Friday, August 7, 2009

Faith Summer Session 2009

I have just returned from the 37th Faith Summer Session whose theme was: Thy Kingdom Come: The Future of Religion and the Future of the World. The conference was attended by some 165 young people from all over the British Isles.

The group from Hull and the north east:

From the south-east:

The group from Scotland:



As well as the 'serious' stuff of talks, prayer and Mass, there was the usual talent show:

Joanna Bogle (aka Auntie Joanna) paid a visit when many families came on Wednesday afternoon for Bishop O'Donoghue's talk (see below) and is pictured here with Fr Roger Nesbitt.

Just as today began as a misty morning (here's a photo of Woldingham this morning)

but cleared to be a bright sunny day, so the week's talks developed into a clear vision of how the Kingdom of God is to be built in the world today.

I haven't got detailed notes of the talks but sooner or later you might be able to download them at the Faith website. The titles of the talks were:

The Kingdom of God in the world today by Canon Luiz Ruscillo
The future of the World: The meaning and purpose of creation by Fr Stephen Dingley
The disaster of sin by Fr Dylan James
"The Kingdom of God is at hand": The meaning of the first coming of Christ by Fr Roger Nesbitt
"Amen, come Lord Jesus": The church prepares for the second coming of Christ by Deacon Ross Campbell
"Thy Kingdom Come": Our part in building up the Kingdom of God

There was also a great seminar of public testimony by two wonderful young people who spoke about the example of their parents and grandparents that inspired them to pray and be faithful to the Mass and how this strengthened them when they left home for university and had to make decisions for themselves.

On Wednesday the Most Reverend Patrick O'Donoghue, Bishop-emeritus of the Lancaster Diocese gave a wonderful talk on the importance Faith, Hope and Love. Bishop O'Donoghue (pictured below with Fathers David Barrat and James Clark after Mass) is the author of the renowned 'Fit for Mission' documents.

On hope, the Bishop referred to the Catechism of the Catholic Church describing hope as the confident expecation of divine blessing. He referred to the heroic example of Cardinal Van Thuan who had been imprisoned for 13 years in Vietnam and yet managed to continue evangelising through sending secret messages. He kept thinking, not of himself, but "My people, my people..."

The Bishop spoke about the 'soft' totalitarianism that is emerging in this country and the USA.

On Faith, Bishop Patrick referred to Jesus' teaching in John 6. "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood...." Jesus was not expressing a policy but a truth. The truth cannot change, be manipulated or spun. The Faith of Peter was in the person of Jesus. Peter trusts the Person and believes the Message.

The bishop spoke about the crisis of faith in our catholic schools. So few of the pupils at our schools practise, and the percentage decreases as one goes from primary to secondary to sixth form.

Magisterium is replaced by the pseudo-magisterium of autonomous conscience. Today, many Catholics dissent from the Church's teaching but remain in the Church. Those of Jesus' followers who did not accept his teaching had the honesty to walk away. (Jn 6:66) We must listen to the Church and follow her ways for Christ speaks through her. If we live the faith others will follow.

On Love, the Bishop said the Good News compels us to be people of love. Love is the vocation that includes all others. As the relics of St Therese will be making a tour of this land, the bishop drew on the life and teachings of this young saint in describing love as the motivating force for the apostolate. Love enable Therese to persevere through the "night of nothingness". Her devotion to the Holy Face led her to look forward to seeing Jesus face to face. Devotions such as the Rosary and visits to and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament are so important in helping us increase in love of God.

In his Fit for Mission? Church, Bishop Patrick had said how Europe is forgetting God. Many Catholics are forgetting they are Catholics. To read examples of how one forgets one is a Catholic, go to the document and find page 20. It's well worth the read.

Other posts of the Summer Session:
Hermeneutic of Continuity: here, here, here, and here (so far).
Mulier Fortis
Auntie Joanna
Bashing Secularism
Monstrous Regiment of Women

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