Monday, May 27, 2013


Vatican Radio report In order to follow Jesus we must get rid of our culture based on economic wellbeing and of our attraction for the provisional. This was the message highlighted this morning by Pope Francis during Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Addressing those present the Pope invited us to examine our consciences and take stock of the riches that prevent us from getting close to Jesus. The Mass, that was concelebrated by Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, also saw the participation of members of the Pontifical Council for Healthcare Workers led by Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski President of the Council, and a group of collaborators of the Vatican Department of Economic Services, led by Mr. Sabatino Napolitano.

Jesus asked a young man to give all his riches to the poor and then to follow him. But when the young man heard this, he went away sad. Pope Francis’ homily found inspiration in the well-known episode narrated in the Gospel, and he underlined that “riches are an impediment” that “do not facilitate our journey towards the Kingdom of God”. And he pointed out: “Each and every one of us has riches”. There is always, he said, a richness that “stops us from getting close to Jesus”. And this must be singled out. We must all, he continued, examine our conscience and pinpoint our riches because they stop us from getting close to Jesus on the path of life”. And the Pope focused on what he called two “cultural riches”: the first, a “culture of economic wellbeing that causes us to be lacking in courage, makes us lazy, makes us selfish”. Wellbeing, he said, “anaesthetizes us, it’s an anaesthetic”.

“No, no, not more than one child, because otherwise we will not be able to go on holiday, we will not be able to go out, we will not be able to buy a house. It’s all very well to follow the Lord, but only up to a certain point. This is what economic wellbeing does to us: we all know what wellbeing is, but it deprives us of courage, of the courage we need to get close to Jesus. This is the first richness of the culture of today, the culture of economic wellbeing”.

There is also, he added, “another richness in our culture”, another richness that prevents us from getting close to Jesus: it’s our fascination for the temporary”. We, he observed, are “in love with the provisional”. We don’t like Jesus’s “definitive proposals”. Instead we like what is temporary because “we are afraid of God’s time” which is definitive.

“He is the Lord of time; we are the masters of the moment. Why? Because we are in command of the moment: I will follow the Lord up to this point, and then I will see… I heard of a man who wanted to become a priest - but only for ten years, not any longer…” Attraction for the provisional: this is a richness. We want to become masters of time, we live for the moment. These two riches are the ones that, in this moment, prevent us from going forward. I think of so many men and women who have left their land to work throughout their lives as missionaries: that is definitive!”.

And, he said, I also think of so many men and women who “have left their homes to commit to a lifelong marriage”, that is “to follow Jesus closely! It’s the definitive”. The temporary, Pope Francis stressed, “is not following Jesus”, it’s “our territory”.

Before Jesus’ invitation, before these two cultural riches, let us think of the disciples: they were disconcerted. We too can be disconcerted by Jesus’ request. When Jesus explained something, people listened in amazement. Let us ask the Lord to give us the courage to go forward, to rid ourselves of this culture of economic wellbeing, hoping in time – at the end of the journey where He awaits us. Not with the small hope of the moment that will no longer be of any use. And so be it”.

shared from Radio Vaticana

Vatican City, 26 May 2013 (VIS) – “We understand reality better not from the center, but from the outskirts”, Pope Francis said to the thousands of persons awaiting him this morning at the Roman parish of Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah in the Prima Porta neighbourhood on the northern outskirts of the city. Upon arriving, the Holy Father, who was accompanied by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of the Diocese of Rome, and Auxiliary Bishop Guerino Di Tora, greeted the families with children who had been baptized during the year and also heard several confessions. Also with the Pope were his two secretaries, one of whom, one of whom, Msgr. Alfred Xuereb, was celebrating the 29th anniversary of his ordination. The pontiff noted the happy occasion and asked for an applause for Msgr. Xuereb.
At 9:30am, in the square in front of the church, after being welcomed by the parish pastor, Don Benoni Ambarus, he presided at Mass, during which he administered the Sacrament of the Eucharist to 16 children and gave communion to another 28 children who had made First Communion in the past few weeks.
In his homily, warm and conversational in tone, interspersed with questions from and answers to the children present, the Pope recalled Mary’s visit to her cousin Isabel, observing that, as soon as the Virgin heard the news that her cousin was also pregnant, Mary--the Gospel says—“set out in haste”, without waiting or thinking that Isabel “will probably have friends who will help her.” “It’s beautiful to think this about the Virgin, our Mother, who sets out in haste because she has this within her: helping. She goes to help, not to boast and say to her cousin: ‘Listen, I’m in charge now because I am the mother of God!’ No she didn’t do that. She went to help! And Our Lady is always like that. She is our Mother, who always comes in haste when we need help. It would be nice to add to the litanies of Our Lady one that says ‘Our Lady who sets out in haste, pray for us!’ … Because she always sets out in haste, she doesn’t forget her children. And when her children are in difficulty, when they are in need and call upon her, she sets out in haste. And this gives us a security, the certainty of always having our mother near, always at our side. … Our Lady who always comes for us quickly.”
“Our Lady also helps us to understand God well … to understand Jesus’ life,” the pontiff continued, beginning a conversation with the children.
“I ask you, children: Who knows who God is? Raise your hands, tell me. Okay! Creator of the earth. And how many Gods are there? One? But they told me that there are three: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! … They are three in one, three persons in one. And what does the Father do? The Father is the origin: the Father, who created all things, who created us. What does the Son do? … He loves us? And what else? He brings the Word of God! Jesus came to teach us God’s Word. And what else? What did Jesus do on earth? He saved us! Jesus came to give his life for us. The Father creates the world; Jesus saves us. And the Holy Spirit, what does He do? He loves us!”
“Now all the children together: the Father creates everything, He creates the world. Jesus saves us; and the Holy Spirit? He loves us! And this is the Christian life: talking with the Father, talking with the Son, and talking with the Holy Spirit. Jesus saved us, but He also walks with us in life. … And how does He walk? What does He do when He walks with us in life? This is hard. The one who answers it wins the trophy! What does Jesus do when He walks with us? … First of all He helps us. He guides us! Very good! He walks with us, helps us, guides us, and teaches us how to go forward. Jesus also gives us the strength to walk. … When it’s difficult, right? And even with our homework! … He gives us strength. How does Jesus give us strength? … In Communion He gives us strength, He helps us exactly by giving us strength. … But when you say ‘He gives us Communion’, does a piece of bread give you so much strength? … It looks like bread! But it’s not really bread. What is it? It Jesus’ body. Jesus comes into our hearts.”
“Well, let’s all think about this, all of us. The Father gave us life; Jesus gave us salvation. He accompanies us, guides us, supports us, and teaches us. And the Holy Spirit? What does the Holy Spirit give us? He loves us! He gives us love. Let us think about God like this and ask Our Lady, Our Lady who is our Mother, who is always quick to help us, to teach us to understand how God is: how the Father is, how the Son is, and how the Holy Spirit is.”
After Mass, the Pope greeted the parish pastors and returned to the Vatican to pray the Angelus.
Vatican City, 26 May 2013 (VIS) – At noon today, the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.
“Every year, the light of Easter renews in us the joy and wonder of the faith,” Pope Francis said. “We recognize that God is not something vague. Our God is not some smoke. He is concrete; not an abstraction but having a name: ‘God is love.’ Not some sentimental or affective love, but the love of the Father who is the origin of all life; the love of the Son who dies upon the cross and rises again; the love of the Spirit, who renews humanity and the world. Understanding that God is love does us much good, because it teaches us to love, to give ourselves to others as Jesus gave himself to us and walks with us.”
“The Most Holy Trinity is not a product of human reasoning. It is the face with which God revealed himself, not from a cathedra on high, but walking with humanity. It is Jesus who revealed the Father to us and who promised us the Holy Spirit … who teaches us everything that we don’t know, who guides us from within, who gives us good ideas and good inspiration.”
At the end of the Marian prayer, the Pope recalled Don Giuseppe Puglisi, priest and martyr, who was killed by the mafia in 1993 and proclaimed a blessed yesterday, Saturday 25 May.
“Don Puglisi,” he continued, “was an exemplary priest, especially dedicated to pastoral work with young people. Teaching them according to the Gospel, he snatched them away from a life of crime. For this [the mafia] tried to defeat him by killing him. In fact, however, he is the one who won, with the Risen Christ. I think of the many sufferings of the men and women, and even of children, who are exploited by the different mafias, who exploit them by forcing them into work that makes them slaves, with prostitution, and with many societal pressures. The mafias are behind this exploitation and slavery.”
“Let us pray to the Lord,” the Holy Father asked, “to convert the hearts of these people. They cannot do this! Brothers and sisters, they cannot make us slaves! We must pray to the Lord! Let us … praise God for Don Giuseppe Puglisi’s shining witness and let us treasure his example!”
Vatican City, 25 May 2013 (VIS) – Members of the "Centesimus Annus - Pro Pontefice" Foundation, which was established 20 years ago by Blessed John Paul II, were received this afternoon by Pope Francis during their annual international conference. This year's theme is “Rethinking Solidarity for Work: Challenges of the 21st Century”.
In his address to them, the Bishop of Rome noted that the foundation bears the same name as an encyclical published by John Paul II on the centenary anniversary of “Rerum Novarum” and has, therefore, the Church's social doctrine as the scope of its analysis and action. “Rethinking solidarity,” he said, “doesn't mean questioning the recent Magisterium that, in fact, demonstrates ever more its vision and its relevance. Rather, 'rethinking' seems to me to mean two things: first of all combining the Magisterium with socio-economic development that, being constant and quick, always presents new aspects and second, 'rethinking' means going more in depth, reflecting further, to make all of a value's worth emerge—solidarity in this case—which draws upon the Gospel profoundly, that is, upon Jesus Christ and thus contains inexhaustible potential.”
“The current economic and social crisis adds urgency to this 'rethinking'. … It is a phenomenon, like that of unemployment—the lack and the loss of a job—that is spreading like wildfire in large areas of the West and that is alarmingly extending the boundaries of poverty. And there is no worse material poverty, I would like to emphasize, than that which deprives someone of earning their living, deprives them of the dignity of work. By now this 'something wrong' is not just affecting the southern regions of the world, but the entire planet. Hence the need to 'rethink solidarity', no longer as simple assistance to the poor but as a global rethinking of the entire system, seeking ways to reform and correct it in a manner consistent with fundamental human rights, the rights of all men and women. This word 'solidarity', which isn't seen in a good light by the economic world—as if it were a bad word—needs to have its deserved social citizenship restored.”
At the end of his address, the Holy Father reiterated that the crisis is not just an economic or financial one, but rather is rooted in an ethical and anthropological crisis. “Chasing the idols of power, profit, and money over and above the value of the human person has become a basic rule of operation and a decisive criterion of organization. It has been forgotten, and still we forget, that above business logic and the parameters of the market lies human being and that there is something owed to humans as humans, in virtue of their profound dignity: the opportunity to live in dignity and to actively participate in the common good.”
Vatican City, 27 May 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received:
- Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers,
- Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, C.S., president emeritus of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, and
- Bishop Lucio Andrice Muandula of Xai-Xai, Mozambique and president of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique.
On Saturday, 25 May, the Holy Father received:
- Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and
- Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, major archbishop of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars, India.
Vatican City, 25 May 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father:
- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Archdiocese of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, presented by Cardinal Julio Terrazas Sandoval, C.SS.R., upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Archbishop Sergio Alfredo Gualberti Calandrina, previously coadjutor of the same archdiocese.
- appointed Cardinal Francesco Monterisi, archpriest emeritus of the Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls Basilica, as special envoy to the closing celebration of the sixth centenary of the discovery of the statue of Santa Maria della Libera to be held in the shrine of Cercemaggiore, Italy on 2 July of this year.


TODAY IS MEMORIAL DAY IN the USA, a day which occurs every year on the last Monday in May. It is a federal holiday in the USA. Memorial Day remembers the deceased members of the US Armed Forces. It was known as Decoration Day when it originated after the Civil War. A tradition has been to place an American flag at the tomb stone of fallen veterans. 
Here are several prayers released by the Bishops' of the USA for Soldiers and their families:

Prayers in a Time of War

  1. For Troops
    All-powerful and ever-living God,
    when Abraham left his native land
    and departed from his people
    you kept him safe through all his journeys.
    Protect these soldiers.
    Be their constant companion and their strength in battle,
    their refuge in every adversity.
    Guide them, O Lord, that they may return home in safety.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.
  2. Prayer of a Spouse for a Soldier
    God of power and might,
    at every moment and in every place
    you are near to those who call upon your name in faith.
    In marriage you have blessed us with a share in your divine love.
    Look upon my husband/wife and keep him/her in your safekeeping,
    no matter where the road may lead.
    And when the battle is ended,
    bring him/her safely home to those who love him.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.
  3. Prayer of a Son or Daughter for a Parent
    Loving God
    you watch over each and every one of your children
    Hear my prayer for my father/mother
    Be his/her constant companion.
    Protect him/her no matter where he/she goes,
    and bring him/her safely and quickly home to those who love him/her.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.
  4. Prayer of a Parent for a Soldier
    Father all-powerful and ever-loving God,
    from before we were born,
    your love has nurtured and sustained us.
    Hear my prayer for N., my son/daughter.
    Keep him/her safe in time of battle
    and faithful to you, day in and day out.
    Bring him/her safely home to those who love him/her.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.
  5. Prayer for Those who Await a Soldier's Return
    God of all goodness,
    Look with love on those who wait
    for the safe return of their loved ones
    who serve in the armed forces of their country.
    In faith and hope, we turn to you for comfort.
    Grant that we may trust in your mercy
    and send an angel to sustain us as we await their safe return.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.
  6. For Government Leaders
    God of power and might, wisdom and justice,
    through you authority is rightly administered,
    laws are enacted, and judgment is decreed.
    Assist with your spirit of counsel and fortitude
    the President and other government leaders of these United States.
    May they always seek
    the ways of righteousness, justice and mercy.
    Grant that they may be enabled by your powerful protection
    to lead our country with honesty and integrity.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.
  7. For the Safety of Soldiers
    Almighty and eternal God,
    those who take refuge in you will be glad
    and forever will shout for joy.
    Protect these soldiers as they discharge their duties.
    Protect them with the shield of your strength
    and keep them safe from all evil and harm.
    May the power of your love enable them to return home
    in safety, that with all who love them,
    they may ever praise you for your loving care.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.
  8. For our Enemies
    Jesus, Prince of Peace,
    you have asked us to love our enemies
    and pray for those who persecute us.
    We pray for our enemies and those who oppose us.
    With the help of the Holy Spirit,
    may all people learn to work together
    for that justice which brings true and lasting peace.
    To you be glory and honor for ever and ever.
  9. For Courage in the time of Battle
    O Prince of peace, we humbly ask your protection
    for all our men and women in military service.
    Give them unflinching courage to defend
    with honor, dignity and devotion,
    the rights of all who are imperiled
    by injustice and evil.
    Be their rock, their shield, and their stronghold
    and let them draw their strength from you.
    For you are God, for ever and ever.
  10. In a Time of Waiting
    All powerful and ever-living God,
    Guard our churches, our homes, our schools,
    our hospitals, our factories, and all the places where we gather.
    Deliver us from harm and peril.
    Protect our land and its peoples from enemies within and without.
    Grant an early peace with victory founded upon justice.
    Instill in the hearts and minds of men and women everywhere
    a firm purpose to live forever in peace and good will toward all.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.
  11. For Deceased Veterans
    O God,
    by whose mercy the faithful departed find rest,
    look kindly on your departed veterans who gave their
    lives in the service of their country.
    Grant that through the passion, death, and resurrection of your Son
    they may share in the joy of your heavenly kingdom
    and rejoice in you with your saints forever.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.

A Soldier's Prayers

  1. For Families and friends Left At Home
    O God, Protector of all people and nations,
    protect my family and friends at home
    from the violence and evil of others.
    Keep them safe from the weapons of hate and destruction
    and guard them against the deeds of evildoers.
    Grant them your protection and care
    in tranquility and peace.
    Grant this through Christ our Lord.
  2. On the Eve of Battle
    God of power and mercy,
    maker and love of peace,
    to know you is to live,
    and to serve you is to reign.
    Through the intercession of St. Michael, the archangel,
    be our protection in battle against all evil.
    Help me [us] to overcome war and violence
    and to establish your law of love and justice.
    Grant this through Christ our Lord.
  3. For Hope in the Midst of Destruction
    God of mercy,
    you know the secrets of all human hearts,
    for you know who is just and you forgive the repentant sinner.
    Hear my prayer in the midst of destruction;
    give me patience and hope,
    so that under your protection and with you as my guide,
    I may one day be reunited with my family and friends
    in peace, tranquility, and love.
    Grant this through Christ our Lord.
  4. Prayer For Officers In Command
    God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
    Hear my prayer for these soldiers under my command.
    Grant that I may bring the spirit of Christ
    to all my efforts and orders
    as I exercise my authority over those entrusted to my care.
    Inform my judgment with your Holy Spirit
    so that I may make decisions
    in conformity with your law and for the common good.
    Grant this through Christ our Lord.
  5. For Fellow Combatants
    Lord God,
    Remember Christ your Son who is peace itself
    and who has washed away our hatred with His blood.
    Because you love all men and women,
    look with mercy on all who are engaged in battle.
    Banish the violence and evil within all combatants
    so that one day, we may all deserve to be
    called your sons and your daughters.
    Grant this through Christ our Lord.
  6. For the innocent victims of war
    Lord God,
    your own Son was delivered into the hands of the wicked,
    yet he prayed for his persecutors
    and overcame hatred with the blood of the Cross.
    Relive the sufferings of the innocent victims of war;
    grant them peace of mind, healing of body,
    and a renewed faith in your protection and care.
    Grant this through Christ our Lord.
  7. Prayer for refugees and victims of war
    Lord God,
    no one is a stranger to you
    and no one is ever far from your loving care.
    In your kindness, watch over refugees and victims of war,
    those separated from their loved ones,
    young people who are lost,
    and those who have left home or who have run away from home.
    Bring them back safely to the place where they long to be
    and help us always to show your kindness
    to strangers and to all in need
    Grant this through Christ our Lord.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - The Holy Father Francis on 24 May 2013, erected the new diocese of Dolisie (Republic of Congo), with territory taken from the diocese of Nkayi, making it a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Brazzaville, and appointed Rev. Bienvenu Manamika Bafouakouahou, Vicar General of the Diocese of Kinkala as the first Bishop of Dolisie.
Rev. Bienvenu Manamika Bafouakouahou was born in Brazzaville on 16 October 1964. He comes from the village of Pool, not far from Kinkala. He was ordained a priest on August 29, 1993 for the Diocese of Kinkala.
After ordination he held the following positions: 1993-1995: Spiritual Director at the Minor Seminary of the Diocese of Kinkala, in Mindouli, and Cooperator in the Parish of Martyrs in Mindouli; 1995-2000: studies in Canon Law at the University of Salamanca and Cooperator in the Parish of St. Mary Mediatrix (1998-1999); 2000-2003: Pastor of the Parish of Paray (France); 2004-2009: Pastor of the Cathedral of Kinkala; since 2004: Vicar General of the Diocese of Kinkala, Episcopal Delegate for the diocesan Caritas and Coordinator of the College of St. Augustine in Kinkala. (L.M.)



Archbishop Costelloe Delivers Address at Choral Evensong for Christian Unity Week

Homily for Evensong at St George’s Cathedral
When I was a young man still deciding what I wanted to do with my life I used to help out in my local parish in Melbourne by teaching catechism to young people on a Sunday morning. I well remember one particular Sunday, which happened to be Pentecost Sunday, getting all the children together to sing Happy Birthday to the Church. At the time I must have thought it was a good idea although I am not so sure that I would still think so today. Perhaps I have become more sophisticated in my theology, or possibly just more pompous, but I think I would try to find other ways of helping the young people understand that, in some important way, the feast of Pentecost is really the feast day of the Church’s beginnings.
This is certainly one of the perspectives found in Saint Luke’s telling of the story of Jesus, which we find in his gospel and in the Acts of the Apostles. The image of the community of the disciples of Jesus, made up Luke tells us of the eleven apostles, several women including Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus’ brothers, all joined together in continuous prayer, points to the fundamental continuity between the people who gathered around Jesus in faith during his life and the community who gathered in hope and joy after his resurrection. And it was on this community, gathered together in the upper room where Jesus had shared his last meal with the twelve, that the Holy Spirit descended, his presence symbolized by the powerful wind and the flames of fire which came to rest on each of those present.
It was through the power of this divine Spirit that each of those on whom the Spirit descended began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech. And as they spoke, empowered by the Holy Spirit, those who heard them were amazed. “How is it” they said, “that each of us hears these people in our own native language?”
The Scripture scholars will tell us that this Pentecost event represents the reversal of the events associated with the building of the Tower of Babel, which we read about in Genesis chapter 11. In response to the efforts of the people who built a tower on the plains of Shinar high enough to reach to the heavens, the dwelling place of God himself, God descends and confuses their speech so that they can no longer understand each other. The people have sought to be equal with God, dwelling in his own realm, and the result of their pride and their overweening ambition is the loss of their ability to communicate with and understand each other. In the logic of the book of Genesis of course, this act of pride and hubris is the last chapter in a long story of human sinfulness, beginning with the disobedience of Adam and Eve, the subsequent murderous act of Cain who kills his brother Abel, and the gradual sinking into sin of the whole people which leads to the great flood. The biblical writers, inspired by God, have sought to teach us that once sin enters into the human story it brings with it death and destruction, and the poisoning of relationships, both with God and with each other. This poisoning of relationships is powerfully symbolized by the confusing of the languages, and it is this which the great event of Pentecost reverses. The Church it seems is called into being in order to be an instrument of unity and a source of healing for broken relationships, with God and with each other.
St John’s gospel has a different approach to this central mystery of our faith. For the author of the fourth Gospel the outpouring of the Spirit happens on the hill of Calvary as Jesus dies on the cross. Indeed John will express this slightly differently: Jesus does not “die” on the cross. Rather he bows his head in death and in doing so pours out his Spirit on the Church gathered at the foot of the cross, symbolized by Mary the great woman of faith and by the one apostle who remains true to Jesus, the Beloved Disciple, known to us as John, who is the great symbol of true discipleship. The gift of the Spirit, poured out on the Church, empowers the Church to be a community of faith and discipleship. In John’s Gospel, this is who we are and what we are called to become.
What John and Luke have in common, of course, is their absolute conviction that the gift of the Holy Spirit is all about the reversal of the tragic and destructive story of human sinfulness symbolized, in chapter 11 of the Book of Genesis, by the confusion of the languages of the people. For the ancient writer of Genesis, it is not just the confusion of languages of course which is so significant. The effects of that confusion are also far reaching. All the people, we are told, were scattered over the face of the earth. Where the story in the first section of the book of Genesis begins with the first human community, Adam and Eve, living in harmony with each other and with God, it unfolds in a tragic way to the point where that harmony and that unity is destroyed. The people created by God and given to each other no longer cling to each other as one: rather they are scattered across the face of the earth.
The death of Jesus is God’s final answer to this sorry tale of human sinfulness. When the High Priest Caiaphas tells the chief priests and the Pharisees that it is better that one man, Jesus, should die for the people than that the whole nation should perish, the gospel writer, as he so often does, adds a comment of his own. “Caiaphas” he tells us, “did not speak in his own person for it was as High Priest that he made the prophecy that Jesus was to die for the nation”. And then John goes on to add, “and not for the nation only, but to gather together in unity the scattered children of God”. It was sin that had scattered the children of God across the face of the earth and left them unable even to communicate with each other. It would be the death of Jesus which would, finally, destroy the destructiveness of sin and re-establish the unity of God’s children.
It is Jesus himself who, in John’s gospel, explains this to us. “When I am lifted up from the earth,” he says, “I will draw all people to myself”. These words are reminiscent, in some ways, of something which Jesus says in Matthew’s gospel: “Come to me all you who labour and are over-burdened and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light”. And these words, in their turn, bring to my mind at least the words of Jesus which I chose as my motto as the Catholic Archbishop of Perth: “I am the way. I am the Truth. I am the Life.” It is as if Jesus is saying to us. “If you want to know the way, follow me. If you want to know the truth, listen to me. If you want to experience life, unite yourself to me.”
As we gather in St George’s Cathedral this evening on the Feast of Pentecost to sing God’s praises and to thank him for the extraordinary gift of our Christian faith, we do so with his urgent prayer to his Father very much in our minds and hearts: “Father, I pray not only for these but for those also who through their words will believe in me. May they all be one. Father may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.” The prayer of Jesus, and the heartfelt plea of Jesus to us, that we should be one, united to each other in love as Jesus and the Father are united in love, is one we cannot ignore. It leads us to ask the same question which was put to Peter after his Pentecost speech: “What then must we do?” Personally, notwithstanding the many issues of great importance which continue to divide the Christian community both here in Perth and around our country and our world, at least at the theological level, I think the answer is quite simple. It is the answer given by Jesus in Matthew’s gospel: “Come to me”. It is the answer pointed to by John as he retells the story of the death of Jesus: “They will look on the one whom they have pierced”. It is the answer given by Jesus when he tells us where to find the way, how to come to know the truth, where to experience the fullness of life: “I am the way, the truth and the life.” If we who seek to be disciples of Jesus keep our eyes fixed on him and our hearts open to the gift of his Holy Spirit who, he assured us, would lead us into the fullness of the truth, can we not go forward with confidence, not ignoring our differences, not pretending that they don’t matter, but knowing that it is the Lord’s way and not our own that we seek to follow, it is the Lord’s truth and not our own that we seek to grasp, and it is the Lord’s life, the breath of His Holy Spirit, rather than our own, which we seek to welcome into our hearts?
“When I am lifted up I will draw all people to myself.” From wherever we find ourselves at the moment, if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and allow him to draw us more and more to him as the one who stands at the centre of everything, we will find, perhaps even to our surprise, that we are being drawn closer to each other. Like Mary and the Beloved Disciple, gathered together in communion at the foot of the cross, we will meet each other around the cross of Christ and find ourselves anointed by the outpouring of his Spirit of love. Eventually, because it is his work more than ours, and his will more than ours, we will be one as he and the Father are one, and the world will come to know that it is God who sent his Son and it is the same God who sends us, in the name of his Son, to be the living witnesses, signs and bearers, of God’s love for us and for all his people.


Mark 10: 17 - 27

17And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"18And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.19You know the commandments: `Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'"20And he said to him, "Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth."21And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."22At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.23And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!"24And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."26And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, "Then who can be saved?"27Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."


St. Augustine of Canterbury
Feast: May 27

Feast Day:May 27
Born:early 6th century, Rome, Italy
Died:26 May 604, Canterbury, Kent, England
Patron of:England
When Pope Gregory began to plan for the evangelization of England, the land was still largely pagan, although in the southwest there were remnants of earlier missionary efforts. To lead this important mission, Gregory chose Augustine, prior of St. Andrew's monastery in Rome, of which Gregory had been the founder. Nothing is known of Augustine's life until the year 596, when, with a party of Benedictine monks, he set out northwards from Rome. He carried letters of commendation to various Gallic bishops. On reaching Provence, the monks accompanying Augustine grew fearful of the dangers that lay ahead. Alarming stories were told of the ferocity of the pagans and the hazards of the Channel crossing. They persuaded Augustine to return to Rome to ask the Pope's permission to abandon the whole enterprise. Meanwhile the Pope had received word that the common people of England and also some of their chieftains and kings were ready to welcome Christian missionaries. After Pope Gregory had told Augustine this news and had discussed the situation with him further, Augustine rejoined his companions and inspired them with his own courage. Taking with them several Franks to act as interpreters, the party crossed safely over to the Isle of Thanet, in the domain of Ethelbert, King of Kent, whom they formally notified of their arrival and of their purpose in coming.

Ethelbert was still a pagan, but his wife Bertha, daughter of King Charibert of the Franks, had been converted to Christianity. Sitting under a spreading oak, Ethelbert received the missionaries. After listening carefully to their words, he gave them permission to preach to his subjects. He also made over to them a house in Canterbury, with the use of the little stone church of St. Martin, which had stood there since the period of Roman occupation. This had formerly been the oratory of Queen Bertha and her confessor Liud hard. Ethelbert was converted and baptized at Pentecost, 597. After this promising start, Augustine went back to Provence to be consecrated bishop by Vergilius, metropolitan of Arles and papal legate for Gaul. On his return some ten thousand of Ethelbert's subjects were baptized in the Swale River.

Augustine, greatly heartened by the success of his mission, now sent two of his monks to Rome to report to the Pope, and to ask for more helpers. Also he wished to have the Pope's counsel on various problems. When the monks came back to England with a fresh band of missionaries, they brought the pallium for Augustine. Among the new group were Mellitus, Justus, and Paulinus, who was afterwards archbishop of York. With these "ministers of the Word," wrote the Venerable Bede, "the holy Pope sent all things needed in general for divine worship and the service of the Church, viz. sacred vessels, altar cloths, ornaments for churches, and vestments for priests and clerks, and also many books." The latter item was especially important, for the books helped to inspire the great love of learning which characterized the English Church.

Gregory sent to Augustine a plan for developing an ecclesiastical hierarchy and establishing a working organization for the whole country-a plan which was not fully carried out in Augustine's lifetime. There was to be a northern and a southern province, with twelve suffragan bishops in each. In a letter to Mellitus, which is presented earlier, following the life of <St. Gregory>, he gave instruction on other points, showing his administrative ability as well as considerable psychological insight. Pagan temples were, as far as possible, to be Christianized and retained. Consecration rites and feasts of martyrs were to replace the heathen festivals, for, Gregory wisely writes, "he who would climb to a lofty height must go by steps, not leaps."
In 603 Augustine rebuilt and reconsecrated the Canterbury church and the house given him by King Ethelbert. These structures formed the nucleus for his metropolitan cathedral. They were destroyed by fire in 1067, and the present cathedral, begun by the great Lanfranc in 1070, stands on their site. A converted temple outside the walls of Canterbury was made into another religious house, which Augustine dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul. After his death this abbey became known as St. Augustine's.

With the King's support, the Christianization of Kent proceeded rapidly, but Gregory's charge had stated, "All the bishops of Britain we commend to your Fraternity." The survivors of the ancient British or Celtic Church and their bishops had been driven westward and southward into Wales and Cornwall by the Saxon conquerors of the fifth century. Here they had persisted as Christian communities, cut off from the outside world. Although they were sound in fundamental doctrine, some of their usages were at variance with those of Rome. Now, in virtue of his archiepiscopal jurisdiction, Augustine invited the Celtic bishops to meet with him at a spot outside the confines of Wessex, which has since come to be known as Augustine's Oak. In long conferences with the representatives of the Celtic Church Augustine urged them to comply with the customs of the rest of Western Christendom, in particular in the method of determining the date of Easter, and to aid him in converting the pagans. Loyalty to their own local traditions, however, and bitterness against their Saxon conquerors, made them unwilling to agree, even though Augustine performed a miracle of healing in their presence to prove the supernatural source of his authority. They consented to attend a second conference, held in Flintshire, but it too proved a failure. Augustine did not rise to greet his Celtic brothers when they arrived and they felt that he lacked Christian humility. They refused either to listen to him or acknowledge him as their archbishop. It was not until 664, at the Synod of Whitby, that their differences were resolved and ecclesiastical uniformity was established.

Augustine's last years were spent in spreading and consolidating the faith in Ethelbert's realm, which comprised large sections of eastern England south of Northumbria. Sees were established in London and Rochester, with Mellitus appointed bishop over one and Justus over the other. Seven years after his arrival Augustine died, leaving the continuation of his work to others.