Parish Evangelisation Cells

In June 2017 Fr Aidan, Jeanette Trevail and Mary Francis attended the 28th Parish Evangelising Cells Conference in Milan, Italy.

Fr Aidan has enthused about the Cell system since attending the 27th Conference, so there was some interest already.

After Milan, with the Liturgist and the Adult Formation catechist sharing the enthusiasm, the scene was set for the initiation of a cell in Newent.

The Parish is still at the exploratory phase: there is much work to do in developing this initiative, especially with training cell leaders,h but there is a sense of excitement in the air. Parishioners who attended the ‘taster’ sessions, have expressed delight in the sense that the Holy Spirit is working through the Cell Movement and have been willing to give their time and their blessing to further it.

Pope Francis gives the PEC’s his blessing: 

http://m.vatican.va/content/francescomobile/en/speeches/2015/september/documents/papa-francesco_20150905_cellule-parrocchiali-evangelizzazione.html

Mary Francis’ notes from the Milan Conference may be found below:

 

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Father Aidan’s Farewell

September 3rd 2017 marked the end of an era, as the Parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes, Newent, and St Michael’s Blaisdon, bid farewell to Fr Aidan Murray, and the Salesians ended a chapter in their history, as they formally handed over care of the Parish, to the Diocese of Clifton.

The Celebration of the Eucharist was led by Fr Gerry Briody SDB, the Salesian Provincial, with Mgr Liam VG representing the bishop.

Father Aidan Murray:A Tribute From the Rt. Rev. Bishop Declan Lang

” This weekend is a special time in the life of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Newent, since it marks the retirement of Fr Aidan Murray and the departure of the Salesian Fathers from our Diocese.

I am very grateful for Fr Aidan’s presence in Newent, Blaisdon and the Diocese. He has been a Good Shepard who has shown tremendous dedication in his priestly ministry. In the words of Pope Francis, he has ‘the smell of the sheep’. He is a holy man in the best sense of the word and an example of what it is to be a good parish priest. He is truly loved.

I would also like to acknowledge the work of the Salesians in our Diocese over many years with the special school at Blaisdon, the Parish of Newent and other parishes in the Gloucester Deanery. I am grateful for the contribution the Salesians have made to the mission of the Church in the Diocese of Clifton. I am sorry they are unable to remain in the Parish of Our Lady of Lourdes. I know they will not be forgotten and they will always be part of the story of the Church in this part of the country

As we look to the future, we do so as a People of Hope believing in the presence of Christ, celebrating that presence and living our faith in daily life, knowing that in a time of change, we are called to be faithful to the Gospel.”

Fron the left:

Fr Barnabus Page, Rev David Hebbes, Mon Liam Slattery, Fr Aidan Murray SDB, Fr Gerry Briody SDB, Fr Sean Murray SDB, Fr Pat Sherlock SDB

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Is This The Face of Christ?

NASA developed this ‘photograph’ from the ‘negative’ that appears on the Turin shroud. It’s a compelling image isn’t it? The origin of the shroud is a great mystery. Carbon dating in 1988 declared the artefact to be a medieval forgery, later experts have cast doubts on the validity of those tests, so the controversy rages on.

There is such a serenity and a strength in this image that is truly Christ-like: from that we may take comfort. We who are called to live by faith, not by sight, can be content with that.

Here are Pope Francis’ thoughts on the spiritual significance of, what he terms, ‘the icon’ above:

“The face in the shroud “invites us to contemplate Jesus of Nazareth. This image … speaks to our heart and moves us to climb the hill of Calvary, to look upon the wood of the Cross, and to immerse ourselves in the eloquent silence of love.”

“By means of the Holy Shroud, the unique and supreme Word of God comes to us: Love made man, incarnate in our history; the merciful love of God who has taken upon himself all the evil of the world to free us from its power,” Francis said.

“This disfigured face resembles all those faces of men and women marred by a life which does not respect their dignity, by war and violence which afflict the weakest.”

Thank you Geraldine Hulme for bringing this beautiful picture to our attention.

 

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Book of the Month

Highly acclaimed for his work with parish renewal and the New Evangelization, Fr. James Mallon shares with us the many ways for bringing our parishes to life. Through humorous and colorful stories, Mallon challenges us to rethink our models of parish life, from membership-based communities to assemblies of disciples of Jesus who proclaim and share the good news with all peoples. Accessible and engaging, Divine Renovation turns to the Churchs many writings on evangelization and mission so as to articulate practical ways for injecting new life into our parishes. Pastors and parish ministers will be inspired by this book and turn to it for many years to come.”

Buy this book: www.amazon.co.uk

 


 

 Amoris laetitia

Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation On Love In The Family Welcomed By USCCB Family Life Committee Chairman

WASHINGTON – Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), brings “a rich reflection on the mission of the family and on how the Church can equip couples to embrace God’s vision for marriage and can offer healing for families who are struggling,” said the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.

“We welcome this teaching from Pope Francis as the fruit of the synodal process started by him more than two years ago—a process that has inspired in our Church, and indeed all over the world, a renewed attention to the importance of marriage and the family for all of society,” said Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, chairman of the Committee. “I encourage all Catholics, especially those living the vocation of marriage and family life, to take time to read and study the exhortation as a pastoral guide to the great calling of marriage in the Lord.”

Bishop Malone called the exhortation “an inspirational aid for the clergy and laity who generously accompany couples as they prepare for marriage and throughout their married life, in both their joys and difficulties.”
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I have read this book……. Slowly.  It is one of the easiest Papal Documents you will ever read, but it is so FULL of inspiring and thought-provoking comments that you have to read it slowly, with pen in hand to highlight specific bits you know you will want to read over and over again.

It is first of all a “must read” for all happily married couples….you’ll be amazed at how much you get out of it.  I would be further inclined to make it compulsory for every couple contemplating marriage, especially those who have already named the day and are more concerned with how much it’s going to cost.  Finally it can offer a life-line to those who have lost their way, have avoided marriage or have messed up their marriage and are looking for a way forward.  The message is:  God is Merciful and there is no such thing as a hopeless case.

Fr Aidan
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Magnificat

Magnificat

We don’t normally do this but the Editorial for March 2016 is so powerful that I felt more people ought to be given the opportunity of reading it.

This is a monthly liturgical magazine published in the UK by the Catholic Herald with Leonie Caldecott as UK Editor.

It is a wonderful help to any Catholic who wants to grow through an understanding of the daily readings at Mass, with short morning and evening prayers to suit the busyness of modern life.

This particular Editorial was written by Fr Peter John Cameron OP, editor-in-chief of the US edition of Magnificat.  He is a wonderful preacher with a great understanding of scripture…but his subject here is ENVY.  And to me it is an eye-opener.  He writes: “When all is said and done, envy is rooted in doubt about how much we are loved. Or whether we are being loved in the way that we need to be loved.”

You have to reads this!   Then decide to get it every month.

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Good News about Injustice

good news

 

“Justice is in the heart of God and is a significant part of our mission in the world. Every church should hear about the work of IJM. They will help you make a difference in the world.”

– Dr. Rick Warren – Pastor, Saddleback Church;

Author, The Purpose Driven Life

Accounts of injustice from our own communities and from around the world often leave us feeling outraged and helpless. We wonder what we can possibly do in response. And we wonder where is the God of justice?

Jesus, however, said, “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” Gary Haugen sees the truth of Jesus’ claim vindicated throughout Scripture, which portrays a God who rises up against injustice.    Good News about Injustice is an entry-level book for anyone who vaguely senses that the world is not just and God might have something to say about it. He covers a great deal of Scripture to explain what injustice is, how it plays out in our world currently, how God addresses injustice, and what we can do about it.

He also sees this truth in the lives of sometimes little-known Christians who through the years have confronted evil when they saw it…… courageous Christians who have stood up for justice in the face of human trafficking, forced prostitution, racial and religious persecution, and torture. This expanded edition brings up to date his work in calling for the body of Christ to act. Throughout, he provides concrete guidance on how ordinary Christians can rise up to seek justice throughout the world.

Don’t take our word for it.  Check out the IJM website and listen to the amazing TED Talk by the author Gary Haugan.  For me the most important claim he makes is that poverty is not just a lack of money or possessions.  The greatest injustice and the greatest poverty is to have no security…..…when you live in a place where there is no one to appeal to for protection because the ruling classes, the politicians, even the security services are corrupt!  You dare not call because if they do respond they will only make matters worse!  Read this book and be inspired.

 

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Entertaining Angels

Entertaining angels cover image

How often have you seen someone sleeping on the streets and wondered, What can I do that will really help this person? Can I make a difference?’

Entertaining Angels is about the desire of two ordinary women to make a difference. Their obedience and response to the needs around them led to experiences beyond their wildest imaginings. They answered God’s call and witnessed His faithfulness and abundant provision in amazing and miraculous ways. They saw lives dramatically turned around as many who found themselves on the brink of despair were given hope and a future – a reason to live again.
New Hopein Watford is now the biggest organisation working with people who are homeless in the south west Hertfordshire area. This story will challenge you, inspire you and encourage you, that you, too, can make a difference in your corner of the world.

But even if you are too old or have some other good reason to dodge the challenge, this book is worth reading.  It will inspire, give you a better understanding of the humanity of the people who end up on the streets and above all will help you to look at them and see them as real people….not the dregs of society that you need to avoid. They would appreciate a look of sympathy or a word of recognition.   You will also realise that there are people who give their lives for others and who may need just a little encouragement and a little support.

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 The Final Confrontation

images

Ralph Martin

Many years ago, Pope St. John Paul II said, “We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced…the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist.  The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence.  It is, therefore in God’s Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously…”

In this booklet, Ralph Martin takes a look at what Scripture says about the final confrontation and the work of the Evil One.  He exposes the lies of the enemy and the truth about Divine Mercy.  He also identifies what we must do to face the present trials with courage. He doesn’t claim that it is The Final Confrontation but that it is nevertheless a hugely significant confrontation that we need to take seriously.  Personally it has made me more aware of the predictions at Fatima and our need to take action.

This is probably the smallest and shortest book we are ever likely to recommend as a Book of the Month. You could read it in about 20 minutes.  But it is vital that its message is taken seriously and promoted widely.

Ralph Martin has given us permission to re-print it.  He has no desire to make money out of it and we would like to take that attitude also.  So we are making it available at cost price….probably about 40 pence a copy.

Simply send us a stamped addressed envelope, with 40 pence in stamps! And we will send you a copy as soon as printing is complete.

 

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Finding Sanctuary

finding sanctuary

It’s ten years since THE MONASTERY was shown on BBC tv.   Fr Christopher’s book “Finding Sanctualy” came out about a year later.  I wonder if, like me, you never got round to reading it.  I’m delighted that I have finally read it because it is an absolute gem.

The book is loosely based on the tv programme which traces the progress of five modern men (with 3 million viewers!)  who agree to spend six weeks in Worth Abbey and as far as possible follow the Monastic way of life.

These men, like most of us, are busy, busy, busy…so Fr Christopher’s task is to offer practical wisdom from the monastic tradition on how to build sanctuary into their lives…..and ours.

No matter how hard you work, being too busy is not inevitable. Silence and contemplation are not just for monks and nuns, they are natural parts of life. Yet to keep hold of this truth in the rush of modern living you need the support of other people and sensible advice from wise guides. By learning to listen in new ways, people’s lives can change and the abbot offers some monastic steps that help this transition to a more spiritual life.

The three basic lessons from the Rule of St Benedict are Silence, Obedience and Humility.  But as Fr Christopher unveils the wisdom contained therein you gradually realise they are not only beneficial but are also eminently do-able.  I was particularly impressed by his.piece about leading children into periods of silence!  This is a must for every busy person.

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laudato si

Laudato Si

I never expected to be presenting a Papal Encylical as our book of the month! But this one simply picks itself and demands to be read. Others are far better qualified than I am to analyse its merits but if we don’t read it, no analysis will suffice.

What took me most by surprise was to discover that Pope Francis is pleading for us to adopt a new way of looking at reality…at the whole of creation….in exactly the same way that has been expressed in modern times by such people as Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr and our own Michael Cunningham SDB. (Profiled in a previous book of the month called “Let Your Heart Pray”.)

They tell us that society looks at reality/creation through the lens of Paranoia….(Fear of the other, suspicion)..and divides everything before them as right or wrong (in their eyes), good or bad, black or white, native or foreign, them or us…….for us or against us! Consequently we have divisions, quarrels, and wars. We have exploitation, abuse, waste, slavery, trafficking etc. Its not a nice world!

But if we can learn to look at reality/creation/our world through the lens of Metanoia (a higher view that is based on love), then we see everything and everyone as God made them….all part of one family, all related, all influencing each other and depending on each other. United in God.

This is what Pope Francis is talking about. And he quotes his namesake Francis of Assisi who speaks of Brother Sun and Sister Moon….and recognises the God-given value of foxes and snakes and every other created being. He also refers to God’s command to “Till and care for” the garden which is our planet Earth.

Most importantly, he guides us towards a new way of living that is respectful of God’s creation: things we can do privately as well as things we could do as a community and which could change society.

This is Not a book to be read in one go…..more a bible to be a constant reminder and guide for the future.

 

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