and digital equipment for school.’ “Helen O'Shea continues: ‘Of major concern is the fact that many of the young people we spoke with expressed a real fear of not being able to find a 'good job' which would allow them to be financially stable and 'not homeless'.’
“The SVP has set out three policy approaches to tackle the blight of in-work poverty for adults and children alike, including provisions which ensure employees have access to suitable working arrangements such as flexible working from day one, and secure work arrangements which prohibit zero-hour contracts.”
With permission, Independent Catholic News, James Robert Welton, 6th Dec. 2021
“The Gospels … speak clearly of the obligation to share one's faith. Lamps under bushels, buried talents and faith shown by good deeds are all examples. The Second Vatican Council was clearer and spoke of the Church being missionary - each parish was either establishing a mission [or] developing one. The private Catholic is, by nature, a poor missionary. … outward looking and missionary Church, typified by acts of outreach, charity and compassion is very much the model that Pope Francis has for the Church of today.”
“In his message for the 55th World Day of Peace, Pope Francis calls on all men and women of goodwill, government leaders, and decision-makers to walk together with courage and creativity on the path of intergenerational dialogue, education and work.
“Introducing his message, the Pope notes that the path of peace continues to remain "sadly distant from the real lives of many men and women."
“Citing the intensification of wars and conflicts, climate change and environmental degradation, an individualistic economic model and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, ‘the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth,’ he says, ‘constantly make themselves heard, pleading for justice and peace.’
“But, he points out, ‘in every age, peace is both a gift from on high and the fruit of a shared commitment.’....
“Men and women who are conscious of their role in society, and who work and find fulfilment in places where human dignity is respected, Pope Francis says, will become artisans of peace, walking together on the path of intergenerational dialogue, education and work: three indispensable elements for making possible the creation of a social covenant without which every project of peace turns out to be insubstantial.
Read the full Message here: https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2021/12/21/211221a.html
With Permission, ICN, Source: Vatican News, Dec 21st 2021
“…Pope Francis emphasised the passion St Paul showed in defending the freedom that Christ brought - a passion that ‘still moves us today’. Paul responded to the call he had received to preach the Gospel, with great conviction, the Pope said.
“St Paul pointed out to the Galatians that they, too, were called to the freedom that liberates them from every form of slavery by making them heirs of the ancient promise and children of God through Christ. Summing up Paul's teaching, , the Pope said, ‘The fulfillment of the true Law is found in this life of the Spirit given to us by Jesus. And this life of the Spirit can only be lived in freedom: Christian freedom.’
“The Pope said St Paul's teaching generates enthusiasm, encouraging people to follow the way of freedom and ‘walk according to the Spirit,’ which always makes us free….
“With the presence of the Spirit, the Pope said, ‘we will protect our freedom’, since ‘Christian freedom is what makes us grow’ and makes true joy comes forth.”
With permission, Independent Catholic News, Source: Vatican News, 17th Nov. 2021
“In his message for the fifth World Day of the Poor, celebrated in the Catholic Church globally on 14 November 2021, Pope Francis has challenged the faithful to seek out and help the poor wherever they are:
"’We cannot wait for the poor to knock on our door; we need urgently to reach them in their homes, in hospitals and nursing homes, on the streets and in the dark corners where they sometimes hide, in shelters and reception centres. It is important to understand how they feel, what they are experiencing and what their hearts desire.’
“He also stresses that the poor have much to teach us and actually help us to look into the ‘true face’ of God. They retain the dignity of God's children that can't be taken away:
"’For this reason, a different approach to poverty is required. This is a challenge that governments and world institutions need to take up with a farsighted social model capable of countering the new forms of poverty that are now sweeping the world and will decisively affect coming decades.’
"’If the poor are marginalised, as if they were to blame for their condition, then the very concept of democracy is jeopardised and every social policy will prove bankrupt. With great humility, we should confess that we are often incompetent when it comes to the poor. …’
"’Poverty, on the contrary, should motivate us to creative planning, aimed at increasing the freedom needed to live a life of fulfilment according to the abilities of each person….’”
With permission, Independent Catholic News, Source: CBCEW, 26th Oct. 2021
“In a message to the Director General of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, Qu Dongyu, Pope Francis says we must adopt ‘innovative solutions’ to transform the way we produce and consume food ‘for the well-being of people and of the planet.’
“’The annual celebration of World Food Day brings us face to face with one of humanity's greatest challenges: overcoming hunger once and for all is an ambitious goal’ he says.
“In his message, the Holy Father says this year's theme for World Food Day – ‘Our actions are our future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life’ – ‘underlines the need for concerted action so that everyone has access to diets that ensure maximum environmental sustainability and are also adequate and affordable.’
“Pope Francis points to a paradox with regard to food access, noting that while more than three billion people do not have access to a nutritious diet, almost two billion are overweight due to poor diets and a sedentary life style.
“He writes that everyone has a role to play, emphasising, ‘If we do not want to jeopardise the health of our planet and our entire population, we must encourage active participation in change at all levels and reorganise food systems as a whole.’
“The Pope highlights four areas in particular where urgent action is needed: in the field, at sea, at the table, and in reducing food loss and waste. Although ‘individual lifestyle choices and daily consumption practices influence global and environmental dynamics,’ he says, ‘we must encourage producers and consumers to make ethical and sustainable choices and raise awareness among the younger generations of the important role they play in making a world without hunger a reality.’
“Pope Francis says that with the pandemic there is an ‘opportunity to change course’ so that the global food system will be better able to respond to future crises. But he stresses, ‘the fight against hunger requires overcoming the cold logic of the market,’ and instead ‘strengthening the logic of solidarity.’
“In his message, Pope Francis ensures the FAO's Director-General, ‘The Holy See and the Catholic Church walk side by side with the FAO and those other entities and individuals who do their best to ensure that no human being sees his or her fundamental rights undermined or disregarded.’
“He concludes his message with words of encouragement: ‘May those who sow seeds of hope and harmony feel the support of my prayer, pleading that their initiatives and projects may be ever more fruitful and successful.’
With permission, Independent Catholic News, Source: Vatican News, Oct. 16th 2021
“Bishop John Sherrington, Lead Bishop for Life Issues for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has written an open letter inviting Catholics to pray for the defeat of the Assisted Dying Bill to be debated in the House of Lords in October.
“It encourages them to write to peers at the House of Lords stating the reasons why they oppose this legislation and particularly explain from personal experience the reasons why this change in the law should be opposed.
“It urges discussion and communication about this important matter.”
(With permission) Sep 8th 2021, Independent Catholic News [Source: CCN]
“The attention of most adults is primarily focused on what they consider to be the most important reality in the world- themselves, especially many clerics. Yet there is one overriding unassailable truth that stands above all else in the teaching of the founder of Christianity, Jesus of Nazareth.
“The truth that 2,382 billion Christians, including 1,329 billion Roman Catholics, have supposedly bound themselves to accept and obey is that children are the most important in the Kingdom of God. To accept, recognise and affirm a child with that exalted status and dignity is to accept Jesus himself.
“That's what he said and taught and for which he gave his life. He stood a child before them and declared, ‘Unless you change and become as innocent as this little child, you will never enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. The greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child, and whoever welcomes in my name one such child, welcomes me.’ (Matthew 18:1-5)”
With permission, Independent Catholic News, Oct. 8th 2021
The Top 10 family values according to ‘The Bible and Catholics’ website.
“Adoption - The Holy Family (Matthew 1:18-25)
"We start with our ultimate model of family. The family God provided for his own Son. A young woman of great faith and a just man who took on the role of adoptive father. Joseph’s adoption of Jesus plays a key role in the Holy Family.
"What we know of Joseph’s life reveals the love and service towards others that comes with adoption. Joseph is protector of Mary and Jesus, and listens to God’s direction through his dreams to guide his family to safety (Matthew 2:13-15). From Joseph, Jesus would have learnt the importance of work and skills, and the stability that comes from a love between parents. It is also significant that through adoption into Joseph’s family, Jesus is born into the family line of King David and God’s promise that it will produce a Messiah who will bring into being God’s kingdom of Justice and peace.
"Adoption is a wonderful life-giving gift, both for the adopted son or daughter and for the adopting parents. It is a beautiful parallel that just as Jesus, through adoption, shares Joseph’s family life so we through baptism, share the life of Jesus in the family of God."
“Forgiveness – Joseph’s Family (Genesis 37, 39-45)
“Looking back to the Old Testament, we encounter an earlier Joseph and the dramatic story of him and his family. We hear of how Jacob had twelve sons but loved the young Joseph more than all the others and how the brothers jealous of this love sold their brother into slavery. Joseph goes on to endure years of suffering, he is sold, wrongfully imprisoned, and apparently forgotten. However, his story turns around when he is the only person that can reveal the meaning behind Pharaoh’s dream (with his special gift from God) and he is suddenly elevated to power and responsibility working for Pharaoh. Meanwhile, Joseph’s brothers also seem to be suffering as a result of their actions, they endure terrible guilt as they witness the grief of their father day-after-day. The story has a happy ending though. Joseph is reunited with his brothers when they travel to Egypt during the famine to request grain. They do not recognise Joseph at first and so he is able to test them and discover that they are truly repentant for their past actions. Once he knows this, Joseph reveals himself and offers them his forgiveness and the family is reunited. This great story becomes the foundation story of the forming of the 12 tribes of Israel and the understanding that all families and states depend on mutual forgiveness and reconciliation.”
“Peace – Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:19-34, 27 and 32-33)
“Joseph’s father Jacob had his own experience of family drama. The intense rivalry between him and his twin brother Esau which almost ended in war. The Bible tells us that Jacob and Esau had been fighting since the womb. Rivalry among siblings can take many forms, it can be rivalry over academic excellence, sporting success or rivalry over a parent’s attention and praise. In this case, it was rivalry over their father’s blessing and inheritance. Jacob, though the younger brother, managed to deceive his blind father into giving him the blessing. Esau was furious and threatened to kill Jacob and so Jacob flees. Years later, Jacob is fearful when he hears that Esau is marching towards him with hundreds of men, he thinks that Esau is coming to fight him and so readies himself for a battle whilst also trying to appease his brother with gifts. Amazingly, Esau greets Jacob with a hug and not a fight. It is not clear why Esau greets Jacob peacefully. Perhaps because he has forgiven Jacob, or because he values reconciliation with his brother over winning the rivalry, or because he was pleased to receive the gifts from Jacob, or because God had moved his heart towards peace. God is the source of true peace (Leviticus 26:6; Psalm 29:11; John 14:27), he brings order and completeness out of chaos and offers us peace with him through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).”
“Mercy – The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)
“Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son reveals to us the love that God the Father has for us all. A selfish younger son asks for the inheritance he will receive when his father dies while his father is still alive. And the father who loves him gives it to him, but he soon squanders it all in reckless living. For a while, pride keeps him from seeking help from his family and he ends up working and living in a pig-sty. However, when he does return, he is welcomed back as a new son. His father, who has been waiting for him to come home, immediately shows his long lost son mercy and forgiveness. The brother is called to share in this welcome but appears bitter. The parable ends on a cliff hanger so we don’t know if the elder brother will be as joyful as their father is in their family’s reunion. The question hangs over us as to whether we who live in the mercy of God every day, show mercy to those who have strayed and returned needing welcome and forgiveness?”
“Hospitality – The widow and her son meet Elijah (1 Kings 17:7-16)
“The story of this single mother and child’s life-transforming interaction with the great prophet Elijah started with a simple act of hospitality. The widow could have been too consumed with fear and grief for herself and her son to respond to Elijah when he asked for water. However, she extends hospitality sharing the last of her food, and Elijah responds through miraculously multiplying her flour and oil so that she never runs out during the famine. What’s even more wonderful about this story is that God knows this woman’s hospitable heart, because he tells Elijah that she will provide for him. God sees and knows our acts of hospitality when we welcome others into our family home, no matter how much or how little we have to share, it is always honoured and blessed by God.”
“PRAYER – SIMEON AND ANNA (LUKE 2:25-38)
“Often, it is those who are older in age who become the prayer warriors of our families and churches. When younger people tend to want everything in the here and now, older people can provide a long-term perspective, they are our living memory. They can set the example of faithful service, patience and trust in God’s promises. Simeon and Anna are two such people who are honoured in the Bible. Simeon is described as righteous and devout and Anna as someone who did not depart from the temple, worshipping with fasting and prayer night and day. Both are present when Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the Temple as a new-born, and both recognise that in Jesus all of their prayers have been answered. How amazing it must have been for them, who had believed they would see this day, that their countless prayers and hopes had been answered and they could now die in peace. They remind us just how significant the prayers of our grandparents and all who are older in years are, and that we should always cherish them. This year Pope Francis has instituted a World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly and it will be held on the fourth Sunday of July in churches across the globe.
“BELONGING – THE CHURCH FAMILY (EPHESIANS 2:19-22)
“There’s a deep desire in every one of us to belong. Unfortunately, that desire for belonging can sometimes be misplaced, either in persons or ways of looking at the world, but in Christ we are given the opportunity to belong not only to him but to one another through our adoption into God’s family. To belong to God’s family, at its core, is to follow Jesus’s two commandments to love God and one another (Mark 12:30-31), just as Jesus said ‘For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50)
“For some of us who don’t have families or have difficult relationships with family members, being part of God’s family means gaining a loving father (God), mother (Mary) and older brother (Jesus) and quite a few less than perfect church siblings!
“CELEBRATION – THE WEDDING AT CANA (JOHN 2:1-11)
“The wedding at Cana like a modern wedding drew together family and friends from far and wide. Celebrations and holidays are an opportunity to reconnect with family members and to thank God for his grace and generosity. It wouldn’t have been expected by the Jewish leaders at the time that the promised messiah’s first public miracle would involve turning water into wine at a wedding feast, but thankfully, Jesus’ concern for the wedding couple (and an arm twist from mum) reveals that God loves a joyful celebration. We are all invited to the heavenly banquet with all saints and sinners, called by God. Something of that joy should be in every Mass when we celebrate with Jesus the free meal of the family of God.”
“HOPE – MARY, MARTHA, LAZARUS AND JESUS (JOHN 11:1-44)
“Grief and despair is something we all have to face at some point. Some of Jesus’ closest friends were the siblings Mary, Martha and Lazarus, and they experience a family tragedy when Lazarus dies. When Lazarus dies Jesus too experiences grief for a lost friend. It’s here that we read the shortest and possibly one of the most powerful verses in Scripture – ‘Jesus wept’. Mary and Martha both show their deep faith and hope in Jesus when they meet with him. Jesus seems to use the situation to show that not only can he prevent death, but he is ‘the resurrection and the life’ for all who believe when he raises Lazarus from the dead. In this incidence, we get a snapshot of the future hope that awaits us, when death will no longer separate us from our loved ones.
“LOYALTY – RUTH & NAOMI (BOOK OF RUTH)
“This story seems very far removed from our modern day context, however, at its heart is a great example of loyalty between family members.
“Ruth could have left her mother-in-law after the death of her husband, Naomi’s son; indeed Naomi suggests this and her other daughter-in-law chooses this option. However, Ruth chooses to stay by the side of her mother-in-law. If Ruth had chosen to leave, she could have remarried and started again. Yet, Naomi would have been left completely alone, as both her sons had died, and she had no other immediate family around her. At the time, the custom allowed for Ruth to marry a distant relative of Naomi’s and through him, she could provide an heir for her deceased first husband. This is the part that seems very strange to us nowadays, but is ultimately what happens for Ruth, and through this Naomi receives a grandchild and heir for her line. It also ends happily for Ruth as she finds a great husband in Boaz. God honours the generous loyalty of Ruth because she is now protected, and included in the genealogy line of King David, and later Jesus.”
With permission, The God Who Speaks, 22nd June 2021
“Who do you think you are biblically?
“We've prepared this new resource to help you discover more about your extended family in the Bible and their life stories.
“… Who do you relate to most in Scripture? Who would feature in your family tree? And what can we learn from them? Share [this resource] in your parish for the Year of the Family.”
[Download the file at this link.] https://www.godwhospeaks.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Who-do-you-think-you-are-biblically.pdf
With permission, The God Who Speaks, 30th June 2021
“Following the Pope’s lead, Bishop John Sherrington has encouraged Catholics to write to Peers about the upcoming Assisted Suicide Bill. Sarah Ward explains the background.
“’Year on year we have seen the so-called ‘Assisted dying’ lobby attempt to introduce changes to the laws that exist to protect the terminally ill and the vulnerable,’ writes Sarah, pro-life representative on the Diocesan Marriage and Family Life Commission. ‘This has been done with a series of proposals to Parliament such as the current Bill due for debate or by test cases brought in the name of individuals.’
“’Very often these focus on heart-wrenching hard cases, and words like ‘dignity, ‘autonomy’ and ‘compassion’ are cleverly misused to sway our emotions on this complex issue. Whilst we continue to fight against this threat to the sanctity of all human life, we must be on our guard against the manipulations of the mainstream media who increasingly show strong bias towards the legalisation of assisted suicide. Please do write to members of the House of Lords.’”
(With permission) Eldred Willey, Sep 27th 2021, Diocese of East Anglia
Download the text of Bishop Sherrington’s message here,
"’I would like to thank all those who have prayed that this Bill might be defeated and who have written letters to Peers sharing their experiences and opposition to the Bill. The Bill has now passed to Committee Stage, without a vote, as is the convention of the House. Given that it is not supported by the Government, it will likely run out of time and not become law. We will continue to scrutinise and challenge this legislation in the months ahead.’”
With permission, Independent Catholic News, Source: CBCEW, Oct. 25th 2021
“…From 14th to 22nd October, in the lead up to the Second Reading [of the Assisted Dying Bill in the House of Lords], the bishops encourage the faithful to unite for nine days of prayer, seeking the intercession of St John Paul II, as part of our efforts to help defeat this attempt to legalise assisted suicide.
“Prayer “Merciful God, we pray with thanks and gratitude for the great spiritual gift of Saint John Paul II's apostolic life and mission. Through his heavenly intercession we ask that the 'Assisted Dying' Bill be defeated and that the infinite worth of each human person is upheld through proper investment in palliative care. Grant also that we may grow in love for You and proclaim boldly the love of Jesus Christ to all people. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen”
With permission, Independent Catholic News, Oct.10th 2021
“March for Life UK will be taking place in September as an actual, in-person event to inspire, educate and motivate the nation to value all life from the moment of conception.
“The March will be in London on Saturday September 4. In the morning the Life Fest will take place from 10.00 – 13.00 in the Emmanuel Centre, Marsham St, London, SW1P 3D.
“Pro-Life organisations from around the UK will be showcasing their work. There will be inspiring speakers, moving testimonies, live music, pro-life merchandise, pro-life tots, kids and teens’ activities, selfie stands and much more.
“The March will take place from 13.30 – 16.00. Pilgrims from the diocese of East Anglia are encouraged to congregate together outside the Emmanuel Centre at 1pm and walk under the banner of Our Lady of Walsingham.
“Please contact Sarah Ward on firstname.lastname@example.org to let her know you will be attending. “In June Sarah took part in the online March for Life livestream ‘Raising a ProLife Family’ https://vimeo.com/563452426.”
(With permission) Eldred Willey, July 21, 2021, The Diocese of East Anglia,
We welcome the Icon of St Joseph and the Holy Family which has be traveling around the diocese for the Year of St Joseph and the Family. The icon was painted by our parish priest, Fr Luke Goymour.
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Permission to reprint, podcast, and / or stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE with license M-401533. All rights reserved.
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The Roman Catholic Parish of Brandon and Mildenhall is part of the Diocese of East Anglia covering Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and the Unitary Authority of Peterborough within the Province of Westminster, part of the Catholic Church of England and Wales in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.