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28th Sunday in Ordinary Times 2019

Canonisation of John Henry Newman today in Rome by Pope Francis.

What a great occasion this celebration will be at St Peter’s in Rome and how I would love to be there. Taking place during the Synod of Bishops in Rome, a great cross-section of cultures will be participating.

John Henry Newman was born on 21 February 1801 in London, the eldest of six children. His father was a banker and his mother’s family were originally French Huguenot refugees.

One of his great sorrows in life was the death of his sister, Mary, at the age of 19 years of a sudden illness. Years later, he confided to his sister Harriet, ‘I don’t think that she ever knew how much I loved her.”

It is sad if we leave it too long to tell another of our love for them. In the Gospel, the Samaritan immediate goes back to Jesus to say, ‘Thanks’. Don’t leave it too long to tell a person that you love them and then live the rest of your life to regret it – do it today.

On 9th October 1845, an Italian Passionist priest, Dominic Barberi, now Blessed, received John Henry Newman into the Catholic Church from the Anglican Community.

Not everyone understood the personal cost of the journey John Henry Newman and two others received into the Catholic Church with him had made. We can, I’m sure, appreciate that his friends and family suffered a sense of loss at the change he made in his life. More followed two years later when he was ordained a Catholic priest. He founded the Birmingham Oratory in 1848.

Showing favour to the university where I studied – U.C.D - in 1851 Newman was appointed first Rector of University College Dublin. His Dublin lectures and articles published as, “The Idea of a University” give a relevant message on education. A visit to Newman’s Church, St Stephen’s Green, will not disappoint.

His poem on the afterlife, ‘The Dream of Gerontius’, published in 1865, later inspired Elgar’s masterpiece. But, let me finish with one the great poems of Newman – ‘The Pillar and the Cloud’, better known to us, ‘Lead Kindly Light’. On a visit to Sicily, he took sick and wanted to get back to England as soon as possible. He was stranded by a storm for one week on a boat from Palermo to Marseilles. That was when the great, ‘Lead Kindly Light’ was born.

Any regrets today? Blessed Dominic, C.P. not also being canonized today.

Pilgrimage to Knock 18-20 Oct 2019




27th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

Advertising is interesting. Constantly we are offered more goods and services, being told we need them but maybe we just want them. Some adverts are more interesting than some of the programmes. Even TV Religious Channels present a slick message about how to get more from God in return for giving him more. Wanting ‘more’ is part of human life.

There is even a hint of wanting more in today’s Gospel request to Jesus – ‘Increase our faith.’ - wanting more faith. Nothing wrong with that once I don’t see faith as a commodity like TV adverts. It is easy to reduce faith and religion to a commodity possessed.  

Jesus in the form of God, emptied Himself taking the form of a servant even to the Cross. John the Baptist had insight that Jesus must increase while he decreased. St Paul concluded that for him to live was Christ. He becomes less; Christ becomes All.

Jesus responded to being asked for increased faith by pointing to the growing power of a faith even as tiny as a mustard seed. Anthony De Mello, S.J., portrays God as dealing in seeds rather than in fullly mature fruits. Less is more for God and last shall be first.

As Jesus goes to Calvary, His disciples are preoccupied with who is the greatest. Greater status in the Church is sought to this day. Jesus’ response to status seekers, is to set an infant in their midst. A child mirrors God.

Faith grows when God has first place in daily life, but never grows in a vacuum. God within does not dictate to us but walks every step of the way with us and carry us when we can’t walk.  

God knows that my life lacks deep faith. Only reliance on God will change that before it is too late. At the end of life, all I can say is, ‘I am merely a servant; I have done no more than my duty.’ Awards are always out of place!

150th Anniversary Pilgrimage Prayer

Our Lady of Knock, Queen of Ireland, 140 years ago you came with St Joseph and St John; silently but powerfully you offered hope and a call to prayer. We come 150 years after the foundation of St Joseph’s Church, Paris, to offer thanks through you to your Son, Jesus, for all the Parishioners and Passionists over those years. We beg you to bless us today as we carry forward the flame of faith, hope and love into the future. Receive all our intentions as now we ask your protection and your Son’s blessing on our parish, our homes and we who trust in your powerful intercession, through Christ our Lord. Amen

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

Compare Two Contrasting Scenes:

Scene 1: At mass today, we meet around the table of the Lord Jesus. He is the richest of all, Creator of the Universe, King of Kings. At His table (Altar) we are invited to be with Him; we are poor in comparison. We came into the world with nothing and will leave with nothing. We bring nothing with us from this earth when we go, other than love – only everlasting gift.

Scene 2: At a rich person’s table there sits another rich man. He is different. Because outside there is a poor man who never gets invited to come to His table to eat. Worse still, the poor wretch can’t even get the crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table. He’s literally starving and will soon die.

Scene 1: Jesus at His table sees us and calls us by name to sit close to Him. He feeds us and gives to drink. We don’t have to go looking for crumbs; He gives us eternal food. We receive Bread from Heaven and our thirst is slaked by the Chalice of Salvation, becoming rich through Him.

Scene 2: The rich man does nothing deliberately wrong. He simply does not notice Lazarus lying hungry, poor, sick and probably lonely. If Lazarus was a dog at the gates of his house, perhaps he would get more notice from the man of the house. But it is left to the dogs to lick the sores of the poor man – no human comfort.

Scene 1: Jesus, the rich one, promises that when fed at His table, we will never hunger again. Sure, the world is full of starving people, but the Bread of the Eucharist compels us not to let anyone die for want of food that this world is still capable of producing. Go, from being fed at the Mass with Jesus and in turn feed others who starve.

Scene 2: Lazarus is left outside by a rich man who never feels hunger. The rich one leaves Lazarus in his pitiable condition perhaps not by calculated and, deliberate choice. He did it by total neglect. If glancing outside his palatial house, he sees dogs lick sores on Lazarus, his reaction could be, ‘what is that to me?’ He may even salve his conscience by thinking that Lazarus is part of an organised scam.

Scene 1: Jesus has an Eternal Banquet prepared for us in Heaven. When we hear those wonderful words, ‘Come blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for YOU from the foundation of the world’. There is a seat for everyone – including Lazarus.

Scene 2: In God’s Kingdom Lazarus is poor no longer. For the rich man this is beyond belief. The shock of seeing Abraham cradling Lazarus is more than he can take. But, like me, he has not learnt well; he asks God to send Lazarus as a servant to cool his tongue. Lazarus it seems is there to order about and not as a child of God.

Scene 1: God’s perspective is not the same. He sees Lazarus as one who carried the cross of hunger, poverty and sickness. Now he is enjoying the warmth of Heaven. In life the rich man never bridged the gap from his food-laden table to the poor wretched Lazarus. He now faces a wider chasm between the table of God and himself. He knows now how Lazarus felt in life.

Let us pray: Dearest Lord, open my eyes and my heart to the cry of the poor and then  recognise your voice in their cries. You give me at Mass today your parable, not to condemn me, but to alert me that on this earth I create my eternal destiny by how I see You in the poor. Lord, have mercy on me as you did on Lazarus. Amen (Aidan, CP)

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

A few thoughts – Aidan Troy, C.P.

Once each year at St Joseph’s we have an ‘Information Day’. It is a day of welcome to new people and a regrouping going forward as a Christian community. The International Food fest in the garden will be from after 9.30 Mass until about 2.30 p.m.

A danger for me is that I see life in ‘compartments’ – God in Heaven; the devil in Hell and in between, we on Earth. But the boundaries are not as secure as I imagine them to be.

When we come out from Mass this and every weekend, we have already been in contact with Heaven. Every Mass is a share in the liturgy before the Throne of God in Heaven. There is not a God in Heaven who is locked up and watching us on Earth. No, in the crowds as we leave Mass this Sunday, Jesus walks with us into the garden. He is at every table and standing as part of the chat where two or three are gathered and He delights in being part of our conversations.

Not recognising that Jesus is always with us, individually and together, is not His fault. It is mine. I keep Him at a distance because……well, maybe you can finish that sentence? I choose to keep Him at a distance because I never feel worthy. I know that this is not correct, but it is how I was trained becoming a priest. In better moments, I know that He loves me to bits! He loves all of us even to the Cross.

Back to our Information Day today! Jesus has ‘In-Formation’ for us. He wants to ‘Trans-Form’ His people, the environment and save our planet. The number one need in Church today is formation in holiness. The church and the world urgently need saints – people like you fully alive and walking with each other and with Jesus.

That is our Mission. Ministry, from sweeping the floor of the church to prayer and every Mass offered in St Joseph’s, has this as its aim. Ministry is any of us walking with others to help all of us to grow in holiness.

Jesus has no absolute need of any one of us to serve in a ministry. He has chosen to need us. Many generous people hear His call and step forward to walk alongside others on the road that always leads through Calvary to the glory of Resurrection.

The key to all Ministries is that each is a share in the work of the Holy Spirit. At St Joseph’s you never cease to amaze me, leaving me humbled by your generous love, and willingness to serve. You are truly an inspiration.

Inspiration in its root meaning is that you are transmitters of the Holy Spirit to me and others. A lovely aspect is that often you don’t know that you are doing this. You need to be told how good you truly are.

This is how God is ‘Trans-Forming’ the world from war to peace, from slavery to freedom, from injustice to care and love. All people whom God has created can save the world and save this planet. St Joseph’s will soon put forward some thoughts and actions inspired by Pope Francis’ ‘Laudato Si’.

No Information Day could capture the ‘hidden ministering’ that happens at St Joseph’s. It is my privilege to know something about people quietly looking and reach out to others who need a hand and a warm heart to love them. This is what I believe St Paul of the Cross started 300 years ago as the radical mission of all who share in the Charism of the Passion – that is all of us. Thank God and thank you.



Saint Joseph's Catholic Church
50 Avenue Hoche
75008 Paris, France
33(0)1 42 27 28 56

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