Archive for December, 2010

This morning on BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the day (part of the Today Thought For The Day Pope 24/12/2010programme), Pope Benedict recalled with “great fondness” his visit in September to Great Britain. It was the first time a Pope has written and delivered material, specifically for a broadcast audience. Perhaps the large and warm welcom the Pontiff received in the UK in September influenced his decision.

Visit the BBC website for the full transcript and video.

Santa vs Jesus

Posted: December 24, 2010 in Feast Days, Video
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Although we know the true meaning of Christmas, sometimes we can’t help but occasionally let that meaning slip from our minds. This fun and friendly video acts as  a gentle reminder.

Digital Nativity

Posted: December 21, 2010 in Events, Video
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Catholic Women of the Year

Posted: December 9, 2010 in News
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We all know at least one of these women, the unsung heroines of the Church.  Perhaps its the retired lady that takes communion to the sick every week and sings in the choir. Or maybe its the busy mother who plans and runs lively youth events in the Parish. And what about the work we never see get done- the cleaning, the flower arranging, the visits to hospital and to prison…

Independent Catholic News are seeking out these heroines. Nominate yours! Deadline 31.3.2011.

December comes and we can be busy worrying about what to buy for whom, battling crowds in shopping centres and high streets, attending rehersals for choir or plays, going to Christmas parties, stressing over travel plans aadvent candlend poor weather conditions… we may forget the meaning of Christmas before we even get there!

There is significant spiritual importance in the weeks leading up to Christmas- its a time to prepare ourselves for Jesus coming into the world. Taking time to do this can ensure we are not physically and mentally exhausted by Christmas Eve, but spiritually ready to welcome the Saviour into the world.

Here are some ideas:

  • Light an advent candle. Focus on the flame and meditate on the coming of the light of the world as the candle burns down little by little, day by day.
  • Buy a “Walk with me”, “Magnificat” or similar monthly booklet to help guide you in your advent preparation. Set aside time each day for reading and prayer.
  • Wear something purple every day to remind you its the season of advent. Purple is the colour of royalty, and also the colour of suffering in Lent. Wearing purple reminds us that he came into the world and suffered on the cross for our salvation.
  • Advent is a time of waiting. Pray for patience as you go about your day-to-day life.
  • Christmas is the beginning of the liturgical year. Go to confession, get rid of grudges you bear and begin the new year absolved from your sins.
  • Attend an Advent retreat day in your parish.

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Posted: December 8, 2010 in Feast Days, Video
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The Immaculate Conception by Murillo, 1660, Museo del Prado, Spain. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the conception of Mary, Mother of God. She was concieved without ant stain of origional sin. Catholics are not the only ones who celebrate Mary’s purity; the Islamic tradition recognises Mary’s spotlessness in the Qur’an.

The Miraculous Medal is also known as the Medal of the Immaculate Conception. It was manifested by Saint Catherine Labouré, after instructions from the Virgin Mary in a vision. When the Miraculous Medal came into circulation, healings and blessings were attributed to it.

Why not pray the rosary today, or sing your favourite Marian hymn…

Advent Conspiracy

Posted: December 7, 2010 in Video
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Remember that Christmas when you recieved four pairs of gigantic fluffy slippers? That book you’ve never read? The tacky tie you wore once? Similarly, we are all guilty of buying presents we should have put more thought into…

This video helps refocus minds on the meaning of Christmas. Highly reccommended!

Find out more at http://www.adventconspiracy.org

St Nicholas' tomb stoneSaint Nicholas of Myra, is famed forfor his extraordinary generosity. As the Bishop of Lycia, he made anonymous donations to the poor. Shortly after his death in what is now Turkey in the 14th century, he was proclaimed a saint. Centuries later, his generosity inspired the modern day Santa Claus. However, where lie his earthly remains?

Some 800 years ago when war was breaking out in Europe, returning Crusaders secretly removed his relics and transported them to saftey to the corner of Europe – Ireland.

After reading an article in the Telegraph, I headed down to Jerpoint, Kilkenny, Ireland during my summer holidays. Jerpoint is a sleepy town, tucked in the winding roads of the Irish countryside. I have visited the Cistercian Abbey over the road many times, however I had failed to notice the resting place of Saint Nicholas over the road.

Understandibly so… off a winding country lane, I followed a long drive down to a country house, where the owner lead me across some fields and pointed me in the direction of a church standing in ruins… surrounded by sheep! I made my way through the gate and accross the field to the old church- the 13th century parish of St Nicholas. Next to the church lies a tombstone, marking the extraordinary saint’s final resting place.

 Gates leading to St Nicholas Parish ChurchSt Nicholas' tomb stoneSt Nicholas' parish church