Showing posts from October, 2012

Example matters, and not just to appease and please the cranks

Friends of mine, who are practising Catholics have been scratching their heads and saying that they are reluctant to attend ‘Traddy Mass’ or the Latin Mass, because they say that whenever they go, they meet people who want to criticise them for things they do – or don’t do at Mass.

The Miracle of the Sun in Fatima October 13, 1917

Thank you to my friend, Stella who shared this video on Facebook. Please be so kind as to pray for her intentions and her cherubic brood of kids. I met Stella in University College Cork, at a pro-life talk, five years ago this autumn, and have always been grateful to know so sparky, intelligent and articulate a Belfast lady.

Today is the birthday of Archbishop Charles J Brown. It is the first time he will celebrate his birthday in Ireland as Apostolic Nuncio.  Please be so kind as to pray for his intentions, he is an incredibly good and holy bishop and deserves every grace that can be won by our prayers. There is a Fatima trend in his life, born on the anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun, and ordained on May 13th 1989.

Pope's Benedict's Mass, 7th October, that opened The Year of Faith

Last Sunday, Rome was remarkably crowded, in a way that would rival those giddy days during the beatification of John Paul II. Throngs of German and Spanish Catholics came to honour the new doctors of the Church, which were proclaimed by Pope Benedict during the Papal Mass of Sunday 7th October.  Our golden tickets in hand, the next morning, at 8 AM, we joined the multitudes queuing to get into St Peter’s square for Mass. The front rows seemed to be full, but a quick prayer to St Anthony, and we found seats in the second row!   We were surrounded by St Hildegard of Bingen devotees, and there were quite a few people who had either physical disabilities or were thalidomide victims and had a special affection for the German saint who had been such an expert on medicine. 
A number of luminaries were seated near us, including Karl Anderson, the supreme commander of the Knights of Columbus. Before Mass, the Rosary was recited in Latin, and I found it surprising that the absolute majority …

Getting tickets to the Pope's Mass in Rome

Last week a colleague and I were in Rome to cover some stories, and we were fortunate enough to be allocated tickets for the Mass of October 7th - the opening of The Year of Faith.

So this wild Irish girl was in St Peter's Square and on the look-out for the office where she might collect the tickets...

We had to pass through security, and for a moment I thought that I ought to have one of those plastic bags for my lipstick and 'liquids', like at the airport, but the security guards found no problem with the contents of my enormous satchel. Walking around the marble columns, we found a signpost for the office...

Then we were greeted by a long flight of steps, at the top of which, I asked the guard, 'is this the place where we collect the tickets?' He gave me a stern 'yes', and told me to put away my phone.

And then to visit St Peter's Basilica. They have gotten a little bit stricter with the modesty policy and were telling women to cover bare legs, …

The autumn path-less-taken is strewn with leaves...

My vividly green summer-time blog template with the sparkling blue sky didn't look right, now that the horizon is a fuzzy autumn mist and clumps of auburn and orange leaves decorate the London streets: the remnants of summer's demise.

So it was time for change...because...'the leaves that are green turn to brown'...

Did you know Fr Thwaites? Did any of his books or recordings bring you into the Church or inspire you to more ardent practices of the faith?

Here he is, the one and only, Fr Thwaites, née Fr Hugh Simon-Thwaites, with his gleeful smile and dancing eyes. I included him on the list as one of the world's most amazing priests when he was on this earth and 'living on the edge of eternity'.  Now, Fr Thwaites has gone to God, and we are pondering his great legacy.

There was a time when I thought that I was in a minority - I didn't think that many other Catholics had been as influenced as I was by his booklets and recordings. But, after writing about him in July of this year, many people, even people I had known for years, got in touch to say that 'something profoundly simple' that Fr Thwaites said, had 'stuck' in their minds and had made them more aware and appreciative of the faith.

I'm interviewing people who were influenced by Fr Thwaites. A big trend in the interviews is the memorable metaphors and comparisons-to-ordinary-life that Fr Hugh Thwaites employed.

If you would like to share wha…

"When the pope laid his hands on my head, I had a tremendous sense of the strength of the Holy Spirit"

...were Archbishop Brown's words after his ordination to the Episcopate. Thank you to all the people who got in touch with good wishes after the publication of Archbishop Charles Brown's interview and who said that they were heartened by the story of his vocation and insights into the Holy Father's character. You might like to see this picture and the CNS video of his ordination.  

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