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Fourth Sunday of Advent with Fr Kentenich


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 21/12/2014

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name. (Luke 1:46-49)

Advent is that special season when we long for Jesus to take on form in us. Mary’s mission is to care that this really happens. She is the “masterpiece” of God’s creation, she is the “mirror of hope”, she is the “Advent dawn” that leads us securely to the true light of the world, Jesus Christ. During the days of Advent we always celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (on 8th December). She shows us, and gives witness to, what grace can do in someone’s life. When we look at her, we can understand what the Lord also wants to achieve in us – the fully redeemed Christian person. She is a sign of the Lord’s light; we can be signs of light as well. She is a sign of the Lord’s peace; we too can spread peace, and dispel unrest and anxiety. Mary is a sign of the Lord’s victory; we too can be “success stories” of grace, and not necessarily some kind of “failure”. Mary, the Dawn, gives witness in her life to the three elements that nourish our Advent hope: Longing for the Lord, trusting in the Lord, and working with the Lord. Let’s look at each in turn. They can be an inspiration and help to us… (more…)

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Sharing Advent with Fr Kentenich


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 30/11/2014

Daily Advent Meditations

Welcome! Advent is a beautiful season of longing. The days before the Miracle of Christmas are days when the deepest longings of the human soul finally rise to the surface again. They inspire us to direct our attention towards the God of love who sends his Son to save us and set us free. The measure of our Advent longing will be the measure of its Christmas fulfilment. The following daily meditations are taken from the Advent and Christmas sermons of Father Joseph Kentenich, founder of the international Schoenstatt Family, held in Milwaukee, USA from 1962 until 1964. They make up a unique and powerful vision, coming from a deep faith and a well-tested love for the Lord and his Blessed Mother Mary. I have simply taken his witness and brought it together in a series of shorter meditations. The stories, prayers and examples used throughout are also exclusively from his sermons and preaching. At the beginning of each meditation there is a short passage from Holy Scripture that highlights the message of Advent and the growing joy because Christmas approaches. The four weeks of the Advent Season have different themes, starting with the Sundays: Anchored in Hope, our Advent Longing, becoming “Another Jesus”, and Mary, Dawn of Hope. I hope that these daily Advent meditations will keep your longing for God alive as we await his coming. He comes into our lives to the extent that we open the doors wide, clear out all the clutter and debris, and lift up our hands in joyful welcome. I wish you a very blessed Advent with great joy and love. May the Miracle of the Holy Night fill you with awe and a deep inner peace. May your hearts be touched again and again by the God of love. Father Duncan McVicar, Schoenstatt Fathers, Manchester, England

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Growing in Holiness With Schoenstatt


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 07/11/2014

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.  (more…)

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A Mother’s Crown


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 28/05/2014

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.’

 

 

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Mary and the Month of May


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 11/05/2014

The month of May is the “month which the People of God  has especially dedicated to Our Blessed Lady,” and it is the occasion for a “moving tribute of faith and love which Catholics in every part of the world [pay] to the Queen of Heaven. During this month Christians, both in church and in the privacy of the home, offer up to Mary from their hearts an especially fervent and loving homage of prayer and veneration. In this month, too, the benefits of God’s mercy come down to us from her throne in greater abundance” (Paul VI: Encyclical on the Month of May, no. 1). This special custom of dedicating the month of May to the Blessed Virgin arose at the end of the 13th century. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of the Church and therefore the example, as well as the guide and inspiration, of everyone who, in and through the Church, seeks to be a servant of God. The Holy Spirit, as Pope Leo XIII reminded us, is the soul of the Church: All the activity and service of the members of the Church, beginning with the supreme participation of the Blessed Mother in the work of the Church, is vivified by the Holy Spirit as the body, in all its activities, is vivified by its soul. The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete, Advocate, and Comforter which Christ Himself sent to be our consolation in the sorrowful mysteries of life, our source of moderation in the joyful mysteries of life, our added principle of exaltation in the glorious mysteries of life. So He was for the Blessed Mother; so also He is for the least of us; so also He is for the rest of the Church, even for those who are its unconscious but conscientious members. Wherever there is faith there is the example of Mary, because she lived by faith as the Scriptures remind us.

Hail Mary, Mother of the Church and Queen of the Family. We honour you and come before your Picture of Grace to place upon it this precious Crown. We crown you in thanksgiving for everything that you have given to us in your motherly care and protection. Accept the Crown, which God has prepared for you from all eternity. Accept the Crown, as a sign of our love. Accept the Crown and give us many graces for the renewal of our Church and society. Accept the Crown and make every family a sanctuary of peace and love. Accept the Crown and call the youth of today to follow your Son. Accept the Crown, Mother and Queen, and teach us to love and serve our Saviour, Jesus Christ, in all things. Accept the Crown and pray for us in all our needs and petitions. Amen.

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All Are Welcome


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 19/08/2013

We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, or who don’t “speaky da English”. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds. We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our Parish Priest who is loud, but can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if think you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in Church since little Joseph’s Baptism. We extend a special welcome to those who are over sixty but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome “football parents”, “working parents”, starving artists, tree-huggers, cappuccino-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion”. If you blew all your Church offering money at the betting shop, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is paying a visit and wanted to go to Church. We welcome those who are tattooed, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, felt forced to go to Mass as a child or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, broken hearts … and you! We try to meet people where they are… and lead them where God calls them to be!

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Mary, we crown you…


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 05/05/2013

When we speak about Crowning Our Lady it means that we recognise that she is our Queen in heaven: By virtue of her relationship to Jesus Christ, our Saviour and the Universal King, and by virtue of the mission that God gave her in life for the salvation of the world. In Holy Scripture, amongst those who receive the “crown of life and glory” (James 1,12; 1 Peter 5,4; Revelation 2,10), Mary is the first and the most prominent. Often she is compared to the woman with the “crown of twelve stars upon her head” (Revelation 12,1). In our Tradition of Faith, the role of Mary in our Salvation, was often described with the symbol of the crown and the title “Queen”. In past cultures where “kings” and “Queens” were common figures, it seemed much more obvious that Christ and Mary would be symbolised through “royal” symbols. The Crown of Mary became the sign for her care, her protection, her intercession and also her mission to bring us closer to God. Our Crowning today at the beginning of May is a consequence of our striving to be witnesses of Christ and instruments in Our Lady’s hands for a better world. Through recognising and celebrating Mary as a Queen, we can find it easier to celebrate Christ as our King and Lord. The Crowning of Mary should not be understood just as an expression of piety, it is also a sign of our efforts and striving to live and build the Kingdom of God here and now. When we crown Mary today, what are we saying? We are asking her to make us witnesses, we are asking her to give us the grace to build the Kingdom of Jesus everywhere, amongst our young people, in our families, in our homes, in our country, and we are asking her to use us as her instruments to establish more and more the “civilisation of love”. When we crown Mary, we are also seeing in her the ideal for women today. She is the woman who God raised up in an original way (see Luke 1,52). Crowning Mary means to value properly the “genius of womanhood” and the dignity of women in general, but also to recognise the individual dignity of Mary, the Mother of God. Mary’s mission is to take us to God and to help us experience God in our daily lives of faith. By Crowning Mary we are making a step towards God in our own lives, and we are becoming more aware of God’s presence in our lives and in our families. Is not our Church a Family? Doesn’t she have the mission to spread and grow more and more in the world? The Church has Mary as the great Mother of the People, but she is also a Queen standing beside Christ the King. Again today, we may look upon the Queen of the Universe. And shouldn’t that fill us with a great and deep joy? We are able to offer Mary again, as our Mother and Queen, a Crown. We want to crown her and we are allowed to crown her as the Mother and Queen of the world!”

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