Synod of Bishops on the Family 2014

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Family life will be the focus of an extraordinary general session of the Synod of Bishops that will meet at the Vatican between 5-19 October 2014. Around 150 Synod fathers will take part in the meeting to discuss the “pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.” It is expected to last two weeks.
The Bishops’ Conference has prepared resources where one may read a full introduction, download the synod’s preparatory document – or Lineamenta – and most importantly,  respond to an online questionnaire in preparation for the 2014 Synod. Click here to prepare your questionnaire response. (They’ve also provided a link to the last Synod of Bishops meeting on the family held in 1980 that resulted in the document Familiaris Consortio.)

Comment

In preparation for responding to this questionnaire, Catholic commentators have made reference to this initiative, and you might like to read their opinions, here:
Fr Ray Blake
Protect the Pope

The Coalition for Marriage

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The Coalition for Marriage is an umbrella group of individuals and organisations in the UK that support traditional marriage and oppose any plans to redefine it.
The Coalition is backed by politicians, lawyers, academics and religious leaders. It reaches out to people of all faiths and none, who believe that marriage is the most successful partnership in history and should not be redefined.
The Coalition draws upon a substantial body of evidence showing that marriage – as it has been understood for thousands of years – is beneficial to society, and that changing its definition would undermine that benefit.
The Coalition’s petition demonstrates that there is broad public opposition to redefining marriage. The Coalition is committed to a reasoned and courteous debate on this issue, and will highlight any intimidation or intolerance shown to supporters of traditional marriage.
Petition

Find out more…

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C4M Resources

 

Download the briefing for the Lords’ Second Reading debate

The ‘Second Reading’ debate in the House of Lords on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, 3 and 4 June 2013. Our briefing gives clear reasons to support keeping marriage as the union of one man and one woman. You can download a copy of the briefing here.

Download the latest Campaign Update

Our Campaign Update newsletters will bring you up-to-date on the work so far. You can download the latest issue (April 2013) here. A printer-friendly black and white version is also available here.

Download the Petition

You can ask your friends, neighbours and work colleagues to sign a paper version of the petition and then send it to our office address given on the form. Download a printable PDF of the Petition here.

Download the briefing for the ‘Second Reading’ vote

The ‘Second Reading’ vote on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was held on 5 February. Our briefing gives clear reasons to support keeping marriage as the union of one man and one woman. You can download a copy of the briefing here.

DOWNLOAD ‘GAY MARRIAGE IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS’

This booklet outlines the impact of redefining mariage on education. You can download a copy here.

Download 10 reasons why the government is wrong to redefine marriage

You can download a copy of the leaflet here. A printer-friendly version is also available here.

Download a summary of a legal opinion on the civil liberty implications

You can download a copy of the summary here.

Download C4M’s consultation response

Our response to the Government’s consultation on redefining marriage. To read our response, click here.

Download a consultation briefing

The Home Office consultation on redefining marriage closed on 14 June 2012. However, our briefing contains information and arguments about the issue which you may find useful. To read the briefing, click here.

DOWNLOAD A PAPER ON THE IMPLICATIONS FOR LOCAL COUNCILS

This paper looks at the issue of redefining marriage as it relates to local councils. Download a copy here.

Support marriage in Scotland

A separate organisation is campaigning against the Scottish Government’s plans to redefine marriage. Residents of Scotland can also sign the Scottish Marriage Petition at the Scotland For Marriage website here.
– See more at: http://c4m.org.uk/resources/#sthash.fePcaMpe.dpuf

An appeal from 'LIFE'

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Baby clothes and equipment are urgently needed by our LIFE Caring Centres at London and Hounslow. If you have any items you no longer require we will gratefully receive them to distribute to mothers in need. LIFE is a pro-Life charity helping unsupported mothers who have chosen to keep their babies. Thank you.
A separate white box for these items is next to the Charity Fayre coloured boxes.
 

You, a Street Pastor?

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Everyone is very welcome at the next meeting of the Union of Catholic Mothers, on Tuesday 12 November, when David Rosemeyer & Isabelle McGrath will be talking about their work with Kingston Street Pastors. If you would like to find out more about the Street Pastors, and how you might help in this valuable ecumenical apostolate, please do speak to them afterwards.
The Union of Catholic Mothers meets on the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 19.30 – unless otherwise advised.
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Do you feel called: Priesthood or Religious Life?

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If you feel called to the priesthood or religious life, you might like to read this article, which appeared on CatholicExchange.com

Don’t Just Discern Your Vocation

by BR. GABRIEL T. MOSHER, O.P on OCTOBER 18, 2013 

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There’s a cause for today’s vocation shortage that’s rarely addressed. Too many people are discerning; not enough people are deciding. I know they mean well, but instead of courageously pursuing the priesthood or religious life they form safe communities where they can muse on ideals instead of act on principles.
I call them the Order of Perpetual Discerners. I’m not questioning their piety. I wouldn’t dream of impugning their intentions. However, they fundamentally misunderstand how to discern God’s will. They agonize over the call. They seek spiritual directors and confidants to emote about the vexing feelings they’re experiencing. The sad result is that they never actually discern; they only dream.
The narcissism pervading our culture is a major cause of this trend. We act as if it’s a virtue. Popular culture promotes it. Popular Christian culture is ensnared by it. It’s not surprising that the modern obsession with self-care was bound to cause some problems. The philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard provides intellectual soil for it. Personality cults popularize it. Televangelists and magazine rack mystics sell it. Our contemporary culture has been perfectly constructed to cultivate narcissistic Christianity. Combine the popular psychologism preached in our parishes with a society steeped in postmodern despair and you get exactly what we’ve got — a simulacrum of the Corinthian Christianity that St. Paul fought against.
Common trends of vocational discernment typify the Catholic appropriation of this narcissism. The problem isn’t whether people are or are not discerning. The problem is people are stuck in their heads. It’s like they’re waiting for an infallible neon sign from God. “Constantine got his in hoc signo, so should I!” The truth is, however, God doesn’t usually operate that way. He’s the author of the ordinary, the mundane. God reveals the extraordinary only after we’ve embraced the ordinary.
The scenario I’m describing is ubiquitous. I frequently see it among candidates inquiring into my own Order. This narcissism is why so many will “come and see,” but so few will “stay to pray.” They’ve gotten stuck in the discernment trap and they lack the tools to get out. They try to get out by doing exactly what our culture has taught them to do. They look inward. Yet, by doing this they’ll never find what they’re seeking. Why? Because the answer is found on the outside not on the inside. Thankfully, this sickness isn’t unto death.
Technically the word discernment is a good one. It describes the ability to wisely chose one thing over another. It’s not simply the ability to separate good from bad. More specifically it’s the ability to place all the good things we encounter in a hierarchical order from what’s good to what’s best. Discernment is essentially an intellectual process of ordering perceived goods. However, we can get stuck in the process if we lack critical information. When this happens we become paralyzed because all our possible choices seem to be equally good. In this scenario we become incapable of discerning which vocation to choose. This is the discernment trap. The lacuna in our knowledge is often the result of asking the wrong question. We usually ask ourselves which vocation is better for me. Instead we need to simply ask which vocation is better.
I can already hear objections and outrage at what I just wrote. That’s because savvy readers know what I’m about to say. The best vocation is the one immediately ordered to contemplation. The best vocation is religious life. Moderns think this statement  is an insult to married couples. They think it’s antiquated hogwash. After all, didn’t the Second Vatican Council do away with thinking of religious life as objectively superior to married life?
Well, not exactly. The Council desired that we avoid minimizing the dignity of Holy Matrimony. Lord knows there’s been enough of that! What, then, does it mean for religious life to be objectively superior to married life? It’s simply the consequence of religious life being a more perfect reflection of beatitude. Married life is good but religious life is better. The Second Vatican Council affirms this position when it calls religious life an eschatological sign. It literally allows us to begin living on earth what the saints experience in heaven.
Probably most people reading this article have never heard this before now. That’s because it’s never, or rarely, preached. But it’s also because we rarely consider how God’s love affects our daily lives. What does this mean? It means God desires our highest good. This isn’t limited to His desire that we get to heaven. His love extends to all the particular aspects of our life. God wants the best for us at every moment of our lives in every possible way. When His love intersects with vocational discernment the ramifications are clear. He desires that we participate in the highest of form of Christian life. God desires that each of use enter religious life.
Once discernment is seen this way everything changes. The question is no longer about whether God desires me to live one way or another. No. I already know that God desires me to choose and possess the greatest good. Knowing this the process of discernment is no longer about guessing what’s in God’s mind. Discernment becomes a question of whether I’m capable of living religious life or not.
St. Thomas Aquinas was no stranger to the difficulties of discernment. He also excelled at placing things in their proper order. Wisely, he left a practical guide to help us get out of the discernment trap. Much of what I’m saying is found in Question 189 in the “Secunda secundae” of the Summa Theologiae. Each article asks very practical questions about religious discernment. Each are real questions from his day. Many of them were surely his own questions. Most of them are the same questions we continue to ask today. His conclusions are as helpful today as when the ink was still fresh. Tolle lege!
The reality is, however, that you can read about discernment until your eyes fall out. There is a simpler solution that Aquinas would appreciate. Enter the novitiate! Enter the seminary! Among good things there is no replacement for experiential knowledge. The Church knows this and has designed these structures to help your discernment. A pair of pants may look nice on the rack, but you’ll never know if they fit until you try them on. And, if you already know your size, what are you waiting for. Buy the pants! Entering the seminary or the novitiate doesn’t involve signing a contract in your own blood. They are trial periods for both you and the community. They are designed for you to “try on” the community. If a community doesn’t fit, you can always put it back on the rack.
Remember, you’ll never discover your vocation in your own head. Stop over-thinking it! Follow the example of our Blessed Mother.  When God calls, answer. After you answer, ponder. While you ponder it follow Him wherever He leads you. Be at peace. Abandon yourself to God’s will and you will undoubtedly save your own soul and win the salvation of many more. Make a choice and live it.

Br. Gabriel T. Mosher, O.P

BY BR. GABRIEL T. MOSHER, O.P

Br. Gabriel Thomas Mosher, O.P. is a Dominican Student Brother with the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, studying at the DSPTand residing at St. Albert Priory in Oakland, CA. He attended Texas A&M University but completed his B.A. in Philosophy at Holy Apostles College & Seminary. When Br. Gabriel, O.P. isn’t studying he is frequently engaged in the work of the New Evangelization through the responsible use of Social Media, giving talks on a variety of topics, and leading retreats. You can contact or follow Br. Gabriel, O.P. online at his site The Eighth Way, on Facebook, or Twitter.

Society of St Vincent de Paul

SVP

St Joseph’s Parish SVP

helping the homeless, hungry and needy in a variety of ways.

If you think you could join the St Vincent de Paul Society, or are interested to know more, please contact St Joseph’s SVP members via the Parish Office on: 020 8942 2602 or email at: secretary@stjoseph-newmalden.org.uk or: catholicnewmalden@icloud.com

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Our Parish is currently involved in four projects to help the homeless and hungry:

  1. Anonymous provision of 6 months rental for an otherwise homeless Parishioner.
  2. Our Annual Pre-Advent Charity Fayre.
  3. We’re about to get involved in a big way in the local Food Bank (next month).
  4. Preparations for our annual participationin the ecumenical Winter Night Shelter.

November ~ Month of the Holy Souls

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Pray for the Dead. They pray for you.

Holy Souls Envelopes are available in church. Include the names of your deceased Family and Friends – and a Mass offering – so that November Requiems can be offered for them throughout the Month of the Holy Souls, and also during 2014 . When completed, put your envelope into the collection basket at Mass or through the Presbytery letterbox as soon as possible.
On All Souls’ Day (Saturday 2 November) the 10.00 Mass will be a Requiem for All the Faithful Departed. Other Requiems will be offered throughout the ferial weekdays of November.

Roman Miscellany – 70 anni fa

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70 years ago – 16 October, 1943

The English College is located only a short distance from the historic Jewish Quarter of Rome. It’s an area steeped in history, with many of its buildings incorporating vast swathes of ancient and medieval Rome in their structures. At the far end of The Ghetto, as it’s called, is the magnificent Teatro di Marcello, which is itself surrounded by other impressive sites of archeological and historical interest, such as the Campidoglio on one side and the Portico d’Ottavia on the other. Dominating the entire quarter is the great Synagogue, which dates from the late nineteenth-century, and replaces a much older structure. Nowadays, the area is popular with tourists who wish to try the very specific flavours of Roman kosher cooking, and in spite of the increase security bollards and police posts, it is a peaceful and beautiful part of Rome in which to enjoy an evening passeggiata, and maybe take an aperitivo.

However, it was not always so, and yesterday, the People of Rome remembered one of the most terrifying events of the last century: the deportation of the Roman Jews.

rome-womanThe Nazi occupying forces commenced their roundup of the Roman Jews on the 16 October, 1943. The “Raid of the Ghetto” started at 05.30 in the heart of the historic Jewish quarter near via Portico d’Ottavia, Arenula and the Teatro di Marcello. Simultaneously in the the rest of the city, which had been divided into 26 operational areas by the German Command, the “Hunt for Jews” progressed without mercy. The captured Jews were initially imprisoned at the Military College in via Lungara, awaiting transportation to concentration camps.

rome-boyThe first group of 1,023 men women and children, young and old, departed from Tiburtina station in sealed cattle wagons on 18 October, bound for Auschwitz – Birkenau. Amongst their number, 244 were children, the youngest being the son of Marcella Perugia, born the day before departure. 188 were senior citizens, born before 1884: the eldest, Rachel Livoli, was 90-years-old.

Upon arrival at Birkenau, the majority were sent immediately to the gas chambers; only 149 men and 47 women avoided this immediate fate. At the end of the war, only one woman, Settimia Spizzichino, will have survived, along with 16 men.

Upon hearing the news of the deportation, Pope Pius XII gave orders to priests, monks and nuns to do all that they could to shelter and protect the Jews from the Nazis. Many enclosed houses of female sisters, which had not seen a man within their walls for centuries, now provided much-needed sanctuary for hundreds at a time. The Bridgetine convent in Piazza Farnese, next to the English College, sheltered many Jewish families, breaking an enclosure which had existed prior to this event for 700 years.

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Perhaps the most famous of the these wartime heroes was Mgr Hugh O’Flaherty, who saved many Allied military airmen, as well as hundreds of Jews, by hiding them in convents. He was Public Enemy Number One as far as the SS were concerned. Nevertheless, he would go on to eventually convert the Nazi SS Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Kappler, in spite of the fact that Kappler had ordered numerous attempts to have the priest murdered during the Occupation. After the war, O’Flaherty was Kappler’s only visitor, visiting him every month. In 1959, Kappler was baptized into the Church, at the hands of the man he had tried so hard to kill. A film, The Scarlett and the Black, was made in 1983 staring Gregory Peck as the jovial Irish Monsignor, with Christopher Plummer as the SS officer who ultimately found friendship and salvation in the most unlikely of places.

By the time of Rome’s liberation, another 1,000 Jews will have been deported. However, the number would have been much higher had it not been for the decisive action of Pope Pius XII and the valour of many Roman laity, priests and nuns, who acted on his call to save their fellow Romans.

When I was a young lad growing up in the relative safety of the UK, when thinking of the atrocities of the Nazis, we used to say, “Never Again!”; yet, in spite of this harsh lesson from history, there are many places in our world – today – where entire populations are being wiped out. Thankfully, subsequent Popes, and others of goodwill, continue to speak out against these acts of barbarity, and at least some people hear them, and take a stand.

Lest we forget!

Phil Andrews