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Wright Opening Prayer


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 29/09/2014

When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate in America, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard: “Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good,’ but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it Pluralism. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbour’s possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honoured values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent to direct us to the centre of Your will and to openly ask these things in the name of Your Son, the living Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen!” The response was immediate. A number of legislators walked out during the prayer in protest. In six short weeks, Rev. Wright’s Church, logged more than 5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those calls respond-ing negatively. The church is now receiving international requests for copies of this prayer from India, Africa, and Korea. “If you don’t  stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”  


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Cristiano Ronaldo Is Alive Thanks to a Conscientious Objector


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 23/09/2014

Seventy individual prizes, among which are two Gold Balls and a FIFA World Player, a jumble of trophies won with the jerseys of Sporting Lisbona, Manchester United and Real Madrid. And even a string of records that require a good measure of patience for one who wants to read them all, as well as two high honours conferred by the Portuguese State. No small merit for these achievements is owed to an unknown Portuguese doctor. Small and fragile is the vulnerable body that grows day by day in the womb of a woman, but great is the noble gesture of one who carries out his work with professionalism and faith and thus succeeds in saving a human life from abortion. Back in 1984, the life that this man saved was that of Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the most prolific football players in terms of achievement in recent years. It was the mother herself of the star player of Real Madrid and the Portuguese national side who revealed the behind-the-scene-action in her auto-biography Mother Courage, which came out last Friday in Portugal. In one of the most touching passages of the book, the woman, who is called Dolores Aveiro, recounts when she discovered she was pregnant with the child who would later become the famous Cristiano Ronaldo. “At the time I was already 30 and had three children, and it seemed to me I couldn’t face a new birth and enlarge the family so I turned to a doctor who, however, refused to operate on me,” she explains. It was anything but a rosy picture in her home, having to feed her children Hugo, Elma and Catia Liliana, which every day became a more arduous challenge with a husband, Joser Dinis, who was unemployed (he died in 2005 an alcoholic, and with savings reduced to a minimum). However, that doctor’s reluctance and his attempt to dissuade her from aborting did not stop the woman’s determination, who tried to end her pregnancy with a “home-made” medicine” suggested to her by a friend. “She told me to drink dark hot beer and the child would die.” However, the beer did not succeed in stopping the vital energy of the beating heart in Dolores’ womb. A few hours after having taken the potentially murderous drink, tranquility continued to reign in the lower part of her abdomen, a sign of the ineffectiveness of the “home-made medicine.” Little by little the woman – already accustomed to nursing, diapers and night crying – decided to have her fourth child. “If it’s God’s will that this child be born, so be it,” was her profound thought. On February 5, 1985, Cristiano Ronaldo was born, a strong and healthy baby, who saw the light of day in an anonymous place and who would become famous throughout the world for his exceptional football talent. A rather delicate behind-the-scenes story, which his mother decided to publish after being authorized by her son Cristiano. If that doctor had not been faithful to his oath and, therefore, firm in his opposition to abortion, today the football world would have one star less. Conscientious objection is always a gesture that looks on high.

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Covenant Mass in September


by Fr. Bryan Cunningham on 15/09/2014

This Thursday, 18th September we celebrate Covenant Mass at 7.30pm at the Shrine. There will be light refreshments afterward. You are invited to this Holy Mass prepared by the Women’s Group based at St John Fisher’s. Father Reginald will be our main celebrant. This will be Sebastian’s final Covenant Mass. In october he will be in Schoenstatt for the Jubilee and then he returns to Chile to continue his studies at University. Sebastian you will be missed! Father Reginald has the theme from Schoenstatt Heart’s Afire: How do you become a saint in modern times? How do we connect the roots of our faith of life in the Church with the fruits of our faith in service to others? We look forward to welcoming you. Please bring a friend with you!

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The Vocations Crisis is over


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 15/09/2014

When I say this is a prophecy I don’t want to suggest that I have had some sort of supernatural vision. This is not a prophecy in that sense, but a prophecy because prophets not only sometimes have supernatural revelations, but they are people who are also able to see the big picture, understand the times and circumstances and know the past so they can therefore predict the future. So here is my prediction: the vocations crisis in the Catholic Church is over. Here’s why: Fifty years after the revolution of the Second Vatican Council we are moving on from the tensions it created. Those tensions existed because Catholics kept comparing the pre-Vatican II church to the post-Vatican II church. The ones who did this most were the folks who went through the Vatican II revolution. Everything was viewed through that lens. A pope, bishop, priest or theologian was therefore either “conservative” and “pre Vatican 2″ and trying to turn the clock back or they were “liberal” in favour of the “Spirit of Vatican 2″ and progressive. To be blunt, those people are old. Not only are they dying out, but their ideas are dying out. Their places are being taken by a younger genera-tion of Catholics who do not remember the Vatican 2 wars. They’re smart and they simply want to be Catholic. These are the young people who are filing traditional religious orders with young vocations. These are the young men who are going to seminary, and the reason their numbers will continue to grow is because of several other factors. First, cultural Catholicism is dying. People aren’t Catholic now because they’re Irish or Italian or Polish. They’re Catholic because they believe the Catholic faith. While cultural Catholicism continues to die out committed Catholicism will continue to rise. Cultural catholicism doesn’t produce vocations. Committed Catholicism does. Second, faith is always stronger under fire. At this time Catholicism is in too many places fat, lazy and complacent. Our culture, however, is moving very rapidly to an aggressively atheistic stance. The Catholic Church will increasingly be in the firing line over a whole range of moral, political and financial issues. As it becomes difficult and dangerous to be Catholic the complacent and comfortable Catholics will quietly slip away. They are doing so already. Third, as it becomes difficult and dangerous to be Catholic more young men will stand up to be counted. Men like the militant aspect of being a priests. They want to stand up for what they believe in without compromise. They want to fight the good fight with all their might. The Church militant will make a come back and an increasing number of men will step forward to be engaged in the spiritual battle. The Holy Spirit never moves back. Always forward. In the coming crisis it will be, as emeritus Pope Benedict has predicted, a leaner, stronger church. When I say the vocations crisis is over I don’t mean that we will necessarily be flooded with many priests. But we will be supplied with good, courageous and strong priests.  [from Father Dwight Longenecker]


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Taste and See Family Mass


by Fr. Bryan Cunningham on 06/09/2014

Tree of Evangelisation for Schoenstatt Hearts AfireWelcome to the Taste and See Family Mass on Sunday 14th September. Taste and See  Mass with the blessing of your crosses brought from home on the Solemnity of the Exaltation of the Cross will start at 3.30pm followed by input and children’s programme, a shared meal finishing at 6.30pm. Our theme from the series Schoenstatt Hearts Afire: “Modern Day Saints here and now!” Please bring your crosses from home to have them blessed on the day. We look forward to welcoming you after the Summer Holidays.

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A Priest’s Courage of Faith


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 01/09/2014

I was reading William F. Buckley’s Nearer, My God: An Autobiography of Faith and came upon this story relayed by the late actor David Niven about a disaster at sea and the sacrifice of a priest. “David Niven told the engrossing story (I had never heard it) of a single episode in the chaotic flight from France after Dunkirk in 1940. One motley assembly, ‘Royal Air Force ground personnel who were trapped, Red Cross workers, women, ambulance drivers and, finally, the embassy staff from Paris with their children — by the time they got to St. Nazaire at the mouth of the Loire, there were over three thousand of them and the British government sent an old liner called the Lancastria to come and take them away, with three destroyers to guard her. They were just pulling up the anchor when three dive bombers came. The destroyers did what they could, but one bomb hit, went down the funnel and blew a huge hole in the side, and she quickly took on a terrible list. In the hold there were several hundred soldiers. Now there was no way they could ever get out because of the list, and she was sinking. And along came my own favorite Good Samaritan, a Roman Catholic priest, a young man in Royal Air Force uniform. He got a rope and lowered himself into the hold to give encouragement and help to those hundreds of men in their last fateful hour.’ ‘Knowing he couldn’t get out?’ ‘Knowing he could never get out, nor could they. The ship sank and all in that hold died. The remainder were picked up by the destroyers and came back to England to the regiment I was in, and we had to look after them, and many of them told me that they were giving up even then, in the oil and struggle, and the one thing that kept them going was the sound of the soldiers and the priest in the hold singing hymns.’” Winston Churchill hid the news of the deaths of possibly more than 7,000 men from the public as it might have damaged morale. He reportedly said, ‘The newspapers have got quite enough disaster for today, at least.’ Although the sinking of the Lancastria may be the worst maritime disaster in Britain’s history with more deaths than the Titanic and Lusitania put together, it has not been truly recognized as such. Such stories serve to inspire and, I think, force us to question ourselves. When I hear a story like this I am terrified at the lack of my own faith.

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Father’s Love Letter


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 30/09/2013

My child, You may not know me, but I know everything about you (Psalm 139:1). I know when you sit down and when you rise up (Psalm 139:2). I am familiar with your ways (Psalm 139:3). Even the very hairs on your head are numbered (Matt 10:29-31) for you were made in my image (Genesis 1:27). In me you live and move and have your being (Acts 17:28) for you are my offspring (Acts 17:28). I knew you even before you were conceived (Jeremiah 1:4-5). I chose you even before I planned creation (Ephesians 1:11-12). You were not a mistake; all your days are written in my book (Psalm 139:15-16). I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live (Acts 17:26). You were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). I knit you together in you mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13) and brought you forth on the day you were born (Psalm 71:6). I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me (John 8:41-44). I am not distant and angry, but I am the complete expression of love (1 John 4:16), and it is my desire to lavish my love on you (1 John 3:1). I offer you more than your earthly father ever could (Matthew 7:11) for I am the perfect father (Matthew 5:48). Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand (James 1:17) for I am your provider, and I meet all your needs (Matthew 6:31-33) My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) Because I love you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3), my thoughts toward you are as countless as the sand on the seashore (Psalm 139:17-18) and I rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). I will never stop doing good to you (Jeremiah 32:40) for you are my treasured possession (Exodus 19:5). I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul (Jeremiah 32:41). I want to show you great and marvelous things (Jeremiah 33:3). If you seek me with all you heart, you will find me (Deuteronomy 4:29). Delight in me, and I will give you the desires of you heart (Psalm 37:4) for it is I who gave you those desires (Philippians 2:13). I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine (Ephesians 3:20) for I am your greatest encourager (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17). I am also the father who comforts you in all your troubles (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you (Psalm 34:18). As a Shepard carries a lamb, I have carried you close you my heart (Isaiah 40:11). One day, I will wipe away every tear from your eyes (Revelation 21:3-4), and I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth (Revelation 21:3-4). I am your father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus (John 17:26). He is the exact representation of my being (Hebrews 1:3). He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you (Romans 8:31) and to tell you that I am not counting your sins (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). Jesus died so that you could be reconciled (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you (1 John 4:10). I gave up everything I loved so that I might gain your love (Romans 8:31-32). If you receive the gift of my son, Jesus, you receive me (1 John 2:23), and nothing will ever separate you from my love again (Romans 8:38-39). Come home, and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen (Luke 15:7). I have always been your father and will always be your father (Ephesians 3:14-15). My question is, will you be my child (John 1:1-13)? I am waiting for you (Luke 15:11-32). Love, Your Dad, Almighty God

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