August 30, 2012 1 Comment
August 21, 2012 Leave a comment
The Archdiocese of Melbourne now has a Shrine of the Holy Family. St Mary’s West Melbourne has now been dedicated as a place of prayer for and promotion of the Family.
This entrustment to the Holy Family of Nazareth will send a much needed message to the community that family life is something precious to be nurtured and protected, enabling its members to be secure and to flourish; and that the apostolate for marriage and family conducted from the Shrine of the Holy Family will have a broad influence to uphold the integrity of Christian marriage and family life.
August 15, 2012 Leave a comment
This morning our athletes arrived home from the Olympics, to be greeted by the Prime Minister, dignitaries and their families and friends. Although the medalists traveled at ‘the pointy end of the plane’ and were greeted with a handshake from the prime minister, all were cheered and supported as they returned home, winners or not. For most of our athletes, participating in the olympics has come at the end of a lifetime of training, hard work and sheer determination, and although there were plenty of tears when medals were lost, the general feeling was of pride and achievement just to have got as far as they did.
Today though, the Church celebrates an even more glorious homecoming. After a lifetime of dedicated service, of faith and of trust in the Lord, Our Blessed Mother was
assumed into heaven where her Son and his Father welcomed her with more than a handshake and a pat on the back but with a crown of eternal glory.
This great solemnity reminds us all of the place being prepared for each one of us, and that death is not the end for those who live faithful lives but as Pope Benedict XVI said on this day in 2008 “even though our daily life may be marked by trials and difficulties, it flows like a river to the divine ocean, to the fullness of joy and peace. We understand that our death is not the end but rather the entrance into life that knows no death. Our setting on the horizon of this world is our rising at the dawn of the new world, the dawn of the eternal day.”
As we celebrate with joy the earthly achievements of our Olympians, let us celebrate with even greater joy the heavenly achievements of our Blessed Mother, who goes before each one of us, leading us to her son, and to our own glorious homecoming.
By her Assumption is meant that not only her soul, but her body also, was taken up to heaven upon her death, so that there was no long period of her sleeping in the grave, as is the case with others, even great Saints, who wait for the last day for the resurrection of their bodies (Blessed John Henry Newman)
August 11, 2012 2 Comments
Two news items from the past few weeks of olympics action:
Firstly thanks to news.va it has been reported that every day of the Olympics, three Masses are being celebrated for athletes within the Olympic Village. Among all religious services on offer it is reported that Catholic Mass has had the highest attendance.
I am delighted to be able to report that aside from there being three masses celebrated everyday within the athlete’s village itself, specifically for the athletes and officials, the highest attendance at any of the religious services is at daily Mass. There are a number of athletes and officials from various nations who are coming there every day and they are placing Christ at the beginning and the centre of all they do”, says James Parker, Catholic Executive Coordinator for the 2012 London Games.
CNA reports that Ethiopian athlete Meseret Defar who won the 5000 meter race carried with her an image of the Madonna and Child which following her win she took out and showed the crowd and the awaiting media.
A teary-eyed Defar proudly showed the picture of the Virgin Mary with the Baby Jesus that she carried with her for the entire race.
August 10, 2012 3 Comments
I finally took the plunge earlier this week and spent the $19 on the Josemaria App from iTunes. The final straw was that this priest is a little sceptical of the role of the new media in the Church, and therefore his recommendation for an app carried further weight.
Full of prayers and readings, mostly from St Josemaria himself, the app is useful for a number of reasons but the most impressive function I have found in the last week has been the reminder setting.
My Parish Priest has been away for two weeks now and I have been amazed how many more times my mobile has rung in my pocket than usual, a reminder of a meeting, an urgent email, a phone call from the office, the school or the funeral director. The buzzing pocket is a phenomenon that our forefathers never had to worry about, and more often draws us away from what we are doing to something more urgent or something we have forgotten.
This week though, thanks to the Josemaria App, the buzz in my pocket has not only been a reminder of work, but a call to prayer. It has been nice to take the phone out and see “It’s time to visit the Blessed Sacrament” or It’s time to pray the rosary”.
Whereas the Church bells of old would call the farmers to lay down their tools and recite the Angelus, now no matter where we are, trough the power of technology, we have a useful reminder of the importance of snatching moments of prayer in our busy lives.
August 10, 2012 2 Comments
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of St Lawrence, Deacon and martyr.
Lawrence was one of the seven deacons of Rome, who served the Holy Father Pope Sixtus II, with the special responsibility to caring for the poor. In 258 the emperor Valerian ordered that all bishops, priests and deacons be put to death, and on the 6th of August of the same year captured Pope Sixtus and four of his deacons as they celebrated Holy Mass in the Catacombs and had them beheaded. Subsequenty two more of the deacons were captured and put to death, leaving only Lawrence.
The Emperor called Lawrence to him and demanded that in three days, he present all of the Church’s riches to him. After three days, Lawrence arrived with the poor, sick and lame of Rome, and presented them to Valerian, announcing that here were the treasures of the Church. In response Valerian had him put to death, by gridiron, in other words he was burnt to death on a grill. (As only the Catholic Church could do, St Lawrence is seen as patron of Chefs).
So often when we look to the Martyrs we use their examples as inspiration for the white martyrdom of daily life, giving of our lives in the small things, giving till it hurts, offering our sufferings to God as form of mortification. Yet we must be aware that Christians even today are still being martyred for their beliefs in various parts of our world. The account of one such occurrence, the kidnapping and murder of Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho in 2008 can be found here.
In 2004 Pope John Paul II, who himself was all to aware of the persecution of Christians in our own time said:
“They may be relatively few who are called to make the supreme sacrifice, but all Christians must be ready to give consistent witness each day, even at the cost of suffering and serious sacrifices. We really need a commitment that is at times heroic in order not to give in, even in daily life, to the difficulties that urge us to compromise, and in order to live the Gospel ‘sine glossa’.”
In the secular climate we live in, we must all be aware, that our defence of the weak and vulnerable, and our tireless promotion of the true, the good and the beautiful, may one day demand of us the ultimate sacrifice. Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, after the passing of Civil union legislation in America said:
I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.
Let us pray that through the intercession of St Lawrence, and all the Church’s Martyrs, we may have the strength to continue to proclaim the truth of the Gospel, in the face of the ever growing secularism.
Blessed Lawrence showed forth the fire of his love for you, both by faithful service and glorious martyrdom.
Make us to love the things which he loved,
and to do the works that he taught.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
August 9, 2012 Leave a comment
He spoke of St John Vianney, whose feast it was:
God’s choices are not always the same as the world’s. God chose a young country teenager to become the God-bearer, the mother of God. About eighteen hundred years later he chose a young man who received no early education in the chaos after the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon, struggled as a seminarian especially with the Latin language (then the language of instruction), and was ordained with only the grudging recommendation of the seminary staff. He was then appointed to a tiny village, a backwater in every sense in rural France with a population of 230 people, Ars-sur-Formans. We know this poor prospect as St. John Vianney, the patron of parish clergy and the only parish priest to be canonised.
He is remarkable for the sheer hard work of his day-to-day priestly life, for his service of his people. Apparently he was known to have spent eighteen hours a day in the confessional, hearing up to 300 confessions a day, allegedly gnawing on cold potatoes for some nourishment. For him priesthood meant prayer and penance, hard work and service, and more hard work and service. And it was his high concept of priesthood which inspired this ceaseless activity.
For him “the priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus” and the greatness of the priesthood did not inflate his self-centredness or self-importance “because if a priest realized what he is he would die”.
“Without the priest”, he wrote: “the passion and death of Our Lord would be of no avail. It is the priest who continues the work of redemption here on earth . . . . What use would be a house filled with gold, where there was no-one to open its door? The priest holds the key to the treasures of heaven: it is he who opens the door”.
We priests can be tempted to have a low theology of the priesthood today in the age of laity as an excuse for our mediocrity. If our role is not too special it is easier to succumb to our weaknesses or disappointments. Our saint often felt inadequate and he acknowledged that the great misfortune of many parish clergy is that “our souls grow tepid”, lacking in energy and awareness of the supernatural and hardened and indifferent to the sin around us.