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The Spirit Is Blowing

The Spirit Is Blowing

Isidore and I are twin brothers; both of us Dominican priests. Working together, with the assistance of Skype, we have produced numerous meditations which have been published on various media outlets. On this website we shall now be sharing with you a series of mini meditations on the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Later we shall touch on the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.

PROLOGUE 1

I shall never forget that glorious day when we were standing on the deck of a schooner   sailing between the islands of Grenada and Carriacou.  There, at the foot of the mast we gazed up at the sails embracing the strong breeze that enabled   our boat to carve its way through the waves towards our destination.

St John tells us that “the wind blows where it pleases,” and that “so it is with everyone that is born of the Spirit,” (Jn. 3.8).  Now it has been said the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit may be compared to the sails of a boat awaiting the breeze that would be its driving force.

In this scenario we can see ourselves as being like the crew of the schooner with the choice of hoisting the sails  so that  their boat might  be enthusiastically on the move  or of  leaving them furled on deck with their tethered  boat  rocking  gently in  port. The obvious parallel is you and I content to be laid-back, lack-lustre Christians or ones eager to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Our Heavenly Father wants us to be activated by the Gifts of the Holy Spirit which we received at our Baptism. It was then that we became Temples of the Holy Spirit – dynamic people who would lead lives that gave great glory to God.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches): “By the Sacrament of Confirmation the baptized are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed,” (1285).

The Catechism also tells us:

“The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David. They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations,” (1831).

More about these Gifts next week in Prologue II

 

Peter Clarke O.P.

 

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Generosity! Extreme Generosity!

Generosity! Extreme Generosity!

One of the most impressive experiences of the Camino is the extreme generosity of so many people many of whom are on very tight budgets. It is as if the Camino attracts generous people from all over the world. 

I would like to give some stories of generosity that have touched me deeply. Two days ago I pulled into a town at around 11:30am, it was a lovely day, and the sun was shining and the sky blue. As I pulled into the first cafe a young Irish man saw me and before I could take off my knapsack he asked: "What are you drinking"? We sat for a while and had a pint together and then got up and were on our way going at different speeds. It was just his generosity. 

That same night a couple from Wisconsin went into a meat market to see the sausages, the place was closed but nonetheless the owner gave the couple some sausages. They cooked them and shared them out with all of us. 

Yesterday evening was the time to do a big laundry. I was putting together my dirty clothes to go to the washing machine to begin. Two other people in the room said: "Are you washing? Let us put a load together.”  We did, one of them paid to wash and the other to dry and neither would take money from me or the others. 

Last night also a young man from Germany asked me what I was doing for dinner. He said, “Join us”, his girlfriend and himself. Although we did not have a stove we managed with a microwave to cook a great pasta meal which we had with a bottle of wine which I bought. 

 

                      

 

These expressions of generosity are so common on the Camino. It is as if generosity is infectious on the way. 

Tonight I sleep in a different kind of Albergue. It is a Donativo; that is, for donation only. Pilgrims come and stay and have a meal at night and share the house of the family and then put a donation in a box when they are leaving. There is no agreed amount and no minimal payment. 

                                           

Here, people see generosity as part of the expected value system of the Camino and it works! You see, there are two ways of seeing the world: 1. a world which is a place of scarcity and one in which we must horde what we need, and 2. a world as a place of abundance and where there will always be more than enough. The first way is the system of the world; the second is that of Jesus and the Kingdom of God. 

On our inner Camino, how are we doing with generosity? Do we see abundance and act this way towards others by being extremely generous? Or do we see scarcity and hold back and horde. The early church demonstrated this abundance mentality in everything it did as is seen in the Acts of the Apostles.

 

Christians should be extremely generous! This was Jesus's witness. He gave everything He had. I invite you to reflect on generosity, how you receive it and how generous you are with you time talent and treasure. Remember, generous people are always very happy people.  If we fill the world with generosity, what a wonderful world it would be!

 

 

                       

 

+ Bishop Jason

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I Am The Vine

I Am The Vine

The day started differently! As I left the Albergue at 5:45 it was just getting light. My goal was to walk 30 Km; my longest distance so far. My first thought - why not get a taxi or bus part of the way? Yes, a temptation! I recognized the temptation and quickly understood that it was not about anyone knowing or not, rather, it was about me knowing and God knowing. Character after all is doing the right thing because it is right regardless of who may or may not see. 

This thought left me feeling like the doldrums; like I was focusing on the destination and not the journey; like I was focusing on the arrival and not on all the good stuff to be experienced while getting there. The prayer this morning was wonderful and the Office and the Morning Prayer of the Church was comforting. It was during the Rosary that it all began to tumble together. 

I was walking through vine country. There were vineyards one after the other for kilometers on end. I passed a modern vine dresser pruning the vine with a tractor and the penny dropped, finally! The biblical text jumped out:

 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunessup styl="box-sizing: border-box;" data-fn="#fen-NIV-26702a" data-link="[a]">[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15)

 

Wow! God was pruning me to be more fruitful.  He was helping me to see the thought patterns and actions in my life that are not I keeping with His Gospel standards.  We had an intense and wonderful conversation. At the end of it I said, “Father, prune me! I want to bear more fruit for you and your Kingdom”. 

 

Many times in our journey, we experience the negative in ourselves. If we are patient enough and attentive to the inner stirrings, we will hear the still voice of God inviting us to a new depth.  This is God pruning us so that we will bear fruit in abundance. Embrace the pruning and you will be surprised how much growth it allows and how fertile we become. Pruning comes from reflection on our faults, or through others pointing out imperfections, or from our realization we are not all we thought we were. Anyway, our ego is deflated and we are brought back to the truth - we are a complex mixture of Grace and weakness. But more than this, we are incredibly loved by God. That is why He wants us to remain in Him as He remains in us. Only through pruning can we experience the mystical Union to which we are all invited. 

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Companions on the Journey

Companions on the Journey

Today was a different kind of day. Usually I walk alone in silence and stay focused on the presence of God in all the beauty around. The overwhelming experience is gratitude; for the beauty, the nature, the landscape and the silence.

Today was a different day. During the 27 km that I walked I accompanied several people on the journey. This is interesting as word has gone out that there is a fellow pilgrim who is a Ronan Catholic Bishop. This has given me a unique insight into the pilgrims who accompany me on the way to Santiago. It has also allowed me to understand much more the experience of Jesus in his ministry. 

We read the bible and see the many episodes of Jesus ministering in public. When the gospels are analysed closely what emerges is that Jesus spent more time walking alone with the twelve than he spent in ministry in the towns. Many Gospel passages begin, "On the way"

To accompany people on the Camino is an interesting experience. They walk up to you and walk with you and engage in conversation. The exchange begins and eventually a real question arises and then a deep and profound conversation develops. Here is the trick, you have to be available and open and see the opportunity as a moment of Grace and not as a disruption. This means being attuned to Him while on your journey. 

How many times do people called or barge in and we treat them as disruptions because we have our day all planned and have everything tightly scheduled? Well I have been guilty of this many times. Today as people came, because I have abandoned this time to Him, I recognized the opportunity as one of Grace. 

 

Let us try to see the disruptions of life as opportunities to accompany people for a part of their journey. Many times what people crave the most is someone who can listen deeply and reflect back to them where Grace already exists. We are all invited to accompany others.  Let us be open to see disruptions as Grace.

 

 

 

+ Bishop J

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A Little Wine Gladdens The Heart

A Little Wine Gladdens The Heart

 

 

The sixth day of the Camino has a wonderful surprise. As you leave Estella there are two routes, the one that takes you directly away and an alternative route that takes you to the 'Fountain of Wine’.  You heard it right, a fountain with rich red wine flowing in a public space! It is spoken of by some nearly in mythological terms. So as I left this morning determined to confirm the truth or fiction of the fountain, a few of us stumbled upon it together. There was joy and complete delight as we pushed the leaver and saw red wine flowing in a public fountain. We drank it with delight and were filled with joy and gratitude.  As we were the more adventurous of the pilgrims, we went out of our way to take this route so as to experience one of the true marvels of the Camino.

In the Book of Isaiah (25:6ff), the prophet speaks about the “banquet of the Lord” with plenty of food and rich red wine.  Psalm 104:15 speaks about “wine to gladden the heart”. That was the experience this morning for the many pilgrims who drank from the fountain. Imagine placing a fountain with red wine in a public space and allowing all those who pass to drink as they would like? 

This is to me another image of the discipleship.  We are to be wine fountains in the public space that others may drink from to their delight. Drink the joy of the spirit, drink the joy of life, and drink the exuberance of God. In the ‘Joy of the Gospel’, Pope Francis spoke a lot about joy as a key ingredient for the disciple of our time. If you and I were like village fountains flowing with joy, giving freely to any pilgrim who passed, imagine the impact we could have on the world. 

Remember the first miracle of Jesus was producing an excessive amount of excellent wine. This was the first sign that allowed the disciples to believe He was the Christ. This evening we used this wine for the Eucharist, transforming it and us into the Joy of Christ. 

To be a wine fountain is to be a surprise to the fellow pilgrims as they experience and drink from your joy and are surprised by your generosity in giving joy and gladness to all who pass by. In this joy we give Christ.

 

 

 

 

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The Camino: Building Bridges

The Camino: Building Bridges

 

 

This morning leaving Puente la Reina I saw this image of the old medieval bridge lit by the rising sun, and it hit me - this is what the Camino is like. It creates connections between seemingly opposites, it captures the light and reflects beauty making it more glorious.

Every day a couple hundred people begin the Camino. They come from all walks of life, all ages, nationalities, beliefs and educational backgrounds. Somehow these people all find a way to relate and be helpful to each other and walk the way of St. James. 

There are young people who mix and hang out with old; people of different nationalities create communities and bond together. Why is it that on pilgrimage we can come together with one common purpose? Why is it that in the real world we seem to create gulfs rather than build bridges?

One thing I believe is that the identity of pilgrimage is such a powerful experience that it blurs all other identities as secondary. Those who began at St. Jean Pied du Port together have run into each other countless times. We now recognize each other and know the names of many. We are pilgrims, we live in Albergue's where we share dorms, bathrooms, dining rooms and we walk together. Five days into the Camino and we recognize and look out for each other. 

 

The Camino asks a question about the quality of community we build in church. Is this your experience of your parish? Or for that matter your family? So often we create divides between black and white, rich and poor, young and old, educated and uneducated. We see the external of each parishioner rather than the essential identity of discipleship. If we saw others as disciples first and then saw all other identities as secondary, it may help us to build intentional communities of equals. 

St. Paul, in Gal 3:28 says, In Christ Jesus there is no Greek, no Gentile, no man, no woman, no free, no slave.  Many believe this was a Baptismal formula. It was a primary identity for people entering into the community of Jesus. The early Christians, like the community of the Camino lived as a real community of equals sharing what they had to assist each other. We have lost this experience of community, not just in our churches, but also in our families, our villages and our communities.

What is interesting is that people, who have grown up with all these divisions in their lives, when they come to the Camino, learn to build bridges between all the divisions. 

 

If we want to make the inner pilgrimage let us commit to build bridges and see each other as disciples first and as such brothers and sisters created with incredible dignity specially loved by God. Let us be intentional in our families and parishes to build real communities of equals.

 

                                              

 

+Bishop J

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The Hardest Way Is Always the Best

The Hardest Way Is Always the Best

The third day of the Camino is much easier.  The big mountains are now behind and there are gentle slopes up and down for the whole journey of 23km. Around half way there was a sign pointing to a Church up a hill, about a 200 m steep rise, or you could continue along the low road to Pamplona. All the sign said was that the church was open. I looked up and it was indeed a climb to get there. I chose the harder way and visited the church of St. Stephen, the first martyr, which is situated in Esteribar. 

There to greet pilgrims were the friendliest nuns who were bursting with joy and enthusiasm. They had documents prepared on the history of the church and a Pilgrim Beatitude, which is a great reflection. The one who spoke English encouraged pilgrims to go up to the tower and ring the bell. What a great experience! 

I sat in the church and thanked God for these elderly joyful religious sisters of the Society of the Sacred Heart. As I sat to pray they turned on sacred chants and ensured that the place was quiet when other pilgrims came. I prayed and it was like touching heaven while on earth. The joy, the witness of their lives, the availability, the willingness to serve all, evoked images of the heavenly banquet. 

I could easily have chosen to taken the easy road and not climb another hill with sore bones and muscles hurting. Who needed one more hill? But I would have missed out on a surprise of pure joy. As I pondered on the experience I remembered the scripture passage; "Strive to enter through the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able" LK 13:24  I also remembered the poem by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken – “Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by…  And that has made all the difference.” 

How often along Life's pilgrimage do we choose the easy way out and are surprised that we get little or nothing out of life? Jesus’ teaching on choosing the harder way should be an inspiration for us on life's pilgrimage. The joy of the sisters was a witness to a life of choices of the road less traveled - the harder way. Their humble service and human touch showed people of deep character.

 

 

The next time you have a choice of two paths, choose the harder path and see what surprise awaits you there. As one pilgrim said to me on leaving the church "The harder path is always the better choice".

 

 

 

+ Bishop J

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Come Let Us Climb The Mountain Of The Lord

Come Let Us Climb The Mountain Of The Lord

 

This morning I was listening to Morning Prayer as I was walking out of Pamplona. This is my fourth day on Camino and I suppose I was having Monday morning blues; just not up and bright and ready to rock and roll. On top of that it was raining so I was trying to keep me and my backpack dry while walking. Maybe ‘under the weather’ is a better description. 

As I was praying Morning Prayer the antiphonal for the third psalm was "Come let us climb the mountain of the Lord." As I heard the Antiphon, I looked up and there it was - the mountain I had to climb today.  It was there, large as life! My whole disposition changed. I began kissing the ground with my feet as opposed to stomping. 

The whole text is:  “Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.”  What a text! What timing. The very moment I was about to ascend the text came and it changed everything. With Joy I ascended the mountain of the Lord. With a song in my heart I climbed. I wanted to go to God's house, to be instructed in his ways, that I may learn to walk in His paths. 

This is the power of God's Word in the liturgy. It speaks every day! But when we are in particular need it speaks directly. This morning the word spoke directly.  There were two reasons to climb; (1) That He may instruct us in His ways and (2) That we may walk in His paths. One cannot happen without the other. As we climb we are instructed by our sacrifice, our pain, being pushed to the limit, the recognition that life does not revolve around me! The climb is itself an instruction because we are being configured to Christ.  Romans 5:3 says; “…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope.”  Now that was my experience this morning. So, let us climb up the mountain of the lord!

What does this mean in the inner Pilgrimage? Making time and space for God to be God! Setting time to listen to his word, going to church with an expectation of encountering God! It means making scripture central in our lives and hearing it as God's word in this situation. 

 

The mountain in scripture is the place of encounter between God and His people; Abraham and Isaac, Moses, Elijah, Jesus all encountered God on mountains. We too can encounter Christ on the mountain. The Eucharist is the re-enactment of the crucifixion that happened on a mountain. The end of the text is most instructive - “That we may walk in his paths!”  This is the Camino, the (inner) pilgrimage we all desire to make to walk in His paths. So come with me on this pilgrimage. He is a God of surprises. Look what was waiting for me on top the mountain I climbed! 

 

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Your Life is in a bag

Your Life is in a bag

Have you ever noticed how many possessions we accumulate? We always need something in case of, 0r because we saw so and so with it, or because it was a good idea or on sale…  When you are on pilgrimage your life is in a bag. 

 

For 30 days on the road walking on average 25Km per day all you need has to fit in one bag – a bag that you carry on your back for the full 780 km journey. This definitely brings perspective and clarity.

 

I packed four times, taking everything out and putting it back again leaving out things on each packing. The bag got progressively lighter, but still not light enough. There are some who claim to keep their bag to 7 Kg. This is a task I cannot do. I left with a bag weighing 9 KG and that is without water which is essential and weighs an extra 2-3 kg. 

After walking with the backpack the first day, up and down hills, I realized that some things needed to go. Now a different kind of focus emerged- what I would like to have vs what I absolutely need. You see, you need to feel the pain in order to lighten the load.

When I was a scout I was taught two rules:  (1) Be prepared and (2) When on camp, be portable - the patrol must be able to walk with what they carry. These two go in very opposite directions. Portability requires minimal packing; preparedness requires ensuring you have things for every eventuality. We tend to go with being prepared. 

In life what do we really need to live?  I have come down to three sets of clothing - one always on, sleeping gear, towel, slippers, essential medication and water, a bivi,  a mass kit, and an iPhone for maps, guide books and communication for thirty days! This can still be reduced if necessary. The bivi is 7 Kg for sleeping outdoors. If I get stuck, this can go! The mass kit is 1 Kg but it cannot go. This evening I celebrate mass in the Alburgue with another priest and some Catholics who were overjoyed to have mass. This joy lightens the load. This is essential equipment. It is my life, so it is in the bag. Deciding what to dispose and what to keep is about life values.

When on the pilgrimage of life we accumulate because of the fear of “what if?”  Also, because of desire – “I like that”.  Because we have space to fit things we keep accumulating and not weeding out stuff. Have you ever tried to check in for an airline and your bag was too heavy? They make you pay. When you reach the pearly gates if you carry too much load what you think will happen? 

Detachment is an essential skill for anyone on the inner pilgrimage, just as it is for those on the Camino de Santiago. What is in your bag? What useless stuff are you toting around? When last have you gone through your wardrobe and given away clothes to the poor? Or given furniture or paintings or ornaments away? When we clutter, weclutter our minds and our hearts also. We leave little space for God and others especially those who do not have much. Ask what is essential to your life then choose what stays and what goes. 

What is in your bag? What is in your heart? Let us get rid of all the useless things  and all the destructive things - Pride, resentment, anger, jealously, un-forgiveness  etc. Let us fill our hearts with the essentials – love, joy, peace, laughter - everything that is essential to reach God.

Can we examine again what is in our bag? Clear our houses, our offices and our hearts ensuring that there is room in the inn for Jesus. This too is a demand of pilgrimage. Let us journey lightly together to His Kingdom. 

 

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Let Your Feet Kiss the Ground1

Let Your Feet Kiss the Ground1

The first day of the Camino Santiago is the hardest. The ancient trail rises 1200 m over 17km then drops 350 M in 4.5KM. This is grueling and you have 12 kg of backpack all the way most of it walked in fog.

 

 

If a pilgrimage is putting one foot in front of another in the right direction. The question of our attitude and disposition is important. In one of the pilgrim hostels (Albergue's) a sign said; "Let your feet kiss the ground". This is wonderful. It speaks to the disposition of the pilgrim. The touch between the road and our feet needs to be one of tender love or caressing. Today I did 25.11KM with 42,181 steps. That is a lot  of kissing and caressing. 

 

Romans 10:15 says: "And how could anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News". To Christ our feet are beautiful when we are stepping towards him as a disciple.

 

A pilgrimage is another way of speaking about discipleship, which at its heart should be a torrid love relationship with Christ. 42,181 kisses a day is a joke to the number of times Christ makes contact with us offering us Grace and love. What is our Response? A kiss,  pout or an outright rejection? 

 

      

 

 

 

If the voice of conscience is the voice of God the contact between Christ and us is enormous. What if contact was a kiss, a complete acceptance of his intimate love. That is discipleship, that is the inner pilgrimage to which we are all called. Just keep stepping! Keep kissing! Always accept his touch!

 

 

 

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OLOR Church

OLOR Church

OLOR Church

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Life is a Pilgrimage

Today I begin a pilgrimage. It will take me just over thirty days and many kilometers. It will require physical and spiritual endurance. But most of all it will require an absolute surrender to God's will. On pilgrimage you choose to walk, to put one foot I front of the other and to follow the way. This is discipleship, this is life! We choose to walk, to put one foot in front of the other, we choose either to do our own thing or to follow Jesus. We choose either half living or life to the full.

I begin in Lourdes that well known shrine of the Blessed Virgin. Here I contemplate the inner meaning or discipleship as I meditate on Mary the first disciple. Her yes that brought forth Jesus. My many 'nos' that bring death and division. I pray here at this shrine for the grace of discipleship. To say yes in all times and circumstances. To choose life in abundance.

One promise a Bishop makes is to pray for his people. Here I entrust each of you into the maternal care of our mother. I pray that each of us may find the path to holiness and that we find the courage to walk that path, one foot in front of the other. Let us encourage each other along the way so that we all may get there.

Journey with me over these days as I pray for you. I ask you to pray for me and to pray with me that the lord may renew us. That we may hear His call. That we may accept His mercy  and respond wholeheartedly to Him and to each other with extreme love.

With Gratitude

Bishop J

 

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The Compassion of Jesus

The Compassion of Jesus

This week we celebrated the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and that is usually illustrated with the symbolic images of the Sacred Heart. But a truer image is to be found in this Sunday's gospel. When Jesus saw her he felt sorry for her.

The words he felt sorry for her is a very weak translation of the original word in the gospel which really means He was heartbroken when he saw her. The compassion of Jesus is something we do not easily understand and we often feel a bit like some of the people who said when Jesus arrived after the death of Lazarus "Could he not have prevented this man's death?"

Feeling that God is Almighty and can do anything we do not always appreciate how heartbroken Jesus is at seeing people suffer. A better image of the Sacred Heart would be Jesus standing helpless with tears running down his face. He burst into tears when he felt the pain of Martha and Mary at their brother's death, he wept at the sight of Jerusalem refusing the blessing offered by God, and when someone said 'If you want to, you can heal me', he replied 'Of course I want to'.

Compassion means sharing somebody's suffering and that always means feeling helpless. Jesus never explained suffering. But he came and shared it and like us he felt helpless. This would be a better image of the Sacred Heart, the Loving Heart of Jesus: Jesus with tears running down his face heartbroken looking at us with great love and so often feeling helpless.

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FLOWERS OF GODS GARDEN 1

FLOWERS OF GODS GARDEN 1

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Liturgical Season reverts to Ordinary Time

Liturgical Season reverts to Ordinary Time

Following the celebration of Pentecost last Sunday, we revert to the liturgical season of Ordinary Time. However for the next two Sundays, we celebrate two special solemnities: Trinity Sunday and Corpus Christi. Today, on the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, as it is officially called, we accept and honour God the Father, God the Son and

the Holy Spirit, Three Persons, One God.

The existence of the Trinity is one of the most fundamental dogmas of the Catholic Church, one we must accept even though we do not understand it. Although many metaphors are used to explain it, it is a mystery beyond the understanding of mortal minds. As such it is a very controversial matter, which Catholics are called upon very often to defend. In fact, it was one of the first major controversies that led the Catholic Church to state its position on the Trinity. In the fourth century, one by the name of Arius in the diocese of Alexandria, questioned the co-existence of God the Father and the Spirit and a great schism developed in the church known as Arianism.

In AD 325, Emperor Constantine, who himself was relatively new to Christianity convened the Council of Bishops in Nicaea to deal with this heresy. It was at this council, that the beginnings of the Nicene Creed, were developed. Later

on more additions were made to this Creed resulting in the version now used at masses today. The Creed is the absolute profession of faith by every Catholic person. It is structured on belief in the Holy Trinity and the importance and role of each of these three persons in One God: the creation of the world by God the Father, the redemption of mankind from sin by the Son and the sanctification and strengthening by The Holy Spirit. Belief in the Trinity is so fundamental that at Baptism which is the entry rite to the church, the person being baptised or god-parent (if it is a child) are asked to respond as to whether they believed in God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The Church also uses the Apostles’ Creed, which it is believed, was composed by the Apostles, shorter than the Nicene Creed and also a profession of faith. In the early days of the Church, there were a few isolated observances of the Trinity but no official observance was proclaimed until 1334, when Pope John XX11 established the feast day and prayers in honour and praise of the Trinity, were incorporated in the liturgy and the Divine Office.

We may not be conscious of this but we begin all our prayers, including Holy Mass, by calling on the three persons in one God when we say: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen and conclude most of the time, in the same way by saying: Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, Amen.

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Why do we use it?

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using 'Content here, content here', making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for 'lorem ipsum' will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (injected humour and the like).

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Happy Birthday Catholic Church

Happy Birthday Catholic Church

Fifty days ago, we celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (the first glorious mystery), ten days ago His Ascension into Heaven (second glorious mystery) and today, as He promised, we commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles, Pentecost (third glorious mystery). The mission of Jesus Christ on earth is over and the season of Easter comes to an end but the existence of the Church in our human world is just beginning. As a matter of fact, Pentecost is often called the birthday of the Church. We may recall the last words of encouragement and guidance, Jesus left with His disciples before His departure from earth: My peace I give to you, love one another, do not be afraid, the Holy Spirit will teach you everything. Why did Jesus say and promise all these things? He knew His apostles and disciples would be confused and frightened...and they were. They were very simple folk, fishermen mainly, being left alone to build and sustain a Church, the Divine Will, without leadership and guidance. They spent nine days together huddled in prayer when the promise was fulfilled and the Holy Spirit descended on them and gave them powers and attributes that left they themselves and onlookers astounded. Pentecost was also a feast celebrated by the Jews and there were many people from different places who were gathered in Jerusalem for this occasion. They were witnesses to the coming of the Spirit and the ability of the disciples to speak in all different languages (the first reading today describes the manner in which the Holy Spirit descended). Many of those celebrating the Jewish Pentecost, about three thousand, believed and were baptised and the Church was created.

Pentecost is sometimes called Whit Sunday and in older times known as White Sunday because of the white robes worn by those who were baptised on the vigil of Pentecost. THE HOLY SPIRIT IN OUR LIVES As Catholics, we receive the gifts that enable us to deliver the fruits of the Holy Spirit through the Sacrament of Confirmation. Today some of our young Catholics will receive this sacrament. Having received this sacrament, we begin a new phase in our life as a Catholic as we become soldiers of Jesus Christ; we are strengthened, enlightened, entrusted

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Solemnity of the Ascension

Solemnity of the Ascension

Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord. Other parts of the world would have observed the occasion last Thursday, forty days after the resurrection, where most likely it would have been a Holy Day of Obligation. In certain parts of the western world in particular, where Ascension Thursday was not a Holy Day of Obligation, the celebration was transferred to the seventh Sunday of Easter to give more prominence to the

day which is a very important one. It commemorates the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth and the return to His Father. The theological meaning and significance of the Ascension is best explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Christ’s Ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus’ humanity into God’s heavenly domain whence He will come again. Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church precedes us into the Father’s glorious kingdom so that we, the members of His Body may live in the hope of one day being with him forever. Jesus Christ, having entered the sanctuary of heaven, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator who assures us of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

In His parting words to His disciples (and us Catholics) Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit “who will teach us everything”.

The descent of the Holy Spirit, (Pentecost) will be celebrated next Sunday, fifty days after Ascension Thursday. What did the apostles and disciples do between the Ascension and Pentecost? They went back from the Mount of Olives (from which Jesus ascended) to Jerusalem to the place where they were staying and together with Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the other women prayed together for nine days before the Holy Spirit appeared. (biblical reference; Acts of the Apostles, Ch.1;14) It is believed that this was the first

novena ever prayed. It is still customary in the modern day church to say a novena to the Holy Spirit, commencing on Friday after the Ascension and ending on the Saturday before Pentecost Sunday, during which we ask to receive the seven gifts and the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit.

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Peace be with you

Peace be with you

The season of Easter is coming to an end as next Sunday we celebrate the Ascension of Our Lord and the following Sunday, Pentecost. Although the theme of the readings are still following that of the previous Sundays of Easter, we hear today about the coming of the Holy Spirit and Jesus outlines for His disciples and for us, the role and relationship of the Spirit in the Church when He goes back to the Father. In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that the early church has held its first Council, the Council of Jerusalem. How and why did this come about? As the disciples started to preach and spread the good news, they gained many converts and now had as their followers both Jewish Christians and non-Jewish Christians/Gentiles. There was great dissent and confusion between these two sets of followers as the Jewish Christians believed that the Gentile Christians should also obey the law of Moses as they did, especially with regard to the rite of circumcision. The apostles and other elders of the church met in Jerusalem and sent back word to the Gentile Christians, that guided by the Holy Spirit, they have decided not to saddle you with any burden beyond these essentials.....it was in a situation of compromise that the Gentile Christians were asked to accept some of the customs of the Jews: abstaining from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from fornication. So it still is today with our church in the 21st century. We often hear the pleading and requests from our Holy Father and others for religious tolerance and respect for cultural traditions and customs which can be incorporated in our own liturgy as long as they are not in conflict with ‘the essentials” e.g. the celebration of mass in the native language of a country. In the second reading, John treats us to another radiant view of the New Jerusalem, the Holy city. Last Sunday he described it as” a beautiful bride all dressed for her husband and today he describes it as “some precious jewel of crystal-clear diamond.” We believe this to be a description of the Church, open and all-embracing with gates on all sides and built on twelve foundation stones, representing the twelve apostles chosen by Jesus to carry on with his mission. There is no temple as physical structures are not important since Jesus and His Father are the temple and provide the light which shines for us. In our earthly life as a pilgrim, we each can be a radiant city, providing light to others by holding steadfast in our faith and by example in deed and word. The gospel contains the final and parting words of Jesus to his disciples at the Last Supper. He knows they are afraid and uncertain as He is about to leave them but he leaves them with words of ENCOURAGEMENT AND HOPE: the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the father will send will teach you everything.

CONSOLATION: do not let your hearts be troubled

PEACE: peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you

How relevant these words still are, so many years after Jesus walked on earth. We often wish that our lives are always full of joys and triumphs and happiness but very often they are clouded by frustration, despair and hopelessness. At times like these, we should take comfort in these words spoken by Jesus to His disciples and found in today’s gospel.

THE POPE’S INTENTIONS FOR MAY 2016. UNIVERSAL: RESPECT FOR WOMEN

That in every country in the world, women may be honoured and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed

EVANGELICAL: HOLY ROSARY

That families, communities and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for

evangelisation and peace.

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Time capsule!!!

Time capsule!!!

This is the Year of Mercy!  This is the year in which we are called by Pope Francis to rediscover the corporal and spiritual works of Mercy.  What does that mean for you?  Which spiritual and/or corporal works of Mercy do you feel God is calling you to do?  Remember that when you hear and answer that call, abundant grace is also awaiting you!!!


As we continue this Jubilee Year of Mercy we are going to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, 3rd April in a special way. 

We are going to have a time capsule!!!  Have you ever journaled a special event in your life and ten years later you find this old dusty piece of paper, you read it and realise how far you have come?  How, like fine wine, you have matured through the difficulties of life, with God’s abundant grace? 


It is with this in mind that we are establishing a time capsule.  For as with most prayers, we plant the seeds of faith and with years of hope and persistence we eventually see those seeds we planted years ago bear fruit. So we would like you to memorialize this Year of special grace. You can write a letter to yourself, your children, grandchildren or to your parents or if you have small tokens/keepsakes with special meaning and we will place them in the time capsule on Divine Mercy Sunday at a special Mass at 3pm, April 3. 


If you choose to write a letter, please ensure that it is properly addressed as the contents are kept confidential and returned to the owner or the person to whom you address the letter.  In addition, no valuables! 
Come, let us remember the 2016 Jubilee Year of Mercy and see how God works; His wonders always to perform!  Please deliver your letters to the office before April 1st.

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