Silas S. Henderson

This article reflects on the six saints honoured by Pope Francis and how their lives can offer some insight into Evangelii Gaudium (EG) and the Holy Father’s vision for a Church rooted in the call to mission and mercy. Silas S. Henderson lives in California where he is managing editor of Abbey Press Publications (Indiana) and a retreat leader.

The release of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation  Evangelii Gaudium  (‘The Joy of the Gospel’) marked one of the most significant moments of his papacy to date. This document, which outlines his dynamic views on the Church’s mission and evangelization has been called his ‘manifesto’ by many commentators. The first short paragraph sums up not only the theme of Evangelii Gaudium, but also that of his service as Bishop of Rome: ‘In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by [joy], while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come’.1

These themes have permeated his homilies, Angelus and Regina Caeli addresses, and other statements.

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July/August 2015

Chris Richardson

Tensions occur in some parishes when either the priests or the people ignore the vocation of the other. Here a summary of the key Magisterial teaching on the ordained and the lay faithful recognises their mutual need and seeks an appropriate relationship based on charitable reciprocity. Chris Richardson is a retired Catholic secondary headteacher and diocesan commissioner. He is currently a visiting lecturer in Catholic School Leadership at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.

Apparent tensions
Letters to Catholic publications and anecdotal evidence suggests that everything is not right with the relationship between priests and people in a number of parishes. There are complaints of unilateral and unexplained decision-making and a suffocating insistence on insignificant rules. There are complaints that the personal preference of priests is substituted for magisterial teaching and that the theological disposition of parishioners is disregarded.

There are, of course, two parties to this tension and it is usually only the laity who voice their complaints publically. Priests tend to grumble among themselves. Both parties are often guilty of quoting magisterial teaching selectively without trying to gain a fuller understanding of its breadth and sophistication.

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July/August 2015

Claire Fernandes

Claire Fernandes continues her series of class acts of worship, drawing on her experience as a visiting lecturer in Primary Religious Education at St Mary’s University, Twickenham and as a children’s catechist.

Resources:
Green table cloth for ordinary time, candle, matches, bible, quiet Christian music e.g. Taizé, copies of Psalm 139, box for prayers, paper slips, pencils.

Teacher’s introduction:
Discuss what significant steps have they made in school as a class, individually or at home/clubs/church. First Holy Communion may feature here for example. Recall events in school community and beyond.

Our loving God has been with us all through the school year and will be with us in the next.

Light candle and read the scripture

Let’s listen to a psalm of praise written by King David.

Read Ps 139 1-10,13-16 slowly, or focus on a few of the verses with younger children.

After some silent reflection, you might like to use some of these questions:
•    What did you hear?
•    What did we learn about God our Father?

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July/August 2015

Pippa Bonner

Pippa Bonner is a retired social worker who latterly ran a hospice bereavement service and is currently  eucharistic minister in the local hospital. She writes as part of the Dympna Circle: three women who write about spiritual and therapeutic issues.

Brother, sister, let me serve you; let me be as Christ to you; pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too.1

Recent events have reminded me of the unpredictability of sudden life events and the importance of the pastoral care I have received in my own life. Small, simple acts of care that those carers may not remember in their busy professional lives, can be recalled and treasured as balm for a lifetime. I have also come to recognise that sometimes the pastoral care I offer has been spontaneously guided by the person to whom it is offered or their partner, in the moment, and without any detailed prior knowledge of their situation.

Recently, my normally healthy eight month old granddaughter was rushed into hospital, limp, with purple lips: an acute respiratory response to a virus.

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July/August 2015

Ronald D. Witherup PSS

Mercy is a primary theme of the papacy of Pope Francis. In this first article of a series, we will take a closer look at the background of mercy in the bible, as well as glance at Pope Francis’ own approach to the theme. Ronald D. Witherup PSS is Superior General of the Society of the Priests of Saint Sulpice and author of numerous works on the Bible and theology.

When, on 13 March 2015, Pope Francis announced another surprise, the extraordinary jubilee Year of Mercy, to run from 8 December 2015 (Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of Vatican Council II) to 20 November 2016 (Solemnity of Christ the King), one might have heard a collective groan among clergy. What to make of another ‘themed’ year?
In a world filled with tension, violence, hatred, and a lot of misery, mercy is indeed a quality sorely needed. So, as an aid to those charged to preach the Word of God,

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July/August 2015

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