Tag Archives: family

18 January: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, I.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2023

Photo: Mazur/cbcew.org.uk

As we join with other Christians around the world for the Week of Prayer we pray that our hearts will be open to see and hear the many ways in which racism continues to destroy lives, and to discern the steps we can take as individuals and communities to heal the hurts and build a better future for everyone.

Made in the image of God

Genesis 1:26-28

Revelation 7:9-12

Commentary

In the first book of the Bible, we are told that we are made in the image of God, not just individually but corporately. All of humanity, people of all ethnicities, cultures, languages and religions, together represent the image of the Creator. This means that to deny that image in any one race, indeed in any one person, is to reject God’s presence in the whole of humanity.

As society becomes more indifferent to the needs of others, we, as the children of God, must learn to take up the cause of our oppressed brothers and sisters by speaking truth to power and if necessary, plead their case so that they may live in peace with justice. In doing this we will always do the right thing, will always be recognising God’s image in all of us.

Our commitment to eradicate and to be healed of the sin of racism requires us to be prepared and willing to be in relationship with our Christian sisters and brothers. That will be a sign of unity for the whole world.

Reflection

We give them names: 
refugees, asylum seekers, 
migrants, 
economic migrants, 
some more welcome than others. 
But you know their human names because they are your kin, 
stamped with your image, 
divinely human.

Prayer

You made us, God, in your own image, 
and then became one of us, 
proud of those you have made.
Make us proud of being part of that worldwide family, 
and eager to discover and celebrate your image 
in every person, every culture, every nation 
that we are privileged to encounter.

Questions

How does your church welcome those new to your community?

How can we see the image of God in people we find difficult to love?

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14 January, Review: Felix the Railway Cat

9781405929783: Felix the Railway Cat

Felix the Railway Cat By Kate Moore, Penguin 2017

Why did I pick this book up? I think it may have been the Huddersfield connection; the story unfolds at Huddersfield Railway station in Yorkshire where I have awaited my connection more than once when visiting family, though I haven’t been introduced to Felix. The last time we were there the weather was telling us to seek shelter, not feline friends. No doubt Felix was warm and snug inside.

This book tells how Felix ‘became the heart of a community’ but the community was there from the start and was drawn closer together by having a station cat. A great deal of preparation and skullduggery went into acquiring a cat. The station manager did not approve but his boss gave the go-ahead when he was seconded elsewhere and he returned to find a fluffy black-and-white kitten in residence, named Felix by vote among the whole station team. We read of adventures and misadventures, of the vet’s discovery that Felix was not a tom cat, but nobody supported changing her name to Felicity. It’s a charming story, well told.

But this is not just about Felix, Rodent Control Officer, nor even the many other duties she undertook, such as reassuring stressed passengers. It is also about the community at the station, staffed 24 hours per day, sometimes working alone, sometimes coming together, but always a team, built up by senior staff looking out for each other and their subordinates, but most importantly, taking care of passengers.

Read this book and you will understand that these railway men and women are dedicated to their passengers and would not lightly be striking and putting services at risk. It is not they who are ‘holding the country to ransom’.

Felix shares her Facebook page with her junior deputy, Bolt. The two of them share further adventures in ‘Full Steam Ahead, Felix’ also by Kate Moore.

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13 January: now you see him.

Mrs Turnstone, whose birthday this is, loves the fact that on 13 January the sun is visible in Greenland for the first time since the winter’s darkness took over. Let’s pray that we might be ready to observe the light we are given and to rejoice this day and every day.

And Happy Birthday to Mrs Turnstone!

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12 January: Sitting by the fire.

In centrally heated, 21st Century England it’s easy to forget how comforting a fire can be. Not to mention how much work one can entail. This little 1880s house once had three hearths downstairs – one for the kitchen which was to heat the servant girl’s room above. The other two bedrooms each had a fireplace. Plenty of work hauling all that coal up and ashes down the stairs. No more of that, but we can relax around the woodburning stove, or once a year, by this thermally inefficient open fire.

In 1806 Mary Lamb was writing to her younger friend, Sarah Stoddard, who had a few major family and personal matters to sort out at some distance from London, before Rowland Hill’s Penny Post made letter writing cheap and reliable.


Do write soon: though I write all about myself, I am thinking all the while of you, and I am uneasy at the length of time it seems since I heard from you … and this second winter makes me think how cold, damp, and forlorn your solitary house will feel to you. I would your feet were perched up again on our fender.

The fender is a low barrier between the fireplace and the floor of the room, often at a good height for warming the toes.

This story made me wonder how often the one who came to bring fire to the earth sat around an open fire with his disciples, how much of his more intimate teaching was given that way. I shall have to re-imagine some of the Gospel passages next time they come up.

Mary Lamb to Sarah Stoddard, 14 March 1806, The Letters of Charles and Mary Lamb, 1796-1820, edited by E. V. Lucas.

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11 January: Reflections on a charity bike ride.

These bikes were in Bruges, Belgium during a car-free Sunday.

Mark Piper rode 100km from Chicago to Michigan City, Indiana in aid of children with brain tumours; the event remembers a small boy of the Chicago parish who died with this disease, Patrick McNamara. The full story is here, together with Piper’s reflections, on the National Catholic Reporter website. Since the pastor who was the race starter dedicated the race to Mary and the finishing line was at one of her churches, it seems an appropriate item for her feast today. She, if anyone, exhibited holiness in the world!

The pastor of the parish reminded us that our coming together, through the prayers and material assistance raised for these families, was community at its best. And he ended his blessing by inviting us all to recite the Hail Mary.

While sitting down at the post-ride party my mind … reflected on my first, but certainly not last, Pat Mac’s 100K ride. Although not draped in piety or devotions, or having any sacraments administered, this ride, by bringing us together and building community, exhibited a holiness in the world that perhaps enlivened Gospel service.

During my six hours on the bike, and a few more under a tent filled with food, stories and friendship, I certainly experienced church, being church and being church for others. May Our Lady, in Italy, Spain, France or Michigan City, Indiana, watch over us, keep us safe and hasten the day when paediatric cancer research brings forth a cure. Until this hopeful prayer is granted, I look forward to this bicycle ride and seeing that mosaic of Mary, at prayer herself, at the finish line.

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January 10: A Synodality training course.

We shared this post last month when it had just come in from the Synod Office in Rome. Now, with days to go before the first deadline, here it is again, when you probably have more chance of reading it and maybe signing up. Not too late to wish you a happy and peaceful New Year! WT.

General Secretariat for the Synod
www.synod.va – media@synod.vaView this email in your browserNEWS RELEASE – 16.12.2022  ESP – FRA – ITA  – POROriginal: ITALIAN
Registration now open for the Multilingual Course on Synodality promoted by the Evangelii Gaudium Centre 
It is with a first introductory lecture entrusted to Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod, on 17 January 2023 that the multilingual course on synodality promoted by the Evangelii Gaudium Centre of the Sophia University Institute will begin.
 
The course, realised in collaboration with the General Secretariat of the Synod, will consist of four stages: three academic modules and a residential meeting. They will deal with topics related to the synodal process: what is synodality? Is it in line with what is expressed in the Magisterium of the Church and Canon Law? How is it possible to live it in the Church?
 
Addressed to the entire People of God (from bishops to pastoral workers, from priests to consecrated men and women, from seminarians to lay people), the course aims to offer a wide-ranging theological and pastoral preparation with the objective of providing the Christian community with a model for the communal exercise of Christian thinking and acting. The lectures will be held on the ZOOM platform.
 
It is possible to register for the entire course or for a single module. The lessons will be held in Italian, with simultaneous translation into Spanish, Portuguese and English.
 
The course is also aimed at members of the same community (parish, association, friends,..) who will thus be able to gain direct experience of the method of listening, dialogue and discernment at the basis of the Synodal Church.
 
For information and registration contact:
ceg@sophiauniversity.org  
https://www.sophiauniversity.org/it/centro-evangelii-gaudium  
 
Registration
Those who intend to register for the entire course must do so by 15 January 2023.
Those wishing to follow one or more modules, on the other hand, have a deadline of:
 4 February for the 1st Module;
4 March for the 2nd Module;
6 May for the 3rd Module.Links to register:
https://forms.gle/xb1SmD5mYW3zTo1A6

FLYER in  ENG – ESP – ITA – POR
Copyright  2022 General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
General Secretariat for the Synod of BishopsVia della Conciliazione, 34Vatican City 00120Vatican City State (Holy See)

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Filed under Christian Unity, Interruptions, Justice and Peace, Laudato si', Synod

9 January: Praying with Pope Francis: Educators.

Brocagh School, Leitrim, 1969

This January Pope Francis asks us to pray for Educators

We pray that educators may be credible witnesses, 
teaching fraternity rather than competition  
and helping the youngest and most vulnerable above all. 

I shared this picture on the Pelicans Website in 2011. It shows the children of Brocagh School, Co. Leitrim in 1969, with their educators, head teacher Mrs McCormack, to the right, and her assistant teacher, then, I think, called Miss Byrne, but wearing an engagement ring.

Sometime after this, in 1970-72 the little local 2 classroom schools were all closed down and a new central school built in Glenfarne village. We students at nearby Saint Augustine's College visited the little schools to deliver an RE lesson each Wednesday morning.

It was Mrs McCormack who gave me a valuable lesson, in the qualities Pope Francis proclaims. This was thanks to Joe McHugh, down there in the front row wearing a green jacket. During the time after Easter we had John's story of the barbecue by the lake after the miraculous catch of fish, and Peter's final declaration of faith. 

I think the lesson went well. The children drew some remarkable pictures, but Mrs McCormack drew my attention to Joe's in particular: come here now, Joe, what's this in the corner? - It's Saint Peter's lorry, Miss, come to carry away the fish. I'd missed the lorry completely; I'd not interpreted the shapes he'd drawn in 20th Century terms.

What Mrs McCormack knew, but I did not, was that Joe's family had recently acquired a lorry which was Joe's pride and joy, so of course St Peter would have had his lorry ready to take the fish to market. The story made sense to Joe, and had always made more sense to me as a consequence; thank you Joe, wherever you are. And thank you to Mrs McCormack, that credible witness!You used Joe's lorry to teach him and me that fraternity between the generations means allowing the child to teach himself, and his (or her) teachers.

Olivia O'Dolan and other local people managed to identify many of the children whose names appear on the Pelicans Website.

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8 January: As it was.

It has to be as it was,
Of course I didn't understand!
It has to be as it was,
Well, almost:
Dark, cold, restless, waiting 
And lonely.

It has to do with loneliness,
And I am rarely lonely.
But, yes, 
It has to be as it was ...
Waiting, cold,
Dark in my warm, well lighted room.

That's not as it was,
No renaissance nativity,
No Christmas card crib,
Just loneliness and the need for warmth and preparation.
Wondering what tomorrow might bring,
Stars and rest and the smell and placid breath
Of animals.

But shelter,
That's as it was!
                                                                                                        Sheila Billingsley.

'Dark in my warm, well lighted room'. Who has not felt that way? How many will be feeling that way this Christmas, how many more are without even the warm, well-lighted room? Let us pray for all who are exiled and homeless this Christmas time, and support those who are organising shelter for them. Our first photograph was taken by volunteers seeking out homeless people on the streets of Canterbury, in order to offer shelter.
Winter and warm, well lighted rooms.

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Filed under Advent and Christmas, Daily Reflections, Justice and Peace, Mission, PLaces, poetry

7 January: How to Help?

Tim Rowden of the Grief Project shares ways to support those left behind when somebody takes their own life. Follow the link for wise words on What suicide loss survivors need most . And do not be afraid!

Tim Rowden
When you’ve lost someone to suicide, one of the hurdles in recovery is the people near you who sympathise but don’t know what to say or do. Worse are those who don’t say anything for fear that mentioning your loved one’s name will hurt you. (Pro tip: Not saying their name hurts more.)To find out what suicide loss survivors needed after their loved one died (and what they still need in the days, weeks, months and years to follow), the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention asked its community to share one way to support someone who’s lost a loved one to suicide.

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Filed under Autumn, Daily Reflections, Easter, Mission

29 December: Small acts of kindness by Father Peter.

Chicken by Abel, 7.

Father Peter shared this story in Missio magazine, Autumn 2022.

I was driving slowly in the countryside on one of Kenya’s dusty, gravelly roads.

Just ahead of me I saw a young girl walking by the side of the road carrying a chicken. As I drove past, the chicken jumped out of her hands and flew into the side of my car and was killed.


I stopped the car, got out, and apologised to the girl – although it was not my fault. The poor girl was distraught, looking down at her dead chicken lying on the road which would now not lay any eggs for the family.

Seeing her distress, I gave her 10 shillings. Her eyes lit up and a smile crossed her face. With that money she could go back to the market and buy not just one but two egg-laying chickens! Not only that, but she could also take the dead chicken home and she and her family could have a tasty meal.
Best of all – she would not face the wrath of her parents!

To live a Christ-like life, one does not need to perform heroic acts of self–sacrifice! Small everyday acts of kindness, compassion and caring can turn sadness into joy and make us channels of God’s love.

FATHER PETER
You can write to Fr Peter at:
41 Victoria Road, Formby,
Liverpool L37 1LW

Mission Today Autumn 2022 published bu Missio -England and Wales
Build a vibrant Catholic Church for the future


FATHER PETER
You can write to Fr Peter at:
41 Victoria Road, Formby,
Liverpool L37 1LW

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