India's Christians of all denominations have issued a joint pre-Christmas statement in which they voice their sadness and concern at the growing attacks on Christians throughout the country. ".. we have a heavy heart because of the violence against our Churches in various parts of the country, especially in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and now in the territory of the capital city Delhi. The demolition of San Sebastiano church in Delhi,
The blogger a Clerk of Oxford has posted a fascinating reflection on Canterbury Cathedral, its saints and the life of the community there before the Reformation. She writes: If you're in the UK, you may have been watching the recent BBC series of programmes about Canterbury Cathedral. If you haven't been, I recommend it - the series is on iplayer here. I grew up near Canterbury and know the cathedral well - and I study its medieval history,
Pope Francis today invited us to listen carefully when God knocks at their door. “Too often Jesus passes by in our lives, he sends an angel and we are so caught up in our thoughts and concerns we do not even notice," he said. Speaking to pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square for the Angelus, the Pope reflected on the liturgy of the last Sunday of Advent that tells of the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary and on how she simply, and humbly, with total faith in the Lord, said “yes”.
How can you build a strong foundation for a lasting marriage before it begins? Does marriage preparation start before engagement? In this inspiring and engaging talk, Robert Colquhoun will look at building grace filled marriages with God's plan for love and life. Robert Colquhoun is International Outreach Director of 40 Days for Life. Based in London, he led the first of its campaigns in England, went on to help its mission spread across the UK, and now assists local leaders
Following the announcement of the Church of England's first woman bishop on 17 December 2014, a spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales on Friday, said they would not be issuing any comment. She referred ICN to the Bishops' statement issued in July this year.... The Catholic Church remains fully committed to its dialogue with the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. For the Catholic Church, the goal of ecumenical dialogue continues to be full visible ecclesial communion.
Thinking about the account of the Annunciation which forms this Sundays’ Gospel, my mind kept returning to those simple words, ‘Nothing will be impossible for God’. I suppose if I had a robust faith I’d be able to rest easy with that sentence, but it puzzles me, for all through history, prayer and intercession has been made to the Most High in situations where some sign of intervention might have changed things, times of horror and war, the cries of the abandoned in prison camps.
For those who live in the Northern Hemisphere, the 21st December is the shortest day, the Winter solstice a turning point when the suns light begins to increase and the long dark nights grow shorter, a time of rebirth and renewal. Though the actual solstice is a moment in time, this day has been one of celebration for thousands of years. We know that our ancestors used this as the last feast before the onset of deep winter, a time when hunger and cold meant that many living things would not survive,
Read More ... Fr Robin Gibbons - Posted: Saturday, December 20, 2014 11:09 pm
Pope Francis said yesterday, that there is much sterility within the Church and the people of God, a sterility that comes from power and egoism. The Church, he stressed, is a mother and not an entrepreneur. His remarks came during his homily at morning Mass celebrated at chapel in Casa Santa Marta. The Pope’s reflections on the themes of sterility and motherhood were taken from the biblical account of two miraculous births, those of Samson and John the Baptist, both born to women who had been unable to have children.
We forget just how important keys are until we lose them, then it’s a frantic search in all kinds of places and if as sometimes happens, we shut our car keys in the car or lose the house key, urgent telephone calls for help! To be locked out of somewhere is not a pleasant experience and it leaves us feeling disorientated and helpless. What a relief it is when we finally can unlock the door and enter! So important were keys to our ancestors that in many societies they became a badge of authority.
Read More ... Fr Robin Gibbons - Posted: Saturday, December 20, 2014 8:33 am
Official dialogue between Lutherans and Catholics has been in place for almost 50 years and the progress made in this half century “constitutes a solid foundation for sincere friendship lived in faith and spirituality,” Pope Francis said yesterday morning on receiving a delegation from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany on an ecumenical visit to Rome. Despite theological differences that persist in various issues of the faith, collaboration and fraternal coexistence characterize the life of our churches and ecclesial communities,
His Beatitude Fouad Twal gave his Christmas message through his Vicar in Jerusalem and Palestine, Bishop William Shomali, during a press conference held on Thursday at Terra Santa College. The day also marked the inaugurate of the new Christian Media Center (CMC)....'The celebration of the Birth of Jesus promises mercy, love, and peace to countless people in their suffering and tribulation; to people who see their lives shattered and their efforts broken in the tumultuous strife and hatred of our stormy days.
His Beatitude Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, expressed in a Christmas message sent out through his Vicar in Jerusalem and Palestine, Bishop William Shomali, his concern over a possible Israeli court decision regarding the Cremisan case, in which land belonging to 58 Palestinian Christian families from the city of Beit Jala, north west of Bethlehem, might be separated by the Israeli Apartheid Wall. Shomali said, during a press conference on Thursday, 18 December,
Quakers in Britain are calling on politicians to find the moral courage and political leadership to work for a nuclear ban treaty. They are encouraging the UK government to meet all those who are actively working towards a world free of nuclear weapons....We add our voice to growing demands for a new international treaty to ban nuclear weapons, echoing the interfaith statement issued on 9 December in Vienna, calling for "the commencement of negotiations on a new legal instrument
Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has welcomed the announcement by President Barack Obama of the release of Alan Gross and other prisoners, and of the administration’s action to normalize relations with Cuba, on 17 December...We share the joy of the family of Alan Gross and of all Americans upon hearing the news of his release from over five years of custody in Cuba, as well as
You may recall that earlier this year the Bishops met in Rome for an Extraordinary Synod on "Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the context of Evangelisation." Prior to that meeting, Catholics worldwide were all invited to give input by responding to a questionnaire about issues relating to our faith and family life. In October next year the 2015 Synod will follow on from that meeting. The theme will be "The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World."
Read More ... Annemarie Paulin-Campbell, Jesuit Institute South Africa - Posted: Friday, December 19, 2014 8:37 am
Our medieval Christian craftsmen and artists created wonderful Jesse trees, the sleeping Jesse at the base with a tree growing out of his loins and on each branch those ancestors of Christ opening out like leaves until we reach the final flowering of Mary with her child Jesus. Some Jesse trees can be found in manuscripts but there still remain wonderful examples in stained glass and wood and stone carving. Canterbury Cathedral has one fragment of a panel dating from 1150.
Read More ... Fr Robin Gibbons - Posted: Friday, December 19, 2014 12:23 am
God walks with us through history - even in the darkest times - Pope Francis said at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta today, during his homily. "God’s will has been to save us in history," the Pope said. Our salvation "is not sterile, as in a laboratory. No! It’s history. He has walked through history with his people. "Therefore there is no salvation without history. And to get to the point: history goes back a long time."
The Catholic Church in Sierra Leone remains on the front line in providing food and hygiene necessities to people living with the effects of the deadly Ebola virus. Bishop Henry Aruna, National Director of Missio in Sierra Leone, is grateful for the support of the Catholic community in England and Wales. Despite widespread help from around the globe, there has been a 66% increase of new cases each day during the last three weeks.
This morning Pope Francis spoke about his joy over the thawing of relations between the United States and Cuba, saying this was a result of diplomacy. Speaking off-the-cuff with a group of non-resident Ambassadors to the Holy See the Holy Father said the work of an Ambassador is to take small steps aimed at building peace, bringing the hearts of people closer together and sowing brotherhood between peoples and nations. Later, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said Pope Francis had played a very significant role
Catholic aid agency CAFOD hosted a special screening of the BAFTA-nominated film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, for over 100 of its young supporters, at The May Fair Hotel last week. The screening was followed by an exclusive Q&A session with the film’s award-winning director, Justin Chadwick. During the evening, Justin spoke about spending time with Mandela and his friends and family, the responsibility of making the film and his desire to place the relationship between Mandela and his wife Winnie firmly at the centre of the story.
The Catholic parish of St Peter Apostle Church, Leamington Spa has been busily preparing to deliver food and toy parcels to many local families in need this Christmas. Parishioners from St Peter Apostle Church, Leamington Spa have generously donated many hours of their time to others in the run up to Christmas: 78 parishioners gave time at the local supermarket to appeal for food donations to the Leamington Food Bank.
On a cold December night, St Chad's cathedral in Birmingham was packed for the annual Archbishop Romero Lecture. Welcomed by Archbishop Bernard Longley, the lecture was given by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Rowan Williams. Speaking about ‘A saint for the whole people of God: Oscar Romero and the ecumenical future’, Lord Williams highlighted his great admiration for Romero, adding his prayers "that next year may see Archbishop Romero recognised for what he undoubtedly is: one of the great gifts of God
O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come and redeem us with outstretched arm. (Common Worship trans) Adonai is the Hebrew word meaning ‘My Lord’ used by Jews as a substitution for the holy name of God which a cannot be spoken, and so is a reminder of the heritage the Christian community recieves from the people of Israel, the first to hear the promise of the future Messiah.
Read More ... Fr Robin Gibbons - Posted: Thursday, December 18, 2014 12:33 am
Today (17 December) I had the grace of being invited to be present with the Syriac Orthodox Community in London when they hosted Prince Charles in their Church. It was a most beautiful and moving occasion but most of all it was one of encouragement, presence and solidarity for the Iraqi and Syrian Christians present in their hour of desperate need and anguish over the fate of their families, peoples and Nation. Prince Charles met with Archbishop Athanasius and many of his congregation - some who had fled Mosul
Read More ... Antonia Moffat - Posted: Thursday, December 18, 2014 12:17 am
The Supreme Court has rejected the opportunity to uphold the right of conscientious objection for senior midwives who refuse to supervise abortions performed on a labour ward. Today's decision issued in the Supreme Court has been condemned by those who backed the Glasgow midwives' fight for their right to work in the NHS without being involved in abortions. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) which paid the midwives’ legal expenses throughout the case