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.)
from Yeshu">">Yeshu Das on Vimeo.">Vimeo.>

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.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Fr Anthony de Mello SJ

I think it's about time I included a post about Fr Anthony de Mello SJ.  Below is the first paragraph of his wiki entry and a website dedicated to his work can be found here.  There are videos on youtube that de Mello allowed to be recorded, "Wake Up !" The first installment is included below.

Anthony "Tony" de Mello (4 September 1931, Bombay, British India – 2 June 1987, New York City) was a Jesuit priest and psychotherapist who became widely known for his books on spirituality. An internationally acclaimed spiritual guide, writer and public speaker, de Mello hosted many spiritual conferences. See below for the names of these programs which are available on audio CD and film. He traveled to many countries to study and later to teach, most notably Spain and the United States.

He allowed one full Conference to be recorded which is available on audio CD -- "Wake Up to Life"—a considerably powerful program which speaks about the "I" which can observe that which is 'me' -- along with topics of Love, Happiness, Illusion, Freedom. He draws extensively from his experience as a psychotherapist and gives many stories throughout. He allowed a few, shorter talks to be filmed, such as "A Rediscovery of Life" and "A Way to God for Today," which have inspired many viewers and audiences since being released; and have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of TV watchers throughout the United States, Canada, and Central America; in colleges, universities, Newman centers, and communities. De Mello established a prayer center in India. He died suddenly of a heart attack in 1987, at age 55. His works are readily available and additional writings were published after his death.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Solitaries and Hermits . . . .

It may have been a while coming, but, surprisingly I have only recently discovered the popularity of 'urban' Monasticism and also found out what a solitary is !  Strange it's taken me this long, but delighted to have had my eyes opened to this way of life. 

I stumbled across a few articles in the press about people who have been called to take up this way of life.  they are interesting reading.

An article from the Tablet is a good place to start as a background to all of this called "The hermits Battle." More personal accounts can be found in an article taken from The Independent, called "British hermits : the growing lure of the solitary life."  In the telegraph an article called "Life lessons from modern day hermits", Stafford Whiteaker near Malvern and Sarah Maitland near Stranraer are chronicled.   Rachel Denton celebrates a life of solitude in Lincolnshire and is the subject of a BBC article, "The Modern hermit living in an end of terrace house."

Organisations in support of this growing way of life include the Fellowship of Solitaries and the Association of British Contemplatives.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Saint Charbel Movie

I love these excerpts from the 1960s film about the life of Saint Charbel.  If you want more have a look at the whole film which can be viewed online by clicking here !  St Charbel deserves to be more well known in the West.

St Charbel Maklouf

There is a widespread opinion that ministry and community are the crucible of the Christian life.  Where there are signs of growth, there is true faith.  This may be true in part, but the example of St Charbel reveals a ministry and spirituality lived in isolation.   Find out more about him here