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Families – Sign of Hope


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 15/10/2012

Summary of Speech, given by Rev. F. Heinrich WALTER, General Superior of the Schoenstatt Fathers, at the Synod in Rome about the New Evangelisation.

“If we look at the long term, then the Church in the Western world cannot be renewed without the renewal of the family. Whoever has childern has a future. Parents with many children are statistically considered the happiest persons in society. Marriage and family must be recognized today as a vocation. This is where evangelization occurs. The believers follow, going against the current in relationship to society, the path of the sequela of Christ. For this they must be supported intensely in the preparation towards matrimony. The Sacrament of Matrimony is very precious. The failure of matrimony often has tragic consequences. We must ask ourselves clearly which are the conditions necessary for the Sacrament of Matrimony. Here a distinction must be made for the good of the family. The family remains the foundation for learning the faith. The family means seeing one’s home as the house of God. Children, with their parents, follow the lengthy path in learning the faith. The vitality of a community is connected to these homes. Families are not only the privileged location for evangelization, but inasmuch as they are laity they are also agents of evangelization. In South America, I came to know about the project of familial missions. A number of families meet and during their holidays they go to live in a community for one week. Here they live very simply, and, as a family, go from house to house to bear witness to their faith. In this way, cities and districts are evangelized. Seeing these families publically bearing witness to their vocation is a sign of hope.”

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Opening of the Year of Faith at the Shrine


by Fr. Bryan Cunningham on 13/10/2012

On Sunday 14th October we have the opening of the Year of Faith at the Shrine. Our Holy Father Pope Benedict said in his invitation: “The Year of Faith is intended to contribute to a renewed conversion to the Lord Jesus and to the rediscovery of faith, so that the members of the Church will be credible and joy- filled witnesses to the Risen Lord in the world of today – capable of leading those many people who are seeking it to the “door of faith.” This “door” opens wide man’s gaze to Jesus Christ, present among us “always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20). ” Our Shrine is an Open Door to Faith since as a place of pilgrimage and as a place of grace we seek our personal encounter with the God of our life and strive to deepen our friendship with Jesus our one true Saviour. Please join us on our October Day and the Taste and See Family Mass for the inauguration of the Year of Faith in the Shrine. We start our programme at 12.30pm. Mass will be at 3.30pm followed by a shared meal. (Click here for the Programme for the day)

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Our Lady of the Rosary


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 08/10/2012

October is the month to pray the rosary. Pope St. Pius V established this feast in 1573. The purpose was to thank God for the victory of Christians over the Turks at Lepanto—a victory attributed to the praying of the rosary. Clement XI extended the feast to the universal Church in 1716. The development of the rosary has a long history. First, a practice developed of praying 150 Our Fathers in imitation of the 150 Psalms. Then there was a parallel practice of praying 150 Hail Marys. Soon a mystery of Jesus’ life was attached to each Hail Mary. In the 16th century the rosary was developed to its present form—with the 15 mysteries (joyful, sorrowful and glorious). In 2002, Blessed Pope John Paul II added the Mysteries of Light to this devotion. The purpose of the rosary is to help us meditate on the great mysteries of our salvation. Pius XII called it a compendium of the gospel. The main focus is on Jesus—his birth, life, death and resurrection. The “Our Fathers” remind us that Jesus’ Father is the initiator of salvation. The “Hail Marys” remind us to join with Mary in contemplating these mysteries. They also make us aware that Mary was and is intimately joined with her Son in all the mysteries of his earthly and heavenly existence. The “Glory Bes” remind us that the purpose of all life is the glory of the Blessed Trinity. The rosary appeals to many. It is simple. The constant repetition of words helps create an atmosphere in which to contemplate the mysteries of God. We sense that Jesus and Mary are with us in the joys and sorrows of life. We grow in hope that God will bring us to share in the glory of Jesus and Mary forever. Blessed Pope John Paul once wrote: “The rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christ-centred prayer. It has all the depth of the gospel message in its entirety. It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb…. It can be said that the rosary is, in some sense, a prayer-commentary on the final chapter of the Vatican II Constitution Lumen Gentium, a chapter that discusses the wondrous presence of the Mother of God in the mystery of Christ and the Church”.

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From The Mouths of Children


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 01/10/2012

A grandmother recently went to dinner at a restaurant with her son and two grandchildren. They were sitting at the table waiting for their food when the five-year-old Clare asked, “Grandma, what was your mum like? ”She was a very wonderful lady, Clare”, said the grandmother.  “Your Daddy knew her, too before she died.” The five-year-old looked at her Dad and said, “Did you, Dad?”

Dad answered, “Yes I did, Clare. She was a very nice lady.” “What was your Dad like, Grandma?” asked Clare. Grandmother responded, “He was nice, too, but I didn’t know him very well because he died when I was only ten years old.” Clare’s Dad chimed in,  “Isn’t it great that Grandma’s Mum did such a good job taking care of Grandma even though her Dad wasn’t with them?” Clare didn’t say anything else after that. The next day, Sunday, Clare was just talking with her Dad. She said, “Dad, will people be able to see each other in heaven?” Her Dad said, “Sure they will, Clare”. Then she asked, “Dad, I guess, since you’re older than me, you’ll die first.” Her Dad responded, “Yes, I guess I will, Clare.” Then she said, “I’ll really miss you, Dad.” By this time Dad was having trouble keeping the tears from his eyes. After a moment of silence, Clare said, “Dad, will you please tell Jesus I love Him when you get there?” Dad responded with tears flowing down his face, “Sure, Clare, I’ll be glad to tell Him.”

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