Saturday, 8 March 2014

A message from Fr Wilfrid McGreal, Prior Provincial

On Thursday, I managed to get to the sea, and I found a high tide with water lapping gently on the shore. I felt a great sense of peace, and thanked God for the pure gift of creation. We must care for God’s creation and try and do what we can for the environment. At the National Shrine of Saint Jude, we are always recycling, and try and send emails, rather than letters.

Lent is now well underway in Faversham. Last Thursday, I spoke at the first of our Lent talks. Well over 50 people attended, and came from the parish and beyond (such as Cambridge and Bournemouth). It was good to gather and reflect with friends, especially as the church is a community of friends.

As spring comes to these Isles, let us pray for warmer weather sooner rather than later. My prayers remain with you all.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Thoughts from our Chaplain: The kingdom belongs to them!

In Missio (Spring 2014) its National Director, Mgr James Cronin, asks, “And what is your reaction when a baby cries in church?” This happened to me recently. Coming towards the end of the short reflection after my homily, a baby must have thought “this pause is long enough!” and opened up widely his/her lungs. I observed, “To the young mum, who is carrying out her crying baby, I say don’t worry, because Jesus said, “Let the little ones come to me, the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

To me the more babies in church the better! Mgr Cronin opposed his Parish Council’s wish to build a crying room. He reminded us of a PP who advised his congregation on the very first Sunday of the year, “Children are like a New Year’s resolution: they have to be carried out!”

In Africa, when a baby starts crying, mother’s milk comes quite naturally to the rescue! Cultures differ and that has to be taken into account. James asks, “And now what about adults who talk in church?”

Fr Chris writes in the same issue of Missio about a woman who sued her husband for mental cruelty because he had not spoken to her for a year. When the judge questioned him about such reprehensible behaviour he simply replied, “Your Honour, I didn’t like to interrupt her!” Hopefully plenty of food for thought here for Lent.  

Piet Wijngaard, O.Carm.                

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

St Garmon - a little known saint

The National Shrine of Saint Jude is currently selling a number of saints’ prayer cards that were created and printed in the early years of this peaceful place. They are all beautifully prepared, in full colour and mostly A7 size or larger. Most of them include a prayer to the saint on the back. You can purchase these, here.

Most of the saints are well known, but one saint that intrigued us at the Shrine office was St Garmon.  Here is a saint that I suspect most of our readers have not heard about, so we thought we would take the opportunity in this news blog to tell you.

Who was St Garmon?
Well, St Garmon is also known as St Germanus of Auxerre.

Germanus of Auxerre (c. 378 – c. 448) was a bishop of Auxerre in Gaul. He is a saint in both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, commemorated on July 31. He visited Britain in around 429 and the records of this visit provide valuable information on the state of post-Roman British society. In Britain, he helped to fire up Christianity, and made sure that the British church did not break away from the correct teachings.

Saint Germanus's tomb continues to be venerated in the church of the Abbey of Saint-Germain d'Auxerre, which, although now part of municipal museum, remains open for worship at stated times.

The cult of Saint Germanus of Auxerre spread in northern France, hence the church Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois facing the Louvre in Paris.

In the 2004 edition of the Roman Martyrology, Germanus is listed under 31 July. He is described as 'passing at Ravenna, a bishop who defended Britain against the Pelagian heresy and travelled to make peace for Armorica'.

Germanus was even a character in the 2004 movie, King Arthur. He was portrayed by Italian actor Ivano Marescotti.

It seems to me that St Garmon is an excellent saint for us to pray with for the church and Christianity in these isles. Garmon's prayer card can be found here.

Matt Betts

Monday, 3 March 2014

Thoughts from our Chaplain - male & female, He created them.

On the 6, 12 and 20 March the Parish will have reflections on “The Role of Women within the Catholic Church”.

Quite accidentally – or providentially – this week I was emailed an article from Holland by Sr Joan Chittister, O.S.B. For over 30 years she has written about both Religious Life and the role of women in the Church and the world. 

In this article she is very pleased that Pope Francis wants to have a study about women. But she wonders who will be entrusted with this task, asking herself “The same clerical, patriarchal types, who have already done that for two thousand years? …The most important question will be on which anthropology, theology and science will this time the ideas about women be based? Pope Francis has won the hearts of people by acting humbly, simply and pastorally. Just as Jesus he is a man for the poor. However, no one can really speak for the poor, if he doesn’t also come up for the equality of women.” Joan is absolutely convinced that equality is still not there.

I’m sure the three speakers will highlight different aspect of this topic and thus come along to hear more about it and most likely have a very lively discussion on it.

However, let us just keep in mind that right from the beginning equality was there, God creating both Adam and Eve in his own image and likeness.

Piet Wijngaard, O.Carm.