Tag Archives: Jim Mcaloon

The Cathedral Connection 6 October 2019

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SAINT FRANCIS

Friday was the memorial for Saint Francis of Assisi (1181/82-1226).  St Francis is probably one of the best-known saints – known for his love of creation and the radical poverty of his lifestyle. He is venerated by Christians in many denominations, particularly in the Anglican communion as well as our own, and has been the subject of many books and films.

He was born in what is now Italy, to a wealthy merchant family. As a youth Francis enjoyed his family’s wealth, but a number of events – illness and captivity –  caused him to reconsider his life. By the time he was in his mid-twenties he was abandoning his privileged lifestyle and from 1208 others joined him in a wandering life of preaching. In 1211 Clare of Assisi was inspired to follow Francis’s example, and so the Franciscans and Poor Clares, as they became known, began as religious orders.

There are plenty of legends about medieval saints like Francis, but we can be certain about his veneration of, and delight in, God’s creation. In a time when many Christian European states were engaging in the Crusades, Francis visited Egypt in the hope of building bridges with Islam. Francis wrote a good deal; his Canticle of the Sun is still well-known (although he didn’t write ‘Make me a channel of your peace’). Notably, he wrote in Italian, not Latin, so that ordinary people could understand him.

In 1979 Pope John Paul II declared Francis the patron saint of ecology. As we all know, Cardinal Bergoglio took the name ‘Francis’ when he became pope. He said that this was so that the church would remember the poor, commit itself to peace, and care for creation.

From a very different time to our own, Saint Francis still speaks to us. But like many saints, his message should challenge us as well as encourage us.

Jim McAloon, Chair, Parish Pastoral Council.

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection – 1 September 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

OUR COMMON HOME

One of the important measures currently being considered by Parliament is the Zero Carbon Bill, which sets out a way forward for this country to reduce its net emissions of carbon dioxide to zero by 2050. There is no doubt of the importance, and urgency, of action to address climate change, and the Archdiocesan Commission for Ecology, Justice and Peace made a submission to the Select Committee considering the Bill, representatives appearing before the committee last Monday.

In preparing its submission, commission members were very much guided by Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’: On care for our common home. Laudato Si’ is a rich and rewarding document, readily available online.  In his usual plain language, Francis reminds us that environmental issues are ethical and spiritual issues. The whole universe ‘speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God… When we can see God reflected in all that exists, our hearts are moved to praise the Lord for all his creatures and to worship him in union with them’.

We need to remind ourselves that ‘the world is a gift which we have freely received and must share with others’, including future generations.  In urging action to deal with climate change, pollution, and the extinction of species, the pope stresses that technology alone will not be enough. He encourages politicians and diplomats to work co-operatively for a global consensus.

Francis encourages us all. ‘For all our limitations, gestures of generosity, solidarity and care cannot but well up within us, since we were made for love’. These themes have been evident in our recent parish discussions. With the coming of spring, may we continue to give thanks for the earth that sustains us and continue to care for it and for each other.

Jim McAloon
Chair, Parish Pastoral Council.

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection 4 August 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here

Thank You!

Thanks to all who attended the consultation meetings last week. The combined attendance was about 45 people, and the discussion was lively and even entertaining. We will put out a fuller summary soon. Some points seemed to attract a lot of interest. One was the desirability of making the piazza a greener space, and enhancing the potential of that area and the courtyard for meditation and relaxation. Several people spoke of the importance of opportunities for deepening our knowledge of the Bible.

Many agreed that what brings us together, apart from our common faith, is the importance of working together and caring for each other.  There were also questions about whether we do that as well as we could.  Similarly, several people thought communication could be improved. Of course, too, everyone is keen to get back into the Cathedral – there is an update inside this newsletter – and there were suggestions about a big re-opening event, including inviting the Pope.

In the next few weeks representatives of the Parish Council and Finance Committee will work on developing these insights, and the earlier surveys, into a draft parish response to Cardinal John. We expect to make that available for feedback, and in the meantime if anyone would like to offer their thoughts on the consultation questions, please get them into the parish office by 12 August. The questions can be found on the parish website in the newsletter of 21 July.

The best feature of the discussion, I thought, was that everyone spoke honestly and listened respectfully.  Perhaps, in a world where sometimes it seems that shouting and putting people down prevails, we might be a model of dialogue and encounter — in our parish community and everywhere we go.

Jim McAloon, Chair, Parish Pastoral Council

The full newsletter can be viewed here