Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Unity of Christian Community in Scarborough

‘See, they say, how they love one another’, the brilliant quote from the early Father of the Catholic Church Tertullian, described exactly what we felt in Scarborough. Such a faithful and united community, so many generous people gather in only one place. We went there in a mission to evangelise at schools, to promote a youth club, which by the way I think a brilliant initiative and we end up being evangelised by such faithful community.

 Pope Benedict XVI requested us to pray for the unity of the Catholic Church, this unity we had the grace to
see in Scarborough; by this witness we could see that generosity in words and acts is enough to evangelise, you don’t need to talk about God when your acts speak louder than your words. We did street evangelisation and also evangelised children at schools aged 5 to 10 years old, explaining what is lent, how to live it and why the Easter is the ‘J.O.Y.’ (Jesus, Others, Yourself) for Christians.

The youth club is a group of children, usually sons and daughters of the parishioners, that gather every Monday night for 2 hours in the parish centre to play. Nowadays it is such a brilliant idea of creating a community of kids to play in your parish, to develop friendships in an environment that will help them to grow in their faith. I believe that all of you, as well as I, remember the good times of playing with other friends and how many of those friends we will carry on for a lifetime. Friends that can relate with you, understand you, and most importantly at that age play with! In this world of virtual realities and technologies, the most precious goods still is time and people that combined with the power of the Holy Spirit blossom in a wonderful community of love and charity.


Sunday, 13 May 2012

Word on Fire ministries: CATHOLICISM (mid-way point)

What does it mean to be Catholic? If that question is echoing in your head, do not be worried! It is a good sign that suggests we are getting serious about our Faith. Faith is such a gift that we need to hand over to others. And... here we are, between 80 and 100 Catholics and non-Catholics gather together in St. Patricks Community Centre to deepen their Faith or discover the truth every Wednesday (with a one-off session yesterday!). Yes, this program called Catholicism is making headway across parishes and dioceses all over the world – even as you read. It was developed and produced by Word On Fire ministries and is hosted by New Evangelisation advocate Fr. Robert Barron. Each episode of the 10 session course focuses on a specific aspect of the Catholic faith, for example, Jesus is Lord or the communion of saints.

We open the sessiosn with music and prayer, then an introduction is given from Fr. Richard Nesbitt, who is the vocations director to the Diocese of Westminster and also heading the course . Afterward, we watch the film together, which leads on to group discussions – which are an essential part of the pilgrimage of Catholicism. We ae divided into 9 groups for reflection, discussion and passing the Faith onto one another.

The Catechesis, even though really good, is singular in direction. We realise that our Faith is relational, and has vertical and horizontal components. Here, we have lovely group which is pretty much a family in Christ. We have been given the grace to develop our Christian friendships with each other and grow in it. Thanks be to God, people look enthusiastic, are full of spirit; and obviously that is the work of the Holy Spirit that we have been seeing so far. For this reason, we think that the small group sharing is one of the most important aspects of this course.

We are grateful because two weeks ago, Fr. Robert Barron came along to St. Patrick’s. He gave some talks, and a Q and A session to the audiences about the Faith and also some “behind the scene” stories. He talked about His experience involved with this project related with the new evangelisation.What led him to produce this series, he shared,was his concern about the culture of the world, and his desperation about what to do to evangelise. Based on that situation, His friend asked him, “What would you do?”. We might ask that question as well to ourselves, “What would I do to pass on the Faith, Hope and Love of Christ and His Church?”. Let’s think about the small things in our daily life, but we do it with a big heart! God bless...


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Mary's Month: May

Image source:

The first of May – a day packed with great importance; the feast day of St Joseph the Worker, a year since Pope John Paul II was beatified, Claz’s birthday, Edna’s Baptismal birthday and the first day of a whole month dedicated to Our Blessed Mother Mary!  This month gives us a chance to reflect on Mary, her life, and our devotion to her.  It is a great opportunity to deepen our relationship with Mary.  Mary is the perfect model for us in living a life faithful to God, even through struggles.  At the Annunciation Mary gave her ‘fiat’, her great 'Yes', to God and through all her sorrows she maintained this 'Yes' even to the foot of the Cross.

Mary is not only our Mother but also our Teacher.  She teaches us everything about her Son, especially through reciting the Rosary which is a Marian prayer but at the heart of it is the message of the Gospel, the life of Jesus.  Each set of mysteries takes a different aspect of the life of Jesus; Joyful: Childhood of Jesus; Luminous: Public life; Sorrowful: Passion and death of Jesus; Glorious: Resurrection and Glorification.  By praying the Rosary Mary holds our hands guiding us through the life of Jesus, pointing us to Jesus and offering guidance in our own lives.

Our Blessed Mother played a big part in me starting to return to my faith nine years ago.  I had the opportunity to go on a pilgrimage to Lourdes in France.  The atmosphere of prayer and love of Our Lady really impacted me.  For the next six years I went to Lourdes and each year I learnt more and more.  I was growing in my faith and in my relationship with God and Our Lady.  I began to pray to Mary more, especially the Rosary.  Through praying the Rosary I felt God answered many questions I had and decisions I needed to make.

Another shrine to Our Lady that I now love to visit is Knock. Our Lady appeared on 21st August 1879.  As a child my family would visit Knock quite regularly, probably at least once a year, but it meant nothing to me until a few years ago. Spending a few days in Knock, taking proper time to pray, I began to truly appreciate the beauty and significance of this small village where Our Blessed Mother truly appeared. It blew me away that I had this place, where Mary had appeared, so close to me.

Our Blessed Mother Mary is so wonderful and beautiful that there just aren’t words to describe her and all she does for us.  During this month dedicated to Mary I would encourage everyone to turn to Mary in prayer and intercession.  Take time to learn about Mary, to look at her life and allow her to show you how to live your lives centred on her Son.  Let her teach you about her Son, for no one is closer to the Son than His Holy Mother.

Prayers and God bless