Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Adios 2013

And so 2013 saunters out of view...
A good year, on the whole. Two important events on the personal and family side - my 60th birthday, and my sister and brother-in-law's 40th wedding anniversary. Both were very, very happy days. Two foreign trips - to Amsterdam for my solo and to Croatia, Medjugorje and Montenegro for our September pilgrimage. Again, both were very enjoyable indeed.  On the parish and spiritual side, interesting that in the middle of May's uncertainty regarding Fr T's position, our parish prayer group suddenly had  a boost through the "Celebrate" Conference. I've also discovered a whole lot of good modern Christian music as a result.  Since September we have been starting to crank up the parish engines for a serious look at evangelisation in the 3 Churches.  Not sure where that is going at the moment! Parish priests to east and west have changed - but I seem to still be here, and I'm happy about that. Some sad and/or difficult funerals in the parishes, but plenty of happy, happy occasions in the 3 Churches too...  The arrival of Pope Francis must be The Big Event on the worldwide church level. I think he is wonderful, though some of the media are getting him wrong, it seems to me. 
So, a busy and happy year - as it should be, I guess. Many thanks to all who support this blog. God bless you in 2014. Maybe I'll try to post a little more often - hmmm a possible resolution!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Pre-Christmas pauses and Panasonics

Every year about 4 or 5 days before Christmas, people say to us "Oooh, your busiest time, Father..."  Well, in fact the previous weeks get really full of pre-Christmas liturgical and social stuff, and, of course, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are indeed jam-packed. But this day or two before The Day are strangely quiet, except for kind people dropping in presents and the odd phone-call. People are scurrying around doing their Christmas stuff - and they leave us alone for a day or two! Added to this of course, in terms of the liturgy, Holy Week and Easter are more spread out. So we get a brief pause to prepare homilies, ask ourselves what we have forgotten, and do postings on blogs.
However, we will have eight Masses in the 24 hours from 6pm tomorrow, with help for one of them. Like many places, the Christmas Eve Masses have rather swept the board in attendance, so we need three of 'em, all at the same time, 6.00pm... I'm on Christ the King for the two Eve Masses and St Paul and St Brigid in the Morning. 6pm at Christ the King is probably the most popular of our eight, indeed the biggest Mass of the year. It's big, child-filled, family-oriented, a bit chaotic... and beautiful. I love it!
The last part of Advent this year has been tinged with sadness, as we have had several deaths, including two involving families with teenage children. At the funeral that I celebrated, I tried to tie it in with Advent, talking about the Lord coming to meet us at Bethlehem, but that we also, like the Shepherds and Kings, have to journey in order to meet Him.
Meanwhile, I eventually got round to buying a new TV with the money I received for my 60th birthday way back in June. My last one was for my 50th, so there's a kind of symmetry about it - well, that's my excuse anyway. There are so many to choose from!  I eventually plumped for a Panasonic Viera Smart TV with sound bar and sub-woofer - 'coz I like a good bass sound. So now I'm all set up to blast the neighbourhood, well Fr Tomy anyway!
I'm still amazed that this blog gets a good number of views, so to all who visit, thank you and have a very, very happy Christmas!!
ps My telly isn't quite as big as the one in the pic...

Saturday, 14 December 2013

A very Christian Christmas mob

I haven't posted a flash mob for a while. I came across this today. The US Air Force Band are at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. What's interesting is that they don't choose secular stuff for Christmas, but two explicitly Christian pieces. What would happen over here?...
Thanks to Mgr Charles Pope's blog "Archdiocese of Washington" 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

A vocation

Popular speaker Fr Robert Barron talks about his calling. Simple, direct, challenging. Good stuff. Thanks, Cardiff Vocations.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Casualty case

Talk about signs of the times... Local priests have been hearing Confessions at our local Corpus Christi High School over the last days. So, one girl came to me was doing fine until she came to the Act of Contrition. She looked up from the words printed on laminated paper, hesitating to start. When I asked what the problem was, she asked whether she was supposed to say "O, My God..." or "OMG" or what?   Containing my annoyance/laughter/frustration I reminded her that on this occasion she really WAS talking to God, and so it was right to use the phrase. It was on other occasions that it was inappropriate. She looked bemused/surprised/amused and pressed on...
OMG/O my God has entered ordinary speech and especially email/Facebook speech and completely lost its literal meaning.  I saw in the newspaper not long ago that some pupils questioned a teacher about the use of "Jesus" in a hymn, as they were under the impression that it was a bad word to use.
Oh dear... I suppose I'm sounding like an elderly canon - Oh, I forgot I am indeed not-such-a-young canon - but where have we come to? Some have drifted so far from their faith roots that they don't even recognise God-language being used in the correct way. On the way out of the school I overheard a member of staff telling a pupil not to use blasphemous language in her presence.  Perhaps we should all be tightening up on this language business. Maybe it would be a good way of celebrating Advent. Let the Word that becomes flesh be a Word of beauty and of special respect, not one tossed so casually from lips that are uncaring or unknowing.