Sunday, 30 March 2008

1960s OP vocations video

Octave of Easter

He is risen indeed!

My Lord and my God!

Christ has conquered sin and death!

Divine Mercy

From EWTN:

During the course of Jesus' revelations to Saint Faustina on the Divine Mercy He asked on numerous occasions that a feast day be dedicated to the Divine Mercy and that this feast be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. The liturgical texts of that day, the 2nd Sunday of Easter, concern the institution of the Sacrament of Penance, the Tribunal of the Divine Mercy, and are thus already suited to the request of Our Lord. This Feast, which had already been granted to the nation of Poland and been celebrated within Vatican City, was granted to the Universal Church by Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the canonization of Sr. Faustina on 30 April 2000. In a decree dated 23 May 2000, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments stated that "throughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind will experience in the years to come." These papal acts represent the highest endorsement that the Church can give to a private revelation, an act of papal infallibility proclaiming the certain sanctity of the mystic, and the granting of a universal feast, as requested by Our Lord to St. Faustina.
A Divine Mercy prayer:
Jesus, Friend of a lonely heart, You are my haven, You are my peace. You are my salvation, You are my serenity in moments of struggle and amidst an ocean of doubts. You are the bright ray that lights up the path of my life. You are everything to a lonely soul even though it remains silent. You know the weaknesses and You comfort and heal, sparing us sufferings. Amen


Latinists among readers will be pleased to know that I've bought myself 'Teach yourself beginner's latin'. Wish me luck, folks!

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Sorry for the distinct lack of posts over the last few days; we have a foreign exchange student with us here this week, so it may be a while before I have time to post anything substantial.
In the meantime, have a look at this great new blog I found:

Tuesday, 25 March 2008


Anyone like having this pic at the top of the blog?
Any advice on creating a more stylish blog layout?

Please comment!


Sunday, 23 March 2008

Easter 2008 - Church under attack!

Easter 2008. In the UK, Christians shuffle quietly into pews, an embarrasing observance of an outdated religion. Spain. Elaborate processions, symbols of the Church's decadence and corruption. USA. No celebrations on public land. This is how the 'dictatorship of relativism' is strangling the Church. Easter 2008. Mosul. A Church without it's pontiff. Found dead a few days ago. Prisoner to Islamic terrorists.

This is the Church in the third millenium. We are at war. A glance at today's Catholic Herald confirms this.

Page One. Archbishop Rahno's martyrdom and persecution in Iraq. Page Two. Debate over whether the government will force Catholic MPs to vote against Catholic teaching. Bishop of Motherwell preaches against 'conspiracy' of gay-rights activists against the Church. Benedictine Fr. Leo Chamberlain writes to the Financial Times to complain about the paper's annual Easter pope-bashing. Page Three. Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue of Lancaster quizzed on 'fundamentalism' by a panel of MPs, because of his defence of the teachings of marriage in Catholic schools. Page Four. Heresy, female 'priests' and 'bishop' excommunicated by Archbishop Burke of St Louis. Spanish Premier Sr. Zapatero pledges to "put the (Spanish) bishops in their place." Gay rights activists to cover the Pope in ashes during Papal visit to USA, all because His Holiness dared to suggest that "gay sex is morally wrong." Page Five. Persecution in China. More of this on page eight.

These are only the first few pages.

The Church in the third millenium lends new weight to the phrase 'Church Militant.'

Oh dear...

Currently showing on channel four, The Secrets of the Twelve Disciples, presented by liberal theologian Dr. Robert Beckford, is depressingly typical of the British media's continuing attack on Catholicism. So far we've had how Paul VI faked the discovery of St. Peter's tomb, why St Thecla is proof we should allow women to the episcopate, why the church is racist because of St James' role in the reconquista and so on...

As I said, this is the British media's continuing attack on Catholicism, and frankly, I'm sick of it! Methinks that channel four will get an angry email tomorrow morning....

The Lamb triumphant!

Crown him with many crowns,
the Lamb upon his throne.
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns
all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing of him
who died for thee,
and hail him as thy matchless King
through all eternity.

Crown him the virgin's Son,
the God incarnate born,
whose arm those crimson trophies won
which now His brow adorn;
fruit of the mystic rose,
as of that rose the stem;
the root whence mercy ever flows,
the Babe of Bethlehem.

Crown him the Son of God,
before the worlds began,
and ye who tread where he hath trod,
crown him the Son of Man;
who every grief hath known
that wrings the human breast,
and takes and bears them for His own,
that all in him may rest.

Crown him the Lord of life,
who triumphed over the grave,
and rose victorious in the strife
for those he came to save.
His glories now we sing,
who died, and rose on high,
who died eternal life to bring,
and lives that death may die.

Crown him the Lord of peace,
whose power a scepter sways
from pole to pole, that wars may cease,
and all be prayer and praise.
his reign shall know no end,
and round his piercèd feet
fair flowers of paradise extend
their fragrance ever sweet.

Crown him the Lord of love,
behold his hands and side,
those wounds, yet visible above,
in beauty glorified.
No angel in the sky
can fully bear that sight,
but downward bends his burning eye
at mysteries so bright.

Crown him the Lord of Heaven,
enthroned in worlds above,
crown him the King to whom is given
the wondrous name of Love.
Crown him with many crowns,
as thrones before him fall;
Crown him, ye kings, with many crowns,
for he is King of all.

Crown him the Lord of lords,
who over all doth reign,
who once on earth, the incarnate Word,
for ransomed sinners slain,
now lives in realms of light,
where saints with angels sing
their songs before him day and night,
their God, Redeemer, King.

Crown him the Lord of years,
the Potentate of time,
Creator of the rolling spheres,
ineffably sublime.
all hail, Redeemer, hail!
For thou has died for me;
thy praise and glory shall not fail
throughout eternity.

Gaude et laetare!

V. Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia.
R. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.
V. Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.
R. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
V. Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.
R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.
Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui,
Domini nostri Iesu Christi,
mundum laetificare dignatus es:
praesta, quaesumus;
ut per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam,
perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae.
Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Vigil in Rome (in pictures)


Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

My dearest friends, standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,
that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast,
When Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night,
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slav'ry,
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night,
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin.

This is night,
when Christians ev'rywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night,
when Jesus broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!
Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says: "The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy."
The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed,
when heaven is wedded to earth
and we are reconciled to God!

Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church's solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Christus Resurrexit!

Happy Easter to you all!

Late Novena

OK, so I missed this one too, but given the nature of Divine Mercy, I doubt Christ will mind this little mistake. Better start this lovely novena late than never!
Jesus asked that the Feast of the Divine Mercy be preceded by a Novena to the Divine Mercy which would begin on Good Friday. He gave St. Faustina an intention to pray for on each day of the Novena, saving for the last day the most difficult intention of all, the lukewarm and indifferent of whom He said:
"These souls cause Me more suffering than any others; it was from such souls that My soul felt the most revulsion in the Garden of Olives. It was on their account that I said: 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by.' The last hope of salvation for them is to flee to My Mercy."
In her diary, St. Faustina wrote that Jesus told her:
"On each day of the novena you will bring to My heart a different group of souls and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy ... On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My passion, for the graces for these souls."
The different souls prayed for on each day of the novena are:
DAY 1 (Good Friday) - All mankind, especially sinners
DAY 2 (Holy Saturday) - The souls of priests and religious
DAY 3 (Easter Sunday) - All devout and faithful souls
DAY 4 (Easter Monday) - Those who do not believe in Jesus and those who do not yet know Him
DAY 5 (Easter Tuesday) - The souls of separated brethren
DAY 6 (Easter Wednesday) - The meek and humble souls and the souls of children
DAY 7 (Easter Thursday) - The souls who especially venerate and glorify Jesus' mercy
DAY 8 (Easter Friday) - The souls who are detained in purgatory;
DAY 9 (Easter Saturday) - The souls who have become lukewarm.

Hymns for Holy Week

For yesterday (Good Friday)

Throned upon the awful tree,
King of grief, I watch with thee;
darkness veils thine anguished face,
none its lines of woe can trace.
none can tell what pangs unknown
hold thee silent and alone.


Friday, 21 March 2008

An odd Good Friday

Living with non-Catholics can often be difficult. Today has been a prime example of this. I haven't even been able to go to church today. I do hope, however, that I have made the most of a bad situation.

The whole family, myself included, descended upon Grandparents' house in County Durham for a large shared lunch (yes, I know this is a fast day, so I avoided breakfast etc.). The afternoon was taken up by a walk in the country and general 'quality-time', which although not as good as attending church, given I had no alternative, was at least an expression of family life, and so not wholly contrary to Catholic practice of the faith. I had hoped to go to church later, one local parish had an unusually late service at five, yet this wasn't to be either... I did manage to excuse myself at three, and remove myself to a quiet room for a few minutes silent prayer, but its really not the same thing.

All this does, however, remind me of something. Last night, I was listening to somebody talk about how, during times of persecution in England, Catholics prevented from attending mass used to observe feast and fast days as a way of keeping their faith alive. I suppose the lesson from this is that I must find secondary ways of practicing the faith when mass or other expressions of Catholicism are occasionally impossible. Could anybody reading this please pray that I might at least be able to attend the Easter Vigil tomorrow night? I think its fairly likely that I'll be able to attend mass on Sunday morning, but the Vigil would be nice to attend.


Thursday, 20 March 2008

Lord's Supper

The Triduum begins...

Maundy Thursday in UK and Rome

Her Majesty the Queen distributes Maundy Money to OAPs.

For the first time in her reign, this ceremony took place in Northern Ireland.

The Bishop pictured is the head of the Anglican Church of Ireland.

While in Rome the Holy Father looks approvingly at his (old)new staff.

As does Love of your Love..

It is nice to see His Holiness in his office of Bishop of Rome. The Chrism Mass is, for obvious reasons, a very public commitment to his diocese.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Hymns for Holy Week

My song is love unknown,
my Savior's love to me,
love to the loveless shown
that they might lovely be.
O who am I
that for my sake
my Lord should take
frail flesh and die?

He came from his blest throne
salvation to bestow,
but men made strange, and none
the longed-for Christ would know.
But O my friend,
my friend indeed,
who at my need,
his life did spend.

Sometimes they strew his way,
and his strong praises sing,
resounding all the day
hosannas to their King.
Then "Crucify!"
is all their breath,
and for his death
they thirst and cry.

Why, what hath my Lord done?
What makes this rage and spite?
He made the lame to run,
he gave the blind their sight.
Sweet injuries!
Yet they at these
themselves displease,
and 'gainst him rise.

They rise, and needs will have
my dear Lord made away;
a murderer they save,
the Prince of Life they slay.
Yet steadfast he
to suffering goes,
that he his foes
from thence might free.

Here might I stay and sing,
no story so divine:
never was love, dear King,
never was grief like thine.
This is my friend,
in whose sweet praise
I all my days
could gladly spend.

Hymns for Holy Week

Sunday, 16 March 2008


There are some mistakes which can be seen as unavoidable human error. Some mistakes are trivial and easily forgotten. Yet some are just downright inexplicably senseless. Saint Cuthbert's Day is celebrated by the Universal Church on September 4th, the date of the translation of his relics at Durham, yet in Hexham and Newcastle the anniversary of our diocese's patron saint is usually celebrated on the anniversary of his death. Unfortunately, this year the solemnity falls on Maundy Thursday, and should be celebrated another time. Somewhat surprisingly, this has been completely overlooked by the diocesan Ordo, and has vanished into the liturgical abyss. Saint Cuthbert's day, the most important local festival, has been entirely forgotten. Somebody who missed that must be in deep trouble now!

Pic from Rome

Note the new Papal cross-staff-thingy. Much better :-)

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Holy Week Begins

As of Vespers tonight, THIS IS HOLY WEEK.

St Joseph's Day - Ecumenism

Saint Joseph is the patron of the Universal Church. Remember the cause of ecumenism in your prayers today. In particular, remember the Churches of the East in your prayers, especially the Patriarch of Constantinople who seems receptive to the press for unity.
May St Joseph, patron of the Church, pray for us that we might all be one in Christ Jesus. Amen

Saint Joseph's Day

Saint Joseph, here with Christ and the BVM, is the patron of the Universal Church.

Transferred from the 19th March, which falls in Holy Week.

"St Joseph is considered the second greatest Saint, next to the Blessed Virgin Mary, because of his humility and the closeness he had to Jesus as his foster father. Scripture tells us that Joseph was just, pure, gentle, prudent, and unfailingly obedient to the divine will. We wish to imitate him by renewing our desire to be faithful. We know that the only meaning of our life is to be faithful to the Lord till the last day, as Joseph was. Bl. Pius IX named him Patron of the Universal Church, and Bl. John XXIII included his name in the Roman Canon" (OSV/MTF Daily Roman Missal).

"What emanates from the figure of Saint Joseph is faith. Joseph of Nazareth is a "just man" because he totally "lives by faith." He is holy because his faith is truly heroic. Sacred Scripture says little of him. It does not record even one word spoken by Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth. And yet, even without words, he shows the depth of his faith, his greatness. Saint Joseph is a man of great spirit. He is great in faith, not because he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word of the Living God." (Pope John Paul II)

Future of Christianity in Iraq

After the recent kidnap and murder of the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, pictured above, serious questions are being asked about the viability of a Christian presence in post-Saddam Iraq. The former dictator's government, while illiberal and totalitarian, was a secular one which allowed Christians to worship free from persecution by the vast Muslim majority. Since the American-led invasion and occupation of recent years, Christians in Iraq have undergone a new and bloody persecution at the hands of extremist muslims, who see these indigenous Christians as natural allies of the 'crusading west.'

Dr Suha Rassam, the spokesperson for 'Iraqui Christians in need', said this: "The only way for the Church in the Mosul area to survive might be if it goes underground, like it did in the first and second centuries. This way, Mass and other services would be held in secret and priests go about their duties clandestinely."

Love of your Love asks for your prayers for Iraqui Christians this Holy Week.

Friday, 14 March 2008

The ultimate blasphemy?

Folks, I had hoped to refrain from ranting in Lent, but after seeing the following blog post, I felt it necessary to warn people that this kind of heresy exists and to refute it. I can't bring myself to write about this in Holy Week, so I'll get it over and done with now. Emphasis mine, comments in brackets. I mean no offence in my comments. I am calling to attention the spectacular inaccuracy of this novel's claims, without wishing to offend homosexuals or others.

From "Jesus in Love" blog:

Monday, February 04, 2008

New novel shows Passion of a queer Christ

A queer Christ [A good start, for sure. Heresy doesn't come much worse than this] lives out the Easter story of death and resurrection in my new novel [Fictional: not even heretical academic study, this is deliberate propaganda!] Jesus in Love: At the Cross. The book is being released in time for Ash Wednesday (Feb. 6), which begins the season of Lent when Christians remembering the sufferings of Jesus to prepare for Easter. Jesus commits the ultimate act of love in At the Cross, a fictional autobiography [not only made up, but made up to put words in Christ's mouth!] of a bisexual Christ. [Evidence for this: none. Why then? Reason: heretical propaganda of cafeteria christians who believe they can have the secularist values of a corrupt western society] The dramatic events of Christ’s Passion happen in the context of a gay love story between Jesus and his disciple John. [This is worse than Dan Brown!]The novel covers Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, and Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection, ending on Pentecost. Jesus has today’s queer sensibilities [Notice how the dictatorship of relativism works? The key word here is not 'queer', but 'today's'. So often, people assume that if Jesus had been born today, he would have held more 'modern' values. In any age, God knows best!]and psychological sophistication [psychological sophistication? Presumably this means that those disagreeing with the book's contents is to be branded as 'psychologically unsophisticated'?]as he reveals the erotic [Are we talking about the same Jesus?] , mystical experiences that may have led to the first Easter.At the Cross is a sequel to the popular Jesus in Love: A Novel, but there’s no need to read the other book first [Would you want to?]. At the Cross stands alone in its own right.Christ’s story is for everyone, but queer people often feel left out because conservatives use Christian rhetoric to justify hate and discrimination [Let me make myself clear. This is not about hate or discrimination. Homosexuals are every bit as valued by God as anyone else. God does not hate gays. It is not a sin to be gay. It is however, a sin to have sexual relations with another of the same sex, and also to propagate heresy!]. I wrote At the Cross so more people could understand the powerful story of Jesus’ human struggles and how he rose above them. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people can relate to a queer Christ [What's wrong with relating to the real Christ? The real Christ did not come to condemn outcasts, nor did he come to condone sinners, he came to saveus all.] -- and so can many others.The prequel, Jesus in Love, became a surprise hit with more mainstream readers after achieving success in the GLBT community. I receive fan mail from a diverse range of readers -- male and female, queer and straight, ranging from Roman Catholic priests [This is very worrying!] to atheists and Jews. And I get hate mail from conservative Christians, too. Books in the Jesus in Love series follow the Biblical text and standard Christian doctrine [This is standard Christian doctrine?] while speculating on Christ’s erotic inner life [I don't think I even need to say anything here!]. The gay love story between Jesus and John has sparked controversy. Some conservatives labeled me “a hyper-homosexual revisionist.” [I can think of a few other words...] Meanwhile, secular literary critics and progressive Christians affirm the Jesus in Love series as “profound,” “spiritually mature” and “beautifully written.” Gay spirituality author Toby Johnson praises it as “a real tour de force in transforming traditional myth to modern consciousness.”The Bay Area Reporter called it “revolutionary religious fiction” and syndicated book critic Richard Labonte hailed it as “a winsome affirmation of erotic love’s sacred potential [Surely marriage?].”Mel White, founder of Soulforce, says, “Kitt Cherry has broken through the stained-glass barrier. This is not a prurient look at the sex life of Jesus, but a classic re-telling of the greatest story ever told.” [I would beg to differ!] At the Cross grows out of my own spiritual journey and my experiences as a minister in the LGBT community. One of my duties was promoting dialogue on homosexuality at the National Council of Churches (U.S.A.) and the World Council of Churches as National Ecumenical Officer for Metropolitan Community Churches. I wrote At the Cross after Chronic Fatigue Syndrome [Moment of real sympathy; I've had that, its not nice.] forced me into a more contemplative life. My previous books include Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More, [Says it all really.] Equal Rites and Hide and Speak. The New York Times Book Review praised my “very graceful, erudite” writing style.My website,, features the growing number of books and art based on the queer Christ. I blog here and edit the Jesus in Love Newsletter on queer spirituality and the arts.At the Cross (ISBN 1933993421) is published by AndroGyne Press, a new queer studies press in Berkeley, CA. Ingram Book Group distributes it.For more info on At the Cross, visit or AndroGyne Press.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Bishop's Funeral

Bishop Kevin Dunn was buried yesterday afternoon in the crypt of St Mary's Cathedral after a requiem mass celebrated by the Archbishop of Liverpool. More on the diocesan website.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Short Opus Dei video

Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I might have a vocation to the priesthood. That is, at least, until I occasionally stumble across something like this.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Palm Sunday Reminder!

Would any clergy reading this please, please do all they can to organise Palm Sunday processions next week. These public displays of worship and Christian observance really do have an impact on those who would normally never see the liturgy. As England becomes increasingly secularised, I appeal particularly to parishes in cities and suburbs to make the best possible use of this rare opportunity to bring the liturgy to a wider audience. Let them know it's Holy Week!

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Joseph of Cupertino

Its that time of year again, nearly Easter, and nearly time for those dreaded exams. So whether you're at university, doing A-levels, GCSEs, being examined abroad or here in the UK, here's some useful info:

The patron saint of exam-candidates is San Giuseppe di Copertino, (thats St. Joseph of Cupertino to you and me), an Italian Fransiscan who lived in the seventeenth century, who was also something of a mystic. As the picture above shows, St Joseph of Cupertino was famous, above all (no pun intended), for levitating.

Joseph had a powerful vocation to be a Fransiscan, yet was initially refused because of severe learning difficulties and mental disability. Eventually he was able to join the order by studying intensively a single topic, and praying that this was what he would be examined on; his prayers were answered. So if you, like me, are ill-prepared and terrified of exams, why not ask the intercession of St Joseph of Cupertino?

Friday, 7 March 2008

Confessions at Mass

Fr Z, at WDTPRS, has posted encouraging confessions to be heard during the Mass. Sadly, this is likely to be a merely theoretical debate, given few churches have enough priests to put this into practice!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Some VERY bad PR

Richard Williamson, schismatic SSPX prelate seems to be in a spot of bother, or perhaps thats and understatement. It has emerged in the Catholic press that he is something of a rabid anti-semite. For more of thie unpleasant and shameful story, see Damian Thompson's Holy Smoke blog, here.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Prayer appeal.

Please pray for the late Bishop Kevin Dunn.

Also, please pray for the diocese at this very difficult time.

An example of the late Bishop Kevin Dunn's pastoral care:

from the diocesan website.

Pastoral Letter - to be read in all parishes
1st Sunday of Lent - (weekend of 9th/10th February)
My Dear People,

Today, we are invited to set out on a journey to Easter, to renew our Baptismal promises to bring us into communion with the Lord Jesus, “who has died, is risen and will come again”. We are invited as God’s pilgrim people to enter, like Jesus, into that desert where we too can take on the discipline of Lent. On Ash Wednesday we received the ashes and the Gospel challenged us to take up the journey of prayer, fasting, almsgiving.

We are not alone on this journey! We walk in communion with each other, with our families, our friends and our fellow parishioners. Most especially we walk in communion with the Lord, who leads us into the love of the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit.

This Lent, discover anew the Lord Jesus who is the hope of your lives. Today, on this first Sunday of Lent, He is revealed to us as the new Adam, the one who overcomes sin and evil. He is the one who serves, who is obedient to the Father, whose way is love, justice and peace. But how do we discover anew Jesus in our lives?

I invite you this year, to look to Mary, the mother of Jesus, as an example of one who follows Jesus faithfully. She is “the” disciple, the one who says “yes”. I invite you to join with Mary in pondering the scriptures and in saying "yes" to the prompting of the spirit in your own heart. Seek the intercession of Mary this year as we celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Apparition of Mary to Bernadette in Lourdes. Many parishes, individuals and families are preparing to make a pilgrimage to Lourdes during this anniversary year and indeed many parishes will be joining the Diocesan pilgrimage this summer. The message of Lourdes can be a way of encountering anew Jesus in your lives.

My dear people, make this Lent a journey of faith. Take the opportunity to renew your lives. Make space for each other. Invite others to join you on this journey to Easter.

I take this opportunity of asking you to pray for all the sick of our Diocese, for those who live alone, for the doctors, the nurses and all who care for the sick.
My prayer is that each person be touched by the grace and healing power of the Lord, that the hope by which we are saved will bring us to new life in the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

I pray that you have a very happy and a very Holy Lent.

May God bless you all.
+ Bishop Kevin
Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Rest in Peace

From the diocesan website:

Requiescat in Pace: Rt Rev Kevin Dunn, Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Kevin has died very peacefully in the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, at 9.30pm on Saturday 1st March.He was surrounded by his family including his mother, Cath, aged 88. Canon Cunningham, the Vicar General, was also present and anointed him and said the Prayers for the Dying, and together with the family said the Prayers for the Dead.The Vicar General, Canon Cunningham, said: "We are very grateful to the doctors and nurses at the Freeman Hospital for the loving care and concern given to the Bishop and his family throughout his illness."Bishop Kevin had been admitted to hospital in February and was transferred to intensive care with pneumonia.A full obituary and press release will follow as soon as possible.

Kevin Dunn, Bishop of Hexham and NewcastleRequiescat in Pace

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Augustine Gem #1

Its time this blog lived up to its association with the great man himself, so here's a very simple, but profound extract from his Confessiones:

"So it was that you healed my sickness. To the son of your servant you restored the health of his body, so that he might live to receive from you another far better and far more certain kind of health."

Perhaps in this very short quote, we can remind ourselves that even brilliant theologians and philosophers ofter find very simple truths, often at the heart of their understanding of the Gospel and God's love.


Beaten by one point in a drama festival south of the river today. Curses!

Still, was great fun though, doing a duologue from Anthony Shaffer's "Sleuth".

No sign of improvement..

From the diocese:

Saturday March 1st

On Thursday night Bishop Kevin's family were called, to come from Staffordshire, to the hospital as his condition was described as precarious. Canon Cunningham gave him the Sacrament of the Sick on Thursday evening.

Saturday 5pm

Bishop Kevin's condition has further deteriorated. Please keep him and the family in your prayers.