Faith Formation

Ordinary Time

By Sian Owen / January 2, 2022
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Ordinary Time is the longest liturgical season.  It is not about being ‘ordinary’ as in the sense of plain and undistinguished but marks the  time between the two big festivals of the Church. Christmas Time and Easter Time highlight the key moments of salvation history, namely, the incarnation, death on the cross, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Sundays and weeks of Ordinary Time, on the other hand, are about how these festivals call us to participate in the life of Christ. This is the time of conversion. This is living the life of Christ. This is the season of discipleship. Ordinary Time is a time for reflecting on our lives of discipleship that we may grow and mature into the dream God has for us.

Baptism of the Lord

By Sian Owen / December 26, 2021
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Today is the great celebration of the Baptism of Jesus. The baptism of Jesus is considered an important manifestation of God in the person of Jesus, another epiphany. Jesus’ baptism marks the beginning of his work to bring about the kingdom of God, his mission. Just as our Baptism makes us disciples of Christ and calls us to missionary life. This is the last day of the Christmas season yet we do not hear about  Jesus’ childhood. Instead we hear about   Jesus’ relationship to God: the Son of Mary and Joseph is also God’s own Son. This is the same for us –  through our Baptism we are also made children of God.

St Elizabeth Ann Seaton

By Sian Owen / December 26, 2021
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Elizabeth Ann Bayley was born in New York in 1774 to a prominent Episcopal (a US branch of the Anglican Church) family. At 19, Elizabeth married William  Seton, a  businessman with whom she had five children. William died  in 1803, leaving Elizabeth a young widow.  William died in Italy and here Elizabeth experienced the Catholic community. Returning to the United States Elizabeth entered the Catholic Church. After some years bringing up her children, Elizabeth moved to Maryland, where she founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s, the first community for religious women established in the United States. She also began St. Joseph’s Academy and Free School marking the start of Catholic education in the United States.  The religious institute that she founded now has communities across Northern America. Mother Seton, as she is often called, was canonized on Sunday, September 14, 1975 in St. Peter’s Square by Pope Paul …
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The Epiphany of the Lord

By Sian Owen / December 22, 2021
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Today is the day we recall the coming of the Magi. According to the Gospel narratives, thy brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh w. These gifts were very meaningful. Gold was a precious and expensive gift, and showed how important Jesus was. Frankincense is a sweet perfume which was often burned in the temple to worship God. It was a sign that of Jesus’ divinity. Myrrh was used to keep things fresh, and it was used by the women to anoint Jesus’ body when he died. By bringing it as a gift to Jesus, the wise men foretold his suffering and death.  It is because we are told of the three gifts in the Gospel that we often refer to the Magi as the Three Kings or Three wise men.  However the Gospel accounts do not recount the number of visitors from afar just that they came. The word …
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Mary Mother of God

By Sian Owen / December 22, 2021
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On 1 January  we Catholics continue to celebrate the Christmas moment with another feast. A celebration of Mary’s role in bringing the Word to the world. The title “Mother of God” is a western derivation from the Greek Theotokos, which means “God-bearer”.Mary being chosen by God, to bring Jesus Christ into this world, and her willingness to do so is great cause for celebration. The honoring of Mary as the Mother of God can be traced back to the Council of Ephesus in 431. By the 7th century, January 1st was observed as a celebration of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the 13th century, the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ had come to replace the feast honoring Mary. However, in 1751, Pope Benedict XIV allowed Portugal’s churches to devote a feast to Mary on the first Sunday in May. This was because of a push in …
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Advent – Season of Graced Partnership

By Sian Owen / December 2, 2021
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A wonderful story is often told about an incident in the life of Poland’s famous concert pianist, Ignace Paderewski.* Advent celebrates the coming of God.  God who longs to be in partnership with us.  To join us in the harmony of our lives.  Advent reminds us that we are not alone.  That God longs is with us in partnership, surrounding us in our pilgrim journey, surrounding us with love.   Have a partnership filled advent! *That there was a famed concert pianist named Paderewski is certainly true.  He would later become the Prime Minister of Poland.  This particular incident, however, may or may not have actually occurred in his life. During the Second World War Paderewski arranged local community meetings through flyers that included a picture of him sitting next to a boy at the piano, the image may have evolved into a story.  The story has meaning even if the event …
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Reflection – The Ascension

By Stephen Fraser / May 24, 2021
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Today is the feast of the Ascension which is both great and exciting on one hand and has some trepidation on the other for the Apostles. On the exciting side, Jesus speaks of the mission and of power on high. However, there is this nervousness, that Jesus won’t be beside them the way he has been with them for more than 3 and half years – in their very presence. I am reminded of the Golden Eagle – The Golden eagle is the greatest and fiercest of the birds of prey, yet one of the most sensitive and vigorous in its nurture of the young eagle. When the eagle is due to fly the mother pushes it out of the nest which is usually on a high outcrop or way above the trees in the canopy in the northern hemisphere. The bird flounders for a small time in the air …
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He is Risen – Alleluia

By Sian Owen / April 12, 2021
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He is Risen! The darkness of the Church at the Easter Vigil was brought alive by the light of the Paschal candle. On this night of all nights we celebrated the glory of Christ’s resurrection.  It is a ceremony rich in symbolism and joy.  Having experienced and remember the Passion story through Holy Week our hearts burn with joy and excitement.  Our hope is renewed as we recognise that Jesus resurrected lives with us. This annual celebration of the Lord’s resurrection is one of our earliest. It goes back to the first generation of Christians.  In fact for the first three hundred years of the Church is was the only feast observed throughout the Christian world.   The celebration of what we would come to know as Easter was through a vigil.  Vigil coming from the Latin for watch or waiting.  Following the dark hours of the crucifixion the first day …
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