A small group of Columban contacts in Britain is spending Holy Week 2015 on a Columban Mission Exposure Visit to Texas and Mexico, exploring issues around migration. Adrian Dixon, a teacher based in London, writes: After breakfast we went off into the State of New Mexico to see a pecan orchard. After lunch we went to visit a centre for agriculture workers set up by Carlos Marentes. He is an amazing man who was so passionate about his work and the position of agriculture workers throughout the world as the centre is linked to organisations worldwide.
For the sixth year in a row, Trafalgar Square in central London will be transformed into the Jerusalem of two millenniums ago, on Good Friday, when the 80-strong cast of the Wintershall Players perform the Passion of Christ at 12 noon and 3.15pm. The epic performances will be relayed to massive screens and high quality sound systems will carry the actors' words around the Square. More than 20,000 people are expected to come and watch each play. Last year Cardinal Vincent Nichols blessed the production. Commenting when
Today, Wednesday, April 1, the first stone of the church dedicated to the 'Martyrs of Libya' - the 21 Egyptian Copts killed in Libyan territory by jihadists in January, was held in the village of Al Awar, near Samalot. The village is located 25 kilometres from Minya, in the province where most of the victims come from. The initiative was attended by representatives of the local Islamic community. The church is being built under the sponsorship of the government.
In his greetings following today's catechesis at the General Audience with pilgrims in St Peter's Square, Pope Francis recalled that tomorrow will be the tenth anniversary of the death of St John Paul II. The Holy Father said: "We remember him as a great witness to Christ in His suffering, death and resurrection, and invoke his intercession for us, for the family, for the Church, so that the light of resurrection may shine over all the shadows of our life and fill us with joy and peace".
Pope Francis dedicated the catechesis of today's general audience to the Easter Triduum, the culmination of the liturgical year, "and of our life as Christians", which begins tomorrow, Holy Thursday, with the celebration of the Last Supper, in which Jesus offers His Body and Blood to the Father, in the Bread and Wine, and instructs us to perpetuate this offering in His memory. "The Gospel of this ceremony, recalling the washing of the feet, expresses the same meaning of the Eucharist from another perspective", said the Holy Father to the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square.
More than a 150 academics, theologians and church leaders, including Nobel Laureate JM Coetzee, have backed a new report calling for the de-normalisation of animal experimentation. Titled 'Normalising the Unthinkable', the report is the result of a working party of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. Other signatories to the report include the Rt Revd John Pritchard, former Bishop of Oxford, Professor Keith Ward of Oxford University, Professor Stanley Hauerwas of Duke Divinity School, and Professor Conor Gearty of the London School of Economics.
The mother of the first Western hostage killed by Islamic State, Catholic journalist James Foley, reflects on hope, grief, and a faith that conquers hatred and death, in an on-line interview to be released on Good Friday. In August 2014, freelance journalist James Foley became the first Western hostage to be publicly beheaded by 'Jihadi John'. The atrocity ended nearly two years of captivity at the hands of Islamic State in Syria. In an in-depth interview to mark the first Good Friday since Jim's killing, his mother Diane explains how she has been able to forgive her son's unrepentant killer.
Dr James Hanvey SJ, Master of Campion Hall, Oxford, will reflect on the Instruments of the Passion as represented in the art of Roy De Maestre, at 4pm tomorrow, 2 April, as part of the Artistic Pilgrimage Through Holy Week entitled From Darkness into Light. Other talks in this series include Rev Professor Michael F. Suarez SJ reflecting on The Crucifixion by Marcello Venusti. This will take place at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, on Good Friday (3 April) at 11am. Prof Suarez is Professor of English at the University of Virginia.
A small group of Columban contacts in Britain is spending Holy Week 2015 on a Columban Mission Exposure Visit to Texas and Mexico, exploring issues around migration. Daniel Hale writes: Hi from the Columban Mission Centre in El Paso, Texas. El Paso, and its twin city of Juarez south of the border (about a 10-minute heavily fortified walk from here) were founded by a Jesuit priest in 1650. El Paso, the pass to the north, a key trade route, is nestled between two sets of hills, and the desert stretches out beyond the city limits.
Christian Aid is hosting a free photography exhibition in east London documenting the lives, successes and concerns of rural Ghanaian farmers, as told through their own eyes. Running from April 2 to May 5, the 'My Home, My Farm' exhibition will showcase a series of 'fly-on-the-wall' photographs taken by agricultural workers struggling to survive in northern Ghana. 'My Home, My Farm' features a series of portraits capturing everyday themes such as water supplies, food security and women's empowerment. The images will be on display at the Kahaila Café
The Holy See has urged the International community to "intervene" when national governments are unable or unwilling to protect their populations. Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, was speaking at an open debate on "Children in Armed Conflict" at the United Nations Security Council. "In the case of non-State actors forcibly recruiting and using child soldiers around the world or committing brutal violence against religious and ethnic minorities, when a State is unwilling or unable to confront such atrocities, it is the responsibility of this body to
On Good Friday, Pax Christi Metro New York will walk the Way of the Cross through Manhattan. More than 500 people will be taking part. They will recall how Jesus' revolutionary life led to his unwarrented execution and contemplate how counter-cultural it can be if we truly walk with Him in His way of life today. They will pray for the courage to follow in Jesus' footsteps and offer this contemporary Stations of the Cross as penance for their own complicity in the sins of a world that has lost its moral compass. They will enter into Christ's Passion for life driven by love.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols was chief celebrant at the Chrism Mass for the Diocese of Westminster at Westminster Cathedral today. The Mass was concelebrated by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop Emeritus, Auxiliary Bishops John Sherrington and Nicholas Hudson and more than 300 priests, with deacons, seminarians and parishioners from across the Diocese. The theme of Cardinal Vincent's homily was the mercy of God. He began by speaking about the consecration of the three oils in the Mass: the Oil of the Sick, the Oil of Catechumens and the Oil of Chrism:
What brought about the shameful torture, humiliation and excruciating execution, as a criminal on a Roman cross is what we need to ask and answer everyday not just during Holy Week. Hundreds of thousands of true Christians around the world suffer persecution, torture and death these days because they are disciples of Jesus of Nazareth and put into practice his spiritual values that give meaning to life itself. Why is there such opposition to a message, a way of life that espouses; love of the outcast, freedom, human rights and dignity, equality and the defence of children and a better life
The Latin Mass Society will be celebrating Holy Week with a wealth of Traditional liturgy and sacred music at St Mary Moorfields in the City of London. Highlights include classical pianist Matthew Schellhorn directing Cantus Magnus each day, Mozart's beautiful 'Coronation Mass' on Holy Saturday and the world premiere of the piece that won the Schellhorn prize. Music by Palestrina, Byrd, Bruckner, Pearsall, Anerio and Elgar will feature throughout the week. Traditional Holy Week services start with Tenebrae on Wednesday evening with Victoria's Tenebrae
In February this year this church of St. Columba was filled with couples celebrating Christian Marriage: 2,495 years of married life in anniversaries alone. After Mass I asked one couple how many years of married life they were celebrating and they repeated a phrase that I often heard from adults in my childhood but we rarely hear today: "but for the grace of God" they said. Acknowledging that their long and faithful marriage was not their achievement but what the grace of God had made possible for them. And this is surely more than a pious expression but a clear and sober statement of the reality of
On Palm Sunday, a group of Christians from different denominations, prayed the Stations of Cross as they walked around the perimeter of Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment. This morning, (Monday) seven Christians disrupted production of Britains nuclear arsenal with a blockade of Burghfield Atomic Weapons Establishment nearby. Arriving at 6.30am, they chained their hands together and lay in the gateway preventing vehicles entering the base. A spokesman said: "The prayer vigil and blockade are inspired by the events of Holy Week, when Jesus turned over tables in the temple, confronting the political and military powers of his day.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, around 20 bishops, ecumenical guests and over 800 evangelisation leaders from across England and Wales will be attending Proclaim '15 - a Catholic evangelisation conference at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 11 July. Bishop Nicholas Hudson, the lead Bishop for the day, said: "The generous response of the bishops and the Catholic community to Proclaim '15 has been moving. Inspired by the content of Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, to respond confidently to Jesus' and the Church's call to evangelise, the event on 11 July
A Caritas and diocesan group led by Mgr Celestino Aós Braco OFM Cap, Bishop of Copiapó, has reached an area in Chile severely hit by affected by landslides and flooding. Heavy rains, flooding and landslides have claimed the lives of 12 people and more than 19 are missing. At least 748 people have lost their homes and over 5000 people who have had to evacuate the area because of the threat of further landslides. Areas most affected are the Antofagasta and the Atacama Desert in th north of the country. In many towns there is no drinking water or electricity.
The Vatican Television Center has released the schedule for worldwide telecasts of events presided over by Pope Francis in Holy Week and Easter. All times are UTC/GMT (Coordinate Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time). • Good Friday, April 3, 19.15-21.00 hours, Way of the Cross, presided over by Pope Francis at the Colosseum. • Easter Sunday, April 5, 08:15-10:30 hours, Mass presided over by Pope Francis immediately followed by the Message and Blessing "Urbi et Orbi" (To the City and to the World) from St. Peter's Square.
In spite of squally rain and wind, a record number of parishioners from five churches turned out for the ninth Ecumenical Procession with a donkey and Blessing of Palms at the Manor House gates of Finsbury Park yesterday. There was drumming and music from the Bema Dance Group as Jesus' entry into Jerusalem was re-enacted by more than 150 parishioners from St Thomas More Catholic Church, St Olave's, Woodbury Down, and St John the Evangelist, Brownswood Park Anglican Churches and the Methodist United Reform Church of Finsbury Park.
Pope Francis issued the following letter to the Superior General of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, Fr Xavier Cannistrà, to mark the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the birth of Saint Teresa of Avila on Saturday... St Teresa is primarily a teacher of prayer. The discovery of Christ's humanity was central to her experience. Moved by the desire to share this personal experience with others, she describes it in a vivid and simple way, accessible to everyone, because it consists simply in "a relationship of friendship ... with he who we know loves us"
On Friday night, 27th March, 35 teenagers from Basildon in Essex, slept out all night in the church car park at St Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church in Laindon. They are preparing to be Confirmed as Catholics, and part of their preparation includes understanding the church's work with the needy and most vulnerable in our town. "There is no better way to understand something than to experience it," said their Parish Priest, Fr Dominic Howarth, who joined the group in sleeping in the car park for the evening. "Pope Francis says we should be 'a poor Church, for the poor' and this is one way of living that."
A group of 17 Anglican Bishops from all six continents have called for urgent prayer and action on the "unprecedented climate crisis". Their Declaration The World Is Our Host: A Call to Urgent Action for Climate Justice released today sets a new agenda on climate change for the 85 million-strong Anglican Communion. The group met in South Africa in February to build on months of conversations carried out via the internet. The group involved bishops both from cultures and nations that are major contributors to climate change, and those producing low levels of CO2 but
The White House has issued a statement announcing that United States President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle will host Pope Francis on September 23, 2015. The meeting will take place in the White House. The statement says President Obama and Pope Francis will discuss several issues of mutual interest, including "caring for the marginalized and the poor; advancing economic opportunity for all; serving as good stewards of the environment; protecting religious minorities and promoting religious freedom around the world; and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into our communities."