Posts Tagged ‘Year of Faith’

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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Cardinals in Sistine Chapel

Heavenly Father, We, the People of God, gathered in solidarity as did the disciples in the Upper Room, pray for the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the cardinals who will be in conclave for the election of the next Vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ.

May the hearts of our cardinals be open to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, beyond any human judgment, to elect the candidate most pleasing to You, Heavenly Father, and who will guide the Church at this momentous time in history at the beginning of the Third Millennium.

We invoke our Mother Mary, united in prayer with the disciples in the Upper Room, to intercede for our cardinals to select the next Holy Father in docility to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, her divine Spouse.

Holy Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, we entrust this conclave to your maternal and Immaculate Heart, and offer these prayers for your guidance and protection over the choosing of the next Vicar of your Son:

1 Our Father
1 Hail Mary
1 Glory Be

Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!

Prayer taken from http://www.xt3.com/
 

Update 13/02/2013

The Liturgy Office of England and Wales has issued some prayer resources for the resignation of the Pope and the election of  a new one.

Gift of Shepherd Prayers

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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

Volunteers arriving for European meeting

Volunteers arriving for European meeting

Each year, young people from across the continent and beyond gather for Taize’s European meeting, held in a different city each year. This year, for the fourth time, the meeting was held in Rome. On Saturday evening after the period of silence during the prayer service, Br Alois, prior of the Taize community, greeted Pope Benedict. 

Greeting to the Holy Father by Brother Alois
Most Holy Father,Today a significant milestone in our “pilgrimage of trust on earth” is taking place. We have come from all over Europe and from other continents too, from various Church affiliations. What unites us is stronger than what divides us: one baptism and the same Word of God unite us. We have come here this evening to celebrate this unity around you, a unity which is real even if it is not yet fully realized. It is when we turn together towards Christ that it grows deeper.

Brother Roger left a legacy to our community—his desire to communicate the Gospel to young people in particular. He was deeply aware that the divisions between Christians are a barrier to handing on the faith. He opened paths of reconciliation that we have not yet finished exploring. Inspired by his testimony, there are very many people who want to anticipate reconciliation by their lives, to live already as people who are reconciled.Reconciled Christians can become witnesses to peace and communion, bearers of a new solidarity among human beings.

Seeking a personal relationship with God is the basis of this approach. This ecumenism of prayer does not encourage a facile tolerance. It promotes a mutual listening which is demanding, and a true dialogue.Praying here tonight, we cannot forget that the last letter written by Brother Roger, just before his violent death, was addressed to you, Holy Father, to tell you that our community wanted to walk in communion with you. Nor can we forget how, after his tragic death, your support was invaluable to encourage us to move forward. So I would like to express once again the deep affection of our hearts for your person and for your ministry.

Finally, I would like to bring the witness to hope of the many young Africans with whom we met a month ago at Kigali, Rwanda. They came from 35 countries, including Congo, North Kivu, to undertake a pilgrimage of reconciliation and peace. The great vitality of these young Christians is a promise for the future of the Church.These young Africans wanted us to bring back a sign of their hope, sorghum seeds, so that they could grow in Europe. Can I take the liberty, Holy Father, of giving you, from them, a small traditional Rwandan basket called “agaseke” with some of these seeds of hope from Africa? Perhaps they could be planted in the Vatican gardens and blossom there?

Pope Benedict then addressed the community, and the 45 000 young pilgrims, Christian, Protestant and Orthodox, who gathered in St Peter’s Square. Below is the text of his address to the young people.

 rome vigil

Thank you, dear Brother Alois, for your warm words, full of affection.

Dear young people, dear pilgrims of trust, welcome to Rome!You have come in great numbers, from all over Europe and from other continents, to pray at the tombs of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. In fact, in this city both shed their blood for Christ. The faith that motivated these two great apostles of Christ is the same that compelled you to start out on this journey. During the year that is about to begin, you are proposing to uncover the well springs of trust in God in order to live it in your everyday life. It gladdens me that in this way, you have embraced the aims of the Year of Faith which began in October.

This is the fourth European meeting to be held in Rome. On this occasion, I would like to repeat the words my predecessor, John Paul II to young people during your third Meeting in Rome: “The Pope feels deeply committed together with you all on this pilgrimage of trust on earth … I too am called to be a pilgrim of trust in the name of Christ”. (30 December 1987).

 

ENGLISH 
Just over seventy years ago, Brother Roger established the Taizé Community. Thousands of young people from all over the world continue to go there to seek meaning for their lives. The Brothers welcome them to share in their prayer and provide them with an opportunity to experience a personal relationship with God. It was to support these young people on their journey to Christ that Brother Roger had the idea of starting a “pilgrimage of trust on earth”.A tireless witness to the Gospel of peace and reconciliation, ardently committed to an ecumenism of holiness, Brother Roger encouraged all those who passed through Taizé to become seekers of communion. We should listen in our hearts to his spiritually lived ecumenism, and let ourselves be guided by his witness towards an ecumenism which is truly interiorized and spiritualized. Following his example, may all of you be bearers of this message of unity. I assure you of the irrevocable commitment of the Catholic Church to continue seeking the paths of reconciliation leading to the visible unity of Christians. And so this evening I greet with special affection those among you who are Orthodox or Protestants.

FRENCH

Today, Christ is asking you the same question he asked his disciples, “Who am I to you?”. Peter, at whose tomb we are gathered at this moment, replied: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:15-16). His whole life became a concrete answer to this question. Christ also wants to receive a response from each of you born of a deep inner freedom and not of compulsion or fear. In responding to that question your life will find its strongest meaning. The text of the Letter of St. John that we have just heard helps us understand with great simplicity how to respond: “What we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another” (3:23). Have faith and love God and others! What could be more exciting? What could be more beautiful?During these days in Rome, let this Yes to Christ grow in your hearts, above all by taking advantage of the long moments of silence that are an integral part of your community prayers, after having listened to the Word of God. This Word, says the Second Letter of Peter, is “like a lamp shining in a dark place,” which you do well to be attentive to “until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (1.19). You have to understand: if the morning star must arise in your hearts it is because it is not always present there. Sometimes the evil and suffering of the innocent create doubt and confusion in you. And saying Yes to Christ can become difficult. But these doubts do not make you non-believers! Jesus did not reject the man in the Gospel who shouted: “I do believe, help my unbelief!” (Mk 9:24).

GERMAN
So that you do not lose faith during this battle, God never leaves you alone and isolated. He gives us all the joy and comfort of the communion of the Church. During your stay in Rome, thanks to the generous hospitality of many parishes and religious communities, you are undergoing a new experience of being Church. On your return home, to your various countries, I invite you to discover that God is making you all co-responsible for His Church, in all the variety of vocations. This communion which is the Body of Christ needs you and you all have a place in it. Starting with your gifts, from what is specific to each of you, the Holy Spirit forms and breathes life into this mystery of communion which is the Church, in order to convey the Good News of the Gospel to the world today.

POLISH
Together with silence, song has an important place in your community prayers. In these days the songs of Taizé fill the basilicas of Rome. Song is a support and incomparable expression of prayer. Singing to Christ, you open yourselves to the mystery of His hope. Do not be afraid to precede the dawn in praise of God, you will not be disappointed.Dear young friends, Christ does not remove you from the world. He sends you there where His light is missing, so that you may bring it to others. Yes, you are all called to be small lights to those around you. With your attention to a more equitable distribution of the goods of the earth, with your commitment to justice and a new human solidarity, you will help those around you to better understand how the Gospel leads us to God and at the same time to others. So, with your faith, you will contribute to uncovering the wellsprings of trust on earth.

Be full of hope. God bless you, your family and friends!

A Challenge for 2013

St  Teresa tells us that she experienced continual periods of dryness in her prayer life. To combat this, she never began to pray without a book.

Below is a bookmark with some suggestions of books, mostly from saints, that may be useful for spiritual readings and aid prayer.

Why not print some copies and give them to friends and family members. You could also leave some at the back of the Church (ask your parish priest first) or in the adoration chapel.

Going a step further, you could give the gift of one of these books to someone, to encourage them on their Journey of Faith.

Guides to Prayer bookmark

Pope Benedict XVI’s reflection for Advent 2012

Dear brothers and sisters!

Today the Church begins a new liturgical year, a journey that is subsequently enriched by the Year of Faith, which we observe 50 years after the opening of the Second Vatican Council. The first part of this journey is Advent, constituted, in the Roman Rite, by the 4 weeks that precede the Christmas of the Lord, that is, the mystery of the Incarnation. The word “advent” means “coming” or “presence.” In the ancient world it indicated the visit of the king or emperor to a province; in the language of Christianity it refers to the coming of God, to his presence in the world; a mystery that involves the entire cosmos and all of history, but that knows 2 culminating moments: the first and the second coming of Jesus Christ. The first is precisely the Incarnation; the second his glorious return at the end of time. These 2 moments that are chronologically distant – and it is not given to us to know how distant – touch each other in their depths, because with his death and resurrection Jesus has already realized that transformation of man and the cosmos that is the final goal of creation. But before the end, it is necessary that the Gospel be preached to all nations, Jesus says in the Gospel of St. Mark (cf. Mark 13:10). The Lord’s coming continues, the world must be penetrated by his presence.

Our collaboration is required in this permanent coming of the Lord in the proclamation of the Gospel; and the Church, which is like the Bride to be, the Betrothed of the crucified and risen Lamb of God (cf. Apocalypse 21:9), in communion with her Lord collaborates in this coming of the Lord in which his glorious return already begins.

The Word of God reminds us of all this today, describing the conduct that is necessary to ready for the Lord’s coming. In the Gospel of Luke Jesus says to the disciples: “Do not let your hearts be weighed by dissipation, drunkenness and the troubles of life … be vigilant, therefore, praying at all times” (Luke 21:34, 36). So, sobriety and prayer. And the apostle Paul also invites us to “grow and superabound in love” among ourselves and toward others, to make our hearts strong and blameless in sanctity (cf. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13). In the midst of the upheavals of the world, or in the deserts of indifference and materialism, Christians welcome the salvation that comes from God and bear witness to it with a different way of living, like a city set on a hill. “In those days,” the prophet Jeremiah announces, “Jerusalem will live in peace and be called ‘the Lord our justice’” (33:16). The community of believers is a sign of God, of his justice, which is already present and active in history but is not yet fully realized, and because of this is always awaited, invoked, sought with patience and courage.

The Virgin Mary perfectly incarnates the spirit of Advent; this spirit is one of listening to God, of profound desire to do his will, of joyous service to our neighbor. Letting ourselves be guided by her, so that the God who comes does not find us closed and distracted, but can, in each one of us, extend a part of his kingdom of love, of justice and of peace.

I wish everyone a peaceful Sunday and a good Advent journey. Happy Advent, have a good Sunday, everyone. Thank you.