First Sunday in Lent 2016 - There is no doubt that our Eastern Christians take the Great Lent fast far more seriously than many of those in western Christian traditions. Many Catholics and other Christians still retain the tradition of eating fish on Friday and instinctively recognise that there are days of fasting and abstinence as well as the Eucharistic fast, but I wonder how many realise the significance of fasting as a positive experience rather than an avoidance of certain foodstuffs?
... IT specialist Neil McGee describes what led him to set up the state-of-the-art Catholic dating site. In 2013 I was a typical single Catholic living in London. Like many I originally moved to the city for work with no local Catholic connections, and it took over a year to get involved with a wonderful young adults group in my local parish in Ealing. Balancing difficult work commitments that involved lots of late nights and travel, it was hard to meet as many new people as I would have liked, so I started looking at Catholic online dating.
The latest figures for ACCORD marriage preparation, and marriage counselling were released last Monday by Bishop Denis Nulty at the shrine of Saint Valentine at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Dublin. Bishop Nulty also blessed an engaged couple, Deirdre Eighan and Sean Whelan on the day. During his welcome, Bishop Nulty said: Bruce Springsteen sings 'All That Heaven Will Allow' in his Tunnel of Love album - it describes the steps or stages in a couple's life together.
Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met in Havana, Cuba on Friday to sign an historic joint declaration... "... By God the Father's will, from which all gifts come, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit Consolator, we, Pope Francis and Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, have met today in Havana. We give thanks to God, glorified in the Trinity, for this meeting, the first in history.
Pope Francis has just arrived in the Cuban capital Havana where he will have an historic first meeting with the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill. The Patriarch arrived in Cuba yesterday at the start of a three nation tour of Orthodox communities in Latin America, while Pope Francis is on his way to Mexico City, where he is scheduled to land at around 7.30 this evening local time. Cuban President Raul Castro was at Havana's 'José Martì' International airport to meet the papal plane and to accompany Pope Francis to the room where the
The Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain and Diocesan Russian Orthodox Bishop pray for the success of the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill. Before the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, Catholics and Orthodox in the United Kingdom as well as believers all over the world gather in prayer, well aware that throughout this epochal gesture it is offering to humanity - in this moment of severe tensions and conflicts - an extraordinary testimony, unique - of how it is possible to rediscover today - the way of peace and unity.
The Catholic Church in England and Wales has published a new prayer to assist those who want to meet their soulmate. Timed to coincide with the celebration of St Valentine's Day - a day annually when those who have already met their spouse express their love and appreciation of them - it's hoped that the prayer will provide hope to those who have yet to meet their husband or wife. Rt Rev Mark O'Toole, who is Bishop of Plymouth and coordinates the work of Catholic Mission in England and Wales, said: "St Valentine's Day can be difficult for those who have not yet found their ideal
For decades we have witnessed the systematic intimidation, persecution, abduction, and even execution of Christians and minorities in the Middle East, but the horrific murder of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya 12 months ago had a significant and marked effect on millions around the world; it seemed that even evil had a line it should not cross. The Egyptians and their friend from Ghana who were brutally murdered, were not statesmen, religious leaders, activists or spokesmen; but ordinary men from Egyptian villages working to support their families.
David Alton writes: It is especially important that we mark the anniversary of the brutal murder of the 21 Coptic Christians in Libya a year ago, not only to keep them in our memory, but to remember and advocate for all those who continue to face persecution in the Middle East. What is happening to Christians and minorities in the region is nothing short of Genocide and we must not stand by and watch as whole communities are eradicated. These 21 Coptic Christians who lost their lives are testimony to the strength of Faith and courage of many Christians around
Pope Francis left Rome this morning on his way to Mexico for a weeklong pastoral visit that will take him to Mexico City, to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and to some of the country's most poor and violent towns on the margins of society. On his way to Mexico the Holy Father will make a brief stop in Havana, Cuba for a meeting with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill. The recently-added visit to the papal itinerary is being seen by many as an historic step towards healing the wounds of division after the schism 1,000 years ago.
Bishop Richard Moth has issued his first Pastoral Letter for Lent since he was installed as Bishop of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton on 28th May last year. The Pastoral Letter is to be read in all churches this weekend, 13th and 14th February 2016. He asks people through the traditional ways of prayer, fasting and giving to the poor to be open to 'the way of Mercy'. In particular, he encourages everyone to encounter the mercy of God by making full use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Lent.
On the first Monday of the month, Ten Ten theatre send a newsletter to parents who have attended a parent session in a school. The newsletter includes a chapter from the booklet "Being a Parent Today: Children, Faith and Family Life", published by the CTS. Ten Ten director Martin O'Brien writes in Jericho Tree: In my diocese (Westminster), the Archbishop has asked that the prayer 'Hail Holy Queen' is said at all Masses as a dedication throughout the Year of Mercy When I was a child, my Nan used to get us all to say the Hail Holy Queen. Admittedly, it's quite a
Pope Francis paid a private visit to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, on Thursday morning, where he prayed before the icon of Maria Salus Populi Romani, the Byzantine icon of the Madonna and Child, ahead of his Apostolic Voyage to Mexico. The Holy Father always makes a brief visit here, before and after he travels. From St Mary Major, the Pope made the short journey to the Archbasilica of St John Lateran, where the priests of the diocese were meeting at the beginning of Lent. During the visit, Pope Francis heard the confessions of several priests.
Apostolic Nuncio, Russian Orthodox Bishop pray for success of meeting between Pope and Patriarch Kirill
Before the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, Catholics and Orthodox in the United Kingdom as well as believers all over the world gather in prayer, well aware that throughout this epochal gesture it is offering to humanity - in this moment of severe tensions and conflicts - an extraordinary testimony, unique - of how it is possible to rediscover today - the way of peace and unity. A testimony which, after all, by the will of God is placed in the journey of grace which both Churches are making.
Pope Francis' Special Envoy, Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, celebrated Mass today in Nazareth to mark the World Day of the Sick. The Mass took place in Nazareth's Basilica of the Annunciation and was the centerpiece of events marking the 2016 World Day of the Sick that is celebrated each year on February 11th, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. In his homily at the Mass, Archbishop Zimowski, who is President of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, reminded the congregation that the central theme of Pope's Francis' message for this year's World Day of the Sick is the
To mark the beginning of Lent, the Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) held Ash Wednesday services for ships' crew at several ports around Great Britain. At Southampton Docks and Fawley Marine Terminal, AoS South Coast port chaplain Reverend Roger Stone went on board the Grande Scandinavia and the Venere to administer ashes to seafarers. Roger said: "The crew were very happy to be able to receive the ashes and be given the chance to practice their faith
Bishop Alan Williams is demonstrating his commitment to a consultative approach in the Diocese of Brentwood with the establishment of a Cathedral Chapter of Canons who will take on the functions of the College of Consultors. He has also appointed two women religious to the Bishop's Council: Sr Margaret Soper OSU has been appointed Vicar for Consecrated Life in addition to Sr Josephine Canny OA, and both will be members of the Council. Bishop Alan said: "Since my appointment as Bishop I have reflected on how best to consult effectively with the clergy and laity of the diocese.
It's strange, watching a film based on events of which you were part, however peripherally. The film Spotlight has that effect on me: I was in Boston the year the Boston Globe newspaper revealed the extensive cover-up by Church authorities of child-abusing priests in the archdiocese. With minimal sensationalism Spotlight tells the story of how a team of journalists on the Globe followed up on the background to the conviction of a former priest extradited from California to Massachusetts to stand trial for child abuse crimes committed twenty years
During Mass on Ash Wednesday, the Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle tackled some concerns such as poverty and environment, but reserved his more impassioned words for ordinary people whose struggles are made worse by some people's "selfish thirst for power". During the Eucharistic celebration held in the chapel in Intramuros, in the heart of the old town, the Cardinal called for "charity without hypocrisy." "There will be a lot of charity work in the days to come but how many of those will be true service?
...The 24th World Day of the Sick offers me an opportunity to draw particularly close to you, dear friends who are ill, and to those who care for you. This year, since the Day of the Sick will be solemnly celebrated in the Holy Land, I wish to propose a meditation on the Gospel account of the wedding feast of Cana (Jn 2: 1-11), where Jesus performed his first miracle through the intervention of his Mother. The theme chosen - Entrusting Oneself to the Merciful Jesus like Mary: "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5) is quite fitting in light of the
Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) port chaplains and ship visiting volunteers from North East England were commissioned by Bishop Seamus Cunningham at a Mass held on Thursday, February 4th in St Bede's Church, South Shields. In his homily addressing the two port chaplains and 14 ship visitors of AoS, Bishop Seamus emphasised the importance of a listening ear and a compassionate heart when ministering to seafarers. "We must be aware of the power of listening. Very often people don't want advice or instant solutions, what people need above all
From prayers and reflections, study guides and actions, to films and weekly podcasts - there is a huge range of Lenten resources on-line this year for use in parishes and schools or by families and individuals. A selection follows below.
The Holy Father dedicated the catechesis of his Wednesday general audience with pilgrims in St Peter's Square, to a reflection on the biblical meaning of the Jubilee. Francis explained that every fifty years, on the Day of Atonement, a great event of liberation was announced. It consisted of a type of "general amnesty", in which all debts were cancelled and the land was restored to its owners. The central idea is that the earth belongs to God and has been entrusted to men as administrators. The Pope added that the biblical jubilee was a true jubilee of
On Ash Wednesday, Church House Conference Centre, which houses the administrative headquarters of the Church of England, once again hosted a military think tank, ignoring the calls from Christians to stop doing business with the organisation. The think-tank, called RUSI (Royal United Services Institutes) is heavily funded by the arms industry. Its research and events are sponsored by, among others, AWE, responsible for delivering the Trident warheads, BAE Systems, Eurofighter, Finmeccanica, Lockheed Martin, MBDA
Around 100 people marked the beginning of Lent with a procession and vigil outside the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, London, to challenge the UK Government nuclear weapons policy. The event was organised by Pax Christi, Christian CND, London Catholic Worker and the Catholic Worker Farm. Participants included religious and parish groups and some Japanese Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist monks and nuns who are based at the Battersea Peace Temple. Clergy included Fr Rob Esdaile of Arundel and Brighton Diocese and Fr Joe Ryan,