Monday, 28 November 2011

Advent - a time for spiritual preparation

Advent is such a lovely time for families, especially those with young children. It is important that we keep Advent special for them. It is not Christmas yet and somehow we should battle against the commercialism of the modern day Christmas to explain and act out Advent. We prepare our hearts and souls first and foremost to welcome the Word made flesh. It is a time of prayer, small sacrifices, sacramental confession, giving, reading from the Bible.
In doing some of this we can also prepare practically - we can read from the Bible in order to produce a Jesse tree with children (see my post for 2010), we can fill a shoebox to go to children in poorer countries and pray for whoever will receive it throughout Advent, we can have a jar at home to fill with money left from small sacrifices which can then go to a worthwhile cause. We should of course mark Advent with a table wreath and/or calendar, aquaint ourselves with the Christmas story by preparing a crib and maybe involve children in making Christmas cards and decorations to go up when Christmas does arrive! If children are in school they may be in a nativity play and Christmas inevitably does arrive sooner than it should but try to keep the season of Advent first at home. It will be so important for them to take this tradition forward when they are parents. Happy Advent!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

And finally!

"But the Church firmly believes that human life, even if weak or suffering, is always a splendid gift of God's goodness." ( #30 FC)
"When couples, by means of recourse to contraception, separate these two meanings (unitive and procreative) that God the Creator has inscribed in the being of man and woman and in the dynamism of their sexual communion, they act as 'arbiters' of the divine plan and they manipulate and degrade human sexuality" (#32 FC)
"parents have been appointed by God himself as the first and principal educators of their children and their right is completely inalienable" (#40 FC)

There is so much more in this document of value. Why not read it or reread it during Advent?
Also please feel able to comment on your favourite section for our planned publication

Friday, 25 November 2011

And some more!

""When marriage is not esteemed, neither can consecrated virginity or celibacy exist; when human sexuality is not regarded as a great value given by the Creator, the renunciation of it for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven loses its meaning" (#16 FC)
"To bear witness to the inestimable value of the indissolubility and fidelity of marriage is one of the most precious and most urgent tasks of Christian couples in our time" (#20 FC)
"The Christian family....can and should be called the 'domestic Church'" (#21FC)
"Family communion can only be preserved and perfected through a great spirit of sacrifice" (#21 FC)

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Continuing dip into Familiaris Consortio!

"In this sacrifice there is entirely revealed that plan which God has imprinted on the humanity of man and woman since their creation; the marriage of baptized persons thus becomes a real symbol of that new and eternal covenant sanctioned in the blood of Christ" (#13 FC)
"Spouses are therefore the permanent reminder to the Church of what happened on the Cross; they are for one another and for the children witnesses to the salvation in which the sacrament makes them sharers" (#13 FC)
"When they become parents, spouses receive from God the gift of a new responsibility. Their parental love is called to become for the children the visible sign of the very love of God" (#14 FC)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Continuing the Birthday celebrations of Familiaris Consortio!

"Willed by God in the very act of creation, marriage and the family are interiorly ordained to fulfillment in Christ and have need of his graces in order to be healed from the wounds of sin and restored to their beginning, that is, to full understanding and the full realization of God's plan." (#3 FC)
"Modern culture must be led to a more profoundly restored covenant with divine Wisdom. Every man is given a share of such Wisdom through the creating act of God. And it is only in faithfulness to this covenant that the families of today will be in a position to influence positively the building of a more just and fraternal world." (#8 FC)
"The institution of an interior requirement of the covenant of conjugal love which is publicly affirmed as unique and exclusive, in order to live in complete fidelity to the plan of God, the Creator. A person's freedom, far from being restricted by this fidelity is secured against every form of subjectivism or relativism and is made a sharer in creative Wisdom." (#11 FC)

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Happy 30th Birthday Familiaris Consortio!

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II, 'Familiaris Consortio' (The Christian Family in the Modern World) For members of the Holy Family Guild this is a very important document. Whilst rereading it today I couldn't help but ponder how its content  might have changed society over the past 30 years if it had even been embraced by all Catholic families, not to mention Christian families, Bishops and lawmakers.
Sad that this anniversary has not been better marked in the Catholic world I intend to blog several important sections from it over the coming days. I also invite readers to comment on their favourite or most meaningful paragraph for inclusion in a publication to mark today's landmark.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

All Saints Bonfire and BBQ 2011

More than 30 people representing 8 families met together at the Sacred Heart and English Martyrs Church in Thornley, Co. Durham to celebrate the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls and provide an alternative focus to the now commercialised and paganised festival of Halloween and the anti-Catholic roots of Guy Fawkes. It gave children an opportunity to dress up as one of the real heroes of our faith and enjoy a fire and fireworks alongside other Catholic children. Our numbers were swelled further by parishioners who came along to watch the saints parade, which this year as last year, now includes adults in costume. Through the dressed characters we heard the words of SS Cosmos and Damien, St Juan Diego, St Veronica, St Longinus and Clare of the Cross, St Bernadette, two Blessed Jacintas of Fatima and Blessed Junipero Serra among others. We also had benediction, a talk on the family by Father Gary Dickson, a procession to the Grotto to honour the Holy Souls followed by fun around the fire, mulled wine, delicious burgers and a variety of desserts. I hope we brought back a little of the spirit of Catholic England when these would have been widely celebrated major feast days. Judging by the comments from many of those attending, they are grateful that even a small number are keeping such traditions alive. It certainly pleased me to see that a family who moved out of the area a few years ago had introduced a similar celebration in their home and neighborhood. I include the photo of their children among those from our day. Thank you once again to those parents who put so much effort into preparing for this day and making it such a special time for children especially, as well as a day that is valued by the adults.