Saturday, August 27, 2011

St John Vianney - Patron of Parish Priests - a Homily to ponder


If you desire the worship that you give to God to be pleasing to Him and valuable for the salvation of your soul, put it properly into practice. Begin by preparing for holy Mass as soon as you are awake, uniting yourself to all the Masses which are being said at that moment. When the bell rings to call you to the house of God, consider the fact that it is Jesus Christ Himself calling you. Start out immediately, so that you will have a moment to meditate upon the tremendous act at which you are about to assist. Do not say, like those people who have no religion, that you have plenty of time, that you will be there soon enough. But say, rather, with the Holy Prophet: "I rejoice when I am told that we are going into the house of the Lord."
When you come out from your home, think about what you are going to do and what you are going to ask of God. Begin by clearing your mind of earthly matters so that you will be thinking of God only. Avoid all sorts of unnecessary conversations which serve no other purpose than to make you hear Mass badly. When you enter the church, recall to yourself what the holy patriarch Jacob said: How awesome is this place! How holy it is! It is truly the house of God and the gateway to heaven! When you get to your place, humble yourself profoundly as you think of your own unworthiness and the greatness of your God, who, nevertheless, in spite of your sins, wishes to suffer you in His holy presence. Make an act of faith with all your heart. Ask God to give you the grace to lose none of the many favours which He grants to those who come here with good dispositions. Open your heart so that the word of God may enter it, take root in it, and bear fruit there for eternal life. Before leaving the church, do not fail to thank God for the graces He has just given you and go straight home, fully occupied with the thoughts of what you have seen and heard.
Yes, my dear children, if we conducted ourselves in this manner, we should never come away from the services of the Church without being filled with a fresh desire for heaven and a new disgust for ourselves and the things of this earth. Our hearts and our minds would be given over altogether to God and not at all to the world. Then the house of God would truly be for us the gateway to Heaven. That is what I desire for you.
Click here to read more sermons by St John Vianney

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Queenship of Mary

Mary’s queenship has roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced that Mary’s Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary “mother of my Lord.” As in all the mysteries of Mary’s life, Mary is closely associated with Jesus: Her queenship is a share in Jesus’ kingship. We can also recall that in the Old Testament the mother of the king has great influence in court.

The Annunciation by Andrea Rublev

Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.

I am inspired by the Annunciation Icon. At the moment I have on loan a 100-year-old icon of the Annunciation. What a privilege it is to have it in my home today on this the feast of the Queenship of Mary the Mother of God.

On Saturday Wendy and I gave a talk on Iconography. We had nine of our icons on display but the feature  was the Annunciation (the one that is 100-years-old) based on Rublev's and the one Wendy has just finished writing.

I am often amazed by the beauty of Rublev's icons. There are several other beautiful Icons written of the Annunciation but none as crafted as well. His Icon of the Trinity is also an amazingly gentle work. If you can find it, watch the film Andrei Rublev made by the late Russian film maker, Andrei Tarkovsky. You need a strong stomach as it is a very graphic movie depicting the harsh times of the 13-1400s. But Rublev wanted to show that God is a God of LOVE - not anger and retribution. The same can be said of the Icon of the Annunciation. The stunningly soft colours contrast with the dramatic moment in time of the announcement of the coming of the Lord.

One of the finest books on Iconography I have found is Guillem Ramos-Poqui's The Technique of Icon Painting - a must for the would be iconographer.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Prayer a Conversation with God

All our acts of prayer are the natural flow of our relationship with and love for God.
Prayer and indeed all we do forms part of our response to God’s call.
In this world of high pressures, many of us are looking to take time out to look inside ourselves and discover another meaning to our lives.
In relationships we need to put in the hard yards, as in a marriage, to live the mundane routine of the day to behold the beauty of the special moments.
We need to set ourselves time to pray, to be in relationship with God, to Listen to God’s voice for us.
I love this quote:-
When we pray asking for something, the main focus is on the conversation,
not on whether we receive or not.
As we are in conversation in our daily lives with others so we are with God.  It is not a supply and demand relationship.
It is a relationship of love not manipulation.
Being in right relationship with each other

Novena through St Mary of the Cross MacKillop


For: ...................

The Novena will commence on ________________
and conclude on _______________

A novenea is a prayer repeated for nine consecutive days, or once a week for nine weeks. It can be prayed by individuals or groups. A Statement of Faith should precede the saying of the prayer each time.

The following is an example of such a statement of faith:

We believe in God’s everlasting love for all
and through faith and great confidence in that love
our petition will be granted.
Therefore, in the desire to promote
God’s greater honour and glory,
we pray, through the intercession of St Mary of the Cross,
for (insert name)'s recovery.

The statement of faith is followed by this prayer:

Most loving God,
we thank you for the example of
St Mary of the Cross,
who, in her living of the gospel,
witnessed to the human dignity of each person.
She faced life’s challenges with faith and courage.
We pray, through her intercession, for our need –
(insert name)'s return to good health.

We make this prayer through Jesus, the Lord.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pope Paul VI, 6 August 1977 - 33rd anniversary of death

I meant to add this a little while ago but...
Pope Paul VI, 16 October 1977, photo by Sue
The Following is from Rome Reports:
16 October 1977: Mass for the 80th birthday of the Holy Father Paul VI.
I was privilaged to be at this Mass with my mother in 1977.
It was amazing to be in such a magnificent setting - St Peter's Basilica - on such an auspicious occasion. Would you believe mum and I did not realise the significance of the date until we arrived home and saw a photo in the Woman's Weekly - OK so I am blonde!! 
August 6, 2011. ( It was 33 years ago, when Pope Paul VI, passed away at the summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. It was the summer of August 6th, 1978. Before becoming pope his name was Battista Montini. He was born in a town near Brescia, Italy in 1897. After entering the seminary, he was ordained at the age of 23.

Before heading the Church,  Paul VI attended several universities and had degrees in Theology, Canon Law and Civil Law.  He became a cardinal in 1962 under the rule of Pope John XXIII. He then joined the Second Vatican Council, which he would eventually chair.

Roughly a year after becoming a cardinal he was elected pope at the age of 66.

His pontificate is mostly known for the key changes he made to the Second Vatican Council. His encyclicals “Populorum Progressio” and “Humanae Vitae” reflected his interest in solving problems of society at that time.

In the summer of 1978 his health deteriorated quickly. He died at the age of 81.
His beatification process is already open.

Me in Rome 1977, my how we change!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

St Mary at Murwillumbah NSW

St Mary of the Cross MacKillop Icon at St Patrick's Murwillumbah NSW
In July I was able to visit Mount St Patrick's College, Murwillumbah NSW where an Icon of St Mary of the Cross which I wrote in March has been installed. It is in an alcove positioned in the walkway of the college.
The Icon is mounted on the beautiful red wood timber from the local area.
Principal Tony Daley took me around and showed me the rich history of the school. The surrounds of the college are absolutely beautiful, nestled in the shadow of Mt. Warning.

The picturesque township of Murwillumbah is located in the centre of the stunning Tweed Valley on the far north coast of New South Wales, just 15 minutes from the pristine beaches of the Tweed Coast, 30 minutes south of the Gold Coast and 40 minutes north of Byron Bay. Watched over by the awe inspiring majesty of Mt.Warning, and surrounded by 5 World Heritage National Parks, the countryside around Murwillumbah is a blend of rolling green hills and gently flowing rivers, punctuated with pockets of sugar cane, banana plantations, hobby farms and small village communities.

Mount St Patrick's College Murwillumbah NSW

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Blessings on the Feast of St Mary of the Cross

Icon of St Mary of the Cross, St Benedict's Narrabundah ACT
On Monday I was able to go to St Christopher's Cathedral, Canberra ACT and sit with the Icon of St Mary of the Cross on her first feast day.
I then went to St Benedict's Narrabundah, where a copy of the image is enthroned. When I arrived the church was quiet, several people were present and the Blessed Sacrament was exposed for adoration. St Benedict’s is a Eucharistic Centre in Canberra. The parish is administered by the Missionaries of God's Love under the guidance of Fr Ken Barker. It has a very prayerful presence. It is a place of devotion, adoration, praise and peace.
As I gazed at the image of St Mary of the Cross the rope hanging from the stump attracted my attention. The rope breaks into the gold background. The gold is representative of heaven. The rope signifies the activities of St Mary - she travelled the country on horseback, buggy and boat. She broke into the poverty of people’s lives and brought hope - she broke into heaven by her love in action. She cared for the sick, the uneducated, the poor and destitute, she stepped out of her comfort zone and made a difference. It is not rocket science – but it does take courage, determination and TRUST. As Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on water, we too are called to step out and keep our eyes fixed on Christ, trusting in him as we journey through the challenges of each day.
Mary MacKillop was born in Melbourne (Australia) in 1842 and died in Sydney on 8 August 1909. She took the religious name Mary of the Cross. Responding to the isolation of colonial families, she pioneered a new form of religious life to provide education for their children. She and her sisters shared the life of the poor and the itinerant, offering special care to destitute women and children. She is remembered for her eagerness to discover God's will in all things, for her charity in the face of calumny, and for her abiding trust in God's providence. From the Text of the Mass for the Solemnity of St Mary of the Cross.

Monday, August 8, 2011

St Mary of the Cross MacKillop: first feast day, August 8th

As you all know today is the first official feast day of our Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop. We all recall the excitement of the canonisation in Rome a year ago. I was fortunate enough to be there and experience the unique blessing of the moment when the world recognised an Australian as a saint. Over the past year there has been much talk and excitement about Mary and who she really was. People have been interceding and saying we will do novenas to Mary for all sorts of people who are sick. Have they been answered?
You tell me? My question today is, what has Mary meant for you in these past 12 months? What has changed in your life because of Mary? I know some things have changed in my life. When I see the icon of Mary in St Christopher’s Cathedral in Canberra my spirit soars and I have a real connection to this woman, who walked on Australian soil.
I know many people who have told me they go into the Cathedral and talk to Mary as I do. She had a real connection with the poor, the sick, the orphans; she wanted to make a difference in people's lives and to lift them up from the lowly status they were in so they could be the people God wanted them to be.
So, again, what has Mary meant to you in the past year?
Please write a comment and tell me, so we can inspire other women to tell their stories. That is what Mary of the Cross would want.