Priest and People

I announced at all Masses last weekend that a new priest had been appointed as assistant  in our parish. I learnt last Wednesday that the particular priest  was not now going to come.”Plans had changed, “ I was told. Since then the Chancellor of the Diocese has managed to find a find a religious order priest who is able to help out till at least Christmas which is great news. I will be able to give you more details when I have met with the priest. 
This got me thinking about the role of the priest in the parish and his relation to the people.  Sharing the ministry of the bishop, the priest is a sacramental image of Christ the Good Shepherd.  The law of the Church gives the parish priest an ultimate responsibility for all aspects of parish life (including finance and administration, as well as Liturgy, catechesis pastoral care) for which he is answerable to the Bishop and the Diocesan Trustees.  But the priest does not lead and serve in isolation, but rather in collaboration and partnership with the whole parish community. It is essential that in this parish as in every parish there is full lay participation. This is because of the dignity and responsibility that flows from Baptism and Confirmation. There is great participation in our parish in areas of administration, liturgy, catechesis and prayer. I would like to encourage all in the parish to be involved as much as you are able. My dear friend Bishop Michael Evans who died 7 years ago, wrote “Encouraging lay people to take on such tasks .. is enabling men and women to live more fully their call to active and responsible participation in the life of the Church at every level and in the Church’s mission to the world.”  He went on to say “It is essential that the full dignity and equality of women be recognised. The development of lay leadership and other ministries should provide opportunities for great use of so many unused skills and resources, especially the often untapped intellectual and leadership skills of women in the Church.” I appreciate that many in our parish have limited time that must be given to the family. It is in our ordinary lives nourished each Sunday at Mass by the Word of God and the Bread of Life that we live and share our Catholic Life.

Food for the Journey

The Angel gives Elijah food to reach the Mountain of God               1 Kings 19:4-8
The first reading from the Book of Kings at Mass this weekend is a favourite reading of mine. Elijah had come off worse in his confrontation with Jezebel and so fled in the wilderness. He sat down under furze bush (broom tree) and wished he was dead. He can’t go on. It is all too much for him. Then he fell asleep. But an angel wakes him up and tells him to eat and drink the scone and the jar of water that have appeared by his side.  The angel tells him he cannot fall asleep again and he would not survive the journey without this food and drink. This nourishment sustained Elijah as he walked for forty days and night until he reached Horeb the Mountain of God.
We don’t hear in this reading that when he reached this mountain Elijah as an amazing encounter with God, not in the mighty wind, or in the thunder but in a gentle breeze. I love this reading because of the transformation that comes to the prophet when he is given food and drink.  He is revived and refreshed.  I am sure that in some way we can all identify with the experience of Elijah who has come the end of his tether.  He can’t take it any more and he just wants to lay down and die. He wants to give up. God’s gift of food refreshes him and changes him.
A friend of mine said that when things were difficult or chaotic in her life she didn’t come to church because she told herself she had no time, she was too busy and had too much to do. When circumstances changed and things were then she would return. But it is precisely when we are hungry, alone and down that we need the sustenanceof the presence of Jesus. God provides the energy and direction to the Israelites during their years of wandering in the desert. “Likewise, through the Eucharist Jesus provides vitality and meaning to us weak and frightened members of his flock. Care for his loved ones is one of God’s principal characteristics.”
Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk in his refection on todays passage writes; “We have all sat with Elijah under the broom tree thinking or saying, “This is enough O Lord!” But the same Lord who took care of Elijah and brought him to a deeper level of knowledge of God takes care of us and leads us into a closer contact with his goodness, a deeper knowledge of his love.”
Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Discussion on Saint Augustine and the experience of God

the third session of 2018 was on Saint Augustine and the experience of God by Father Jaime Garcia Alvarez  (1)

Date: 19th September 2018 at 7:00 PM

Jaime Garcia Alvarez

Location St Thomas RC Hall.

This article referred to many primary sources that some may be interested to consult mainly the writings and works of St Augustin.

  1.  If you need to learn more about St Augustin probably Wikipedia page on Augustine of Hippo might be useful    or better the entry in Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy  from here
  2. St Augustin converted from Manichaeism, which you can learn about  here  
  3. The main work of St Augustin can be found online Christian Classics Ethereal Library   here
    But his main works are:
  4. Confessions (Augustine)
  5. English Translation of his confession in pdf 
  6. Or can be downloaded from this site 
  7. Other works relevant to this article
  8. On the Predestination of the Saints (Book II in Latin originally was de dono perseverante)
  9. Soliloquies 

The presentation of Dr Matteo Casati  (45 min presentation) 

Please see additional comments on the paper from Tessa Metcalfe St Augustine & the Experience of God

Further comments from Rosie Budd  St. Augustine and experience of God_Rosie Budd

(1) Father Jaime Garcia Alvarez (OSA) Order of Saint Augustine. He finished his doctorate in 1962 at the Institut Catholique de Paris, he has maintained Teaching positions in many theological centres in France Belgium and Spain. His special interest is in the Augustinian theology, spirituality and writings.