Feasts and Saints

Homily of Fr Damian Howard SJ, given at Farm St Church on the Feast of St Ignatius 2019.There’s a set of seventeenth century portraits hanging along a corridor of the Jesuit residence in Oxford; as I walk past them I notice there’s always a little thrill in my heart. They depict a group of thoroughly European Jesuits. But their clothes and facial hair are those of Chinese mandarins. They have gone very native. And the forbidding look on their faces seem to say, “No need to worry; we know...
St Aloysius tends the sick, Source unknown
At the mass for the feast of St Aloysius Gonzaga SJ, Fr Kensy Joseph SJ explained to the students of St Aloysius College, Glasgow, how success in the eyes of God is not about awards, rather about the person we are called to be.At the start of the year, when we had the Ascensio Scholarum mass, I compared our school to that of one of my favourite fictional schools (not Hogwarts!) I said that our motto, Ad majora natus sum (I am born for greater things) reminded me of the school motto of UA High...
Bishop Hudson anoints the altar
The homily of Bishop Nicholas Hudson on the occasion of the dedication of the new altar at Farm St Church.“How lovely is your dwelling place!”  How lovely is Farm Street!  That’s something I often find myself telling people.  “It’s a church which has been truly beautified,” I tell them, “beautified in a way which draws people to contemplate the mystery which is at its heart.” And right at its heart is, of course, the altar which we dedicate with joy tonight.  Already the...
Woman Credit Ashton Bingham Unsplash
Peter Gallagher SJ shares the Easter joy behind the emptiness of the tomb.          At first Mary of Magdala is annoyed at what has happened. They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have put him. We can share her irritation.  Our friend Jesus has been taken from us and there is no proper explanation. Uneasily we acknowledge our own part in what has happened. For the Son of God’s suffering and death we feel...
St John Ogilvie shrine at St Aloysius Church
Apart from Brexit, the biggest story in the newspapers over the last month has been the question: should Shamima Begum be allowed back into the U.K.? Possessed of radical ideas, she left Britain as a teenager; eventually ending up as part of an extremist religious organisation. Now an adult, she wants to come back — but gives little sign of having renounced her radical views. Nearly all commentators agree that, unchecked, she could influence others to follow those dangerous beliefs. The...
C10th icon of the Baptism of the Lord by Lawrence OP via Flickr
Console my people, console them, says your God.  This line, Isaiah chapter 40, verse 1 captures something very central about our faith.  Comfort ye my people is the King James’ version. That translation of the verse appears at the very beginning of Handel’s Messiah. The coming of Christ is a consolation to us.  Our Saviour’s work among us is a comfort. Console my people, comfort them, says your God.  On the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord we understand this comfort and...
Gift of love Credit Nick Fewings
The Homily of Fr Damian Howard SJ for Luke Taylor’s Vows Mass on 21st December 2018, Feast of St Peter Canisius.      With Christmas so close, I assume that we have all been busy buying presents for friends and family. Which is either a great pleasure or, if you are like me, a trial like no other. I remember when I was young an elderly uncle who used to come and stay at Christmas and who would always buy me an Airfix model of a ship or an aeroplane. And I dreaded...
Adoration of the magi tapestry by E Burne-Jones
Paolo Beltrame is a Jesuit novice who previously worked in astro-physics. He reflects on the connections between the gifts of the Magi and the life of the Jesuit novice.    Gold, frankincense and myrrh – three gifts that, gradually, entered our traditional celebration of Christmas, together with the story of the Wise Men, the Magi, and of the shooting star, or comet, or whatever it was.There might be a strong, even though invisible, connection between the route that the men...
The Sacred Heart of Jesus by Stephen B Whatley
Jesus Christ...the ruler of the kings of the earth, loves us and has washed away our sins with his blood and made us a line of kings, priests to serve his God and Father. That Jesus has authority over all earthly rulers, whether they acknowledge it or not, is important to us, His disciples.  We have accepted the kingship of Christ over our life.  In one way that acceptance is a matter signed, sealed and delivered some time ago when we were baptised.  For most of us, however...
Padre Pio used with permission
The 23rd of September is the Feast of Padre Pio, Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. He died fifty years ago on this day in 1968.  For fifty years before that, Padre Pio bore on his body, the stigmata. The stigmata are the marks of the sufferings of Christ. The five precious wounds are the holes in the feet, in the hands and in the side. The stigmata are the marks of the nails and of the centurion’s spear.  The strange miracle of the stigmata, which seems like the very opposite of healing, was...

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