Lenten Diary updated throughout the Season.

This year Lent started with Mass at Mayfield girls school. The sea of faces that stood infront of me reminded me that we all approach this season differently. Some people do the same thing every year like some sort of ritual that never changes with age or circumstance, others try and do too much and so stumble after the first Sunday of Lent. Others try and do something different and therefore challenge themselves to do something extra helping or in prayer. Whatever we do Lent is about getting closer to the one who made us and loves us. It is a time to look at ourselves and our relationship with God.

Deciding what to do should not be so taxing that we fail very quickly but it should also not be so easy that it does not impact on our lives. Also it should be something that changes us not just for the of lent but for the whole of our lives. A simple example of this is that I gave up sugar in Coffee and tea and never went back to it at the end of the lent. There is another danger in lent …

Advent Hope

A few years ago, I made a trip to Krakow and made a special trip to the Concentration Camps Auschwitz-Birkenau. The feeling as you went around the places and looked in horror at man’s inhumanity to man it felt like a place of little or no hope. In fact, one of the survivors said that God had forgotten this place and those who were held there. Amongst the corridor and cells there was one I particularly wanted to see and pray at. It was the cell of a Catholic Franciscan Priest Maximilian Kolbe. As we approached there was a candle in the cell. In this cell, he privately said Mass with the scraps of bread that he managed to get. He prayed with people around him and at the end he took the place of a married man with children and was killed instead of this other man. During this horrific human misery, he brought hope to people.
 This idea of hope when all looks hopeless in a strong message in the readings today. In the first reading, today from Isaiah we get this ideal picture of what the Me…

Tumped!!! Feast of Christ the King

Watching the Election from America we see that Donald Trump is set to be the most powerful man in the world. He if you like is the modern King. He has been one of the most controversial choices in history but if we look at this new kind of kingship we see that it is one of power and wealth that it does not matter who they tread on or upset. It is one that is very different from the Kingship of Jesus. But when we look at the modern day Kings like Trump you can see that people do get very confused.  So how is Jesus Kingship different?
Let us look at the Readings today and we can get clues of how different it actually is. First of all we have the idea of this King being a shepherd. A shepherd in the Old Testament was not a shepherd like we know. The Shepherd today leads from the back pushing his sheep forward. In the time of the Bible the Shepherd lead from the front and the sheep knew the voice of their master. When in John's Gospel Jesus says that the good shepherd is the gatekeepe…

Feast of St Vincent de Paul Poverty

I start this with this Gospel passage from Matthew. It reminds us of our responsibility for each other and being non judgemental in our approach to all kinds of people.

Matthew31-46When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you…

What it means to be Christian

Last Tuesday I was deeply disturbed in my prayer life. I was thinking a lot about what happened in France to the priest Fr Jaques Hamel. In my prayer I was thinking what the nature of priesthood was. I was praying because I was thinking would I be able to give my life to that extent. What would I do if someone came into the Church and want to do harm to me and the congregation. I was thinking about the Good Shepherd narrative in John Gospel. Where the shepherd is the gate keeper keeping his flock safe from predators. My disturbance came because I realised that I would be scared and want to run very fast. It disturbed me because I felt it was Contrary to my calling as a priest. 

Its funny though how the Lord hears our prayers and the answers come if we put our trust in God. Wednesday morning I said Mass as usual. As I celebrated the Mass and said the words of Consecration  " This is my Body, This is my Blood" I looked up to see the Crucifix. It came to me in a flash. Here was …

The Three Popes John Paul Benedict and Francis

One of the more disturbing things that has happened over the last few years is, and I only say, in some quarters a disquiet about Pope Francis. It is I have to say very disturbing. There has also been some people who see Pope Francis as not a real Pope at all. Rather than seeing this I can see that there has been a continuity between the last three Popes. I am a simple man but this is what I see.

Pope John Paul II (Saint)

When I was seven years old I traveled to Wembley  to see John Paul II. It was my first experience at large crowds celebrating faith. I was highly impressed as a seven year old of what was going on around me. It was the first time also that a Pope had visited these lands since the Reformation. What I saw a Pope that was able to reach out to the whole world to visit and preach the good news even though sometimes this was hard hitting and uncompromising. He helped the demise of the Berlin Wall and the Eastern block something that seemed unthinkable. He for me is also the…

The Debate Continues

I have been reading lately with interest the comments about what way the priest should face while saying Mass. And after reading some of the reports and questions I have been more aware of how I have been saying Mass. I have also been looking closely when I attend Mass or when I watch another celebrate Mass. So these thoughts are my own.

I love saying Mass and the celebration of the Mass is something that needs to be done with dignity and respect. IT is not about the priest and how he is feeling it is about God. We gather around the altar to be present to the saving work of Jesus Christ. So what have people come to Mass for. So I asked them. These are there responses and they have given me time to reflect on how I celebrate the Mass.

To PrayTo gather as communityComfort and peaceTo stop in the business of life To receive grace from the LordThe first one on the list is the most important for me. To pray the Mass rather than just say it. To put as it were my personality aside for a while…