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APRIL 13 2012 THE CATHOLIC HERALD
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Archbishop hails ‘wave of prayer’ for footballer
BY DAVID V BARRETT
ARCHBISHOP VINCENT Nichols spoke of the “great wave of prayer” which was seen publicly when Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch, prayer that can “support and transform personal distress”, in his Easter vigil homily.
The archbishop also spoke of the care shown by those looking after those with dementia, care which is “a sign of God’s goodness” and “crucial for our well-being”.
Made new by Christ, he told the congregation in Westminster Cathedral, we should take strength from our faith and “build up our friendships, our families and our society. And how our world needs such builders, such workers of hope!”
Easter is about the light of the Resurrection, he said. “We are partakers in the light. We are its bearers. If the light is to spread, it relies on us to do it... So we who rejoice in the resurrection, also share in its fruit. It changes our lives.”
This was the culmination of five homilies the archbishop preached over Holy Week.
On Palm Sunday Archbishop Nichols presented “the challenge and invitation of this Holy Week: to accept that Jesus, the man of sorrows, is the truth of God; to accept his way of living, whatever it involves, to be the way of life; and to accept the help, the grace, he gives us.
“This help, this grace, starts with the work of forgiveness, in the sacraments of baptism and reconciliation. They are very much part of our Holy Week journey. Through the power of that grace we may indeed be his disciples and, by the power of that grace alone, be brought to salvation.”
At the Chrism Mass in Westminster Cathedral last Tuesday Archbishop Nichols introduced the congregation to the “striking new vestments”. The geometric designs on the vestments symbolise the first five books of the Old Testament, Jesus surrounded by the four evangelists, and the five wounds of Christ.
“This day you witness we priests renewing the promises of our ordination,” he said. These are “to discharge faithfully the sacred office of teaching, not seeking any gain but moved only by zeal for souls” and “to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God in the Holy Eucharist and other liturgical rites” – or more simply “to preach the Word and to celebrate the Mass”.
On Maundy Thursday he spoke of the mystery of the Holy Mass.
“In the Eucharist, Jesus makes new the sacrifice of the Old Law. In the Eucharist, Jesus offers to us the gift of new life. Through our participation in the Eucharist, we are indeed made new, for, as St Paul has told us, every time we ‘eat this bread and drink this cup’ we are proclaiming, here and now, the death of Christ, the death by which we are given that new life.”
On Good Friday the archbishop spoke of “how the action of God in Christ, in his suffering and death on the cross, accomplishes the forgiveness of our sins”.
Human beings, he said, “habitually try to avoid or minimise the consequences of our own actions... We are skilled, and always have been, at passing on to others the responsibility for what we ourselves have done.”
But in Jesus “we see this pattern reversed. He suffers, he dies, because he, the innocent one, takes to himself the blame and guilt due to us. We, who are guilty, avoid the consequences of our actions. He, who is innocent, accepts the consequences of what we have done.
“He is indeed the new Adam, making us new through his death on the Cross.”
At the Easter Vigil Archbishop Nichols said: “Christ has won the great victory. Our task is to fashion the small victories, the single candles which share in that same light.”
He went on to speak of the ways that we can do this.
“In recent days we have heard of the extent of the burden of dementia. Tonight we thank God for the numerous families and friends who spend their time and energy caring for those with that disease. Governments may understandably speak of the economic value of this care. We salute it as a sign of God’s goodness and as crucial for our well-being.
“We hear of the agonies of personal illness and trauma. Yet in response we know that there is a great wave of prayer, seen with unusual publicity in the case of the young footballer Fabrice Muamba.
“This prayer, our prayer, can always support and transform personal distress. It is a true sign of the light of the Risen Christ in our lives.”
Dr Michael Jackson and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin carry the cross through the streets of Dublin
Dublin witnesses first Good Friday ecumenical procession BY DAVID V BARRETT
GOOD FRIDAY brought the Catholic and Protestant churches in Ireland together, walking behind the Cross.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin and his Church of Ireland counterpart Dr Michael Jackson, led the first ever ecumenical procession through the city. They carried an icon of the crucifixion by Brother Eric de Saussure of the Taizé community in France, which combines Catholic and Protestant traditions.
After a short joint prayer service outside the Church of Ireland Christ Church Cathedral they led the 450strong procession through the streets of Dublin for half an hour, finishing at the Catholic St Mary’s pro-cathedral where there was a Taizé prayer service at the foot of the Cross.
Archbishop Martin said: “We offer the symbol of the Cross as we commemorate the day in which
God revealed himself in an extraordinary way as the one of who would lead us to salvation. We offer it to those who join with us on our journey and in our meditation. We offer it to those who pass by. Together, we offer it to those who care to notice and those who do not.”
Dr Jackson said the procession showed “that what unites us in Christ is more significant and transformative than whatever divides us”.
Science and Religion: Is Synthesis Possible?
Also discussions with:
● Professor John M. McDermott SJ on the universe
● Fr Robert Grabner on Christ’s suffering
● Miles Leeson and Roy Peechey on Catholicising the Curriculum
Also facing up to uncomfortable facts:
● Mgr Cormac Burke on Marriage
● Fiorella Nash on maternal mortality
● William Oddie on the scandal of abuse And a review of spiritual advice from the new Bishop of Aberdeen And much more
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First Minister backs call for Christians to wear crosses
BY ED WEST
ALEX SALMOND, Scotland’s First Minister, has welcomed Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s call for Christians to wear a cross.
Speaking at Edinburgh’s St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, the cardinal said that “for all Christians, the symbol of the cross is central to our faith” in his Easter Sunday homily.
Cardinal O’Brien, Archbishop of Edinburgh and St Andrews, urged Christians to make the cross “more prominent in their lives” and to wear it as “a symbol of their beliefs”.
He said: “So often the teachings of Jesus Christ are divided and ignored. So often those who try to live a Christian life are made fun of and ridiculed and marginalised.
“Perhaps the more regular use of that sign of the cross might become an indication of our desire to live close to that same Christ who suffered and died for us, and whose symbol we are proud to bear.
“Displaying the sign of the cross, the cross of Christ should not be a problem for others – but rather they should see in that sign an indication of our own desire to love and to serve all peoples in imitation of that love and service of Jesus Christ.”
Alex Salmond said: “This is an entirely reasonable proposition by the cardinal – the freedom to profess a faith is one of the basic human freedoms, and should be regarded as such.”
Seven-month-old Thomas Marino takes a shine to Cardinal O’Brien’s pectoral cross Paul McSherry
Quoting Pope Benedict XVI’s statement at Westminster Hall that religion was “a vital contributor to the national conversation”, the cardinal said: “I cannot but voice my concern at the increasing marginalisation of religion, particularly of Christianity, that is taking place in some quarters, even in nations which place a great emphasis on tolerance”.
“I know that many of you do wear such a cross of Christ, not in any ostentatious way, not in a way that might harm you at your work or recreation, but a simple indication that you value the role of Jesus Christ in the history of the world, that you are trying to live by Christ’s standards in your own daily life.”
Two women who say they were discriminated against when their employers barred them from wearing the cross are currently trying to get their cases heard at the European Court of Human Rights.
Think tank: religious are more Left-wing
BY ED WEST
NEW RESEARCH suggests that religious people are far more likely to take Left-wing positions on a range of issues.
The research, by the think tank Demos, implies that churchgoers are more liberal on issues such as immigration and equality.
The Faithful Citizens report also finds that people who identify with a faith are more likely to volunteer, be politically engaged and to become active citizens in their neighbourhoods.
Jonathan Birdwell, the author of the report, said: “Progressives should sit up and take note. Their natural allies may look more like the Archbishop of Canterbury than Richard Dawkins.”
The report found that 55 per cent of religious believers placed themselves on the Left of politics, compared with 40 per cent who put themselves on the Right. They also found that religious people were more likely to value equality over freedom. The report, based on an analysis of the European Values Study, also finds evidence that people who belong to a religious organisation are more likely to be very interested in politics, to have signed a petition and to have participated in a demonstration.
Labour MP Stephen Timms said that his party could draw “energy and inspiration” from faith groups.
NEWSBULLETIN Pope names representative for Eucharistic Congress CARDINAL Marc Ouellet, president of the Congregation for Bishops, has been appointed papal legate to the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in June.
Bishops, which deals with appointments, Cardinal Oullet was Archbishop of Quebec City, which hosted the last International Congress in June 2008.
The Canadian cardinal will represent Pope Benedict XVI at the Congress.
Before taking up his present position as prefect of the Congregation for
Up to 25,000 pilgrims are expected to attend each day of the Congress, including 12,000 international pilgrims representing more than 100 different countries.
State to take schools off Church THE IRISH government is to begin a process of transferring hundreds of Catholic primary schools out of Church control.
Ruairi Quinn, Ireland’s minister for education, said on Tuesday: “This is the most radical change in primary education in Ireland since the state was founded in the 1920s.”
A report commissioned by Mr Quinn lays out a road map for the transfer of patronage of Church schools. The first phase involves identifying 50 schools in Dublin and 43 Irish towns where there is the greatest demand, the government argues, for multi-denominational education.
The report warns against a “big bang” approach, instead arguing for extensive parental consultation and close co-ordination with patrons of primary schools.
Cafod calls for plan on poverty CATHOLIC aid agency Cafod told the Government and the United Nations on Good Friday that urgent action is required to agree a global plan to tackle poverty. Good Friday marked exactly 1,000 days until the start of 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals agreed a decade ago are due to expire.
Cafod’s report said the milestone should serve as a “grave warning”.
Burglars target Bedford church THE CATHOLIC Church of Our Lady in Kemptson, Bedfordshire, has been burgled three times in two weeks.
Canon Seamus Keenan said the incidents, which led to £500 worth of damage, had “surprised and upset parishioners”.
He said: “I’ve been here for 10 years and this is the first time this has happened.” Fr Keenan said he was considering installing CCTV.
Midlands church closes during day ST MARY’S the Mount Catholic church in Walsall is to close during the day after a series of thefts. Canon Peter Taylor made the decision after 42 years of keeping his church open during the day.
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