Well our Diocesan Assembly has finished it’s official weekend, and what a great time it was!
A gathering of so many faith filled and enthusiastic people can only do good, and I really believe that this event and the work that will occur after this event will change the face of our diocese forever.
I gained a lot form all of the speakers, the dinners, the forums and the time together as a diocesan assembly. What a time was had by all, and I can only imagine what good will occur if the enthusiasm and the fun is transferred from the Diocesan assembly to our parishes.
We now await the next stage, a pastoral letter from Bishop Michael.
Thanks to all who allowed this to happen, and especially to Bishop Michael, for suggesting, implementing and allowing this to occur. The Holy Spirit is truly moving and we will see a awakening in the Diocese of Bathurst.
The Dinner on Saturday night. Great evening and a great time to be part of the Bathurst Diocese.
Today has been a great day, we spoilt Anna and had a lovely day visiting and being visited by our mothers’s.
We also discovered a great new winery on the outskirts of Bathurst, who specialises in Italian style wine and grapes. We are really looking forward to taking some family there later on in the year. It has a great view and some great wine.
Vale Creek Wines.
Plus, here are some photos Anna did for my mother as a gift for Mothers’s day. Great idea and Fun I think!
Overall there has been a positive response to the freshness of our new Holy Father. Francis is a man of faith and a man of action. He has lived and worked in a large Archdiocese that has experienced tough times and has needed guidance.
A lot has been said about his differences to Benedict, which is true, there are differences, but they both brought something to the role that obviously the Holy Spirit inspired within the cardinals.
It is good for us to see the differences, but it is also important to see the chances to encounter Christ. While different they express the same God. The Same Christ; who died on the cross and rose again.
The Catholic Church is a big Church, from the poverty of Franciscan friars, to the intellectual rigour of the Jesuits, Dominicans and well formed clergy and laity, the Catholic Church is able to express a faith that is timeless and ever new.
The particular part that is emphasised at certain times, is needed, it helps the truth to be seen, Francis is emphasising areas that need reflection, they have always been there, even with Benedict, we just needed someone to point them out.
Thanks Holy Father.
Anna and I watched Skyfall last night, the latest James Bond film. Within the movie there is a scene where M finds the spot where Priests and other Catholics escaped and hid during the persecution of the Catholic Church during the reformation.
Just the idea that people had to hide and fight for their faith like was suggested in Skyfall, made me realise how different and yet how similar things are today.
We may not have to fear that we will loose our lives, but it is a challenge to be a Catholic. I am not suggesting that it is good to suffer for your faith. But I will suggest it can be normal to suffer for your faith to some degree.
The people that had to hide during the reformation, had a choice, they could have turned their back on the faith they held, or they could hold firm at any cost.
That’s what lots of people did, and surely that’s what we are being asked to do today. Challenging but needed in our modern world, where lots of people have forgotten what is important.
Rain a coming……..??…maybe!
I went to Vespers celebrated at st. Joseph’s mount in Bathurst today. It was sung evening prayer and the beautiful singing was supplied by the Anglican Cathedral Choir. It was lovely and very prayerful.
The presider was our own Bishop Michael, which was a example of the relationship that the covenant, that was signed by the two bishops of Bathurst (Catholic and Anglican) last year, has helped to create.
Prayers were shared and relationships enabled. The Sisters of Mercy supplied a beautiful sit down afternoon tea, and the relationships between the two churches are clearly growing.
It was wonderful to see Bishop Michael and Emeritus Bishop Hurford (Anglican) sitting together having a cup of tea and a cake together. How recently would that have been totally inappropriate and not possible!
For all the huge changes that have occurred in our society over the last decades, at least the ability for different churches to gather and share the parts common to us is positive. It clearly is better for Christians to see each other as brothers and sisters, rather than competition, we all have had Jesus shown to us, we just have to make sure we keep him as the core of our lives.
Image of St Joseph’s Mounts, from the Rahamin website.
Someone recommended to me to have a read of Acts during Easter Time. It shows the early Church in its infancy. It is a great read, all the different commotions, problems and joys that occurred in the church, the immediate days after the miracle that was the resurrection. One of the things that really struck me was Stephen, one of the first Deacons and a martyr.
His ‘preaching’ before his death was beautiful and felt a little bit like some of the prayers we have in the baptismal liturgy.
Here are some of the bits that struck me,
Even so the Most High does not live in a house that human hands have built: for as the prophet says: With heaven my throne and earth my footstool, what house could you build me, says the Lord, what place for me to rest, when all these things were made by me?
‘You stubborn people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears. You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do.
Can you name a single prophet your ancestors never persecuted? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Upright One, and now you have become his betrayers, his murderers.
In spite of being given the Law through angels, you have not kept it.’
They were infuriated when they heard this, and ground their teeth at him.
But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand.
‘Look! I can see heaven thrown open,’ he said, ‘and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.’ All the members of the council shouted out and stopped their ears with their hands; then they made a concerted rush at him, thrust him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses put down their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen said in invocation, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and said aloud, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ And with these words he fell asleep.
Long quote I know, I haven’t researched this, did Stephen meet Christ? I assume not. Tell me if I a wrong!
It puts the words to Thomas from Jesus into greater meaning.
“Happy those who believe but have not seen”, Stephen never met Christ, but he surely believed!
surely Stephen as the first martyr showed the true meaning of this!