20 March 2009

Generally speaking...

Tomorrow, I start my parish placement as a Deacon. It is the second time I will be in the parish, having been there last summer, immediately following my ordination to the transitional diaconate. It will be interesting to observe the differences, both from my perspective as well as from the priest/parish, having now grown in confidence. I no longer feel nervous, all of the time, before mass, I feel more confident in leading prayers and, whilst I have always been assured in public speaking, feel able to hold my own in matters of faith. Let's see what unfolds over the coming month. The placement is designed to be the busiest in the parish/church year, including the end of Lent, Holy Week, the Triduum, and the first week of Easter. Then it is holidays again!

This evening, I read an interesting article from Thinking Faith, the online journal of the British Jesuits, by Helen Costigane SHCJ. Entitled, Why excommunication?, the author considers the history of excommunication and, rightly, begins: 'The remission of the excommunication has the same aim as that of the punishment: namely, to invite the four Bishops once more to return.’ Costigane conclude "Nevertheless, the removal of the penalty can in no way be seen as an endorsement of Richardson’s views, either on the Second Vatican Council or on the Holocaust." Most interesting!
And, finally, this evening I was also involved in a presentation with Craig regarding Caravaggio. Roger has developed a series of lectures/discussions concerning the interface of culture and faith and, as a student body, we have been invited to participate in any way we feel able. Craig and I, it seems, share a love of the great master. Enthused, therefore, we happily gave a brief talk on Caravaggio, and then enjoyed the socialising and discussion which followed. There were several interesting contributions. An interesting one to note is the hand of Peter below the hand of Christ in the calling of Matthew. You notice how it is almost, but not quite, the same as Christ's, which in turn is the same hand as that of God in the creation of man on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. A fascinating artist. Much tortured soul and much the greatest artist to have lived, IMHO.


  1. My favourite Caravaggio painting is 'The Deposition' which I've had the great privilege to see in the Vatican Museum twice. Each time it brought me up short, in particular because of the depiction of Our Lady. It's an absolutely wonderful picture in the truest sense of the word - it fills me with wonder. Seeing it for the first time it was as if my entire surroundings had melted away and there was, in the universe for that time, only me and the painting, as if I was watching a 'freeze-frame' of the event itself. I'm sure you can imagine the spiritual effect it had...

  2. Yep, I know the one. It is amazing, though I have not seen it in the flesh as yet. My all time favourite hangs in the National Museum in Dublin; The Taking of Christ. It's a wonder of light and dark and captures the moment precisely. I was in awe as I stumbled across it one lazy Sunday afternoon and since then have made a habit of visiting every time I'm in the city.



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