Archive for the ‘Evangelization’ Category

Mary Queen of Heaven

In the Catholic calendar, May is a month where we pay special homage to Mary our Mother, Our Blessed Lady. Here are some ideas on how to do that throughout the month:

  1. Attend daily Mass – if you are unable to attend Mass every day, try going an extra day or two during the week.
  2. Pray the rosary every day – Our Lady of Fatima urged the seers to pray the rosary every day, during each of her six apparitions in Portugal. Are you a bit rusty when it comes to praying the rosary? Check out EWTN’s guide , install a rosary app on your smartphone, ask a friend or family member to pray it with you, or pray the rosary with Mother Angelica and her Sisters . And if you’re unable to pray the rosary, why not start with a decade a day!
  3. Put a picture of Mary in every room, and every time your eyes fall on her, offer up a little prayer.  And if you don’t have that many pictures  of Mary (I don’t!) google ‘Mother Mary’ and print off your favourites.
  4. Talking about favourite pictures of Mary, choose your top picture and use is as the wallpaper or background to your phone/ tablet/ laptop/ work computer for the month! This makes for a great starting point for evangelisation when a friend or colleague catches a glimpse of your screen!
  5. Make a pilgrimage – you don’t have to go all the way to Lourdes, Fatima or Mexico City! Plan a week-end to Knock or Walsingham, or go visit a local shrine or grotto- and invite your friends! Take a picture and share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram  AND Pinterest!
  6. Mary Prayer FocusCreate a prayer focus– a statue of Mary, some candles, rosary beads, a bible… and if you don’t have a statue of Mary, May is the time to get one! Veritas sell statues of Mary from e4.50 (and deliver free in Ireland!)
  7. Blue is the Marian colour, so, wear something blue every day– that way you’ll start your day by thinking about honouring our Heavenly Mother! And, if you don’t have many blue clothes, a good back up is blue nail varnish! Another opportunity to tell people about Mary when people comment on the  interesting colour of your nails!
  8. Read about Mary! Pope John Paul II wrote Redemptoris Mater, an encyclical on the blessed Virgin Mary in the life of the pilgrim Church. Or, just look up ‘Mary’ in the index in your Catechism or YouCat, and work your way through. Also, when he was cardinal, Pope Emeritus Benedict wrote an excellent book about  Mary entitled “Mary: The Church at the Source, with Hans Urs von Balthasar.
  9. Celebrate! Share the Marian love with colleagues and bring in some celebratory cakes into work to share! @UKCatholicGirl wrote a great blog post about what happened when she decided to buy cakes to share in the law firm’s office where she worked, to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption. You could do this on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima (13th May) or  the Visitation (31st May), or any other day… just because its the month of Mary!
  10. Watch a film about Mary– and invite some friends round and watch The 13th Day, Lourdes, or The Story of Bernadette.
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Several years ago, a priest suggested to me and a few other young adults that we go into Birmingham on a Saturday afternoon, and ask people if they knew about Jesus Christ. It sounded terrifying. I thought the priest was being mischevieous, testing us, and, if I was to do it, would only do so with suitable protection, like a stab proof vest! Approach strangers? Stop them in the street? Tell them about Christ? Surely, I thought, there must be some easier way to evangelize…

Nightfever at St Teresa's Carmelite Church, Clarendon Street, Dublin

Ireland’s first Nightfever, St Teresa’s Carmelite Church, Clarendon Street, Dublin

Yesterday, I found myself standing at the top of Grafton Street, a busy shopping and tourist area in the heart of Dublin, wearing a high-vis jacket greeting passers by and offering them a candle.

The reason for this was Nightfever. An idea born out of World Youth Day 2005, it is an ‘open church’ night. Young missionaries go out in in pairs, as Jesus sent the disciples, offering candles to passers-by, inviting them to light the candle inside the church.

Walking down Grafton Street last night, Dubliners and tourists would have heard the tunes from buskers as they ended a day’s shopping, or began a night out. However, when passing St Teresa’s Church, Clarendon Street, they would have heard beautiful hymns, pouring out of the church onto the street.

Inside, the beauty of the church was illuminated by candlelight, from the hundreds of votive lights placed around the altar. Priests were available for people who had questions, wanted to talk, or go to Confession. People flowed in from the streets to light their candles, hear the music, sit, kneel, think, look, talk, pray… For some, it had been a while since they visited a Catholic church, for others, it was their first visit.

Whether the visitors stayed for a few minutes, a half hour, or the whole evening. Some passers by accepted the candles offered by the missionaries and went on their way. Others simply said “no thank you” and walked on. But even these may remember the warm and welcoming smile of a stranger on a Saturday night. Seeds were planted last night. We pray that the Holy Spirit may nurture these seeds and pour out upon them His inspiration, grace and love.

The next Nightfever in Dublin will take place on 20th June. To get a flavour of the mission, take a look at the video below…

Generation Benedict

40 days, 40 reflections, 40 young people on how Pope Benedict has touched their hearts & why they are proud to be part of #GenerationBenedict

Pope Benedict has been responsible for the conversion, reversion, vocation and the deepening of faith of many young Catholics. At the time of his visit to the UK, many Catholics were luke-warm, even living their lives completely at odds to the Church. During this visit, and also World Youth Days in Cologne, Sydney and Madrid, he has connected with them through his eloquence, his love and genuine concern. Who is God calling you to be?

Pope Benedict will be truly missed by our generation. Those who have met him look upon him fondly as a gentle grandfatherly figure, as he has pointed us towards Christ, at a point in time when many of us were at a crossroads, telling us not to settle for second best, but to strive for sainthood.

Over the next 40 days of Lent, 40 young people from Generation Benedict will each be sharing how he has touched their hearts and changed their lives and changed their hearts.

Please visit our Lenten blog, our tribute to Pope Benedict. We invite you to comment and share your own experiences on the blog and on Twitter using #generationbenedict

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Pope Benedict XVI began tweeting in December 2012

I am relatively new to Twitter, a microblogging social network site. In plain English, that means you have 160 characters in which to say, or tweet, what’s on your mind. Pope Benedict joined Twitter in December 2012 and has since been regularly tweeting questions, thoughts, messages of encouragement and prayers to his 1 500 000 followers, and anyone else who searches for Pope Benedict or @Pontifex, as he is known on Twitter.

Since joining Twitter, I have come across two symbols, which are widely used. Firstly, the ‘@’ symbol is used to call out a username, when recognising people in re-tweets and messages referring to them.

Pope Benedict's Twitter header

Shout out to Pope Benedict by using @Pontifex in your tweet

Another commonly used symbol is the hashtag, the ‘#’ symbol. This is used before a keyword or phrase in order to categorise a tweet and help it appear in a search. Popular hashtagged words and phrases become trending topics, appearing in the sidebar as a window of what people are tweeting about at that moment. As I type this, the Dublin trends are #Grammys, #BAFTAS and #6Nations.

One thing that puzzled me was the question of which hashtags to use when I tweet. Where can I find a list of ‘Catholic hastags’? I never found one, but, for newbie Catholic Tweeters, I have compiled my list below!

Using a few hashtags where appropriate will mean that your tweet appears in a search and, if enough people use a hashtag at one time (e.g. an event such as Vigil4life), the hashtag show up in the sidebar of Twitter in that country as a popular topic of conversation.

In his message for the 47th World Communications Day, Pope Benedict said

The ability to employ the new languages is required, not just to keep up with the times, but precisely in order to enable the infinite richness of the Gospel to find forms of expression capable of reaching the minds and hearts of all. 

One simple way we can do this is by making our tweets identifiable to those who are searching.

Below is a list of the Catholic hashtags I have come across the most. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Please feel free to chip in with any that I have missed out!

General

#Advent, #Bible, #Catholic, #CathYM, #Christian, #Christmas, #Church, #Cross, #Easter, #Eucharist, #Faith, #Feastday, #Lent,

#Resurrection, #Truth, #YearofFaith

Prayer

#Adoration, #BlesstheLord, #ComeHolySpirit, #DeoGratias, #Prayer, #PrayForPope, #PrayForUs, #Rosary, #Stormheaven

Prolife

#40daysforlife, #Marchforlife2013, #Prolife, #Prolifearmy, #Vigil4Life

Evangelisation

#Evangelisation, #Evangelization, #Knowwhatyoubelieve, #Newevangelisation,

Marriage

#Marriage, #Onemanonewoman

People

#Christ, #God, #HolySpirit, #Jesus, #Mary, #Saints, #Trinity

Misc

#CathMedia, #Excited, #Thingscatholicgirlssay

A Challenge for 2013

75% of Catholics don’t go to Mass on Sunday! As the year of Faith is nearly upon us, Pope Benedict XVI has asked Catholics everywhere to pray for the New Evangelisation this month.

We should also be thinking about how we evangelise. Here, Fr. Robert Barron suggests a ‘top 7 qualities’ of a New Evangelist.