Early in June we celebrated the feast of Pentecost, often referred to as the ‘birthday of the Church’, when Peter and the other apostles presented the Good News of Christ to the Jerusalem crowds who heard them speaking in their own language. So we could say that, right from the beginning, the character of the Church has been multicultural!
Every year on Good Friday large numbers of Catholics gather in groups to remember the Passion of Christ by praying the Stations of the Cross.
The purpose of any calendar is to help people within a given society to order their lives. Most modern countries use the Gregorian calendar, but in actual fact there are about 40 different calendars in use around the world today, particularly for determining religious dates. The Church’s Liturgical Calendar is one of these and is not so much concerned with ‘counting days’ but in setting out guidelines for the celebration of the mystery of Christ over the period of a year.
In the past 50 years lay people have taken on many liturgical ministries, from extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and readers, to visitors to the sick and collection counters. For many parishes the ministry of hospitality holds a special place because hospitality is – or ought to be – the hallmark of every Christian. We might think that hospitality at Mass is limited to providing a warm greeting as parishioners and visitors arrive, or handing out parish bulletins, but in fact it is much more than this: it is the ministry of the whole community.
Jesus told his followers ‘where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them’ (Mt 18:20).
When we hear the word ‘apostle’ most of us think of the 12 male apostles, perhaps with Peter coming to mind before the others. However, not long ago Pope Francis reminded us that there is indeed a female apostle whose importance to the Church has often ‘slipped under the radar’.
The beautiful funeral liturgies that marked the passing to eternal life of Archbishop Leonard Faulkner demonstrated very clearly the important role that our Catholic rituals play within the faith community. The coming together of so many people from throughout our diocese and beyond was “cemented” by the prayers, the readings, the songs and hymns, the actions in which we all joined.