Saturday, January 06, 2007

Queen's Speech

The Government has set up a new 'online petition' website. In the Queen's Speech there was a promise to tighten the obscenity laws although it is now feared that the Government may drop it. There is a petition to support the proposed legislation. Click here for more details.

Urbi et Orbi

On Christmas Day the Holy Father gave the traditional Urbi er Orbi message. It is an address both to 'the City', his diocese of Rome, and to 'the world' and as such is addressed to each one of us. Pope Benedict is such a profound thinker that it is always worth dedicating some time to what he has to say. You can access the message by clicking on this link.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Help with Your Essay...

At this time of year lots of our young people are faced with having to do essays for school on abortion and other life issues. Typically, in our 'modern' education system opinion is valued over truth and, sadly, many young people are not equipped to defend a pro-life cause against the emotive arguments of the anti-lifers. Here's a link to an article by Peter Kreeft that you may find helpful.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

This photo was taken by Brother Martin on New Year's Day at the last Mass of our New Year retreat. The young people were all set to go back to their homes and the theme of the sermon was the need for them to proclaim Christ to the people they will meet. The faith is never given to us as some sort of private treasure: we are always sent to pass it on to others.
It is important to recognise, however, that our enthusiasm for the faith will grow cold if we don't take steps to keep it alive. So the young people were encouraged to adopt some regular norms of piety to maintain their spiritual life: daily prayer, Rosary, examination of conscience, regular confessions, spiritual reading, Holy Mass during the week.
Any one of these norms of piety would be a good New Year's resolution for our parishioners. It's worth giving it a go!

Here's a little quotation from GK Chesterton about New Year:

"The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that
we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears,
and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make
no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do
nothing effective. Unless a man starts on the strange assumption that he has
never existed before, it is quite certain that he will never exist afterwards.
Unless a man be born again, he shall by no means enter into the Kingdom of
- G. K. Chesterton

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What is Youth 2000?

We had a great retreat here this weekend. Lots of you commented on how good it was to see so many young people (over 350) taking part. You were also impressed by their participation at Mass, their enthusiasm and their singing.
Some people have asked what Youth 2000 is all about. Click here to download a one minute trailer.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Feeding Body & Soul

The New Year Retreat is going really well. We have nearly two hundred people sleeping in the school with many more coming during the day but sleeping at home or at friends' houses. The talks have been great: simple, practical and challenging. So far we've looked at the Eucharist, Confession, and prayer. Last night we had a reconciliation service with fourteen priests hearing Confessions. It began at 8.00pm and ended after 10!
Today is the Feast of the Holy Family and I'm grateful to the parish for everyone's readiness to adapt to accommodate the Retreat. For example there was no 10am Mass today and so people had to come to one of the other Masses. Although a few forgot and turned up for the 10am they realised their mistake and there were no complaints!
With all this attention paid to our souls it's important to mention that a large part of the success of this year's retreat is due to the attention that is also being paid to our bodies. Whether it's attempting to unblock loos at midnight or sorting out heating systems so no one freezes to death on a school floor there's always been a smiling parishioner ready to help.
I couldn't finish this post without mentioning the food - because everyone else is talking about it endlessly. The basic theme: "It's never been so good"! Youth 2000 has been around since 1990 and today someone commented: "We've never had a cooked breakfast before". Yesterday someone said, "There's never been a choice of menu before". And the best comment of all, "This year instead of thinking, 'Oh, it's lunch time', I'm saying 'Oh great - it's lunch!". So thanks to everyone whose involved with looking after our bodies - especially all the many people and families helping with the catering. Here's a photo of just some of them.