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Choosing Twelve Apostles


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 29/10/2012

Who were these men and what qualifications did they have? Today companies screen people for management positions. And Church authorities also screen people for positions of leadership. Candidates are not admitted to the priesthood without first undergoing psychological tests. Let us imagine that the twelve apostles were sent by Jesus to a firm of consultants for similar tests. The following report, marked ‘Private and Confidential’, was sent back to him.

Dear Sir, thank you for submitting the resumes of the twelve men you have picked for management positions in your new organisation. All of them have now taken our battery of tests. We have run the results through our computer, and also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologists and vocational aptitude consultants. The results of all the tests are included, and we advise that you study each of them carefully. It is the opinion of the staff that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. Besides, they do not have the team concept. We have found ample evidence of jealousy and rivalry among them. Therefore, we would recommend that you continue your search for persons of more experience and proven ability. Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper definitely not the man you would want to head your organisation. Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership – he is just a follower and does what the others do. The two brothers, James and John, are too hot-headed and impulsive. Besides, they place personal interest above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would undermine morale. Matthew, the tax-collector, is undoubtedly a man of ability, but would project the wrong image for an organisation such as yours. James, son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus have radical political leanings. Hence, their unsuitability. There is one of the candidates, however, who shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, good with people, has a keen business mind, and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious and responsible. That man is Judas Iscariot. We recommend him as your controller and right-hand man. We wish you every success in your new venture. Sincerely yours, Jordan Management Consultants


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Taste and See Family Mass


by Fr. Bryan Cunningham on 28/10/2012

Welcome to our Taste and See Family Mass on  11th November at 3.30pm at the Shrine. At our celebration of the Eucharist in October we inaugurated the Year of Faith and we pray that the Shrine is for us a ‘Door of Faith’ which opens  our gaze upon Christ as Saviour and Friend. Our homes becoming little ‘Cenacles’ for a New Pentecost. In the Synod on Evangelisation which closed today we hear that family is the source and strength of the growth of faith in our world. (Click here for the Invite to Taste and See)

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Seven New Saints speak to the Church


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 22/10/2012

Pope Benedict XVI’s Homily at Mass of Canonization of Seven New Saints

Dear Brother Bishops, dear brothers and sisters!

Today the Church listens again to these words of Jesus, spoken by the Lord during his journey to Jerusalem, where he was to accomplish the mystery of his passion, death and resurrection. They are words which enshrine the meaning of Christ’s mission on earth, marked by his sacrifice, by his total self-giving. On this third Sunday of October, on which we celebrate World Mission Sunday, the Church listens to them with special attention and renews her conviction that she should always be fully dedicated to serve mankind and the Gospel, after the example of the One who gave himself up even to the sacrifice of his life. I extend warm greetings to all of you who fill Saint Peter’s Square, especially the official delegations and the pilgrims who have come to celebrate the seven new saints. I greet with affection the Cardinals and Bishops who, during these days, are taking part in the Synodal Assembly on the New Evangelization. The coincidence between this ecclesiastical meeting and World Mission Sunday is a happy one; and the word of God that we have listened to sheds light on both subjects. It shows how to be evangelizers, called to bear witness and to proclaim the Christian message, configuring ourselves to Christ and following his same way of life. This is true both for the mission ad Gentes and for the new evangelization in places with ancient Christian roots. The Son of Man came to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (cf. Mk 10:45) These words were the blueprint for living of the seven Blessed men and women that the Church solemnly enrols this morning in the glorious ranks of the saints. With heroic courage they spent their lives in total consecration to the Lord and in the generous service of their brethren. They are sons and daughters of the Church who chose a life of service following the Lord. Holiness always rises up in the Church from the well-spring of the mystery of redemption, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah in the first reading: the Servant of the Lord is the righteous one who “shall make many to be accounted as righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities” (Is 53:11); this Servant is Jesus Christ, crucified, risen and living in glory. Today’s canonization is an eloquent confirmation of this mysterious saving reality. The tenacious profession of faith of these seven generous disciples of Christ, their configuration to the Son of Man shines out brightly today in the whole Church. (more…)

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New Evangelisation – Schoenstatt’s Vision


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 22/10/2012

Since 7 October the Bishops’ Synod has been meeting in Rome to discuss “the new evangelisation for passing on the Christian faith”. Among the more than 260 Synod members from all over the world there are three important representatives from the Schoenstatt Movement. Each has been sent by his Bishops’ Conference: Archbishop Robert Zollitsch DD, President of the German Bishops’ Conference and member of the Schoenstatt Institute of Diocesan Priests, Bishop Catalino Claudio Giménez Medina, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Paraguay and member of the Schoenstatt Fathers. Our Holy Father appointed Fr Heinrich Walter, Superior General of the Schoenstatt Fathers and President of the General Presidium of the International Schoenstatt Movement as a member of the Synod. So far the work of the Synod has been marked by the many personal comments of the members on the subject of the Synod. How, according to the ideas of the Bishops (and other members of the Synod), can we describe the “new evangelisation”? Just as the circumstances in the worldwide Church differ, so do the statements of the members. The way our Schoenstatt Synod members answered this question can be seen from the statements they presented to the plenary session, and which now follow. (more…)

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Year of Mission – Start now!


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 22/10/2012

Message for the Opening of the Year of the Missionary Current

I am very close to St Peter’s grave and am looking onto St Peter’s Square as I greet you all over the world. Our Holy Father has invited me to take part in the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelisation for Passing on the Christian Faith. That is why I cannot be in the Original Shrine today. It is a sign from Providence that we are able to unite our shrines in this way with the great Cathedral of Christendom here in Rome. Our mission is the mission of the Church. We want to serve her with our charism so that through the working of the Holy Spirit the Church may be given new vitality. That is the greatest objective so far of the Synod Fathers. Some speak of a new Pentecost. That should also be our concern. Our pilgrimage to the jubilee and to the Original Shrine leads us into Schoenstatt’s original source. We want to drink from the deepest source and in this way renew our charism for the times in which we are living. Gratitude for God’s guidance through the hundred years of our holy history again awakens in us the spirit of the beginning. We drink from this spirit, from the Founding Document, from Fr Kentenich’s spirit of faith, and the strength of the witness of the lives of the founder generation. In the past year we have deepened our experiences with the shrine. We have again cultivated all the ways in which our shrine lives in our family – starting with our relationship to the Original Shrine and reaching to living in and from our heart shrine. This deepening now leads us to our mission: Your covenant our mission.  (more…)

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A Little Boy’s Miracle


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 22/10/2012

It was one of the hottest days of the dry season. We had not seen rain in almost a month. The crops were dying. Cows had stopped giving milk. The rivers and streams were long gone back into the earth. It was a dry season that would bankrupt several farmers before it was through. Every day, my husband and his brothers would go about the arduous process of trying to get water to the fields. Lately this process had involved taking a truck to the local water rendering plant and filling it up with water. But severe rationing had cut everyone off. If we didn’t see some rain soon…we would lose everything. It was on this day that I learned the true lesson of sharing and witnessed the only miracle I have seen with my own eyes. I was in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and his brothers when I saw my six-year-old son, Billy, walking toward the woods. He wasn’t walking with the usual carefree abandon of a youth but with a serious purpose. I could only see his back. He was obviously walking with a great effort … trying to be as still as possible. Minutes after he disappeared into the woods, he came running out again, toward the house. I couldn’t take it any longer and I crept out of the house and followed him on his journey. He was cupping both hands in front of him as he walked, being very careful not to spill the water he held in them … maybe two or three tablespoons were held in his tiny hands. I sneaked close as he went into the woods. Branches and thorns slapped his little face, but he did not try to avoid them. He had a much higher purpose. As I leaned in to spy on him, I saw the most amazing sight. (more…)

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Behold, I stand at the Door, and knock


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 15/10/2012

The “Light of the World” was painted in 1853-54 by the English artist William Holman Hunt (1827-1910). The painting, which measures 125 x 60 cm, is currently at Keble College, Oxford in England. The painting is really a painted text, a sermon on canvas. In “The Light of the World” the allegory chosen for illustration is that beautiful one in the Revelation, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). On the head of Christ are two crowns: the earthly crown of his passion as well as his heavenly crown of glory – this crown begins to bud and blossom – symbol of new life and new beginning. The Robe of Christ is a seamless robe. It symbolises the unbroken unity of the Body of Christ, the Family of the Church today throughout the world. Then there is the lamp carried by Christ. It is the lamp which guides us throughout the journey of our lives. The scene is during the night. There are dangers and obstacles on our path – the light of Christ will guide us and show us the safest and best way. The door of the soul is beautifully rendered. It has been a very long time since it has been opened. The weeds have climbed where they never could have climbed had it been kept open; stains of rust are over the iron-work. We can see brambles, because a place overgrown with brambles is a place to which the gardener doesn’t visit. The fruit the trees have borne has fallen to the ground – natural fruit, uncared for and untended. The sadness of the face of Christ is painful in the extreme, and the justification of this sadness is that Christ has knocked, and knocked in vain. Look how Christ’s knocks on the door of our souls – his hand is half-open and he listens intently; he is patient, he will wait for as long as it takes. The door has no handle. It can only be opened form the inside. In other words, only we can open the door of our souls to Christ. It is our choice. Perhaps we might see in this painting the whole meaning of the life of Christ, and the whole story of our own neglected souls. The idea of painting the picture came from a sonnet entitled “Tomorrow” by Lope de Vega, from Spain: “Soul, from thy casement look, and thou shalt see how He persists to knock and wait for thee!” And Oh, how often to that voice of sorrow, ”Tomorrow I will open” – I replied. And when the morrow came, I answered still: ” Tomorrow!”

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