Thursday, 17 January 2013

Pope asks us to pray for Christian Unity

At the end of his general audience on Wednesday Pope Benedict XVI appealed for prayers to accompany the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which begins Friday. He said "The day after tomorrow, Friday, January 18, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins, which this year has the theme: "What the Lord requires of us," inspired by a passage from the prophet Micah (cf. Micah 6: 6 - 8). I invite everyone to pray, ceaselessly asking God for the great gift of unity among the disciples of the Lord. May the inexhaustible power of the Holy Spirit encourage us in a sincere commitment to the search for unity, so that together we may all profess that Jesus is the Savour of the world".

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Confirmation Mass

This coming Sunday we are very pleased that Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary, is coming to Buckfast Abbey, to the Ordinariate Mass, in order to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on three of our children. The Mass begins at 3pm in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. We shall be joined by friends, family and other supporters. Following mass there will be refreshments in the VE Hall.

The setting of Mass will be Mass VIII, or Missa di Angelis. Here is a video of the setting if you would like to sing along to it as practice for Sunday.

The Ordinariate has restored the sequence of Baptism followed by Confirmation before first Holy Communion. This has the blessing of the Holy Father, and is increasingly being restored in Catholic dioceses (e.g. diocese Salford). The norm for children in the Ordinariate is that they are baptised as soon after birth as is practical, then, at the age of reason, comes first confession in preparation for Confirmation, when they also receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist thereafter.

I personally welcome this as both a father and a priest. The sacrament of Confirmation is needed by our children and, especially in the world we live in today, our young children need all the grace the Church can muster and the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit. Often I hear the explanation that teenagers need 'something' to celebrate so 'we leave Confirmation for that' - but I am sorry, I think children need this sacrament as soon as it is licit to confer it on them. Of course we need to do 'something' for teenagers to help them grow in their faith, but that doesn't, in my opinion, give sufficient grounds to delay this Sacrament. As soon as a child reaches the age of reason they are increasingly exposed to an onslaught from the enemies of the soul (world, flesh and devil) and they need all the divine grace the Church can give, as soon as possible. One of the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit is fortitude, or inner strength, which our young people need in abundance as they do battle with the temptations that come their way and all the confusions and muddles the world thrusts upon them. Perhaps if we properly encourage the growth of these gifts from this earlier age (7/8) they will be better armed for the difficulties of being a teenager in today's world? So I thank Mgr Newton for making this a norm for the Ordinariate, and I personally hope other dioceses follow this practice too.

Grant, we pray, almighty and merciful God, that the Holy Spirit, coming near and dwelling graciously with us, may make of us a perfect temple of his glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

DAY NINE (Eve of Pentecost)