This week in the Church in Australia is Vocations Awareness Week. In one sense the idea of vocations awareness is taking opportunities, wherever and whenever they present themselves to explore the many and varied ways that people are called to live out their Christian life. Of course this includes the call to Christian marriage and the call to live the single life with authenticity and integrity. The particular focus of Vocations Awareness Week however, is to highlight the call or vocation to the Priesthood, the Permanent Diaconate and Religious Life.
Over the last month I have felt somewhat overwhelmed by all of the sports news and sports broadcasts. Perhaps it was a way of dealing with the storms and rain that were recently bucketing down on Sydney or it may have been that I was looking for a distraction from the political storm that eventually resulted in a past Prime Minister being reinstalled.
For those for whom a little sport is far too much I apologise but I do invite you to stay the distance with this blog. The timeframe started with Australia qualifying for the Football World Cup after a brilliant header by Josh Kennedy. Then the British and Irish Lions soundly beat the Wallabies. Next up the coach of the Australian Cricket team was sacked and replaced by Boof Lehmann and we were nearly saved in the first Ashes Test by a couple of tailenders.
I find subway stations fairly gloomy places so I am often looking for something to distract my sense of impatience as I wait for the already crowded train to arrive. Running through my mind are questions such as ‘will I get a seat?’ and ‘will I be pushed out of the way by the masses of passengers as they all strive to get in the carriage first?’ Staking out a location on the platform where you think a door might open is an important task. In the midst of all this musing, last night at Wynyard (Sydney), while waiting for the 5.28 Glenfield via Regents Park I was taken aback by one of the billboards that line the wall on the other side of the tracks.
Two separate things have come recently into my horizon. The first was the news of the death of the celebrated keyboard player for the 1960’s rock group The Doors; Ray Manzarek.
Legend has it, or at least according to Wikipedia, The Doors formed when Ray met Jim Morrison at Venice Beach in Los Angeles. Morrison and Manzerak had studied to film together at UCLA but it wasn’t until a chance meeting between them that The Doors formed. Venice Beach has lost some of its gloss but the soulful rhythms of The Doors continue to attract fans from across generations. It is claimed that Manzarek’s keyboard solo in Riders on the Storm is the best of its kind.
On a recent trip to Melbourne on the city Metro railway stations I observed images from the animated You Tube clip that has gone viral with over 47 million hits, Dumb Ways to Die. Seeing the images I was reminded of the catchy video clip and more importantly reminded of its rail safety message. One thing led to another and my mind wandered to another You Tube clip that one of my colleague’s told me that she had used with a group of children preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. This video clip, The Fruits of the Spirit did not go viral but I am reliably informed that the children loved it, sang it with gusto and learnt its message. So what do we mean by the Fruits of the Spirit?
This Sunday the Church celebrates Trinity Sunday, a celebration of the three persons in one God. This feast led to my thinking about The Trinity, Cardinal Newman and the Oratory…
On April 12 this year there was a press release from the Catholic Communications Office in Brisbane that probably passed under most people’s radar. The press release announced that a Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri was to be established within the Archdiocese of Brisbane by early 2016. The what?, of who? I hear you say. And anyway what has any of that got to do with the Trinity? I will let you do the Google search on St Philip Neri and the Oratorians.
The confessional is not a “laundromat” that removes sins. It is not “a torture session” where beatings are inflicted.
These evocative sentences were part of a homily delivered by Pope Francis at a recent Mass in his home chapel at Saint Martha’s House.
Mary: What’s the big deal?
Several years ago I asked myself, ‘Why do I need to pray to Mary? How will it benefit my spiritual pursuit to Jesus?’
Being a cradle Catholic doesn’t mean you automatically understand everything the Church teaches. Becoming Catholic, as you would appreciate is a life long journey.
I was recently in Los Angeles attending a conference. On one of the free evenings a small group of conference delegates gathered for dinner. In the party there were two Canadians, an American and two Australians. Our choice of fare, however, was Mexican. In this very North American context at one stage the conversation moved to indicators of culture and national identity when the discussion took up the topic of ANZAC Day. The Australians at table found it difficult to communicate the significance of this day. “You do what?” Was the startled response from our North American colleagues. They continued quizzically, “You remember in a special way a day you LOST a military battle?”
Hi, I’m Angelica Fricot. I have just joined the team at the National Office for Evangelisation – Catholic Enquiry Centre, as the New Evangelisation Projects Coordinator. Hope you enjoy my first blog post and I look forward to getting to know you all!
I don’t know about you but I always get super happy and inspired when I see signs or symbols of Christ in public places. For example, at the shops when I walk past a ‘stranger’ wearing a crucifix, instantly I feel connected to that person. Or when I notice a car in the car park with a cross hanging off the review mirror. Or when travelling and I unexpectedly stumble upon a church. But one of the moments I love most is when I spot Christ on the train.
The process of electing a new Pope occurs in what is called a Papal Conclave. Cardinals from all over the world gather together to meet in the famous Sistine Chapel. Only Cardinals under the age of 80 can vote in the conclave. For a pope to be elected there needs to be a two-thirds majority.
The actual process of electing the pope requires that each cardinal then walks to the altar, holding up his folded ballot so it can be seen, and says aloud: “I call as my witness Christ the Lord who will be my judge, that my vote is given to the one who before God I think should be elected.” He places his ballot on a plate, or paten, and then slides it into a large chalice.
Every year during Lent, one will invariably hear a Catholic being asked “so what have you given up for Lent?” Since this is probably a mysterious question for most non-Catholics, in today’s post I will be restoring your peace of mind by revealing what it means.
Lent is a time of penance:
On Ash Wednesday, the priest marks the forehead of the Catholic with ashes in the shape of a cross, and says either “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel”, or “Remember man that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return”.
The custom of making pancakes on the day before Ash Wednesday has a rich history. In a practical way however it comes from an English tradition of using up fat, eggs and dairy before the fasting and abstinence of Lent begins. I like a short stack with butter and maple syrup.
It appears that as early as the middle of the second century Christians observed a Fast of 40 Days. This Fast however was preceded by Carnival, a brief season of feasting, costumes and merrymaking. Carnival comes from the Latin words carne vale, meaning ‘farewell to the flesh.’ Back then the Lenten Fast included not eating meat.
The Catholic Enquiry Centre answers more than a thousand questions each year about the Catholic faith and practise. These come from people who are not Catholic but interested in finding out about the faith, from those who have a background in another Christian denomination or another faith, and from those who are Catholic and want to deepen their understanding of their faith.
Our enquirers are offered a copy of Call and Response: An Introduction to the Catholic Faith, provided free of charge through the generosity of donors to the Catholic Enquiry Centre.