May 1 - Sunday
The first ferry to Iona is 10.00. In previous years we've had Mass at the small Catholic House/Chapel. Because our numbers are bigger this year and ours might have been the only Mass on the island today, we celebrate at the ancient chapel of St Michael's next to the Abbey at 11.30. Before this some manage to climb the small hill in the centre of the island. At times like this I'm a real Sinn Feiner, preferring to have a Mass "for ourselves", but the Eucharist can never be a private event. Others in the group were pleased that we were joined by 10 other pilgrims, especially when they expressed their pleasure at being with such a young and vibrant group. The singing is so good that I have to explain that we are not a choir. At the sermon I am not as relaxed as I would be if we were on our own.
Only a few of the group were here before so I give some background to St Columba which I'm not going to repeat now (see diary for this time last year). The emphasis is on how the Faith keeps alive and spreads in unusual ways in the history of the Church. If St Patrick had not helped bring Christianity to Ireland in the 4th Century... If St Columba had not been sent in exile to Iona two hundred years later... How very remote Iona seems today, yet in the days when there were no roads and most travel was done by boat here would have been the equivalent of a motorway service station as every boat that was going up the west coast of Scotland would go through the shelter of the channel between here and Mull. From Iona the Celtic monks soon spread throughout Scotland and into England, based on the island of Lindisfarne, north of Newcastle. From here they spread out across much of Europe, converting Celtic communities.
I told how when we were in Rome last weekend I bought an autobiography of our new Pope Benedict XVI. He came from an area in southern Germany that is proud of its Celtic background. The first two pages of the book are full of thanksgiving for the monks from Ireland and Britain that brought the Faith to his ancestors. Today when Christianity is struggling in Western culture we should not give up the hope that it can be revived in the most unexpected ways, as it has been many times in the past.
After Mass the expected rain came down with a vengeance. Most of us took refuge in a nearby restaurant. The majority then braved the elements to take the one hour small boat trip to Staffa to see Fingal's Cave and the puffins (see Michael's article in last magazine). Those not venturing onto the waves took the excuse, if any is ever needed, to order ice-cream and stay longer in the dry. When it cleared up they went for a walk across the small island.
At 5.15 those who were around gathered for evening prayer in the Catholic Chapel. My sister-in-law had given me a copy of an Iona prayer book that was full of short prayers and reflections. Most people had had a look at it in the minibus on the way up (and down). For the service we passed the book around. You could pass, or read an extract from the book, or share some other prayer or thought. Two even gave us a burst of song, Rebecca and the Sister who looks after the house. It was quite moving as we looked out at the water and the sheeps.
In the evening people once again waited patiently to be fed in The Keel Row. That gives a very passive impression, for there were glasses to be filled and games to be played. Monopoly, chess, frustration, contact 4 and dominoes were all going on at the same time. I won twice at doubles and triples pool, all the sweeter because victory should not have been ours.
May 2 - Monday
LEAVING IONA. THE SPIRIT IN OUR SAILS.
The advantage of staying on the Isle of Mull is that you have the short but beautiful ferry crossing to Iona several times. You can imagine yourself as one of the early monks arriving back home from your mission or setting off again to spread the good news of God's love. After an early breakfast we caught the first ferry at 8.45 to have Mass at the Catholic Chapel. We don't have much time as we have to catch the 10.15 ferry back to Mull to set off at 11.00 for Oban and Glasgow.
Today's first reading for Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter was from the Acts of the Apostles 16:11-15. It began: "Sailing from Troas, we made a straight run for Samothrace, the next day for Neapolis, and from there for Philippi". This is part of St Luke's description of one of his journeys with St Paul, who I'm sure was an inspiration to Columba in his missionary journeys by boat. The Gospel of John 15:26ff has Jesus promising to send the Spirit: "He will be my witness and you too will be my witnesses." We experienced enough wind over the weekend to imagine Columba and Paul's sails billowing in the breeze, but it is the Spirit that blows them and takes them where he wants. We too are called to be witnesses and to be blown by the Spirit.
After the Gospel I also spoke about some of the boat journeys of Jesus and the disciples in bad weather. I had taken some stick for persuading people that the journey to Staffa would not be so choppy because the wind was blowing from the land. Wrong. On one occasion Jesus was sleeping through a storm. He is always with us. There is no need to be afraid like the disciples who woke him because they thought they were sinking. On the other hand we don't want to be over-confident and put God to the test like St Peter who, when he saw Jesus coming across the water to help them in the boat, cried out: "Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water". But when he started walking on the water he began to panic and to sink. At the Mass Veronica sang the psalm again and Adrian did a solo, a folk song that reminded him of God: "There is someone waiting for you along the road".
Before we set off across Mull for the ferry to Oban we gathered for the group photograph, and presented Martin with a Celtic candle and holder as a thank you for all he had done to organise the weekend and look after us on the pilgrimage. He was also given a pair of Holy Socks which he asked me to bless: "I've already worn them", I replied. Someone shouted for a group hug and we did a couple of verses of Auld Lang Syne on the quayside. I had enlisted Veronica's presence on the minibus to see if we could get singing. She didn't have much more luck than me on the way up, though we did manage about 20 verses of 'Found a Peanut'. No-one missed the ferry this time. On the way back to Glasgow we avoided the Bank Holiday traffic along Loch Lomond, though we still sang "By yon bonnie banks" to please Anne Marie. We had a quick stop at Inverary, producing a quick chorus of: "It's a long way to ......". Our alternative route took us past the Trident submarine base and along the north shores of the Clyde from which we could see Port Glasgow, my birthplace, on the other side. The Spirit has blown me a long way since then.
May 3 - Tuesday
SOME GAELIC PRAYERS
Here are some prayers taken from The Iona Prayer book I mentioned on Friday and Sunday.
The peace of God,
The peace of Columba kindly,
The peace of Mary mild, the loving,
Walk with you this day, and always.
Bless to us, O God,
The earth beneath our feet,
Bless to us, O God,
The path whereon we go.
Bless to us, O God,
The people whom we meet.
May the blessing of light be on you,
light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine upon you
and warm your heart till it glows like a great fire
and strangers may warm themselves as well as friends.
And may the light shine from your eyes,
like a candle set in the window of a home,
bidding the wanderer to come in out of the storm.
May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow,
May the soft winds freshen your spirit,
May the sunshine brighten your heart,
May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you
And may God enfold you in the mantle of his love.
We saw a stranger yesterday,
We put food in the eating place,
Drink in the drinking place,
Music in the listening place,
And, with the sacred name of the triune God,
He blessed us and our house,
Our cattle and our dear ones.
As the lark says in her song:
Often, often, often, goes Christ in the stranger's guise.
Lord of every pilgrim heart,
you are beside me and before me on the way,
surprising me through your Spirit
at every turning on the path.
Yet, like your disciples on the Emmaus road,
I often fail to recognise my companion.
In this morning hour, and in whatever the day may hold,
open my eyes to see your presence,
that I may celebrate with you the gift of morning,
O Lord of the unexpected.
May 4 - Wednesday
I SWEAR. I INVITE THE POPE.
When we were playing pool last weekend someone almost said a naughty word when they potted the white. It can happen. I have to be careful myself. On the train back to Stockport on Tuesday I was thinking about Iona when I suddenly whistled out: "Jesus!" I had just thought to invite the Pope to Iona. The more I thought about it I situated it within John Paul's desire to go to Northern Ireland this year. I worked out the following possible itinerary. A bit of a pipe dream perhaps, but who knows? Should I send the following letter to Pope Benedict?
Dear Pope Benedict
Many people will be writing to you and inviting you to visit their countries. It would be impossible for you to try and imitate the voyages of John Paul II. One of his last hopes was to visit Northern Ireland which he was not able to visit in 1982. We were beginning to prepare for his visit. I hope you will consider a visit to Belfast. I am not Irish, but Scottish. I was in Rome for your Inaugural Mass. I bought a copy of your biography as published by Famiglia Cristiana. I noticed in the first pages how important the Irish missionaries were for you and your Celtic area of Germany, as they were for the re-conversion of Europe in the 7th Century,
If you came to Belfast in Northern Ireland there are also other places you could visit if you had the time. It would be wonderful to be able to visit them by boat as a symbol of the fisherman, though where a suitable boat could be found I do not know.
May 5 - Thursday
Besom Project Report by Bernadette Martin
Saturday 9th April two groups of volunteers
from Project 2030 set off on gardening projects to two different refuges in West
London, which support vulnerable women from minority communities.
It was the first of what we hope are many joint ventures with the charity
BESOM, who provide a bridge between those who want to give time, money, things
or skills and those who are in need. The weather was on our side with glorious
sunshine and we were greeted by Anna with coffee and biscuits.
In the Kensington area our group of novice gardeners,
led by Chris Driscoll, made a cautious start in the first garden, and there were
some lengthy debates as to whether the more attractive weeds might in fact be
plants. But we were lucky enough to
have Alex, a professional gardener, who was pretty ruthless in condemning most
of the greenery to a long line of bin bags.
Trish proved to be a deft hand with the long handled loppers neatly
trimming back a glossy holly bush and we all enjoyed the scent as Jean tackled a
particularly fragrant shrub which remained unidentified (along with most other
things we came across.) The Project
Group had brought a colourful range of plants and tubs which really cheered up
what at the beginning had been a very bleak back yard.
Thanks to the couple living next door to the refuge who
happened to be strolling by as we made rather slow progress with the front
hedges, we acquired an electric strimmer mid morning. This meant Alex soon made mincemeat of the remainder of the
hedge and the rest of us scrabbled at his feet doing our best to rein in and
gather in to yet more bin bags the branches that were suddenly spinning in all
directions (narrowly missing unsuspecting passers by).
Anna led our group to the next refuge, and a garden
particulary rich in all sorts of insect life, which some of us took to more than
others. We tackled this garden in
pretty much the same way as the first, clearing out very well established tall
and rangy weeds, bagging up rubbish, and then creating some much needed pockets
of colour with another range of plants supplied by the group.
The rest of watched agog as Chris tried fearlessly to scale a wall in a
last effort to reach some weeds of very high altitude.
No one offered to help.
About this time we heard that the other group, led by
Michael, were still slogging away in their much larger garden.
As our group dispersed, they still had much to do and worked on late into
the afternoon. But by the end of
the day some of the women living at the refuge came out to view the end result
and were genuinely delighted with the transformation.
They even eagerly joined in to have their photo taken with the group,
apparently something which Muslim women are often reluctant to do for religious
As a group it was great to be out in the fresh air
doing something together and a privilege to have the opportunity to do something
for the women who have come from some unimaginably troubled backgrounds.
Hopefully what we did will have made a small difference to their lives.
We hope to go back to plant more flowers when the danger of frost has
passed, and would always be grateful for more green, or even not so green
Footnote: What is Besom?
Besom is a registered Christian charity who work
to support those in need in a number of ways:
1) Taking referrals from those
in need for gardening, decorating and other jobs by those in need -
individuals, refuges, schools, voluntary groups etc.
2) By collecting good quality household goods,
clothes etc to match and distribute to those in need. They are very strict in what they accept - with a belief that
the poor deserve the best and not our hand-offs....Interestingly, the founder of
Besom spent time with Mother Teresa...
3) Offering mentoring with successful businessmen
to the unemployed who want to start up in business - offering them practical
support and capital.
4) Matching donations from individuals and groups
to charities -eg a business might
want to donate £10,000 to an irrigation project in Africa, or an individual £100
to an inner city creche. Besom find
a charity that could do what the donors like.
They have a wonderful spirit and much to teach us.
To learn more about their work look at Besom.com
May 6 - Friday
AGENDA FOR MY ADVISORY SUPPORT GROUP
On Tuesday there is a meeting of my support and advisory group for Project 2030 which consists of three other priests from the Sacred Heart Fathers. It gives me a chance to share what is happening in the group and get their advice and wisdom on current issues and future developments. Here are the kind of issues I'll be raising.
FOR PROJECT 2030 MEETING – 10TH MAY 2005, KILWINNING
May 7 - Saturday
LAKE DISTRICT WEEKEND. ANYONE FOR PORTUGAL?
A couple of the younger men from our community in Portugal were here for the 'Growing in Community' weekend in February. Riccardo was supposed to come but was not well at the time. He already had his flights booked and they were able to be transferred, so he came over last Wednesday for 6 days, even though his time is very busy at the moment. I had saved up required visits to Malpas and Liverpool, so he came with me on Thursday and saw some of the sights. Yesterday we drove up to Keswick for the Lake District weekend, then he'll come with me to Kilwinning in Scotland where I have community meetings on Monday and Tuesday.
Riccardo has invited us to come to Portugal. We have colleges in Lisbon and Oporto that would be able to put us up during the summer holidays. We don't have any big houses on the Algarve, but the Bishop there is a Dehonian that I know well....
Meanwhile we are enjoying the delights of The Lakes. This is our third time here. Previously we came the weekend after Easter but on average we did not make double figures. This weekend there are 18 of us. We went out for a meal last night then enjoyed the bar here at Castlerigg Manor which is the Residential Youth Centre for the Lancaster Diocese (see www.castleriggmanor.co.uk).
Today the rain is holding off. People have gone out either to do the hill walk up Skiddaw, which I did last year, or the lakeside walk which we did two years ago. I decided to do my own thing. One group would be jealous if they knew I had gone with the other, I'm sure. This past month I have not had much quiet space to myself and the next couple of weeks are going to be as crazy. This year I decided that I would not necessarily go on all the main events. I would be better employed holding newcomers' meetings or setting up in Belfast. The Lake District was one for the chop, but then the numbers increased and I thought it would be the best way for Riccardo to meet some of the group.
On the way back from Iona last weekend when I was asking where else we could go on pilgrimage someone suggested Fatima which would be easy to visit from Lisbon. Holy Island/Lindisfarne in North-East England was another suggestion. Michael was saying last night that he has been there and was also able to visit Bamburgh Castle and the Farne Isles, as well as St Bede's Monastery in Jarrow.
May 8 - Sunday
JOKING AND PUTTING IN THE LAKES
After our own soiree yesterday evening some headed out for the bright lights of Keswick. Not everyone remembered how to get back into the Centre after midnight and, having taken an earlier taxi back, had to head down to rejoin the others in town. There wasn't too much chance of a lie-in at Castlerigg. About 20 minutes before breakfast the Big Brother tannoy goes off in all the corridors and continues to play the like of "The Road to Amarillo" until everyone has conceded defeat and staggered to the dining room. The atmosphere was bright and breezy. Or maybe it's just that when people are half asleep it's a good time to squeeze in the old jokes.
Did you hear that Peter Kaye the comedian was arrested for kicking a ball of steel wool down the street? The judge gave him 3 months and asked: "Is this the way to harm a brillo". Blame Duncan for that one. I wasn't the only one telling jokes over the weekend, but people didn't believe me when I said that the inventor of crossword puzzles was buried in the Keswick cemetery. Next time you are there his grave is easy to find - it's six down and four across.
Riccardo was saying that in Portugal people think that the typical "English" person is a bit crazy humour-wise. By English they also mean Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Australian, etc, etc. It's all because of Mr Bean and Johnny English. When someone tries to put on that kind of funny act they will say in Portuguese: "Oh, stop being so English!" Riccardo certainly didn't find it funny yesterday when the Skiddaw walkers took the rocky route that proved extra dangerous in the wind. "Am I going to get to become a deacon?" he wondered as he looked down. At least someone did say: "I don't think Hugh would approve of this". I approve of anything, as I say, as long as it is not dangerous or sinful. I'm thinking of adding a third category - "harmful to the group".
This morning after Mass we did something safer, pitch and putt, though the safeness could be disputed. After my crown as snooker champion was tarnished at Iona (last year), I wanted to prove myself as king of the pitch and putt. My having a practice yesterday on the 9 hole course didn't affect my handicap. There were 12 of us in groups of three. Nick, Riccardo and I went first. I won that. Nick lost his ball by hitting over a 20 foot fence 20 yards behind the 5th green. By that stage Riccardo (who wasn't the only one enduring mini-golf for the first time) was content to let Nick play on with his ball. I don't know if anyone else beat 34. I doubt it. There was quite a log-jam behind the fourth group. Some of them might still be out there. Riccardo and I headed off straight after our game as we had a longish drive to a meeting in Kilwinning, Ayrshire.
May 9 - Monday
PROJECT 2030 ADVISORY AND SUPPORT GROUP
On Friday I gave the agenda for the group of three Dehonian priests who meet a couple of times a year to give me advice and support in my work with Project 2030. These were some of the main conclusions that resulted.
May 10 - Tuesday
THE 40 SOMETHINGS IN THE NORTH-WEST
Those who are over 40 in the North-West are having a meeting next week to look at setting up a 40s group. This is an email reminder I sent to them.
Just a reminder
about the '40s' meeting at Loyola Hall, 2.00 pm on Sunday 22 May. They
have given us the Brown Room.
Last Tuesday I had a
meeting with three other Dehonian priests who form an advisory and support group
for me in my work with Project 2030. One of the issues I raised with them
was the issue of the 40 somethings. Was I being too hard on the 40s by
encouraging them to move on to give space for the younger 30s, and so that the
younger 30s would move up from the 20s to encourage younger 20s to get involved.
The three priests were average age 44 and I thought they would have more
sympathy for their own age group. In fact they were strong in saying that
the 40s should be able to go their own way and look after themselves. They
were concerned that if I tried to do too much for the 40s it would become too
much for me if I am trying to look after the other groups etc. If the 40s
want to invite me to things or to do a retreat then the initiative should
come from the 40s. And I would gladly help. I feel closer to the 40s
in age etc. At 53 I might even qualify for membership, or do I need to set
up a 50 somethings for that?
I have added below
the bit I put in the newsletter. There I encouraged people in their 40s to
come along, especially if they had not been going to the 30s because of the age
difference, but obviously I would want to encourage all the 40s to be there,
especially if you have been involved in things. Times of transition are
never easy and no-one likes to be reminded that they are not as young as they
feel, but as Christians we believe in death and resurrection, in new life and in
being prepared to make sacrifices for others. This does not mean that at
30 and 40 we have some kind of passing out parade and people have to walk the
plank. We are not throwing anybody out of the groups as soon as they reach
30 or 40 or 50, but we should leave the review meetings and organisation to
those in their own decade. The other week I was able to convince some in
their early 30s that the main reason why they wanted to stay with the 20s,
namely that they would rather be with people who are younger than them than with
people who are older, was precisely the main reason why they should move on.
Because if they were feeling that at 32 about people who were 33% older than
them how much more would someone of 22 feel it when the come to a group where
people were 50% older than them. Most of us approached the big four-oh
with a certain amount of apprehension, but we celebrated it with gusto and moved
on with a new lease of life. Hopefully we can approach the beginnings of
the 40 somethings with the same positive attitude.
the meeting we can go across the road for something to eat.
22nd May - 40s meeting At Loyola Hall:
writes ''At the 30s review meeting in March it was suggested to hold a
meeting of members who are 40 or over. I am trying to encourage younger 20s and
30s to get involved in their groups. The 30s is fast becoming the 40somethings,
so for the sake of the younger ones we need to consider doing a separate 40s
does not mean casting the 40s adrift from Project 2030. You are good at
arranging things and you can always invite the 20s and 30s to 40s events. Try
and come along, especially if you did not get involved in the 30s programme
because you felt too old". At Loyola Hall, 2pm. By car follow Prescot
A57 signs from Junction 7 of
the M62 motorway. Loyola Hall is half a mile on the right. Entrance by
front door to main hall.
May 11 - Wednesday
WAR AND RELIGION
This week gave me time to go on the BBC web pages and start another discussion. Here is the result. Again I can only give what I have written, but I have tried to give the flavour of what other people have said in response.
and Religion Hugh
2030 - 11 May 2005
War and Religion Hugh
2030 - 11 May 2005
War and Religion Hugh
2030 - 11 May 2005
War and Religion Hugh
2030 - 11 May 2005
War and Religion Hugh
2030 - 11 May 2005
The wars in Ireland are not entirely about religion. The Normans invaded Ireland
in the 12th Century. The Irish did not become Protestant at the Reformation like
their masters and this gave the focus for resistance against the British. The
Protestants in the North were planted there in the 17th Century to try and
bolster the British culture. After the independence of the Republic the
Protestants felt their culture to be under threat and so started to beat the
drums to defend themselves. My argument is that it is not religion that is at
the root of any aggression by minorities but the defence of their culture.
Religion helps them. If Poland had been the same religion as the Russians they
would have found it more difficult to break free in the 1980s. Ukraine was able
to break free from Russia in their recent elections because the majority in the
West of Ukraine are Catholic. No wonder that Belarus is still caught in soviet
style poverty - because it has no different religion to help it break free. [reply]
about this post]
War and Religion Hugh
2030 - 11 May 2005
War and Religion Hugh
2030 - 11 May 2005
War and Religion Hugh
2030 - 11 May 2005
War and Religion Hugh
2030 - 11 May 2005
May 12 - Thursday
FURTHER WEB DISCUSSION
War and Religion Hugh 2030 - 11 May 2005
re: War and Religion Hugh 2030 - 11 May 2005
Religion and War Hugh
2030 - 11 May 2005
re: War and Religion Hugh 2030 - 11 May 2005
re: War and Religion Hugh 2030 - 11 May 2005
May 13 - Friday
– WORLD YOUTH DAYS, AUGUST, GERMANY.
Out an email today about the World Youth Days in Germany.
This is what is happening. It
is still not too late to book up if you were born after 10 August 1974 (World
Youth Days limit).
are 18 of us booked to go on the World Youth Days in Germany from 10 - 22
August. Bookings originally had to be in before Christmas, but we have
been told by our organisers in Germany that they have more spaces available.
So if you would like to come along please let us know as soon as
– 22 AUGUST – WORLD YOUTH DAYS: Germany.
The first part we will be staying with families around Kaisersesch, near
Koblenz, joining in the events organised by the Diocese of Trier.
The second part we will be staying with other Dehonian groups near
Cologne (sleeping bags needed here as we will likely be staying in a school or
community centre) where the WYD finishes with the Night Vigil and Mass with the
Pope. This will be the new Pope's
first visit away from Rome and is his first visit to Germany. Price £250
for full board, lodging, insurance, travel in Germany and flights to and from
London Stanstead (late bookers might need to pay extra for their flights).
Book as soon as possible. Open
to members of Project 2030 who were born after 10 August 1974 (WYD limit). Send deposit £30 made out to ‘Project 2030’, to
Project 2030 Office, St Joseph’s, Tilston Rd, Malpas, SY14 7DD.
total cost is still £250 (minus the cost of your
you have already paid your deposit please send the difference to the Project
2030 Office at Malpas (address above). Anyone aged 25 or under can apply
for an £80 grant towards this trip.
flights we are booked on are:
London Stanstead (STN) to Frankfurt Hahn (HHN): Wed 10 Aug (Flight FR 758)
departing Stanstead at 15.40, arriving Frankfurt at 17.55.
Frankfurt Hahn (HHN) to London Stanstead (STN) : Mon 22 Aug (Flight FR 755)
departing Frankfurt at 13.35, arriving Stanstead at 13.50 (we gain an hour).
would be grateful if you could book your own flight if you are able to (let
us know if you can't do this). At the moment there are still seats on this
flight - once they are gone anyone coming will need to book on the flight before
this (the 10.55 from Stanstead - Flight FR 756) and return on the one after (the
18.20 from Frankfurt - Flight FR 761). The sooner you book the better -
late bookers may need to pay more.
May 14 - Saturday
MARTIN’S LETTER AFTER IONA
This was Martin’s email to the group who went to Iona. Veronica is doing a full report.
with you! Are you guys still all alive? Glad I had today off to chill. Hope you
all got back safely whatever time you departed and wherever the destination.
I seem to
have got a lot of thanks this weekend for doing some of the organising but can I
thank all of you for coming, for blessing me with your company and friendship and
for being tolerant of those 'technical hitches' especially on Saturday.
pondering those pics e-mailed 'round to some of us by Fiona this evening and
thinking fondly of each of you. I feel so bolstered being among you and I
could happily have stayed in your company for the rest of 2005! That would have
given us just about enough time to say more than just hello and goodbye to
we do do this again, it should be a longer less hurried 'break' for folk. I'm
encouraged to consider 'Iona IV' mostly as an excuse to abduct nothwards another
time those of you happy to consent to this arrangement. Pray haste ye back and
haste our happy re-union!
Can I say a
special thanks to the following people:-
Adrian - for
your beaut guitar playing, your depth, your serenity and gentleness.
Anne Marie -
for trusting we'd get to the airport and for a rousing balamory story!
for your joyful way, your carrots and salad cream and for making Sean a happy
Brenda - for
being friendly and understanding and for consoling me following Celtic's 3-1
for being flexible, expressive, for the foot massages and for just for being
for the kindness, warmth and support we are accustomed to receiving
for your smile, your tolerance and your spirit of good cheer.
- for trying so hard, being the good guy/gal, and pondering the mysteries
of the soul.
- for your calm nature, gentle and generous ways.
for joining us and being part of it all. welcome back! great to see you.
Donna - for
being you, for sharing. Do come back......and bring yer flute too!
Fiona - for
your humour and playfulness and for a fine collection of pics - captured the
Hans - for
your humour too and for putting all to shame on the pool table.
Hugh - for
all that you do and 'for the joy you bring, sing, sing, sing...'
Joanne - for
all that driving, effort and energy when you weren't even feeling great.
Joseph - for
helping with the driving and being on good form. Nice car that...
Julie - for
keeping our cottage in one piece and sending me a £70 tip with your deposit!
Louise C -
for being happy and doing my running for me this weekend as I'd no time.
Louise S -
for being so easy to get along with and for not being sick on the bus on the way
Lucy - for
jumping in at the last minute, agreeing to drive and being so warm and reliable.
for your gentle and kindly ways. I sense a person of deep spirituality and
Mairi - for
your lovely, kind and smiling way and for being in Hugh's 'target group'!
Mike - for
your friendliness and for being you Mike. Wish you could have been with us
for your energy and humour and laughter. Great craic. Haste ye back!
Sean - wow!
for your humanity and humour. What a guy!
Trish - for
helping with the driving and being your usual warm, vibrant, sociable self.
for missing the ferry - will give us a great memory! And for your hearty
wonderful to ponder that whether we go to Glasgow, Dublin, Liverpool, Manchester
or London, we can say that "someone waits for me".
God bless, Marts”
We should add our thanks also to Martin – for your patience, precision and persuasiveness. And we heard you are a poet – do we get a peek some time?
May 15 - Sunday
THE MONASTERY - BBC 2 - TUESDAYS 9.00pm
This time last year we got a few calls from a BBC producer. We thought at first that they wanted to do a documentary on Project 2030. It turned out they were looking for volunteers to spend 40 days in a monastery, a kind of religious Big Brother, though no-one would be thrown out unless they were naughty. We kept leaving messages on each others ansa-machines. By the time we made contact they had got their team of volunteers sorted.
The programmes are now going out at 9.00 pm Tuesdays on BBC2. 5 male volunteers aged between 28 and 50 are following the monastic life at the Benedictine Worth Abbey near London. They join the monks for their 6 times of prayer each day, help them with work in the house and garden, have discussions and inputs on the monastic life. None of the men is a Catholic. That could be a drawback, and maybe why the producer got on to us. One is a Northern Ireland Protestant who was a member of the UDA (equivalent of the IRA). He got shocked out of his drug addiction when he became abusive to his mother. Another is a successful businessman who is pretty self-obsessed. Then there is a Ph.D student who is into Buddhism. The fourth was shown filming adverts for sex chat lines, and the last, who didn't feature much in the first programme, is the oldest of them, who is still on a spiritual search.
The monks must have taken a big chance letting the cameras in, but the successful outcome has been acclaimed in the religious and secular media. The welcome, humour, patience and wisdom of the community comes across strongly. The 5 guests are visibly touched by the experience and begin to share deeply the impact it is having on them and other personal insights. An underlying question of the series is: "Does the rule of St Benedict have anything to offer to people today, outside and inside the monastery setting?" Different parts of it are explored each day. When the question is obedience, we see a couple of the men jogging down to the village shop for chocolate and fags, or missing prayers. When the theme is community, their struggles to get on with each other come to the fore. During a discussion on humility we witness an argument which brings out people's pride. The silence is the biggest benefit and the biggest challenge.
Worth Abbey has been suggested for a retreat for the London groups. It looks very attractive, though now it will be inundated. A few of us have taken part in their older youth events, though the latest I heard was that these have been moved off premises. We won't be going there for a while as we have places booked up for a year. Chris has a place near Chelmsford over the summer, Michael has sussed out a convent that can take 50 for Advent days in Kensington, and Anne-Marie will be contact for another visit to the Friars, Aylesford in Kent. Do we ask Worth Abbey to do a repeat monastic experience for us - a long weekend at least. Why not a week? You only live once.
May 16 - Monday
MONDAY – MAIN EVENTS FOR END OF MAY – AUGUST
For those who are not on our email list here are the main events between the groups that are coming up:
– 30 MAY – DUBLIN WEEKEND:
5th birthday party of
Project 2030. Meet
the groups. Meet
Friday evening at the Banker’s Club, 93 St Stephen’s Green. Saturday
sightseeing round Dublin, party in the evening at the Teachers’ Club, 36
Parnell Sq. Group
Mass 11.30 Sunday, pub lunch.
Afternoon: Gaelic Football at Croke Park, or trip to Malahide.
Sunday evening, traditional music pub.
Monday visit to Glendalough.
Bank Holiday in Britain.
JUNE – WEEKEND IN CAMBRIDGE – Opportunity
to visit this charming University town and punt down the river Cam. Last
year 30 went to Stratford.
– 23 JUNE – WHAT NEXT? For
university leavers and those in their 20s who can contribute something to the
few days’ break. Walks,
visit to Chester, time to relax, time to reflect on the future.
How can Project 2030 help?
Will be advertised in University Chaplaincies.
£55 (subsidy included).
Deposit of £15 to Project 2030 Office, St Joseph’s, Tilston Rd, Malpas,
Cheshire, SY14 7DD. Cheques
made out to ‘Project 2030’
- 26 JUNE – MANCHESTER WEEKEND: Meet
up Friday evening. Sightseeing in Manchester.
Buffet and disco at 8.00 pm Saturday at Thirty-Two Club.
Sunday morning coffee at Café Uno, followed by group Mass.
– 18 JULY – LOUGH DERG – St
Patrick’s Purgatory in Ireland. By popular demand, 48 hours of prayer, little
food, bare feet, all night vigil. There is a 9 am bus from Dublin or you can fly
– 30 JULY – A HOLIDAY RETREAT:
At St Joseph’s, Malpas, Cheshire.
A chance to get together in a relaxing atmosphere.
Also time for yourself and time for God.
Go at your own pace. Possibility
of individual time with a director each day.
Visit Chester Cathedral etc on Wednesday.
You need to come for the whole week.
Begins 6.00 pm on Monday.
Finishes with pub lunch
£95. Deposit of £30.
– 15 AUGUST – WALK THE PEMBROKE WAY:
For Thirtysomethings. Last
year we did West Highland Way. Bags
are taken on by taxi each day. £350
– 22 AUGUST – WORLD YOUTH DAYS: Germany.
The first part we will be staying with families around Kaisersesch, near
Koblenz, joining in the events organised by the Diocese of Trier.
The second part we will be staying with other Dehonian groups near
Cologne (sleeping bags here, as likely
staying in a school or community centre) where the WYD finishes with the Night
Vigil and Mass with the Pope. This
will be the new Pope’s first visit away from Rome and is his first visit to
Germany. Price £250 for full
board, lodging, insurance, travel in Germany and flights to and from London
Stanstead (late bookers might need to pay extra for their flights). Book as soon as possible.
Open to members of Project 2030 who were born after 10 August 1974 (WYD
limit). Send deposit £30 made out
to ‘Project 2030’, to Project 2030 Office, St Joseph’s, Tilston Rd, Malpas,
– 29 AUGUST – EDINBURGH FESTIVAL:
Staying in Glasgow and going by
train to Edinburgh. Maybe even a
a new event for September is: 2
– 4 SEPTEMBER – ADVENTURE WEEKEND PART II:
Now with even more activities than before to choose from since the last
adventure weekend. If you have a need for an action packed, adrenaline
pumping, thrill seeking weekend then how does paintballing, archery, quad biking
and laser pigeon shooting grab you? The total cost is £154 for the whole
weekend which includes 2 nights stay in a good hotel, all 4 events and lunch on
the Saturday and Sunday. Don't feel you have to do all the events though,
you can do as little or as many as you like.
May 17 - Tuesday
GLASGOW 20S. LIVING IN COMMUNITY?
This evening Martin was giving a presentation to the Glasgow 20s on the weekend we had in February at Malpas on growing in community. He spoke about his reasons for joining the group almost five years ago, mainly looking to extend his social life, but gradually the group came to mean more to him. Visits to other areas and joint events like the walks and Iona gave him a sense of belonging and fellowship. Gradually he sensed that others were looking for something more in terms of community which led to his suggestion that we meet in February to explore further.
Part of his inspiration was the Pope's visit to Scotland in 1982. Then John Paul laid down a challenge to the "yoong peepole of Scoatland". We watched part of the video where he spoke to them at Murrayfield, the rugby ground. "Do not be afraid... be prepared to make sacrifices.... resist selfishness.... accept the challenge.... make a difference.... Jesus has already conquered the world."
Martin would like to go beyond having a sense of community within Project 2030 to actually living in community. Some from the North-West have the idea of living under the same roof, sharing together and praying together for mutual benefit. Martin would also like to do something as a group, have a sense of mission. Such an arrangement would also need to have a uniting spirit/spirituality. This could come from Leo Dehon, the founder of the Sacred Heart Fathers, based on three of his key principles which Martin had identified:
Is there not a danger that a group living together under the banner of Project 2030 could become elitist and cause a split? There is always that possibility. It could also be a useful resource to have somewhere to meet, but no one should have more say than anyone else how the 2030 groups develop. The newest person has as much say and can make their contribution as they wish. Another basic principle of the group is getting Catholics together and helping them do what they want to do together. And we are not in the business of stopping people doing things unless it is dangerous, immoral, or harmful to the group.
This idea of living together is only ever going to appeal to a small number, witness the attendance this evening. But between the groups there is enough interest to set up an email forum to exchange ideas and work out some basic principles before approaching Bishops to see if there are any vacant presbyteries that could be used.
May 18 - Wednesday
DUBLIN 30S AGM. DUBLIN WEEKEND.
In Dublin for the 30s Annual General Meeting held at the Bankers Club, the usual venue for the monthly gathering. There were quite a few new people, so I was asked to give some history of the group and the general situation of Project 2030. This was after an introductory time of prayer. There were no controversial issues, and the good spirit was shown by the way people were offering to help without any real arm-twisting. When Tommy said he would like to step down next year as Treasurer, someone volunteered immediately to take his place. The same happened when it was pointed out that Mary had held the group phone for the past three years, a post that could be quite busy when a new poster had gone up in the parishes.
At the Lenten retreat it had been suggested that we get someone to be a contact with me and Fr John at our community in Inchicore Rd for Masses, retreats, talks, etc. Michelle volunteered to do this when someone else took her job of mailing out the newsletter to the postal list. It was decided to have a Mass every three months, besides the retreats. When I said what some of the groups in Britain did, most energy was created when I spoke about the Question and Answer sessions that had been held in other groups, especially when I said how I could be put on the spot. Fr John had said we were welcome to have a barbecue in the garden, so we hope to do that with a Mass in July.
The Dublin 30s look after their own mailings and membership lists, etc. They also have an annual subscription, 20 euros for those who receive the monthly newsletter by email, 30 for those who receive it by post (another example of 2030 thinking?). There are currently about 40 on each list. (Does the 40 have any significance?). New people get free membership for the first three months. Last year's subscriptions brought in 1460 euros. Expenses were (in euros): stamps 383, bank charges 44.68, phone 70, prizes for Christmas and May parties 350, room hire 160, trip 80 and posters 277.
Declan said there are 25 coming over from the groups in Britain next weekend for the Dublin Open Weekend and 5th Birthday Party of Project 2030. We gather Friday evening at the Bankers Club (can we have a singalong?). There are various suggestions for touristy things on Saturday, with the party in the evening at the Teachers Club, Parnell Square. Sunday we have a Mass at the nearby Oratory of St Martin which they are opening specially for us. In the afternoon some are going to the Gaelic Games at Croke Park while other are having a trip to Malahide up the coast, before getting together in the evening. Those who are staying on for the Monday are going to Glendalough, site of some early monastic settlements in Ireland. Dublin is all that it is cracked up to be.
May 19 - Thursday
DO MONKS MAKE A FAST BUCK?
When the groups started and people used to ask me what was the big idea, I used to joke that we were trying to combat the evils of drink. Even though we often meet in pubs we are a very sober bunch. And I don't know of any of the regulars who smokes. While in Scotland a few weeks ago, I read about the ongoing controversy over an alcoholic drink that is produced by a monastery that will remain nameless as far as this diary is concerned, though hints will be given. On the way to the Glasgow 20s talk on Tuesday by train we were joined in the compartment by three early 20 somethings who whiled the journey away by passing round a bottle of the said beverage in an effort to keep themselves in a low-level alcoholic stupor. They were not aggressive. One even asked if he could smoke while his two young lady companions had enough sobriety to tell him it was verboten. My gallic shrug would not have been enough. This particular amber nectar is a favourite tipple of some of the denizens of Dennistoun and its environs, because it is strong and cheap and infiltrated the psyche of many because of its Catholic overtones.
My experience on the train made me decide to write to the Abbot of the eponymous monastery. Should I send it? No one has got back to say that I should send my letter of the other week to the Pope asking him to come to Belfast, etc.
When I was growing up near Glasgow in the 50s your famous drink was the favourite toast of genteel ladies who allowed themselves a rare alcoholic indulgence at Christmas and New Year. The fact that the fortified wine had been produced at your monastery led them to believe that they were doing something which, if not sacred, then at least bolstered their identity as Catholics. Sadly, as I am sure you must be aware, this scenario is no longer the case. Very few self-respecting Scots today would have the bottle to purchase your product, given its reputation of contributing to the pantheon of alcoholism in the West of Scotland.
You seem to have been a victim of your own success in creating a tonic which is both strong and cheap. You are so much part of Scottish mythology and humour that I once naively believed your predecessor had been invited to dedicate a time-capsule that was being sunk in one of the local towns with a higher than average Catholic population. I no longer live in Scotland, but during a recent visit I read that supermarkets in problem-drinking areas had agreed to withdraw your label and that a member of the Scottish Parliament was considering proposing that it be banned altogether, such is the damage it is reputed to cause those who are looking for a quick fix.
More recently I was travelling by local train to Glasgow in the afternoon when I was surrounded by three young drinkers who were alternating swigs of your elixir. Between gulps their inebriated conversation showed how deprived and feckless they were. It was then I decided to write to you and add my voice to the calls for you and your agents to try and do something to remedy the situation. I am not up to date with recent developments so apologies if you have recently made some changes to your policy, but if not I would ask you to look at ways to prevent the Catholic Church and the monastic tradition from being a continuing source of ridicule in an atmosphere where many are glad of excuses to hold our faith in contempt.
I realise the financial implications of your situation and accept that you are an innocent party, but could you not simply increase the price of your product, at least in the Scottish market. This could be done with a fanfare announcing that you would give any increased profit to the Third World or to charities working with alcoholics and their dependents. In this way you would help remedy a sorry situation in which you have become unwittingly enmeshed and hopefully once again take your deserved place amongst respectable Catholics.
Fr Hugh Hanley SCJ
May 20 - Friday
ALEXANDRA'S THOUGHTS ON AN EASTER READING
At Malpas in Holy Week some people did introductions to readings at the services. I invited them to write them down so the group could share their thoughts. Alexandra has just sent this today.
Some of my thoughts in relation to Fifth Reading - A Reading from the Prophet Isaiah.
There are times when we can all feel empty and lost, and we ask ourselves - what am I here for? What is my true purpose in this life?
We often search for meaning in various things - we may be ambitious and eager to be very successful in our careers. We may be wrapped up in our social life or planning our next holiday. Yes, all these things are important, but do they really bring that true contentment and inner peace for which we strive?
In this reading Jesus is saying to us: "Look, just stop for a minute and listen. If you only stop and look around you, I give you all these things. I am your supply!"
The 2030 group is an illustration of this. We're gathered here sharing our faith and beliefs and united by the Holy Spirit, and we've all experienced the joy and satisfaction it brings. And if we consider the discussion today about the future of the group in light of this reading, we realise that because of the very nature of this group (its foundation being companionship in Christ) it will continue to grow and flourish no matter what happens.
As God himself says: "He has made us a witness to the peoples, and those unknown will come hurrying for the sake of the Glory of God".
This is the reading Alexandra introduced.
Isaiah 55: 1-11
Thus says the Lord: Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty; though you have no money come. Buy corn without money, and eat, and, at no cost, wine and milk. Why spend money on what is not bread, your wages on what fails to satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and you will have good things to eat and rich food to enjoy. Pay attention, come to me; listen and your soul will live. With you I will make an everlasting covenant out of the favours promised to David. See, I have made of you a witness to the peoples, a leader and a master of the nations. See, you will summon a nation you never knew, those unknown will come hurrying to you, for the sake of the Lord your God, of the Holy One of Israel who will glorify you. Seek the Lord while he is still to be found, call to him while he is still near. Let the wicked man abandon his way, the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn back to the Lord who will take pity on him, to our God who is rich in forgiving: for my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways not your ways - it is the Lord who speaks. Yes, the heavens are as high above earth as my ways are above your ways, my thoughts above your thoughts. Yes, as the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.
May 21 - Saturday
FOOTBALL - A REVIEW OF THE SEASON
If you are not interested in football scores look away now. Haven't written much about football recently. Haven't mentioned it at all this year, and no-one is complaining. Haven't been to a match for over six months. Today was at base, so decided to go to the big match, not the FA Cup Final, but the semi-final play off for promotion to Division One between Macclesfield and Lincoln. It was only 12 miles down the road - all the excitement of who was going to get to the final in Cardiff. Yet the main attraction was to see if I could keep up my record of getting into sell-out matches at least once a year (last year it was Man Utd v Liverpool, the season before Liverpool v Celtic). There's always a ticket. Arrived at the ground late today, but just caught a group of away supporters going through the turnstile who sold me a ticket at a reduced price. Lincoln won, which means we'll be able to see Stockport v Macclesfield next season.
A few other thoughts on the season:
May 22 - Sunday
THE BEGINNING OF THE 40S
My philosophy in starting the groups was getting people together and asking what they wanted to do and how can I help them do that. I didn't have an agenda. I've never tried to push anything through. That's why it has been hard pushing the idea that we would need to start a 40s group eventually. I haven't so much pushed the agenda as pushed the theme and people have weakened eventually under the pressure and maybe decided the only way to keep me quiet was to go ahead and explore the possibility of a 40s. I didn't realise it would be so hard for people, or that I was pushing the idea so much. I felt because I was in my 50s I had a right to be cavalier about it and joke about it. Maybe it's because I am less sensitive about growing older than I was 10 years ago. Maybe it's because I benefit from spending so much time with people who are significantly younger than me, the very thing I am to some degree cutting the 40s off from.
Yesterday we had a meeting of 40s in the North-West of England to see what was the way forward. Nothing has caused as much pain and heartache. There have been frank exchanges by email. People from other groups even wrote, phoned and emailed. Others rightly pointed out where I had not been sensitive enough, even offensive. Do we need to do this? Do we need to do it now?
At the meeting I began by saying that I'd said enough. What did others think? The general consensus was that, without much enthusiasm, this was maybe the time to look at putting on a 40s programme. One of my mistakes was not to stress in recent months that it is not a question of throwing anyone out of the 30s. For example, in London there are some in their late 20s who go to the 30s and some in their early 30s who go to the 20s. There needs to be a transition and there is an age when people can have a foot on both planks. Some still worried that Project 2030 was going to cast the 40s into the outer darkness, but there will still be joint events. In fact I can see the 40s being more successful than the 30s or 20s.
There will be another meeting in September to work out some events. Also this gives people time to get used to the idea. I noticed that, although I did not push for a group to be set up immediately, once that had been agreed upon I was strong in making sure we did not back away from it. Do I feel better about it now? I'm not sure if we are that much better off. The 30s might struggle. The 20s might be less attracted to a group that has sections also for 30s and 40s. The fact that there will soon be 30s and 40s groups means that I can more understandably give more attention to the 20s, but will it work? I'm thinking that the Review Weekend in September should just be for the 20s and we can have a weekend for 30s and 40s later. It will be interesting to see if the University Leavers week in June works. Applications have just started coming in. Will they want to continue in the group? We can only do what we can do. We can't do everything. Choices have to be made and decisions too. And we need to leave some of it to God.
May 23 - Monday
POEMS FROM THE ROME WEEKEND
Helen Marie from the London 30s writes:
Here are two poems I was inspired to write whilst in Rome. 'Benedictus XVI' I wrote trying to imagine what it must feel like to be in his shoes and have the eyes of the world watching his every move. 'Una Pellegrina a Roma' I wrote because I was truly moved and felt very honoured to be in Rome for this once in a lifetime experience. I had tears of joy in my eyes most of the time during the service and his Mass.
By God's will, my ministry begins.
The elected successor of Peter.
At your tomb I pray, this weak servant of God,
paying homage in Peter's Basilica.
The All-powerful deity has placed me here,
professing religion, humble and pure.
I am the servant, of the servants of God.
For Christ we must open the door.
Unstable world, your eyes upon me,
assuming an enormous task.
As I receive the Fisherman's Ring,
"Help me?" I ask.
Offering Mass, to wavering sea of faith,
promoting unity is my desire.
LOVE can conquer all that is sin,
for no sin can survive the Spirit's fire.
Una Pellegrina a Roma (A Pilgrim in Rome)
In this assembly of devotion
reverently, I stand.
By divine favour chosen,
crucifix in hand.
An inestimable blessing within,
my heart aflame.
Four hundred thousand faithful
to St Peter's Square we came.
Witness to a great phenomenon which
our mortal eyes now see.
In nomine Patris et Filii
et Spiritus Sancti.
May 24 - Tuesday
MAKE POVERTY HISTORY - 2 JULY
There has been a lot of interest bubbling up recently about the make Poverty History Gathering in Edinburgh 2 July to coincide with the G8 meeting in Gleneagles. The Glasgow groups are going and we are looking at ways to open this out to the other groups. More details soon. Meanwhile here are some details if you have not heard about it yet.
As the leaders of the world's richest countries gather in Scotland for the G8 summit, join tens of thousands of others in Edinburgh on 2 July demanding trade justice, debt cancellation, and more and better aid for the world's poorest countries.
This is an opportunity to show the Prime Minister and his fellow G8 leaders that the UK public cares enough about global poverty and injustice to come in person to Edinburgh, just as Jubilee 2000 did at the Birmingham G8 in 1998 - but on an even greater scale.
The day's events will start from 11am, and will include:
The event will be a family friendly, safe and fun day - so bring as many people as you can!
Statement on the Make Poverty History Campaign from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales (Spring Meeting 2005)
The widening gap between rich and poor around the world is a scandal and a contradiction.
We wholeheartedly support the Make Poverty History campaign and we urge Catholics in England and Wales to play their part in it.
The Global Common Good requires that the critical questions of trade, aid, debt and good governance be addressed. We add our voice to the call to political leaders to honour their commitments to the UN Millennium Goals.
May 25 - Wednesday
THE MONASTERY ON BBC2
Two weeks ago I highlighted 'The Monastery', a series on BBC2 where 5 men spent 5 weeks at Worth Abbey. I missed it last week but caught it yesterday, the last one. It lived up to the hype. We almost had fisticuffs between the ex-UDA man and the successful businessman who couldn't take the pressure of living so close to one another, but who both came to a deeper understanding of themselves due to the peaceful atmosphere and the gentle prompting of the monks. One rediscovered his faith in God, another who had been running away from the call to the Anglican priesthood decided to give it another go. The fifth, who worked in porn, is the main focus of the following review which appeared in today's Guardian.
In The Monastery (BBC2) the five men tentatively testing the holy water visited a Carthusian order, the most pure and pared down form of monastic life. Carthusians live like hermits ("Solitude is merciless", said Father Cyril, the novice master). They rise at midnight to praise God ("It's a great time to be up", said Father Cyril cheerily). There was a lilt of the Irish in his voice. There are 25 monks and a small thicket of simple wood crosses. Carthusians do not normally receive visitors. Like the Cabots, they speak only to God. ("It is one of our tough things that we never see any results," said Father Cyril.)
I wouldn't say that exactly. Tony, who shot trailers for sex chat rooms, was visibly affected. He had the look of someone who has walked into a plate glass door. Though there was nothing to see, he staggered, speechless. Back with the Benedictines, he managed to say, "I feel quite odd". Brother Francis waited patiently - monks are good at patience - then blessed him. Tony said: "It was a religious experience. Something happened. Something touched me. Something spoke to me very deeply. Whatever it is, and I still don't know what that is, I believe in it. 'Cos I saw it and I felt it and it spoke to me." He looked almost mutinous like a small boy who has seen a spaceman and can't make anyone believe him.
This was an unusually grown-up series. The intelligence, patience and gentle amusement of the monks was as soothing as the hypnotic swaying of their robes as they processed to church. Only the odd chromosome (she's female) prevents me giving it a go. Tony, by the way, no longer works in porn.
May 26 - Thursday
MAKE LENNY HENRY HISTORY
This is an email we received from the comedian Lenny Henry about Making Poverty History.
Reply-To: "Lenny Henry" <comicrelie-e2-1469815@ProcessRequest.com>
May 27 - Friday
These are the details for the Dublin Weekend, starting today. About 25 are going from Britain to Ireland from the groups.
The Dublin Weekend, Friday 27th
– Monday 30th May 2005.
A Social, Cultural, Sporting and Spiritual
Meet the groups, renew old friendships and start new ones over a relaxing
gathering will take place at the Bankers Club, 93 St. Stephen’s Green, from
- See the sights of Dublin, weather permitting, on foot.
Meet at 1:30pm at the entrance to St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre.
8pm – 1am - The Dublin Party -
Club na Múinteoirí (Teachers Club), 36 Parnell Square.
food, a bar and a DJ for our Disco.
Sunday mass, celebrated by Fr. Hugh, in St. Martin’s Chapel, 42 Parnell
Football in Croke Park.
a trip to the Dublin seaside town of Malahide.
v Evening - Traditional Irish music in a Dublin pub.
May 28 - Saturday
DUBLIN PARTY. QUOTES FROM JP II.
The evening's party celebrating the 5th Birthday of Project 2030 was voted a success by the 30 who came over from the groups in Britain. Those of us who did the walking tour of Dublin were impressed by Declan's knowledge of the history of his own city, and grateful that he was not too hard on us historically. Some didn't last the pace, while others tailed off to watch Celtic in the Cup final.
Someone gave me a card with quotes from John Paul II. The card was encouraging us not just to admire him but to try and follow in his footsteps. Here are some of his sayings.
The Desires of Your Heart
It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal. (World Youth Day, Rome 2000)
"Keep watch, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming." These words remind me of the last call, which will come at the moment when the Lord wills it. I desire to follow Him, and I desire that everything which is part of my earthly life will prepare me for that moment. I don't know when it will come, but like everything, I place this moment too in the hands of the Mother of my Lord. (John Paul II, Last Testament)
Pope John Paul Speaks About His Own Vocation
Certainly, in God's plan, nothing happens by chance. All I can say is that the tragedy of the war had its effect on my gradual choice of vocation. It helped me to understand in a new way the value and importance of a vocation. In the face of the spread of evil and the atrocities of the war, the meaning of the priesthood and its mission in the world became much clearer to me. (Gift and Mystery)
Do Not Be Afraid
If any of you, dear young men and women, hear the Lord's inner call to give yourselves completely to him in order to love him with an undivided heart, do not be held back by doubts and fears. Say "yes" with courage and without reserve, trusting him who is faithful to his promises. Did he not assure those who had left everything for his sake that they would have a hundredfold in this life and eternal life hereafter? (World Youth Day, Rome 2000)
Fidelity to Your Call
I wish to recall to you one simple but important lesson taken from the life of St Patrick; and it is this: in the history of evangelisation, the destiny of an entire people - your people - was radically affected for time and eternity because of the fidelity with which St Patrick embraced and proclaimed the word of God, and by reason of the fidelity with which St Patrick pursued his call to the end. (Address to Seminarians, Maynooth, 1979)
Written in the Book of Life
All human beings, from their mothers' womb, belong to God who searches them and knows them, who forms them and knits them together with his own hands, who gazes on them when they are tiny shapeless embryos and already sees in them the adults of tomorrow whose days are numbered and whose vocation is even now written in the 'book of life'. (Evangelium Vitae, 20)
May 29 - Sunday
GROUP MASS. IT'S A LONG WAY TO MALAHIDE.
Despite the late finish last night there were about 50 of us at the Mass we celebrated together in St Martin's Oratory. Two staff came out specially so we could have the Mass there. There were particularly impressed by our singing. That was the reaction on Iona as well. How do we do it.
Corpus Christi, or the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, was being celebrated in Ireland today. Does that mean the visitors needn't have gone to Mass on Thursday when it was celebrated in Britain? No. In the Gospel from John, Chapter 6, Jesus is speaking about giving his flesh and blood to be our food and drink. It's as though he's deliberately picking a fight with the Jews. (Did I hear someone laugh when I said this?) He accuses them of following him not because they believe in him but because he fed them by multiplying the loaves. They cannot accept his teaching about the Eucharist: "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" After this many of his disciples left him. Jesus turned to the 12 Apostles: "What about you, do you want to go away too?" It was Simon Peter who answered: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe. We have come to know that you are the Holy One of God."
Jesus gives us that choice, to stay with him or to go our own way. We can feel pressure on us from family and friends to keep being a Christian. On the other side there are lots of pressures in our world telling us that we must be fools to keep believing. Jesus understands where we are at. He is not going to condemn us if we conscientiously decide that we cannot follow him. He did not go after the disciples who left him calling their names. He knows how difficult it is. The choice is ours. But we are not alone. That was one of the reasons I started the group, so that people would have the support of others their own age in their faith. And many have said how the group has helped them in their life. Some have said how it has helped them to keep going to Church or to come back.
After Mass we had lunch at a carvery. Some went off to the Gaelic Football at Croke Park. Most of us went up the coast to Malahide and had a walk along the beach. We caught the bus at the terminus. It was full of tourists. Those of us upstairs had a bit of a sing-song, much to the embarrassment of the Dubliners in the group. We had another rendition of "In Dublin's Fair City" which we had sung with one of the buskers on Grafton Street yesterday. For a Scottish song we did "Auld Lang Syne". Then "It's a long way to Tipperary" with it's English connections to Leicester Square and Piccadilly. Some Americans asked us to do "Danny Boy", but we'd had enough by then.
May 30 - Monday
A 'LIVE IN' COMMUNITY WITHIN THE GROUP
I suggested to Martin that he write something about his idea of a live-in community. The details refer more to Glasgow, but interest has also been expressed in London and the North-West of England. If you would like to be part of an email forum exploring these issues, then contact Martin.
It has also been suggested to set up email forums for the growing number of Project 2030 couples, as also for those who are interested in religious life and/or priesthood. We haven't got the details worked out for these yet, but watch this space. Also if you would like to set up a discussion group on any other issues or life choices, then let me know.
I’ve asked Hugh to send ‘round this e-mail to give
anyone who may be interested the chance to contribute / remain up to date on a
‘forum’ exploring the possibility of setting up a ‘live in’ community
for the group.
To give you a little background to this, I approached
Hugh several months ago with some ideas about possible ways in which people in
2030 could grow closer together if they so wished. The group has become pretty
significant for me and as a single guy who has lived on his own for several
years, I feel drawn to the idea of sharing with others and being part of a
community. Following this, we had a ‘Growing In Community’ weekend in Malpas
in February this year which allowed us to explore this further. Various ideas
were shared including having a group prayer, having more regular faith sharing,
developing an associate movement and living together in community.
Regarding the latter, definite interest in this idea
exists and Hugh is quite excited by it. He has offered to write to the
Archbishop of Glasgow to see if a vacant presbytery could be secured to allow
people to come together to form a lay community. There is, however, a need to
firm up the whole idea of what this means and might involve. Do those of us who
are interested in this idea want to just get together as flatmates or do we want
to be more communitarian in our approach?
I’m keen to see where people’s energies lie and to
enable us to throw around some ideas before we reach the stage of actually
pushing ahead with any plans to set up home together. A forum would allow a
significant sharing of views to take place. If you feel you might be interested
in this idea and/or you’d like to be included in the forum can you let me
– I can then add you to the list and you’ll receive details of everyone’s
Thanks for your time.
May 31 - Tuesday
WORLD YOUTH DAY IN AUGUST
This is a description of the World Youth Days in Cologne which we received, courtesy of the Southwark Catholic Youth Service. There are 20 going from the group. You have to be under 30 to qualify (WYD regulations). There are still places available. See Main Events sheet for details of how we are doing it.
Vision for World Youth Day 2005 Köln
How it started
the impressive Cathedral of Cologne the Three Magi are worshipped, the wise men
from the East, who followed the star that guided them to Christ. Your pilgrimage
to Cologne starts today. Christ is waiting there for you to celebrate the XX
World Youth Day.”
then preparations for the big celebration of faith have been running at full
speed – in Cologne and throughout Germany. You can find more information on www.wjt2005.de
Who is expected?
The week in
On Thursday Pope
Benedict will arrive in Germany. This will be his first visit home and his
first visit abroad since becoming Pope. The Pope will be welcomed with a big
celebration at the Poll Meadows. Friday is the day of the Way of the Cross, when
the young pilgrims will contemplate the passion of Jesus Christ.
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