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Tuesday, February 9, 2016
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 7th February 2016

I'm a visual person, so it is easy for me to conjure up images for things. I don't find the symbols and iconography of our Christian faith difficult - I might not appreciate certain styles - but the reading from Isaiah 6 where he tries to describe his vision of God isn't something I have any problems with at all. In fact it is quite a powerful set of images, the Lord on a high throne, seraphs with six wings, smoke, the noise of the chants and tremors, the hissing, burning coal which the seraph places on Isaiah's lips as a sign of forgiveness.

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Fr Robin Gibbons: Reflection on the Feast of Meeting, The Presentation of the Lord
Fr Robin Gibbons: Reflection on the Feast of Meeting, The Presentation of the Lord

In the wonderful eastern icons of the feast of the Lord's Presentation, six living beings form the composition of the Icon. Simeon his hands covered in an attitude of reverence bows towards the child held in his arms, who is blessing Simeon and we who gaze on the image. The Temple doors are shut because the true presence of God is now revealed in Christ. Facing Simeon is Mary who has handed over her child, a time of poignancy and uncertainty especially in what will now happen! Then there is Anna actively praising God, usually holding a scroll which denotes her status as

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 Listen: What's the point of walking through a Holy Door?
Listen: What's the point of walking through a Holy Door?

What's the point of walking through a Holy Door in this Year of Mercy? Don't you have plenty of good doors of your own at home to walk through? Fr Stephen Wang, Senior University Chaplain for the Archdiocese of Westminster, gave this homily to university students on their Year of Mercy pilgrimage from the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, London, to Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, 30 January.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 31st January 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 31st January 2016

Far from winning universal approval for what he did and taught, the ministry of Jesus is peppered with difficult situations and outright hostility at times. In Luke 4 we find him about to be thrown off the edge of a cliff by an angry crowd, and all because he spoke and lived the truth! What they heard him say they did not like! This something we all deal with in the course of our lives, at times truthful people are not the most popular friends to have, especially with those of us who want things covered up or would prefer an easy passage through life.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 24 January 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 24 January 2016

Luke opens Jesus' ministry and mission with that famous scripture reading from and sermon in the synagogue at Nazara. We know these words so well and in this year of mercy they call us back to our basic vocation as disciples of the Lord. But though the words of Jesus at first found favour with people, as he expounded on his theme they were also disturbed and annoyed. Is that good? Yes I think so. We do need to be challenged for the Word of the Lord and the work of the Spirit is not about maintaining the status quo but about change, renewal, healing, forgiveness and

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 17 January 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 17 January 2016

One poetic phrase can often sum up a whole story and for me the 17th Century poet, Richard Crashaw's famous quote about the miracle at Cana just does that: 'The conscious water saw its God and blushed!" Straight away Crashaw points to Jesus as somebody intimate with creation, active and involved in it, the creative word of God who blesses and transforms. It's a very deep theological insight into the connection between the material world and incarnate Lord and hints at the abundant grace God pours on us that can change our lives from water into wine!

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New year reflection: the Sabbath approach
New year reflection: the Sabbath approach

A new year is always a time for reflection - on the year that has passed and the hopes and expectations of the year ahead. 2015 was the year that Pope Francis published his Encyclical Laudato Si', On Care for Our Common Home. We are encouraged to read this as believers, as inhabitants of the earth and as citizens. As part of this process of self-examination, Francis calls us to respect the "rhythms inscribed in nature by the hand of the Creator" one of these being the law of the Sabbath - a time of

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 10th January 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 10th January 2016

This great feast, which the East celebrates on January 6th, is called the Theophany, that is the manifestation or appearance of God. Though the immediate focus is on the baptism of the Lord Jesus, quite rightly this title refers to the appearance of the Trinity, for above all, the baptism of Jesus reveals Him as he is, true God and true human, second person of the Trinity. I'm going to use the traditional Byzantine Icon of the Baptism to help us grasp some of the theological and spiritual treasures in this feast, not for any other purpose than to shed light on our own sacramental

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Pray with Pope Francis each month - new video series
Pray with Pope Francis each month - new video series

From today, Wednesday January 6th, the traditional monthly prayer intentions of Pope Francis will be available on video, thanks to a new initiative launched by the worldwide Apostleship of Prayer. This month the Apostleship of Prayer, set up in 1844 by a group of Jesuit seminarians in France, is also launching a new international website and app aimed at facilitating collaboration and sharing of resources between teams from the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network.

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Jerusalem: Latin Patriarch's homily for World Day of Peace
Jerusalem: Latin Patriarch's homily for World Day of Peace

Today, we celebrate the first day of the new year under the protection of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. It is always in the mystery of Christmas, "God with us", that we meditate and pray, as we end one year and begin a new time in our life, which is a step towards a definitive personal and communal encounter with the Lord. God is with us and He holds to this presence. It is this very Presence that sustains our hope and joy in the midst of our difficulties and pain. We unite ourselves to the suffering of all the inhabitants of this land, Palestinians and Israelis, and also with

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The Epiphany - Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons
The Epiphany - Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons

I was given a lovely little crib as a present this year, made by the Soeurs de Bethlehem in France. The small figures made of resin and dolomite stone are based on the Romanesque 12C carvings of the nativity scenes in Autun Cathedral. We know who carved them, Giselbertus who is recognized as one of the best exponents of this art. One of the hallmarks of his style is not only the raw direct portrayal of emotions in the biblical narratives but the way he expresses Jesus's compassion, and how he was loving and caring for all. They are fantastic and iconic images!

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Feast of the Holy Family - 27th December 2015 - Reflection with Father Robin Gibbons
Feast of the Holy Family - 27th December 2015 - Reflection with Father Robin Gibbons

Is there ever one great example of what 'family' life ought to be? In the past Christians were often encouraged to model themselves on the 'Holy Family' of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, but what exactly does that mean? It's an odd example to give us because its firstly conceived of as a very basic unit, man, woman, child, but we also know so very little about the early life of Jesus and how he grew up.

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Text: Canon Pat Browne at Midnight Mass 2015
Text: Canon Pat Browne at Midnight Mass 2015

Last week my friend told me: "you know Pat I do have struggles with my faith. I am Catholic. I pray. I go to Mass and I try to live a good, and just and moral life. I fail often but I am trying. But why am I Catholic? If I'd been born to different parents in a different place, say Egypt, I would probably be Muslim, or born in Tel Aviv, I might be Jewish. And I'm sure I could be a good God-fearing person if I were one of these too. So why am I Catholic? Is It all not just an accident of birth?"

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Homily text: Pope Francis at Christmas Midnight Mass
Homily text: Pope Francis at Christmas Midnight Mass

Tonight "a great light" shines forth (Is 9:1); the light of Jesus' birth shines all about us. How true and timely are the words of the prophet Isaiah which we have just heard: "You have brought abundant joy and great rejoicing" (9:2)! Our heart was already joyful in awaiting this moment; now that joy abounds and overflows, for the promise has been at last fulfilled. Joy and gladness are a sure sign that the message contained in the mystery of this night is truly from God. There is no room for doubt; let us leave that to the sceptics who, by

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Midnight Mass Homily with Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Midnight Mass Homily with Cardinal Vincent Nichols

This night, in the words of the Gospel of St Luke, we are summoned by the angel to the crib, in the town of David, in Bethlehem. We are told that there we will find 'news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people.' To emphasise the point we read that 'suddenly with the angel there was a great throng of the heavenly host praising God and singing: Glory to God on high!' We too sing our 'Glorias', and we thank the choir for their wonderful music. As we gather at the crib what do we find?

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Feast of the Nativity 24/25 December 2015 - Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons
Feast of the Nativity 24/25 December 2015 - Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons

The shortest day has passed and gradually light will return to the early morning and the evening dark will take longer to arrive, the stars will still shine and the Moon complete her cycle but our hearts may be a little lighter as we notice that the mid-winter heralds the spring. This is a good season for the feasts of the Nativity, where in the back room of an Inn the light that never dies, Christ the Word made one-of-us, was born to Mary and also where visitors came, animals all and shepherds and magi.

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The Great 'O' Antiphons: Christmas Eve - O Virgo Virginum
The Great 'O' Antiphons: Christmas Eve - O Virgo Virginum

The traditional seven 'O' Antiphons of the last week of Advent are a journey with the Prophet Isaiah and others, telling the story of the coming of the Christ from Creation to Bethlehem. For us in the Northern Hemisphere it is also a transition in two ways, firstly in liturgical terms from the glimmer of light as life began, to the rising of the Sun that never sets. It also comes at that point when the year turns, the darkest shortest day and longest night, the winter solstice takes place during this week. We have yet to face deep winter but the light is coming, alongside the cold

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ADVENT REFLECTION 2015  Week 4: Saying 'Yes' to God's plan
ADVENT REFLECTION 2015 Week 4: Saying 'Yes' to God's plan

Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth. Luke 1:39. Mary goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is also expecting a baby. Both women, in very different ways, are experiencing extraordinary pregnancies: Mary, scarcely an adult, conceives her baby by the power of the Holy Spirit; Elizabeth, barren and long past child-bearing age, suddenly finds herself able to have a child after all. What seems to the world to be impossible has become possible through God's power.

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Fourth Sunday in Advent: Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons
Fourth Sunday in Advent: Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons

There is a wonder in the Christmas story that grows with age and that the years cannot dispel, though down the ages many have tried to put it about that the Incarnation is only a story and the Nativity a collection of folk tales. But try as some may, the mystery and power of such a simple event withstands the tests of human time and allows us to glimpse, as we pause before the crib, to let the wordless love of God in Christ pour out into our darkened world. Several events this week have woven themselves into my personal journey to Bethlehem, much as happens for

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ADVENT REFLECTION Week 3: Joyful expectation
ADVENT REFLECTION Week 3: Joyful expectation

Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! Rejoice, exult with all your heart, Daughter of Jerusalem! Zephaniah 3: 14 The mood for the third week of Advent changes to one of joyful expectation as we reach the half way stage in our preparation. Known as Gaudete Sunday, its jubilant theme is echoed in the pink priestly vestments. Here is an opportunity to focus on all that is good in our lives and to give heartfelt thanks. Yet conflict continues to rage in the Holy Land and for many people in that war-torn region there is no cause to rejoice.

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Third Sunday in Advent: Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons
Third Sunday in Advent: Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons

I sometimes wonder, when I listen to Christian intercessions or public prayers, why they are so mournful, despondent, and heavy? That's a bit polemical of me I know, but just take time to listen to our public acts of intercessory prayer, we do pray for the needy, the suffering, for relief from the bad awful actions of people towards others on this little planet, and yet that's not the total picture of Christian life or hope is it? Paul writes of being happy in his letter to the Philippians, 'be happy' he says: 'always happy in the Lord'! That motivation of joy, of happiness should be

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ADVENT REFLECTION  Week 2: Building the Kingdom
ADVENT REFLECTION Week 2: Building the Kingdom

They go out, they go out, full of tears, carrying seed for the sowing; They come back, they come back, full of song, carrying their sheaves. Psalm125: 6 A voice cries in the wilderness: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley will be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low, winding ways will be straightened and rough roads made smooth. And all mankind shall see the salvation of God. Luke 3:4-6 A knock-on effect of the current economic downturn has been an alarming rise of in the number of food banks opening up around the country.

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Second Sunday  in Advent: Reflection with  Fr Robin Gibbons
Second Sunday in Advent: Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons

At first Isaiah's great 'voice in the wilderness' calling for a real refashioning of nature to prepare a way for the Lord might seem a bit out of context with our very prescient environmental concerns about our endangered planet. Dismantling mountains, filling in valleys, pulling down hills seems a highly in appropriate image for a planet in grave ecological danger. Baruch in our first reading nuances this destructive image a little, in his vision sorrow and distress are removed, the splendour of Lord will surround the earth.

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Viewpoint: We need a spiritual response to the Syria crisis
Viewpoint: We need a spiritual response to the Syria crisis

As I email you I am listening to the discussions in our Parliament concerning whether Military action might be initiated in Syria. O God help us. Antonia Moffat writes. Where is the voice from our Spiritual leaders of a deep commitment to prayer, repentance, reparation, fasting and intercession concerning this? We need a SPIRITUAL RESPONSE! Only our Spiritual leaders can initiate this response. I have thought to send you these thoughts and a Prayer of National Reparation and Repentance based on the Prophet Daniel. We stand on the brink of a terrible mistake

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Advent letter from Nazareth
Advent letter from Nazareth

My name is Nagham Helou. I am 11 years old and I live in Nazareth with my father and mother and my brother Shadi who is 7. Mum teaches music at a school. My father teaches at a school for children with speech problems and dyslexia. My grandfather, my Mum's father, is Maroun Ashkar who has written 25 songs for Nazareth. (My name Nagham means tune and my mother's name Aihan means melodies.) My grandma is a wonderful person, human in all its meanings. My other grandma is an excellent cook, and she is the one who cooks daily for us.

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Displaying Articles 1 - 25 of 523
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