Author Archive

FOREVER: CELEBRATING MEITA AND HARTINI’S FINAL VOWS

May 24, 2018

On the weekend of 18th May we celebrated Hartini and Meita’s final vows. The theme of their vows was based on an ideal given to the FCJ Society through Marie Madeleine “…to be ever in [God’s} presence as an empty vessel, ready to receive all that God might put into it.” They had chosen readings and hymns that expressed their desire to be vessels bringing the ‘living water’ of Christ to others. Seventeen FCJs from various parts of Asia-Australia were present to celebrate this happy occasion.

We began with a prayer of thanksgiving on the evening of Friday 18th May.  During this prayer Meita and Hartini shared how they hoped to serve others in their future lives as FCJs. The following day dawned bright and clear. Family members, friends and colleagues and representatives of local church groups streamed into Sarasvita FCJ Centre, some two hundred guests in all. The choir began to sing beautifully and we were carried along by the joyful atmosphere. The Eucharist was celebrated by Fr. Andrianus Sulistiyono MSF, Meita’s nephew. He preached brilliantly. At several points in the homily we laughed out loud, yet the points made were clear: only God can give us the grace to live the commitments we make and because of this we must never let our prayer run dry. Hartini and Meita made their vows in the presence of Judith FCJ; their witnesses were FCJ Sisters Paola and Clare; and Irene and Yustin. After the Mass we enjoyed a delicious lunch of traditional food served from food stalls in the grounds of Sarasvita.

The FCJs had an informal gathering that evening to look back on the day and enjoy watching Meita and Hartini open their cards and gifts.  How lovely to celebrate the final vows in this way.

 

 

FAITH LEADERS RESPOND TO THE BOMBING IN SURABAYA

May 14, 2018

Sunday 13th May was a sad and disturbing day for all of us in Indonesia, regardless of religion.  Fourteen people died and forty one were injured when bombs ripped through three churches in Surabaya. I was deeply impressed by the response quickly given by Faith Leaders: stay calm, do not make rash judgments of others, stay at peace with your neighbours and pray for all those involved in these tragic events. We are all quietly alert, reflective and prayerful. Our Muslim neighbours begin their long fast on Wednesday and we will support them in prayer while giving thanks for their faith and commitment. These are times when all people of faith and good will are called to stand together in the name of peace.

THERE IS NO PRIEST FOR MY PARISH I WONDER WHY?

April 26, 2018

I had a lovely experience on Sunday in my small local parish here in England. I arrived early and was able to enjoy listening to the organ as I waited for Mass to begin. The choir led the congregation in enthusiastic singing. The Mass was beautiful, the priest preached well and made his point with a good smattering of humour. I really liked the sign of peace.  We turned to greet one another and strong northern handshakes accompanied the words “peace be with you”. After Mass there was a coffee morning and some of us spent a little more time with each other over cups of tea or coffee. Every Sunday this friendly little church welcomes some five hundred people: adults, children and young people.

Sadly, this church is now partly closed because the diocese cannot provide a parish priest. Yet on the weekdays when there is no Mass a group of people still gather in the church to pray the Rosary. Parishoners still come every week to clean the church and do the flowers. The people are committed, friendly and kind.  The church looks as if it is loved and cared for. It is bright and clean.

There is no priest to live and minister full time in this parish. I wonder why? I wonder why this vibrant parish and faithful people must face an uncertain future? I wonder why it is not possible to find new ways of understanding ordained priesthood in our Church? I live in hope of new answers to my wonderings and questions.

POPE FRANCIS AND HOLINESS…

April 18, 2018

When I bought a copy of Pope Francis’s latest Apostolic Exhortation ‘Rejoice and be Glad’ it was so new it wasn’t even logged into the computer of the bookshop. As I read it I am filled with hope that Francis is recognising the holiness in each one of us. To me it is a new telling of Vatican II and a reminder of the innate holiness of all God’s people…If only we touch into it. I am rejoicing that we all are God’s holy people. Let’s fill our struggling world with hope!

PRAYING FOR YOU THIS EASTER

March 31, 2018

I have kept all of you very much in my thoughts and prayer these days as we have spent time reflecting deeply on the death and resurrection of Jesus. The last few days have offered much time for thinking of those we love and care for. It has been my practice in recent years to pray, really pray, for all those who have ever been in my life in any way. I also pray as widely as I can for the ever growing needs of our world and indeed for the whole cosmos. I include in my prayer all those who have ever read this blog. I pray for you. Wishing you a happy Easter.

THE CHANCE TO DO A LITTLE GOOD

March 27, 2018

It is a great privilege to be able to offer help in simple ways to those who need it. Recently we were able to give some financial assistance to a young woman who is going to Hong Kong to work. Her parents are dead and she is the sole supporter of her three young siblings. Even though it is sad that she has to leave home to find work she is determined to do this to ensure that her three sisters get a good education. Last week we gave some funding to a young man who couldn’t sit his final examinations because he couldn’t pay for them. This evening we opened our house for a prayer service for a man who died tragically several days ago. The bereaved family used to live in our Basic Ecclesial Community. We are blessed to have resources and to be given donations that can be used to help others.

COMPANIONS IN MISSION – A NEW WAY OF LIVING THE CHARISM OF COMPANIONSHIP…

March 9, 2018

I recently had the great good fortune to meet a significant number of our Companions in Mission (CiM) and I was especially blessed to be present at a first commitment ceremony. It never ceases to amaze me how the Companions in Mission are living the Charism of Companionship in a totally new way – and leading us all to new understanding. When I think of the CiM I am filled with gratitude and when I remember the five new Companions in Mission it fills me with such joy!

CECILIA AND MARIA’S THIRTY DAY RETREAT: HOMECOMING…

February 20, 2018

We arrived home on Saturday having spent two days quietly coming out of retreat and preparing for our return to community. We have all grown in the course of this retreat and most especially Maria and Cecilia. Now it is time for several weeks of ‘ordinary life’ and for time to allow the graces to deepen. Your prayers and support made all the difference. Thank you. We continue to pray for you.

MARIA AND CECILIA’S THIRTY DAY RETREAT: WE ARE NOW IN WEEK FOUR

February 12, 2018

Cecilia and Maria are now in Week Four of the retreat and they are praying for the joy and consolation of meeting the Risen Christ. We are steadily praying our way to the end of the retreat. Thank you for the prayer – we pray for you each day.

MARIA AND CECILIA’S THIRTY DAY RETREAT: WEEK THREE – WALKING THE WAY OF THE CROSS…

February 7, 2018

We are now well into Week Three of the retreat and Maria and Cecilia are walking the way of the cross with Jesus. This is a challenging time. As our energies begin to wane the material for prayer is increasingly heartrending. Thank you for your prayers so far – your support in the spirit is tangible. We keep you in our prayer too.