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Making The Most Of The Holy Week


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 23/03/2015

Perhaps Lent this year went well for us, a profound time of confronting weaknesses out of love for the Lord. Or maybe it went rather poorly, and in fact was kind of forgotten in all the busyness of life. Either way, there is still time to take advantage of the opportunity the Church gives us to grow closer to Christ. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, which unites the “royal splendour of Christ with the proclamation of his passion,” says the Vatican’s Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (No. 138). Palms and olive branches are kept in the home as a witness to faith in Jesus Christ, the messianic King, and in his paschal victory.” Lent ends officially with the beginning of the Easter Triduum at the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. Through the Washing of Feet, we remind ourselves that we are called to love our neighbour and notice their needs. There is all, at the end of Mass, the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, available until 9.00pm — is the best way to end Holy Thursday. The Easter fast that many begin after Holy Thursday Mass is obligatory on Good Friday. “Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of both fast and abstinence from meat. Mass isn’t offered on Good Friday; but a Communion service and veneration of the cross is. When possible, Catholics take a break from work between the hours of noon and 3 p.m., the time Christ spent on the cross. This is also a prime time to pray privately the Stations of the Cross. Holy Saturday is an silent time of waiting. No Mass is offered, not even a Communion service like Good Friday’s. It isn’t an official fasting day, but many Catholics eat modestly this day as we wait to celebrate the Resurrection. On the Saturday evening, we celebrate the Resurrection with the wonderful Easter Vigil. This is the greatest feast of the Church – as we carry in the Light of Christ and dispel the darkness. Easter Sunday is the great day of victory and new beginning!

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Lent: The Journey of the Seed – Part 4


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 20/03/2015

Sarah-Leah Pimentel. We have spent the first three weeks of our Lenten journey examining Fr. Kentenich’s metaphor for our spiritual life as a seed and exploring the qualities needed for its growth.  So far, our reflections have been on our individual spirituality.  But Fr. Kentenich’s words are just as relevant in the context of Schoenstatt’s spirituality, for us as an international family, a gift to the Church and society. Let us begin by exploring the first part of the text we’ve been working with: “Their [the seeds’] inner ability to germinate urges them to bring forth a distinctive spirituality and universal apostolate” (Joseph Kentenich, 1954/55, Kentenich Reader Vol. II, p. 25). In the same way as we have the necessary elements to unfold our spirituality already within us, so too Schoenstatt has already laid the foundations that will allow our spirituality to blossom even more abundantly in Schoenstatt’s second century. The Blessed Mother has prepared the terrain for us by initiating her relationship with us.  She set up her home in our shrines – daughter shrines, home shrines, office shrines, heart shrines.  Her Covenant of Love with us is the first building block of our Schoenstatt spirituality.  When we respond by sealing our covenant with her, we cement that relationship bond.

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Annual Family Week at Sneaton Castle


by Fr. Bryan Cunningham on 16/03/2015

Our Family Week this year will be at Sneaton Castle, Whitby North Yorkshire from Tuesday 11th August until Monday 17th August 2015.

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Holy Week begins


by Fr. Bryan Cunningham on 16/03/2015

Holy Week Begins. During this week we go with the Lord on his final journey of his Passion and Death and look forward in hope of his resurrection

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Covenant Mass in Lent


by Fr. Bryan Cunningham on 12/03/2015

The Tiberias Group invites you to our Covenant Mass on Wednesday 18th March at 7.30pm at the Shrine. We are following the theme of “Our Mission is Love The Family Fully Alive”. Our families have the mission to become the homely ‘source and summit’ of love in our world. Living the mystery of love in families proclaims and reveals God’s love for us. Spouses proclaim this vision by becoming a true, faithful gift to each other, their families and those entrusted to their care. We learn about concrete love at home and our task is to lead others to know this love and share it with others. Holy Mass will be prepared by the Tiberias Group, accompanied by the St Edmund’s Music Group and  celebrated by Fr Reginald. Please bring nonperishable foodstuffs as our Lenten Gift to the needy. We look forward to seeing you there.

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The Tools of the Carpenter


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 11/03/2015

Brother Hammer served as the chairman. The other members of the tool belt informed him that he must leave, because he was too noisy. But brother Hammer said, “If I have to leave this carpenter’s shop, then brother Gimlet must go too. He’s insignificant and makes a very small impression.” (A gimlet is a small tool with a screw point, grooved shank, and a cross handle for boring holes). Little brother Gimlet arose and said, “All right, but brother Screwdriver must go also. You have to turn him around and around to get anywhere with him.” Brother Screwdriver turned to the other tools in the belt and said, “If you wish, I will go, but brother Plane must leave too. All of his work is on the surface; there’s no depth to what he does.” To this brother Plane leveled his terse reply, “Well, then, brother Saw will have to depart too. The changes he proposes always cut too deep.” Brother Saw complained, saying, “Brother Ruler will have to withdraw if I leave, for he’s always measuring other folks as though he were the only one who is right.” Brother Ruler then surveyed the group and said, “Brother Sandpaper doesn’t belong here either. He’s rougher than he ought to be, and is always rubbing people the wrong way.” In the midst of the discussion, the Carpenter of Nazareth walked in. He had come to perform his day’s work. He put on His tool belt and went to the workbench to make a table for a family. He employed the ruler, the saw, the plane, the hammer, the gimlet, the screwdriver, the sandpaper, and all the other tools. When the day’s work was over, the wonderful table was finished, and the carpenter went home. All the accusations against each of these tools were absolutely true, yet the carpenter used every one of them. No matter which tool He use, no other tool could have done the work better.

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Lent: The Journey Of The Seed – Part 3


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 11/03/2015

Sarah-Leah Pimentel. The events that have taken place in Cape Town, South Africa over the last few days are a poignant starting point for our reflection in the third week of Lent. Devastating fires destroyed more than 4,000 hectares of natural vegetation along the mountain range in the southernmost tip of South Africa. The fire began unexpectedly in the night on a small section of the mountain near my house. Three days later, everywhere you looked all one could see was fire and billowing smoke. As the firefighters doused the flames and the smouldering embers died, the mountains looked more like a desolate lunar landscape than the home of the famous fynbos. Yet, despite this devastation, botanists are reminding us that the fynbos — the natural vegetation of this area — can only reproduce if it is exposed to fire. It is normal for fires to occur every 10-15 years to allow the vegetation to renew itself. It is also a natural way of culling alien plants that don’t belong in the area and strangle the fynbos. Nature conservationists predict that this same barren landscape will be teeming with new life when spring comes in September. FAther Kentenich says: “The outward conditions for growth are all sorts and degrees of difficulties, continual inner and outward battles.” In our lives too, it’s the trial of fire that deepens our faith and produces hope. Disasters, difficulties and suffering are often beyond our control. They occur suddenly and threaten to completely change the landscape of our lives. All of these things shape our spirituality. So do the religious, social and political contexts in which we find ourselves. Fr. Kentenich reminds us that in every Christian life, we will encounter difficulties and will have battles to fight. Every life comes with its own suffering: broken relationships, illness, financial difficulties, spiritual battles, battles within ourselves, disappointments of life, loneliness…We might ask, why do we need these things in order to grow in faith? (more…)

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