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The Most Beautiful Flower


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 26/11/2012

The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read Beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree. Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown, For the world was intent on dragging me down. And if that weren’t enough to ruin my day, A young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play. He stood right before me with his head tilted down And said with great excitement, “Look what I found!” In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight, With its petals all worn – not enough rain, or too little light. Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play, I faked a small smile and then shifted away. But instead of retreating he sat next to my side And placed the flower to his nose and declared with surprise, “It sure smells pretty and it’s beautiful, too. That’s why I picked it; here, it’s for you.” The weed before me was dying or dead. Not vibrant of colours, orange, yellow or red. But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave. So I reached for the flower, and replied, “Just what I need.” But instead of him placing the flower in my hand, He held it mid-air without reason or plan. It was then that I noticed for the very first time That weed-toting boy could not see: he was blind. I heard my voice quiver, tears shone like the sun As I thanked him for picking the very best one. “You’re welcome,” he smiled, and then ran off to play, Unaware of the impact he’d had on my day. I sat there and wondered how he managed to see A self-pitying woman beneath an old willow tree. How did he know of my self-indulged plight? Perhaps from his heart, he’d been blessed with true sight. Through the eyes of a blind child, at last I could see The problem was not with the world; the problem was me. And for all of those times I myself had been blind, I vowed to see beauty, and appreciate every second that’s mine. And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose And breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose And smiled as that young boy, another weed in his hand About to change the life of an unsuspecting old man.

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Family Week August 2013


by Fr. Bryan Cunningham on 25/11/2012

Dear Friends

This mail is for all those interested on going to the Family week planned forJuly / August 2013. Gary Russell has been searching to find a suitable venue and it has not been easy. Some very nice places are not available on the dates we were looking for. Others are very expensive (for example one place would cost in the region of £550 per adult with full board for six nights). At the moment we have a possibility in England and an alternative in Schoenstatt/Germany and we would like to canvas your opinion and ask your commitment to one of these options: (more…)

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Reflections on the Year of Faith


by Fr. Bryan Cunningham on 24/11/2012

Fr. Duncan prepared resource materials for the Year of Faith for the St Joseph’s Deanery, Bolton and the members  of his own parish have adopted some of the suggestions in the Bolton Proposal for the Year of Faith. Crest of Arms St EthelbertOne of these is a weekly reflection for the Year of Faith, produced by Father Duncan for his parish and further afield. These reflections are also available on the St Ethelbert’s Parish Website . Please enjoy these reflections given below:

1. “Mass – Do I really have to go every Sunday? ” (To download this reflection click here)

2. “Why do I have to go to confession?”  (To download this reflection click here)

3. “Why do I need Church?”  (To download this reflection click here)

4. “Is there only one true faith?”  (To download this reflection click here)

5. ” The media is often anti-catholic Why?”  (To download this reflection click here)

6. ” Why doesn’t  the Church give more money to the poor?”  (To download this reflection click here)

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Taste and See Mass in Advent


by Fr. Bryan Cunningham on 22/11/2012

Welcome to our Advent Taste and See Family Mass in this Year of Faith on 9th December 2012 at 3.30pm Holy Mass followed with a shared Meal. Please bring something to share. At 5.30 we will have talk and discussion for the adults and a programme for the children. Finish at 6.30pm All are welcome to join us in this of Mass for the Family.  Faith in Action For the Year of Faith: We are making a collection of non- perishable foods to be given to the needy. Please bring something along for our collection (more…)

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Lilies of the Field


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 19/11/2012

“I’m a novelist. My work is human nature. Real life is all I know. Don’t ever confuse the two, your life and your work. You will walk out of here this afternoon with only one thing that no one else has. There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree; there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account but your soul. People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is a cold comfort on a winter night, or when you’re sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you’ve gotten back the test results and they’re not so good. Here is my resume: I am a good mother to three children. I have tried never to let my profession stand in the way of being a good parent. I no longer consider myself the centre of the universe. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh. I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make marriage vows mean what they say. I am a good friend to my friends, and they to me. Without them, there would be nothing to say to you today, because I would be a cardboard cutout. But I call them on the phone, and I meet them for lunch. I would be rotten, or at best mediocre at my job, if those other things were not true. You cannot be really first rate at your work if your work is all you are. So here’s what I wanted to tell you today: Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you’d care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast? Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over the rocks on the shore, a life in which you stop and watch how a hawk circles over the water or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a toy with her thumb and first finger. Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Pick up the phone. Send an e-mail. Write a letter. Get a life in which you are generous. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Take money you would have spent on beers and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister. (more…)

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Welcome to our Covenant Mass in November


by Fr. Bryan Cunningham on 12/11/2012

Welcome to our Covenant Mass on Sunday 18th November at 7.30pm at the Shrine.  This month we hear from Father Kentenich: Mary, Mother of Jesus and our mother has been given the task to lead the world back to God (JK)  When we give Mary a privileged place in our hearts and we entrust ourselves to her education and intercession, then we are on the way to her Son. She then leads us to Christ and the Triune God. We look forward to seeing you on Sunday Night.  We pray with our Holy Father that through this Year of Faith we may become credible and joy-filled witnesses of faith so that the world will be moved to ask the question: “What is it that makes Christians do this?” Faith in Action: for the Year of Faith we are having a collection of tinned and dried foodstuffs which the Brothers of Charity will give to the needy. Please bring along some things for this collection. (To download the poster please click here)

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We Will Remember Them


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 11/11/2012

He was very old now, but could still hold himself stiffly at attention before the monument. His war, the one to end all wars, now just a fading part of history. Very few could remember, first-hand, the savageness of the ordeal that had sent millions of young men to their deaths. Cannon fodder, they’d called them, sent before the guns to be mown down — blown apart by chunks of metal which had decimated their frail bodies. The cream of a generation; almost wiped out. He was haunted by the faces of the boys he’d had to order into battle, the ones who’d never come back. Yet one nameless ghost was able to bring a measure of comfort to his tormented mind. At the sound of the gun signaling the eleventh hour he was mentally transported back to the fields of Flanders. The battle had raged for over two hours, with neither side gaining any advantage. Wave after wave of soldiers had been dispatched from the muddy trenches and sent over the top.  So many had died already that day that he decided he could not afford to lose any more men before reinforcements arrived.  Perhaps they’d give the remnants a few more days of life.  There came a slight lull in the battle due to the sheer exhaustion of the men on both sides. During this interval, a young soldier came up to him requesting that he be allowed to go over the top.  He looked at the boy who couldn’t have been more than nineteen.  Was this extreme bravery in the face of the enemy or was the soldier so scared he just needed to get it over with? ”Why would you want to throw your life away soldier?  It’s almost certain death to go out there.”  “My best friend went out over an hour ago, captain, and he hasn’t come back.  I know my friend must be hurt and calling for me.  I must go to him, sir, I must.” There were tears in the boy’s eyes . It was as if this were the most important thing in the world to him.” ”Soldier, I’m sorry, but your friend is probably dead.  What purpose would it serve to let you sacrifice your life too?” ”At least I’d know I’d tried, sir, he’d do the same thing in my shoes.  I know he would.” He was about to order the boy back to the ranks, but the impact of his words softened his heart.  He remembered the awful pain he’d felt himself when his brother had died.  He’d never had the chance to say goodbye.  (more…)

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