Corpus Christi

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A model for men and women searching for the Mystery of God.

cardinalnewmanWhen we say the Creed, we need to realise that we are doing something extraordinary and counter cultural. In a world where so many people live atomised existences, we are doing something as a community. In an age that shies away from commitment, as we say the Creed we are committing ourselves to a set of convictions and to each other. The Creed is our symbol, the way we recognise each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s a sign of our common membership. It is our Catholic identity. (JerichoTree). It is to this identity that Newman endeavoured to cleave himself through his search for Truth in the Mystery of God.

“I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it.” ~ John Henry Newman

I went on a pilgrimage to Newman’s Littlemore College in Oxford, where I learned more about this inspirational man,and his fascinating journey into the arms of the Catholic Church.The influence of Blessed John Henry Newman, one of the outstanding voices of 19th century Roman Catholicism, has spread throughout the Christian world and is stronger than ever today. He lived and prayed for four years at The College in Littlemore where he was received into the Roman Catholic Church on 9th October 1845.Blessed John Henry Newman lived at “The College” at Littlemore from 1842-1846, making it a place of quiet prayer and study for himself and some friends.

Littlemore college

Littlemore college

“There it has been, that I have both been
taught my way and received an answer to my prayers.”

Newman, Letters and Diaries, XI 132/3

Newman’s oratory has again become a place of prayer and worship, with the Office, daily hours of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and regular masses. A substantial and specialized collection of Newman-related literature has been built up on the site of Newman’s own library, together with an exhibition of Newman memorabilia (prints, etchings, photographs, sculptures and original letters). Newman wrote in total, 20.000 letters!

In 1963 Pope Paul VI beatified Fr. Dominic Barberi, The Passionist ,who received John Henry Newman into the Catholic Church. On that occasion the Pope spoke about Blessed Dominic; but he also spoke about Newman. He said ‘, Newman’s journey of Faith was ,’the greatest, the most meaningful, the most conclusive, that human thought ever travelled during…the modern era.’

This quote from Blessed Barberi on Newman's request to become Catholic.

This quote from Blessed Barberi on Newman’s request to become Catholic.

A relic of Blessed Dominic Barberi at eh church I visited at Littlemore.

A relic of Blessed Dominic Barberi at the church I visited at Littlemore.

I had an opportunity to pray in front of the Crucifix Blessed Newman prayed in front of daily.

I had an opportunity to pray in front of the Crucifix Blessed Newman prayed in front of daily.

Newman's bedroom kept today as it was when he lived there.

Newman’s bedroom kept today as it was when he lived there.

Pilgrims can visit Newman’s room, in which many historic features have been preserved. The chapel, which is regularly used for prayer and Mass, is similar to how it would have been when Newman and his companions prayed there. I prayed in the same place where Newman spent so much of his time in search of the truth, and where he had the grace and happiness of being received into what he believed to be “the one true Fold of Christ” (Letters and Diaries XI, 5).

Newman's writing desk on which Blessed Barberi performed the mass after Newman's conversion. Newman never write on it again and kept it inverted after this .

Newman’s writing desk on which Blessed Barberi performed the mass after Newman’s conversion. Newman never wrote on it again and kept it inverted after this mass .

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Newman’s writing desk in his bedroom.

The intellectual genius of Newman coupled with is humility struck me to the core. His dogged determination in search of the truth cost him dearly as far as his friends and family were concerned.  On his desk is a diary of his writings and included is a letter to his sister Jemima telling her of his decision to convert to Catholicism. He begins, ”My dear Jemima, I must tell you what will pain you greatly, but I will make it as short as you would wish me to do…”.  This letter he sent to her only after his conversion. The non-pre-existent relationship with his sister caused his much sadness.

In 1845 Newman wrote his ‘Development of Christian Doctrine’ and towards the end of this work it became clear to him that he must seek admission into the Roman Catholic Church. When Fr Dominic Barberi visited Littlemore, Newman and two of his companions were received into the Church on 9th October 1845.

In his Development of Christian Doctrine’, Newman spoke of how ‘to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.’ These memorable words are well known and often quoted, and it seems obvious that change was a particular characteristic of his life. The Roman Catholic Church in England was itself going though great change at the time of Newman’s conversion.

It is right to celebrate!

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Happy All Saints day!

Pope Benedict XVI said,  ” The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness.”  

We are all called to be the best we can be in Christ. Let our brightest light shine. We are called to holiness, closeness to God.  The Saints who precede us reached ‘greatness’ in their own unique way.

Recently, I visited the execution site of St’s Thomas More and John Fisher just outside the London Tower on Tower Hill where they were martyred for their Catholic faith. They died not knowing of their greatness in living their Faith with such tenacity.  It is right to celebrate their lives and to remember their sacrifice.

Image@1catholicsalmon

Image@1catholicsalmon
This is the plaque which includes their names, fixed to the spot where they were beheaded,

John Fisher by Hans Holbein. The Stapleton Collection

Thomas More by Hans Holbein

Hans Holbein the Younger. Sir Thomas More.
© Frick Collection, New York

Read here for details about these two prominent English Saints.

‘Blessed are you for Believing.’

As part of the Year of Faith, the theme of this year’s Marian Day is ‘Blessed are you for Believing.’ 

Pope Francis will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on October 13th as part of Marian Day celebrations that will involve the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
The statue is normally kept in the Shrine of Fatima in Portugal but will be in Rome this weekend for the consecration which is one of the highlights of the ongoing Year of Faith.
Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three shepherd children in the village of Fatima in Portugal in 1917. She warned of violent trials in the twentieth century if the world did not make reparation for sins. She urged prayer and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

The statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

The  shrine at Fatima  where Our Lady appeared to the visionaries.

The shrine at Fatima where Our Lady appeared to the visionaries.

med_2011012511_pastorinhos_09Lúcia dos Santos with fellow visionaries Jacinta and Francisco Marto.

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The Basilica at Fatima.

It is hoped that the Year of Faith, declared by Pope Benedict XVI, has helped us to deepen this great gift which we can easily take for granted. The apostles begged the Lord to increase their faith as they knew Faith’s paramount importance in their relationship with Jesus. Jesus assures them and us that it takes only a little Faith, the size of a mustard seed, to make the impossible possible. Without doubt we need Faith to help us face the hostile atmosphere we often find ourselves surrounded with – life without God, love, hope and purpose. Faith, Hope and Charity (Love) make all the difference in our dealings with many who have lost the reason to live. We need that Faith which the apostles prayed for, so that we may be strengthened to stand firm and be of help to those who have lost faith in God, man/woman and themselves. Rightly it has been said, “the righteous shall live by his faith.” (Hab. 2:4)

Pontifical homepage for the Year of Faith: Pope Francis and the Year of Faith.

I came across the Pontifical homepage for the Year of Faith,  and knew that it’s a must- share. I can’t believe that I hadn’t looked for it sooner. Clear, informative and educational links.

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Image@http://www.annusfidei.va/

The Holy Father Francis spoke also about the Year of Faith in the Meeting with representatives of the Churches and Ecclesial Communities, and other religions. The following is an excerpt from his speech.

“[…]I begin my apostolic ministry,” he continued, “in this year that my venerated predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, with a truly inspired intuition, proclaimed the Year of Faith for the Catholic Church. With this initiative, which I wish to continue and which I hope serves as a stimulus for each of us in our journey of faith, he wanted to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, proposing a type of pilgrimage to what is essential for every Christian: a personal and transforming relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died and rose again for our salvation. The heart of the Council’s message lies precisely in the desire to proclaim this ever-valid treasure of the faith to the persons of our time.[…]”
(Pope Francis, Audience with representatives of Churches and Ecclesial Communities and of other Religions , Wednesday, 20 march 2013).

Direct quote from the Pontifical homepage for the Year of Faith.

 

Three in a row…

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Image@catholicgagfacebook

The Holy Father speaks of Holiness.

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‘Become a Christian ever anew’

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Image@ignatiuspressfacebook

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

SPECIAL OFFER FREE DOWNLOADABLE BOOK ON THE CONCLAVE
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.

Amen.

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

 

…becoming a Christian begins only when a person sloughs off any illusion of autonomy and self-sufficiency.

BECOMING A CHRISTIAN  

First of all, it seems important to me that the Church does not regard becoming a Christian as the result of a course of instruction or even of a training process. She regards it as a sacrament. This means that no one becomes a Christian by his own unaided power. No one can make himself a Christian. It is not man’s business or within his competence to upgrade himself, as it were, into a great-souled person and finally into a Christian. On the contrary, the process of becoming a Christian begins only when a person sloughs off any illusion of autonomy and self-sufficiency; when he acknowledges that man does not create himself and cannot bring himself to fulfillment but must open himself and allow himself to be led to his true self.To be a Christian, then, means first and foremost that we acknowledge our own insufficiency and allow him—the Other who is God—to act upon us.—Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)

(As posted on Ignatius press facebook)
From his book “Dogma and Preaching”, available on our site here:www.ignatius.com/Products/DP2-H/dogma-and-preaching-2nd-ed.aspx?src=ipfb

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Image: St. Francis Xavier baptizing. Photograph by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. See more of his images at www.flickr.com/photos/paullew/