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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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October Day 2013 Start of Schoenstatt’s Jubilee Year


by Fr. Bryan Cunningham on 29/09/2013

Centenary FlagWelcome to our annual October Day at the Shrine  on Sunday 13th October 2013 starting at 12.30pm with Holy Mass at 3.30pm. The day is organised by the Taste and See Team. On this day we want to join with out Holy Father Pope Francis and consecrate the world to Mary, the Mother of God. This day marks in England and Wales the beginning of the year of celebration of Schoenstatt’s Centenary (18th October 2014). Here are the details of the Day 12.30pm Tea & Scones and time to catch up. 1.00pm a short time for praise and worship. Our children will then have their own programme. Adults will hear a mediation on the call to be an apostle. 2.00pm Encounter Time in the Shrine and at 2.45 we join Pope Francis in the consecration of the world to Our Lady. We then have a short break and holy Mass will be at 3.30pm followed by a shared meal. 5.30pm we have Farewell in the Shrine. We look forward to seeing you on the day. (To download the poster with programme details click here.) (more…)

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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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The Adventure of Evangelisation


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 24/04/2013

The Schoenstatt Movement was originally called the “Apostolic Movement”. In this terminology, since 1919, Schoenstatt’s life and purpose was deliberately expressed. Father Kentenich founded a Missionary Society — called the Marian Congregation — which had as its ultimate aim apostolate or evangelisation – any time, anywhere. When Schoenstatt was founded in 1914, through the establishment of the original shrine, he commented: “We cannot achieve a greater apostolic endeavour”. Schoenstatt then experienced the founding of the “Apostolic Federation”, then the “Apostolic League”.

Historical background

Father Kentenich always understood any apostolate, organised by the Schoenstatt Movement, as a modern-day development of the charism of St Vincent Pallotti, who founded in 1835 the “Catholic Apostolate”. Pallotti’s vision was the full involvement of lay people in the mission of the Church. For Father Kentenich, the basic task of the Church in regard to evangelisation is to “permeate the world”, and to be the very “soul of the world” — nothing more, and nothing less. (more…)

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A Pope who wants to Serve


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 14/03/2013

This is a photo taken of Cardinal Jorge – now Pope Francis I – with the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother Pilgrimage. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is already well known for his simplicity: for being a pastor among the people, a cardinal who takes the bus and cooks for himself, for example, and a great defender of the poor. Now as Pope, he has begun with simplicity. “To pray the simplest prayers with the people is the greatest sign of simplicity,” observed his fellow Jesuit, Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, in reference to Pope Francis’ leading the people in the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be during his first appearance on St. Peter’s central balcony. Fr. Lombardi acknowledged his surprise at the election, and declared this is a “moment of joy for the Church.” He went on to speak of Cardinal Bergoglio-Pope Francis’ style of “evangelical testimony” and stressed his humility, evidenced in how he bowed down before the people, asking them to pray for God’s blessing upon him, prior to giving his first apostolic blessing as the Successor of St. Peter. Fr. Lombardi also noted his pastoral style, immediately applied to his new diocese, the Diocese of Rome. The Vatican spokesman said it was an act of courage for the cardinals to “go across the ocean and choose a Pope.” Pope Francis is the first pope from the Americas. In fact, he was immediately acclaimed as a pope of many firsts: the first Jesuit pope, the first pope of the Americas, and also the first to choose the name Francis. Father Thomas Rosica of Canada’s Salt and Light Television, who has been assisting Father Lombardi during the time of the interregnum, spoke of his choosing the name Francis as a sign of humility. He recounted that Cardinal Bergoglio had asked him for prayers prior to the conclave, explaining that he was a little nervous. Fr. Lombardi went on to speak about the Pope’s vocation as a Jesuit. The spokesman referred to their order as one “known for serving.” The role of the Successor of St. Peter is also one of service, he said, reflecting that Cardinal Bergoglio has probably accepted his new mission in that vein, with the simplicity of a servant. “St. ignatius has formed us to have a view of the world, attentive to answer to necessities in the world we live in,” Father Lombardi said, highlighting especially faith and justice as “the greatest gift for our fellow man.” “I see it [the papacy] as a call to service from the part of [Cardinal] Bergoglio, that results from a strong call and not in the search of the power of authority,” Father Lombardi added. “In this sense I am absolutely convinced we have a Pope who wants to serve.” [from Zenit International News]

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The Innkeeper’s Tale


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 03/12/2012

They think I’m some kind of cruel, heartless landlord. Someone must have told them that. But they’re wrong, just plain wrong, and it’s time to set the record straight, once and for all. People say I’m an innkeeper. Then came that census the governor thought up. Taxation, pure and simple! People from all over the province flooded into town that week. Filled us clean up. I must have gotten in and out of bed ten times that night, stumbling over bodies to get to the door. “No more room, sorry folks. No more room. Come back in the morning. We have a couple of families leaving then.” I just couldn’t make any more room. That’s the honest truth. But I did make room for one more couple. Joseph was a burly man with big arms and strong hands, down from Nazareth, I think he said. He wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. I would say, “No, I’m sorry,” and he’d tell me about his “Mary.” Well, when I saw Mary she was just about as pregnant as a woman can get, and awfully pale. The barn. That would just have to do, I told myself, and led them and their donkey out back.  Joseph said, “We sure are grateful, sir.” Then with a serious look, he asked me, “Do you know where I can find a midwife in these parts? We might need her tomorrow or the next day.” That man didn’t know much about having babies, it was plain enough to see. I ran to Sarah’s house and pounded on the door until her husband came. I stopped a moment to catch my breath. “And tell her to hurry.” By the time we got back to the barn, Joseph had prepared some soft, clean hay for Mary and wrapped her up in a blanket, wiping the perspiration off her brow, and was speaking softly to her. Sarah sent me to get my Rachel, and then pushed Joseph and me out of the barn. “This ain’t no place for men,” she said. We waited just outside in the shelter of the barn for hours, it seemed like. Well, all of a sudden, we hear a little cry. “You’ve got a baby boy,” Sarah was saying as we peeped around the corner. She hands the young-un to Rachel, and she wraps it up in those swaddling bands she had saved. Cute little thing, I tell you. Well, Joseph goes over to Mary and gives her a big hug, and a kiss on the cheek. The lantern was blowing almost out, the cattle were lowing softly, and baby Jesus was asleep in his mother’s arms. By the time I got back, Rachel was in bed, and I was about ready to put out the light, step over sleeping bodies, and get under the warm covers, when I heard some murmuring out by the barn. I’d better check, I told myself. When I peeped in, I saw shepherds. Raggedy, smelly old shepherds were kneeling down on the filthy barn floor as if they were praying. The oldest one was saying something to Joseph about angels and the Messiah. And the rest of them just knelt there with their heads bowed, some with tears running down their faces. I coughed out loud, and Joseph looked up. I was almost ready to run those thieving shepherds off, when Joseph motioned to me with his hand. “It’s okay,” he whispered. “They’ve come to see the Christ-Child.” The Christ-Child? The Messiah? That was when I knelt, too. And watched, and prayed, and listened to the old shepherd recount his story of angels and heavenly glory, and the sign of a holy baby, wrapped in swaddling bands, to be found in a manger. My Lord, it was my stable where the Christ-Child was born. My manger he rested in. My straw, my lamp, my wife Rachel assisting at his birth. The shepherds left after a while. Some of them leaned over and kissed the sleeping Christ-child before they departed. I know I did. I’ll always be glad I made room in the barn for that family– that holy family. You see, I’m not some mean innkeeper. I was there. I saw him. Oh, I believe in him, I tell you. And, mark my words, if you’d seen what I’ve seen, you’d be a believer, too.

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