A Good Question: “How credible are you?”

[A Comment from Father Duncan McVicar SI] Father Kentenich felt called by God to lead the Church, with a prophetic voice, “to the new shore”. He once commented: “The Church should always be what it was at its beginning – the soul of the world’s culture. Don’t separate the Church from culture, and don’t separate the Church from the world! However, the Church should always be the soul of the world’s culture – even this confused and utterly secularised culture.” (8th December 1965)

Many were taken aback by the atmosphere created by some German bishops – including Cardinal Caspar and Cardinal Marx – regarding the burning issues within marriage and family doctrine and pastoral care in the lead-up to the Family Synod in Rome in October this year – amongst others. Pope Francis addressed the present-day crisis of marriage family in his challenging and passionate address to the international Schoenstatt Movement in Rome, after we celebrated the wonderful days of the Jubilee Year 2014. He spoke about the impact of a “throwaway culture” that reduces the covenant of marriage – which is the icon of Christ’s relationship to his Church –  to a mere “association” within society, that should conform to modern-day expectations.

He encouraged the audience of Schoenstatt members from all over the world: “That the family is hit, that the family is knocked and that the family is debased as [how can this be] a way of association … Can everything be called a family? How many families are divided, how many marriages are broken, how much relativism there is in the concept of the Sacrament of Marriage. At present, from a sociological point of view and from the point of view of human values, as well as, in fact, of the Catholic Sacrament, of the Christian Sacrament, there is a crisis of the family, a crisis because it is hit from all sides and left very wounded!.. We are witnessing”, he notes, the “reduction of the Sacrament to a rite… the Sacrament is made a social event… [but] the social [dimension] covers the fundamental thing, which is union with God… What they are proposing is not marriage, it is an association, but it is not marriage! It is necessary to say things very clearly and we must say this!”

Continue reading “A Good Question: “How credible are you?””


Three questions… about Schoenstatt…

[With sincere thanks to Schoenstatt.org] Hi, my name is Father Duncan McVicar, I’m from Scotland UK, fifty-eight years of age, a Schoenstatt Father, ordained in the “100th Jubilee of our Father and Founder” in 1985. I studied at the University of Muenster and Tuebingen, and also at Loyola University in Chicago, US. I’ve enjoyed working and living in different countries, including Poland, India, South Africa and Argentina. I was part of the team that prepared the 100th Birthday Celebration of our Father and Founder in 1985, and also co-ordinated with Sister Johanna-Maria the Youth Festival in 2005 in Schoenstatt before the World Youth Day in Cologne. I have been a Parish Priest in England for seventeen years, and presently, I am Parish Priest at St Ethelbert’s in Greater Manchester and Governor of two Catholic Primary Schools and one Catholic High School. The Schoenstatt Fathers at the Schoenstatt Shrine take an active part in the marriage and family pastoral care within the Diocese. One of the really interesting things that I could do last year, was to be the Chaplain to the Mayor of Bolton, which was really an exciting time, allowing me to catch a glimpse of local politics in action. •

What is my dream for Schoenstatt in who we are and where we find ourselves in the Church, in the world, and in our mission?

My dream for Schoenstatt is that we become a much more dynamic Movement than up till now. My dream is that Schoenstatt doesn’t just talk and pray about being the “heart of the Church” but really is and really wants to be. Our Founder called this “mission awareness”. To use the words from Father Esteban Uriburu, an Argentinean Schoenstatt Father who has already been called home to the Lord: Imagine that we are an international football team, Continue reading “Three questions… about Schoenstatt…”


Miracle of the Ordination

Even though additional tremors continue to rock the Himalayan nation of Nepal, the thousand-odd Hindus of Tarkerabari village in the nation’s Okhaldunga district are rejoicing over the April 25 ordination of Jesuit Deacon Tek Raj Paudel of their village. The ordination is credited with sparing the village from calamitous casualties from the massive quake that struck immediately after the ordination ceremony. “They are still excited with what had happened. They continue to share their joy with me,” said newly ordained Father Paudel. The village is 125 miles northeast of Kathmandu, near the epicenter of the earthquake that rocked the Himalayan country on April 25. The disaster that claimed more than 8,000 lives occurred around noon, 30 minutes after the two-hour ordination ceremony, which was led by Bishop Paul Simick of Nepal and attended by hundreds of the Hindu villagers. While dozens of people died in the neighbouring villages, he said that the escape of the entire village is hailed by the Hindu community as “a blessing due to the ordination.” “I heard even the MP, Ram Hari Khathiwoda [the Nepalese member of parliament from the area], thanking the Christians for holding the ordination in the village,” said Augustine Lepcha. Lepcha is a Catholic relief worker who returned to Kathmandu on May 6 after taking relief supplies to the village, where most families are living under tents. “All the people there are only speaking of the miracle,” she added. St. Joseph of Cluny Sister Angelica reached the village two days before the ordination, along with a dozen other Catholics, to prepare the altar decorations for the ordination. “The soil under my feet was throwing up. Only when people started screaming and running, I realized it was earthquake,” recalled Sister Angelica, who was packing altar decorations when the quake struck. The villagers were saying, “Because of the ordination here, we were saved,” Sister Angelica said. “A miracle has happened here.” Similarly, Jesuit Father Casper “Cap” Miller, who comes from the USA but has been based in Nepal for 57 years, said that he heard local women saying, “Because of the [ordination] ceremony here, we were saved. God has protected us.” Father Paudel, the ninth of 10 children in a Hindu family, came to Kathmandu in 1988 for his college studies. “Curiosity to read the Bible changed my life,” the Jesuit priest said during an interview after returning to Kathmandu. “After I heard about the Bible during English classes in the government college, I went to find out more about Bible.” “I visited several churches and finally landed at St. Xavier’s School (of Jesuits) in 1990,” he added. After four years of catechism, he was baptized in 1994. “I was keen to have my ordination in the village, as the entire village belongs to my clan. I am happy that the superiors obliged my request,” Father Paudel said. “Now it has become a blessing to my whole village.” He added, “Many of them are now very eager to know about the Church and are planning to visit Kathmandu and the churches.”


Jubilee Year of Mercy

Pope Francis formally announced the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy during Solemn Vespers this evening in St. Peter’s basilica. The Bull of Indiction, through which the announcement was made, was presented before the Holy Door of the basilica to a representative group of heads of the dicasteries of the Holy See. The Jubilee will open on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8th, and end on the Feast of Christ the King on November 20th, 2016. The Pope explains in the Bull it is his “burning desire” that, during the Jubilee, “the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. It will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty.” He adds that mercy is “the very foundation of the Church’s life” and that “all of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers.” Francis later says that “nothing in her preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy. The Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love.” In his homily at Vespers, he said “many question in their hearts: why a Jubilee of Mercy today? Simply because the Church, in this time of great historical change, is called to offer more evident signs of God’s presence and closeness. “This is not the time to be distracted,” he continued. “On the contrary, we need to be vigilant and to reawaken in ourselves the capacity to see what is essential.  This is a time for the Church to rediscover the meaning of the mission entrusted to her by the Lord on the day of Easter: to be a sign and an instrument of the Father’s mercy.”  The Pope concluded: “My thoughts now turn to the Mother of Mercy. May the sweetness of her countenance watch over us in this Holy Year, so that all of us may rediscover the joy of God’s tenderness. No one has penetrated the profound mystery of the incarnation like Mary. Her entire life was patterned after the presence of mercy made flesh. The Mother of the Crucified and Risen One has entered the sanctuary of divine mercy because she participated intimately in the mystery of his love. In this Jubilee Year, let us allow God to surprise us. He never tires of throwing open the doors of his heart and repeats that he loves us and wants to share his love with us. The Church feels the urgent need to proclaim God’s mercy. Her life is authentic and credible  only when  she  becomes  a  convincing  herald  of  mercy!”


Family BBQ

Friends of Kearsley Mount Cottage invite you to a BBQ for all the family. We are making improvements to the Cottage and surrounds and invite you to come and see what is going on. The Open Day starts at 1.00pm on Saturday 30th May and there will be a BBQ available until 5.00pm. This event is to celebrate the building of the new disabled toilet extension funded by the National Lottery, the Trusthouse Charity and the Community Development Foundation. Proceeds of the day will go towards the upgrading of the cottage garden facilities. Tickets are £3.00 per adult, £6.00 per family (two adults a child), any additional children £1.00 We look forward to seeing you. Please let us know, if you can, if you are coming (for catering purposes).Contact Celia Eccleston on <ceciliaeccleston@hotmail.co.uk>



Covenant Mass in May

At the beginning of May we crowned our Lady and celebrated this wonderful month of Mary on our annual May Day  Pilgrimage. You are invited to join us for the Covenant Mass on Monday, May 18th at the Shrine for holy Mass at 7.30pm followed by light refreshments. The team from the parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Blackley are preparing the Mass and Fr Duncan will be the main celebrant. St Edmund’s music group will assist us in giving thanks  for our Covenant of Love. We are preparing for the Synod on the Family and follow the theme for this year: Our Mission is Love. Family fully Alive. We continue to explore family as vocation and a way of living our faith. As man and woman,  marriage is an effective sign of God’s plan of love for all of creation. I look forward to seeing you there. May I remind you of the opportunity to bring a donation of non-perishable goods which we pass on to the Brothers of Charity for their service to the poor and needy.