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I Love This Guy: Pope Francis…

I borrowed the title of this post from this article  written by Father James Martin SJ  because it describes the way I feel about our Papa and the amazing example he’s setting for us all.

I feel uplifted by Pope Francis’s joy and love for humanity, not to mention his sense of confidence and self-assuredness. He conducts himself as someone who has no worry in the world but to spread the love of Jesus. He is doing this in such a loving way. His sincerity shines through.

He is inspirational to all. WYD in Rio is testament to his individual approach and independent thought, he reacts naturally sharing his demeanour since his appointment as the Vicar of Christ, as one who knows what he has to do and he’s going full steam ahead to share the Good News.

My favourite line from this article by Father James,‘Because of this I love the guy. Because of this I love God even more.’ Surely this is what it’s all about?

These photos are testament to this verve, energy and stamina. (All photos are from various sites)

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WYD 1

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On his arrival in Rio, he chose to ride in this little Fiat, which took the wrong turn and ended up in Rio traffic.

On his arrival in Rio, he chose to ride in this little Fiat, which took the wrong turn and ended up in Rio traffic.

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It’s good and clean and fresh.

Papa Francesco's living quaters for World Youth Day in Brazil..

Papa Francisco’s living quarters for World Youth Day in Brazil..

Read more about Our Papa’s accommodation here.

WYD fever is upon the Catholic world…soon to commence in Brazil. Read about Papa’s itinerary here.

Offial WYD logo found @http://wydcentral.org/wyd-rio-2013-official-logo/

Official WYD logo found @http://wydcentral.org/wyd-rio-2013-official-logo/

Catholic England.

I came across this video clip on Catholicism Pure and Simple and thought it deserves to be shared in this space. I’m not a follower of Michael Voris, but this clip made me stop in my tracks and think about the implications of what he is saying about Catholicism in England and world-wide. Off the bat, I admit to being downhearted and filled with dismay at the sad picture he is painting about Catholicism generally. I proceed, sharing my thoughts and feelings about his  brush strokes.

Mr. Voris claims that there is a ‘philosophical and ideological war’ being waged between faithful Modernists and a growing  following that are proud to be known as Traditionalists on this English Isle.  He goes on to say that the contemporary Modernist, trendy Liberalist Christians  are dying away and that there is no sign of growth or vitality within modern day Catholicism here in England, other than a slow trickle of those  who are moving towards Traditional  Masses. I believe this trickle towards Traditionalism it’s a good sign.

He points to the article from the Economist to support his views

I quote from the Economist article Michael Voris refers to; 

…the congregation is young and international. Like evangelical Christianity, traditional Catholicism is attracting people who were not even born when the Second Vatican Council tried to rejuvenate the church. Traditionalist groups have members in 34 countries, including Hong Kong, South Africa and Belarus. Juventutem, a movement for young Catholics who like the old ways, boasts scores of activists in a dozen countries. Traditionalists use blogs, websites and social media to spread the word—and to highlight recalcitrant liberal dioceses and church administrators, who have long seen the Latinists as a self-indulgent, anachronistic and affected minority. In Colombia 500 people wanting a traditional mass had to use a community hall (they later found a church).

This ‘movement of young Catholics who like the old ways’ is to me  an encouraging sign , in that the youth are not easily swayed. They think for themselves and see right through farcical arguments. They recognise Authenticity for what it is:- Right and True. They wear their knowledge on their sleeves and are proud to share it.

Looking back over the last 12 years, my family and I have been blessed to be members of a strong and established parish, thanks to the dedication and foresight of our parish priest. He is a stickler for doing everything properly, which has led to undue criticism from those who feel  as though they are being spoken to in a ‘condescending manner’ after being reminded that:

  1. the at Mass it’s unacceptable to walk in after the Gospel has been read,
  2. or that it reflects poor manners to leave Mass straight after Communion,
  3. that when you enter the Church building you should do so in a quiet manner because it is a place set aside for prayer and worship,
  4. and that after Mass you should leave in silence out of consideration for those who are remaining behind  in prayer.

While my better half and I have grown to love and appreciate ‘Fr. Brown’s’ direct approach to how things are to be respected planned and executed, others have decided that his ‘nit-picking’ has driven them to leave the parish for ‘greener pastures.’  We’re proud of  our Pastor for being strong and unafraid of upholding  basic principles of behaviour expected in a Catholic church anywhere in the world.’ Fr. Brown’s ‘ tenacity and strength of character are the attributes that the thinking Catholic will be drawn to.

Portrait of G.K. Chesterton by Timothy Jones--see more of his art at http://timothyjones.typepad.com/timothy_jones_daily_paint/ This painting was used on the cover of "In Defense of Sanity", a collection of essays by G.K. Chesterton.

Portrait of G.K. Chesterton by Timothy Jones–see more of his art at http://timothyjones.typepad.com/timothy_jones_daily_paint/
This painting was used on the cover of “In Defense of Sanity”, a collection of essays by G.K. Chesterton.

I take offence at Voris’s claim to the lack of growth or vitality  within Catholicism here: he is obviously unaware of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal which is alive and well, boasting growing numbers  at annual  Catholic week-long conferences such as ‘New Dawn‘ and ‘Celebrate’the excellent work done by the Catholic theatre group TEN TENthe wonderful work of the SION community; the tireless work done by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal during the annual  Spirit in the City faith Festival in the heart of London’s West end over 4 days and every other day of the year; the popularity of Youth 2000the growing numbers of youth from England attending World Youth Day celebrations (which includes both those from the Modern and Traditional ‘persuasions’); the birth of  a new Catholic radio station (Heart gives unto Heart) available 24/7; the 80 000 + Catholics who joined the Holy Father in Hyde Park alone not to mention the development of the Catholic Voices organisation developed especially before the Holy Father’s visit to improve the image of Catholicism in the press here in England.

Sure things are changing in Catholicism, but I think, for the better. Papa Francisco points clearly in a new and fresh direction.

Francisco’s teaching: feeding us food for thought, the heart the mind and soul.

 

(The Pope’s homily is copied from Vatican News. Emphasis mine)

download (1)

1. Jesus enters Jerusalem. The crowd of disciples accompanies him in festive mood, their garments are stretched out before him, there is talk of the miracles he has accomplished, and loud praises are heard: “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Lk 19:38).

Crowds, celebrating, praise, blessing, peace: joy fills the air. Jesus has awakened great hopes, especially in the hearts of the simple, the humble, the poor, the forgotten, those who do not matter in the eyes of the world. He understands human sufferings, he has shown the face of God’s mercy, he has bent down to heal body and soul. Now he enters the Holy City! This is Jesus.This is the heart that looks on all of us, watching our illnesses, our sins. The love of Jesus is great. He enters Jerusalem with this love and watches all of us. It is a beautiful scene, the light of the love of Jesus, that light of his heart, joy, celebration.

At the beginning of Mass, we repeated all this. We waved our palms, our olive branches, we sang “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord” (Antiphon); we too welcomed Jesus; we too expressed our joy at accompanying him, at knowing him to be close, present in us and among us as a friend, a brother, and also as a King: that is, a shining beacon for our lives. Jesus is God, but he humbled himself to walk with us. He is our friend, our brother. Here, he enlightens us on the journey. And so today we welcome Him And here the first word that comes to mind is “joy!” Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy that comes from having many possessions, but from having encountered a Person: Jesus, from knowing that with him we are never alone, even at difficult moments, even when our life’s journey comes up against problems and obstacles that seem insurmountable, and there are so many of them! It is at this time that the enemy comes, the devil comes, often disguised as an angel who insidiously tells us his word. Do not listen to him! We follow Jesus! download (3)

We accompany, we follow Jesus, but above all we know that he accompanies us and carries us on his shoulders. This is our joy, this is the hope that we must bring to this world of ours. Let us bring the joy of the faith to everyone! Let us not be robbed of hope! Let us not be robbed of hope! The hope that Jesus gives us!

2. A second word: why does Jesus enter Jerusalem? Or better: how does Jesus enter Jerusalem? The crowds acclaim him as King. And he does not deny it, he does not tell them to be silent (cf. Lk 19:39-40). But what kind of a King is Jesus? Let us take a look at him: he is riding on a donkey, he is not accompanied by a court, he is not surrounded by an army as a symbol of power. He is received by humble people, simple folk, who sense that there is more to Jesus, who have the sense of faith that says, “This is the Savior.” Jesus does not enter the Holy City to receive the honours reserved to earthly kings, to the powerful, to rulers; he enters to be scourged, insulted and abused, as Isaiah foretold in the First Reading (cf. Is 50:6). He enters to receive a crown of thorns, a staff, a purple robe: his kingship becomes an object of derision. He enters to climb Calvary, carrying his burden of wood. And this brings us to the second word: Cross. Jesus enters Jerusalem in order to die on the Cross. And it is here that his kingship shines forth in godly fashion: his royal throne is the wood of the Cross!

I think of what Benedict XVI said to the cardinals: “You are princes but of a Crucified King”that is Christ’s throne. Jesus takes it upon himself..why? Why the Cross? Jesus takes upon himself the evil, the filth, the sin of the world, including our own sin, and he cleanses it, he cleanses it with his blood, with the mercy and the love of God. Let us look around: how many wounds are inflicted upon humanity by evil! Wars, violence, economic conflicts that hit the weakest, greed for money, which no-one can bring with him.

My grandmother would say to us children, no shroud has pockets! Greed for money, power, corruption, divisions, crimes against human life and against creation! And – each of us knows well – our personal sins: our failures in love and respect towards God, towards our neighbour and towards the whole of creation. Jesus on the Cross feels the whole weight of the evil, and with the force of God’s love he conquers it, he defeats it with his resurrection. This is the good that Christ brings to all of us from the Cross, his throne. Christ’s Cross embraced with love does not lead to sadness, but to joy! The joy of being saved and doing a little bit what he did that day of his death.

3. Today in this Square, there are many young people: for 28 years Palm Sunday has been World Youth Day! This is our third word: youth!

Dear young people, I think of you celebrating around Jesus, waving your olive branches. I think of you crying out his name and expressing your joy at being with him! You have an important part in the celebration of faith! You bring us the joy of faith and you tell us that we must live the faith with a young heart, always, even at the age of seventy or eighty.! A young heart! With Christ, the heart never grows old! Yet all of us, all of you know very well that the King whom we follow and who accompanies us is very special: he is a King who loves even to the Cross and who teaches us to serve and to love. And you are not ashamed of his Cross! On the contrary, you embrace it, because you have understood that it is in giving ourselves that we have true joy and that God has conquered evil through love.

You carry the pilgrim Cross through all the Continents, along the highways of the world! You carry it in response to Jesus’ call: “Go, make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19), which is the theme of World Youth Day this year. You carry it so as to tell everyone that on the Cross Jesus knocked down the wall of enmity that divides people and nations, and he brought reconciliation and peace. download (2)

Dear friends, I too am setting out on a journey with you, from today, in the footsteps of Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI. We are already close to the next stage of this great pilgrimage of Christ’s Cross. I look forward joyfully to next July in Rio de Janeiro! I will see you in that great city in Brazil! Prepare well – prepare spiritually above all – in your communities, so that our gathering in Rio may be a sign of faith for the whole world. Young people need to tell the world: “It is good to follow Jesus, it is good to go with Jesus, the message of Jesus is good, it is good to come out of ourselves, from the edges of existence of the world and to bring Jesus to others!”

Three words: Joy, Cross and Youth.Let us ask the intercession of the Virgin Mary. She teaches us the joy of meeting Christ, the love with which we must look to the foot of the Cross, the enthusiasm of the young heart with which we must follow him during this Holy Week and throughout our lives.

Amen.

The Catholic Herald comments on the Holy Father’s first Palm Sunday  Mass.

 

The Pope’s prayer intentions for 2013.

 

 

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The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano published Pope Benedict XVI’s prayer intentions for the year 2013.

Highlights from the 2013 intentions include prayers for participants in World Youth Day, which is slated to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during July of this year. Other intentions emphasize global respect for human life and the environment as well as specific prayers for the protection of families.

The Pope’s entire list of prayer intentions for 2013 is as follows:

January

General: That during this “Year of Faith” Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and joyfully bear witness to the gift of faith in Him.

Missionary: That the Christian communities of the Middle East, which frequently suffer discrimination, may receive the strength of fidelity and perseverance of the Holy Spirit.

February

General: That migrant families, in particular mothers, may be sustained and accompanied in their difficulties.

Missionary: That peoples experiencing war and conflicts may be the protagonists in the building of a future of peace.

March

General: That respect for nature will grow, with the awareness that all creation is the work of God entrusted to human responsibility.

Missionary: That bishops, priests and deacons may be tireless proclaimers of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

April

General: That the prayerful and public celebration of the faith may be a source of life for the faithful.

Missionary: That the particular Churches in mission territories may be a sign and instrument of hope and resurrection.

May

General: That those who administer justice will always act with integrity and upright conscience.

Missionary: That seminarians, especially from mission Churches, may always be pastors according to the heart of Christ, fully devoted to the proclamation of the Gospel.

June

General: That a culture of dialogue, listening and reciprocal respect may prevail among the nations.

Missionary:  That in the areas where the influx of secularization is strongest, Christian communities may learn to effectively promote a new evangelization.

July

General: That the World Youth Day taking place in Brazil may encourage all young Christians to become disciples and missionaries of the Gospel.

Missionary: That throughout the Asian continent, doors may be opened to the messengers of the Gospel.

August

General: That parents and teachers may help the new generations to grow up with a upright conscience and a consistent life.

Missionary: That the particular Churches of the African continent, faithful to the Gospel proclamation, may promote the building of peace and justice.

September

General: That the men and women of our time, often immersed in noise, may resdiscover the value of silence and learn to listen to the voice of God and their brothers and sisters.

Missionary: That Christians who suffer persecution in numerous regions of the world may be prophets of the love of Christ by their testimony.

October

General: That those who feel weary from the heaviness of life, and even long for its end, may sense the closeness of God’s love.

Missionary: That the celebration of World Missions Day may make all Christians aware that they are not only recipients but also proclaimers of the Word of God.

November

General: That priests experiencing difficulties may be comforted in their sufferings, sustained in the doubts and confirmed in their fidelity.

Missionary:  That the Churches of Latin America may send missionaries to other Churches as a result of the continental mission.

December

General: That children who are victims of abandonment and of every form of violence may find the love and protection they need.

Missionary: That Christians, enlightened by the light of the incarnate Word, may prepare humanity for the coming of the Savior.

Is the Holy Father’s prayer intentions answered in this Evangelical priest in Brazil?

Benedict XVI (2005-present, Episcopal form of ...

The Vatican has released the prayer intentions of Pope Benedict XVI for November 2012.

The Holy Father’s general intention is:

“That bishops, priests, and all ministers of the Gospel may bear courageous witness of fidelity to the crucified and risen Lord.”

His missionary intention is:

“That the pilgrim Church on earth may shine as a light to the nations.”

Brazil still has more Catholics than any other country in the world, with about 65 percent of its 192 million people identifying themselves that way in the 2010 census. But that is down from 74 percent in 2000 and is the lowest since records began tracking religion 140 years ago. That’s shy Father Marcelo Rossi’s Mother of God sanctuary takes centre stage in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city. The not-yet-finished structure will seat 6,000 people and have standing room for 14,000 more, church leaders say. In addition, the grounds outside can hold 80,000 people who could watch Mass on outdoor video screens.

It is said to be one of the world’s 10 biggest churches. Anyone know which the other 8 are. I’m sure the Vatican would feature in the top 10 biggest churches in the world?

The Mother of God sanctuary was designed by noted Brazilian architect Ruy Ohtake, it has a wide-open layout.  With the church several years away from completion, white plastic chairs were in the place of pews for a lucky few thousand to grab a seat. The rest had to stand over during the Masses held over this past week-end.

The “pop-star priest” is seen by Brazilian Catholicism as its biggest weapon against the lack of interest, and his new sanctuary adds to his tools of best-selling books and music recordings to keep worshippers interested in what many complain has become a staid institution.

Brazil was the first nation outside Europe that Pope Benedict XVI visited, during a five-day tour in 2007 largely aimed at stopping losses in Latin America. During the trip, the pope canonized Brazil’s first native-born saint.

Then Benedict announced last August during the church’s World Youth Day, which drew 1.5 million people to Spain, that the next version of the gathering would be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2013. The pope is expected to attend.

For now, Rossi hopes his big church will bring together tens of thousands of faithful for every Mass, giving new energy to the Catholic faith.

An estimated 50,000 people attended the inaugural Mass at the Mother of God sanctuary in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city. The church, which seats 6,000, has additional standing room for 14,000; an additional 80,000 can stand outside on church grounds.

The church was built by Father Marcelo, a priest active in the charismatic movement and a Latin Grammy award nominee.

“People want big spaces. They want grand places for prayer,” he said. “One candle illuminates, 10 candles illuminate — and 100,000 candles light up so much more.”

Perhaps not the most conventional priest around, but the Brazilian people love him and are flocking to hear the Word of God as part of this Evangelical priest’s flock. They are flocking to learn more about Jesus.

What is your parish doing in the Year of Faith?

Please share what your parish is initiating for the coming Year of Faith? Our newsletter today includes numerous invitations that were publicised at the beginning of the Summer holidays:

1. ‘If you’re not a Catholic, or have not yet been Confirmed, and would like to explore the Catholic Faith as an adult then come on Thursday evenings’. EVENGELIUM: Come and find our what the Catholic Church believes and teaches. No strings, no commitments (at this stage), just come and see, and/or bring a friend.

2. Take A Stand is a Catholic Youth initiative for 14-30 year olds, meeting once a month and welcoming Young Catholics in neighbouring Parishes, getting involved in its main activities of YouCat(the Youth Catechism), building international solidarity among young Catholics and providing inspiration on a day to day basis.

Youcat

Youcat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

www.takeastand1.weebly.com

Take A Stand started at World Youth Day, Madrid 2011 where millions of young Catholics were inspired by the WYD theme ‘Firmes a la Fe’, standing firm in the Faith.

XXVI World Youth Day

XXVI World Youth Day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 We were among them. Returning to the United Kingdom, we were inspired by the goal of learning the Catechism of the Catholic Faith (Youcat) spreading the message to others and becoming faithful followers of the Lord Jesus. TAKE A STAND has grown into a vibrant network, organising regular events and continually seeking to find new, innovative ways of evangelisation.

3. The Year of Faith starts on 11th Oct. Every Catholic home needs a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church or

the Compendium or You Cat. All our homilies & activities will link with this.

4. If you’re a Catholic who wants to deepen your Catholic Faith during the Year of Faith- none of us should miss this opportunity – then come on 5 consecutive Fridays (or those that you can manage) 8 – 9.30pm, upstairs in the Pastoral Centre starting on 21st September 2012. CATHOLICISM

Image@EWTN.com

Amen!!

Image from World Youth Day 2013