Welcome to our Christmas Fayre at the Shrine. St John Fisher’s invite you to our Christmas Fayre and Craft Show. The Fayre falls this year on the First Sunday of Advent, 30th November 2014 starting at 1.00pm. Many beautiful things can be found here including handmade Christmas and greeting cards, hand decorated Candle, home baking and many things you can use for gifts for Christmas. There will of course be a Bottle Stall, Tombola and Spin the Wheel for the children. You can guess the weight of a beautiful Christmas Fruitcake, name the Doll and loads more. We are expecting a visitor from the North Pole and he is taking instructions how best children and parents can get ready during Advent for the miracle of Christmas. Please come along and support us and bring some friends with you.
The stars shone more brightly then ever before and the moon hung ever so high in the majestically black sky. I could hear laughter in the background and crying in the foreground. My mind was clouded and my palms a bright red from the bitter cold. It seemed like just yesterday I had sat with him laughing and smiling. I could still hear the slight crackle or his perfectly creased shirts, and smell the sweet aromas of cologne and dryer sheets. I remembered the brightness in his eyes and his glowing personality. I could hear his sweet voice and his assuring words. But now he was gone. It was only hours after I said goodbye, laid a single rose upon the ground, and watched his casket slowly fade into the deep earth tones. I was confused, numb, and deeply depressed. He had been my mentor, my guide. He had been my life. The days went by ever so slowly and the nights were never ending. I kneeled beside my bed and prayed each night while drowning in my tears. I was lost without him, and felt as if I had no reason to live anymore. I was standing on the edge. Finally it came time for me to clean out his belongings. I was going through albums and dresser drawers in his bedroom when I found a small white book and on the cover was a tiny angel with his initials inscribed. It looked as if he had sketched them in himself. I opened the book and began to flip through the pages. Page after page there were prayers and inscriptions from the bible. As I put the book down a small folded piece of paper fell out. I opened it and read it. It was a list of names he had written himself. It was in two or three tones of blue pen and had been folded and unfolded several times. On this piece of paper were his “thank-yous”. He had made a list of all the people who had made a difference in his life and who he cared about. Reading the names and inscriptions I felt the tears flow down my cheeks. At the bottom of the list it read: “These people have shown me the way through the toughest of times, but most of all I must thank God. For without him I would not have these people. When I get to heaven I will go to God and ask Him to watch over you all. I know He will be proud to stand next to you all when it is your time. Enjoy every minute of your time on Earth. Live through God.” With this I put the paper back into the book and finished packing things up. For the first time int he past month I smiled. I knew he was safe and he would be watching over us. And I learned to live through God, Our Saviour.
“Ite incendite mundum” (Go set the world on fire) Words Father Kentenich wrote in Mary Jordan’s Prayerbook. When members of the Schoenstatt Family met with Pope Francis now to celebrate their Centenary he said the only way to set hearts on fire for Christ was through living our Covenant of Love in serving others – set the world on fire through your witness in living you faith in following God’s will and seeking to fulfil our mission.
In Schoenstatt Hearts Afire in November we want to look more closely at this calling to live our mission. You are invited to come along to the next Evening on Wednesday 19th November at 7.30pm at the Shrine at St John Fisher’s Kearsley.
The notion of being an instrument in God’s hand is expressed in a prayer: “Lord, free me from myself. Lord, it’s not what I want, it’s what you want that counts. Lord, make me available for anything. I am ready. Lord, help me to be like you. Lord, you are my freedom and my security. Lord, may your kingdom come through me. Amen.” We look forward to welcoming you on the night.
The last Covenant Mass marked the Centenary of Schoenstatt and we joined in the Jubilee Celebrations both in Schoenstatt and in Rome. You are invited to a Thanksgiving Mass for the grace of the Jubilee and the success of the celebrations. Covenant Mass will be Tuesday 18th November at the Shrine in Kearsley starting at 7.30pm. Holy Mass will be prepared by the Emmaus Group. In Schoenstatt Hearts Afire we want to follow the injunction of our Holy Father, Pope Francis who At the Schoenstatt Jubilee Audience said to young people: the only way to win people for Christ was to show them how you live your faith in everyday life. Schoenstatt apostles use Instrument Spirituality to evangelise. Please come along to this Mass and bring your friends with you.
Carol’s husband was killed in an accident last year. Jim, only fifty-two years old, was driving home from work, the other driver was a young man with a very high blood alcohol level. Jim died instantly. The young man was in the emergency room for less than two hours. There were other ironic twists: It was Carol’s fiftieth birthday, and Jim had two plane tickets to the Channel Islands in his pocket. He was going to surprise her. Instead, he was killed by a drunk driver. “How have you survived this?” I finally asked Carol, a year later. Her eyes welled up with tears. Those crystals rolling down her cheek denoted the car accident long term effects, which could put an entire family in desperation. I thought I had said the wrong thing, but she gently took my hand and said, “It’s all right; I want to tell you. The day I married Jim, I promised I would never let him leave the house in the morning without telling him I loved him. He made the same promise. It got to be a joke between us, and as babies came along, it got to be a hard promise to keep. I remember running down the driveway, saying ‘I love you’ through clenched teeth when I was mad, or driving to the office to put a note in his car. It was a funny challenge. “We made a lot of memories trying to say “I love you” before noon every day of our married life. “The morning Jim died, he left a birthday card in the kitchen and slipped out to the car. I heard the engine starting. Oh, no, you don’t, buster, I thought. I raced out and banged on the car window until he rolled it down. “Here on my fiftieth birthday, Mr. James E. Garret, I Carol Garret, want to go on record as saying I love you!” “That’s how I’ve survived. Knowing that the last words I said to Jim were ‘I love you!’
With Thanks to Zenit International News: The Schoenstatt Movement just celebrated its 100th anniversary, with celebrations in Germany where it was founded, and an audience with the Pope in Rome. Maria Elena Vilches from Ecuador has belonged to the movement for more than 20 years, participating with the Schoenstatt Girls’ Youth and later the Schoenstatt Family of Guayaquil. Since March 2012 she has worked for the Communications Office in Schoenstatt, Germany in preparations for the Jubilee. In this interview, given in the midst of the anniversary celebrations, she tells of her experience with Schoenstatt. Q: Yesterday you had the audience with the Holy Father; today, Holy Mass at St. Peter’s. How do you feel after these experiences? Vilches: It was a great experience, with emotions hard to describe. I felt that Schoenstatt has many answers to offer to our Church and society, and that the Pope counts on us as a Movement to go out and evangelize the world thorough our example. I feel that the experiences lived during the weekend are a call to a greater apostolic activity and a deep inner transformation. Q: What idea or impulse do you take home from the encounter with the Holy Father? Vilches: The Pope called us to strengthen attachments in a society that tends to reject commitment, where everything is temporary. His petition to live a culture of encounter — a Covenant culture — that is what I take with me and will try to live in daily life. Q: When did you enter the Schoensatatt Movement? Vilches: I came to Schoenstatt when I was 16 years old, when I was in my junior year of high school. Continue reading “Growing in Holiness With Schoenstatt”
‘Christianity Is Not an Ornament,’ says creator of controversial ‘Jesus the Homeless’ Sculpture. Even though some Christians feel that the image of Jesus as a homeless person is offensive, the artist believes it’s a clear representation of the Gospel message. The life-size bronze sculpture depicts Jesus Christ as a homeless person sleeping on a park bench. Earlier this year, a woman called the police fearing for the safety of her upscale community after believing that the statue was a vagrant sleeping outside St Alban’s local Anglican church. Cindy Castano Swannack, the woman who had called police, said that even after she discovered the person she saw is only a sculpture of Jesus depicted as a homeless person, she further commented that the image is offensive. “Jesus is not a vagrant; Jesus is not a helpless person who needs our help. We need someone who is capable of meeting our needs, not someone who is also needy,” Swannack asserted. Christian artist Tim Schmalz, who created the “Jesus the Homeless” sculpture after witnessing the enormity of homelessness in wealthy cities answered that Swannack is not alone in her criticism. “When some people look at it — and I’ve heard comments — they’ve expressed that it creeps them out. And they ask, ‘How can you represent Jesus like this?'” Schmalz explained. When he was in Rome, he presented Pope Francis with a bronze model of “Jesus the Homeless,” he said that he thought about Mother Theresa and her emphasis on Jesus wearing many disguises, as the sick and the marginalized. He further commented that he sees people’s reaction to the piece as a cultural expression of “the value we place on people.” “This sculpture is not an ornament,” he asserted. “Some people say it frightens them. But I’m glad about that, because Christianity is not an ornament. Many people are used to putting their faith in a specific compartment of their life and bringing it out like something that can very much comfort them… This sculpture is for the marginal-ized people, so that when they come by it on a city street and they see the Son of man looking a lot like them, I think it will give them back something. And that’s part of the power.”