Even though additional tremors continue to rock the Himalayan nation of Nepal, the thousand-odd Hindus of Tarkerabari village in the nation’s Okhaldunga district are rejoicing over the April 25 ordination of Jesuit Deacon Tek Raj Paudel of their village. The ordination is credited with sparing the village from calamitous casualties from the massive quake that struck immediately after the ordination ceremony. “They are still excited with what had happened. They continue to share their joy with me,” said newly ordained Father Paudel. The village is 125 miles northeast of Kathmandu, near the epicenter of the earthquake that rocked the Himalayan country on April 25. The disaster that claimed more than 8,000 lives occurred around noon, 30 minutes after the two-hour ordination ceremony, which was led by Bishop Paul Simick of Nepal and attended by hundreds of the Hindu villagers. While dozens of people died in the neighbouring villages, he said that the escape of the entire village is hailed by the Hindu community as “a blessing due to the ordination.” “I heard even the MP, Ram Hari Khathiwoda [the Nepalese member of parliament from the area], thanking the Christians for holding the ordination in the village,” said Augustine Lepcha. Lepcha is a Catholic relief worker who returned to Kathmandu on May 6 after taking relief supplies to the village, where most families are living under tents. “All the people there are only speaking of the miracle,” she added. St. Joseph of Cluny Sister Angelica reached the village two days before the ordination, along with a dozen other Catholics, to prepare the altar decorations for the ordination. “The soil under my feet was throwing up. Only when people started screaming and running, I realized it was earthquake,” recalled Sister Angelica, who was packing altar decorations when the quake struck. The villagers were saying, “Because of the ordination here, we were saved,” Sister Angelica said. “A miracle has happened here.” Similarly, Jesuit Father Casper “Cap” Miller, who comes from the USA but has been based in Nepal for 57 years, said that he heard local women saying, “Because of the [ordination] ceremony here, we were saved. God has protected us.” Father Paudel, the ninth of 10 children in a Hindu family, came to Kathmandu in 1988 for his college studies. “Curiosity to read the Bible changed my life,” the Jesuit priest said during an interview after returning to Kathmandu. “After I heard about the Bible during English classes in the government college, I went to find out more about Bible.” “I visited several churches and finally landed at St. Xavier’s School (of Jesuits) in 1990,” he added. After four years of catechism, he was baptized in 1994. “I was keen to have my ordination in the village, as the entire village belongs to my clan. I am happy that the superiors obliged my request,” Father Paudel said. “Now it has become a blessing to my whole village.” He added, “Many of them are now very eager to know about the Church and are planning to visit Kathmandu and the churches.”
Pope Francis formally announced the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy during Solemn Vespers this evening in St. Peter’s basilica. The Bull of Indiction, through which the announcement was made, was presented before the Holy Door of the basilica to a representative group of heads of the dicasteries of the Holy See. The Jubilee will open on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8th, and end on the Feast of Christ the King on November 20th, 2016. The Pope explains in the Bull it is his “burning desire” that, during the Jubilee, “the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. It will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty.” He adds that mercy is “the very foundation of the Church’s life” and that “all of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers.” Francis later says that “nothing in her preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy. The Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love.” In his homily at Vespers, he said “many question in their hearts: why a Jubilee of Mercy today? Simply because the Church, in this time of great historical change, is called to offer more evident signs of God’s presence and closeness. “This is not the time to be distracted,” he continued. “On the contrary, we need to be vigilant and to reawaken in ourselves the capacity to see what is essential. This is a time for the Church to rediscover the meaning of the mission entrusted to her by the Lord on the day of Easter: to be a sign and an instrument of the Father’s mercy.” The Pope concluded: “My thoughts now turn to the Mother of Mercy. May the sweetness of her countenance watch over us in this Holy Year, so that all of us may rediscover the joy of God’s tenderness. No one has penetrated the profound mystery of the incarnation like Mary. Her entire life was patterned after the presence of mercy made flesh. The Mother of the Crucified and Risen One has entered the sanctuary of divine mercy because she participated intimately in the mystery of his love. In this Jubilee Year, let us allow God to surprise us. He never tires of throwing open the doors of his heart and repeats that he loves us and wants to share his love with us. The Church feels the urgent need to proclaim God’s mercy. Her life is authentic and credible only when she becomes a convincing herald of mercy!”
At the beginning of May we crowned our Lady and celebrated this wonderful month of Mary on our annual May Day Pilgrimage. You are invited to join us for the Covenant Mass on Monday, May 18th at the Shrine for holy Mass at 7.30pm followed by light refreshments. The team from the parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Blackley are preparing the Mass and Fr Duncan will be the main celebrant. St Edmund’s music group will assist us in giving thanks for our Covenant of Love. We are preparing for the Synod on the Family and follow the theme for this year: Our Mission is Love. Family fully Alive. We continue to explore family as vocation and a way of living our faith. As man and woman, marriage is an effective sign of God’s plan of love for all of creation. I look forward to seeing you there. May I remind you of the opportunity to bring a donation of non-perishable goods which we pass on to the Brothers of Charity for their service to the poor and needy.
Imagine the scene. In the year 1865, a priest, Father Petitjean, celebrated Mass in an impoverished chapel at the foot of a mountain in Nagasaki. He was the first missionary for 300 years to set foot in Japan. After Mass the people, who had gathered, approached him suspiciously. The asked him lots of questions to find out if he was genuine or not, if he was a “real” Catholic. The asked him about the Pope, about the celibacy of priests and about Mary. Calmed down by this answers, they slowly convinced themselves that they were speaking to a priest. “For three hundred years we’ve been waiting for you, so that you can baptize us”, they said, “we believe in Jesus”. For such a long time there had been no priest or contact with the Church, there had been no official teaching of the faith or sacraments. Yet a group of people maintained their faith intact, how? Through the family! From generation to generation the values and truth of our faith were passed on. The Christian Family has always been the place for evangelisation and it has always had the mission to evangelize others at the same time. Believing in the Family, in spite of all the knocks it receives today – that is the greatest force of renewal of our times. In the renewal of Family Life, we look at a very special person for help and for guidance. The Church calls Mary, the Queen of the Family, because she is an expert in Family life. Mary knew the “ins and outs” of family life. She represents every woman and mother and she says “yes” to her child. Mary never doubted even for an instant that it is worthwhile to bring that new life, this child, into the world, even in a world that is full of pain, uncertainty and death. Some women today find it hard “just to be a mother” . Mary is a lasting example that motherhood in itself is the greatest task that a human being can take upon themselves. She accepted her motherhood with all the limitations and restrictions that it included. She did this out of love. Indeed, Mary loved a great deal. She loved Joseph and she built with him a community of life and love in that home of Nazareth. They both chose the one and the same aim for their married life together: To serve their Son and his work and mission in the world. Without doubt, we may call Mary, the Queen of the Family, a Mother who educates. She wants to build Nazareth and the experience of Nazareth everywhere. That will always be Mary’s mission even today: To support and help all families, that they in their turn, can become a Holy Family of Nazareth. The present and tomorrow of evangelization depends a great deal on the family. As long as the family is the foundation and crown of Church and society, Mary’s role will never diminish, but be put at the heart of modern Church and spiritual life. This is “Mary’s Hour” in her task to renew family life and to renew Church life through the family. Together with Mary, the Queen of the Family, we have enough reason to be confident and full of hope as we build together a new world for God.
On Sunday 3rd May 2015 we invite you to the Annual May Day at the Shrine 1.00pm – 5.00pm. Holy Mass will be celebrated at 3.30pm in the St John Fisher Hall This day of pilgrimage is an invitation to everyone to enjoy a day at the Shrine, celebrating Mary our Mother and our Covenant of Love. From the celebration of the Jubilee three aspects arise: Pilgrimage Renewal of the Covenant Our Mission For us we remember that our gift for the Jubilee was the completion and blessing of the Mosaic. During the day For Programme Details please click here
Heaven lit up with a mighty presence, as the Angels all looked down. Today the Lord was placing the jewels into my mother’s crown. He held up a golden crown, as my darling mother looked on. He said in His gentle voice, ‘I will now explain each one.’ “The first gem,’ He said, ‘is a Ruby, and it’s for endurance alone, for all the nights you waited up for your children to come home.’ ‘For all the nights by their bedside, you stayed till the fever went down. For nursing every little wound, I add this ruby to your crown.’ ‘An emerald, I’ll place by the ruby, for leading your child in the right way. For teaching them the lessons,That made them who they are today.’ ‘For always being right there, through all life’s important events. I give you a sapphire stone, for the time and love you spent.’‘For untying the strings that held them, when they grew up and left home. I give you this one for courage.’ Then the Lord added a garnet stone. ‘I’ll place a stone of amethyst,’ He said. ‘For all the times you spent on your knees, when you asked if I’d take care of your children, and then for having faith in Me.’ ‘I have a pearl for every little sacrifice that you made without them knowing. For all the times you went without, to keep them happy, healthy and growing.’ ‘And last of all I have a diamond, the greatest one of all, for sharing unconditional love whether they were big or small.’‘It was your love that helped them grow Feeling safe and happy and proud A love so strong and pure It could shift the darkest cloud.’ After the Lord placed the last jewel in, He said, ‘Your crown is now complete, You’ve earned your place in Heaven – With your children at your feet.’
You are invited to the fourth meeting of Schoenstatt Hearts Afire: Evangelisation the Schoenstatt Way: The next meeting is on Wednesday 28th May 2014 at 7.30pm in the St John Fisher, Kearsley. Pope Francis is visiting Jordan and the Holy Land and he is reaching out to the sick, disabled, dispossessed and praying for peace. He wants each one of us to become missionary disciples. In our meeting we will look at how we can put this into practice especially through living our Covenant in family life. Continue reading “Schoenstatt Hearts Afire in May”