Feasts and Saints

Sun breaking through the clouds
If you have problems with prayer, read on. The God we imagine and then try to meet in prayer is generally thought of as pretty lifeless, dull, flat, colourless, genderless, sexless and lacking in humour, creativity and understanding. We feel that our friends and our distractions are more interesting and life giving than God. We would rather spend time with our friends and our amusements and interests than with God, rather take our chances with them than with God. That is understandable, given...
crib with crocodile
It was childish, I know, but…Many moons ago I worked in an office where the construction of a small, simple crib, placed on a narrow mantle-piece, was one of the marks of the upcoming Christmas. It was a traditional scene – Mary, Joseph, the Baby Jesus etc… You can probably visualise the regular cast of characters.But somewhere in its journey this particular crib had become home to a small plastic crocodile. The Crocodile – a small toy – had its origins in some long-forgotten game or display,...
A cross
Jesus revealed his glory to the disciples to strengthen them for the scandal of the Cross. His glory shone from a body like our own to show that the Church, which is the Body of Christ, would one day share his glory.' Preface of TransfigurationIn other words, the transformation of Christ is a sign of the transformation open to all Christians. As we hear in the Canon of this Mass, beyond the horizon of death 'we shall see you, our God, as you are; we shall become like you and praise you for ever...
The more we use a prayer formula, the less we attend to the words used: what counts is the thought or intention or just the feeling that happens to go with the formula. However, from time to time it pays to reflect ("meditate" St Teresa would say) on the actual words being used. And the "Hail Mary" can serve as an example. One can try to reformulate the familiar words in terms that echo the way we speak today. Different people will search for different expressions. But here is one person's...
Statue of our lady with a crown of 12 stars, in Attard (Malta)
At a parish church where I often go on a Sunday, we have a big Portuguese community. And in the Church, they have put up a big statue of Our Lady of Fatima. It’s a statue of our lady Queen of Heaven, so the statue has an enormous gilt crown, a big red heart (which glows in the dark after you put the lights out) and a small white plastic rosary. And every Sunday, they put an enormous number of flowers and candles around it. And on special Marian feast days, they put extra ornaments on it – I...
Suscipe
At the garden exit, where you are invited to go after this Mass to enjoy refreshments and typical Farm Street socialising, you will see a fine statue of St. Ignatius. He looks steadily ahead, serene, strong, trusting in the Lord. He holds an open book on which is printed AMDG- Ad maiorem Dei gloriam- to the greater glory of God. Many of you here learnt to write those initials on your school or college exercises. The book he is holding really represents two books: the Spiritual Exercises, a...
This year marks the 155th anniversary of the opening of the Jesuit-run Church of the Sacred Heart at Lauriston Street, Edinburgh.Looking back 300 years, the position of the Jesuits in Scotland, and indeed the Catholic Church, was not such a happy one:‘The monasteries nearly are all in ruins … churches, altars, sanctuaries are overthrown and profaned … No religious rite is celebrated in any part of the kingdom, no Mass is ever said in public … and none of the Sacraments publicly administered...
Young man raises fist along with many people in a square in El Salvador
The celebrations for the Beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero lasted three days, officially, although the people of San Salvador are still celebrating.On Friday 22nd May, I spent a long day preparing the bloodstained shirt which Romero was wearing when he was murdered (see below), and then placed it in the newly made reliquary. This was a lengthy and complicated piece of conservation, as the shirt is fragile and the bloodstains have made the fabric brittle. I made a cushion out of...
Blessed Oscar Romero
On Monday 24 March 1980 at 6.26pm, Oscar Arnulfo Romero was shot dead at the altar with a single marksman’s bullet in the middle of a Mass he was celebrating in the chapel of the cancer hospital where he lived.The next day an urgent telegram was received from London: “Supreme sacrifice of Archbishop Romero is climax of his peaceful struggle for poor and oppressed.  Will inspire all to continue his Christian witness.  Grieve with Church of El Salvador on loss of incomparable pastor....
Excerpt From The Homily Preached By Pope Piux XI At The Canonisation Of St Andrew Bobola SJ
The life of St. Andrew  Bobola, S.J., (1591-1657)According to modern hagiography, Andrew Bobola, S.J., did not differ much from other priests or his fellow Jesuits in terms either of pursuing holiness in his daily life or of his missionary zeal. The argument for that is that there was a silence and nobody would remember much about him for 50 years after his death, which happened in 1657.  The history of devotion to him started in 1702, when the martyr appeared in the visions of the...

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