Feasts and Saints

St Alphonsus in old age
31 October marks the 400th anniversary of the death of St Alphonsus Rodriguez SJ (1533-1617), St Alphonsus is a striking example of the transforming power of divine grace. He was gifted with a unique spiritual resilience enabling him to integrate prayer and humble service. That is what makes him stand out as a model for all generations.  St Alphonsus figures as one of the saints who impacted Pope Francis’ spirituality in a new book by Sean Salai SJ: “All the Pope’s Saints: The Jesuits Who...
Assumption of the Virgin Mary by Rubens Credit Wikimedia
‘DOGMA’ has become a ‘boo-word’. Rather than its original Christian definition ‘a tenet of Christian faith’ or ‘the authoritative teaching of the Church’ the Oxford dictionary now includes the meaning ‘an arrogant declaration of opinion.’ The negative definition may have evolved through widespread criticisms of the way the Catholic Church has historically enforced its teachings, especially via the CDF (the Congregation of the Faith), formerly called the Holy Office. This Congregation has until...
Oscar Romero street art
            Julian Filochowski, Chair of The Romero Trust, reminds us why there will be so many celebrations this year to mark the centenary of the birth of a modern martyr on 15 August.  This article first appered in Jesuits and Friends magazine issue 97.This Romero Centenary Year is a time to remember and to cherish the life, ministry and martyrdom of a valiant and prophetic contemporary pastor. As we wait confidently for the...
Michael Beattie SJ
Year by year, the world over, Jesuit priests and brothers come together on 3lst July to celebrate the feast day of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. The community here at Farm Street is no exception and as Jesuits we are always delighted to share the Eucharist and this celebration with you all and we thank you for being with us this evening.The Pamplona war wounds in the form of a shattered leg and a lengthy and very painful convalescence were the start of a life changing experience for St. Ignatius....
A man holds a loaf of bread
I think I know how John the Baptist must have felt when everywhere he went people kept asking him “Are you Elijah – come back from the dead?”. Everywhere I went in Guyana, people always used to ask me: “Are you related to Bryan O’Reilly?”To which I had to respond: “only as brothers in the Lord”. It seemed to disappoint them hugely. One couple came to see me from three hundred miles away in Brazil because they had heard that Fr O’Reilly was back in the Amazon and were so disappointed that my...
Credit jtdirl at Wikipedia
‘SPIRITUALITY’ is a word that the famous and very popular Jewish Rabbi, writer, and broadcaster Lionel Blue said he felt uneasy and uncomfortable to use, “because,” he wrote “I am not a see-through spirit.” It is easy to see what he meant. Spirituality can seem to exclude all the normal human pleasures and practicalities of human life, and can be an unfortunately woolly word sometimes cloaking some pretty woolly religious thinking. Yet we need the word to cover the spiritual needs of human life...
Humpty Dumpty and Alice John Tenniel via Wikimedia Commons
In the fantastic world which Lewis Carroll describes in his book Through the Looking Glass, the young Alice meets a whole host of very strange creatures. Among them is an old sheep who spends her time knitting while running a small shop which is packed with curious things. After peering around for some time, Alice decides to buy an egg, and when she takes it with her it gets larger and larger and more human – complete with an enormous face. The large human egg is called Humpty Dumpty, who finds...
Credit Sebastian Kanczok via Unsplash
‘Send forth your spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth.’ These words  from Psalm 104 (103) characterise not only the ancient Jewish view of the Spirit of God annually renewing the face of the natural world with flowering plant life, but also a widespread belief in the activity of a divine Spirit in many religious cultures around the world, both ancient and modern. All life is thereby seen in them as a divine gift of God to a divine creation.The Hebrew...
Asparagus by Tiffany Gallen on Unsplash
Not everyone likes asparagus.I know this because Glen - an American friend of mine - has recently “come out” as an asparagus hater after many years of silent suffering, false smiles and little white lies. But his thin veneer of civilization finally cracked last Thanksgiving at the family dinner (for Brits, think Christmas dinner, but with more patriotism). And he still believes that it would never have happened if his dad hadn’t insisted on a second round of bourbon before dinner. (Again for...
Clouds - Credit Emilia Syldatk via Unsplash
 “Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you.”When I was growing up, there was a very great leader of the Catholic church in my country who seemed for me, as a small boy, to embody the entire personality of the Church. I won’t tell you his name but he was the then Cardinal Archbishop. In every way, he was a big man - 68 when I knew him. 6 foot 4 inches...

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