Tuesday, 25 June 2013


The program for WYD@home is coming together. Beginning 26th July 2013. Here is a taster
Friday Night
After getting tents setup or collecting room keys we will have our first supper together. The WYD weekend will then begin in the marquee with an introduction from the MC’s, CJM leading praise and worship then a formal welcome to Aylesford from Fr. Damian Cassidy, O.Carm, one of the resident Carmelite friars, and Archbishop Peter. We will show some highlights of the events in Rio and link up with those from the UK and Ireland who have travelled to WYD. Expect a chance then to socialise while listening to great music including Something Simple and Jules Rendell.
A tradition of WYD is to have Stations of the Cross and WYD@Home will be no different. As the sun is setting over Aylesford we will be experiencing a retelling of the Passion around the ancient Marian Shrine finishing in a night prayer and the end of the days program.
For those up early enough the day will start with Morning Prayer. Otherwise be sure to get some breakfast before 9.30! The main program will start after breakfast and the morning will feature a keynote from David Wells who you may recognise from the Flame congress at Wembley last year. There will be presentations from others including our CAFOD partners César Lopéz and Fredy Gallego from Columbia. César hopes to write and perform a song while in the UK on his signature "escopetarra" (a guitar made from a modified AK47) and Fredy will be using his skills as a graffiti artist to create a mural during the weekend.
There will be a chance during the morning for small group discussions over coffee and RISE Theatre will be performing. We will be hearing from those who have travelled to Rio and seeing short highlights of what has taken place so far. We will then finish for lunch which as always at Brightlights will feature live music.
After lunch we will meet for Mass on the Shrine and share in our first liturgy with CJM leading music. After Mass there are a number of opportunities available. Several workshops and seminars will be starting on a wide range of topics, you can choose to take part in a sport tournament (beach volleyball anyone?) or simply relax for an hour before dinner.
Dinner follows with a chance to socialise during the evening and listen to live music including Juliyaa. We will again gather during sunset on the Shrine, this time there will be a chance for Reconciliation and Adoration during which the site will temporarily fall silent in prayer. When it gets too cold or late the Blessed Sacrament will be moved into one of the Chapels where we invite you take part in Adoration. Groups from all over the UK and Ireland will be leading us in prayer and reflection during what will become an all-night Vigil.
Depending on how late you stay up try to grab some breakfast before we gather with Praise and Worship! (Those who were up late be aware our speakers are VERY loud!) Beccy Roseman will start our day with a reflection before we hear from Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow the founder of Mary’s Meals and have catechises from Bishop Declan Lang. Small group discussions on what we have heard will follow with a question and answer session with all the mornings speakers.
The discussions will continue into lunch where we have more live music. Sunday is the main day in Rio. This will be when the Papal Mass takes place. A big screen on the Shrine will be showing highlights from this as we celebrate Mass together during the early afternoon. There will be even more workshops and seminars taking place after Mass.
It is now time for the evening’s celebrations to begin. Dinner will be accompanied with music and followed by the now annual Brightlights pub quiz. Aylesford will be transformed during the evening into a Rio Carnival atmosphere as headliners Sounds of Salvation offer up their unique Ska music to dance along to.
Sadly the festival is near its end. A final talk allows us a chance to reflect on the weekend and what our mission moving forward is. A commissioning Mass celebrated by Archbishop Vincent Nichols ends the festival and we go our separate ways bounded by the shared experiences and mission we have gained though the weekend.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Washing feet with her tears

How embarrassing.

The situation was already delicate, to say the least. Surprisingly, Jesus was at a private dinner in the house of a Pharisee, specifically, Simon the Pharisee. It was a great honour to be invited to the distinguished Simon’s house, but at the same time Simon had also dishonoured Jesus by showing none of the usual courtesies due a guest in that culture. It was a scant and insulting welcome.

As dinner proceeded, an unknown woman walked right in without asking and took up a place right behind Jesus. Still worse, she began weeping. We are not told why. Luke only reveals two things about her, that she was known as “a sinful woman,” and that she loved Jesus a lot.

She “began to bathe his feet with her tears.” Then she actually dried them with her hair. Remarkable. As a final gesture, she took out a lovely ornamented flask which she must have brought along warily for this purpose. She spread ointment upon his feet, with repeated kisses.

She was out of control!

Simon the Pharisee said under his breath, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman is touching him. She is an offender.”

In fact Jesus did know. He knew and was happy to receive her goodness. He accepted her tenderly. And he gave the Pharisee a sharp rebuke.

When I entered your house,
you did not give me water for my feet,
but she has bathed them with her tears
and wiped them with her hair.
You did not give me a kiss,
but she has not ceased kissing my feet
since the time I entered.
You did not anoint my head with oil,
but she anointed my feet with ointment.

His deft words showed that her actions came directly from a loving heart. Here is the important line (which I paraphrase): “Her many sins have been forgiven; that is the reason she has shown such great love. If she had been forgiven only a little bit, her love would be small.”*

Notice what Jesus names as first. Not the woman’s love for Jesus, which many people think would then result in the forgiveness of her sins. Just the opposite. He had already forgiven her sins, and her love flowed from knowing that. Godly love is always the first cause, personal and present, for each of us no matter how sinful we are.

This love shows up in the form of forgiveness because we are all so inadequate.

Usually you and I have it backwards. We think we have to get rid of all our sins and turn into very loving people in order for God to care about us. In reality we are already loved to perfection by the good Lord, and as we slowly let that love in, we begin to change. We begin to recognize who we really are. We soften our hearts toward the mess or messes we have made of our lives because we see that somehow we are loved “as is.”

Jesus and the Pharisee and the sinful woman, with her tender affection, show us what it means to be loved and cared for in the midst of shame.

In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. (1 John 4:1-10)

John Foley S. J.


Saturday, 1 June 2013

The Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

A Hard Question

When the disciples came to Jesus with the request to dismiss the people to go find food, Jesus challenged them with the question: “Why do you not give them something to eat yourselves?” That question should haunt us today.
More than enough food is grown to feed everyone on this planet. “Why do you not give them something to eat yourselves?”

More than 60,000 people will die of hunger on this feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. Two-thirds of them will be children. “Why do you not give them something to eat yourselves?”

Nearly one in five people worldwide is chronically malnourished—too hungry to lead a productive, active life. “Why do you not give them something to eat yourselves?”

One-third of the world’s children are significantly underweight for their age. “Why do you not give them something to eat yourselves?”

The amount of money the world spends on weapons in one minute could feed 2,000 malnourished children for a year. “Why do you not give them something to eat yourselves?”

Jesus is our living bread. It is his obvious intention that we be well fed. The Eucharist, a great gift from the same God that sent the manna in the desert, should strengthen the determination of both the hungry and the satisfied to do what it takes to eliminate hunger.
If a person is in extreme necessity, he has the right to take from the riches of others what he himself needs.
(Vatican II, Constitution on the Church in the Modern World,  1965: 69)