Monday, September 10, 2018

Not finished, yet

The culmination of the Congress: Cardinal Nichols, the Bishops and many priests ascend the steps of the Metropolitan Cathedral for Benediction, with the support of the 10,000 pilgrims.
Deo Gratias! What a joy - the whole weekend - it was to be a Catholic. It has been difficult to capture the atmosphere and the essence of Adoremus, but do speak to us about the special moments. The final chapter was the 11.30am Solemn Pilgrimage Mass and the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament through the streets surrounding the Cathedral. The Mass was marked by a capacity congregation and assembled priests, religious, bishops along with our main celebrant, Cardinal Nichols. Led by a thirty-strong choir and with the swell of the organ we launched the liturgy with 'All people that on earth do dwell' and it sounded like 'all people' The clergy processed and we proudly watched them move pass by before we reached the great 'Amen' of this powerful hymn.  
Archishop Malcolm gave the homily and from  the gospel of the day he directed our thoughts to the deaf man and Jesus taking 'him aside in private'. We may struggle with the idea that Jeus can love every one unconditional and in a very personal manner. The Eucharist encounter is Jesus taking us aside and giving us His full, undivided attention; an equivalent of a private audience. 
The ears of the deaf man that have been opened allowed him to experience more than the voice of individuals, but also the noise of bustling crowds. In a contemporary setting it would be the noise of the the traffic, blaring music and  the iritation of loud mobile phone conversations. However, hearing  and concentrating on the voice of Jesus the noise of society is blocked out. In the frenzy of life we hear Him speak to us in private. From the privacy of that conversation we took our witness and His message into the streets of Liverpool. Amen alleluia!!

Couldn't resist a few more images.

"It's not the leaving of Liverpool that grieves me ...." but the memories of Adoremus will linger for a long while

The Fab Three, minus two, plus one (Keith from East Leake) taken during the wet procession of the Blessed Sacrament.
The BBC News reported on Monday morning that 10,000 delegates/pilgrims processed!

Some images at last!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

It's raining in Liverpool

Not an exactly eye-catching title, but as we were inside Echo Arena all day it didn't dampen our spirits. Before we get started on the day an apology for the lack of photos. On our return I will do a separate blog of images of Liverpool and the Congress. You may have had the DVDs of Bishop Robert Barron (not a name you would want to bandy about with so many Nottingham pilgrims wearing Robin Hood hats!) recommended to you . Even more highly recommended we would say is to hear him deliver a talk live. He is the Assistant Bishop of Los Angeles with an easy, informative style of delivery. When talking about the Mass or Holiness, as he did today, he blends theology, anecdotes, learned quotations related to the human condition. It's when you're saying to yourself, 'that's so right' or 'what an insight' you know you're in the presence of a priest who is so wise. (Ask your favourite Aunt to buy a box of his DVDs for Christmas. If she is deceased, treat yourself!)
You couldn't upstage the man but two events in the afternoon stand out. One was the testimonies of three young Catholics who spoke of coming to know Jesus Christ through Youth 2000; very moving. Next an extraordinary presentation from the Rise Theatre group who transported us from 30 AD to 2018 and re-enacted the impact of the Eucharist on our lives today. At the end of the session we re-lived that impact through a beautiful liturgy of adoration and Evening Prayer.
The Beatles have featured in the talks on Friday. Today was no exception. Bishop Barron admitted to being a Beatles fan and he did a very clever analysis on how John Lennon, at moments in his life, came so close to God and wove it into his talk on holiness which had three elements: having a centre point in our lives; sin and light;and 'it's not all about me'. The weather forecast for Liverpool looks very promising for Monday, by which time we'll be gone. Tomorrow is not so promising. We need dry weather for the outdoor procession of the Eucharist.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Bread of Life

First of all, let me explain the title of yesterday's blog - 'Bootle Paradiso'.  It's where I' m staying; an oasis in the heart of a disadvantaged area of Sefton. Today's headline is more appropriate for why we're here. This was the opening song for one of the workshops we attended this afternoon. 'We' Jenny and Carmel arrived around midday having been stranded on a stationary motorway due to a serious accident. We were officially welcomed by Archbishop Malcolm, of Nottingham fame. He assured us of a welcome that was secure and warm and providing us with a gateway.(a Eucharistic messages is hid den in there!)
We have been promised that copies of all the talks may be viewed on the website of the Bishops of England and Wales. Suffice it to say that we will offer you a few snippets that will give you a flavour of today's proceedings.
Three excellent speakers in the morning. The first quoted St Jerome "To know the scriptures is to know Christ" and he added 'and understand the Eucharist'.  His various themes were subtitled with names of Beatles' songs. (Try linking their songs with the Eucharist!) The first and third talk were illustrated with excellent slides. The last talk had us captured with a picture of a burger, complete with bun; a survey of eating habits and elements of meals applied to fast food, a family meal and the breaking of bread at the Eucharist. The elements were: Time, Creation , Ownership and Self.
We broke for lunch and spotted the Nottingham delegates in their Lincoln green hats. Delegates of A&B wore posh blue and gold neck scarves. Robin Hood may have had something to say about!
We'll conclude with a story told during one of the pm workshops.
A young boy was packing a picnic and told his Mum that he was going out to find God. His Mum did not resist his wish and off he went. He got as far as the local park and noticed an old lady sitting on a bench. She seemed lonely. He sat on the bench next to her. He asked her if she was hungry. She replied in the affirmative. He opened his picnic box and shared a biscuit. She gave him a wonderful smile. He asked her if she would like another biscuit. She eat it and she gave the boy another enchanting smile. He continued to share his biscuits and in time a bottle of lemonade. Each time he was rewarded by the old lady's smile. At the end of the day they went their separate ways. On his return home the boy was asked by his Mum what he had done. "Well, I met God". "Are you sure", asked the Mum. "Oh, yes. She's quite old, but has a wonderful smile"!
The old lady on returning home was met by her son who asked her what she been up to. "Well, I met God in the park and I never realised He was so young"!
More clues about the Eucharist hidden in that story!!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Bootle Paradiso

I can't get the word 'transformation' out of my head. It wasn't there when the rain began to fall whilst on the A50, driving towards Stoke nor when I pulled into Nantwich for my regular Costa latte did it come to mind. Driving under the Mersey Tunnel and being back in Liverpool the word resonated with this familar environment. I can see that is going to be a circuitous blog, but I might as well get it in before Jenny and Carmel arrive tomorrow. I'm staying in the Communiy House of the Salesians of Don Bosco and some of their members will be animating youth events as part of the Adoremus programme. I won't be joining them, though having been part of this community many years ago, I'll be with them in spirit. The Liverpool I first knew resonated with the music of the Beatles. Their music disguised and distracted from the run-down nature of its inner city, through lack of investment. It went through a period of militancy governance in the 70s, culminating in the Toxteth riots. The Government took notice; the Churches United in social action - the two Cathedrals linked by a thoroughfare called Hope Street. The Archbishops, Worlock and Shepherd , understood one another and the desperate needs of the city. Today, by being the Cultural city of Europe, plus the restoration of decrpid docklands and large-scale investment it draws in the tourists; hotels are full most weekends. Yes, you could say,  Liverpool has been transformed.
After two years of planning- the seed was sown by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, a Liverpudlian - we are on the verge of take-off for the Eucharistic Congress. I suspect by the very nature of the Congress we shall be pulled towards what is a central feature of our faith - Christ fully present in the Eucharist. The talks, the keynote speakers, the exhibitions, those precious moments of exposition, the procession of the Blessed Sacrament, in which leaders from the other churches will be taking part, should all contribute to a transformation of Church, here in the city but also tangibly in our own Eucharistic community in Keyworth. I can't wait. I forgot to mention that one parish is organising a Beatles singalong evening! I'll be singing all the way back to Nottingham.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

 Well, we haven't quite set sail from Keyworth, but thought that we would give you a preview of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool which in scouse language was named 'Paddy's Wigwam'.  The original plans for a Catholic cathedral were drawn up before WWII and the foundation and the crypt were built prior to the outbreak of war. Further development was halted until John Carmel Heenan was appointed Archbishop of Liverpool in May 1957. He insisted on a 'Cathedral for the people', thus abandoning the grandiose plans that would have matched the design of the Anglican cathedral. Costs were drastically reduced!