Sunday, 24 June 2012

Respect begins at Home

I am in receipt of the leaflet, 'Respect begins at Home' from the Family Education Trust. As usual it is full of sound common sense. I have ordered a bundle of them to hand out where they can make a difference and I urge anyone who cares about families in the UK to do the same. From surveys conducted amongst UK adults it appears that 'parents not bringing their children up properly' and 'the breakdown of so many marriages' are cited as responsible for todays social malaise. The leaflet points out that the Prime Minister has also identified these as root problems. However his own government policies militate against stable family life and responsible parenting. It does this in four key areas of policy making; childcare, extended schools, discipline in the home and confidentiality. We are urged to play our part in impressing this upon the government, making parents more aware of how their responsibilities are being threatened and ordering our own homes so that children learn respect. Definately worth a read and worth, action.  

Monday, 18 June 2012

Time for silence

The intrepid pilgrims on the way of St James (see previous post) arrived in Pamplona after 3 days of uphill walking in the Pyrenees and a brutal storm. They are now on route towards Burgos. I know this through just two text messages. It is right that pilgrims ditch technology for the most part and all of us should find some silence in the course of a day. How else will we hear what God is speaking to us? Our world is full of noise and new technologies have increased this dramatically. Televisions, radios, the internet, computer games, CD players, MP 3's, lawnmowers, car engines and horns, sirens, smoke alarms, ice cream vans drown out the birdsong, the breeze, the rustle of leaves, the pitter patter of rainfall, the frog's croak, the bee's buzz and so on. Mobile phones bleep and ring everywhere, even in church during Mass. Have you stopped to listen to silence recently? For it is only in the silence or to the accompaniment of the gentle sounds of God's creation that we can communicate with Him. Take five minutes from your day to seek out silence. This might be easier for the camino pilgrims, on the other hand, they may have other distractions like pain and discomfort. Remember them in your silence.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Way of St James

My daughter and a friend make their way today from Lourdes to St Jean-Pied-du-Port in France. From there on Tuesday 12th June they will begin a pilgrimage of ancient origin along what is known as the way of St James.
The Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St. James (Santiago in Spanish) in Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain. The most popular route, the Camino Franc├ęs stretches 780 km. (nearly 500 miles) from St. Jean-Pied-du-Port near Biarritz in France to Santiago.

St Jean-Pied-du-Port stands at the base of the Roncevaux Pass across the Pyrenees. Pied de Port means ‘foot of the pass’ in Pyrenean French.
Whenever any of our children go on pilgrimage, they carry the intentions of the whole family with them. For our part we try to follow them in prayer and, because they are our children we are always thinking about them. (Our son is currently in Jerusalem too!)
On day one they collect their pilgrim passport and walk the 30k from St Jean-Pied-du-Pont to Roncesvalles. This is the most physically demanding of the whole way. If any reader can spare time to pray for them there is a Pilgrim Prayer below. Our family will pray this every day but they may need more help on day one!

A Pilgrim's Prayer to St. James
This is an ancient prayer that comes at the end of the Pilgrim Mass said along the Camino de Santiago:

 O God, who brought your servant Abraham out of the land of the Chaldeans, protecting him in his wanderings, who guided the Hebrew people across the desert, we ask that you watch over us, your servants, as we walk in the love of your name to Santiago de Compostela.

Be for us our companion on the walk,
Our guide at the crossroads,
Our breath in our weariness,
Our protection in danger,
Our albergue on the Camino,
Our shade in the heat,
Our light in the darkness,
Our consolation in our discouragements,
And our strength in our intentions.

So that with your guidance we may arrive safe and unhurt at the end of the journey and enriched with grace and virtue return safely to our homes filled with joy.

In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Apostle Santiago, pray for us. Santa Maria, pray for us.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

60 Diamond Years

It would be remiss to let this jubilee weekend pass by without wishing Her Majesty a happy celebration on behalf of the Holy Family Guild and  assuring her of our prayers, especially in her much troubled family life and thanking her for her long service to our country.