Advent begins today. During the first part of the season, the Church focuses on the end of time, when Christ will come in glory. Then, for the last week of Advent, we will prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ.
Anthony Ruff OSB has posted an interesting article on www.praytellblog.com of the Brazilian bishops beginning to respond to Pope Francis’ challenge about the shortage of priests.
Any takers this side of the Atlantic?
Brendan Hoban in his weekly Western People column states that ‘Secularisation is one of those short-hand boxes that church people tick to spread the blame for the decline of religion, even to explain away situations that are often their own fault. But it’s too heavy a brush to paint in the shades and counter shades of an accurate portrait of the place of religion in Irish life today.’
Here are some sentences taken from a poetic image-filled November-Advent reflection from the Sojourners website, by Catherine Woodiwiss.
Today we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. At the end of time, this king will come in glory to judge the living and the dead. He will ask how we treated the hungry and thirsty, the stranger, the naked, those sick or in prison, promising a great reward to those who show love.
Mick Forgey reports in the National Catholic Reporter on Tony Flannery’ s involvement in the National Conference of the reform movement ‘Call to Action’ in Memphis, Tenn.
Chris McDonnell reflects on the Rosetta Mission and the landing of Philae on the Comet 67P.
‘We cannot begin to understand the enormity of the God in whom we believe. We can only appreciate those moments of blinding transformation when he illuminates our lives….’
Sean O’Conaill asks ‘who is to address the question of the church’s relevance to the wider spiritual and moral crisis of Irish society?’
Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, in a recent homily commented on ‘Evangelii Gaudium’, the recent apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis. He said that Pope Francis has called for a Church which ‘goes forth’, for a Church which as a spiritual home keeps its doors permanently open.
For this, he said, we need, more than anything else now, trained and committed personnel on the ground. Priests, of course, but also full and part time lay evangelists.
Pope Francis has lifted the ban on the ordination of married men to the priesthood in Eastern Catholic churches outside their traditional territories.
Brendan Hoban in his weekly Western People column sees the refurbishment of the parish church of Moygownagh, Co. Mayo, as an act of faith in the future and a fitting tribute to the past. For the local parish community community it is a sacred place that enshrines the most precious moments of our lives.
The beginning of the Advent season is coming closer, and the Liturgy invites us to look further into the future, towards the end of time, when the Day of the Lord comes. Today’s gathering will help us on our way, teaching us how to live and giving us food for the journey.
The richness of a parable is that it can carry more than one implication. This is true also of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25.
“Helping the Church to become self-critical:
Why the laity are best equipped for this role”
Seamus Ahearne wonders if he serves a “fictional parish or is this how it now is? I must say I enjoy it how it is. New Missals and such language is totally irrelevant. A new language is absolutely essential. Liturgy (if it is real) connects with the experiences of the local community. It is their pictures that matter with the God of surprises.”
Brian McKee, Director, Seedlings, offers this reflection on the impact of the lives and work of Sr Frances Forde and Sr. Marie Duddy who sadly died in a road traffic accident.
A married man, Brian works with the Passionists as Director of Tobar Mhuire Retreat Centre, near Belfast, and in the parish of Holy Cross, Ardoyne in the work of peace and reconciliation. www.seedlingsireland.com
‘Synods of bishops for decades have been highly embarrassing gatherings.’
Brendan Hoban in his Western People column takes a look at the recent Synod of bishops.
‘Representatives of bishops from around the world usually gathered in Rome, dressed immaculately for the occasion and delivered set speeches – all in the knowledge that the final statement was already drafted before they had left home!’
This time it was different;
‘At the opening Francis spelled it out in no uncertain terms for delegates: debate, say what you think; don’t be afraid to speak your mind.’
Sean McDonagh continues to explore part two of The Cry of the Earth by the Irish Bishops and elaborates on our responsibility as Christians to care for creation.
Every year on 9 November, we celebrate the dedication of the pope’s cathedral in Rome, the Lateran Basilica. Because that church is dedicated to our Most Holy Saviour, the celebration of this feast takes the place of the regular Sunday readings and prayers. And we praise our loving God who provides a home for us on earth as in heaven.
Andrea Tornielli writes in http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it about the regulations concerning the retirement of bishops.
Of note is the statement that “Worthy of the church’s appreciation is the gesture of one who, motivated by love and the desire for a better service to the community, believes it is necessary because of ill health or other serious reason to renounce his office as pastor before reaching the age of 75.”
Is this something priests should consider as a realistic alternative to taking on more and more duties as they grow older and colleagues die. Might it be the only way to force everyone to realistically confront the issue of the ever reducing number of priests?
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