29 June 2010

Abp Bernard receives the pallium

How exciting. Our Archbishop, Bernard Longley, has received the Pallium from HH Benedict XVI. You can see him in this video at 1:36, but watch it all - there are other faces to spot!

Fr Andrew Berry OSB

Fr Andrew Berry OSB, Bishop Tom Burns, Students of Oscott College

Do please pray for a dear friend, Andrew Berry, who was ordained at Belmont Abbey on the feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist. Things are busy at the parish at the moment, hence the lack of posting, so please do remember all here, too, in your prayers.

27 June 2010

Insecurity and it's roots.

June 27, 2010
by Fr. George W. Rutler

Insecurity is characteristic of adolescence. Those formative years are a time of figuring out how the self relates to others, moving from self-absorption to self-awareness. There are those who live a lifelong adolescence, whose narcissism, like an orchid living off air, lives off the approval of others. Their desire for self-esteem smothers a mature desire for eternal salvation. Instead of "Have mercy on me a sinner," the perpetual adolescent says, "I want to feel good about myself." Inevitably, that "feel good" approach enslaves the self to the opinions of others. It is the opposite of the glorious maturity of St. Paul, who spoke "not as trying to please men, but rather God, who judges our hearts" (1 Thess. 4).

There is a proper human respect, which is a reverence for others. The immature kind of human respect is a dependency on approval by others. "For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ" (Gal. 1:10).

Some of the most popular cultural figures are those who exploit people's insecurities and make them "feel good" about themselves. Demagogues know how to flatter the spiritually immature into submission, but their intoxicating charisma is a deadly illusion: "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets" (Luke 6:26).

The simmering danger in our political culture is not the deeply flawed people who often get elected, but the immaturity of the people who elect them. "They pursued emptiness, and themselves became empty through copying the nations round them" (2 Kings 17:15).

Pope Benedict XVI recently told ordinands: "He who wants above all to realize an ambition of his own, to achieve a personal success, will always be a slave to himself and public opinion. To be considered, he will have to flatter; he must say what the people want to hear, he must adapt himself to changing fashions and opinions and, thus, he will deprive himself of the vital relationship with the truth, reducing himself to condemning tomorrow what he praises today. A man who plans his life like this, a priest who sees his ministry in these terms, does not truly love God and others, but only himself and, paradoxically, ends up losing himself."

As the Pope practices what he preaches, he is so secure in his service to God, that he does not rely on newspaper editorials or talk-show pundits to craft the Gospel he preaches. What he said to those new priests applies to everyone who seeks spiritual maturity. Self-absorption eventually leads to self-annihilation, but eternal life begins with feeling good about God instead of ourselves. "To know (God's) power is the root of immortality" (Wisdom 15:3).

H/T Fr Tim Finigan at The Hermeneutic of Continuity

Couldn't say it better, so I wont!

26 June 2010

Pastoral Letter from Archbishop Bernard Longley






27 JUNE 2010

Dear Brother and Sisters in Christ

Earlier this month, on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Year for Priests drew to a close. Pope Benedict had asked the Church to dedicate a year, beginning in June 2009, to prayer and reflection on the gift of the priesthood. It has given us an opportunity to look again towards Jesus himself, the great High Priest, who has offered the perfect sacrifice to his Father so that we might become holy.

In the course of this year we have given thanks for the way that our Lord shares his priesthood within the Church. Through our baptism we are a priestly people, making an offering of our service day by day. As I begin to know the diocese better I see many examples of this, especially in the worship and liturgical life of parish communities, in the mission of our schools, and in the many and varied pastoral initiatives that reach out to those most in need of help.

All of this is enabled, encouraged and enhanced by the witness and work of the priests of our diocese. This year has helped us especially to thank our Lord for the particular expression of his priesthood in the life and service of each individual priest. He has chosen quite a variety of personalities and characters in whom we can see different and complementary reflections of the one priesthood of our Lord.

During this year we have prayed every day for one of the priests living and working in the diocese, and I know how much our priests have valued these prayers. Many have spoken with gratitude of the letters and phone calls they received reminding them of your prayers and appreciation for their vocation. I too thank you for your prayers in support of our priests.

As the Year for Priests closes I thank all our priests for their love of Christ as the foundation of their lives, their dedication in serving all God’s people and their friendship and support for one another which bears such fruit within the diocese, not least in encouraging vocations.

In this Sunday’s readings we can hear echoes in the ministry of Elijah of the call to priestly service. At the Lord’s prompting Elijah goes to find a “prophet to succeed” him. Elijah’s ministry as prophet is to continue for the benefit of the people and so “Elijah passed near to [Elisha] and threw his cloak over him.” In the same way the priesthood of our Lord has to touch every generation and he has thrown his mantle over those ordained as priests.

Elisha’s first response is both enthusiastic and hesitant – he wants to follow Elijah but finds it hard to cut the ties with his old way of life. Those who are thinking about the priesthood may experience a similar dilemma as our Lord calls them to a new way of life. We pray that they may be generous and wholehearted in their response to Christ’s invitation – they need never feel hesitant about the happiness it brings. I hope that they will feel encouraged to attend the Invocation event at St Mary’s College, Oscott next weekend.

St Luke’s Gospel shows us an important turning point in our Lord’s own life and ministry: “As the time drew near for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely took the road to Jerusalem.” As the great moment of his priestly sacrifice approached the direction of our Lord’s life was set. In a similar way the Lord sets the direction of a man’s life at its deepest level when he is ordained as priest. The rest of his life and ministry is a resolute following along the path marked out by Christ.

As the Year for Priests has shown this is not a solitary journey, for just as on the road to Jerusalem there are companions on the way, those with whom we share all or part of the road. The communities served by our priests are also the communities who encourage and sustain them. Priests lead others to follow the Lord by resolutely following him themselves.

This Tuesday, the feast of St Peter and St Paul, I shall be a pilgrim in Rome and I shall pray at the tomb of the Apostles for all the priests and deacons, religious men and women and lay-faithful of our diocese. I shall pray especially, and with gratitude, for our life and mission together as that part of the Lord’s flock now entrusted to my care.

As a symbol of that care the Holy Father will place the pallium on my shoulders. This little woollen vestment is a reminder of the bonds of love and obedience that unite us with the Successor of Peter and of the responsibility entrusted to me to serve the priests and people of our diocese. As the Year for Priest closes, I hope that I may always serve God’s people faithfully especially through giving time and support to our priests.

Please pray for me this Tuesday as I receive the pallium. Pray also for our priests who wear the mantle of Christ, the Good Shepherd. May we resolutely follow Christ together, and as the summer approaches may you find opportunities to be refreshed and renewed, priests and people of God alike.

+Bernard Longley

Archbishop of Birmingham

Given at Birmingham on the 22 June 2010 and appointed to be read in all Churches and Chapels of the Diocese on the weekend of 26/27 June 2010.

23 June 2010

Archbishop to receive the Pallium from Pope Benedict

This from zenit noting Archbishop Bernard will receive the Pallium from HH Pope Benedict on the feast of Peter and Paul. As will, of course, Archbishop Peter Smith. Do pray for them as they journey to the Eternal City.

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 22, 2010 (Zenit.org).- This feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Benedict XVI will bestow the pallium on 38 metropolitan archbishops, including 14 from Europe and six from North America.

The Vatican announced today that the Mass in which the prelates will receive the honor will take place at 9:30 a.m. on June 29.

The pallium is a white band embroidered with six black crosses and worn over the shoulders. Worn by the Pope and by metropolitan archbishops, the pallium symbolizes authority and expresses the special bond between the bishops and the Roman Pontiff.

The metropolitan archbishops who will receive the pallium are the following:

South and Central America (6)

-- Luis Cabrera Herrera of Cuenca, Ecuador
-- Fernando Saburido of Olinda e Recife, Brazil
-- Alberto Taveira Corrêa of Belem do Para, Brazil

-- Ricardo Tobón Restrepo of Medellin, Colombia
-- José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta of Panama, Panama
-- Luis Madrid Merlano of Nueva Pamplona, Colombia

Africa (8)

-- Alex Kaliyanil of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
-- Gerard Tlali Lerotholi of Maseru, Lesotho
-- Gabriel Mbilingi of Lubango, Angola

-- Samuel Kleda of Douala, Cameroon
-- Joseph Atanga of Bertoua, Cameroon
-- Stephen Brislin of Cape Town, South Africa

-- Désiré Tsarahazana of Toamasina, Madagascar
-- Matthias Kobena Nketsiah of Cape Coast, Ghana

North America (6)

-- Albert Legatt of Saint-Boniface, Canada
-- Constancio Miranda Wechmann of Chihuahua, Mexico
-- Carlos Garfias Merlos of Acapulco, Mexico

-- Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
-- Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati, Ohio
-- Thomas Wenski of Miami, Florida

Europe (14)

-- Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia-Citta della Pieve, Italy
-- Andrea Bruno Mazzocato of Udine, Italy
-- Antonio Lanfranchi of Modena-Nonantola, Italy
-- Luigi Moretti of Salerno-Campagna-Acerno, Italy

-- Juan José Asenjo Pelegrina of Seville, Spain
-- Jesús Sanz Montes of Oviedo, Spain
-- Ricardo Blázquez Pérez of Valladolid, Spain

-- Bernard Longley of Birmingham, England -- Peter David Smith of Southwark, England
-- Anton Stres of Ljubljana, Slovenia

-- Andre-Joseph (Mutien) Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium
-- Dominik Duka of Prague, Czech Republic
-- Jozef Kowalczyk of Gniezno, Poland
-- Bernard Bober of Kosice, Slovakia

Asia (4)

-- Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, Philippines
-- Francis Kallarakal of Verapoly, India
-- Hyginus Kim Hee-jong of Kwangju, Korea
-- Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon of Hanoi, Vietnam.

22 June 2010

From Basel to Rome

Some of our readers may be interested to hear from

St Thomas More

H/T to Deacon Keith Fournier's excellent article on Catholic Online, which you can read in full here. Deacon Keith writes:

Thomas More showed heroic courage in the face of a State which had lost its soul. He never wavered in his fidelity to the Truth. He would not betray the truth or compromise it on the altar of public opinion for political opportunism. He knew that to do so would not only have dishonored God and led his family and so many others astray, but that it would have given tacit assent to the emerging despotism of his age. Thomas More was brought to trial for his fidelity to the Truth. As is often the case with persecution against Christians, it was framed as a charge against the "positive law". This outstanding lawyer defended the Truth - for which he would later give his life.

One of the many highlights of the Papal Visit, for me, will be when Pope Benedict addresses our Society in Westminster Hall; the same hall in which St Thomas More was found guilty of treason and sentenced to death. How we have moved on since those terrible times.

St Thomas More and St John Fisher, pray for us.

21 June 2010

The 'potestas sacra'

Pope Benedict presided over the ordination of 14 men to the priesthood yesterday in Rome. His full homily is here. This particular point I thought very encouraging for those about to be ordained.

You are granted today, with the sacrament of Holy Orders, to preside at the Eucharist! You are entrusted with the redemptive sacrifice of Christ, you are entrusted with his body that is given and his blood that is shed. Of course, Jesus offers his sacrifice, his humble and total gift of love, to the Church his Bride, on the cross. It was on that wood, that the Father dropped a grain of wheat in the field of the world so that dying it would become mature fruit, the giver of life. But, in God's plan, this gift of Christ is made present in the Eucharist thanks to that "potestas sacra" that the sacrament of Orders confers on you presbyters. When we celebrate Holy Mass we hold in our hands the Bread of Heaven, the Bread of God, which is Christ, the grain broken to multiply and become the true food of life for the world. It is something that cannot but fill you with intimate wonder, lively joy and immense gratitude: Now the love and gift of Christ crucified and glorious, pass through your hands, your voice, your heart! It is an ever new experience of wonder to see that in my hands, in my voice the Lord accomplishes this mystery of his presence!

Please pray for Br Andrew Berry OSB, Michael Collis, Luke Goymour & Michael Puljic who are to be ordained over the next three weeks, and Fr Gary Buckby who was ordained last weekend. Finally, please also pray for Pascal Ravi Bhaskar, Wilfred Joseph & Vincent Aruluandhu, all Sacred Hearth brothers who were ordained deacon yesterday.

God be with you all.

Update Oops, that should be Sacred Heart, not Sacred Hearth. I'm not sure if God would have a fireplace in Heaven, but it raises an interesting theological debate!

20 June 2010

Who do you say I am?

Zech 12:10-11; 13:1, Ps 62, Gal 3:26-29, Lk 9:18-24

“But you: who do you say I am?” How would you personally answer this question? It is interesting that Jesus asks first “who do the crowds say I am?” It is as though he wanted his disciples to know him within the context of those around him. He tells us that we are to take up our cross; if we are to be followers of his. Yes, we have to suffer in this life. It’s a mystery but first, however, we have to ask ourselves: who do you say I am? Leave your cross, your troubles, your anxieties, your fears to one side and ask yourself, who is Jesus?

This is a fundamental question in our lives and there is, of course, no right or wrong answer. Now, I always find when someone says there is no right or wrong answer they mean, well there is a better answer, one which I would prefer you to answer, but its okay if you get it wrong. This cannot be the case with who Jesus is, simply because Jesus is who he is and he is not subject to who we think he is. In the same way as your brother, or your friend is who he is and will not be anything other than who he is. He will never be who you want him to be, rather he is who is and what can and does change is your relationship with him. In other words, Jesus is not dependent upon what we think of him.

Because of this uniqueness of Jesus, who you say he is will be your relationship to him. Yes, Jesus reveals himself, through Peter as “the Christ of God” and we know much about him through the Tradition of the Church and through Holy Scripture. But Jesus has already established that there is a wider understanding of who he is revealed for us around us, most notably in the Church; all baptised in Christ, no distinction between Jew and Greek, all the promised heirs of Abraham. This question is not for the Church to answer, per se, but for you to answer. So again, at the risk of boring myself, never mind you, “who do you say I am?”

So let me share just one thought of who Jesus is for me. He is God, the Almighty, He is the only way to the Father, He is the one pierced upon the cross, the one who died for my sins. He is the one who loves me beyond all loving. Loves me far in excess of anything I could hope to return. Yet he is the one to whom I turn in my hour of need, the one who I long to be with, the one who all my life I yearn for. He is my God.

Later today I will have the indescribable honour of carrying my God in Procession, and whilst we await his coming presence reflect awhile upon some of the most beautiful words in the whole of scripture:

O God, you are my God, for you I long;

for you my soul is thirsting.

My body pines for you

like a dry, weary land without water.

So I gaze on you in the sanctuary

to see your strength and your glory.

For your love is better than life;

my lips will speak your praise.

So I will bless you all my life,

in your name I will lift up my hands.

My soul shall be filled as with a banquet;

my mouth shall praise you with joy.

For you have been my help:

in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.

My soul clings to you;

your right hand holds me fast.

“But you: who do you say I am?”


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