Friday, October 14, 2016 7:53 pm.
South Africa: Blessed are the peacemakers
Fr Graham Pugin SJ,
By now most of you know that I was shot on Monday afternoon. I was standing, empty-handed in the gates of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Braamfontein, where I am the parish priest and university chaplain.
I had throughout that day and the days before been exercising my priestly ministry by opening the church as a place of sanctuary, a safe and sacred space where dialogue and conversation might happen. Students had fled to Trinity after violence erupted again on campus. During the course of the day the police drove armed vehicles around Braamfontein. I had already prevented an armed vehicle travelling at high speed, from the entering church property endangering vulnerable students and street people, and had previously been shot with a rubber bullet. I had consistently prevented students who were carrying sticks or stones from entering church property, until they put down their weapons.
Let me be clear, there is no cause in which I can accept or condone the use of violence. I have been a lifelong pacifist, and my actions on Monday are congruent with the choices I have made my whole life in pursuit of peace. When I was 21 in 1979 I was court martialled by the South African Defence Force for refusing to kill people. My decision not to allow sticks, stones, home-made bombs, guns or armoured trucks onto Church property consummates my crusade for peace. Both times my decision has been costly to me. Earnestly to seek after peace is a costly endeavour. Yet the alternative is even more ghastly. I am profoundly humbled that I have been allowed to bear witness to the truth.
My interpretation of the Gospel is non-violent, for Christ himself embraced non-violence as a principle. As a priest my calling is to seek that justice which is requisite to peace. The church should be a place for peace, for dialogue between differing perspectives. The church is not owned by any faction. Those who recognise the intrinsic dignity of the other, however disparate their opinions, are welcome. For me the recognition of this inherent dignity rests at the heart of my non-violence. Therefore I had carried water to the policeman at the other gate, shortly before being shot.
Our parish has joyfully fed the hungry, street people and students alike, given drink to the thirsty, clothed the naked and visited the sick. Joyfully we offer liberation to the captives, and when necessary we bury the dead.
As I have said before St Ignatius believed in free quality education and so do I. Though I cannot condone violence and coercion from any side in the current conflict, by firmly putting it on the political agenda students are doing a service to us all. It is not just good for students, in the long term a highly educated society is good for everyone.
The University cannot give us free education, only the government can. All parties to the conflict know this. This should be the basis of a genuine dialogue not violence. Jesuit Institute, South Africa
11th June ’16 – Jubilee of Mercy—Pilgrimage to Holy Door at Glastonbury
A cloudy morning boded not too well as 36 parishioners, aged from 5 to significantly older, met for morning prayers at Clevedon but the day was blessed by sunshine and no rain – well none for those who were back at the bus on time.
A blessed day – of spoken and silent prayer and our private mass – was enjoyed by all. Many thanks and congratulations are due to …
… the parish and parishioners of St Mary of Glastonbury who made us so welcome
… Paul Spindler for his organisation
… Fr Reg for his inspiration
… the three young parishioners who were brilliantly behaved throughout
The day’s programme was as below:
— 9am Assemble in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Clevedon for prayer.
— 9.30am Depart for Glastonbury
— 11am Assemble outside the Holy Door in the parish church
— 11.30am Confessions
— 12 noon Mass
— 1pm Lunch – bring a picnic to have in the Abbey Grounds or we will have use of the parish hall if it is wet. After lunch pilgrims are free to spend time as they wish—visit the Tor, Chalice Well, Museum, Tithe Barn, individual devotion at the Shrine, shopping, etc.
— 3.30pm Depart for Clevedon
What’s the point of walking through a Holy Door?
What’s the point of walking through a Holy Door in this Year of Mercy? Don’t you have plenty of good doors of your own at home to walk through? Fr Stephen Wang, Senior University Chaplain for the Archdiocese of Westminster, gave this homily to university students on their Year of Mercy pilgrimage from the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, London, to Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, 30 January.
Click here to listen to more
Jubilee of Mercy Prayer
Loving Father, you are a God of mercy and compassion.
We thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, into our world to show and teach us how to love.
When we walk through the Door of Mercy during this Holy Year,may we open our hearts to you
so that we may reflect your love, mercy and compassion in our families,communities and parishes.
May we walk with Jesus through the ‘streets of Galilee’, comforting the sick, opening our arms
to the ‘little ones’, sharing with the poor and searching out the marginalised in our society.
May it be a year when barriers between us fall and reconciliation becomes possible:
a year when our faith in your mercy is strengthened and we learn how to be your face of mercy in our world.
Why a Jubilee?
In Judaism and Christianity, the concept of the Jubilee is a special year of remission of sins and universal pardon. In the Book of Leviticus, a Jubilee year is declared to occur every fiftieth year -slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest. See Leviticus 25:8-13.
Pope Francis opened the Holy Door in St Peter’s Basilica, today, inaugurating the Jubilee of Mercy. The ceremony took place after he celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in St Peter’s Square. More than 50,000 pilgrims gathered for the event including the President and Prime Minister of Italy, Sergio Mattarella and Matteo Renzi; as well as King Albert II of Belgium with Queen Paola.
During his homily, the Holy Father highlighted the primacy of grace. “Were sin the only thing that mattered, we would be the most desperate of creatures,” Pope Francis said. “But the promised triumph of Christ’s love enfolds everything in the Father’s mercy…The Immaculate Virgin stands before us as a privileged witness of this promise and its fulfilment.”
The Holy Father went on to say the Holy Year is “itself a gift of grace.” “To pass through the Holy Door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them,” he continued.
Pope Francis concluded: “as we pass through the Holy Door, we also want to remember another door, which fifty years ago the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council opened to the world.”
He said the anniversary cannot be remembered only for the legacy of the Council’s documents, but must also remember the “encounter” which happened at the Council. “The Jubilee challenges us to this openness, and demands that we not neglect the spirit which emerged from Vatican II, the spirit of the Samaritan, as Blessed Paul VI expressed it at the conclusion of the Council” .. “May our passing through the Holy Door today commit us to making our own the mercy of the Good Samaritan.”
After Mass, Pope Francis opened the Holy Door to St Peter’s, where he was met by his predecessor, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, whom he embraced. The Jubilee will continue this Sunday, when Pope Francis opens the Holy Door in his Cathedral, St John Lateran, and bishops around the world open Holy Doors in their own Cathedrals, and other designated Churches.
To watch the official film of the ceremony (2hrs 7 mins) you will find a link on http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=28990
8th December – JUBILEE OF MERCY begins today – click on the link for the Pope Francis’ address.
Opening the Jubilee Year – Evening Prayer
WHEN: December 8, 2015 @ 7:00 pm WHERE: Clifton Cathedral
- Bishop Declan will open the Door of Mercy of the Cathedral on Sunday, 13 December; Mass at 11.00am.
- Monsignor Bernard Massey will open the Door of Mercy at Glastonbury on Sunday, 13 December; Mass at 11.00am.
- Abbot Francis Baird will open the Door of Mercy at Prinknash Abbey on Sunday 13 December; Mass at 10.30am.
- Fr Leo Maidlow Davis, Prior Administrator, will open the Door of Mercy at Downside Abbey on Saturday 19 December; Mass at 10.00am.
Each of these places, designated as places of pilgrimage during the Holy Year of Jubilee, remind us that we are called to be pilgrims journeying every deeper into the life God offers us, destined to find our true home in him. Like other previous jubilees, it will be a special, holy year of remission of sins and universal pardon, in this occasion focusing particularly on God’s forgiveness and mercy.
1st November – JUBILEE OF MERCY announced
Pope Francis has announced that from 8 December 2015 to 20 November 2016 the church will celebrate a Holy Year or ‘Jubilee of Mercy’ and he asks us to use the Jubilee as an opportunity to rediscovery the friendship of Christ and perhaps to draw others into that friendship. It is also a chance to ponder on the mercy of God as revealed in the face and deeds of Jesus, his son. Knowing, understanding and experiencing that mercy, Pope Francis invites us consider how we might better radiate and reflect the mercy of God into our world – to become “Merciful like the Father”.
In John 4:4–42 we can read about Jesus showing love and acceptance in his conversation with a lone Samaritan woman who had come, late in the day to get water from ‘Jacob’s Well’ near the city of Sychar in Samaria. What makes the tale extraordinary is that not only was this woman a Samaritan, thus utterly despised by Jews, she, a prostitute, was also an outcast from her own people – and thus she came to the well when the other women had finished – in those days drawing water and chatting at the well was the social highpoint of a woman’s day. Nonetheless Jesus went to her, greeted and accepted her and talked to her about the ‘water of eternal life’.
The story helps us see that God loves us in spite of our faults. The Jubilee of Mercy is an invitation for us to become more merciful in the way we speak to and react to others. It’s about using the year to explore what can we be as we ponder God’s love and mercy towards us.
N.B.The word “jubilee” in the Old Testament is from the Hebrew word “yovel” meaning “a trumpet” or “coronet.” If someone announced the Jubilee, they would be actually blowing a trumpet and all of the people would hear it. So let it be with Mercy!!!
To find out else what is going on within the diocese re the Jubilee of Mercy click here