Friday, June 26, 2009

Pope Benedict and Cardinal Levada (CDF) in private Audience this evening

....that is if everything went according to schedulte as stated by the VIS this afternoon.

No, you can't be 'a fly on the wall'. Enjoy your guesswork. Personally, I would be surprised if the most immediately pressing work re. the PCED has not already been done and that they were able to relax after dotting 'i's and crossing 't's. Of course there is the reverse scenario where recalcitrants are still making trouble...........All we can and must do is watch and pray.

God bless our Pope

Monday, June 22, 2009

Spiritual Motherhood and the Year of the Priest

According to Zenit, the Internet is awash with suggested initiatives for the Year of the Priest, inaugurated by the Holy Father last Friday on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This may be true but as yet it is not as easy to find reports of individual, group or Diocesan responses in action.

The most frequently made suggestion so far seems to be that of 'adopting' a priest for whom you will pray throughout the year. Three examples on individual blogs are 'Bevansinc' (specifically for priests of the English Diocese of Arundel and Brighton (although you don't have to live in the diocese to take part); Jane Teresa's blog 'My Heart was Restless'; and Anna Arco's blog at the Catholic Herald. Meanwhile last week's 'Joan Knows' on Vatican Radio mentioned the idea in passing, rather as if she had just thought of it!. Mulier Fortis posted that she felt that praying for priests was somehow part of her vocation.

However, I am especially concerned in this post with Spiritual Motherhood, a more permanent commitment and contribution that women can make to the Sanctification of Priests and the renewal of the Priesthood, which are central to our Holy Father's intentions in calling for this Sacerdotal Year. It's not my purpose to describe my own experience as a spiritual mother but I will attest most forcefully that it is indeed a specific vocation, that it is profoundly spiritually demanding, rewarding, and usually hidden, often from the priest or priests whom the Lord sends to the mother as spiritual sons.

This post is published as a gentle exhortation to my female readers who feel attracted to the idea or simply want to find out more. Here are two essential places on my bloglist sidebar where you will find sound spiritual advice and information. This is the website of the Congregation for Clergy headed by Cardinal Hummes. Here, by clicking on the 'stained glass window' you will find several relevant documents, but of specific interest is Document 05 'Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Priests and Spiritual Motherhood'. This is a 40 page pdf explanatory booklet which begins with the letter the Cardinal wrote to bishops in December 2007.

Vultus Christi, the wonderful and spititually indispensable blog of Fr Mark Kirby has many important posts in its archives. Search them! Typing in 'Bishop Slattery' will enable you to read all about this good and dear bishop's response to Cardinal Hummes' letter and document. Thanks to his Excellency, Tulsa Diocese now has a group of some 30 spiritual mothers. Preparatory to the eventual signing of their individual oblations at a special ceremony of consecration in April this year, they underwent a period of discernment and formation, (see link to report at top of sidebar here) which rightly and properly underlines the seriousness of their promise and commitment. Following from the example of the Tulsa model I would humbly advocate that anyone interested in spiritual motherhood, should consult her Parish Priest or Spiritual Director if she has one. I pray that the reading recommended above will inspire others to consider doing this.

As far as other US dioceses are concerned I can only find Providence and 'Adoro Te' mentioned the other day that a group may be starting up in Minnesota. I have as yet been unable to find any diocese in England and Wales, or in France where the Cardinal's suggestion and wish have been taken up. I wonder how much positive feedback he has had. (If any reader knows differently I'd be most grateful for the information.) As readers know, I'm isolated here and do not have a parish priest to whom I can appeal. My next task is therefore to write to Archbishop Nichols , (who has a most encouraging message about the Year of the Priest on the Westminster website) and to Bishop Dagens of Angouleme.

In the meantime, as I'm sure you'll agree, there is one uniquely special priest for whom we should all pray, namely Pope Benedict himself. Thank you Holy Father for the treasury of spiritual opportunities and graces you have offered to priests and laity in the institution of this sacerdotal year. May God protect and strengthen you and keep you well. Ad multos annos!

With my prayers for all here,
In Christo pro Papa

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mayor of San Giovanni Rotondo to Pope Benedict, this morning...

Welcoming Pope Benedict to San Giovanni Rotondo at the start of his day's pilgrimage, the Mayor announced to him that the town is now twinned with Marktl am Inn. Now, isn't that a lovely present to give to our Holy Father and the place of his birth and baptism.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Spiritual Motherhood; Roses for Pope Benedict; Fr. Z's question

Spiritual Motherhood:

I'm in the process of composing a post on this subject and hope to publish after the Holy Father's pilgrimage to San Giovanni Rotondo tomorrow.

Roses for Pope Benedict:

There are over fifty roses in my garden and they have not bloomed according to their usual pattern this year. This may be something to do with the weather or the moon or whatever you like. Suffice to say that my climbing 'Pilgrim' which does not normally flower until later in the season, showed forth masses of pale yellow blooms from the day our 'Pilgrim of Peace' left Rome for the Holy Land until his safe return.

As far as I know, there is no rose yet in the catalogue for Benedict XVI. I gather you have to ask a rose breeder to create a Rose for a given person. Well, I'm going to ask David Austin. 'Pilgrim' is one of his and so it shouldn't be too difficult for him to breed what we call a 'sport' from it for our dear Holy Father. Searching in my French catalogue for a rose to plant for him this year, I found 'Mozart', the only one which seemed appropriate. This rose arrived and was planted in a pot in my courtyard garden. It turns out, appropriately, to be a patio rose. At the beginning of this last week it was in bud, and yesterday for the Sacred Heart and the inauguration of the Year of the Priest, came into full display of delicate sprays of the palest pink.

Fr Z's question:

This was posted on WDTPRS earlier and asked what we had to report about initiatives for the Year of the Priest in our parishes and dioceses. For the answer, I turned instinctively to the Archdiocese of Westminster where I lived for 40 years. Joy: I found a special web page and message from our new Archbishop Vincent Nichols. He calls for the Rosary in each parish; for at least an hour's Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament per week in each one; and even expresses the hope that 'a rhythm of Forty Hours devotion can be established around the deaneries'. My old parish, St. Mary's Cadogan St., just up the road from the Cathedral, directs me to this message but their website doesn't yet indicate that they are about to implement the Archbishop's hopes.

So what is going on in the Diocese of Angouleme, here in France, as far as the Year of the Priest is concerned? I checked the website. All you get there is an invitation to receive a news letter by email. I would love to be wrong, but in St. Romain it's unlikely that there were others who knew what Pope Benedict was doing yesterday evening, and if they did, like me they would have kept it quiet. Perhaps it's time to be bold and put a notice in the window.

There was a 'profession of faith' ceremony for the youngsters last weekend. When I was told that this was imminent I asked one of the parents whether this was to be 'Confirmation' . 'Oh no,' she said, 'They don't do that now.'
A demain,

In Christo pro Papa