Lourdes 2016

lourdes-1Please keep students and staff who are going to Lourdes this year in your prayers…

Pray especially for the students who will be working hard caring for the elderly and sick pilgrims.

And join your prayers to those of the servant-pilgrims by praying to Our Lady of Lourdes:

O ever-Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy,
health of the sick, refuge of sinners,
comforter of the afflicted,
you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings;
look with mercy on me.

By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes,
you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary,
whence you dispense your favors;
and already many sufferers have obtained
the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal.

I come, therefore, with complete confidence
to implore your maternal intercession.

Obtain, O loving Mother, the grant of my requests.
Through gratitude for your favors,
I will endeavor to imitate your virtues,
that I may one day share your glory. Amen.

 

Preparing for Lent

Ash Cross The famous prayer of Blessed John Henry Newman provides us with a way into understanding what Lent is about.

He wrote:

God created me to do Him some definite service.
He has committed some work to me,
which He has not committed to another.
I have a mission.
I am a link in a chain,
a bond of connection between persons.

Therefore I will trust Him.
Whatever I am, I can never be thrown away.
If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him;
if I am perplexed, my perplexity may serve Him;
if I am in joy, my joy may serve Him;
if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve him.
He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about.
Amen.

Our Lent is for doing good: in all the circumstances of our lives, doing good.

  • What good might you do next?

Cardinal Newman was beatified in 2010, when Pope Benedict visited Birmingham. See pictures of the visit here, here and here. And read more about it here.

The Year of Mercy

Year of MercyBack in December, together with the Church throughout the world, students and staff at Bishop Walsh began to keep the Year of Mercy.

The Year offers us an opportunity to journey to a different and richer knowledge and experience of the mercy of God. It also provides us the opportunity to celebrate that mercy, and to live it more generously.

This month, January, Pope Francis wrote to young people of the world inviting them in a special way to join with him in prayer and celebration on April 23rd.

You can find the letter here:

Download (PDF, 157KB)

  • How might you respond to Pope Francis’ invitation?
  • Who might you invite to join with you?

Praying in Advent

N-4081-nativity-432x379A number of religions see the world as a place of struggle between good and evil, and it is not clear which will win out. Will it be light or dark, good or evil?

They do not know God as God the Creator, but only gods in the world, some good, some bad.

For Christianity there is, as we say in the Creed, one God. All others are creatures. That God (Father, Son and Spirit) made all that is, and made it good.

We have free choice and through that evil and sin enter into the world. They are realities and they spoil and soil what was made good.

But the point is the world was made good, and it remains so, for all that evil and sin still make their mark. And in Jesus Christ the final victory over death and evil has already been won and is, even now, being shared with us in word and Sacrament and grace. Light has conquered, darkness is banished.

Yet in this month of Advent, when the world illuminates itself with Xmas lights, the Church urges us wait almost in the shadows, preparing ourselves to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Light of the World. We need not be miserable, but for us the joy of Christmas is something much more than the commercial Xmas here-today and gone-tomorrow. For us Christmas is about the good life, and not just a good time.

  • Use Advent to wait for the Lord, to invite him to come close, to know our need of the gifts he brings.
  • Pray for those who suffer the consequences of evil and sin: the victims.
  • Pray for God’s will to be done, and for all human beings to flourish.

Picture of The Nativity at Night by Geertgen tot Sint Jans is in the collection of the National Gallery, London.

Praying for the Dead

November is by tradition the month when we pray for the dead.

It is a long standing tradition to take special care to pray for the dead during November, commending the souls of the faithful departed to God’s love and mercy, that they may be best prepared for heaven.

It is also a custom to visit the graves of family and friends and pray for them there.

If you get the chance to do that you might like to use the prayers below – or of course you can use them to pray where ever you are (though you might then need to change some of the words)

Visting a grave

Praying in October

RosaryOctober is by tradition the month of the Rosary

(Though we should not forget it is also the month of the feast of St Francis! One of the two patron saints of year groups whose feast does not fall in school holiday – the other is St Benedict.)

In praying the Rosary we are invited to call to heart and mind aspects of the lives of Jesus and Mary. Sometimes we pray a set of five Mysteries, sometimes we pray just one. However we pray it, the prayer helps us to connect again with the love and mercy of God, and the faithfulness of Mary, and find encouragement and hope for ourselves.

Not least it gives us the assurance we are not praying alone, for Mary surely responds to our request: ‘…Pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our rest. Amen.’

‘Dear Brothers and Sisters, a Happy and Holy Easter!
The Church throughout the world echoes the angel’s message to the women: “Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised… Come, see the place where he lay” (Mt 28:5-6).
This is the culmination of the Gospel, it is the Good News par excellence: Jesus, who was crucified, is risen! This event is the basis of our faith and our hope. That is why we tell everyone: “Come and see!” In every human situation, marked by frailty, sin and death, the Good News is no mere matter of words, but a testimony to unconditional and faithful love: it is about leaving ourselves behind and encountering others, being close to those crushed by life’s troubles, sharing with the needy, standing at the side of the sick, elderly and the outcast… “Come and see!”: Love is more powerful, love gives life, love makes hope blossom in the wilderness.’

Pope Francis, Easter Sunday 2014.

The month of All Souls

During this month of November we remember to pray for the souls of our families and friends and for all souls. It is a tradition to have a mass said for family members at this time. The feast of All Souls began in the Middle Ages under Pope Gregory 111. It is said in the Book of Maccabees that, “It is holy and rightful to pray for the dead.” The beautiful hymn by Fr Faber expresses this in one of his hymns, “Help Lord the souls that you have made. The souls to you so dear, imprisoned for that debt unpaid of sins committed here.

STS PETER AND PAUL

On 29th June we celebrate the feast of St Peter and St Paul. The Christian Church was founded by the faith and leadership of Peter, and the hard missionary work of Paul. Peter and Paul are the two foundation stones,after Christ himself, of the Christian Church.

In some ways Peter and Paul were unlikely choices to help continue the life and work of Jesus – Peter denied knowing Jesus, and Paul had persecuted Christians.  This reminds us that God accepts us as we are, with our limitations.

God our Father,

today we celebrate the feast of Peter and Paul. Through them and their efforts your Church first received the faith; keep us faithful to their teaching.

Amen.