• The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ

    Painting by Roberto Quijano

  • “In her voyage across the ocean of this world, the Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life’s different stresses. Our duty is not to abandon ship but to keep her on her course.” St. Boniface
  • A witness to Hope.

    There is always Hope.

  • Aid to the Church in need

  • St John Henry Newman…Pray for us.

  • Quote from Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman.

    “I sought to hear the voice of God And climbed the topmost steeple, But God declared: "Go down again - I dwell among the people."
  • Unashamedly Catholic

  • Disclaimer

    The views posted on this blog are those of 1catholicsalmon, and not of any other organisation, peoples or person.
  • The POPE app

  • vatican news

  • The Holy Father, Francis I

  • pope Francis I

    ''When we encounter the Cross, we turn to Mary: Give us the strength, Mary our Mother, to accept and embrace the Cross!''

    ''We do not become Christians by ourselves. Faith is above all a gift from God which is given to us in and through the Church.''

  • Francisco I Coat of Arms

  • Franciscan quote of the day

  • The Source and Summit

  • Faith seeking understanding

  • Marian in character. At its Heart Christ – centrered.

  • Pray the Rosary

  • Catholic internet Radio – England

  • Unique for a reason.

  • God’s perfect plan.

  • Favourite pic.

    Doing the Lord's work.

  • Compendium of the CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH

  • St Boniface

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 757 other followers

  • Bending your Ear

  • Top Posts & Pages

  • “From the age of fifteen, dogma has been the fundamental principle of my religion: I know no other religion; I cannot enter into the idea of any other sort of religion; religion, as a mere sentiment, is to me a dream and a mockery.” Blessed John Henry Newman.
  • 1catholicsalmon swimming upstream


    A Catholic eager to discuss the truth about Catholic Christianity.

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • This month

    October 2019
    M T W T F S S
    « Sep    
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    28293031  
  • Goodreads

  • 1Flesh.org BRING SEXY BACK!

  • Recent tweets

  • Awards 1.

  • 2.

  • 3.

  • 4.

  • 5.

  • 6.

  • 7.

  • 8.

  • 9.

  • 10.

  • 11.

  • 12.

  • 13.

  • 14

  • Advertisements

As a Catholic I worship God.

602374_474793239208458_1279442040_n

Two years ago I attended a Baptist service celebrating the Dedication of a friend’s baby to God. A  substantial service which consisted of a significant praise and worship segment, prayer, preaching and finally the dedication of little Noah. I was moved by the intense prayer for the baby during this part of the service. Four members of the church community (who seemed to have standing in the community) prayed over the baby. This was followed by tea and then a luncheon.

It was at the luncheon that  my daughter and I got chatting with a couple who were seated at our table. We discussed the service amongst other things and the conversation inevitably led to us discussing which church we belonged to. As soon as we said that we attend St. Joseph’s, an uncomfortable (albeit short) silence ensued and the conversation petered out after that.

On coming across the above poster recently, my mind was taken back to this encounter and yes, I understand now what my Catholicity may have represented to that couple. Their reaction was a plainly visible physical recoiling as they realised that we are Catholic.

This brings me to the sermon at Mass last Sunday. The picture on the bottom right of the poster brought me here, because what I do at Mass is exactly this, listen to the Word of God, and  praise Him in thanksgiving through song and prayer and receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus. We were reminded that the Eucharist means ‘thanksgiving’. That we should  give thanks for everything we have, freely and willingly. We should go to church every week to ‘freely and willingly’ give heartfelt thanks to God, not because we feel that it’s our duty to go, but because we want to thank God  for all He has done for us through Jesus. We were gently reminded too, that often-times Catholics take for granted the Great Gift that  we have in the Eucharist because that is what we’re used to having at Mass. There shouldn’t be an ‘ought’ attached to this weekly Worship. We should respond in true thanks-giving each week. If there is an ‘ought’ attached to our attending Mass, we should stop and think about our motives.

‘What is our calling as Christians? To thanks God. When all our worldly goods are removed from us and we are faced with the essential nature of our lives, the most important ‘thing’ that we are left with is God. We need to thank God for Him, because He is everything. We are totally dependant of God’s divine mercy. He gave Himself to us, and as an act of worship, we give thanks to Him for this.’ 

This is why I go to church.

Advertisements

Fr. Peter at Mass.

download

Before Mass started I smiled to myself, knowing that Father Peter finds the noise and the fidgeting at the children’s Mass ‘challenging.’

Today, Father kept us a little longer as we had to complete the parish census forms. A good idea, because he wanted them back straight after Mass. Helpers were stationed in the narthex with collection baskets at the ready. So, to the tune of baby squalls and very restless toddlers, we dutifully filled in the forms before we left the building to the rousing sound of percussion instruments being played as accompaniment to the hymn by those very same toddlers and children. (I attended the 9:30 this morning, always packed to the the rafters.)

I love Father’s homilies and always come away with something to think about, and this morning as I left Mass I asked if he would mind me taking notes during his homilies, because my memory is just not co-operating. I always wish that I did have a pen and paper at the ready, because I know there will be something I’ll want to share and never remember what it is. I will be suitably armed with pen and paper from now on.

Father spoke about faith today as I’m sure all priests did, and his message to the parents of the children who are about to start  the Holy Communion course was about prayer. Teach them ‘arrow prayers’.  Prayers that are sharp and to the point. Such as the prayer that reminds us of St. Thomas, ‘My Lord and my God.’ This we say as the body of Christ is held up for veneration after the consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of or Lord Jesus Christ.

The other one he mentioned, ‘Lord increase my faith today.’ He made reference to St. Augustine for this one one…I forget the link he made with St Augustine(hence the need for pen and paper!) Both of these little ‘arrow prayers’ are pretty powerful in themselves as they serve to increase our faith and worship our God as all-powerful at the same time.

A wonderful trip into the past…

The beautiful Sanctuary at St Mary Immaculate, Warick

The beautiful Sanctuary at St Mary Immaculate Church, Warick

This past Bank holiday week-end, my better-half and I finally decided to spend a much longed for week-end away together. It was just what the doctor ordered. It was great to just relax without any interruptions from any electronic device whatsoever. Bliss!

We decided to visit Stratford Upon Avon as we’ve never been there, and booked into a hotel in the nearby town of Warick. The next important decision, was about where we would attend Mass on Sunday and  St. Mary Immaculate Church happens to be about 5-6 km from the hotel, so that became the obvious choice for our weekly Sunday sojourn. We saw it as a  bonus that we could attend the 8;30am Mass and then carry on from there to do our site-seeing and exploring in the neighbouring town of  Stratford (or so we’d planned!) On Saturday I came down with a racking and relentless cough, which kept me wide-eyed and bush-tailed throughout the night. Not good. So, we abandoned said plans and after Mass decided to head back to the hotel where I spent the entire day in bed (still coughing) trying to catch up on a bit of sleep.

Our attendance at St. Mary Immaculate was just lovely in every sense of the word. We  were greeted by a most beautifully adorned  Sanctuary as we walked into the intimate seating area for about 200 worshippers. ( I say intimate, as our church holds probably upwards of 600 parishioners at a time.)

The icons of Saints adorned the back wall, rightfully taking their place to ‘worship’ alongside us during the Mass. The Sanctus took on a new meaning for me with these wonderful images  staring down upon the Altar, during the most special prayer of  devotion and worship in the Mass. We received Communion in both kinds that morning, in an unknown community of fellow Catholics.

Stratford Upon Avon May 2013 024

Stratford Upon Avon May 2013 023

After Mass we introduced ourselves to Fr. Stefan Laszczyk, who by and by came to tell us about to one of  St. Mary Immaculate’s world famous parishioners: JJR Tolkien! He and his wife were married at this church in 1916. I love the fact that in England history lies around every corner, and if you’re not careful, you may just miss an exciting titbit.

I’m glad we introduced ourselves to Fr. Laszczyk!

Sorry about the blurriness!!

Sorry about the blurriness!!

A moment that mattered.

After a tough week, feeling downtrodden and hopeless, as I walked into Mass this morning, my heart slowly grew lighter. The Mass is the same always and everywhere  no matter how you feel. It remains a constant. Unchanged and unchanging. 2011-09_TheMassIt felt comforting to be in that familiar rhythm, waiting expectantly to receive the Lord, and nothing else really matters.

An invitation to young Catholics.

Image@http://thineownservice.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/an-invitation-to-young-catholics/

Image@http://thineownservice.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/an-invitation-to-young-catholics/

Herewith detail (as copied from the Zenit of the Pope’s message to the Catholic youth on his visit to the UK in 2010:-

“In these few moments that we are together, I wish to speak to you from my own heart, and I ask you to open your hearts to what I have to say,” Benedict XVI said.

He stated: “I ask each of you, first and foremost, to look into your own heart.

“Think of all the love that your heart was made to receive, and all the love it is meant to give. After all, we were made for love.”

“Every day we should thank God for the love we have already known,” the Pope asserted, “for the love that has made us who we are, the love that has shown us what is truly important in life.”

He continued, “We need to thank the Lord for the love we have received from our families, our friends, our teachers, and all those people in our lives who have helped us to realize how precious we are, in their eyes and in the eyes of God.”

Enduring

“We were also made to give love,” the Pontiff affirmed, “to make it the inspiration for all we do and the most enduring thing in our lives.”

“Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the great Missionary of Charity, reminded us that giving love, pure and generous love, is the fruit of a daily decision,” he noted.

“Every day we have to choose to love,” the Holy Father urged, “and this requires help, the help that comes from Christ, from prayer and from the wisdom found in his word, and from the grace which he bestows on us in the sacraments of his Church.”

“I ask you to look into your hearts each day to find the source of all true love,” he said. “Jesus is always there, quietly waiting for us to be still with him and to hear his voice.”

Benedict XVI said: “Deep within your heart, he is calling you to spend time with him in prayer.

“But this kind of prayer, real prayer, requires discipline; it requires making time for moments of silence every day. Often it means waiting for the Lord to speak.”

“Even amid the “busy-ness” and the stress of our daily lives,” he acknowledged, “we need to make space for silence, because it is in silence that we find God, and in silence that we discover our true self.”

‘…Then, in a rare gesture and sign of respect, the bishops removed their mitres.’

Pope Benedict – still teaching!

At his last public Mass as Pope, Benedict XVI showed both his generous humanity and his commitment to liturgical integrity. From theAssociated Press:

Smiling and clearly moved, Benedict responded, “Grazie. Now let us return to prayer” — his words bringing to an end several minutes of thundering applause. Then, in a rare gesture and sign of respect, the bishops removed their mitres.

The Pope is no fan of applause at Mass, because it reveals a focus on man rather than the God who is to be worshipped at Mass. Nevertheless, he acknowledged the need of the faithful assembled to make a gesture of gratitude and affection, given the short notice leading up to what has become his last public Mass. Still, when he judged the time ripe, he called them all back to God.

Thus the bishops’ gesture is all the more striking: a profound sign of respect that did not disturb the theocentric ambience of worship. Clever bishops.

And then, his teaching…

31486_495325013864854_922981261_n

Today, Ash Wednesday, we begin the liturgical time of Lent, forty days that prepare us for the celebration of Holy Easter, it is a time of particular commitment in our spiritual journey. The number forty occurs several times in the Bible. In particular, it recalls the forty years that the Israelites wandered in the wilderness: a long period of formation to become the people of God, but also a long period in which the temptation to be unfaithful to the covenant with the Lord was always present. Forty were also the days of the Prophet Elijah’s journey to reach the Mount of God, Horeb; as well as the time that Jesus spent in the desert before beginning his public life and where he was tempted by the devil. In this Catechesis I would like to dwell on this moment of earthly life of the Son of God, which we will read of in the Gospel this Sunday.

First of all, the desert, where Jesus withdrew to, is the place of silence, of poverty, where man is deprived of material support and is placed in front of the fundamental questions of life, where he is pushed to towards the essentials in life and for this very reason it becomes easier for him to find God. But the desert is also a place of death, because where there is no water there is no life, and it is a place of solitude where man feels temptation more intensely. Jesus goes into the desert, and there is tempted to leave the path indicated by God the Father to follow other easier and worldly paths (cf. Lk 4:1-13). So he takes on our temptations and carries our misery, to conquer evil and open up the path to God, the path of conversion.

In reflecting on the temptations Jesus is subjected to in the desert we are invited, each one of us, to respond to one fundamental question: what is truly important in our lives? In the first temptation the devil offers to change a stone into bread to sate Jesus’ hunger. Jesus replies that the man also lives by bread but not by bread alone: ​​without a response to the hunger for truth, hunger for God, man can not be saved (cf. vv. 3-4). In the second, the devil offers Jesus the path of power: he leads him up on high and gives him dominion over the world, but this is not the path of God: Jesus clearly understands that it is not earthly power that saves the world, but the power of the Cross, humility, love (cf. vv. 5-8). In the third, the devil suggests Jesus throw himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple of Jerusalem and be saved by God through his angels, that is, to do something sensational to test God, but the answer is that God is not an object on which to impose our conditions: He is the Lord of all (cf. vv. 9-12). What is the core of the three temptations that Jesus is subjected to? It is the proposal to exploit God, to use Him for his own interests, for his own glory and success. So, in essence, to put himself in the place of God, removing Him from his own existence and making him seem superfluous. Everyone should then ask: what is the role God in my life? Is He the Lord or am I?

Overcoming the temptation to place God in submission to oneself and one’s own interests or to put Him in a corner and converting oneself to the proper order of priorities, giving God the first place, is a journey that every Christian must undergo. “Conversion”, an invitation that we will hear many times in Lent, means following Jesus in so that his Gospel is a real life guide, it means allowing God transform us, no longer thinking that we are the only protagonists of our existence, recognizing that we are creatures who depend on God, His love, and that only by “losing” our life in Him can we truly have it. This means making our choices in the light of the Word of God. Today we can no longer be Christians as a simple consequence of the fact that we live in a society that has Christian roots: even those born to a Christian family and formed in the faith must, each and every day, renew the choice to be a Christian, to give God first place, before the temptations continuously suggested by a secularized culture, before the criticism of many of our contemporaries.

The tests which modern society subjects Christians to, in fact, are many, and affect the personal and social life. It is not easy to be faithful to Christian marriage, practice mercy in everyday life, leave space for prayer and inner silence, it is not easy to publicly oppose choices that many take for granted, such as abortion in the event of an unwanted pregnancy, euthanasia in case of serious illness, or the selection of embryos to prevent hereditary diseases. The temptation to set aside one’s faith is always present and conversion becomes a response to God which must be confirmed several times throughout one’s life.

The major conversions like that of St. Paul on the road to Damascus, or St. Augustine, are an example and stimulus, but also in our time when the sense of the sacred is eclipsed, God’s grace is at work and works wonders in life of many people. The Lord never gets tired of knocking at the door of man in social and cultural contexts that seem engulfed by secularization, as was the case for the Russian Orthodox Pavel Florensky. After acompletely agnostic education, to the point he felt an outright hostility towards religious teachings taught in school, the scientist Florensky came to exclaim: “No, you can not live without God”, and to change his life completely, so much so he became a monk.

I also think the figure of Etty Hillesum, a young Dutch woman of Jewish origin who died in Auschwitz. Initially far from God, she found Him looking deep inside herself and wrote: “There is a well very deep inside of me. And God is in that well. Sometimes I can reach Him, more often He is covered by stone and sand: then God is buried. We must dig Him up again “(Diary, 97). In her scattered and restless life, she finds God in the middle of the great tragedy of the twentieth century, the Shoah. This young fragile and dissatisfied woman, transfigured by faith, becomes a woman full of love and inner peace, able to say: “I live in constant intimacy with God.”

The ability to oppose the ideological blandishments of her time to choose the search for truth and open herself up to the discovery of faith is evidenced by another woman of our time, the American Dorothy Day. In her autobiography, she confesses openly to having given in to the temptation that everything could be solved with politics, adhering to the Marxist proposal: “I wanted to be with the protesters, go to jail, write, influence others and leave my dreams to the world. How much ambition and how much searching for myself in all this!”. The journey towards faith in such a secularized environment was particularly difficult, but Grace acts nonetheless, as she points out: “It is certain that I felt the need to go to church more often, to kneel, to bow my head in prayer. A blind instinct, one might say, because I was not conscious of praying. But I went, I slipped into the atmosphere of prayer … “. God guided her to a conscious adherence to the Church, in a lifetime spent dedicated to the underprivileged.

In our time there are no few conversions understood as the return of those who, after a Christian education, perhaps a superficial one, moved away from the faith for years and then rediscovered Christ and his Gospel. In the Book of Revelation we read: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me”(3, 20). Our inner person must prepare to be visited by God, and for this reason we should allow ourselves be invaded by illusions, by appearances, by material things.

In this time of Lent, in the Year of the faith, we renew our commitment to the process of conversion, to overcoming the tendency to close in on ourselves and instead, to making room for God, looking at our daily reality with His eyes. The alternative between being wrapped up in our egoism and being open to the love of God and others, we could say corresponds to the alternatives to the temptations of Jesus: the alternative, that is, between human power and love of the Cross, between a redemption seen only in material well-being and redemption as the work of God, to whom we give primacy in our lives. Conversion means not closing in on ourselves in the pursuit of success, prestige, position, but making sure that each and every day, in the small things, truth, faith in God and love become most important.

Text via Vatican Radio translation.

 

Let’s celebrate the start of the Year of Faith.

From the Southwark Diocesan website

What better way to celebrate than to celebrate the Eucharist together. Be part of a universal celebration this Saturday.

Loads more information to be found here: Archdiocese of Southwark

On the cusp of a special year ahead.

 

I can’t help but feel excited (tinged with a little trepidation)  about the coming year of Faith which begins this week. It feels to me like a year that’s going to surpass any other in its importance and significance at this time on earth for devout as well as resting Catholics  in a Western culture steeped in secularism. The Church in Her wisdom, decides on ventures  over a period of years after much planning, debating and prayer. I think the decision about the Year of Faith could not have been better timed.

This evening at Mass, we heard a powerful message from our Archbishop Peter of Southwark, that ignited within an even more fervent desire to make a difference (however small) in this coming year.

Herewith an excerpt that made an impression on me: (emphasis is mine)

And quite recently Pope Benedict drew on that image of the Church, speaking of that participation of all the baptised in terms of the “co-responsibility” of all the baptised in proclaiming the Gospel. This is what he said: “Co-responsibility requires a change of mentality, particularly with regard to the laity in the Church, who should be considered not as ‘collaborators’ with the clergy, but as persons truly ‘co-responsible’ for the being and activity of the Church. It is important, therefore, that a mature and committed laity be united, who are able to make their own specific contribution to the Church’s mission, in accordance with the ministries and tasks each one has in the life of the Church, and always in cordial communion with the bishops. Your particular vocation as lay faithful, who are called to be courageous witnesses in every sphere of society, is that the Gospel might be the light that brings hope in difficult situations, in troubles and in the darkness that we today so often find along the path.” 

He goes on to say:

I also want to encourage every parish, either through the parish council or a specially commissioned group within the parish, to get together and determine what you can do as a parish community in co-operation with your parish priest, to participate fully in the Year of Faith. I think that will be a good way to foster Pope Benedict’s understanding of the exercise of ‘co-responsibility’ and build up our parishes as communities of prayer, of vibrant and confident faith and good works, open to welcome those who come in search of Our Saviour, Jesus Christ. And to discover too what gifts the Holy Spirit has given each of us to be committed and steadfast ‘proclaimers of the Gospel’ in our neighbourhoods, at work and wherever we take our leisure. May God bless you all in your endeavours, and let’s pray for each other and support each other in this great opportunity the Holy Father has given us.

How can his requests possibly be ignored? It feels so good to hear these directives from  the leader of the Flock here in Southwark. I feel motivated and rearing to go. I do like the idea of being a in a responsible partnership with our parish priest and I do hope that the other parishioners feel the same way.

Follow this link to read the Bishop’s entire letter.

 

You have an invitation!

Gaze upon the Altar.

Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life; you have the message of eternal life. Alleluia.

Fifteenth Ordinary Sunday-(Year B)

Every week I look at the Altar at Mass and am moved by the beauty and simplicity of it.  I have decided to capture the decoration around  the Sanctuary every week to share with you. This week, a simple display of glorious yellows, orange and green was carefully designed to fit precisely in the middle under the Altar, drawing one’s eye to the main place of worship during the Mass.

Significance of the Altar

The Catholic altar is both a sacrificial altar, and a table for a communal meal. In Jesus’s time, altars where animal sacrifices took place as atonement for sin were common under Jewish norms and traditions. The passion of Christ was the ultimate sacrifice, to atone for the sin of mankind. Therefore, the Christ’s sacrifice is enacted each Mass at an altar. The altar is also a table because we are all “called to the Lord’s supper.” The sense of the Catholic altar as a table calls to mind the last supper and the tables around which the early Christians celebrated the Eucharist, as well as the fact that we as a faithful community are sharing in the saving meal.