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Mass in thanksgiving for the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI and for the election of a new Pope



What happens before, during and after a Papal election?

Just received this link from CTS (Catholic Truth Society) All you need to know about how the election of a new Bishop of Rome.      Conclave_Mgr_Charles_Burns_EX48 (1)

Shop floor at theCTS bookshop in London

Shop floor at theCTS bookshop in London

Written by Mgr Charles Burns, the Ecclesiastical Adviser at the British Embassy to the Holy See, this free publication explains simply and clearly what happens before, during and after a Papal election.

Centrally located at a site in front of Westminster Cathedral, the Bookshop serves as a shop-window for the CTS.

To find out more, why not visit the CTS Bookshop if you are in central London.Contacts: Telephone (020 7834 1363) or email bookshop@CTSbooks.org.

Orders sent worldwide.


Prayer for the Church

O Lord Jesus Christ, Supreme Pastor of Your Church,
we thank you for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI
and the selfless care with which he has led us
as Successor of Peter, and Your Vicar on earth.

Good Shepherd, who founded Your Church
on the rock of Peter’s faith
and have never left Your flock untended,
look with love upon us now,
and sustain Your Church in faith, hope, and charity.

Grant, Lord Jesus, in Your boundless love for us,
a new Pope for Your Church
who will please You by his holiness
and lead us faithfully to You,
who are the same yesterday, today, and forever.


(located at the website of the Knights of Colombus.)


…the mother of giants.

I’ve been wrestling with the challenges propositioned  by the virtue of Humility for some time now.  This journey of discovery has proved to be a rocky road with its fair share of pot-holes, hard knocks and falls which results in bruised feelings, denial and finally much introspection.

Today I attended a retreat day which was facilitated by Maryvale.  I ‘m busy working towards a certificate in Catechesis and part of the course demands that we students attend a retreat day. What bliss! To say that I’m happy to be working my way through this course would be an understatement. The course materials, course facilitators and amazing guest priests speakers stretch my thinking, and plant little seeds of knowledge that encourages my Faith to grow little by little and then grow some more. Today’s experience has been no exception to the rule. What never ceases to amaze me is the visiting priest:- his gifts are so unique, so well-developed and authentic that I cannot fail to be inspired by the depth and breadth of his knowledge and not least of all, his love for Christ.  Today I met a philosopher… I’ve always wanted to meet a philosopher!…who happens to edit the Catholic magazine, ‘Faith‘. Someone who debates and discusses faith and reason with the likes of Peter Atkins on one hand, and on the other cares for the spiritual well-being of the dying and the infirm  at two Catholic hospices in London. He is also someone who will spend his Saturday sharing his wisdom, experience and Faith to the likes of a mere mortal such as I!!!

The humility of these priests is tangible and exemplary. Many of these men have doctorates and have written thesis or have conquered many years of study and yet, I continue to be struck dumb by their ‘ordinariness’. Their focus is on the Lord and His work. That is their job. Their love. And I in turn love and respect them for their dedication in caring for a sinner such as I.

Today I was enticed to think more deeply about what it means to  ‘submitting intellect and will to God,’ to, ‘submit freely to the Word…amidst the gales and deluges this life on earth throws in our path’. And then I made the connection: to submit totally to God in everything , everything, is to understand the cornerstone  of the mother of the giant of all virtues-

H U M I L I T Y! If I can freely submit my intellect and will to the Word, to God, I’ll be journeying on a well-lit road that leads to love, and freedom from the trappings of the world we live in. How apt I thought, that I’ll celebrate the  feast of Christ the King tomorrow with a new understanding of this mega-virtue called humility.

Intellect without Will is dead. The Word needs to be put into action. Holiness involves the Intellect and Will. I seek holiness.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,even death on a cross.  Philippians 2: v3-5

Mull over,question, comment and share.

We need prophetic witnesses. We need people who in their way of life challenge the prevailing false ideologies bearing upon the production, distribution, and use of material goods. We need lived prophecy.

We therefore need pilgrim witnesses. We need joyous, loving men and women to show in their lives that one can live a sparing-sharing lifestyle and still be happy and fulfilled. We need to induce conversion into the masses first by example, then by word—really, by both simultaneously. (my highlight)

—Fr. Thomas Dubay

From his book “Happy Are You Poor”. Find this book on our site here:http://goo.gl/FjB1k

I explain below why I chose to include this quote:

The past two weeks has been privy my to early morning rises and late-night home comings. I’ve been on auto-pilot moving mechanically from one responsibility to the next and it’s been catching up with me. When life gets a little too hectic, I indulge in buying some of my favourite magazines. I thought I’d put the kettle on and enjoy a little frivolous down time enjoying a strong cup of tea and a glossy magazine filled with entertaining tidbits of nothing overly important or taxing. Nothing that strains the brain too much. The fact that 95%the magazine was filled with  articles about Christmas did make me sit up and think once again, ‘Yes , Christmas is being sold consumers earlier each year’, as I purchased the magazine two weeks before the end of October! And so , the secular tidal wave rolls over once again.

Just recently the 250 000 lights along Regent street have been switched on, luring shoppers into London in order to spend, spend, spend. Loads of people go to London to see the Christmas decorations; the sparkly lights and to experience the tradition of Christmas in one of the world’s most exciting cities on the planet.

While sipping my strong brew, I spluttered and coughed as I turned the pages to be greeted by a feature in the called,’In the mood for love?’ (this was decorated with a picture of mistletoe!)I was more than a little disappointed that a generally (I thought) ‘clean-cut’ women’s magazine which boasts world class recipes, great ideas to get rid of stains etc,  and recommends which home gadgets we busy women cannot be without in order to in order run our homes, had an article such as this one, sully its reputation.  At first glance the article could be looked at as inoffensive and pretty mild by today’s standards, but on closer inspection I was introduced to women sharing their light-hearted experiences regarding foreplay, as if this topic is just what everyone should know about, would be  interested in, and would be willing to share themselves. I was disappointed that at my ‘favourite’ magazine  has fallen prey to feeling the need to satisfy the trained masses in their need for  a now expected, type of voyeurism. This habit being perpetuated by a never-ending stream of talent and game-shows filling most channels on t.v. And so , the secular tidal wave rolls over once again. 

I have come to an age when I ‘ve realised I have to make choices about things that matter to me: I made one such decision recently. Two acquaintances are to marry in the near future, so a ‘Hen-Night’ as been arranged to celebrate these wonderful events. These celebrations will take place in a club and the evening will include making cocktails, a meal and dancing. I have two main objections to this:

  1. You have to dress the part: and my wardrobe is sadly lacking in the area of clubbing attire!
  2. One of the betrothed has been married before and the other has lived with her fiancée for two years already!! What a farce……I would not really be celebrating, I would most certainly be lying to myself if I pretended to be having a good time. If I did attend I’d feel like a fraud. So, no, I won’t be attending.

I quite like the idea of becoming a ‘pilgrim witness’ who induces conversion into the masses first by example, then by word.

On a more upbeat note, I received this pleasant and unexpected surprise from 8Kids And a Business– last week (I did say I ‘ve been busy) ‘The Food for Thought award’! I consider this award to be seriously prestigious in the Catholic blogosphere, as we’re blogging to share the GOOD NEWS about Jesus and His message of Love and Hope, and if  1catholicsalmon is providing food for thought for readers, I’m a happy camper.


I will adhere to the prerequisites on acceptance of the reward later in this week. Thanks once again 8Kidsandabusiness!



An ethereal celebration.

A stained glass window at St. George’s Cathedral in London.

Last week-end at Mass Fr. Jonathan highlighted the fact that we are not only family members of our own parishes, but that we belong to the extended diocesan family too. We were all duly encouraged to head up-town to St George’s  Cathedral in London to celebrate the inaugural Mass of the Year of Faith with parishioners from across the Southwark diocese. And what a wonderful celebration it was!

It was the first time I experienced such unbelievably beautiful and uplifting music at Mass. The music certainly left no-one with any doubt that we were praising and worshipping God Himself. The choir was second to none, accompanied by an organist, a pianist as well as someone who played the trumpet. The first time ever I have heard a trumpet being played at Mass! What a joy. It added a quality and glow to the celebration that  I thought I would only expect to hear in Heaven one day.

We celebrated with forty-nine priests and  four bishops, and perhaps a thousand or more fellow Catholics. It was a wonderful occasion marked by many not just in London, but all over the world.  Only good things to come from this auspicious year marked by the Church and blessed by the Holy Spirit.

I snuck a quick photo of the stained-glass window on located to the left of the benches we were sitting while the sun shone through. This just added to the already wonderful experience.

The Light of the World.

I visited St.Paul’s Cathedral in London with the sole purpose of  going to see this painting. There is much light depicted in the print but in reality, it’s pretty dark. I spent a good 15 minutes contemplating the painting and spent a good while looking carefully for the detail. It was time well spent. This is one print that has pride of place amongst other religious icons and memorabilia displayed in our little shrine at home.

I love that fact that Christ needs to be invited in, as there is no doorknob on the outside of the door. We have a choice to invite Jesus into our hearts.

Here is some interesting background information:

The artist William Holman Hunt explained that the figure of Christ was “to be seen only by the light of the star of distant dawn behind, and of some moonlight in front with most of all the light “to guide us in dark places” coming from the lantern.

This mixture of lights is all natural on the understanding that it is treated typically” (20 June 1878; London (Huntington MS.). In the world of religious vision which Hunt created in The Light of the World all things necessarily bear higher meanings, so that the symbolical and the natural combine: both together make up the real. although one cannot be certain about the precise significance of all elements of the picture’s lighting, it is clear that Christ’s lantern — whether it be the light of truth or of Christian doctrine — provides most of the illumination. The promise of a new day, a new life once the soul awakens to Christ, and the natural light of the moon can shed some, too, but Christ himself must be the chief means by which one can see him.

In Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood Hunt explained the other points of symbolism in The Light of the World :

The closed door was the obstinately shut mind, the weeds the cumber of daily neglect, the accumulated hindrances of sloth; the orchard the garden of delectable fruit for the dainty feast of the soul. The music of the still small voice was the summons to the sluggard to awaken and become a zealous labourer under the Divine Master; the bat flitting about only in darkness was a natural symbol of ignorance; the kingly and priestly dress of Christ, the sign of His reign over the body and the soul, to them who could give their allegiance to Him and acknowledge God’s overrule. In making it a night scene, lit mainly by the lantern carried by Christ, I had followed metaphorical explanation in the Psalms, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,’ with also the accordant allusions by St. Paul to the sleeping soul, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand.” (I.350-51) (http://www.victorianweb.org)


Spread the word!

This is advertised over at auntiejoanna’s and I thought I’d support her in spreading the word.

Saturday October 20th 2012
Finishes: St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, with Benediction.
The procession will be led by Archbishop Vincent Nichols.
The Procession will go down Ambrosden Avenue, and cross the river at Lambeth Bridge.  Bring a group from your parish, or just come on your own or with family and friends.

Oscar Pistorius, a true Olympic inspiration!

Image@Catholic 2012 – Olympic & Paralympic Games on Face Book

Three quotes that attest to Oscar’s qualities as a human being:

“Oscar is a giant of modern sport. A pioneer. The master not only of the possible but the seemingly impossible.”Jonathon McEvoy, Olympics Correspondent, Daily Mail

“Oscar is an extraordinary athlete who has made a significant impact in international sport. It will be fantastic to see him compete in London this summer – spectators can expect a real treat! He’s been a real inspiration to people around the world so we were thrilled when he decided to join our International Inspiration programme as an ambassador, helping us to inspire young people worldwide.” Lord Sebastian Coe, London 2012

“Nike routinely works with the best athletes in the world, and Oscar Pistorius stands out on that list. Many world-class athletes visit Nike and amaze our community, but the two weeks that Oscar spent on campus last summer went down as some of the most inspirational time we’ve ever spent around an athlete.” Arturo Nunez, Nike Emerging Markets Marketing Director


Early years…

Oscar Pistorius was born on 22 November 1986 without the fibula, the long, slender bone running along the outside of the leg from below the knee joint and down to the ankle, in each of his legs.

His parents, Henk and Sheila, consulted with some of the leading doctors in the world before making the heart-wrenching decision to have his legs amputated below the knee by South African orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gerry Versveld.

His parents were advised by doctors that having the amputation done before Oscar had learnt to walk would be less traumatic for him and would greatly improve his chances of mobility in later life. Six months later he received his first pair of prosthetic legs and within days he had mastered them.

Supported and encouraged by his sports-mad family, Oscar lived an active life which led to him becoming a keen sportsman during his school years. Whatever the sport, Oscar played it, with his main focus being waterpolo and rugby in secondary school. He also played cricket, tennis, took part in triathlons and Olympic club wrestling and was an enthusiastic boxer.

In June 2003, he shattered his knee playing rugby for Pretoria Boys High School and feared that his sporting career was over at the age of 16. On the advice of Dr Versveld, Oscar took up track running to aid his rehabilitation and began training under the guidance of coach Ampie Louw at the Sports Science Institute at the University of Pretoria.

Proud Paralympian

After a few months in the gym, Oscar took part in his first track session on New Year’s Day, 2004.
Three weeks later he entered a school 100 metres race on the prompting of one of his teachers and won in a time of 11.72 seconds. After the race his father looked up how Oscar’s time compared to the best in the world and Henk discovered that his 17-year-old son’s time was faster than the existing Paralympic world record of 12.20s.

In June 2004, he was given his first pair of Össur manufactured Flex-Foot Cheetahs and eight months after first stepping onto the track, the South African created a sensation in the athletics world by winning the T44 200m gold medal at the Athens Paralympics, breaking the world record with a time of 21.97s. He also returned home with a bronze medal in the 100m and overnight was propelled onto front and back pages around the world.

Oscar is a proud Paralympian and believes that the Paralympic Games in London will be a high watermark for the Paralympic movement. Oscar has ambitions to continue to promote the Paralympic movement and educate and inspire people around the world about the Paralympic Games.

Follow this link for a quick interview with Oscar.

From the Telegraph:

The South African was eliminated from the 400m, finishing last in his semi-final, but his presence was always likely to be more significant than his achievements on the track.

Pistorius secured his place in sporting history by becoming the first double amputee to compete at the Olympics. He will be back in a few weeks to add to his haul of Paralympic titles, but the impact of the 95 seconds or so he spent in competitive action will reverberate longer in the sport than anything he achieves next month.

Pistorius fought for the right to compete against able-bodied athletes, pursuing the IAAF to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after it ruled that his blades offered an advantage over able-bodied rivals.

The notion that a man without legs could have an edge over his able-bodied rivals seems like an affront to common sense, but Pistorius challenges preconceptions on many levels.

He has long been accepted by his rivals. Kirani James of Grenada, the reigning world 400m champion who finished first ahead of Pistorius, demonstrated his respect for the South African by making a point of swapping numbers with him after the race.

Having traded numbers he embraced Pistorius, as did every other member of the field, a public and powerful show of respect.

“Oscar is so special to our sport, and especially to our event it, so this is a memorable moment to be out here competing with him,” James said.

“I really respect and admire the guy, I just see him as another athlete and another competitor, and more importantly I see him as another person,” said. “He is out here making history, and we can all respect and admire that.”

Image @ the Telegraph
‘The Blade Runner’

Sacred art on our doorstep Londoners!

I received a newsletter from Radiant Light this evening. In it they request that Elizabeth Wang’s exhibition be advertised far and wide. Do follow the link above to be inspired and moved by such beautiful Sacred art. (I am, at present, awaiting a a response from Radiant Light in order to use the photographs of the paintings on 1catholicsalmon. I would just love to share some of my favourite paintings on this platform.)

On the above website, you will find notes that accompany the art work. These can be used to teach about Christ. Well worth a look.

So please read here:

An exhibition of both new and well-known pictures by Catholic artist Elizabeth Wang takes place in central London this summer. Entitled “In the Light of His Glory”, the exhibition takes place at:

The French Church, 5 Leicester Place, WC2H7BX (just off Leicester Square, near the main Häagen-Dazs Cafe),

from 18th June to 16th September 2012.

Notre Dame, 5 Leicester Place London

The church is open every day from 9am to 9pm. everyone’s welcome, and entrance is free. The pictures illustrate Christian themes in striking contemporary imagery, and touch on subjects such as prayer, holiness, suffering,the love of Christ, the Eucharist, and the Glory of God. They should inspire and encourage those searching for a deeper faith. Visit the Radiant Light website for further details.

Saturday 28th September – A Radiant Light Afternoon

On Saturday 28th Sept, beginning at 2pm, there is an afternoon event in the French Church. This includes a time of prayer and reflection, a guided meditation on each of the images, the celebration of Holy Mass, and some social time afterwards. All are welcome; no tickets are required. This is a wonderful opportunity for people who have been interested in Radiant Light to come together in prayer, and it should be a helpful and inspiring time for anyone seeking to deepen their faith.

(NB: Allow extra time to travel because of the Paralympics!)

Peace ICON


‘My peace I leave you, my peace I give to you’

While the Olympics get under way here in London, seven churches in the Southwark Diocese will be playing host the beautiful ICON above. In passing the ICON on to the next parish, churches take part in the ‘passing on of peace’. The beauty and symbolism in this sacred art speaks loudly to the senses.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster,
Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, and Bishop
Thomas McMahon of Brentwood, leaders of the
three ‘London’ dioceses, say,
‘On behalf of the dioceses of Brentwood, Southwark and
Westminster, we strongly support this initiative to create a peace legacy
for the 2012 Games. Here is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for
Catholics within and beyond London to take action for peace, locally,
nationally and globally to mark the Olympics and Paralympics.
The modern Olympics were founded to spread peaceful cooperation
through sport. Catholics in our three dioceses and beyond pray that
the peace in our hearts, homes, and communities will be a prominent
theme during London 2012 and prove a lasting legacy for future


I repost a taster of information from this website to whet your appetite:

The idea of the Pax Christi International Icon comes from the work for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East and the exposure programmes in Egypt, Israel, Lebanon and Palestine. The Peace Icon for Pax Christi was painted in the monastery of ‘St John in the Desert’, near Jerusalem and was given to the movement on July 1st 1999 in the city of Jerusalem. The Icon presents Christ, the source of reconciliation, the source of liberation and peace and symbolises the vital connections of the Eastern and Western Christian traditions in the Peace of Christ. The Icon has two central pictures. At the top Esau and Jacob who are seen embracing and standing on a sword at the time of their reconciliation. At the foot of the picture the title of the Icon, “ Christ our Reconciliation” is written in Greek. Latin and Hebrew. Underneath, the risen Jesus is teaching the Our Father to the disciples in the heavenly Jerusalem. At the foot of this, the words of the Our Father are written in Aramaic the language which Jesus is thought to have spoken. Other pictures show the biblical stories of Sarah and Isaac, Hagar and Ishmael, the woman at the well and the Syro-Phoenician woman. The saints include: Mary Magdalene, St Sophia, St Clare, St Boris and Gleb, St Stephen and St Francis.


In the Eastern Christian tradition an icon is the visible image of the Divine. The iconographer, who creates the icon, is instrumental in bringing about the spiritual process. The icon is the meeting of heaven and earth. The production of the icon includes times of prayer and fasting, and requires a knowledge of the codes of canon law, of both Eastern and Western traditions, knowledge of the church’s long tradition of iconography and a familiarity with the traditions of the ecumenical councils. The tradition of icon painting assumes that three people are present: the person in the icon, the painter and the viewer. The subject of an icon is not original. When the iconographer has decided who he is to paint he will find earlier depictions and will follow the tradition in his composition and style. For Byzantine Christians, both Orthodox and Catholic , icons play a central and vital part of their religious life. The icon follows the way God has created the world from darkness in the beginning to light in the end. The icon is written from the darkest parts to the lightest ones. When the icon is finished, a window to heaven is revealed.