Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

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…

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The relic of Saint Don Bosco arrive in Ireland today, as part of a world wide pilgrimage, to celebrate the bi-centenary of Don Bosco’s birth (1815-2015). The casket has already been to Italy, Spain, the Americas, Africa, Australia and Asia.

Saint Don Bosco was an Italian priest, an amazing man, who dedicated his life to working with under privileged youth, transforming their lives. His approach was to show them love rather than punishing them, and he taught them to do good deeds, live a disciplined Christian life, and of course, passing the Faith onto them. At his canonisation, he was given the title “Father and Teacher of the Youth”.

Remember God does not pay us for results, but for effort

Saint Don Bosco

The pilgrimage began on 31st January 2009, the anniversary of his death and continues in Ireland until 7th March 2013. You can find details of the route on the Salesians visit website- http://www.donboscorelics.ie , where they also have lots of information on the visit, resources and videos.

Itinerary of the visit of the Relic of St John Bosco to Ireland

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Today, at the Invocation 2012 festival, held at Oscott College, Birmingham, young adults and religious alike welcomed the relic of the heart of St John Vianney.

But what are relics? Why venerate them? And what can we learn from St John Vianney? Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury Diocese, who was instrumental in bringing the relic from France to the UK for the first time, gave an inspiring and engaging keynote addressing these topics.

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Bishop Davies began by saying that relics of Saints were brought over by Britain’s first missionaries, as they evangelised the island. They awaken hope of holiness in people, as they provide a tangible link with the Communion of Saints. As relics had a role in the first evangelisation of the British Isles, so they should have a role in the New Evangelisation.

We were reminded that we are given our lives, in order to give them away, to serve God. Each and every person was no accident, but willed and loved by God, and everyone has a place on His team, the winning team. There are different positions- centres, forwards, wing, but God’s team is unlike a football team, as there are no mistakes in God’s team selection. By giving ourselves wholeheartedly, we can serve God.

How can St John Vianney help us to become more holy? Bishop Mark gave us a punchy summary of this inspirational saint, who battled against the odds and overcame many hurdles in order to answer God’s call for him to become a priest.

Born in France in 1786, John Vianney grew up during the French revolution, where attending Mass was illegal and priests were forced into hiding, conducting secret services. Leaving school at the age of 9, he helped his father on the family farm, where eventually, his father reluctantly let him leave to train for the priesthood. He found this challenging, as he had left school at such a young age. His studies were interrupted after he was summoned to fight in Napoleon’s army. He quickly deserted and spent time in hiding. When deserters were pardoned, he returned and was sent to a seminary, although he was kicked out for being ‘too slow’. He eventually became a priest in 1815.

As a priest, he was appointed to the parish of Ars, a small parish known for its lack of faithful. There, his day started at 1am, when he heard confession of the locals and people who travelled far and wide. He spent up to 18 hours a day in the confessional and historians estimate he heard the confessions of 20% of the French population of the day!

As an  elderly priest, unable to talk, he would simply stand on the altar and point towards the altar to the tabernacle, in which the Real Presence was enclosed.

His body was exhumed in 1904, and found to be incorrupt.Image

Saint Vianney abandoned himself to God, filling his days with prayer and service to God. His heart symbolises a heart given and consumed by divine love. How can we draw inspiration from this in our everyday lives? Bishop Davies said we do not need to start our days at 1am in prayer, but had a more practical suggestion: get up two minutes earlier than necessary, and devoting those few minutes to God at the beginning of our day.

May the heart of St John Vianney awaken our hearts and bring  us closer to God, as we hobble along the path to holiness, and may his great sacrifices throughout his life encourage us to make small sacrifices every day.

See the video below for a short clip of Bishop Mark Davies’ talk

On Wednesday 28th September, Birmingham’s first 40 Days for Life began outside the Calthorpe Clinic in Edgbaston, Birmingham. 40 Days for Life, a world-wide pro-life campaign, consists of 40 days of fasting, prayer and vigil and community out-reach in an attempt to save lives and change hearts and minds, as well as offering women real options.

Calthorpe Clinic is one of the biggest abortion clinics in the UK, with an estimated 10 000 abortions being carried out every year.

Although I have always been pro-life, I have never felt the urge to go and stand outside the clinic until I realised, if you want something to change, you have to do something about it. Going to keep vigil does not mean going to protest angrily, harrassing vunerable women. It is an act of love for the babies, their mothers, and the employees of the clinic.

Today, for the first time, I went to the clinic with a friend. We prayed several rosaries, and handed out leaflets in a friendly, peaceful way. I was surprised by the number of women who took a leaflet. I was also suprised by the passers by who showed their support and thanked us, and the taxi driver who called out for us to pray for him.

There are still 38 days of the vigil remaining. Please pray for those people taking park, and for the women going to the clinic. And, if you feel you can, why not come by the clinic for an hour to pray and offer support to the women. Visit http://www.40daysforlife.com/birmingham-uk/ for more information.

 

 

Digital Nativity

Posted: December 21, 2010 in Events, Video
Tags: , ,

I was really lucky to be able to be at several Papal events. My heart is still warm from the incredible experiences of greeting the Pope after Mass in Westminster as part of the youth contingent, praying with the Holy Father during the vigil in Hyde Park and celebrating Mass on Sunday with him on my home patch! I’m still fairly speechless, however check out the video

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

Glasgow
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 www.thepapalvisit.org.uk