Archive for August, 2010


Did anyone else see The Simpsons on Channel 4 tonight? The episode was entitled Father, Son and Holy Guest Star and involved Bart being sent to a Catholic school, St Jerome’s, where he begins his conversion to Catholicism, taking Homer with him!

Father Sean (Liam Neeson) makes Catholicism “cool” to Bart by quoting Eminem and showing him a graphic novel about the saints.

Homer also decides to convert to Catholicism after a marathon session in the confessional booth, leaving Marge worried that she will be in Protestant heaven alone.

Maybe some Catholics could find offence with small elements of the episode (perhaps the family planning leaflet Homer passes Marge entitled Plop til you drop, stereotypes, blanket-tossing Jesus… but he seemed to be having fun and Catholic heaven looked far more fun than Protestant heaven, where they are playing croquet !). 

However overall, I found it to be a positive portrayal of our religion; Bart praying the rosary (and offering to pray it with his Mum), Bart announcing “Catholics Rock!”, his Latin at dinner “In nomine Patris…”. In favour of ecumenism, Bart notes that it is stupid that all the different forms of Christianity are feuding.

On the whole, the episode showed Catholicism in a positive light, which was a nice surprise on prime-time UK TV! It was a well-written episode with plenty of humor. Apparently, some of the writers on the show are Catholic, so here’s hoping for a few more episode’s like this!

Feast Day: Saint Monica

Posted: August 27, 2010 in Feast Days
Tags: ,

Imagine a Christian woman, living in North Africa 300AD, married to a Pagan with quite a temper and an eye for the ladies… she was patient, kind, respectful and gentle and thanks to this, her husband never turned his hand to her. Monica counselled other women who were victims of domestic violence, and helped them in their situations.

Her husband, Patricius, eventually converted to Christianity and eased up on his temper. Think she’s an amazing woman? There’s more….

Although one of her three sons, Augustine, was a successful scholar, he brought shame on the family with his debauchery- he even had a mistress for ten years! Monica pleaded with the Bishop to tame her wayward son, but the Bishop wouldn’t, instead advising Monica to continue to pray for her son. Her prayers worked, and today we know her son as Saint Augustine of Hippo.

Saint Monica is the patron saint of those with difficult marriages, disappointing children, victims of domestic & verbal abuse, alcholics, wives and widows.

Prayer to Saint Monica

Exemplary Mother of the great Augustine, you perseveringly pursued your wayward son not with wild threats but with prayerful cries to heaven. Intercede for all mothers in our day so that they may learn to draw their children to God. Teach them how to remain close to their children, even the prodigal sons and daughters who have sadly gone astray. Amen.

Frank Skinner, 50-something,  is well known as being Brum’s best loved comedian and singer of England’s Euro 96 anthem “3 Lions“, rather than his Catholic faith. However, I recently came accross an article published in the Times back in March 2010.  It begins…

I’m a Roman Catholic and I go to church every Sunday. Towards the end of Mass, there’s a thing called the Sign of Peace. We all shake hands with everyone in shaking distance and say “peace be with you”. Last Sunday the priest told us to drop the handshaking element to show our solidarity with Wayne Bridge.

I’ve always liked the guy, but I like him even more now for his honesty and outspokeness. Mixed with a lil’ Skinner comedy, of course. While he may not be popular amongst Traditionalists for saying that The wheat has been separated from the chaff. We get quality, not quantity, in the churches and the chaff can enjoy a nice lie-in. That’s just as well, because there’ll be little opportunity for slumber when they’ve got a demon’s pitchfork up their arse, you gotta give Skinner Brownie points for telling it how it is. His article surely strikes a chord with many parishioners and ‘regular Catholics’ in the pews on a Sunday. He admits he has prayed loads for his friends, most of them atheists. And not told them. Yey! I pray for my friends too. They’re nearly all atheists. And I don’t tell them either!

Concluding his musings, he comments he is enjoying this current dose of persecution. It’s definitely good for the soul.

Well done, Frank, for sticking up for the Catholic faith and sharing the some positives of it with the nation!

Read the full article here.

For more Frank Skinner reading, check out My Church is not a safe haven for bigots, also published in the Times.

A few days ago, the BBC ran a piece on Medjugorje on their Newsnight programme, reported by Alan Little. It’s a good introduction the fastest growing Catholic pilgrimage site in Earth, although it is yet to be officially recognised by the Vatican (in March 2010, the Holy See announced the formation of an investigative commission). Somewhat sceptical at times, presenting tacky shops and speculating about how the apparitions have boosted the local economy, the report not only highlights the apparitions to the Newsnight-watching public and beyond, it puts the village into its authentic political and religious context – something that can be overlooked by the enthusiastic Catholic pilgrim. This 12 minute video is well worth a watch.

Visit the BBC website to see more details about the report.

Have you booked your place on a coach to Bellahouston, Hyde or Cofton Park?

Preparations are gathering speed as the date of Pope Benedict’s visit rapidly approaches… from the unveiling of the Celtic hi-tech alter that will be used to celebrate the largest Mass in Scotland for a quarter of a century, to the do’s and don’t lists issued for the Mass in Cofton Park (Do bring flags, banners, medication, pilgrim picnics, blankets, small folding chairs, cameras, provision for all weather conditions and exchange phone numbers with people in your group. Don’t bring glass, BBQs, musical insturuments or whistles – does that include vuvuzelas?!).

Wondering where the Pope will be and when? His full itinary has also been published;

Thursday, 16 September

08:10 Departure from Ciampino Airport Rome
10:30 Arrival at Edinburgh International Airport Edinburgh
11:00 State Welcome and Audience with HM Queen Elizabeth II, Palace of Holyrood House  
11:40 State Reception in the grounds of the Palace of Holyrood House

Address: HM The Queen
Address: The Holy Father

13:00 Private Lunch with the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Archbishop’s House  
17:15 Pope Benedict XVI presides at the celebration of Mass, Bellahouston Park

Homily: The Holy Father

20:00 Departure from Glasgow Airport for London Heathrow  
21:25 Arrival at London Heathrow Airport London

Friday, 17 September

08:00 Private Celebration of Mass in the Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature London
10:00 Celebration of Catholic Education, St Mary’s University College, Twickenham

Prayer with Representatives of Religious Congregations in St Mary’s Chapel

Greeting: The Holy Father

Gathering with Schoolchildren and Students, Sports Arena, including the inauguration of the John Paul II Institute for Sport

Address: The Holy Father

11:30 Meeting with Religious Leaders and People of Faith, Waldegrave Drawing Room, St Mary’s University College, Twickenham.

Speech: The Holy Father

16:00 Fraternal Visit to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth Palace

Speech: Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
Speech: The Holy Father

17:10 Address to Civil Society, Westminster Hall, Palace of Westminster

Speech: The Holy Father

18:15 Celebration of Evening Prayer, Westminster Abbey

Speech: The Holy Father
Speech: Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury


Saturday, 18 September

09:00 Courtesy Call from the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon David Cameron MP, Archbishop’s House, Westminster London
09:20 Courtesy Call from the Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, Archbishop’s House, Westminster  
09:30 Courtesy Call from the Acting Leader of HM Opposition, the Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP, Archbishop’s House, Westminster  
10:00 Mass in the Cathedral of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Westminster

Pope Benedict will greet 2,500 young people gathered in the Piazza to welcome him

Pope Benedict will greet the people of Wales

Greeting and Homily: The Holy Father

17:00 Visit to St Peter’s Residence for Older People, Vauxhall

Speech: The Holy Father

18:15 Prayer Vigil on the Eve of the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, Hyde Park

Speech: The Holy Father


Sunday, 19 September

08:00 Farewell to the Apostolic Nunciature, Wimbledon London
08:45 Departure by Helicopter for Birmingham, Wimbledon Park  
09:30 Arrival by Helicopter in Birmingham Birmingham
10:00 Celebration of Mass with the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, Cofton Park, Birmingham

Homily and Angelus: The Holy Father

13:10 Private Visit to the Oratory of St Philip Neri, Edgbaston, Birmingham  
13:45 Lunch with the Bishops of England, Scotland and Wales and the Papal Entourage, Oscott College  
16:45 Meeting with the Bishops of England, Scotland and Wales, Seminary Chapel, Oscott College

Speech: Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien
Speech: Archbishop Vincent Nichols
Speech: The Holy Father

18:15 Departure Ceremony, Birmingham International Airport

Speech: The Holy Father

18:45 Departure by air from Birmingham International Airport  
22:30 Arrival at Ciampino Airport Rome

For more information, visit

Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Dear Mother, we love you. We thank you for your promise to help us in our need. We trust in your love that dries our tears and comforts us. Teach us to find our peace in your Son, Jesus, and bless us every day of our lives.

Help us to build a shrine in our hearts. Make it as beautiful as the one built for you on the Mount of Tepeyac. A shrine full of trust, hope, and love of Jesus growing stronger each day.

Mary, you have chosen to remain with us by giving us your most wonderful and holy self-image on Juan Diego’s cloak. May we feel your loving presence as we look upon your face. Like Juan, give us the courage to bring your message of hope to everyone.

You are our Mother and our inspiration. Hear our prayers and answer us. Amen.


Posted: August 21, 2010 in Events
Tags: , , ,

With less than a week to go to the Youth 2000 festival, the countdown can begin!

Youth 2000 have published the programme for the week-end and its looking great, with talks being given by Fr. Stan Fortuna and Fr. Christopher Jamison as well as a choice of workshops on themes such as discernment, men and women of God, faith and relationships and John Henry Newman.

Worried about camping? Don’t – the weather’s gonna be fine. Visit the blog for more information.