Monday, 10 August 2015

Paul Inwood : Hymn for the Year of Mercy

From the Website of the Catholic Bishops in England and Wales . . . . .

The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation yesterday published on its ‘Jubilee of Mercy’ website the winning entry in an international competition for a hymn setting for the Holy Year of Mercy. The music has been written by Paul Inwood, an English Catholic liturgical composer well known on both sides of the Atlantic. A substantial number of composers from around the world were invited to submit settings to a committee whose members included Monsignor Massimo Palombella, Director of the Sistine Chapel Choir, which has recorded the new hymn with Vatican Radio.

The hymn is currently available in Italian, English and French, and the author and composer have donated all rights in it to the Pontifical Council to aid its diffusion around the world.

Paul Inwood said: “It is a great honour for me that my setting was selected for the Holy Year of Mercy. The text we were given has a Latin antiphon and Italian verses interspersed with refrains in Latin, like a kind of litany. My music is also a mixture, with elements in the style of a Taizé response and a Gelineau tone. The verses work in any language ― I provided French and English translations ― and I deliberately kept the music very simple so that even the smallest parishes can hopefully make use of it. There is also some more elaborate music: a brass prelude and interludes, and a choral coda which is included in the recording.”

The Holy Year begins with the opening of the Holy Door in St Peter’s Basilica, Rome, on 8 December."

Father William Meninger OCSO

Well worth Listening to ! An interview with Father William Meninger. Not had much time for blogging lately, but discovered Carl McColman's blog "A Contemplative Faith."   Reminded me of what is so good about the blogosphere.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Life in Limerick !

Redemptorist Priest, Tony Flannery reflects on a recent conference organised in Limerick. . . . .
He writes. . . . . .

An article I wrote recently for on the Church

The Catholic Church, worldwide is in a state of flux at the moment. For those of us in the reform movement, who believe that the Church urgently needs to change, the pontificates of both John Paul and Benedict were a dark winter. Now, with Francis, there are signs of a spring growth again. But the new shoots are fragile, and like a lettuce plant newly introduced to the garden, a sharp late April or early May frost could kill them off.

The reforms we are looking for are mostly to do with structure and governance. We believe that the excessive centralisation of power and decision making has been very damaging to the Church, so we are calling for decentralisation, – a lessening of the power and control of the Vatican, and giving greater authority to the regions. We hope that the problems of ministry – the fact that only male celibates can be priests, and that for any position of real influence a person needs to be ordained, – will be honestly and openly discussed and resolved.

The four day conference of the network of reform movements, which we had in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Limerick last week, convinced me even more that the marginalisation of women in the Church is a massive sore that has to be healed before any real progress can me made. And from a personal point of view I wish to see systems put in place that provide justice for all within the Church, without which any preaching by Church people about justice in the world sound hollow, even hypocritical.

The remainder of this year will tell us a lot about the possibility of real change happening. I think that it is safe to say that Pope Francis wants the type of changes I outlined above, but the opposition to him from some Bishops (and some lay groups) is strong, both inside the Vatican and around the world. The final stage of the Synod on the Family will takes place next October, will tell a great deal.

We know that the first part gave promise of new approaches and attitudes, and then pulled back. If the final document at the end of the Synod does not signal a real change in attitude and practice towards, for instance, people in second relationships and gay people, but reinforces instead the negative message of exclusion and condemnation, we will be back in the winter of discontent, and I will greatly fear for the future of the Church. Francis is attempting to change the focus from rigid implementation of doctrine to a more person-centred approach that listens to the reality of peoples lives, and tries to support and encourage them to follow the Gospel as best they can.

The Church in Ireland is to a fair degree still experiencing the winter. With declining church attendance, priests ageing and dying, and not being replaced, the future looks bleak enough. Our leadership, with one or two possible exceptions, don’t appear to have really heard the message of Francis, and are not in any effective way echoing it to their people. It is not as if they are actively excluding people who are in second relationships, or our gay sisters and brothers who want to take an active part in the local church, but it would be very refreshing if we had a local diocesan pastoral letter which states that suchy people are welcome at the Eucharist. When Francis named himself as the Bishop of Rome there was an implication that other Bishops had authority within their own dioceses and need not look to Rome for direction on everything.

In our Catholic Faith Rome should be a focus of unity, not the centre of all government. A further problem with our Irish Bishops is their failure to create clear blue water between themselves and the more extreme conservative groups. This has been very damaging in our social debates and the current debate on Marriage Equality is yet another sad example. The message once again, as it has been for generations when anything to do with sex is up for debate, is a firm ‘NO’. To people of a gay orientation, to their parents, grandparents and families, this stance of the Church is often heard as a further layer of condemnation following on from “disordered state’ and ‘intrinsic evil’.

The real danger here is that if the referendum is defeated the usual suspects will line up to blame the Church and a further wedge will be driven between it and the young people of Ireland.

In the meantime, now that I am forbidden to minister as a priest, I have found a voice in the reform movement, and I still believe that the Catholic faith has a rich vein of wisdom for people who are open and willing to listen.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Gerard W Hughes : Obituary

So sorry to hear of the death of Gerry Hughes.  His books are a personal inspiration for me as for countless thousands across the globe.  Rest in peace Gerry and thank you.  Here's the obituary from the Jesuit uk website.

The Jesuit priest, author and spiritual guide, Fr Gerry W Hughes SJ, has died at the age of 90. His funeral will take place at Farm Street Church in London at 2pm on Monday 17 November 2014, followed by burial at St Beuno's Jesuit Spirituality Centre in North Wales at 12 noon on Tuesday 18 November.

Gerard William Hughes was born on 22 March 1924 in Skelmorlie, Ayrshire, and entered the Society of Jesus in 1942. After studying at Heythrop College (at that time in Oxfordshire), Skt Georgen in Frankfurt and Campion Hall, Oxford, he was ordained in 1958, and made his final vows as a Jesuit at Stonyhurst College, Lancashire, three years later. He taught at Stonyhurst for nine years before and after ordination.

From 1967 to 1975, Father Hughes served as Chaplain at Glasgow University, before concentrating on the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius, first at Southwell House in Hampstead, where he was a member of 'The Way' community, and then at one of the Jesuits’ formation houses, St Beuno’s in North Wales.

Ignatian Spirituality always played a major part in the life of Gerry W. Hughes. After leaving St Beuno’s at the end of 1983, he worked ecumenically on spirituality in the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Sweden and Finland, introducing retreats in daily life and offering training courses to enable lay people to accompany other lay people in prayer and in retreat-giving. He was one of the founders of ‘Manresa Link’, an ecumenical association promoting the Spiritual Exercises, while based at Manresa House in Birmingham. He was the ‘support person’ to the Birmingham JVC community for many years and served as guide for Jesuits at various stages in their formation, including as novices.

Fr Hughes studied theology in Germany just after the war and that made a big impression on him. He was involved in a particular way in spirituality for those involved in social justice, and working especially with justice and peace groups and individuals. In this regard he had a life-long link with Pax Christi.

‘Gerry W’ (as he was affectionately known) will probably be best remembered for his inspiring talks and books. His 1985 book God of Surprises  was described by Gerald Priestland as “one of the great books of spiritual guidance”. The sequel, God in All Things, was published in 2003. Other books included Oh God, Why? and an account of his personal spiritual journey, God, Where Are You? 
His final book, Cry of Wonder, was published on 23 October 2014, shortly before his death on 4 November.
Writing on his web site, Gerry W. Hughes summarised his faith that was deeply rooted in Ignatian Spirituality: “I am a Jesuit priest. As a Christian I believe that God really is in all peoples and in all things, a loving and compassionate presence”.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

St Nicholas, Greek Orthodox Church, Liverpool

This weekend Heritage Open Days took place across the Country.  Places usually not accessible opened their doors to the public.  I managed to visit
the Greek Orthodox Church of St Nicholas in Toxteth.  

Members of the congregation were on hand to welcome visitors as well as the resident Priest.  Tea and Coffee facilities were also generously supplied.  Thank you so much to everyone who enabled this lovely building to be seen by so many people who would otherwise only be able to drive past or see the outside from a passing bus.  Here's some of the photographs I took.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Ice bucket challenge

I'm amazed at the number of people writing on the internet against the ice bucket challenge craze.  Reactions vary, but often settle on the waste of resources and so on.  For goodness sake!
How on earth could anyone gauge the 'waste' of water  in terms of earths resources ?
 I hope you've done your research . .  As an aid you could add
the number of computers 'catholic' bloggers leave on standby
The number of churches heated with their doors left open or broken thermostats or boilers that don't save energy,
How much water is dumped down every piscine in the land during the week?
Leaking water stand pipes in cemeteries attached to churches,
The number of churches lit by non-energy saving light bulbs,
Empty presbyteries with lights left on to deter burglars,
The energy used to heat large convents and monasteries with only a handful of people in them ?
Mealy mouth suggestions I know . . But so too are those objections to the ice bucket challenge !  Would God really be interested in the waste of water or in the enthusiasm of people caring to help those less fortunate than themselves ?

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Fr Paul takes the Ice-Bucket Challenge !


The Francis Effect . . . .

Dissent !

Throughout the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, whenever someone disagreed with what he said or did, the cry DISSENT ! was heard very forcefully. Not only that, but dissenting was considered to be a crime against Holy Mother Church. During the pontificate of Pope Francis, those very voices that cried Dissent are speaking out against him.  What a strange church we belong to ?

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The New Urban Hermit . . . .

An article in the American "Saturday Evening Post," from 2013 has an interesting article about the growth of Urban Hermits.  Mixed among the testimonies are some resources for the Urban Hermit.  Ravens Bread hermit ministries is well worth a visit.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Centering Prayer App

There's a really useful app to found in the i-tunes store.   It's a very useful and fruitful aid to contemplative prayer and it's free! It's for all interested in Centering Prayer.  Click this link to find out more.

There's loads of background material to the practice of Centering Prayer, with it's roots in the Contemplative tradition of the church.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Bede Griffiths

I thought this video had gone off the radar.  After re discovering and watching it again, I remember why it should be more widely watched.  I love the quote in the 34th minute . . . 
"Religion is the organisation of the spiritual life, but the spirit itself is beyond religion"

"Жизнь">">"Жизнь отца Беды Гриффитса" ( "A Human Search - The Life Of Father Bede Griffiths") (англ.)
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Sunday, 17 August 2014

Upholland Unitape online Vatican II lectures

Looking forward to listening to many of these talks.  A big thank you for placing these online.  Here's the web address for them The web page introduction is reproduced below.

The Upholland UNITAPE yOnline Catalogue offers downloads for over 800 recordings of Upholland Northern Institute lectures taped between 1975 and 1988. As a theological resource, these recordings cover a wide spread of topics ranging from scripture to social issues. Speakers include Vincent NicholsHugh LaveryDympna Magee and Raymond E. Brown.
Based at the junior seminary of St Joseph's College in Upholland, Lancashire, the Upholland Northern Institute (UNI) was set up to aid adult Christian education and the continuing development of clergy in the North West. Talks organised by UNI were recorded to cassette tapes and sold across the UK, both to priests and lay audiences, to provide material for study or group talks. By the closure of UNI the number of tapes had exceeded eight hundred.
In 2013 the collection of tapes was digitised and has been made available online byLiverpool Hope University in association with the Archdiocese of Liverpool.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

ACTA would be rightly proud !

The Report of  a meeting between the Association of Catholic Priests and representatives of the Irish Episcopal Conference in the Columba Centre in Maynooth on June 4, 2014 makes interesting reaading.  They have covered ground that I feel sure ACTA would love to cover.  I look forward to the report from the full conference of Bishops in response, though I won't hold my breath.  Read the report here

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Chair of Quest meets Cardinal Gracias

The chair of Quest, Ruby Almeida, has met Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay and one of Pope Francis' group of 8 cardinal advisors.  Terence Weldon has an insightful review of the meeting on his 'Queering the Church' Blog.

It is interesting to read of the Cardinals honesty that "he was not aware of the difficulties and pain that they (the LGBT community) suffered as he is isolated from grass roots issues and only aware of what he is informed of by his advisers."

"Archbishop Gracias was open to "the possibility of a Mass under the banner of ‘all are welcome’ and the hope is that this could be the start of something positive for the Catholic gay community there.”

Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry writes:

"Cardinal Gracias has already shown he can be courageous about LGBT issues when last year he was India’s only religious leader to speak out against the possible re-criminalization of homosexuality in that country.  The fact that he is also so close to Pope Francis means that his opinion on these matters can have a lot of weight. In addition to being a close papal advisor, Gracias is also President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and Secretary General of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, so his influence can also be horizontal to other bishops, as well as vertical to the Vatican and Pope Francis."

Makes an exciting to change to hear a positive view about LGBT issues.  Intrinsically good news in my book !

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Jesuit head: Religion isn't doctrine, but sensitivity to human experience . . .

I was delighted to read the article below in the National Catholic Reporter.  It expressed views that have intrigued me for a long time.  I have often thought that the point of great music was to inspire the heart and mind, to enjoy, to relax, to celebrate, to commiserate and so on. 

Music can also be described in a scientific way too.  I’m no physicist, but I can imagine we can speak of vibrations of a segmented string of length x, lasting a duration of x seconds and of a specific volume and so on, until each note has been laboriously analyzed from a scientific perspective. Who could possibly appreciate reading the scientific description over and above listening to the piece as its composer intended?

It strikes me that in the light of this analogy, there are many who approach religion in a similar ways.  Some analyze to the nth degree, others sit back and celebrate.  Depending which particular person you are I guess you’ll either understand what I’m getting or think I’m a nutter !

Enjoy the Bach . . . .

Meanwhile here’s the beginning of the NCR article

Religion is less a code of doctrines and teachings than a sensitivity to the "dimensions of transcendence" that underlie the human experience, the head of Pope Francis' Jesuit order said Friday.
Likening the religious experience to a person who can appreciate the intricacies and variations of classical music, Jesuit Fr. Adolfo Nicolás said "religion is first of all very much more like this musical sense than a rational system of teachings and explanations."

"Religion involves first of all a sensitivity to, an openness to, the dimensions of transcendence, of depth, of gratuity, of beauty that underlie our human experiences," Nicolás said. "But of course, this is a sensitivity that is threatened today by a purely economic or materialist mindset which deadens this sensitivity to deeper dimension of reality."

Continue reading here

Monday, 17 March 2014

Bun Fight at the RC Corral

Interesting to watch the too-ing and fro-ing of so called informed, mature opinion and debate in the catholic media and blogs.   
Reading the ‘comments’  in many blogs or news sites reveals pretty nasty comments from all sides of the debate.  Hardly edifying stuff from a religion worshipping  a God of love. 
Reminds me  more of the childish food fights that used to be the diet of Saturday morning TV.  Grow up eh ?

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Strange things in blogging world . . .

Strange things seem to be happening in the blog world at the moment. Most blogs seem to have been 'left footed' since Pope Francis was appointed.  Second guessing as to any 'change' is rife and criticism as to him going 'too far' is also present.

The upcoming Synod on the family is eagerly anticipated, but whether a particular Bishops conference publishes results of the questionnaire has tempered any further speculation. It's even had an effect on my own blog where posting has been a little quiet.  I've kept my eye on the blogging world though . . . . .

I'm also a bit perplexed by the story of protect the pope blog.  I might not be in agreement with his blog but something makes me very uneasy about a Bishops request to desist from writing.  Yes, he's been criticising people in a manner I find odious, but surely he has a right to self expression and write as his conscience dictates.  Contrast this with the bishops of England and Wales inviting responses to the questionnaire for the synod and then not letting anyone know what was said.

Seems like exciting times are ahead.  Could call me back to blogging more regularly.  Keep going everyone !

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Secrets of the Vatican : Documentary

A documentary aired in America on Feb 25th is well worth a visit before it goes offline ! interesting Cardinal Murphy O'Connor makes and appearance as well as Robert Mickens.