Most of the books in the Bible are accounts of historical events. In fact, sad as it may be, many people these days only read the Bible as if it was just another witness of past historical events. But the Bible is more than a collection of historical books and it is much more precious than that, because it contains the code to be able to read human history and interpret it. This Sunday’s first reading is a good example of this. In it, we hear about Cyrus the Great. He founded the Persian empire around the 6th century before Christ, conquered the city of Babylon and allowed the exiles to return to their homeland. Isaiah affirms with total confidence that despite Cyrus not knowing God, he had been chosen by the Lord, the only God, to carry out His plan. Namely, to bring back the people of Israel (in fact only the kingdom of Juda) from the exile in Babylon back to the Holy Land, where they would be encouraged to retake their lives, customs, religion and rebuild the Temple of Solomon.
However, this is not the only account of the life of Cyrus that there is. In the British Museum there are 1,294 objects related to him (trust me I have checked). Among which, perhaps the most important is the Cyrus Cylinder. In it, Cyrus himself says that because of his good works, he had been chosen by a god, Marduk, to reconstruct the city of Babylon. He also says that it was his initiative to return all exiles back to their original countries. They had his permission and encouragement to continue with the life they had before and to reconstruct the temples of their gods. Cyrus had hoped that, in return, the gods of all those nations would bless him, his dynasty and his projects.
The question now is, which of these two accounts is telling the truth? Well… the actual historical facts are almost identical in both, what changes is the interpretation of those same facts. And why would this matter? Because it is not the same to give to human history and existence one interpretation or another. Even today the past and present events are interpreted by people who believe in a “god” called “luck”, though sometimes they call it “chance” or “random”. Human history, as they understand it, is meaningless and so is human existence which is left defenseless to the whim of nature and the few who are in power. Our faith, instead, gives a completely different interpretation of human history. Our lives are in the hands of the One, all-powerful, God, who created us, knows us and has a loving plan for us. Every single event in our lives, however small, however unpleasant and painful, have a deep meaning and a purpose. Even if we do not get to understand everything perfectly here and now, we know, we can be certain, we already have enough evidence, that God is leading each one of us to know Him, to see Him and to experience for eternity the immensity of His love.
Daniel Herrero Peña.
As you know London has moved to tier two Covid-19 alert level. Mass continues to be celebrated in our Church observing social distancing (1 meter plus masks with a limit to the number of people who can attend). It is important that you let us know that you intend to come to Mass. This will help us maintain a safe environment.
Catholic Children Society, Christmas Cards: to support this charity contact them via: www.cathchild.org.uk or by telephone 01948831046
Carlo Acutis will be beatified by Pope Francis on Saturday 10th October 2020 at the basilica in Assisi. Carlo lived most of his life in Italy, but what is less well-known is Carlo’s connection with the Church of Our Lady of Dolours on Fulham Road, in London.
Carlo was born in London on 3rd May 1991 to Italian parents and was baptised at Our Lady of Dolours on 18th May of the same year by Fr Nicholas Martin OSM, Parish Priest at the time. The family moved to Italy shortly afterwards where Carlo was raised in the same active faith as his parents. Having made his First Holy Communion at the age of seven, he made the decision to attend Mass and pray the Rosary daily. He said, ‘By standing before the Eucharistic Christ, we become holy.’ He also had a routine of weekly confession. By the age of 11, he became a catechist. ‘He was a remarkable young man, who had a great understanding of the sacraments and scripture’, explains Fr Patrick Ryall OSM, current Parish Priest of Our Lady of Dolours.
Carlo learned about the known sites of Eucharistic miracles around the world and expressed a keen desire to go on pilgrimage to see these sites. Unfortunately, he developed leukaemia, which made this impossible. He offered his suffering for the Pope and the Universal Church. To help others learn to grow in devotion to the Eucharist, he used his digital media skills to develop a website to catalogue each of these miracles. One of the Eucharistic Miracles that Carlo highlights is that connected with St Juliana, Foundress of the Servite Sisters on her death bed.
Carlo died in 2006 at the age of 15. His cause was opened in 2013 and he was declared a Servant of God. On 5th July 2018, Pope Francis declared him to be venerable. Beatification is the final step before sainthood and was helped when a young Brazilian sought his intercession in healing from a serious pancreatic disease. In February this year, the Pope approved a miracle attributed to him.
Looking forward to his beatification, Fr Patrick added: ‘We’re grateful that Carlo and his family had that time with our parish. We are sure he will be a source of blessing for us.'
The below video is an animation of Carlo Acutis' life with a reflection from Cardinal Vincent Nichols.
After Fifty five years the Daughters of St Paul are relocating.
How we shall miss you. You have given a wonderful witness to the Gospel in the midst of our world. First in Church Street and latterly on Kensington High Street. So many of you have become our friends. You have been with us in our sadness and joy.
Your welcome in the Pauline book and media centre was always warm and genuine. Those bonds of friendship and faith will keep you in our minds and hearts. As a religious congregation you have always sought to read the Signs of the Times. As you now respond to the Lord's call to walk a new path we assure you of our prayers. Thank you for your faith, friendship and courage.
You can read their statement below.
We wish to inform you that our Pauline Books & Media Centre at
199 Kensington High Street
will close on
Saturday 24th October 2020
We are most grateful for the many blessings bestowed on our community and mission over the past fifty five years.
We thank all the people who over these years have supported us but, most importantly, who have believed in and supported the mission of the Pauline Book Centre, not only as a place where they could purchase something but a place where, in the words of our
Founder, Blessed Alberione,
‘the truth and love of Jesus Christ are found and shared’.
We hold special memories of many our supporters and customers, some of who have gone before us to God in faith.
You may order from us online
or call one of our other Book Centres
Glasgow Newcastle Liverpool
0141 226 3391 0191 231 6040 0151 709 1328
We all live with some disappointment. Songs, ballads and poems recount lost loves, dashed hopes and, broken friendships.
We hope for so much. Our families disappoint us, the Church, and even our expectation of God. In this Sundays Old Testament text, Isaiah sings us a song from God; the song of the vineyard. Its rather like a love song, with a bitter lover, (the vineyard owner) lamenting how he has been disappointed by his true love.
The song starts with a light, joyful tone. It ends on a harsh note. The singer expected justice, but found bloodshed; integrity, but only a cry of distress. The sour grapes that disappoint God come from the vines, who are the Lords own. We could describe these sour grapes as the fruits of our collective and communal acts of injustice. Look at what ends the vine workers in the Gospel will go to secure their possession and way of working of the vineyard. Murder, violence and deceit. The Owner of the Vineyard is just, good, and fair. Which is not always the case. The warning of Jesus rings out down the millennia. Don’t lay waste to the Earth. God’s creation, don’t lay waste to your inheritance, your faith your loved ones. Act now. We all need to ask ourselves what part do I play in Gods disappointment. There is a sadness, a lament in our scriptures today. A sadness rooted in my greed, fear and lack of Love.
There is a new song to be sung everyday. A Hymn of Praise to God and His creation. A song of salvation celebrating the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This Christ, the true vine, to whom through baptism we are grafted onto and nourished by. It’s a song that we need. A song of patient, healing and faithful Love. A song without end.
Volunteers: we are looking for new volunteers to help cleaning the church on a Friday evening at 5.00pm. If you think you can help be in touch with the parish office. email@example.com
Cafod: October 2nd was the Harvest Fast day. If you would like to support the Cafod Corona Virus Appeal you can use the envelopes available at the back of the Church or make a contribution to the Cafod collection. cafod.org.uk/give