A new month. Time to reflect how the diary is going. Since starting the counter in May we have had 444 hits. That sounds quite a lot, but I imagine a lot of people will take a look out of curiosity and are unlikely to come back often. We seem to be getting two main kinds of responses. People who email in a response are generally very positive and encouraging. Those who have doubts about the effectiveness of the diary or are unlikely to read it very much are more likely to say so when we meet on my travels.
The main suggestions are to have contributions from others in the group (we'll see how that goes while I'm on holiday) or to keep it more factual, like a newsletter, though others have emailed to say that they were disappointed at the lack of deeper personal content. One thing that no-one is saying is to make it longer! I am conscious of the length and have gradually been cutting it down.
Suggestions are always appreciated, especially if you have experience of writing and editing. I am also open to questions about anything to do with life and faith, or if you think there is some area of my life and work with the groups that is not being covered. Some people also said that they enjoyed the bits that were emailed round but that they have never looked up the web page. We might offer an email service eventually for those who don't go onto the web. On average entries are typed up and posted 3 or 4 times a week.
Others have had difficulties accessing the site since we changed the address to www.project2030.fsnet.co.uk/project2030/hughsdiary.htm - obviously if you are reading this you had no problems getting through, but if you had difficulties earlier let us know how you got through eventually and we can pass that on to others.
Remember you can make a contribution to the diary in June. See May 11 for more details. Write about anything that is important to you or which would be of interest to the group. We have quite a few contributions from people. Anything received in the next couple of weeks will be posted after 17th June.
Off on holiday today. See May 29th for more details. Many thanks to those who have sent in contributions for the diary. These will follow from tomorrow. More entries from other people will be published in the diary after 17th June.
My Mountain to Climb
The Europe for Family Cycle event takes place from Monday 16 August - Friday 10 September.
Applicants can join the cycle at any stage for any length of time, so long as there is a place available.
Re-discovered myself, I’ve learned everything do happen for a reason. Adversity is perhaps a challenge; a challenge of our faith.
Working in London, far away from my
family and close friends in the Far East, these 2 years have proved to be tough
(though I do enjoy the freedom and the extensive traveling I’ve done). I’ve
recently had an offer to transfer back to our Hong Kong office. While I was
quite excited about the transfer, I know I am going to miss this city, the
freedom, the traveling and many more. I
was preparing myself emotionally to leave and only in the past couple of days,
I’ve learnt that the transfer is on hold for business reason.
Usually I’ll be upset with this kind of news, but surprisingly, I now
seem to have learnt to accept changes, accept whatever has come to me.
After all, I know I will be taken care of by God. He will always plan
whatever is best for me anyway and I’ll just make the most out of what I have
got for the moment. The best has yet to come.
Before the groups were started I did a questionnaire that was answered by Twentysomethings in parishes. It asked a response out of 10 about things like interests, attitudes, faith. The biggest response was to the statement “something needs to be done for those who do not like groups”. What could be done? The diary was partly a response to that need. The contribution below will be a big help to understanding those who do not like group.
Thoughts on Groups
“I write as someone who has very mixed feelings about belonging to Project 2030. That is no way a criticism of the group, just an observation of my own experience of and response to it. Scanning the newsletters, browsing through the website and leafing through the magazine it has always sounded amazing! Friendship; opportunities to explore your faith with other 20s and 30s; pilgrimage; travel to exciting or exotic locations. So why does each event feel like such a risk and take such courage, despite people being so welcoming?
Hearing Hugh say so many times that he loves groups has made me realise how profoundly different we can all be. Joining a new group of people for a whole weekend, getting to know them and starting to explore my faith a bit more has often left me feeling very vulnerable and in quite some turmoil. Building so many different relationships and trying to follow the dynamics of a group is hard work for everyone but for some of us it is more confusing than others! It can be hard to believe that someone can actually enjoy being at the helm of what to me seems to be a social and spiritual minefield but at the same time I feel grateful that such different people exist. It makes sense that we enjoy what we are called to do, and that by following our own different callings can show others that what they fear may in reality not be quite so terrible. To me that is what being in a group is all about.
I was asked on the first retreat I went on whether I was an extrovert or an introvert. No way could I ever describe myself as an extrovert but at the same time was very reluctant to use the word introvert. It was after all two in the morning, I was miles away from home, nursing a can of Guinness and enjoying a fine display of wild dancing. I felt was making valiant efforts to conquer my tendencies towards introspection! But the fact is we can’t change who we really are, although that’s not to say we can’t make unexpected discoveries about ourselves and others. At the same time I still feel uncomfortable about using one word to define a person. Assigning labels is like putting on a psychological straitjacket. We set boundaries for ourselves and others and can start to behave according to expectations, those of our own and other people. The beauty of being in a group is that what we lack ourselves others have in abundance and if we’re accepted exactly as we are we can feel relaxed enough to share the gifts we do have instead of beating ourselves up about what we’re not and what we can’t do. Sometimes we need the personalities of others to help bring forth the gifts in ourselves or to attempt things we find difficult.
I spent four years in my early twenties trying to qualify in a caring profession because I left school convinced I should do something “worthwhile”. I was forced to admit defeat only when I failed my practical exam right at the very end. I came to see that it was a type of arrogance to think that only a narrow range of jobs were worthwhile and that I should stick at something I wasn’t good at and did not have the gifts for. I left with an enormous admiration for anyone who works with people in any capacity because it always involves great sacrifices and very special gifts but at the same time I came to realise that I don’t have to save the planet single-handedly in my life time. Other people are good at the things I can’t do and may well be reduced to tears if they had to do what I can do every day.
Experiences like this have encouraged me to continue to look for a sense of belonging, not just in Project 2030 but in other groups within the church such as At Your Word Lord or even groups outside the Church with similar interests to my own. Whether we are a group addict or a group phobic we all need to feel we belong, and it is good to know that in a big melting pot such as Project 2030 we can all contribute in different ways, all equally valid.
I found the poem below in a book called “Finding Hope Again” by Peter Millar. It makes me think twice about what it is to get to know somebody else.
do we ache for?
doesn’t interest me what you do for a living,
want to know what you ache for,
if you dare to dream of meeting
doesn’t interest me how old you are,
want to know if you will risk looking
like a fool for love,
your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.
doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring,
with your moon:
want to know if you have touched the centre
of your own sorrow:
you have ever been opened by life’s betrayals
have become shrivelled and closed from fear
of further pain.
want to know if you can sit with pain,
mine or your own,
moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.
want to know if you can be with
mine or your own:
you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
the tips of your fingers and toes
cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or
remember the limitations of being human.
want to know if you can disappoint another
to be true to yourself:
you can hear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul:
you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy.
want to know if you can see beauty everyday,
even when it is not pretty,
if you can source your own life from it’s presence.
want to know if you can live with failure,
yours and mine,
still stand on the edge of the lake
shout to the silver of the full moon “Yes!”
doesn’t interest me to know where you live
or how much money you have,
want to know if you can get up after the night
of grief and despair,
and bruised to the bone,
do what needs to be done for the children.
doesn’t interest me who you know or how
you came to be here:
want to know if you will stand in the centre
of the fire with me
not shrink back.
doesn’t interest me where or what you have studied:
want to know what sustains you from the inside
when all else falls away.
want to know if you can be alone with yourself,
if you like the company you keep
(Oriah Mountain Dreamer)
Adult Studies in the Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Adult Studies in the Catholic
Catechism programme is a 3-year, home based, part-time course studying the
teaching contained in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The Catechism is studied over six
periods during the 3 years, from mid September to December and from mid January
to May each year. There are six
course units to be studied in total.
The Catechism is offered to all the
faithful who wish to understand better the inexhaustible riches of salvation.
We have all been endowed with the deposit of faith, and this course gives
all the opportunity to renew and deepen their knowledge and understanding of the
faith through a study of this Catechism, which is the authoritative presentation
of the complete faith of the Church.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is
the single most complete source of teachings on the Catholic Church.
A Brief Synopsis of the Course is
Those who are interested in studying
towards a Certificate in the Catholic Catechism are required to submit
assignments for each unit.
I started studying the Catechism Course
in August 2003.
At present my Studies in the Catholic
Catechism are progressing very well, and I am reaping the rewards of the course
in so many ways, as it is:
Maryvale Catholic Institute in
Birmingham specialises in Distant Learning Courses in all aspects of the faith,
and for people from different backgrounds and walks of life, and at different
stages in their faith.
If you would like more information on
the Adult Studies in the Catholic Catechism Course or any other courses offered
by Maryvale Catholic Institute you can visit their website on this address www.maryvale.ac.uk,
or alternatively you can e-mail the Institute on the following address:
If you require any further information
or help in relation to the course, or what you have read in this summary you can
also contact me. My e-mail address
May God Bless you all ,
Breege has just been to Rome.
She sends us this account. Next
year we might do another pilgrimage there.
Trip to Rome
Our Trip was such a success after some months of planning i.e. where to stay, flights and our wide ranging itinerary. Having been there many times my self on holidays but only very briefly, we decided that we would spend two weeks touring the eternal City with a difference. It was a surprise trip for my mother, so she, my only sister and a very good friend set off. They all were looking forward to it because we they felt when I had planned it – it was going to be well worthwhile and they were prepared to walk and walk. The trains, Metro, Line A&B are all very fast and efficient – be warned pickpockets everywhere. Yes, each summer I run a Pilgrimage to different places including Medjugorje this year. My Mum says what a pity she did not go 20 years ago so she would have had time to relive it all again but please God we may go again next year & visit Castel Gandolio as well as all the other places we have to go to.
with Aer Lingus. At De Vinci/Fiumicino
(see the lovely Oratory with an Irish Priest there) we decided on taking a
Limousine for €60 (we bargained hard on this) but it took it in 15 mins to our
Guesthouse. Brilliant idea.
It was nicer than any
hotel. It was truly fabulous, run by Sisters – Suore Minime del Suffragio in
Via della Stazione Aurelia, in which they had a guesthouse and nursing home.
It was beautifully set on 3 acres of grounds overlooking the western part
of the city. Only problem nobody could speak English & particularly me
being a Coeliac. Because it is
beside the Legionaries of Christ and its University – then most of its guests
are Professors & Lecturers or parents of the students who are studying to
become Priests. Curfew - You must
be in before 10pm each night! Mass
each morning at 7 am (6am Irish time) then breakfast. No tea making facilities
available, which my Mum missed! 5
mins walk and we hopped on the train for 5 mins and the first stop was San
Pietro. Now 8am.
This suited us so well as we wanted to tour Rome, the Vatican and Assisi.
I was taking a video of
our entire trip but I only wished I had 4 on top of my head to take all that was
to be seen together with our binoculars. I
tried to capture as much as possible but that was virtually impossible as there
was so much to be seen. I am being brief here in what we saw and did whilst in
1. St Peters itself is awesome both inside and outside & we got Mass here many times in different chapels. We always seemed to be so lucky. Spend one day visiting all of its churches inside – we seen an Irish Wedding and in fact, we knew some of the people present. Spend another half day in the Church of Adoration praying - this is some experience located beside The Pieta. Also visited the crypts of our Deceased Popes including Pope John Paul 11.
2. We had the privilege of been invited to an Ordination at the High Altar of St Peters with Signor Angelo Sodano (as the Swiss Guards referred to the Pope’s Chief) of Mons Velasio De Paolis. Well know Italian Bishop. There were 150 Cardinals (and we in the front row with them) and 100 Priests. We captured it all on Video as this could only happen to me.
3. Each visit to St Peters we used look up at the very top of ceiling and see the people walking on top. Then early morning as planned we queued and opted to take the lift (4E) as opposed to walking because of Mum. Only to discover it only goes up a few steps. Here there is a reminder that there are 322 steps remaining & if you have any heart problems etc do not climb. Here the fun started with me in front of our Mother (with the Video) and my sister behind her in case she fell backwards as it is so steep. We climbed and climbed the whole 322 steps and used the rope for the few remaining ones. It was such a magnificent view from on top of St Peters & look out over St Peters Sq, Rome itself and the Vatican Gardens (which we got personally walking in). This takes about 3 hrs 7 you can walk around on top of the Dome for as long as you like. Now we had to walk all the way down again, 322 steps – lucky there are slits in wall to let some air and light in! My Mum is some achiever, we all say, having done it – no problem to her.
4. The Forum – this was awesome in some way.
5. In St Peter’s Square (at check in security) we arranged for a tour of The Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistine) with a Guide who was studying architecture, from America and thus perfect English. Cost 20 E and 12-entrance fee. Well worth it and we got into our queue just before 9 am. Remember early and not after 9am as there are crowds everywhere – and it is only the month of February. Thus we had lots of time for looking around us. We visited all the Galleries/Museums /Frescoes first and then into the Sistine Chapel with all its Michelangelo’s paintings & The Last Judgement. You are not allowed use a camera here. The chapel was crowded & its only February. Only my Mother was allowed to peep into the Pope Apartments when the Guards changed.
6. Piazza di Spagna – Spanish steps of which there are 180 and a lovely church at the top of it, which is being renovated at present. We also fitted in lots of high street shopping, de luxe hotels, banks, offices, cafes and chic nightclubs.
7. Whilst shopping we also went to the Trevi Fountain (which was packed). Lovely restaurants around everywhere and ice cream. We also visited the Pantheon (not inside)
8. Also Arco di Costantino. The Victor Emanuel ll Monument and St Angelo Castle.
9. We also spent a day visiting walking in and around The Colosseum (Colosseo). We were infested with street traders – they put more jewellery and scarves on us & we were afraid they would take our own jewellery off us. They were like a swarm of bees. We bargained and bargained - had a brilliant time buying buying. There are hundreds of markets and they seem to change from place to place in the city each day.
10. Also visited The Imperial Forums, Pantheon, Capitol, Piazza Navona (St Agnes, built on the site of her martyrdom) and the Piazza Venezia, St Cecilia in Trastevere & St Clemente.
11. We also went to see a close Priest friend of my family in the Irish College – where we spent an afternoon. You may rent their house there (at a nominal fee) 100 E a night and sleeps 5/6 people. President Mary McAleese had just been there the previous week.
12. Then Fr organised to give us a tour of the three of the largest Cathedrals in the world – St John Lateran (beautiful interior designed by Borromini), St Mary Major & St Paul’s – the Cloisters here & St Julian’s Oratory and The Blessed Sacrament Chapel are unbelievable - we also got Mass here.
13. We took a train very early and spend a day in Assisi, cost E44 day return. We all would love to spend a week there. It is extremely quiet & most suitable for a personal retreat.
14. We spent one evening visiting the Franciscans as we had a personal friend there.
15. We also passed Stadio Olimpico. Some impressive sight also. The Piramide di Caio Cestio.
16. I had arranged that we would attend Mass in English on Sunday morning at 8 am in one of the Catacombs – but I got a message to say that would not open for a further week for the season. We were so disappointed but can attend Mass with your own Priest with prior appointment.
17. We received an Invitation from our fellow brother who is studying in the Legionaries of Christ (they are very dear to His Holiness) wherein we had Tea and a tour of their University. It would restore your faith to see so many young boys studying for the priesthood – many from far away countries. Their dress code was outstanding.
18. We also by special Invitation to see the Vatican Gardens. We spend a day walking around leisurely – nice to be down in the gardens looking up at the Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel/Apostolic Palace/walking around the Dome of St Peters. We walked along by the Palace of St Charles, its Vatican Radio Station, Rail/Road station, Post Office, Church of St Peter and the Grotto which is hidden away – An Oasis of Peace.
Then the HIGHLIGHT came – an audience with His Holiness. Pre prepared with my letter from my Bishop, we went at the appointed time through the Bronze doors & past the Swiss Guards to collect our Passes (will not tell you whether it was White or Red!!!) for the Audition the following day ie Wednesday. We were there in great time and got at the very front. There were thousands of people behind us but I could not describe what the feeling was like to be in his presence once again. His Holiness looked so well and Thank God seemed to be in great form – we believe it was one of his best days in the recent past Thank God – he must have know that we were present, the sheep of his flock and that we are so proud of our faith. We thank our dear Father and his Blessed Mother for such a wonderful experience and holiday.
A Trip of a Lifetime for anyone to
MY EXPERIENCE OF ALPHA: A PERSONAL JOURNEY OF FAITH
I’m going to talk about 2 courses I have taken in the past
year to explore issues of faith. The first was on Catholic Social Teaching (CST)
and was run by The Bishop’s Conference Parliamentary Officer, John Deighan, on
Thursday evenings at Glasgow Uni. It was a lecture format with handouts quoting
from religious texts and focusing on the Church’s position on different social
situations followed by the opportunity to ask questions (see
course overview). The second was the Alpha Course which I saw advertised on
the back of a bus and found out more about on the web. It was held in the
function suite of a local restaurant and facilitated by a Church of Scotland
Minister. The format was very different from the CST course as participants
arrived early to share food together then we watched a video of the minister who
started Alpha, Nicky Gumbel, talking about faith related issues and explaining
them using the bible. We then had the opportunity to discuss our understanding
and experiences of the issue in question with the other participants at the
Why did I take these courses?
Finishing uni in May 2002 marked the end of an era for me
and the start of a lot of changes and upheaval in my life. I was single for the
1st time in my adult life, starting a full time job in a new
environment and not really knowing what to do with all the extra free time I
suddenly had. These circumstances were changing my identity, the things that for
so long had defined who I was, and I began to appreciate the constants in my
life, the things I had always taken for granted or put on the backburner at
times in favour of what, with hindsight, were to be passing phases i.e.
neglecting my faith and not appreciating my family. I was young though and
sometimes I think the hard way is the only way to learn and I don’t regret
that as I otherwise wouldn’t have reached the level of appreciation for the
important things I have in my life now. Anyway, I muddled through the summer and
winter of 2002 being a bit of a TV addict during the week and living for big
nights out at the weekends. I knew I lacked substance and direction in my life
but I continued the pattern for a while until out of my depression finally came
the motivation to try to change things and find that sense of purpose I knew was
missing. I decided that I wasn’t going to do things half heartedly out of
habit anymore but actively and because I wanted to.
I’m not ashamed to admit that attending mass had just become part of my
routine because I think anything that people have done regularly for so long
must inevitably become mundane at times. However, I had never decided that I
wanted to go so I started to think about if I did want to go and where my faith
fitted into my life. It was at this time of questioning the relevance of
Catholicism in my life that my mum saw the CST course advertised in the Catholic
Observer and suggested we go along.
What was the CST course like and what
did I gain from participating in it?
The CST course seemed exactly what I was looking for; a
guide to how the teachings of the bible relate to 21st century life.
That’s what I find most difficult, applying the underlying principles of my
faith as depicted in the bible, to situations in my life quite far removed from
anything described in the bible. The lectures themselves went a bit over my head
at times as they referred to a lot of Latin texts which I had never heard of let
alone read such as “Rerum Novarum”. However, I think I got the gist of the
messages that were trying to be conveyed each week and I found reassurance and
guidance in much of what was said. Reassurance in the sense that a lot of the
advice that was given about how to approach life in the workplace for example,
was consistent with my own approach, the way I did things. An example of what I
mean by this is that it would be very easy for me to treat people differently
according to the hierarchy of their position in my organisation but I don’t, I
try to see everyone as an individual with different skills and personal
qualities and on the same level as me. I don’t define them by their job title
or treat them differently because of it and this was what the CST course
preached about the principle of solidarity; seeing other people as the same as
myself, doing what I do for the greater good and not for myself. Before the CST
course I thought that my approach to work was just common sense or decency but I
was actually surprised to realise that the justifications I gave to myself for
how I behaved, had probably been cultivated in primary school but so long ago
that they had become part of my subconscious rather than me being conscious of
the reasons why.
I really related to the definition that CST isn’t an
ideology, a blueprint for success or a model for society (in the way that
capitalism and communism are) but its mission is to change hearts and minds, the
Church as an expert on humanity.
your conscience in all things as that’s how you will be judged – your
conscience is built by the Church”.
In short then, this course helped answer a lot of the
“why” questions I had about my faith. I knew “what” I believed, or was
supposed to believe, but this helped fill in the gaps and provide many of the
reasons and explanations I had been seeking.
What was the Alpha course like, how was it different and what did I
The CST course finished in June and I started the Alpha
course in September 2003. It wasn’t that my questions weren’t answered on
the CST course, but it had cultivated a hunger for exploring issues of faith and
reflecting and this seemed like a new opportunity for me to do this. I saw the
10 week course overview on the website and liked the fact that each week focused
on very different but all very human questions. I went along on the 1st
evening and like joining most new things, it was a bit awkward and I felt
particularly uncomfortable when I discovered that most of the other people there
knew each other as they were from the same protestant church. This was made even
worse when a woman arrived and joined our table and said I looked familiar.
I’m usually good with faces but didn’t recognise her. She soon worked out
from my name that she knew my parents from the bowling club and I just wanted to
leave as I thought “How on earth am I going to be able to open up and discuss
the issues raised by this course in this environment with pressures and
expectations to live up to?”. However, I was pleasantly surprised.
The minister didn’t say much before he put the video on of
Nicky Gumbel talking about that night’s question “Christianity: Boring,
Untrue and Irrelevant?”. Nicky was very down to earth and focused well on the
issues. He didn’t use rhetoric or talk about complicated theories but spoke in
plain English and explained how the answers came from the bible and what they
meant. After the talk finished, each table was prompted to discuss what was said
and consider our own experiences. It was awkward at first but once things got
going people gained more confidence to speak out, including myself. I really
enjoyed talking about the issues raised and it didn’t make any difference in
the end that there was somebody there who knew me as something in the discussion
had made me feel at ease with her and realise that I wouldn’t be judged.
The rest of the course followed the same pattern of eating
together, watching one of Nicky’s talks on video then discussing it among
ourselves afterwards. I really enjoyed the discussion element of this course
which I hadn’t had on the CST course and especially the opportunity it gave me
to talk to people on a deeper level which in recent years, had only been
possible by means of the social lubricant of alcohol! I connected with people on
the course who I normally wouldn’t have had much to say to because we didn’t
have much in common. Religion is something that a minority of young people I
come into contact with are involved in and it’s difficult to talk about faith
without feeling people are pigeonholing you as a bible bashing geek. I was a bit
sad on the last evening when I knew it was coming to an end and I wouldn’t see
many of these people again but glad that Alpha had helped reawaken my spiritual
side which I had neglected because it wasn’t easy to talk about such things
with my peer group.
Participating in these courses most of all has made me
realise the need to question in order to be active in faith. It is the process
of questioning and reflecting that is important rather than finding all the
answers. Life is forever changing and we need to change with it and in so doing,
consider where God fits into these changes in our lives and how he guides us
through them. This is the journey referred to in the title of this presentation
which I now see myself as being on until I die. Questioning isn’t the same as
criticising, it’s about being informed and aware of why we believe the things
we do and the CST course and Alpha helped me to realise this.
How do you find
meaning/purpose in going to mass every week rather than just being a habit which
you do out of routine but don’t really think about?
guide you in your approach to life and how much of this has been developed
through your upbringing in the Church and/or Catholic school system?
Do you have
difficulty relating the bible to your life and if not then what is it that helps
you to make the links between then and now?
Do you read the
bible? If not, why not?
Do you think
there is a conflict between my argument that to be active in faith you must
question it until you understand the reasons why we believe certain things, and
what Jesus says to Thomas when he has touched the holes in his sides where the
nails were on the cross, “Happy are those who have not seen and yet
believe”? Is questioning a form a doubt or faith seeking understanding?
Social Teaching’, (don’t know author)
Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching’, Fr. Roger Charles
The Alpha Course
Manual, Nicky Gumbel, Alpha International Publications, 2003
‘30 Days: A
Practical Introduction to Reading the Bible’, Nicky Gumbel, Alpha
Report on the Dublin Weekend :
By Mary Darby (London group)
The weekend started in the Central Hotel on Friday evening. Project 2030 members from Glasgow, the North West and London met the Dublin folks in the upstairs bar. We relaxed late into the evening on large sofas and comfortable arm chairs, catching up with friends old and new. Some people arrived on Thursday evening and had spent Friday travelling around Dublin on an open top tour bus, stopping at various places of interest such as the Guinness Factory and Trinity College Dublin. At Trinity College you can see the famous Book of Kells, beautifully illuminated manuscripts of the four Gospels. The Book of Kells are understood to have been created by the Columban monks on the Scottish island of Iona around 800AD.
Early afternoon on Saturday a group of us met up at the Spire, a 120 metre high modern landmark in O’Connell Street. Following a tour around Temple Bar and some of the main streets and sights of Dublin with Thomas (Dublin group) as our guide, we decided to take advantage of the good weather and ate a late lunch out on St Stephen’s Green. As we returned to the main streets the sky darkened and it started to rain. We took shelter in the bar of the Clarence Hotel which is owned by 2 members of U2, Bono and The Edge.
Saturday night was the 4th Birthday Party of Project 2030. The party was extremely well attended, I doubt we could have fitted many more people into the venue. It was great for those of us from the UK to meet so many of the Dublin crowd. There was a fine selection of food, good music and a wide range of Irish souvenirs for raffle and spot prizes.
Sunday lunch time we met up at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral for Mass. After Mass we ventured through the streets of Dublin to Gogarty’s, Temple Bar where there was live Irish music. We headed upstairs to a more sedate part of the pub, some of us were feeling a bit worse for wear from the night before, to enjoy generous portions of Sunday lunch.
Sunday afternoon a group of us took a short bus ride out to the costal town of Dun Laoghaire. Declan (Dublin group) was our guide en-route pointing out places of interest. We enjoyed the good weather and walked along the harbour, went for an ice-cream and then for a drink before taking the bus along the costal route back to Dublin. We returned to Gogarty’s, Temple Bar on Sunday evening to finish the weekend enjoying some Guinness and traditional Irish music.
Dublin is a great city to visit. There is a wide range of accommodation available making it possible to stay in the heart of the city at a reasonable price. Many thanks from those of us in the UK to the Dublin group for organising such an enjoyable weekend and for looking after us all so well. Thanks also to all the groups for being such great company. I’m looking forward to meeting up with everyone again before too long – maybe at the next party?
Trip to York : 4 - 6 June
By Joseph Elliot (London 30s)
Friday evening 4th June, we were greeted by Mark Ringrose. It was his birthday and he kindly gave up his weekend to do an expert job, showing us round this fantastic, historical city.
There were six of us. Everyone seemed to enjoy the weekend. Some of us stayed in a guest house and some of us stayed somewhere basic called 'York Youth Hotel'. Not to be confused with the Youth Hostel about two kilometres away. I told one individual staying there that next time he gets his accommodation mixed up, he could end up in York Dungeon. Then we went for a nice meal in an Italian restaurant.
Saturday morning, we had a little tour of the Minster and climbed up to the top of the steeple. I was having a good day and although the steps were steep, I found them easy both going up and down. We enjoyed great views of Yorkshire from the roof. After lunch, some of us had a walk along the City wall and visited the Castle Museum.
6.15pm Mass at the Catholic Church near the Minster was beneficial. I'm impressed by such a well run parish. They have good spiritual and social activities. We then enjoyed a meal at Ask. A great restaurant with chandeliers on the ceiling, creating a ballroom atmosphere without looking too posh. We all enjoyed the nightclub afterwards. People so friendly, apparently nobody objected to us wearing jeans and denims. Not even the doormen. They were gentlemanly.
Sunday morning, some were so intrigued by the Castle Museum that we returned there and it really was worthwhile. Soon after midday, we had lunch in the same pub as the one we met up in on Friday evening. Most of us had to make tracks by that time, as they had to prepare for work the next day and I did not envy them!
I however, stayed up north and was at it again, Youth Hostelling! I will be in Mancheater the following weekend, meeting up with somebody which I hope leads to a celebration later. It is healthier to stay up north and kill two birds with one stone than make two journeys within a week.
The Youth Hostel I am currently staying at is in Malham, a nice little village a half hour bus ride from Skipton which has the nearest Catholic Church. Skipton is 40 minutes by train from Leeds. For those who want something 'more' comfortable than a youth hostel, I recommend Beck Hall tea room and B&B in Malham from where I am sending this report.
Some thoughts on community and Dehonian
Martin Johnstone (Glasgow group)
HUGH HAS BEEN ON HOLIDAY SINCE JUNE 3. ABOVE ARE SOME CONTRIBUTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE GROUP. THE DIARY WILL BEGIN AGAIN FROM JUNE 24.
BACK FROM HOLIDAY
The two weeks in Portugal went well and I didn’t get bored at all. I’m not a sun-worshipper, but enjoy the heat, maybe heading for the beach in the late afternoon. Didn’t get much Portuguese speaking practice, but read a little and watched Portuguese television.
in a place called Praia da Rocha on the Algarve, not far from Albufeira where
the trouble was Didn’t go to Faro
for the Spain v Russia match as there was no transport back after the match.
Bed and Breakfast cost 25 euro a night, more expensive than expected, but
in the second week I managed to get an apartment for the same price.
back last Thursday and went for the rest of my break to Pwllheli in North Wales.
Had hoped to get in some serious hill-walking in preparation for the West
Highland Way in July, but didn’t do much more than explore the coastline.
HEART FATHERS (DEHONIANS) CONTINUE TO BACK PROJECT 2030
first day back was a meeting of a group of our priests at Malpas.
Project 2030 was on the agenda. It
was a follow-up to a meeting we had last month.
See 28th May. We
are preparing for our General Meeting in September which will set out our
Community’s plans for the next three years.
Here are some of the views and recommendations of the meeting regarding
Project 2030 as a long-term project aimed at serving the needs of Catholics in
their 20s and 30s;
support the aims of Project 2030;
recommend the setting-up of an Advisory Support Group of members of the
community to aid Hugh in this work (this is something I had been asking for.
It would be good to have the chance occasionally to talk things through
recommend the appointment of a Personal Assistant to help Hugh in the
administration of Project 2030 for initially 9 hours a week (again this is
something I felt was needed. Celia
and Clare already do a mountain of work for the group at Malpas and from home,
but it would be good also to have someone on the spot here at Stockport.
I’m still spending every hour I can in the office, and someone else
could do many of the things more quickly and efficiently, freeing me up to do
the things that only I can do. The
PA would also look into fund-raising and help arrange some of the main events
and holidays. This year people have been booking first with the Travel
Agents or having to arrange their own flights to Lourdes, which has not worked
Sacred Heart Fathers (Dehonians) should continue to finance Project 2030, but
other means of raising funds to be explored;
strongly encourage furthering the outreach of Project 2030 through University
Chaplaincies, developing in other areas of Britain and Ireland, and enabling
other local groups and individuals to affiliate to the wider group through
attending main events, etc;
encourage further exploration of ways to develop Project 2030, which may include
future employment of a lay co-worker.
came away from the meeting encouraged by the continuing support of my community
for Project 2030. If anyone has any
comments on these issues or has ideas for development, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
- these issues will also be discussed at the Review Meeting of all the groups to
be held at Malpas 17 – 19 September.
JESUS AND THE LEPER
are three other priests in the parish here at Stockport so I am not often called
upon to say one of the Masses, like I was last night.
The evening Mass is not as busy as the midday one when we get a lot of
people from the shopping centre and the market.
I like to say something about the Gospel, if only for a minute or so,
mainly because I like to hear a short reflection when others say Mass, but just
a short one.
Gospel was about Jesus and the leper:
“A leper now came up and bowed low in front of him.
‘Sir’, he said, ‘if you want to you can cure me.’
stretched out his hand, touched him and said, ‘Of course I want to! Be cured!’ And
his leprosy was cured at once.
willing are we to go up to Jesus and ask for his help, ask to be cured.
If we had leprosy it could be something obvious, but most of us have a
few things that we have been struggling with for quite a time.
It might not be as evident as leprosy, but it can still separate us from
others, from God, and from ourselves. We
think we have to hide it away or solve it on our own, but why not bring it to
Jesus for healing.
spirituality of Alcoholics Anonymous can be helpful here.
The first step is that we need to admit that we are a …holic, whether
it’s a slothaholic or an angeraholic, or greedaholic or whatever.
And that we can’t overcome it by ourselves.
We need the help of the Higher Power, God for us.
not say to Jesus, like the leper, ‘If you want to you can cure me.’
God knows where we need healing and strength, and sometimes we can just
get better over time. But with some
things we need to turn to him for help, especially if it’s something we are
aware of but don’t want to give up, where we would rather hide away like the
leper. Does Jesus want to help?
Of course I want to! Be
A CARDINAL – A POPE – BBC 2 DOCUMENTARY ON PROJECT 2030?
you receive a letter from a Cardinal. You
don’t reply to it and you don’t turn up at a meeting he has invited you to.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a letter from a Cardinal before.
While I was on holiday a letter came from Cardinal Murphy O’Connor
inviting me to represent Project
2030 at a meeting about the pastoral care of young people in the Westminster
Diocese on 21 June. A pity it
didn’t come a bit earlier. We
could have asked someone else to represent us.
But it is good to see the group recognised at this level.
We have also been invited to take part in the ‘Listening’ process
that is going on in the Diocese.
replying to a Cardinal is not as bad as saying ‘no’ to the Pope
I used to delight in telling, and especially watching the frisson on the
faces of non-Catholic friends, that I met the Pope once.
He said two words to me. I
said two words to him. He got me
wrong and I said ‘no’ to him. During
our General Chapter in Rome we went to visit the Pope.
I was introduced to him as the Provincial of the British-Irish Province. He said: ‘Ah, English’.
I said, ‘No, Scottish’.
we say ‘no’ if a TV company wants to do a feature on Project 2030.
There were a couple of calls on the ansa-machine last week from a group
that wants to do this. My first
reaction was quite nervous. Who
wants to fall into the hands of the media, though it is for BBC 2 which is maybe
the best you could get. I’ve rung
back a few times, but have only been able to leave messages. Would anyone from
the group want to take part in it? What
slant would the programme take? They
say all publicity is good publicity, but I’m not so sure.
Though it would be an opportunity to let other Catholics in our countries
know about us. We need to think of
ways of opening up particularly the main events to people who come from areas
where there would not be enough people to form a group.
Last year BBC 2 did a very good series on a young Anglican vicar in a
country parish, but I’ve often reflected on the negative fall-out for people
after their moment in the spotlight. As
someone once didn’t say: 'There will come a time when everyone will spend 15
minutes reflecting on why Andy Warhol was so famous’.
– MALPAS – LOURDES – SUBSCRIBE TO THE DIARY
are some questions which people have been sending in recently which are relevant
to the group.
INDIA REALLY AS GOOD AS THAT? Ronan’s
report on our visit there in February was emailed to everyone recently.
My reply was – yes, it was as good as that if you can cope with the
heat and the bustle. Watch this
space as we hope to announce next year’s dates soon, and judging by the
interest people will need to get their deposits in quickly.
If you missed the report visit www.project2030.org.uk
THERE STILL PLACES LEFT AT MALPAS for the Project 2030 Gathering 9 – 13
August? Yes, there are still
places, but book up soon if you want a single room.
After that you will need to share and, if we are oversubscribed, you’ll
need to kip down in a sleeping bag. See
your group newsletter for details of how to book or email email@example.com
Those going to Malpas (Cheshire) can also stay at Liverpool the weekend
beforehand. There will be a Mass
and party on the evening of Sunday
8th in Bootle with the groups from the North-West and our visitors
from Portugal, North and South Italy. We’re
also expecting a couple from Holland and Finland.
IN SEPTEMBER – do you need to be there the whole time 4th – 11th?
No, you can just come for a few days or go earlier or stay later.
I say this because the Ryanair 10.10 from Stanstead to Pau on Saturday 4th
September now costs £69 and could soon be fully booked, and there is a cheaper
flight on the Sunday, but you would need to make your own way to Lourdes if you
come later. The flight back on the
11th at 13.30 costs £49 at the moment. For more details see your
newsletter or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Book flights on www.ryanair.com
EMAIL AND POSTAL SERVICES FROM PROJECT 2030
real computer whiz kids might think that this subscription service is cheating
or it defeats the purpose of having a web diary, but it’s much easier and
cheaper to get things by email, and even if you don’t read it for weeks
there’s always the delete button. Readers
of the diary will look at it for a variety of reasons and will spend different
amounts of time on it, but I imagine that the average person is going to spend a
few minutes scrolling down just to see what’s new and if they are missing
SERVICE: - more than half of the group now have access to email, but there are
still quite a number who don’t. They
have always missed out on the reports on main events, reflections, talks and
updates that are sent round by email. This
month alone there have been reports sent out on the India visit, the Dublin and
York weekends, as well as the reflections people sent in for the June diary.
The magazine was intended to be a part answer to this problem, but it
would need to be about 40 pages long to cater for all the things that are sent
out by email.
we are now offering a new service by post for anyone who would like to receive
photocopies of reports, etc every few months.
To be on this list for a year send a £10 cheque made out to Project 2030
to the Project 2030 Office, St Joseph’s’ Malpas, SY14 7DD.
We’ll review the price next year when we know how much it costs.
Obviously it is open to people who have email if they want to receive a
paper copy. We’ll let the postal
people know about this the next time they receive their newsletter.
OF SCOTLAND 20’S INFORMATION EVENING
was a Newcomers Meeting in Glasgow in April, but it was the same night as
Celtic’s last game in the Uefa Cup and we didn’t get a good turn out.
Normally these games are on a Thursday, but this one was a Wednesday and
we got caught out. So we decided to have another one. The Parish Priests would understand and put it in their
newsletters as most of them would be Celtic sympathisers.
20s have never had more than 20 at anything in Scotland except for the ceilidhs,
but tonight was an exception and most people were new people, as well as a few
who had been on the lists for a while but had never come to anything, and
someone who had been involved at the beginning of the group but who had been
abroad since. We felt that the
bigger numbers were due to calling it an ‘Information Evening’ as opposed to
a ‘Newcomers Meeting’ which sounds more threatening as people might feel
they are committing themselves. Sending
the magazine to the parishes would also have been a big help in publicity.
The proof will be in the numbers who come back.
They all signed up for the mailing list, but then it would be hard not to
in the circumstances.
kind of meetings go well if the members themselves talk enthusiastically about
what the group means to them. This
was the case this evening. Someone
said that joining the group was the best thing they had ever done.
It was their mother who had first persuaded them to go along to one of
our early ceilidhs. We used to
organise our own ceilidhs as opposed to going to the Ceilidh Club which we do
now. They didn’t have a chance to
sign up for the group then as it was an event open to anyone in their 20s.
A year later their mother saw something in the parish newsletter and
persuaded them to come along again, and they’ve never looked back since.
recent years we’ve lost the idea of putting on a party or ceilidh that would
be open to everyone in their 20s and 30s. Might
be worth trying again, not just as a way of attracting new members, but as a
service to people in age groups who might not necessarily be looking for
anything more. Project 2030 want to
help any young Catholics in their 20s whether they want to belong to a group or
evening I didn’t need to do most of the talking, but as we were starting I
sensed that the group were open to a moment of prayer, something I’d never
done at a first meeting. Some
commented on it positively later as they said that what they were looking for
was to meet up with other Catholics who were committed, where something like a
prayer was not out of place. It
gave me an excuse to tell the one about the plane that was going down and the
flight attendant said to the priest: “Father, we’re going to crash.
Do something religious.” So
he took a collection. I don’t
know whether everyone appreciated the prayer, but from the laughs at the joke
you could see they preferred that to a collection.