September 1 - Thursday
FEEDBACK TO THE DIARY
It's good to get feedback to the diary. People usually just make general comments, but sometimes they write more specifically. Here are a few comments someone sent in recently. The first is about the leading article from The Tablet on the vocation to the single life which we printed in full. (The Tablet also printed the letter I wrote to them about it):
Don't understand the
above. Maybe the Tablet is making a point I'm not intellectually gifted enough
to follow. But why? As we rush around & our lives are so busy, it helps if
things are clear & easy to understand. Or do they feel they have to ensure
they don't 'bore' the top 1% who might be reading?
I don't think I can
truly say I appreciate enough how hard things must be if you live & work in
London. (Although I don't think unfortunately London will be the start &
end.). You are right our prayers must be with these people - and things are
brought home closer to us through being in the group - i.e. Mary D's report.
He then goes on to make some comments about temporary vows and the holiday retreat.You've got me puzzled...you take temporary vows for one year & then these can be renewed between 3 & 9. Bearing in mind you don't take temporary vows for 3 years (because you do them for one!) what happens in year two!! Or did you mean to say these can be renewed between 2 & 9?
I'm just intrigued in what happens in year 2!!
Enjoyed reading about the
holiday retreat at Malpas...splitting it over a weekend isn't a good idea I
don't think. If you get people giving up a full week's hol because they want to
be there...you can be sure they really want to be there. If you split over
two...you can bet your life people will say I can make the first four days, or
the last 3. Bearing in mind people need to travel from afar anyway...the Sun
& Sat before & after 5 days at Malpas would seem to make sense. Anyway,
just a thought.
The Temporary vows are renewed every year until you take Final Vows. About the holiday retreat, we thought it would save people taking more days off work next year if we did it over a long weekend. Time will tell. We'll definitely be insisting that people are there for the whole time as it upsets the 'community spirit' when people come late or leave early. Tony Greig's parents were Scots and he considered himself a Scot at the time.
September 2 - Friday
POPE BENEDICT XVI'S INAUGURAL MASS, ROME, APRIL 2005
Mary Darby wrote the following for her parish magazine:
I was in St Peterís Square in April of this year for
the Popeís Inaugural Mass. Earlier
in the year I had secured return flights to Rome with the intention of attending
the Beatification of Father Leo Dehon. Despite
feeling sad at the Beatification not taking place in April as planned, I found
myself present at this historic event.
The Sunday morning of the Inaugural Mass was bright and
sunny. We left the hotel just after
sunrise to join the crowds of people making their way to St Peterís Square.
Along the route to St Peterís large screens were set up at various
intervals. Bottles of water were being distributed.
It was without doubt, especially with a good few hours wait ahead, that
this was going to be a long morning.
From the edge of St Peterís Square it was possible to
see the chair which the new Pope would be seated on during the service.
Looking up and seeing the window of the Papal apartments, which had
become symbolic of the last few hours of Pope John Paul IIís life, acted as a
reminder of the love for this man and his great life.
Not forgetting the emotional outpouring on John Paul IIís death, today
the event was a joyous one. There
was a sense of anticipation amongst the crowds.
Once inside St Peterís Square the atmosphere was
electric. The Square was awash with colour with banners and flags from many
different countries. This was an
event celebrated by an international Catholic family with world wide media
attention. The wait for Mass to
begin seemed to pass quite quickly. The occasion began with a procession inside
St Peterís which was televised on screens around St Peterís Square.
Seeing Pope Benedict XVI in person for the first time, as he emerged from
St Peterís, was one of the strongest memories for me.
The congregation comprised of Cardinals, Bishops, men
and women from countless Religious Orders, dignitaries and lay people from
around the world. Throughout the
Mass a great love and joy radiated towards the new Pope. At one point during the service Pope Benedict XVI raised his
hands in the air and was greeted by cheers and applause with an enthusiasm not
dissimilar to that of supporters at a major sports event.
The memories of Pope Benedict XVIís Inaugural Mass will stay with me
I went to Rome with Project 2030.
Membership is open to anyone in their 20s and 30s who is Catholic or who
appreciates the Catholic ethos. Further
information can be found at http://www.project2030.org.uk
or telephone 01614 763 234
Project2030 is sponsored by the Dehonian Fathers.
A Biography of Father Dehon (1843-1925) can be found on the Vatican
Website at http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ns_lit_doc_20050424_dehon_en.html
September 3 - Saturday
REAL FRIEND .......
Fiona sent us a this. She didn't say where she found it or whether she made it up herself.
A simple friend, when visiting, acts like a guest.
A real friend opens your refrigerator and helps himself.
A simple friend has never seen you cry.
A real friend has shoulders soggy from your tears.
A simple friend doesn't know your parents' first names..
A real friend has their phone numbers in his address book.
A simple friend brings a bottle of wine to your party.
A real friend comes early to help you cook and stays late to help you
A simple friend hates it when you call after he has gone to bed.
A real friend asks you why you took so long to call.
A simple friend seeks to talk with you about your problems.
A real friend seeks to help you with your problems.
A simple friend wonders about your romantic history.
A real friend could blackmail you with it.
A simple friend thinks the friendship is over when you have an argument.
A real friend calls you after you had a fight.
A simple friend expects you to always be there for them.
A real friend expects to always be there for you!
and in some of our cases....a simple friend would bail you out of
jail...but a real friend would be sitting right beside you and you would
reliving what a good time you had getting there!!
Remember: When you are down to nothing ...God is up to something.
September 4 - Sunday
SEE HOW THESE CHRISTIANS.....
It was in Antioch, a city several hundred miles north of Jerusalem, that the followers of Jesus were first called Christians. Paul was converted on the road to Antioch on his way to arrest members of this new movement and bring them back to Jerusalem. St Luke notes in the Acts of the Apostles that local people remarked: "See how these Christians love one another".
Without getting sentimental or chauvinistic, people have remarked within and without the group on the way people show care for each other. Mostly it is in an understated way, like waiting for those who are late, coping with those who are difficult, or adapting to individuals' particular needs or characteristics. It can be harder to do that over a longer period like going to India (where you are in each other's pockets for two weeks) or Germany (where you all have to sleep in the one room in very basic conditions). I didn't realise how much the group at the World Youth Day was together until people became so insistent that we go out of our way to welcome those who arrived later and make sure they did not feel left out.
Those who are exploring the possibility of living under one roof know that there will be great challenges in this area, but Jesus has given us clear advice in these matters: "Do to others as you would have done to you", "Love your neighbour as yourself", and "Love one another as I have loved you", etc.
A while ago we had a letter of thanks from Catherine in the North West for the concern shown when her mother died. Recently Dave in the London 30s broke his arm. He has been overwhelmed by the kindness and thoughtfulness of so many, sending him cards, ringing him up, visiting, taking him out and promising to pray for him. Through this he has been struck by the power of prayer and has turned his prayers to others in need, which brought a text from one of his companions: "How long are you supposed to pray for at 20.30?" To which my reply was: "How long is a piece of string?"
September 5 - Monday
POPE'S SERMON IN COLOGNE
Someone sent me a copy of the Pope's sermon at the WYD Mass in Cologne. Below is the concluding part. It gives suggestions on what to read, on forming communities and how to help others.
ďThis is why love for Sacred Scripture is so important, and in
consequence, it is important to know the faith of the Church which opens up for
us the meaning of Scripture. It is the Holy Spirit who guides the Church as her
faith grows, causing her to enter ever more deeply into the truth (cf. Jn
16:13). Pope John Paul II gave us a wonderful work in which the faith of
centuries is explained synthetically: the Catechism
of the Catholic Church. I myself recently presented the Compendium of the
Catechism, prepared at the request of the late Holy Father. These are two
fundamental texts which I recommend to all of you.
Obviously books alone are not enough. Form communities based on faith! In
recent decades movements and communities have come to birth in which the power
of the Gospel is keenly felt. Seek communion in faith, like fellow travellers
who continue together to follow the path of the great pilgrimage that the Magi
from the East first pointed out to us.
The spontaneity of new communities is important, but it is also important
to preserve communion with the Pope and with the Bishops. It is they who
guarantee that we are not seeking private paths, but are living as Godís great
family, founded by the Lord through the twelve Apostles.
Once again, I must return to the Eucharist. ďBecause there is one bread,
we, though many, are one bodyĒ says Saint Paul (1 Cor 10:17). By this he
meant: since we receive the same Lord and he gathers us together and draws us
into himself, we ourselves are one. This must be evident in our lives. It must
be seen in our capacity to forgive. It must be seen in our sensitivity to the
needs of others. It must be seen in our willingness to share. It must be seen in
our commitment to our neighbours, both those close at hand and those physically
far away, whom we nevertheless consider to be close. Today there are many forms
of voluntary assistance, models of mutual service, of which our society has
urgent need. We must not, for example, abandon the elderly to their solitude, we
must not pass by when we meet people who are suffering. If we think and live
according to our communion with Christ, then our eyes will be opened. Then we
will no longer be content to scrape a living just for ourselves, but we will see
where and how we are needed. Living and acting thus, we will soon realize that
it is much better to be useful and at the disposal of others than to be
concerned only with the comforts that are offered to us. I know that you as
young people have great aspirations, that you want to pledge yourselves to build
a better world. Let others see this, let the world see it, since this is exactly
the witness that the world expects from the disciples of Jesus Christ; in this
way, and through your love above all, the world will be able to discover the
star that we follow as believers.
Let us go forward with Christ and let us live our lives as true
worshippers of God! AmenĒ.
September 6 - Tuesday
FREE 5 DAYS IN PARIS OFFER
Did you realise that the French for "deja vu" is "un flashback"? This time last year I went through the same experience. I go to the library and I get all the materials I can on local nightclasses and other courses that are starting this month. I go through them all and see lots of things I would like to do like Tai chi, cooking, Bridge, golf, pottery, creative writing, keep fit (there's no football for veterans - that I would definitely go to), philosophy, various languages etc. I'm still too puritanical to go to a class during the day and I'm away over the weekend. It's narrowed down to a Tuesday or Wednesday evening. The only class that's on nearby those nights that appeals to me is Script Writing (don't ask). I'm tempted, but I know I won't go, and that's not just because I'm away 3 out of the next 7 Tuesdays.
You could always stay in and do something creative yourself, but I need a group to motivate me. The mass of pottery clay that I bought for £3.00 after my retreat in June has hardly been touched and the Watercolour by Numbers I got last Christmas is still in its box. I've even stopped doing any languages (It could be that writing the diary keeps the same part of the brain happy). Before going to Germany for the World Youth Day I would usually have spent months listening to tapes, reading a German novel and the Bible. This time I didn't do a wurst. Strangely though, I was able to speak more German than I've ever done before, which makes me think that previous times I must have exhausted the brain cells even before I got there.
What has all this got to do with the offer of 5 free days in Paris? From 22-26 September there is a meeting at out house in the 15th arrondissement of European Dehonian "youth" Groups. Last year Chris and Mary came with me to Lisbon. This year they decided, mainly because of the size of the house in Paris, that the meeting would just be for the priests. Now yesterday they said that we can bring two others along with us, well maybe, if enough countries decide to bring along younger representatives. On such a possibility I'm not going to go out looking for people, so if you are in your 20s, have been involved with the group for a while and would like to go to Parish, then find someone else who can also go 22-26 Sept 2005 and it could be yours, all expenses paid. And I am not doing any French practice before I go. Did you know the French for "buffet" is "un self-service"?
September 7 - Wednesday
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FROM GLASGOW 20S
At the Q and A session for the Glasgow 20s (see 31 August) there were two questions that came from the Da Vinci Code:
- in the light of the Da Vinci Code do you agree with any of the ideas/theories about Mary Magdalene. Was she one of the apostles? Was her place overlooked by the Catholic Church?
- in the picture of the Last Supper (by Leonardo da Vinci) is Mary Magdalene sitting beside Jesus? Did he have children? Did Jesus have siblings?
No, I don't give any credence to the various theories about Mary Magdalene in the Da Vinci Code. Channel 4 did a two hour long documentary exploring the main theses behind Dan Brown's novel. They could not be considered pro-religion and enjoy a good conspiracy theory, but Tony Robinson, the presenter, (also known as Baldric), did not even think it was a cunning plan. None of the main theories held any water, he concluded. I enjoyed the book, a good pacy read. I also started Dan Brown's 'Deception Point' but gave up half way. I found it too silly, though I might have been reading it too soon after the other one. 'Angels and Demons' is supposed to be better, but we are not meant to take the stories seriously.
The definition of an 'apostle' means a witness. Mary Magdalene was the first to see Jesus after the Resurrection and we are all called to be witnesses/apostles of Jesus, but she was not chosen to be one of the original Twelve by Jesus. In the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection Mary has a prominent part to play. Her role is even more developed by the time of St John's Gospel, which was the last one to be written, so it does not look as though the early Church was trying to airbrush her out. At times various saints become more or less flavour of the month, but she was still very popular during the Middle Ages before the Reformation. There is a famous old church dedicated to "La Madelaine" in Paris and there was also Magdalene College in Cambridge. None of the other Churches have ever accused Catholics of trying to play down Mary Magdalene's role. At times there might have been some confusion because she was presumed to have been a prostitute and the sinner who wiped the feet of Jesus, but the Gospels only say that seven demons had gone out of her (Luke 8:2).
People outside the Church have often had fun spicing up Jesus and Mary's lives and then get disappointed when we will not play along. She is not sitting beside Jesus at the Last Supper. The Channel 4 documentary wondered if the 'feminine' figure to the right of Jesus might have been a picture of Leonardo da Vinci's boyfriend. Jesus did not have children, good story line though it may be. The Church would never have got off the ground if it had tried to suppress such a truth and it would have contradicted Jesus' encouragement to remain celibate/a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 19:12).
As for Jesus having siblings, the tradition of the Church is that his mother did not have any other children. The Gospel speaks about the brothers of Jesus, and James the brother of the Lord was the leader of the early Church in Jerusalem, but brother could also mean relative or kinsman. It could also be that Joseph had children from a previous marriage.
September 8 - Thursday
A POEM FROM GERMANY
Here is Liam's poem celebrating the group that was in Germany for the World Youth Days.
I'LL START WITH OUR LEADER,
September 9 - Friday
YOUR CHANCE TO ENCOURAGE PRIESTS
Next month I've been asked to give a day's retreat to priests from a diocese where we don't have the group. This means I have to give two talks. When I was first approached to do this I asked what kind of themes might be expected. The reply was: "The priests need to hear words of encouragement". I can do that, but if you are a teacher or a doctor and you hear one of your own profession saying nice things about you, then that is not going to mean as much as getting affirmation from outside your group. So here's your chance. Send me some words of positive affirmation for the clergy and I'll pass it on to them on this retreat day, anonymously of course. But if I get enough comments to firstname.lastname@example.org I will send them round the parishes with the next mailing. Was it Mark Twain who said: "A compliment can keep me going for a fortnight".
Don't tell us you can't think of anything to write. Start a sentence with the likes of:
When I started the groups I expected much more negativity about the Church. That doesn't mean to say many don't have their questions and criticisms, but people are more positive than I anticipated. Maybe the older generation who went through the changes after the Vatican Council in the 60s and who remember a different style of Church and priesthood are more likely to be critical. Perhaps it's just that I had begun to believe some of the stereotypes in the media.
The opposite is also true. Six years ago I had a much more negative view about what your average twentysomething Catholic was like. I can't put that into words, but I've certainly been impressed by the kind of people I've met. It has been a great encouragement to me in my priesthood to learn from the faith and commitment of younger Catholics. Maybe it's unfair that I'm not putting into words what I appreciate about you, while asking you to write something about priests. But I asked first, so get writing.
September 10 - Saturday
Today we had the London party. This year the numbers were slow coming in, but in the end we had over 100 again even though very few travelled from other areas. The impact of the London bombings was presumed to be the reason for the late bookings and unwillingness to travel. It was my own first time on the tube since 7/7. I was conscious of it, but not in a big way. I was more concerned about being late for the party after a train journey that took twice as long as usual.
It was good to catch up with people. Newcomers particularly expressed how much they liked the atmosphere and the chance to enjoy themselves with others of a similar outlook. In other circumstances, they said, you never know who you are dealing with and you can get yourself into some dodgy situations. This kind of group is very necessary.
But a new kind of need emerged last night. A couple of people spoke about how their friends, having drifted from the Church, had ended up going to new evangelical Churches where most people are young and are even prepared to give a tenth of their wages. One of the big appeals of these Churches is the friendly atmosphere and the lively music. Why do these groups appear so successful? Often they are driven by strong, charismatic personalities. Within 10 years these congregations can increase ten fold. There is a lot of energy, but they have very few links with other Churches. Splits can occur, and they can disappear just as quickly as they rose. Some in the group have spoken before about going to these Churches. They fulfilled a need for them at the time and even brought them back to God, but ultimately they seemed quite superficial and did not satisfy their deeper needs.
The question remains whether Project 2030 could learn something from these new Churches and adapt some of their ideas to bring back people who have lost touch with their faith. Would it work if one of the parishes in central London was to celebrate a more lively Mass aimed at a younger audience? At the World Youth Days the music is very up to date, so the example is being given from the top. Last night at the party I was building up a head of steam for doing something about it, but then there is the morning after the night before.
September 11 - Sunday
THE CUP OF OUR LIFE
This is a prayer from Joyce Rupp's new book called 'The Cup of Our Life'.
Tie a ribbon of remembrance around my heart,
so that I can often recall those sacred places
where you have made yourself known
in the hidden recesses of my life.
Stir up my memory-cup, let me look deeply within it,
seeing all the people and events that have led me to you.
Refresh the photographs of my mind
where the vivid traces of your love are etched in our relationship,
and marked upon my memory.
As I gaze into my personal history
unlock the storage spaces of my soul,
reveal the truth of your bountiful love,
fill my heart with awe and gratitude.
God of Beauty
the blessing of your loveliness astounds my being,
the power of your presence enriches my every moment.
Blessed are you. Blessed are you.
Joyce Rupp is well known for her work as a writer, spiritual 'midwife', and retreat and conference speaker. A member of the Servite (Servants of Mary) community, she has led retreats throughout North America, as well as in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Joyce is the author of numerous books, including the bestsellers 'Praying our Goodbyes', 'May I have this dance?', 'Out of the Ordinary', and 'Inviting God In' (all from Ave Maria Press).
September 12 - Monday
AGM OF DEHONIAN PRIESTS
This week attending the Annual General Meeting of the Sacred Heart Fathers and Brothers at Malpas. One of the themes for the week is the challenge facing the Church in Europe. When the Dehonian community gathers in Rome next month for its General Conference they will be looking at the Church's mission in Europe.
An article in the magazine 'America' highlights the challenges facing the new Pope.
Then Fr Ryder spoke about an article in The Tablet on 7 May about Europe's challenge to the Church.
"Clearly a big challenge for Christianity is how to remain in contact with the millions of people who look for God but do not come to church. At the centre of Christianity is community; we are gathered by the Lord around the altar. How can we attract people to belong as well as believe?"
"We Christians should accompany people on their pilgrimages. Specifically we should travel with people as they search for the good, the true and the beautiful. According to traditional Catholic theology, human beings are made for these. Every human being hungers for the good, the true and the beautiful. These are desires that are part of our hard-wiring. Our contribution is to remind people of these deepest desires, which are rooted in our nature like the migratory urges of salmon or terns, making us restless until we arrive."
"So, one contribution of Christianity to Europe should be to help people in their moral pilgrimage. We must accompany them beginning where they are, regardless of whether this conforms to Church teaching. We start where people are, even if it is not where the Church says that they ought to be."
September 13 - Tuesday
TALK FROM THE BISHOP OF SHREWSBURY
Today Bishop Brian Noble, the local Bishop of Shrewsbury, spoke to us about the situation the Church faces today.
Sometimes people have simplistic solutions, like if only the Church would tell the children in primary schools to go to Church, or restore rosary and benediction, then all our problems would be solved.
The culture in which we grew up could be called liberal secularism, where there was the belief in society that they could get to the truth through rational thought. Human dignity, freedom and belief in progress and improvement were other characteristics of the mentality of the world. It was also the mentality of the Church at the Vatican Council which the Church took on board. But then things began to change in the world, people realised this utopian dream of society was not going to work. Today these ideals are moderated by post-modernism which creates an instability which can be liberating yet frightening.
Truth is now seen as a function of power. People are more suspicious and ask the question: "Whose truth" and who is benefiting from this truth. Truth was so manipulated by totalitarian systems like Nazism. People can manipulate truth through spin. We are suspicious of the claims of authority.
So it's not surprising that the big explanations of life are undermined once people do not have the same allegiances. People pick and mix and construct their own understanding of life. This leads to fragmentation. Previously we believed in progress. The post modern mentality is less confident. We see how even science too can be corrupted and can be used for destruction, e.g. the way scientists are allowed to experiment with embryos.
There is an illusion of freedom. The Government gives the impression that parents are free to have their children educated anywhere, but this is not true, so leads to scepticism. We feel we are subjugated consumers. We are offered an endless series of styles: "I am what I consume". The self becomes a commodity, we become cogs in this consumerist scheme.
TIme-space compression. "To be is to be in touch", not to be in touch is to be lost. There is a loss of private space and loss of depth. We can communicate with great speed around the world, but it has its downside. With the emphasis on the immediacy of the present moment history seems irrelevant. There can arise a craving for security and stability, like in young religious who want to go back to wearing traditional religious habits.
The Bishop did not want to appear just to see the negative aspects of our present culture. Positively we see the concern today for justice and peace, for equality between men and women, for human rights, and there is a growing interest in the spiritual.
How does all of this impact on the Church? These cultural shifts do deeply affect the Church. We all breathe the same air in our society. The change of attitude to truth affects the Church, which is based on claims to truth. In the past Catholics in our countries lived a separate life and were not so affected by society around it. People are exposed to a huge variety of opinion, so truth becomes relativised. Doctrine is more likely to be seen as an imposition. Authority must now earn adherence. It must be seen to be reasonable. The challenge is to find the right language to express our faith in ways that will be understood in the 21st century, that will connect with people's lives. Timothy Radcliffe speaks of the suspicion of dogma. We need to show that our doctrines open up the beauty of God and bring good news.
We have all been affected by our culture's emphasis on individualism. Our adherence to a shared moral code has been shaken. The Church has become part of the service industry. If parents are asked to come for baptismal preparation they want to know why. "We pay our money in the collection, we have rights."
The Catholic subculture has been blown apart. We are now culturally integrated. We have moved from cultural conformity to secular individualism. Forty years ago the Church was an expanding business. We are now down-sizing, clustering, experiencing a sense of loss. The child abuse scandals have dealt the Church a grievous blow. The attitude of even good practicing Catholics has also changed. There are economic problems for the Church which will grow in years ahead, trying to keep paying for churches and its services.
A great sign of hope in the Church today is the lay involvement. There is also the sign of the new movements, especially among young people. You could see this at the World Youth Day in Cologne. There is the new interest in spirituality, and justice and peace issues.
September 14 - Wednesday
TALK ON CHILD PROTECTION
Another talk we had at the annual gathering of our priests and brothers was from Pauline who is the child protection coordinator for the Shrewsbury Diocese. A qualified social worker, she began to specialise in child protection in the eighties at a time when very little was known about child sexual abuse in the country at any level. About 5 years ago Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor asked for a review of child protection policy after mistakes had been made in the implementation policy. Lord Nolan chaired a committee which discovered that child protection across the Church in England and Wales was quite patchy. The Nolan group made 75 recommendations including:
All priests and workers with young people and vulnerable adults need to be assessed and police checked before they begin working with children. (She spends quite a bit of time responding to allegations. This is not so much against priests but volunteers in parish groups). Most abuse happens in families. Families come to church. Parishes need to be aware of this. For 99% of volunteers in the parish the process of assessment might seem exaggerated, but there have been cases where paedophiles have been uncovered. Paedophiles will always seek out opportunities to get near children and the Church is vulnerable to them volunteering to help out.
Last year, for the first time, all the people who went to Lourdes from one diocese were checked, and three known paedophiles were discovered who had been going on previous pilgrimages.
The problem of false allegations. If an allegation is made against a priest he is not immediately pulled out of his parish, but things are examined first. The most vulnerable person in any parish is the parish priest. He builds up trusting relationships with people, and is easily open to allegations. Some priests have become afraid of being near children. But we shouldn't be so scared if children in public places like a school playground see us as a safe adult, for example if they come up and take our hands. Our reaction should be different if we are not in a public place, whether we are with a child or a vulnerable adult.
Pauline gave examples of paedophiles who had been uncovered through the assessment of volunteers. In certain cases people who have come out of prison have been disclosed to the parish priest after permission had been obtained from the Home Office. In one case someone re-offended within 3 weeks. In the past the Church would not have been informed.
If volunteers have already been checked as school teachers or social workers they need to be checked again because the Church's procedures are more rigorous than other groups like local authorities. There have been cases where people have been cleared by other groups, but when the Church application goes to the police the reply comes to say not to take this person on because they are under surveillance by the police.
The police won't do anything unless there is a complaint from someone who has been abused. If someone shares with a priest outside of confession that he has abused children you must go to the police. Many people who have been abused by family or others do not want to get the police involved, they just want to talk about it and have their story accepted.
It used to be said that paedophiles had no sense of guilt and are very likely to re-offend, but often they are glad to be caught so they can break out of the cycles of abuse. 60% do not re-offend, according to the latest estimates. We looked at particular cases. Even 'level one' offences, which might seem as bad, can have very detrimental consequences on the victim. All child pornography is illegal and has to be reported to the police.
September 15 - Thursday
SECOND TALK FROM BISHOP NOBLE
At our AGM at Malpas Bishop Noble of Shrewsbury gave us a second talk, looking at the relationship between religious congregations, like the Sacred Heart Fathers, and the Church. This is a mixture of his thoughts and my reflections.
Religious are committed to living the evangelical counsels, poverty, chastity and obedience, which sum up the way Christ asked us to live in following his message in the gospels. There is an important witness in the diocese to have our two communities trying to live out the evangelical counsels in community.
Every Christian is called to live out the Gospels because of their baptism, but communities like the Dehonians vow to live the evangelical counsels in a public way - the importance of community. Individual Christians live their life in their own way, but communities commit themselves to live this out together in a specific way. Each religious congregation has a particular way of doing this, called their 'charism', which is a particular gift from the Holy Spirit, a different insight into how to live in imitation of Jesus. The insight of Leo Dehon, our founder, is based on accepting the love of God and imitating the love of Jesus who gave himself totally to others as symbolised by his heart that was pierced by the lance as he hung on the cross.
Religious communities need to bring something different to the Church. When we look after a parish people can see the difference between us and the diocesan priests mainly because of our different spirituality and the community life. Yet we need to do different things for the Church as a community, which is harder for an individual priest to do. The hospitality of our communities, or the prayerfulness of the atmosphere, is a big boost for people who come to visit Malpas or one of the parishes looked after by the Sacred Heart Fathers.
I asked the Bishop to what extent he thought religious should be pioneers, looking for new ways to bring the Gospel to the world today. He felt that the community witness was more important than being pioneers, but he recognised the pioneering work of Project 2030 and the fact that my community allowed me to do this work. New ideas best flow from previous situations. Leo Dehon, our founder, was a diocesan priest in a parish who responded to the needs of the young people and poor workers in his area, who had little support in an atmosphere in France in the late 19th century which was very anti the Church. In the same way my work grew from the Diocesan Youth Residential Centre which we operated for people of a school age. My original target age was 18 - 25, but the rest is demographics.
September 16 - Friday
THE MONASTIC LIFE
Before the summer there was a lot of interest in the programme on BBC 2 called 'The Monastery' where five men with little or no religious background lived for six weeks with the Benedictines. It was very well done and it affected the lives of the men deeply, as well as many who watched it. BBC 2 have started to repeat it. The first episode was on last night and it will be shown the next two Thursdays at 11.20 pm.
Co-incidentally, a Benedictine Sister had left a message on the ansaphone yesterday. I rang her back this morning and she wants us to publicise:
A Monastic Retreat at St Peter's Grange, Prinknash Abbey, Gloucester
Tues 8 - Fri 11 November 2005
For practising Roman Catholic men and women, 18-35, specifically interested in exploring the idea of a monastic vocation.
The retreat will involve:
Have you ever considered the monastic life? Stranger things have happened. We often think that people like us do not become monks or sisters, but why not? When we had the London Lenten retreats at Turvey Abbey earlier this year we heard from Br Tom that monastic life can attract the most diverse of characters.
September 17 - Saturday
20S WEEKEND AT MALPAS
There will be a report from someone who was at the weekend, as well as more detailed minutes taken from the flipchart sheets. Here are a few notes I made from our discussions on Saturday morning.
We just had two discussion sessions on the Saturday and Sunday mornings. We tried not to make the weekend too heavy. Some of us played cricket before lunch on Saturday. Liam won. There was frisbee football after lunch, then off to Chester for bowling, a pizza, etc. There were representatives from London, Dublin and the North-West with apologies from a few who hoped to make it from Glasgow. There was a lot of energy in the group.
September 18 - Sunday
NORTH WEST 40S GROUP
Today in the North-West a group of 40s met and decided to put together a 40s programme.
Calling all 40s in the North-West,
Today some of us met at Loyola Hall and there were several apologies from others who would liked to have been there. It was decided to put together a programme of events for 40 somethings in the North-West. People were worried that they would be cut off from the 30s group, but every month or so the 40s programme will have an event that is open to the 30s, and they will be glad to come because the present group of 40s have been good organisers of events and the 30s will not want to be cut off from the friends they have made.
The edges will be blurred between the groups for a while. It doesn't mean that as soon as people turn 40 they have to leave the 30s group straight away, but eventually people have to make a choice for one group or the other, so that the groups can have a clear identity. The same applies between the 20s and the 30s. In some areas the 20s have found it easier to go to 30s events and have lost their own identity as a group. I could see that happening with 30s preparing to go along with the 40s group, but I hope that the older 30s will stay and give support to the younger 30s.
At the moment everyone is on the 30s mailing list, so if you are in your 40s and want to receive the 40s newsletter please let us know by email so we can put you on the new list. If you know of anyone in their 40s who might be looking for a group like this then let them know about it, but we are not going to advertise the group at the moment as that is likely to attract late 40s and early 50s and we'd soon need to start a 50s group.
I realise that I'm the one who has pushed the pace on this new development and that many are not entirely convinced about it, but it's good to know that despite the sense of loss some are feeling there is still a sense of gratitude that Project 2030 has helped bring people together way beyond its original target age of 18 - 25. People see that there would need to be a 40s group eventually and more needs to be done to attract the younger 20s and 30s. The 40s are invited to the advent retreat at Malpas. They will be hosting the January meal there, and we'll do a weekend in 2006 when we invite the 40s from other areas to come along. Life begins ...... today.
September 19 - Monday
TALK FROM GERMANY AND PHOTOS
During the World Youth Days in Germany we attended several 'catechesis' mornings where a Bishop would give a talk and answer questions on the burning issues of the day. The following are my notes from a talk given by an Archbishop from South Dakota in the States:
Today most people hear about God episodically or just think about him from time to time. "Say one for me, Father", someone might shout. The Bishop told the story of how, when he had difficulty one day getting his bag into the overhead locker on a plane, a man helped him and said: "Will that get me into heaven?" "Not on this plane, I hope", the Bishop replied.
The main part of his talk was about the Eucharist. The Eucharist is important for Catholics. It's a reminder of how close God is to us, that evil is not dominant in our world. He gave two examples from the past, one 400 and the other 40 years ago. When Bishops met for the Council of Trent in the 16th century the teaching on the Eucharist was being challenged by the Protestant Reformation. People were saying that the Eucharist was just symbolic, or a re-enactment like a nativity play. The Bishops re-affirmed that Jesus is truly, really and substantially present. Some were saying that Christ is only present when the community is there, so that after the service the extra 'bread' could be thrown away, but we believe that Jesus is objectively present.
Jesus is also substantially present in Communion. What is the difference between accidents and substance. When we are sick we feel different - the accidents change, but the substance is the same. He told how when he became a Bishop his four year old niece asked him for a pile of the cards with his photograph on so she could give them to her classmates and "show and tell". The children thought he was a ninja warrior. "I might look like a ninja warrior but I am still a Bishop".
Communion with the Lord is also communion with each other. The crisis of the Eucharist today is not so much that Christ is present but that he is risen and active in our lives. The Vatican II Council tells us that we are changed by receiving the Eucharist. We become something different. We become part of the body of Christ. With problems in the world like war, starvation, injustice, it can seem like evil is winning. But the good triumphs through Christ because God is much deeper within us than evil can ever get hold of us.
The same Christ who was born of Mary in Bethlehem is the same we receive: "Ave verum corpus natum de maria virgine" as the famous motet puts it. A chaplain said Mass before the soldiers went into battle. Later he was attending the wounded soldiers and came across Jimmy who had helped him in the sacristy. "Will I make it, Father?" he asked. "I don't think you will make it, Jimmy" he replied. "Just think," Jimmy answered, "this morning I received Jesus in the Eucharist and now I am going to see him."
Faith in the Eucharist is not just an occasional moment, but Christ lives in our hearts, he has changed us. We have to be the new Magi to speak to generations to come. God wants to be with us. God does not want to be God if he can't be with us.
If you want to see some of Catherine's photographs from the group's visit to Cologne to see the Pope then click on http://uk.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/c_hopkins2002/slideshow?.dir=/e726&.src=ph&.tok=phgIGpDBxYeMXJcg
You can also see Anne's photographs by going to www.yahoo.co.uk Click on yahoo on the top left hand corner, go to photos, the ID is "weltjugentag", password is "project2030".
September 20 - Tuesday
AND WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR?
This meditation was written for last year's Racial Justice Sunday by Ira Packianathan.
And who is my neighbour?
The frail woman living on her own in your block
The Muslim nurse who wears her purdah at work
The man sitting on cardboard on the sidewalk asking for change
The destitute who sleeps with his dog on the street at night.
And who is my neighbour?
The prisoner abused in an Iraqi jail
The Israeli boy whose bus was bombed on the way to school
The holiday maker in Bali, dead after a bomb blast
The family in Jamaica whose home was blown away by a hurricane.
And who is my neighbour?
The grief stricken mother of Beslan, looking into body bags for her son
The starving Darful woman and child, shielding her face from the desert storm
The skeleton of a man dying of AIDS on a street in Mumbai
The asylum seeker in Glasgow, alone and forsaken.
And who is my neighbour?
The family in Bangladesh whose meagre dwelling was wiped out in the flood
The British soldier whose body returns in a casket
The Palestinian mother whose little son wants to be a suicide bomber
The patient in a NHS hospital, in pain and helpless.
So who is my neighbour?
The answer is loud and clear
It's all these my friend, all these
Whether they be near or far
The world is big, yet so small
What happens anywhere should matter to us all
Lord, may your Kingdom come, whate'er may betide
Let us never pass by on the other side.
September 21 - Wednesday
A MESSAGE FROM COLDPLAY
Martin has sent in a copy of one of Coldplay's latest songs, because of its spiritual message. There are quotes in it from the Holy Week hymn: "My song is love unknown". Imagine that the words of the song are said to you by God.
September 22 - Thursday
2030 HELP TO INDIA
In the past two years we have given quite a lot of help to the Dehonian mission in India and poor families in their neighbourhood. The following is an email I sent to Matt who is the diary secretary for the London 30s, in the light of a discussion we'll have at their next Think Tank meeting on 25 October.
So far all the profit from all the parties has gone to India. Normally half goes to our community there and half goes to helping the poor families we met when we were there in 2004. This help goes to them via the St Vincent de Paul group. When we left India after our visit in 2004 they felt that we had committed ourselves to helping these and other families long-term.
The money is sent directly to our community. The last time I sent money the community gave it all to the poor families through the St Vincent de Paul Society.
It looks as though there will not be a group going to India in January next year. There are only a few interested at the moment, though last time we went people came in at the last minute.
You were wondering whether some of the profits from the parties should go towards the expenses of Project 2030. At the moment the grant I receive from my community covers these expenses, which are considerable in terms of my travel, mailings, offices at Stockport and Malpas, etc etc. My community here are happy that we send any profits we make from parties etc to India as they see that as a way for the group to repay our community for its subsidy. However, there could come a time when we would need to fund-raise for Project 2030 or encourage contributions from the members. I don't think a subscription is a good idea as that could destroy the ethos and informality of the group.
The recent party has made about £738 profit. All told, we have given over £2,000 to India. That includes profits from London parties and picnic and a sponsored cycle ride in the North-West. I have also sent money I received from my family. Also, people have separately raised money for the school for the blind we visited in India last year. The review meeting of all the groups last year proposed that our official charity should be the projects that we visited in India.
September 23 - Friday
ANNULMENT - GLASGOW 20S Q AND A
A Protestant and a Catholic get married, but circumstances are such that the marriage never took place (mental health problems). If the Catholic asks for it, is the Protestant's marriage annulled too?
This just happens to be the next question in line from the Glasgow 20s recent Questions and Answers. People wrote the questions down on slips of paper. We shuffled them up and I took them as they came. The list that was printed earlier in the diary was just as they happened to be typed out in the office. I didn't know this was the next question. Coincidentally someone from one of our groups wrote today to say that they had started proceedings for an annulment, having discussed the possibility with me earlier. There are several people in the groups who have had annulments.
The Catholic Church does not accept divorce, though sometimes people might be advised to go through a civil divorce for the sake of clarity in a situation that has irretrievably broken down. Other people might have had no choice about being divorced, but the Church's general position is that a true marriage can only be entered into once. A second 'marriage' would not be recognised by the Church. They are not able to go to communion if they 'remarry', though they are encouraged to keep involved in the life of the Church.
Quite often the Church annuls a marriage, that is to say that it accepts that there was not a marriage there in the first place. If someone marries without the intention of being faithful, staying married for life, and being open to children, then the marriage can be declared null. If someone deceives their partner about something important, or if there was a serious mental health problem that was not disclosed at the time of marriage, then marriage has likewise not taken place. It all depends on the situation at the time of the wedding.
Before an annulment is granted the partners in the marriage and other people are interviewed. The opinion of 'the other' would be sought and respected. You can imagine that a Protestant or a Catholic whose partner sought a divorce for pre-existing mental health problems might not be very happy about having their marriage declared null, but it is not fair on the 'innocent' party to insist that the marriage should be upheld when there was a serious deception, intended or not. I could imagine that many Catholics, Protestants or non-Christians would be angry that the Catholic Church had made a decision about the status of their union, but in many cases the other partner can see the wisdom of the decision and is willing to let their spouse go free.
So yes, the Protestant's marriage would be annulled too in the eyes of the Church, but normally there would also be a civil divorce. The Protestant or the person who had the annulment made against them for the sake of the other person could still consider the marriage to be binding in their own mind, just as a Catholic whose partner had taken them through a civil divorce could still consider themselves married to that person, for in God's eyes they still are.
September 24 - Saturday
AT OUR EUROPEAN MEETING
In Paris for a meeting of Dehonian 2030-type groups from Europe. The other groups tend to be younger and come mostly from nearby the Sacred Heart Fathers' communities and parishes. Last year Mary and Chris from London came with me to this meeting in Lisbon. This time there was not enough space in our house in Paris, so only the priests were invited, coming also from Spain, Portugal, North Italy, South Italy, Poland, France, with apologies from Germany and Austria. Some of them had been in Germany and/or Malpas August 2004. The next meeting will be in Rome in October 2006 and we hope there will be room there for representatives from the groups.
Here are some of the points that were covered:
September 25 - Sunday
At the meeting of European groups of young people linked to Dehonian communities these were some of the other things I picked up about what is happening in other countries:
September 26 - Monday
DROP OUR WORK FOR THE YOUNG
At the meeting in Paris I was last back (not even late) after the morning coffee break - often a dangerous mistake when things have to be decided and jobs given out. "We want you to say the Mass at midday for the community and us, in French", they said. "Thank you, no problem", I replied, then forgot about it. At 11.55 am I suddenly realised this might be the first time I have been main concelebrant at a French mass and what am I going to say.
I begin the Mass by apologising in French that I'm not really prepared for this, and use that image to reflect that often we go to Mass and are not ready for it. We've just come off the street with a hundred thoughts in our heads. That's why we stop at the beginning of Mass and say sorry. We can never be fully prepared for Mass, but God wants us to put any sense of inferiority or unworthiness behind us and enjoy the banquet.
At the sermon I suggested that everyone/anyone could say a few words in their own language about where they were in terms of their life or where they were at in their work for younger Catholics. Afterwards, much to the amusement of the younger priests, one of the old members of the French community was overhead to say about me: "He speaks very good English". My reflection was to say that sometimes I feel we should give up working directly with younger Catholics. It's as though we were chaplains in the First World War and every day thousands of soldiers are dying. We are ministering to them and helping where we can and much appreciated, but there are still waves of them climbing out of the trenches and being shot needlessly. Why not abandon the battlefront and go back to where the generals and politicians and opinion formers are making all the decisions and let's try and stop the war and all this senseless killing.
In the same way generations of young people are growing up just to be massacred as God's children as they are thrown into the minefield of our secularised world that has lost respect for God and the dignity of human life. People have just become cannon fodder for our materialistic, me first, what can I get out of it, live now for tomorrow you die mentality. Not that it's all bad, and we've all been affected by it to some degree, but we are letting down successive generation by allowing them to be wiped out in this way. So let's abandon our groups, who are only a tiny percentage of a tiny percentage (in reverse of Jesus' parable we are looking after the one sheep while the 99 are left wandering in the wilderness). And let's go after the politicians, the opinion formers, the chattering classes, the advertisers, those out to make a fast buck and see us just as consumers or commodities, those who would try and exploit our sexuality for their own benefit or amusement.
It's not all bad in the world and many are sincere in what they do, thinking that their ideas and methods will bring life to people, but they don't see the lemmings being pushed over the abyss in the mad rush to follow the crowd, and they don't realise that one day they will find themselves at the edge of the cliff and not be able to stop the rot in time.
We are failing people if we don't make a prophetic stand and warn then where things will lead. Anyone need a band-aid? Or want the last sacraments? Thud! Too late. "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori." That's the last line from Wilfrid Owen's graphic and horrific war poem: "Sweet and fitting it is to die for your country." What are we prepared to die for? What are we dying from?
September 27 - Tuesday
IF YOU WOKE UP FRENCH
In Paris I was doing quite well with my French until the meeting started and then it got confused with the Italian. I end up speaking Italian to the guy who only understands French and it takes me a while to notice the blank look on his face. One of these days, I fear, I might wake up and have forgotten English or end up gibbering in a kind of Franglais like:
C'est bizarre, tout a fait une experience banale. Presque deja vu. A Paris nous sommes alles manger quelque chose. Le chef 'cordon bleu' offrit a nous gourmets/gourmands self service: pour entrees pate de fois gras et la soupe, puis les plats du jour, crepe de la maison ou quiche lorraine. Pour dessert, gateau. A boire il y a du vin de pays a lot (brut blanc plonk), Champagne (premier cru), cafe avec creme, nescaf (n'est-ce pas?). Apres nous disons "Au revoir, adieu, a bientot, merci, il repond: "Oh! la! la! Bienvenus (you're welcome).
Dans la rue, mes amis, c'est comme la grand prix mais on peut acheter tout: "Voulez-vous parfum (pour homme) ou un peu d'eau de cologne (specialite du Pape). Notre petite boutique est tres bon marchee, classique, haute couture, a la mode." Une affaire tres etrange. C'est la vie. Plus ca change plus c'est la meme chose, me enfants de la creche. We take french leave (this means leaving without permission. The French talk about 'English leave' which means going without saying goodbye.)
From the Champs Elysee et L'arc de Triomphe nous allons au Louvre, la Place de la Concorde, La Sainte Chapelle et Notre Dame. Apres un rendez-vous a Sacre Coeur, pres des Folies Bergeres (relaxez-vous, nous nous sommes pas entres). Des photos avec beaucoup de 'fromage'. Parlez-vous francais? Nous sommes alles au cinema: 'Le Roi Soleil' (apres moi le deluge), une interesante piece de theatre, palme d'or de Cannes, le grand chelem. Une histoire tres etrange, egoisme a deux, laissez-faire. En conclusion du filme noir il y avait un beau geste, un veritable coup de grace, presque coup d'etat.
If you can't understand half of the above it means you didn't do French at school or you're not trying. If you got it all then you're as sad as I am (prententieux, moi?) Spot the 10 deliberate mistakes. Corrections and other suggestions welcome. Repondez s'il vous plait (RSVP). What's the French for "Va-va-vroom", Beatrix?
September 28 - Wednesday
THE COMMUNITIES OF JERUSALEM
Our meeting in Paris finished on Monday, but one of the afternoons we went into the centre of Paris. After some of the usual sights, Fr Giorgio (we called him Armani) wanted to visit the Communities of Jerusalem who have taken over a church near L'Hotel de Ville. It was impressive to hear the monks and sisters singing, but more impressive was the full church of younger people (well, 30s and 40s) who had joined them for Mass after work. This is how the communities describe themselves in one of their leaflets. For further details see www.jerusalem.cef.fr
The mission of the Monastic Communities of Jerusalem, founded in Saint Gervais Church in Paris on All Saints' Day 1975 by Fr Pierre-Marie Delfieux in collaboration with Cardinal Francois Marty, is to live in the heart of the city, in the heart of God.
The essence of their vocation and the basis of their life is summed up in Jesus' prayer: "Father, I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one." (Jn 17:15). SInce human beings are created as the most beautiful image and likeness of God, the monks and nuns of Jerusalem want to pray and to meet God in the city, among its inhabitants. Through a life of community and contemplation, revealing God's presence in the heart of this world, they want to serve and to reach out to all those who seek God.
Their monastic vocation has five distinctive characteristics:
Alongside the Monastic Communities, the Lay Communities of Jerusalem have also come into being, in the desire to live the same spirituality within the context of their different life choices. These lay groups bring together people of similar age or interest: there are groups for young single people, young couples, parents, children, adolescents, and those in discernment of their vocation. There are also "The Children of Abraham", open to inter-religious dialogue, "Ogives St Gervais", focused on art and faith, "Ephata", oriented towards intercession for the sick, etc. All together these varied communities form The Family of Jerusalem.
September 29 - Thursday
THURSDAY Ė LOST IN DEHONIAN SPIRITUALITY
Over the years I have gone for many a walk with a fellow Sacred Heart Father, Andrew Ryder, who has just moved to the community at Malpas. Several times we have been so busy talking that we have got completely lost in the hills. Recently I went for a walk with him but this time we managed to stay on the straight and narrow because we walked for four hours along a canal and back. He was telling me about his new book. He has published a number over the years. This latest one is called ďDehonian Spirituality: Johannine SpiritualityĒ, looking at what we can learn from the Gospel of St John. This is how he introduces it:
ďDuring the recent past, I have been involved in giving retreats and days of recollection to my fellow SCJs (Latin initials for Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). These have been inspiring moments. I have seen a real interest in the foundations of our SCJ spirituality, and, in particular, a desire to explore its biblical foundations. During our retreats and recollection days there has been a genuine openness to the prospects offered by recent scriptural study and an interest in the ideas that scholars have proposed concerning the New Testament. I have looked forward to these times of shared reflection and new insight into our Dehonian heritage.
As a result of preparing my talks I have become more personally convinced of the beauty and depth of the spirituality that Fr Dehon has opened up to us. Of course he was, in many ways, a child of his time, and his understanding of the biblical text would have been limited by the constraints of his day. But he had the grasp of the Ďspiritual senseí that is the heart of any reading of the Bible. For him the sacred text was first and foremost the Word of God, speaking to him in the concrete situation of his life, renewing his faith and bringing him into ever closer union with the divine Word of God, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are all aware that the Fourth Gospel had a special place in the life and teaching of Fr Dehon. The Beloved Disciple was his model and he took the name ĎJohní at his religious profession. For many years the novitiate houses of the Congregation were called ďSt JohnísĒ so that all candidates were left in no doubt as to where they should seek their inspirationĒ.
The chapters are:
Copies can be obtained by sending a cheque for £8 made
out to 'Project 2030' to the Project 2030 Office, St Joseph's Centre, Malpas,
Cheshire, SY14 7DD.
September 30 - Friday
Patricia has sent the following email to all her address book (see 23 Sept). Not only is it a good idea but she is already doing herself. Read on.
Sorry to be sending a forward but I rarely do it so bear with me. Basically I want to let you know about a good thing you can do easily and quickly if you can be bothered to take 10 seconds to read to the end of this email.
If you set this website address (www.thehungersite.com) as your homepage on your PC (to do this go to TOOLS, select INTERNET OPTIONS, copy the above address then click APPLY) then click on the yellow button that appears in the middle of the homepage everyday, you give money to charity with only 1 click of the mouse and it takes less than 2 seconds and no pop up windows appear or anything (I know cos I've been doing it for a few weeks).
What's the catch I hear you say???
Well basically there are US companies that sponsor the site and the page that comes up once you've clicked on the button has advertisements of the goods the sponsors sell so the idea is that you might then go and buy something from them but there is no pressure to do this.
Without getting all teary-eyed and philosophical about the world's problems, I find this a useful little thing that I can do to make a little difference - "THINK GLOBAL, ACT LOCAL" as they say.
"The difference between what we can do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems" (Mahatma Gandhi).
Patricia is doing her second year of teaching English in Italy. Read her article again on the back page of the last magazine.
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