Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Francis and a young man's Cross

A young Brazilian Felipe Passos moved the hearts of three million World Youth Day participants, including Pope Francis himself, when he told the story of how he became bound to a wheelchair and discovered “the Cross.”  Felipe, 23, spoke at the World Youth Day prayer vigil July 27 at Copacabana Beach.  He told how at the end of the last World Youth Day, in Madrid in 2011, he made two spiritual promises. He promised to stay chaste until marriage and to work hard so his prayer group at Ponta Grossa, in Brazil’s southern state of ParanĂ¡, could participate in this year’s World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. With few resources, Felipe and his friends began saving money by taking on several hard jobs, at the same time that they prepared themselves spiritually: praying, adoring the Blessed Sacrament, fasting and doing charitable works.

Then a terrible thing happened.  “In January of this year, two days before turning 23, two youths came into my home, armed, to steal the money we had saved with so much sacrifice,” said Felipe.  “I thought of the months of great effort, of my family’s sacrifices, of my friends and colleagues… in what was about to be snatched from us, and I decided I would not hand it over,” he added July 27.  Felipe saved the money of the group, but received a gunshot wound i the neck that almost ended his life.  “I was clinically dead, I had several cardiac arrests, and the doctor told my parents in the hospital ‘this boy has no hope,’ but I’m here and my community is here because of God’s mercy,” remarked Felipe.
In front of a shocked crowd and in front of Pope Francis, who looked at him attentively, the Brazilian told how he was in a coma, breathing through a tube, while his community offered prayers and sacrifices for his healing. Finally, when he regained consciousness, the first thing he did was to ask for the Eucharist, and after receiving it, he improved rapidly. But Felipe, who has since then been wheelchair-bound, said “this is my cross, the cross the Lord sent me, to come closer to him, to live more openly his grace and love.”  

When the three million youths started to applaud, Felipe interrupted them. “Silence!” he said. “Let’s listen to the Holy Spirit!”  The 23-year-old then asked each of the youths present to take the cross they had hung around their neck, to hold it and look at it.  Felipe invited them to meditate in silence on the questions: “What is the cross that the Lord has given me? What is the cross that he wants me to carry for his love?”  Everyone present, including bishops and cardinals, contemplated their own cross around their neck. The wheelchair-bound young man’s words created a unique moment of profound silence along the entire Copacabana beach. Felipe finished his testimony asking for prayers as well as for Pope Francis’ blessing.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

3 Churches Mass

Pictures from this year's 3 Churches Mass "People of Faith" can now be seen on our Facebook page "3 Churches in Cardiff". I thought I'd put a few of them on here. The first one shows the general scene during Mass. At the altar you can see myself, Fr Tomy and Deacon Rob, chaplain at Corpus Christi, where the Mass is celebrated. The second picture shows some of the music group and choir that made a huge contribution to the Mass, making a very beautiful sound. Then lastly, a nice picture taken during the Sign of Peace. This annual Mass is the main occasion for people from our 3 Churches to come together. 


Thursday, 11 July 2013

A lesson from Fum and Gebra

Oh, it's too warm to be putting anything too serious on here. I came across a  very unusual video recently. It's simply about a friendship that has developed - between an owl and a pussycat! Yes, Fum the cat and Gebra the owl broke all the cat/bird rules and became the best of friends. Sadly Fum died in May.  Maybe we could be a little less quick to say things are impossible - or other people are impossible? Click on the picture to see - and smile.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

A great birthday

Well, made it to 60. Last Thursday was my birthday. By lunchtime my shelf, two tops of chests of drawers and my mantelpiece were full of cards. In the morning the kids of Year 3 in our parish school invited me to share their post-First Holy communion party with them, which was great fun. The whole of Key Stage 2 sang "Happy Birthday" in the playground, and zillions of cards were stuffed into a huge yellow folder. Fantastic.  Then I took it easy for the rest of the day, with phone calls coming in at regular intervals.
The main celebration was planned for the next day, Friday. Months ago I had discussed what to do, and I requested a hog roast, as we had had one when I was made a canon, and it had gone down very well.  So hog was ordered, sides prepared and everyone prayed for the rain to stay away. Well, I'm glad to say we all had a lovely evening. I think around 200 came - we had asked people to sign up from the parishes. My brother and sister joined us and their other halves, and a few friends too from various aspects of my life. It was all very informal: lots of chat, lovely food, plenty of wine or beer. It was just as I had imagined. Two cakes were needed to feed the multitude, one with the 6 and the other with the 0. 
The stream of cards became a flood, reaching I would say over 200. I've got enough wine to last a lifetime, a good supply of various funny mugs, some excellent books, and several beautiful objects, including an original stoneware piece.
I'm very grateful to everyone who helped make it a very special occasion. I have to say I don't feel any older.