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Taste and See Mass on Palm Sunday


by Fr. Bryan Cunningham on 05/04/2014

Tree of Evangelisation for Schoenstatt Hearts AfireWelcome to on Taste and See Mass on Palm Sunday, 13th April at 3.30pm

Welcome to our Taste and See Mass on Palm Sunday, 13th April at 3.30pm. Holy Mass will be at 3.30pm followed at 4.30pm by input and discussion for adults and there will be a children’s programme. At 5.30pm we will share a meal with one another and conclude our programme for 6.30pm. On entering Jerusalem Jesus won over the crowds at least fleetingly. They were not to remain steadfast for long in the face of opposition and criticism. His journey to Golgotha was to become a convincing argument of God’s love for each one of us and in the triumph of Easter he invited each of us to go out and win the World for Christ.

In the series Schoenstatt Hearts Afire Fr. Duncan is showing ways of how we can become apostles. The branches of the tree of evangelisation show three ways to evangelise. In the foliage of our tree of evangelisation, we can discover the various branches – mainly three large “branches”. These branches symbolise the different and the various styles of apostolate that we can be called to do. All three are important, and all three have their place and significance.

  • Evangelisation through Example
  • Evangelisation through Words
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Thank You, Lord!


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 24/03/2014

A newly arrived soul in Heaven was met by St. Peter. The saint toured the soul around Heaven. Both of them walked side by side inside a large workroom filled with angels. St. Peter stopped in front of the first section and said, “This is the Receiving Section. Here, all the petitions to God said in prayer are received.” The soul looked at the section, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets from all the people of the world. They walked again until they reached the second section, and St. Peter told the soul, “This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are packed and delivered to the persons who asked for them down on earth.” The soul saw how busy it was. There were so many angels working in that room, since so many blessing were being packed and delivered to Earth. Finally at the farthest corner of the room, the soul stopped at the last section. To the surprise of the soul, only one angel stayed there idly, doing nothing. “This is the Acknowledging Section,” St. Peter told the soul. “How is it that, there is no work here?” “That’s the sad thing,” St. Peter answered. “After the people received the blessings they asked for, very few send their acknowledgments.” “How does one acknowledge God’s blessing?” “Simple,” St. Peter answered. “Just pray, “‘Thank you, Lord’.”

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They Won’t Let Me In


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 24/03/2014

It was a beautiful Sunday morning. People were filling the church to its full capacity! As they entered, each were given a bulletin filled with announcements, topic of today’s sermon, what songs they would sing and who to pray for. At the end of the line stood an older man. His clothes were filthy and you could tell that he had not bathed in days. His face was covered with whiskers, for he had not shaved for a very long time. When he reached the usher, he removed his tattered old brown hat in respect. His hair was long, dirty, and a tangled mess. He had no shoes on his feet, and wore only soiled black socks to cover the sores upon his feet. The Usher looked at him turning up his nose at the old man and said, “Uh, I’m sorry sir, but I’m afraid we can’t let you in. You will distract the congregation and we don’t allow anyone to disrupt our Mass. I’m afraid you’ll have to leave.” The old man looked down at himself and with a puzzled look on his face, he placed his old brown hat back upon his head and turned to leave. He was sad as he loved to hear the choir sing praises to the Lord. He loved to watch the little children get up in front of the church to sing their little songs. He carried in his pocket a small worn out rosary and loved to see if the priest preached a passage about Our Lady or the Saints. But he was respectful, and didn’t want to cause any commotion, so he hung down his head and walked back down the steps of the big brick church. He sat down on the brick wall near the edge of the church yard and strained to listen through closed doors and windows to the singing going on in the church. Oh how he wished he could be inside with all the others. A few minutes had passed by when all of a sudden a younger man came up behind him and sat down near him. He asked the old man what he was doing? He answered, “I was going to go to church today, but they thought I was to filthy, my clothes to old and worn, and they were afraid I would disrupt their Mass. Sorry, I didn’t introduce myself. My name is George.” The two men shook hands, and George couldn’t help but notice that this man had long hair like his. He wore a piece of cloth draped over his body tied with a royal purple sash. He had sandals on his feet, now covered with dust and dirt. The stranger touched George’s shoulder, and said: “George, don’t feel bad because they won’t let you in. My name is Jesus, and I’ve been trying to get into this same church for years — they won’t let me in either.”

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Feed My Sheep


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 31/03/2013

The fishing boat is bobbing gently on the lake, a hundred yards offshore. Occasionally a wave slaps against its side though the lake is surprisingly still this morning. They labour all night to earn a living. But not this night. This night they haven’t netted a single fish. On shore, the sleepy village of Capernaum is beginning to stir. On its rocky beach the fishermen can see the glow of a small fire. Occasionally a breeze brings them the aroma of fish cooking. Peter’s stomach remembers its hunger, and his mouth can almost taste the savoury fish. Who’s tending the fire? It’s a man. Peter can see that much. He looks familiar, but Peter can’t place him.Now the man brings up his hands and cups them about his mouth. A moment later his voice reaches the boat: “Boys,” he shouts. “Put your nets out on the right side of the boat and you’ll find some fish” “Every landlubber thinks he’s an expert fisherman!” fumes Peter. But they are ready to put out the net again. Why not the right side this time? What do they have to lose? All of a sudden the stillness of morning is broken by the writhing of trapped fish and a tremendous tug on the net that, for a moment, threatens to capsize the boat. The men are instantly alert and position themselves to pull in the thrashing net. They must have caught a whole school of fish — on the right side of the boat! Peter looks up from his exertion to the man on the shore. John, too, is straining to see him. “It’s the Lord!” shouts John. “It’s Jesus!” The others are struggling with the net, but Peter doesn’t care. He grabs his clothes, dives into the lake, and swims with powerful strokes until the water is shallow enough for him to run splashing the rest of the way. Dripping, he drops to his knees before Jesus — the risen Lord, the man he has spent three years following, emulating, serving. Jesus calls to the men — disciples with whom he has shared many meals. “Come, have some breakfast!” Jesus, the great Feeder of men is feeding them again this morning. Now Jesus calls him aside. “Do you love me Peter?” With pain, Peter remembers how three times he had vehemently denied Jesus just before his crucifixion. He can hardly look Jesus in the eye. He mumbles, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” “Peter, feed my sheep,” says Jesus. Three times Jesus asked Peter to reaffirm his love — once for each time Peter had denied him. Three times Jesus reaffirms Peter’s call to ministry. Jesus not only forgives Peter, he restores him fully to his confidence. Jesus is talking about spiritual food — teaching, praying, leading, exhorting, serving. Jesus is asking for Peter’s love, but with that love, obedience too. “Yes, I love you, Jesus,” says Peter clearly, lifting his eyes to meet the Master’s. “Then feed my sheep,” says the great Feeder of men. “Peter, I need you to feed my sheep for me.” “Yes, Lord, of course I will,” whispers Peter, as his eyes flood with tears. “You can count on me.”

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Ten Little Catholics


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 25/03/2013

Ten Little Catholics came to church all the time; One fell out with the priest, then there were nine.

Nine Little Catholics stayed up late; One overslept on Sunday, then there were eight.

Eight Little Catholics on their way to Heaven; One took the low road, then there were seven.

Seven Little Catholics, chirping like chicks; One didn’t like the singing, then there were six.

Six Little Catholics seemed very much alive; One took a holiday, then there were five.

Five Little Catholics pulling for Heaven’s shore; One stopped to take a rest, then there were four.

Four Little Catholics each as busy as a bee; One had his feelings hurt, then there were three.

Three little Catholics knew what to do, One joined the sports fans, then there were two.

Two Little Catholics each won one more; Now don’t you see, two plus two equals four.

Four Little Catholics worked early and late; Each brought one, now there were eight.

Eight Little Catholics if they double as before; In just seven Sundays, we have 1024!

In this little ditty there is a lesson true; You belong either to the building, or to the wrecking crew!

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The Church “on new shores”


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 22/03/2013

Concern for the renewal of the Christian message has always been central to Schoenstatt’s history. Father Kentenich’s two audiences with the Holy Fathers, Pio XII (1947) and Paul VI (1965) became opportunities to renew this commitment. In his audience with Pope Pio XII, shortly after the proclamation of the Encyclical “Provida Mater Ecclesia” on secular institutes, Fr. Kentenich promised his collaboration so that today, secular institutes hold the same importance for religious and moral renewal as did the religious orders of his day. In his second audience, immediately following the conclusion to the Second Vatican Council, the Schoenstatt Founder promised to concentrate all of his efforts in applying the letter and spirit of the Council. Father Kentenich had an image to describe the aspirations of the Council: the Church “on new shores.” This vision presupposes a form of Christianity based on individual choice,  the reality of love and evangelical victory. Such Christianity has the ability to energise the least enthusiastic and most apathetic of people and inspires spiritual leaders for whom religion is a vital, meaningful and active prat of their daily lives: “There is an irreversible process that is inclined towards secularism and pluralism. The cogwheels of history will not turn back. It is a waste of time to form our life and action with ‘medieval’ customs and practices. We need forward-looking practices; otherwise our efforts will disintegrate; our battle will be utopian and we will hand over present and future ‘battlefields’ to enemy forces without even a fight.” (Father Kentenich, 1961) This vision of the Church coincides with the wish of Pope John Paul II who highlighted the responsibility of the Church “in the newest of times,” that is, a Church that takes up the challenges of the 21st century. The Church on “new shores” has specific characteristics: (more…)

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Bruised Apples


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 27/02/2013

A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night’s dinner. Well, as such things go, one thing led to another. The sales meeting lasted longer than anticipated. Their flights were scheduled to leave out of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, and they had to race to the airport. With tickets in hand, they barged through the terminal to catch their flight back home. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table, which held a display of baskets of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding, all but one. He paused, took a deep breath and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned. He told his friends to go on without him and told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the floor. (more…)

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