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LA RE Congress 2018 – Getting Ready
16th March, 2018

We have all settled into our accommodation and have familiarized ourselves with Anaheim. Our first excursion was to Disneyland for a quick immersion into Movie mania, bad food, tired feet, lots of strollers, long waits but an amazing nighttime Fantasia show on the water.

Tomorrow is the first day at the ‘Rise Up’ LA RE Congress to be held at the Anaheim Convention Centre – a huge complex beautifully set out and landscaped.

I am feeling quite excited.

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Praying with the Pope in March
5th March, 2018

The Pope’s Monthly Pray intention for March is – Formation in Spiritual Discernment 

Taken from Daily Prayer:
This website allows us to follow along with Pope Francis’ monthly intentions to pray for the challenges of humanity and for the mission of the Church


That the Church may appreciate the urgency of formation in spiritual discernment, both on the personal and communitarian levels.


Father of all Goodness,
send on each of us
your Holy Spirit, a spirit of understanding and wisdom,
which helps us to look at the present with gratitude and the future with hope.
Help us to free ourselves from discouragement and from all kinds of resistance,
opening us with courage and creativity
to what the Church and the world need most.
Grow in us the desire of discernment,
so that our communities can be places of sharing and dialogue,
witnesses of your charity and able to respond with generosity
to what you ask us in each moment.
Our Father…

Practical guide

  • Seek, throughout this month, to meditate on the events of the present, on a personal and community level, and discern in them the ways in which God wants to speak. Thank God for what goes well, what bears fruit…Evaluate what needs to change…
  • Ask for the grace of inner freedom, questioning without fear types of statements that can block a true process of discernment, such as: “it’s always been done” or “it’s no longer worth it.”
  • Organise, in the community or institutions, a moment of prayer and sharing about the benefits of discernment and how it can bring forth ideas for future action. What concrete steps need to be taken and what continuity can be given to these processes?
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Lent – the gift of God’s self.
27th February, 2018

What does Lent mean to you?

Giving up things?

As Fr Andy Hamilton (2018) reflects , this was often an attitude we had when we were children. Giving up lollies and storing them in a jar to eat at Easter and as we grew up we gave up other things like alcohol!

But Lent is not just about giving up, it is also about giving!

Lent is a time to encourage us to give away to charities such as Project Compassion, St Vincent de Paul.

Lent is a time to encourage us to give of time – to family, to prayer.

Lent is a time to encourage us to give in – to being forgiving and being forgiven.

But at its heart lies, not giving, but being given. Its point is to remind us of all that we have been given by God through Jesus and to encourage us to be thankful for it. Jesus is the dearest gift that God can give us – God’s self.

adapted from Fr Andy Hamilton

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Because there was no room in the Inn
15th December, 2017

The birth of Jesus, celebrated by hundreds of millions every year on Christmas, is certainly one of the world’s best known stories. Surprisingly, this famous scene only appears in two of the four canonical gospels, Matthew and Luke. Of these two, Luke contains the more detailed description of the birth itself:

And Mary gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7).

This verse has given rise to the popular image of the holy family in a barn on the outskirts of Bethlehem. Most of us assume that Joseph and Mary were looking for a hotel room and when they found all the rooms booked they had no choice but to sleep in a stables. Is this so?

Probably not. The most problematic English word in this verse is “inn”. Firstly. Bethlehem was far too small a village to have an actual hotel. Secondly, the Greek word which means “inn” pandoxeion (πανδοχεῖον) is not used here. Luke uses the word in 10:34 in his telling of the Parable of the Good Samaritan. But here in chapter 2 he uses a different word: katalyma (κατάλυμα). Based on the verb katalyo (καταλύω), which means “to put down one’s things”, the katalyma is simply any sheltered space used as a resting place. Israelite_pillared_house

Mary and Joseph were not looking for a room in an “inn” but simply the upstairs level of a typical residential house used as a bedroom. When visitors came, it could be used as a guest room. Due to the empire-wide census, numerous members of Joseph’s family had congregated in Bethlehem, and all the katalymata in town were occupied. Because there was “no room in the upstairs bedroom,” Joseph and Mary had to sleep downstairs in the main room of a relative’s house. This room was a sort of all purpose room. During the day it was used as a workshop. At night it was used to house frail animals, while the rest of the flock was left outdoors. The katalyma was not a full-fledged barn or stables, but it did contain a drinking trough or manger cut in the bedrock. This was the most convenient place to place the baby Jesus once he was born. So while Jesus was indeed born in a room used for animals, this was not strictly a barn.

A model of a typical Israelite house from the period of the Hebrew Bible.

Presumably first century homes in Bethlehem looked similar.

The katalyma is above whereas animals are kept below.

taken from: accessed Dec 2017

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The Nativity told by children
21st November, 2017

Hearing the story of Christmas you can always expect a twist to it, but seeing and hearing it through the eyes of a child is extra special. Merry Christmas!

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Christmas prayer
20th November, 2017

Christmas Prayer

When the song of the angels has been stilled,
when the star has gone from the night sky,
when the kings have reached their far shores,
when the shepherds have returned to their flocks,
then the work of Christmas really begins:
to find those who are lost,
to heal those who are broken in spirit,
to feed those who are hungry,
to release those who are oppressed,
to rebuild the nations torn by strife,
to bring peace among all peoples,
to bring the light of the Gospel
into the darkest corners of our world.

We pray that we might radiate the light of Christ,
through the kindliness of our presence
and the determination of our purpose,
every day of our lives.

May the joy of the angels,
the eagerness of the shepherds,
the perseverance of the wise men,
the love of Joseph and Mary,
and the peace of the Christ child
be ours this Christmas.
And may the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
rest upon us and remain with us always.
Amen. accessed November 2017

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End of School Reflection for students, families and staff.
20th November, 2017

End of School Year Reflection

As approach Advent and Christmas and celebrate the end of another school year, like the Roman god Janus, we look back and look forward.

Fr Richard McBride would like to share a little reflection we could do together.

When you pause and look back at this year, do you think the world is a safer place than it was this time last year?

Do you think our world has progressed much?

Do you think you are a better person? How have you grown this year?

What good things have happened to you? What bad experiences have you endured? Has this year been for you a good time, a time of growth, a time of blessing?

Have any of your loved ones died this year? How are you managing their loss? Or has someone you love moved away, out of your life, leaving you forlorn? Is there a new absence in your life?

Have you made new friends? Has it been a good year for your family? Have you stayed close to them? Do they know that you love them?

Do you feel better about yourself now than you did last year? Are you still excited about your vocation, your career, your work? Or are you content in retirement? How have you changed?

And when you look ahead to the coming year, how do you feel?  Is there anything you are afraid of? Is there something you are dreading? What are you looking forward to? Anything?

It’s important, though not easy, to look back with kindness, and to look forward in hope.

This school year is closing down. Let us hand over the past to God for God’s healing blessing.

Let us ask the Lord to face the future with us because we do not want to face it alone.

Let us pray for each person who reads this, and for all those we love and cherish: that each one might know the promise of the Lord that brings the Gospel to a close:

“Know this, I will be with you even unto the end of the world. accessed Nov 2017 written 18 December 2012 –

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The Water and the Light
6th October, 2017


In the Gospel of John, we find a famous saying of Jesus: He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Jesus cried these words out “on the last and great day” of the feast of Tabernacles. Why did Jesus speak of water? Was there anything in the celebration of Sukkot that was connected to water that would explain Jesus’ use of this image?

In the days of the Second Temple, the height of the Sukkot celebration was the water libation ceremony. Sukkot is the beginning of the rainy season in Israel, and the libation of water was performed to invoke God’s blessing on the year’s rains. During the ceremony, a large procession ascended to the Temple, led by a priest who bore a special golden vessel filled with the sparkling spring water. The water was then poured onto the altar. During this ceremony, the lamps were lit in the Temple courtyard as a sign of the festivities. It was a very joyful procession, indeed.

The sages of Israel testify to the celebrations of the water libation from the days of the Second Temple, and the description of this ceremony can be found in the Mishna. The Talmud states that “one who has not witnessed the Festival of the Water Drawing (held on the nights of Sukkot in the Holy Temple) has not seen joy in his lifetime!” Jesus uses the images of this celebration, to illustrate his words. Once we understand this context – once we understand that the Light and the Water motif played a significant role in the celebration of the Feast Tabernacles – the words of Jesus acquire a more profound and rich meaning. It is in the context of this celebration, while the procession with water was walking through Jerusalem, that Jesus says His famous words about “living water”. It is in the context of this celebration, while all Jerusalem was glowing with the light from the Temple, that Jesus also spoke these words: “I am the light of the world.”

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Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary
1st September, 2017

Saint of the Day for September 8

The Church has celebrated Mary’s birth since at least the sixth century. A September birth was chosen because the Eastern Church begins its Church year with September. The September 8 date helped determine the date for the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8.

Scripture does not give an account of Mary’s birth. However, the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James fills in the gap. This work has no historical value, but it does reflect the development of Christian piety. According to this account, Anna and Joachim are infertile but pray for a child. They receive the promise of a child who will advance God’s plan of salvation for the world. Such a story, like many biblical counterparts, stresses the special presence of God in Mary’s life from the beginning.

Saint Augustine connects Mary’s birth with Jesus’ saving work. He tells the earth to rejoice and shine forth in the light of her birth. “She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley. Through her birth the nature inherited from our first parents is changed.” The opening prayer at Mass speaks of the birth of Mary’s Son as the dawn of our salvation, and asks for an increase of peace.


We can see every human birth as a call for new hope in the world. The love of two human beings has joined with God in his creative work. The loving parents have shown hope in a world filled with travail. The new child has the potential to be a channel of God’s love and peace to the world.



excerpt from

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