Sunday, 25th March 2018

Holy Week and Easter Ceremonies

Posted on 23. Mar, 2018 in Faith, NEWS, Parish News


Holy Week and Easter Ceremonies 

Palm Sunday
We welcome at this Mass Young people from Lumen Christi and congratulate them on becoming ministers of the Eucharist and Church Readers. We wish them well and thank them for their service to the parish.

The Blessing of Palms will take place at all Masses. (Adoration after 12 noon Mass).

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after 10 am Masses.

Morning Prayer
Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 10 am.

Holy Thursday
Mass of the Lord’s Supper 6 pm
(Adoration after this Mass until 9 pm).

Good Friday
Stations of the Cross at 3 pm in Holy Trinity Church, St Lúaráns Church and Sacred Heart Church, Rock.

Passion of the Lord at 6 pm in Holy Trinity Church.

Holy Week and Easter Ceremonies

Holy Saturday
Easter Vigil at 6pm in Holy Trinity Church.

Easter Sunday Masses
9.30 am and 12 noon in Holy Trinity Church.
10.30 am in St Lúaráns Church.
10.30 am in Sacred Heart Church, Rock.

St Alphonsus Ligouri – Lent, Happiness Deriving From Perfect Uniformity

Posted on 21. Mar, 2018 in Featured, NEWS

Acting according to this pattern, one not only becomes holy but also enjoys perpetual serenity in this life. Alphonsus the Great, King of Aragon, being asked one day whom he considered the happiest person in the world, answered: “He who abandons himself to the will of God and accepts all things, prosperous and adverse, as coming from his hands[32].’’ “To those that love God, all things work together unto good[33].” Those who love God are always happy, because their whole happiness is to fulfill, even in adversity, the will of God. Afflictions do not mar their serenity, because by accepting misfortune, they know they give pleasure to their beloved Lord: “Whatever shall befall the just man, it shall not make him sad[34].” Indeed, what can be more satisfactory to a person than to experience the fulfillment of all his desires? This is the happy lot of the man who wills only what God wills, because everything that happens, save sin, happens through the will of God.

There is a story to this effect in the “Lives of the Fathers” about a farmer whose crops were more plentiful than those of his neighbors. On being asked how this happened with such unvarying regularity, he said he was not surprised because he always had the kind of weather he wanted. He was asked to explain. He said: “It is so because I want whatever kind of weather God wants, and because I do, he gives me the harvests I want[35].’’ If souls resigned to God’s will are humiliated, says Salvian[36], they want to be humiliated; if they are poor, they want to be poor; in short, whatever happens is acceptable to them, hence they are truly at peace in this life. In cold and heat, in rain and wind, the soul united to God says: “I want it to be warm, to be cold, windy, to rain, because God wills it.”

This is the beautiful freedom of the sons of God, and it is worth vastly more than all the rank and distinction of blood and birth, more than all the kingdoms in the world. This is the abiding peace which, in the experience of the saints, “surpasseth all understanding[37].’’ It surpasses all pleasures rising from gratification of the senses, from social gatherings, banquets and other worldly amusements; vain and deceiving as they are, they captivate the senses for the time being, but bring no lasting contentment; rather they afflict man in the depth of his soul where alone true peace can reside.

Solomon, who tasted to satiety all the pleasures of the world and found them bitter, voiced his disillusionment thus: “But this also is vanity and vexation of spirit[38].” “A fool,” says the Holy Spirit, “is changed as the moon; but a holy man continueth in wisdom as the sun[39].” The fool, that is, the sinner, is as changeable as the moon, which today waxes and tomorrow wanes; today he laughs, tomorrow he cries; today he is meek as a lamb, tomorrow cross as a bear. Why? Because his peace of mind depends on the prosperity or the adversity he meets; he changes with the changes in the things that happen to him. The just man is like the sun, constant in his serenity, no matter what betides him. His calmness of soul is founded on his union with the will of God; hence he enjoys unruffled peace. This is the peace promised by the angel of the Nativity: “And on earth, peace to men of good will[40].” Who are these “men of good will” if not those whose wills are united to the infinitely good and perfect will of God? “The good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God[41].”

By uniting themselves to the divine will, the saints have enjoyed paradise by anticipation in this life. Accustoming themselves to receive all things from the hands of God, says St. Dorotheus[42], the men of old maintained continual serenity of soul. St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi derived such consolation at hearing the words “will of God,” that she usually fell into an ecstasy of love[43]. The instances of jangling irritation that are bound to arise will not fail to make surface impact on the senses. This however will be experienced only in the inferior part of the soul; in the superior part will reign peace and tranquillity as long as our will remains united with God’s. Our Lord assured his apostles: “Your joy no man shall take from you . . . Your joy shall be full[44].” He who unites his will to God’s experiences a full and lasting joy: full, because he has what he wants, as was explained above; lasting, because no one can take his joy from him, since no one can prevent what God wills from happening.

The devout Father John Tauler[45]relates this personal experience: For years he had prayed God to send him someone who would teach him the real spiritual life. One day, at prayer, he heard a voice saying: “Go to such and such a church and you will have the answer to your prayers.” He went and at the door of the church he found a beggar, barefooted and in rags. He greeted the mendicant saying: “Good day, my friend.”

“Thank you, sir, for your kind wishes, but I do not recall ever having had a ‘bad’ day.”

“Then God has certainly given you a very happy life.”

“That is very true, sir. I have never been unhappy. In saying this I am not making any rash statement either. This is the reason: When I have nothing to eat, I give thanks to God; when it rains or snows, I bless God’s providence; when someone insults me, drives me away, or otherwise mistreats me, I give glory to God. I said I’ve never had an unhappy day, and it’s the truth, because I am accustomed to will unreservedly what God wills. Whatever happens to me, sweet or bitter, I gladly receive from his hands as what is best for me. Hence my unvarying happiness.”

“Where did you find God?”

“I found him where I left creatures.”

“Who are you anyway?”

“I am a king.”

“And where is your kingdom?”

“In my soul, where everything is in good order; where the passions obey reason, and reason obeys God.”

“How have you come to such a state of perfection?”

“By silence. I practice silence towards men, while I cultivate the habit of speaking with God. Conversing with God is the way I found and maintain my peace of soul.”

Union with God brought this poor beggar to the very heights of perfection. In his poverty he was richer than the mightiest monarch; in his sufferings, he was vastly happier than worldlings amid their worldly delights.

Source: Uniformity with God’s Will, chapter ‘Happiness Deriving From Perfect Uniformity” by St Alphonsus Ligouri.
ISBN:   9780895550194 Publisher: Saint Benedict Press, LLC TAN Books.

St Louis de Montfort – Means of Perfection

Posted on 09. Mar, 2018 in Featured, NEWS

The saints always made Our Lord’s life the principal object of their study; they meditated on His virtues and sufferings and in this way they arrived at Christian perfection.

Once Saint Bernard began this meditation he always continued it.

“At the very beginning of my conversion,” he said, “I made a bouquet of myrrh made up of the sorrows of my Saviour. I placed this bouquet upon my heart, thinking of the stripes, the thorns and the nails of His passion. I used all my mental strength to meditate on these mysteries every day.”

This was a practice of the Holy Martyrs too; we know how admirably they triumphed over the most cruel sufferings. Saint Bernard says that the Martyrs’ wonderful constancy could have only sprung from one source: their constant meditation on the wounds of Jesus Christ. The Martyrs were Christ’s athletes, His champions; while their blood gushed forth and their bodies were wracked with cruel torments, their generous souls were hidden in the wounds of Our Lord. These wounds made them invincible.

During her whole life the Blessed Mother’s chief concern was meditation on the virtues and sufferings of her Son. When she heard the Angels sing their hymns of joy at His birth and when she saw the shepherds adore Him in the stable, her heart and mind were filled with wonder and she meditated upon all these marvels.

She compared the greatness of the Word Incarnate to His deep humility and the way He lowered Himself; she thought of Him in His manger filled with straw and then on His Throne in Heaven and in the bosom of His Eternal Father. She compared the might of God to the weakness of a Baby—and His wisdom to His simplicity.

One day Our Lady said to Saint Bridget: “Whenever I meditated on the beauty, modesty and wisdom of my Son, my heart was filled with joy: and whenever I thought of His hands and feet which would be pierced with cruel nails, I wept bitterly and my heart was rent with sorrow and pain.”

After Our Lord’s ascension Our Blessed Lady spent the rest of her life in visiting the places that had been hallowed by His presence and sufferings. When she was in those places she used to meditate upon His boundless love and upon His terrible passion.

Saint Mary Magdalene did nothing other than religious exercises of this kind during the last thirty years of her life when she lived in the prayerful seclusion of Sainte Baume.

Saint Jerome says that devotion to the Holy Places was widespread among the faithful in the early centuries of the Church. They came to the Holy Land from all corners of Christendom so as to impress a great love and remembrance of their Saviour more deeply upon their hearts by seeing the places and things He had made holy by His birth, by His work, by His sufferings and by His death.

All Christians have but one Faith and adore one and the same God, all hoping for the same happiness in Heaven. They have one Mediator Who is Jesus Christ and therefore they must all imitate their Divine Model and in order to do this they must meditate on the mysteries of His life, His virtues and of His glory.

It is a great mistake to think that only priests and religious and those who have withdrawn from the turmoil of the world are supposed to meditate upon the truths of our Faith and the mysteries of the life of Jesus Christ. If priests and religious have an obligation to meditate on the great truths of our holy religion in order to live up to their vocation worthily, the same obligation, then, is just as much incumbent upon the laity—because of the fact that every day they meet with spiritual dangers which might make them lose their souls. Therefore they should arm themselves with the frequent meditation on the life, virtues and sufferings of Our Blessed Lord—which are so beautifully contained in the fifteen mysteries of the Holy Rosary.


Source: The Secret of the Rosary by St Louis de Montfort
ISBN:   9780895550569 Publisher:  Saint Benedict Press, LLC TAN Books.



St Francis de Sales – Lent, How to Resist Minor Temptations

Posted on 27. Feb, 2018 in Featured, NEWS

WHILE it is right to resist great temptations with invincible courage, and all such victories will be most valuable, still there is perhaps more absolute profit to our souls in resisting little ones. For although the greater temptations exceed in power, there are so infinitely more in number of little temptations, that a victory over them is fully as important as over the greater but rarer ones. No one will question but that wolves and bears are more dangerous than flies, but they do not worry and annoy us, or try our patience as these do. While is not a hard thing to abstain from murder, but it is very difficult to avoid all passing fits of anger, which assail us at every moment. A man or woman can easily keep from adultery, but it is less easy to abstain from all words and glances which are disloyal. While is easy to keep from stealing another man’s goods, but often difficult to resist coveting them; easy to avoid bearing false witness in direct judgment, difficult to be perfectly truthful in conversation; easy to refrain from getting drunk, difficult to be absolutely sober; easy not to wish for a neighbour’s death, difficult not to wish anything contrary to his interests; easy to keep from slander, difficult to avoid all contempt.

In short, all these minor temptations to anger, suspicion, jealousy, envy, levity, vanity, duplicity, affectation, foolish thoughts, and the like, are a perpetual trial even to those who are most devout and most resolute; and therefore, my daughter, we ought carefully and diligently to prepare for this warfare. Be assured that every victory won over these little foes is as a precious stone in the crown of glory which God prepares for us in Paradise. So, while awaiting and making ready for a steadfast and brave resistance to great temptations should they come, let us not fail diligently to fight against these meaner, weaker foes.

Source: An Introduction to the Devout Life by St Francis de Sales
ISBN:   9780895552280 Publisher: Saint Benedict Press, LLC TAN Books.

Holy Trinity College Lenten Masses

Posted on 23. Feb, 2018 in Faith, NEWS, Parish News

During the season of Lent mass for individual classes will take place in Holy Trinity Church on:

Monday 11.00 am and 1.30 pm

Tuesday – Friday 9.00 am and 11.00 am.

At each of these masses each student will light a candle and receive a prayer card (“I lit a candle for you”).  After the mass they will pass this candle to the person they have prayed for during this mass.

We ask you to keep all the students in your prayer during Lent.


Lenten Talks

Posted on 23. Feb, 2018 in Faith, NEWS, Parish News

Please find information on our four Lenten Talks being hosted in the Parish of Badoney Lower (Gortin /Rouskey). We wish to extend a warm invitation to all Parishioners to attend.
Mickey Harte – Wednesday 28th February in St Mary’s Church, Rouskey at 7.30pm
The Family – Where we learn we belong
Mickey Harte is a person who needs no introduction. A husband, father, brother, teacher, football manager & strategist and above all, a man of deep faith & integrity. His personal witness to hope has helped him, his family, his county and many communities to take both triumph and tribulation in their stride. He draws his inspiration and strength from God through prayer and encourages others to do likewise.

Davide Barbieri – Wednesday 7th March in St Patrick’s Church, Gortin at 7.30pm
The Family – Where we learn to live with weakness
From a life in darkness, slave to drugs and crime, to a life of light by living as a missionary of joy. Davide Barbieri, Italian born, had spent all his youth from twelve years old to twenty-five years old, on heroin and was affiliated to a group that run crime and pain in Northern Italy. On his way to Emmaus, after attempting suicide five times, he had encountered the Mercy and Love of Jesus in 1996. Since then, in 1999, he opened the Community Cenacolo in Knock, Co. Mayo. He is married with six children. He works for the Aid to The Church in Need Ireland and gives talks in schools, parishes and prisons to give his testimony and would like to give people in pain, hope and joy.

Richard Moore – Wednesday 14th March in St Mary’s Church, Rouskey at 7.30pm
The Family – Where we learn to be kind & cope with acceptance & forgiveness
Richard’s story is an example of where triumph overcomes tragedy. As a young boy Richard had a tragic experience which resulted in his life changing forever. However, he did not allow this experience to hold him back and has gone on to live an inspiring and fruitful life. In 1996 Richard felt the need to harness all that he had learned and put it at the service of humanity, particularly children around the world who have been caught in the crossfire of poverty and thus he set up Children in Crossfire who work in Tanzania and Ethiopia and respond to the needs of young children in the areas of health and education. Richard has been recognised globally for his charity work and is described by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as ‘His Hero and Friend’.

Andrea Begley and Youth Mass – Friday 23rd March in St Patrick’s Church, Gortin at 7.30pm
The Family – Where we learn to cope with challenges
Andrea Begley, originally from Pomeroy, developed a serious eye condition which meant she was registered blind from the age of nine. With the support of her family and local primary school Andrea continued her education, progressing to study law and politics at Queens University Belfast. At 21, she entered the Northern Ireland Civil Service as a graduate entrant and completed a masters in law and governance in 2014. Andrea has always maintained a huge interest in singing and performing, from the early days of the parish choir. Music is definitely a family affair with her aunt being Philomena Begley, the local country music legend. In 2013, with Danny O’Donaghue from the Script acting as her mentor, Andrea won the 2nd Series of the Voice UK and later that year, her debut album reached no. 7 in the UK charts. Since then she has performed across Ireland, the UK as well as China. Andrea also acts as an ambassador for the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) in Northern Ireland, regularly speaking and campaigning for the organisation. Throughout her life Andrea has relied on the support of her family and faith has also played an important part in giving her strength on what has sometimes been a challenging journey.


St Francis de Sales – Lent, Morning Prayer

Posted on 15. Feb, 2018 in Featured, NEWS

BESIDES your systematic meditation and your other vocal prayers, there are five shorter kinds of prayer, which are as aids and assistants to the great devotion, and foremost among these is your morning prayer, as a general preparation for all the day’s work. It should be made in this wise.

1. Thank God, and adore Him for His Grace which has kept you safely through the night, and if in anything you have offended against Him, ask forgiveness.

2. Call to mind that the day now beginning is given you in order that you may work for Eternity, and make a steadfast resolution to use this day for that end.

3. Consider beforehand what occupations, duties and occasions are likely this day to enable you to serve God; what temptations to offend Him, either by vanity, anger, etc., may arise; and make a fervent resolution to use all means of serving Him and confirming your own piety; as also to avoid and resist whatever might hinder your salvation and God’s Glory. Nor is it enough to make such a resolution, you must also prepare to carry it into effect. Thus, if you foresee having to meet someone who is hot-tempered and irritable, you must not merely resolve to guard your own temper, but you must consider by what gentle words to conciliate him. If you know you will see some sick person, consider how best to minister comfort to him, and so on.

4. Next, humble yourself before God, confessing that of yourself you could carry out nothing that you have planned, either in avoiding evil or seeking good. Then, so to say, take your heart in your hands, and offer it and all your good intentions to God’s Gracious Majesty, entreating Him to accept them, and strengthen you in His Service, which you may do in some such words as these: “Lord, I lay before Thee my weak heart, which Thou dost fill with good desires. Thou knowest that I am unable to bring the same to good effect, unless Thou dost bless and prosper them, and therefore, O Loving Father, I entreat of Thee to help me by the Merits and Passion of Thy Dear Son, to Whose Honour I would devote this day and my whole life.”

All these acts should be made briefly and heartily, before you leave your room if possible, so that all the coming work of the day may be prospered with God’s blessing; but anyhow, my daughter, I entreat you never to omit them.

Source: An Introduction to the Devout Life by St Francis de Sales
ISBN:   9780895552280 Publisher: Saint Benedict Press, LLC TAN Books

Important Notice for Viewing TV Stream with Mobile Device

Posted on 09. Feb, 2018 in Faith, NEWS, Parish News

If you are viewing the Parish TV stream online using a mobile device (e.g. iPad) the sound is automatically muted. The streaming provider has informed us that this is necessary to keep within the service agreement set by Apple and other mobile device providers. There is a small ‘speaker symbol’ that must be clicked to turn the volume ‘on’.

St Albert the Great on How the Heart Should Gather Within Itself

Posted on 09. Feb, 2018 in Featured, NEWS

What is more, as is said in the book On the Spirit and the Soul (of St. Augustine), to ascend to God means to enter into oneself. He who entering within and penetrating his inmost nature, goes beyond himself, he is truly ascending to God. So, let us withdraw our hearts from the distractions of this world, and recall them to the inner joys, so that we can establish them to some degree in the light of divine contemplation.

For this is the life and peace of our hearts – to be established by intent in the love of God, and to be sweetly remade by his comforting. But the reason why we are in so many ways hindered in the practical enjoyment of this matter and are unable to get into it is clearly because the human mind is so distracted by worries that it cannot bring its memory to turn within, is so clouded by its imaginations that it cannot return to itself with its understanding, and is so drawn away by its desires that it is quite unable to come back to itself by desire for inner sweetness and spiritual joy.

Thus, it is so prostrate among the sense objects presented to it that it cannot enter into itself as the image of God. It is therefore right and necessary for the mind to raise itself above itself and everything created by the abandonment of everything, with humble reverence and great trust, and to say within itself, He whom I seek, love, thirst for and desire from everything and more than anything is not a thing of the senses or the imagination, but is above everything that can be experienced by the senses and the intellect.

He cannot be experienced by any of the senses, but is completely desirable to my will. He is moreover not discernable, but is perfectly desirable to my inner affections. He cannot be comprehended, but can be loved in his fullness with a pure heart, for he is above all lovable and desirable, and of infinite goodness and perfection. And then a darkness comes over the mind and it is raised up into itself and penetrates even deeper. And the more inward-looking the desire for it, the more powerful this means of ascent to the mysterious contemplation of the holy Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity in Jesus Christ is, and the more interior the yearning, the more productive it is. Certainly in matters spiritual the more inward they are the greater they are as spiritual experiences.

For this reason, never give up, never stop until you have tasted some pledge, as I might say, or foretaste of the future full experience, and until you have obtained the satisfaction of however small a first fruits of the divine joy.

Source: On Cleaving to God by Saint Albert the Great.


Armagh Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes on 12th May to 17th May 2018

Posted on 02. Feb, 2018 in Faith, NEWS, Parish News

Armagh Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes 2018 – The annual pilgrimage to Lourdes will depart from Belfast on Sat 12th May, returning Thurs 17th May. Fare costs €720 including 3 daily meals and coach transfers. For further info contact Sinead 0781082028 or Nuala 07879416977.

Uniformity With God’s Will Part ll by St Alphonsus Ligouri

Posted on 02. Feb, 2018 in Featured, NEWS

The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God’s will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God. St. John of Avila used to say: “One ‘Blessed be God’ in times of adversity, is worth more than a thousand acts of gratitude in times of prosperity[20].”

Furthermore, we must unite ourselves to God’s will not only in things that come to us directly from his hands, such as sickness, desolation, poverty, death of relatives, but likewise in those we suffer from man — for example, contempt, injustice, loss of reputation, loss of temporal goods and all kinds of persecution. On these occasions we must remember that whilst God does not will the sin, he does will our humiliation, our poverty, or our mortification, as the case may be. It is certain and of faith, that whatever happens, happens by the will of God: “I am the Lord forming the light and creating the darkness, making peace and creating evil[21].” From God come all things, good as well as evil. We call adversities evil; actually they are good and meritorious, when we receive them as coming from God’s hands: “Shall there be evil in a city which the Lord hath not done[22]?” “Good things and evil, life and death, poverty and riches are from God[23].”

It is true, when one offends us unjustly, God does not will his sin, nor does he concur in the sinner’s bad will; but God does, in a general way, concur in the material action by which such a one strikes us, robs us or does us an injury, so that God certainly wills the offense we suffer and it comes to us from his hands. Thus the Lord told David he would be the author of those things he would suffer at the hands of Absalom: “I will raise up evils against thee out of thy own house, and I will take thy wives before thy face and give them to thy neighbor[24].” Hence too God told the Jews that in punishment for their sins, he would send the Assyrians to plunder them and spread destruction among them: “The Assyrian is the rod and staff of my anger . . . I will send him to take away the spoils[25].” “Assyrian wickedness served as God’s scourge for the Hebrews[26]‘‘ is St. Augustine’s comment on this text. And our Lord himself told St. Peter that his sacred passion came not so much from man as from his Father: “The chalice which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it[27]?”

When the messenger came to announce to Job that the Sabeans had plundered his goods and slain his children, he said: “The Lord gave and the Lord taketh away[28].” He did not say: “The Lord hath given me my children and my possessions, and the Sabeans have taken them away.” He realized that adversity had come upon him by the will of God. Therefore he added: “As it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done. Blessed be the name of the Lord[29].” We must not therefore consider the afflictions that come upon us as happening by chance or solely from the malice of men; we should be convinced that what happens, happens by the will of God. Apropos of this it is related that two martyrs, Epictetus and Atho, being put to the torture by having their bodies raked with iron hooks and burnt with flaming torches, kept repeating: “Work thy will upon us, O Lord.” Arrived at the place of execution, they exclaimed: “Eternal God, be thou blessed in that thy will has been entirely accomplished in us[30].’’

Cesarius points up what we have been saying by offering this incident in the life of a certain monk: Externally his religious observance was the same as that of the other monks, but he had attained such sanctity that the mere touch of his garments healed the sick. Marveling at these deeds, since his life was no more exemplary than the lives of the other monks, the superior asked him one day what was the cause of these miracles.

He replied that he too was mystified and was at a loss how to account for such happenings. “What devotions do you practice?” asked the abbot. He answered that there was little or nothing special that he did beyond making a great deal of willing only what God willed, and that God had given him the grace of abandoning his will totally to the will of God.

“No, Father,” came the reply. “On the contrary, I returned thanks to God — as is my custom in such circumstances — fully persuaded that God does all things, or permits all that happens, for his glory and for our greater good; thus I am always at peace, no matter what happens.” Seeing such uniformity with the will of God, the abbot no longer wondered why the monk worked so many miracles[31].

[20]St. John Avil. Letters 41.
[21]Isaias 45:6, 7.
[22]Amos, 3:6.
[23]Eccli. 11:14.
[24]2 Kings, 12:11.
[25]Isaias, 10:5, 6.
[26]St. Aug. in Ps. 73.
[27]St. John, 18:11.
[28]Job. 1:21.
[30]ML (Vitae Patrum) 73-402, etc.
[31]Caesarius: Dial. distin. 10: cap. 9.

Source: Uniformity with God’s Will, chapter ‘Uniformity in all Things” by St Alphonsus Ligouri.
ISBN:   9780895550194 Publisher: Saint Benedict Press, LLC TAN Books.

The Necessity of Prayer by St Francis de Sales

Posted on 19. Jan, 2018 in Featured, NEWS

  1. PRAYER opens the understanding to the brightness of Divine Light, and the will to the warmth of Heavenly Love–nothing can so effectually purify the mind from its many ignorances, or the will from its perverse affections. It is as a healing water which causes the roots of our good desires to send forth fresh shoots, which washes away the soul’s imperfections, and allays the thirst of passion.

    2. But especially I commend earnest mental prayer to you, more particularly such as bears upon the Life and Passion of our Lord. If you contemplate Him frequently in meditation, your whole soul will be filled with Him, you will grow in His Likeness, and your actions will be moulded on His. He is the Light of the world; therefore in Him, by Him, and for Him we shall be enlightened and illuminated; He is the Tree of Life, beneath the shadow of which we must find rest;–He is the Living Fountain of Jacob’s well, wherein we may wash away every stain. Children learn to speak by hearing their mother talk, and stammering forth their childish sounds in imitation; and so if we cleave to the Savior in meditation, listening to His words, watching His actions and intentions, we shall learn in time, through His Grace, to speak, act and will like Himself. Believe me, my daughter, there is no way to God save through this door. Just as the glass of a mirror would give no reflection save for the metal behind it, so neither could we here below contemplate the Godhead, were it not united to the Sacred Humanity of our Saviour, Whose Life and Death are the best, sweetest and most profitable subjects that we can possibly select for meditation. It is not without meaning that the Saviour calls Himself the Bread come down from Heaven;–just as we eat bread with all manner of other food, so we need to meditate and feed upon our Dear Lord in every prayer and action. His Life has been meditated and written about by various authors. I should specially commend to you the writings of S. Bonaventura, Bellintani, Bruno, Capilla, Grenada and Da Ponte. 1

    3. Give an hour every day to meditation before dinner;–if you can, let it be early in the morning, when your mind will be less cumbered, and fresh after the night’s rest. Do not spend more than an hour thus, unless specially advised to do so by your spiritual father.

    4. If you can make your meditation quietly in church, it will be well, and no one, father or mother, husband or wife, can object to an hour spent there, and very probably you could not secure a time so free from interruption at home.

    5. Begin all prayer, whether mental or vocal, by an act of the Presence of God. If you observe this rule strictly, you will soon see how useful it is.

    6. It may help you to say the Creed, Lord’s Prayer, etc., in Latin, but you should also study them diligently in your own language, so as thoroughly to gather up the meaning of these holy words, which must be used fixing your thoughts steadily on their purport, not striving to say many words so much as seeking to say a few with your whole heart. One Our Father said devoutly is worth more than many prayers hurried over.

    7. The Rosary is a useful devotion when rightly used, and there are various little books to teach this. It is well, too, to say pious Litanies, and the other vocal prayers appointed for the Hours and found in Manuals of devotion, but if you have a gift for mental prayer, let that always take the chief place, so that if, having made that, you are hindered by business or any other cause from saying your wonted vocal prayers, do not be disturbed, but rest satisfied with saying the Lord’s Prayer, the Angelic Salutation, and the Creed after your meditation.

    8. If, while saying vocal prayers, your heart feels drawn to mental prayer, do not resist it, but calmly let your mind fall into that channel, without troubling because you have not finished your appointed vocal prayers. The mental prayer you have substituted for them is more acceptable to God, and more profitable to your soul. I should make an exception of the Church’s Offices, if you are bound to say those by your vocation–in such a case these are your duty.

    9. If it should happen that your morning goes by without the usual meditation, either owing to a pressure of business, or from any other cause, (which interruptions you should try to prevent as far as possible,) try to repair the loss in the afternoon, but not immediately after a meal, or you will perhaps be drowsy, which is bad both for your meditation and your health. But if you are unable all day to make up for the omission, you must remedy it as far as may be by ejaculatory prayer, and by reading some spiritual book, together with an act of penitence for the neglect, together with a steadfast resolution to do better the next day.

Source: An Introduction to the Devout Life by St Francis de Sales
ISBN:   9780895552280 Publisher: Saint Benedict Press, LLC TAN Books.

Pilgrimage to Fatima and Saint Anthony’s Shrine 2018

Posted on 12. Jan, 2018 in Faith, NEWS, Parish News

Pilgrimage to Fatima and Saint Anthony’s Shrine
Lisbon – 28th June 2018 – 5th July 2018,
Cost £749 including £29.00 insurance and transfers.
All Inclusivefour days Fatima and three days Estoril. For more details contact the Parish Office 86763490.

Uniformity with God’s Will by Alphonsus Ligouri

Posted on 12. Jan, 2018 in Featured, NEWS

Perfection is founded entirely on the love of God: “Charity is the bond of perfection [2];” and perfect love of God means the complete union of our will with God’s: “The principal effect of love is so to unite the wills of those who love each other as to make them will the same things [3].” It follows then, that the more one unites his will with the divine will, the greater will be his love of God. Mortification, meditation, receiving Holy Communion, acts of fraternal charity are all certainly pleasing to God — but only when they are in accordance with his will. When they do not accord with God’s will, he not only finds no pleasure in them, but he even rejects them utterly and punishes them.

To illustrate: — A man has two servants. One works unremittingly all day long — but according to his own devices; the other, conceivably, works less, but he does do what he is told. This latter of course is going to find favor in the eyes of his master; the other will not. Now, in applying this example, we may ask: Why should we perform actions for God’s glory if they are not going to be acceptable to him? God does not want sacrifices, the prophet Samuel told King Saul, but he does want obedience to his will: “Doth the Lord desire holocausts and victims, and not rather that the voice of the Lord should be obeyed? For obedience is better than sacrifices; and to hearken, rather than to offer the fat of rams. Because it is like the sin of witchcraft to rebel; and like the crime of idolatry to refuse to obey [4].” The man who follows his own will independently of God’s, is guilty of a kind of idolatry. Instead of adoring God’s will, he, in a certain sense, adores his own.

The greatest glory we can give to God is to do his will in everything. Our Redeemer came on earth to glorify his heavenly Father and to teach us by his example how to do the same. St. Paul represents him saying to his eternal Father: “Sacrifice and oblation thou wouldst not: But a body thou hast fitted to me . . . Then said I: Behold I come to do thy will, O God [5].” Thou hast refused the victims offered thee by man; thou dost will that I sacrifice my body to thee. Behold me ready to do thy will.

Our Lord frequently declared that he had come on earth not to do his own will, but solely that of his Father: “I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me [6].” He spoke in the same strain in the garden when he went forth to meet his enemies who had come to seize him and to lead him to death: “But that the world may know that I love the Father: and as the Father hath given me commandment, so do I; arise and let us go hence [7].” Furthermore, he said he would recognize as his brother, him who would do his will: “Whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother [8].”

To do God’s will — this was the goal upon which the saints constantly fixed their gaze. They were fully persuaded that in this consists the entire perfection of the soul. Blessed Henry Suso used to say: “It is not God’s will that we should abound in spiritual delights, but that in all things we should submit to his holy will [9].’’ “Those who give themselves to prayer,” says St. Teresa, “should concentrate solely on this: the conformity of their wills with the divine will. They should be convinced that this constitutes their highest perfection. The more fully they practice this, the greater the gifts they will receive from God, and the greater the progress they will make in the interior life.” A certain Dominican nun was vouchsafed a vision of heaven one day. She recognized there some persons she had known during their mortal life on earth. It was told her these souls were raised to the sublime heights of the seraphs on account of the uniformity of their wills with that of God’s during their lifetime here on earth. Blessed Henry Suso, mentioned above, said of himself: “I would rather be the vilest worm on earth by God’s will, than be a seraph by my own [11].’’

[2]Col. 3:14.
[3]St. Denis Areop. De Div. Nom. c. 4.
[4]1 Kings, 15:22, 23.
[5]Hab. 10:5-7.
[6]John 6:38.
[7]John 14:31.
[8]Matt. 12:50.
[9]Bl.H. Suso L 2, c. 4.
[10]St. Teresa, Obras 4:27, 28.
[11]Suso, Serm. 2. (Opera Colon Agrip.)

Source: Uniformity with God’s Will, chapter ‘Excellence of this Virtue’ by St Alphonsus Ligouri. ISBN:   9780895550194 Publisher: Saint Benedict Press, LLC TAN Books.

St Bernard of Clairvaux on the Degrees of Love

Posted on 13. Dec, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

Chapter IX.
Of the second and third degrees of love

So then in the beginning man loves God, not for God’s sake, but for his own. It is something for him to know how little he can do by himself and how much by God’s help, and in that knowledge to order himself rightly towards God, his sure support. But when tribulations, recurring again and again, constrain him to turn to God for unfailing help, would not even a heart as hard as iron, as cold as marble, be softened by the goodness of such a Saviour, so that he would love God not altogether selfishly, but because He is God? Let frequent troubles drive us to frequent supplications; and surely, tasting, we must see how gracious the Lord is (Ps. 34.8).

Thereupon His goodness once realized draws us to love Him unselfishly, yet more than our own needs impel us to love Him selfishly: even as the Samaritans told the woman who announced that it was Christ who was at the well: Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the saviour of the world’ (John 4.42). We likewise bear the same witness to our own fleshly nature, saying, No longer do we love God because of our necessity, but because we have tasted and seen how gracious the Lord is’. Our temporal wants have a speech of their own, proclaiming the benefits they have received from God’s favour. Once this is recognized it will not be hard to fulfill the commandment touching love to our neighbours; for whosoever loves God aright loves all God’s creatures.

Such love is pure, and finds no burden in the precept bidding us purify our souls, in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren (I Peter 1.22). Loving as he ought, he counts that command only just. Such love is thankworthy, since it is spontaneous; pure, since it is shown not in word nor tongue, but in deed and truth (I John 3.18); just, since it repays what it has received. Whoso loves in this fashion, loves even as he is loved, and seeks no more his own but the things which are Christ’s, even as Jesus sought not His own welfare, but ours, or rather ourselves. Such was the psalmist’s love when he sang: O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is gracious’ (Ps. 118.1). Whosoever praises God for His essential goodness, and not merely because of the benefits He has bestowed, does really love God for God’s sake, and not selfishly. The psalmist was not speaking of such love when he said: So long as thou doest well unto thyself, men will speak good of thee'(Ps. 49.18). The third degree of love, we have now seen, is to love God on His own account, solely because He is God.

Source: On Loving God by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

St Anthony of Padua’s Sermon on Love

Posted on 05. Dec, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

“God is love,” we read today at the beginning of the Epistle. (I John iv, 8) As love is the chief of all the virtues, we shall treat of it here at some length in a special way . . . .

If God loved us to the point that he gave us his well-beloved Son, by whom he made all things, we too should ourselves love one another. “I give you,” he says, “a new commandment, that ye love one another (John xiii, 34).” . . . We have, says St. Augustine, four objects to love. The first is above us: it is God. The second is ourselves. The third is round about us: it is our neighbor. The fourth is beneath us: it is our body. The rich man loved his body first and above everything. Of God, of his neighbor, of his soul, he had not a thought; that was why he was damned.

Our Body, says St. Bernard, should be to us like a sick person entrusted to our care. We must refuse it many of the worthless things it wants; on the other hand, we must forcefully compel it to take the helpful remedies repugnant to it. We should treat it not as something belonging to us but as belonging to Him who bought it at so higha price, and whom we must glorify in our body (I Corinthians vi, 20). We should love our body in the fourth and last place, not as the goal of our life but as an indispensable instrument of it.

Source: Les Sermons de St. Antoine de Padoue pour L’année Liturgique. Translated by Abbe Paul Bayart, Paris, n.d.) From Lives of Saints, John J. Crawley & Co., 1954

Parish Prayer Sheet for December 2017

Posted on 05. Dec, 2017 in Faith, Parish News, Parish Prayer Sheet

Parish Monthly Prayer Sheet for December is now available to download.

Prayer Sheet December 2017

The Immaculate Conception, by St Alphonsus Ligouri

Posted on 05. Dec, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

In the first place, it was fitting that the eternal Father should create Mary free from the original stain, because she was his daughter, and his first-born daughter, as she herself attests: “I came out of the mouth of the Most High, the first-born before all creatures;” for this passage is applied to Mary by the sacred interpreters, by the holy Fathers, and by the Church herself, on the solemn festival of her Conception. Whether she be the first-born on account of her predestination, together with her Son, in the divine decrees, before all creatures, as the school of the Scotists will have it; or the first-born of grace, as predestined to be the mother of the Redeemer, after the prevision of sin, according to the school of the Thomists, all agree in calling her the first-born of God; which being the case, it was not meet that Mary should be the slave of lucifer, but that she should only and always be possessed by her Creator, as she herself asserts: “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways.” Hence Mary was rightly called by Dionyshis, Archbishop of Alexandria: One and sole daughter of life: Una et sola filia vitae; differing in this from others, who being born in sin, are daughters of death.

Moreover, it was meet that the eternal Father should create her in his grace, since he destined her for the restorer of the lost world, and mediatrix of peace between man and God; and thus the holy Fathers name her, and especially St. John Damascene, who thus addresses her. Oh blessed Virgin, thou art born to procure the salvation of the whole world! St. Bernard says that Mary was already prefigured in the ark of Noe; for as by the ark men were saved from the deluge, so by Mary we are saved from the ship wreck of sin; but with this difference, that by means of the ark few only were saved, but by means of Mary the whole human race has been redeemed. Hence it is that Mary is called by St. Athanasius: The new Eve, the mother of life: Nova Eva, mater vitae. A new Eve, because the first was the mother of death, but the most holy Virgin is the mother of life. St. Theophanes, Bishop of Nice, exclaims: Hail to thee, who hast taken away the sorrow of Eve. St. Basil calls her: the peacemaker between God and men. St. Ephrem: The peacemaker of the whole world.

Now, certainly he who treats of peace should not be an enemy of the offended person, still less an accomplice of his crime. St. Gregory says, that to appease the judge his enemy certainly must not be chosen, for instead of appeasing him he would enrage him more. Therefore, Mary was to be the mediatrix of peace between God and man, there was every reason why she should not appear as a sinner and enemy of God, but as his friend, and pure from sin.

Besides, it was fitting that God should preserve her from original sin, since he destined her to bruise the head of the infernal serpent, who, by seducing our first parents, brought death upon all men, as our Lord predicted: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head.” Now, if Mary was to be the strong woman brought into the world to crush lucifer, surely it was not fitting that she should first be conquered by lucifer, and made his slave, but rather that she should be free from every stain, and from all subjection to the enemy. As lie had in his pride already corrupted the whole human race, he would also corrupt the pure soul of this Virgin. But may the divine goodness be ever praised, who prevented her with so much grace, to the end that remaining free from every stain of sin, she could overthrow and confound his pride, as St. Augustine says, or whoever may have been the author of that commentary upon Genesis: As the devil was the head from whence original sin proceeded, that head Mary crushed, because no sin ever entered the soul of the Virgin, and therefore she was free from all stain. St. Bonaventure still more clearly expresses the same: It was meet that the blessed Virgin Mary, by whom our shame was to be removed, should conquer the devil, and there she should not yield to him in the least degree.

But it was especially fitting that the eternal Father should preserve his daughter from the sins of Adam, because he destined her for the mother of his only begotten Son. Thou wast preordained in the mind of God, before every creature, to bring forth God himself made man. If for no other reason, then, at least for the honor of his Son, who was God, the Father would create her pure from every stain. The angelic Doctor St. Thomas says, that all things ordained by God must be holy, and pure from every defilement. If David, when he was planning the temple of Jerusalem with a magnificence worthy the Lord, said; “Not for man a house is prepared, but for God;” now, how much greater cause have we to believe that the great Creator, having destined Mary to be the mother of his own Son, would adorn her soul with every grace, that it might be a worthy habitation for a God. God, the creator of all things, affirms blessed Denis the Carthusian, about to construct a worthy habitation for his Son, adorned her with all pleasing gifts. And the holy Church herself assures us of this, when she affirms that God prepared the body and soul of the Virgin to be, on earth, a habitation worthy of his only begotten Son. “Omnipotent, eternal God!” thus the holy Church prays, “who, by the co operation of the Holy Ghost, didst prepare the body and soul of the glorious Virgin mother, that she might become a worthy habitation for thy Son,”

A Most Beautiful Example

There came a woman to one of the houses of our little congregation, in this kingdom, to tell one of the fathers that her husband had not been to confession for many years, and that she did not know how to bring him back to his duties, for whenever she spoke to him of confession he beat her. The father told her to give him a little picture of Mary immaculate. Evening came, and the woman again begged her husband to go to confession; but the man being as deaf as before, she gave him the picture. He had no sooner received it than he said: “When will you take me to confession, for I am ready? ” The wife, at that sudden change, wept for joy. In the morning, he came to our church, and when the father asked him how long it was since he had been to confession, he answered: “Twenty eight years.” “And what has brought you to confession this morning?” said the father. “Father,” he said, “I was obstinate, but yesterday my wife gave me a picture of the Madonna, and immediately I felt my heart changed, so that last night appeared to me a thousand years long, and I thought the day would never come when I might go to confession.” He made his confession with great compunction, changed his life, and continued for a long time to go often to confession to the same father.


Source. The Glories of Mary by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri

The Glories of Mary by St. Alponsus Ligouri (1696-1787) is one of the greatest Catholic books ever written. Easily understood by all, this famous book is undoubtedly the best composite of teaching about the Blessed Virgin Mary ever penned and is one that will lead many souls to a greater love of Jesus through a more intimate knowledge of Mary and her exalted role in our salvation.


St John Vianney – Love of our Neighbour

Posted on 30. Nov, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

All of our religion is but a false religion and all our virtues are mere illusions and we ourselves are only hypocrites in the sight of God if we have not that universal charity for everyone, for the good and for the bad, for the poor people as well as for the rich, for all those who do us harm as much as for those who do us good.

No, my dear brethren, there is no virtue which will let us know better whether we are the children or God than charity.

The obligation we have to love our neighbour is so important that Jesus Christ put it into a Commandment which He placed immediately after that by which He commands us to love Him with all our hearts. He tells us that all the law and the prophets are included in this commandment to love our neighbour. Yes, my dear brethren, we must regard this obligation as the most universal, the most necessary and the most essential to religion and to our salvation. In fulfilling this Commandment, we are fulfilling all others. St. Paul tells us that the other Commandments forbid us to commit adultery, robbery, injuries, false testimonies. If we love our neighbour, we shall not do any of these things because the love we have for our neighbour would not allow us to do him any harm.

Source: The Sermons of the Cure of Ars by St John Vianney

Presentation of Mary by St Alphonsus Ligouri

Posted on 17. Nov, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

The divine mother herself revealed to St. Elizabeth, a Benedictine nun, in the convent of Sconaugia, as we read in St. Bonaventure, that when she was left in the temple by her parents, she resolved on having God alone for her father, and often thought what she could do to please him.

She determined, moreover, to consecrate to him her virginity, and to possess nothing in the world, giving her entire will to God. She also told her that above all the divine precepts to be observed, she placed before her eyes the precept, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God,” and that she went in the middle of the night to pray the Lord before the altar of the temple, that he would grant her the grace to observe the commandments, and to see the mother of the Redeemer born while she lived, praying him that he would preserve her eyes to see her, her tongue to praise her, her hands and feet to serve her, and her knees to adore in her arms, his divine Son.

St. Elizabeth, on hearing this, said to her: “But, my Lady, were you not full of grace and virtue?” and Mary answered her: “Know that I esteemed myself the most vile, and unworthy of divine grace; therefore I prayed thus for grace and virtues.” And, finally, that she might persuade us of the absolute necessity we are all under, of asking from God the graces that we need, she added: “Do you think that I obtained grace and virtue without effort? Know that I received no grace from God without great effort, constant prayer, ardent desire, and many tears and penances.”

But above all, we should consider the revelations made to St. Bridget, of the virtues and exercises practiced by the blessed Virgin in her childhood, in these words: “Even from an infant Mary was filled with the Holy Spirit, and as she increased in age, she increased also in grace. Even from that time she resolved to love God with all her heart, so that he should never be offended by her actions or her words, and for this reason all the goods of earth were despised by her.

She gave all she could to the poor. In her food, she was so temperate that she only took what was absolutely necessary to support life. Discovering then from the sacred Scriptures, that this God was to be born from a virgin to redeem the world, her spirit was so kindled with divine love that she desired and thought only of God; and taking pleasure only in God, shunned the conversation even of her parents, that they might not hinder her from thinking of God.

And more than all did she desire that the coming of the Messiah might be in her day, that she might be the servant to that happy Virgin who merited to be his mother. Thus far the revelation made to St. Bridget.

Source. The Glories of Mary by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri

The Glories of Mary by St. Alponsus Ligouri (1696-1787) is one of the greatest Catholic books ever written. Easily understood by all, this famous book is undoubtedly the best composite of teaching about the Blessed Virgin Mary ever penned and is one that will lead many souls to a greater love of Jesus through a more intimate knowledge of Mary and her exalted role in our salvation.

Prayer Sheet for November 2017

Posted on 09. Nov, 2017 in Faith, Parish News, Parish Prayer Sheet

Parish Monthly Prayer Sheet for November is now available to download.

Prayer Sheet November 2017

St Leo the Great, Love of God.

Posted on 09. Nov, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

The love of God contrasted with the love of the world.

For there are two loves from which proceed all wishes, as different in quality as they are different in their sources. For the reasonable soul, which cannot exist without love, is the lover either of God or the world. In the love of God there is no excess, but in the love of the world all is hurtful. And therefore, we must cling inseparably to eternal treasures, but things temporal we must use like passers-by, that as we are sojourners hastening to return to our own land, all the good things of this world which meet us may be as aids on the way, not snares to detain us.

Therefore, the blessed Apostle makes this proclamation, “the time is short: it remains that those who have wives be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they wept not; and those who rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and those who buy, as though they possessed not; and those that use this world, as though they used it not. For the fashion of this world passes away.”

But as the world attracts us with its appearance, and abundance and variety, it is not easy to turn away from it unless in the beauty of things visible the Creator rather than the creature is loved; for, when He says, “thou shalt love the Lord thy God from all thy heart, and from all thy mind, and from all thy strength,” He wishes us in noticing to loosen ourselves from the bonds of His love.

And when He links the love of our neighbour also to this command, He enjoins on us the imitation of His own goodness, that we should love what He loves and do what He does. For although we be “God’s husbandry and God’s building,” and “neither is he that planteth anything, nor he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase,” yet in all things He requires our ministry and service, and wishes us to be the stewards of His gifts, that he who bears God’s image may do God’s will.

For this reason, in the Lord’s prayer we say most devoutly, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done as in heaven, so also on earth.” For what else do we ask for in these words but that God may subdue those whom He has not yet subdued, and as in heaven He makes the angels ministers of His will, so also on earth He may make men? And in seeking this we love God, we love also our neighbour: and the love within us has but one Object, since we desire the bond-servant to serve and the Lord to have rule.


Source: Sermon LXXXVIII by St Leo the Great.