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What the Elect say and do, especially when they are leaders, matters.

Fr Peter, one of the originators of the British Province of the Confraternity of Catholic

Fr Peter, one of the originators of the British Province of the Confraternity of Catholic

Fr. Peter Edwards, parish priest at St Joseph’s New Malden is the leader of a large parish in Southwark, who isn’t afraid to take criticism on the chin and who rises above it in all that he does and says. He’s not afraid of swimming upstream (another Catholic salmon!!) against a tide of carping parishioners who question his choice to remain faithful to the Tradition and truths of the Faith and who cannot and will not understand the importance of standing firm on these teachings. For this (amongst other things) I love, respect and support him. His beautiful and prayerful Masses are uplifting, putting Christ front and centre without fail no matter which Mass I attend, each and every time. He gives me a sense of an unwavering love of Jesus that will never be swayed .

How do you view your shepherd? Do you support him or criticize him?

The ensuing homily is one of  Cardinal Vincent Nichols, delivered at the Easter Vigil Mass at Westminster Cathedral. Bold emphasis is my own-in a show of support of what he shared:

The full text of Cardinal Nichols the Easter Vigil on 4 April 2015.

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Our Vigil this evening started in a very deep darkness, and in many ways that is a harsh reality because there is much darkness in our lives. With the violence in Kenya, the wretchedness of those who have been forced away from their homes, and now in Northern Iraq, millions of displaced people. Think of the anxiety, the loneliness, the depression, jealousy and greed that characterise our lives.

Yet tonight, a fire blazed, there is something very primal about a fire, and for us we can see it as symbolising that first power of God and the Holy Spirit that hovered over the chaos and brought forth the cosmos and ordered world. The fire stands for the beginnings of the work of creation, for the original creativity of God who is meant be seen in energy and purpose, and inventiveness and goodness. From that original fire, now has come forth a single light.

That fire, as we heard in the readings, is struggling to survive through the unfaithfulness of people. Now it comes, a single light, which is inextinguishable, even by death, and that light has spread among us, from one to another, filling this place, becoming the Church. The light is Christ, the light that conquers darkness, the light we celebrate this night, that he is risen, and he lives with us.

How in our lives does this victory of Christ come to be real? Yes, it becomes real by God’s grace working within us as we strive to follow the person of Jesus; but how can we express that precisely this evening? By this light we are to live fully each day and always with a hope that is sure and certain. So we open our hearts to the present, a present that is full of the future. Tonight that it what we try to do; we try to grasp the light, to make it our own, just as we grasp the candle. This is my light. We open our hearts to receive the hope; a hope that St Paul spoke about; a hope that we are bound to Christ and therefore share his resurrection. And we resolve to seize the day, to live the day, to live every day to the full. You can put it like this, “this rising of the sun each morning is the rising of the Son of God and for that day I live by his light and exceed everything in his light.”

My mother used to say, at the beginning of every day, “This is the day the Lord has made, so let us rejoice and be glad in it, accept it, and live it to the full.” But we make each day in the light of a sure and certain hope because we know that all things will be fulfilled in Christ and nothing of what is true worth, nothing that reflects the truth and the love and the compassion of God, will ever be lost.

In this light of the risen Christ, we live fully each day with a hope for the future that is sure and certain.

So often today we are tempted just to live for the moment, see what pleasure it can give us and not know about tomorrow. Sometimes it’s suggested that religion tempts us to abandon the present for a fanciful dream, a fanciful future that is detached from this day. Our faith does not do that. We live this day through God’s love and mercy, whatever its reality, facing its greatness and its failure. So for us, faith in Jesus is not escapism.

We are profoundly committed to the day, to this world, to God’s world, to serving it in the light of His truth. And equally, our faith is not an ideology. Ideologies always want to destroy what is in their way.

Our faith is not an ideology; it embraces what is in front of us only to heal and redeem through Christ, and with him in our hands and our hearts, that we play our part…

He is risen. Alleluia. Amen

Quoted from The Catholic Herald

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COMMITMENT-Staying loyal to what you said you were going to do.

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Taking inspiration from St. Joseph’s, New Malden’s web page, I agree with the importance of our Witness as Christians and our commitment as Baptised, involved lay faithful. It’s all about commitment , being committed to our journey as disciples of the Lord and remaining committed to the tenets of the Faith.

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In the first few centuries of the Church’s existence, evangelisation was crucial to its survival. Living in a pagan culture Christians had to live their Faith in a very intentional way. To admit one was a Christian,was to risk persecution, so Church members had to be passionate about their commitment. Then, in the fourth century, Emperor Constantine made Christianity the religion of the Holy Roman Empire. Suddenly, being a Christian became not just accepted, but fashionable.

Today, our experience as Christians is not far from those who lived so long ago in a pagan world. Today, being Christian means you ‘re a bit ‘otherwise’ to put it politely.Today we need to be living our Faith in a very intentional way. Today we have to know the reasons for believing and wanting to be Christian if we are to stand a remote chance of survival amongst secular free-thinkers.This is most especially true if we profess to be Catholic Christians.

It wasn’t until the Second Vatican Council in the 1960’s that Pope Paul VI began to call for a “new evangelisation” — and not just by clergy and religious, but by all Catholics. Blessed John Paul II said that to evangelize, you have to be evangelised; that evangelisation is an encounter with the ‘living Spirit;’ that sharing faith has got to become normal, a natural part of life.

 If someone says they like to connect with nature and the spiritual by walking along the beach, most Catholics today would probably say, “Good for you,” but would not go a step further and share how their own faith helps them connect with God. People are reluctant to push their beliefs on other people. We have to be convinced there’s something worth sharing. Many ‘catholics’ don’t really know their Faith at all, and other than just admitting to being ‘catholic’do not attend Mass or receive the Sacraments.

They have not sought to understand the reasons that lay behind our dedicated attendance at Mass every week;our observance of prayer and fasting on Fridays; our need to  receive Holy Communion or to receive absolution through regular attendance at Reconciliation. If you find yourself to be one of these ‘catholics’, I urge you to find out more about the reasons why we do what we do as Catholic Christians. The answers will open up a new way of thinking about Jesus and His love for you. Enquire about courses at your parish. Attend an RCIA group and learn about your gift of the Faith with new converts. JUST ASK.

The process of becoming a disciple involves three components: proclamation, conversion, and service and mission. I believe that resistance by Catholics to evangelise is  because the front-end piece of evangelisation deals with conversion: making Jesus Lord of our life. It calls for a radical change if we’re going to embrace this mission. Catholics do tend to be good at teaching prayers to children, making sure they’re educated in the faith and — simply living their lives, so that others may see them as good people and be attracted to what beliefs lead to that lifestyle.However, when it comes to sharing their faith and inviting others to participate in it, Catholics don’t fare as well.

So, in what ways can we show our commitment to sharing the Good News as Catholics? A few suggestions:-

  1. Mention that you have attended Mass over the week-end over sandwiches at lunchtime on Monday, and go further, sharing something about the readings or the Gospel that opened up a new insight to the Scriptures for you.
  2. Share anecdotes about your parish priest and his dedication to his flock. How does he show you  the love of Jesus through his words and actions?
  3. Invite ‘resting catholics’ to an early morning Mass, or just any Mass.
  4. Invite them to come along and visit a group at your parish.
  5. Share the news about the acts of social care and justice that your parish supports: eg’ St. Joseph’s parish supports the local food bank and our parishioners donated one tonne of food last month alone.’ This might open up new avenues of discussion leading back to our Faith, to understand why we’re helping the poor, what moral values and social teachings lead the Church to be a voice for the voiceless.
  6. Take an extra parish newsletter to share with someone and leave it with them.
  7. Share good Catholic literature written by Blessed John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedicte XVI, Scott Hahn. There is an abundance of choice.
  8. If you are a God-parent, make time to remain in your God-child’s life for the long haul, not just on the day of their Baptism. Find new ways of doing this.
  9. Create a family shrine at home with the crucifixes, pictures, and statues received at Baptisms and Confirmations. These speak volumes about your Faith and how you live it without having to say a word.
  10. Start a book club that reads Catholic literature and encourage members to bring a friend.

For inspiration and spiritual uplifting, pop into St. Joseph’s for Mass, or take a look at its vibrant and informative website.

St. Joseph’s New Malden, has embarked on a  Year of Renewal in 2014 which  builds on the recently ended Year of Faith, and is proposed as a Parish Year of Faith in Action  leading into a Year of Re-Dedication (2014-15) and a Year of Mission (2015-16) I’m looking forward to the next three years with anticipation. Want to join me on this promising new journey?

Image@worksbyfath.org

Image@worksbyfath.org