Those of us who are soccer fans will know how eagerly we await the beginning of a new season and the kick off of the first match of the year. No matter how our team fared in the previous season, we are full of hope that this time round we will do better and win all the trophies we dream of. I should perhaps declare that I am an Arsenal fan, so that for me those dreams tend to be shattered early on each year!
On a much more significant note, a wonderful feature of the life of the parish will take place on Sunday as we celebrate Kick-Off Sunday for 2015. Today we will use this occasion to ask our catechists to once again pledge themselves before God and the parish community to serve the children, young people and adults as they each grow in their understanding and love of God. As they do so I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our catechists who make great personal sacrifices in order to serve the people of our parish.
Today too our children and young people will be registered for the Catechetical programme for the year. We ask God’s blessing on each of them as they continue their journey of faith. We also thank their parents who also make sacrifices in order to ensure that their children are given the opportunity to come to know the God who loves and cares for us. Indeed, the family home is the most significant place of all for the young to know the meaning of a life of faith. Again, I pray that each family in the parish will be richly blessed in the year ahead with God’s abundant gifts of faith, hope and love.
For all of us then, this Sunday marks an opportunity to deepen our personal commitment to taking our faith life seriously. We begin this new year with sure hopes that God will continue to do great things for us.
Fr Gerard McCabe C.Ss.R
It is my joy and privilege to take this opportunity to greet each of you personally as your new parish priest here at Holy Redeemer Church. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the way in which you welcomed me at the Masses last weekend. As you know, myself, Fr. Godwin and Fr. Julius, will be the new priests here, given the joyful responsibility of the pastoral care of all of you in the next years. Each of us is looking forward to working together in the parish and hope to treat each person with the respect and dignity which belongs to every person as their personal expression of God’s presence and love in the world.
As I take over responsibility as your new parish priest I would like to take this moment to express our thanks, on behalf of the Redemptorists, to Fr. Sean Wales, for the wonderful pastoral zeal and witness that he has offered here over the last number of years. Fortunately, as our newly elected Provincial, he will continue to reside at the Monastery, and we can guarantee that he will not disappear from sight!
Already, even after only a few days, I have seen that this parish is truly gifted with wonderful active structures, and a countless number of hugely devoted people, committed to service and to bringing the good news of the Gospel to many people. In the coming weeks and months I am going to depend on all of you to continue to foster this Gospel spirit, so that the love of God may be more and more manifest in our very blessed parish.
After 17 years of living in the quiet academic world of lecturing in philosophy I know that I will face many challenges in dealing with the joys and sorrows, the blessings and struggles of daily ordinary parish life. I entrust this new beginning to Jesus our Most Holy Redeemer, that we will all work together to continue to be signs of God’s love in the world.
Fr. Gerard, CSsR.
A few years ago I proposed “silence” as a New Year’s resolution. By that I didn’t mean that we should sow up our lips but rather say less and listen more both in prayer and in daily life.
Last year I suggested arriving on time for Mass -and remaining till the end!!
This year I am very mindful that the whole Church is getting ready for the second Synod on the Family so a relevant resolution might be to get a copy of Pope Francis’ letter called “The Joy of the Gospel” and use it for spiritual reading in 2015. If you are on the internet then the same would apply to the Final Report of the Synod of the Family (2014).
When Pope Francis gave his Christmas address to those who work in the various Vatican Offices he warned them of the “terrorism of gossip” calling it “the disease of cowards who do not have the courage to speak upfront and so talk behind one’s back”. I think it is no use making a resolution not to gossip; that is too vague. What I suggest is something like ” I resolve not to gossip about…………………….” Fill in the blank with the name of someone you like to gossip about and when you have overcome gossiping about that person, change the name to your next victim!
Resolutions have to be made to measure. If you are careless about the Holy Name then a valuable resolution would be never to use the name of Jesus in a profane way in ordinary conversation.
The easiest resolution to make is to resolve not to make any resolutions. But then, that is a resolution and you have broken it already!!
Happy New Year and blessings on your Resolutions,
Fr Sean Wales, C.Ss.R.
On this feast of the Holy Family, it would be a useful exercise for those who surf the web to search out the Final Report (Relatio) of the Synod on the Family. It can be found on the Vatican website or just Google ‘English translation of the Final Relatio of the Synod on the family, and hey presto!!
It would be a valuable task to sketch out a “family spirituality” from that document and it would be a good preparation for the second synod on the Family next year.
The Report is built around three basic ideas: Listening, Looking and Facing.
By Listening in this context is meant taking seriously the human reality of family life in our own context. We start where we are: not with some overarching ideal, but with our feet firmly planted in our own reality. All spirituality tries to be real, down to earth, connected to the people around us. There will be no progress without basic truth.
By Looking is meant Looking at Christ and allowing the “gospel of the family” to seep into our minds and hearts. This idea of the ‘gospel of the family” might need some working at, reading about the family in the Church’s documents and seeing the family in the plan of God.
Facing refers to how we actually deal with the issues which arise: it refers really to the Pastoral Perspectives which throw light on the call to be holy families. This is a huge matter -touching on everything from preparation for marriage, to pastoral care for couples civilly married or living together. It means reaching out to broken families and to people with special needs.
The work of developing a family spirituality is not just a task for theologians; it must echo the lived experience of real families. It is a challenge for us all to let the Gospel of Christ become good news for families.
Fr Sean Wales, C.Ss.R.