Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fr Stan Fortuna in Balham

On Saturday night we hosted the inimitable Fr Stan Fortuna here in the parish. Fr Stan is well-known as the 'rapping priest'. I've heard him on a number of occasions and I think in Fr Stan's case its wrong to separate the from from the content. The musical genre is rap but the content is pure John Paul II, whom Fr Stan describes as his hero.

Fr Stan was in the parish for a session of Catholic Underground which meets here every half term. The evening begins with a candlelit Eucharistic Holy Hour in the Church during which we sing vespers and priests are available to hear confessions. We then move to the school hall for an evening of contemporary musical entertainment.

This weekend Fr Stan was in competition with the cup-final between Manchester United and Barcelona but despite that a good crowd of nearly two hundred young people turned up for him.

Pier Giorgio Frassati Society

One of the great activities we host in our parish for young adults is the Pier Giorgio Frassati Society which currently has over a hundred people on its mailing list. So many, in fact, that the President has to limit the number who attend the monthly meal and talk because we can't fit everyone in the room!
The Frassati Society offers young adults a chance to come together each month in different ways. Some of its activities offer service to the poor such as helping the Missionaries of Charity. I've heard back from the sisters who value the help given by the members. Each month there is a meal with a talk on some aspect of Christian life. At the last meeting I addressed the group on the theme: "Blessed are the Persecuted". The important thing in these talks is to try to find ways of making them applicable to the daily life and lived experience of young adults. Bl Pier Giorgio Frassati was a great fan of outdoor activities and so from time to time the group holds a hike or other excursion. The photograph above is of some of the group members enjoying a pub lunch during a hike in the Surrey hills.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Invocation 2011

I guess many university students are coming to the end of their exams, so now would be a good time to book your place for this year's Invocation Festival. It takes place at St Mary's College, Oscott, in about three weeks time: from 17th to 19th June. The only thing is that you need to book beforehand - otherwise there won't be enough food to go round!
This year we have the new Papal Nuncio coming to celebrate the closing Mass for us. It will be a great opportunity to meet him at the very place Pope Benedict met all the seminarians of England and Wales before flying back to Rome last September.
You can download a booking form for Invocation at: invocation.org.uk

I wouldn't delay. Do it today!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Coach to Invocation

As last year there will be a London coach going to and from the Invocation festival. We need some idea of numbers so as to know what size coach to book. Please contact your Vocations Director if you would like to book a place. Or email me at Southwark Vocations.
I'm currently in Spain finalising our Quo Vadis World Youth Day trip but I'll be back tomorrow afternoon in time to welcome Fr Stan Fortuna CFR to the parish for Catholic Underground.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Working on a New Vocations Film

The last couple of days have seen some quite intense work on a vocations film project we've been engaged in for about a year now. We have quite a lot of footage, including some great shots of a Papal audience but need now to put the whole thing together. The film will be about twenty minutes long and will move from a generic inquiry about vocation to specific consideration of the priesthood. As yet we don't have a title but I'm sure one will come before too long. The sound-track for the film is being produced by Benedict Nicholls whose compilation in honour of Pope John Paul II inspired "The Quality of Mercy" a recent Oxford play directed by Teresa Caldecott. The film work and editing were done by Matt Goodman whose innovative style has won him much praise as well as the recent attention of some well-known Catholic producers.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Invocation 2011 - Time is Running Out...

With only a few weeks to go to this year's Invocation Festival, I thought it would be sensible to remind you all of the need to book beforehand. Catering for over four hundred people is no joke and the staff at Oscott will need to have a pretty good idea of how many will be attending. So PLEASE don't leave it until the last minute. Download a booking form or book online.
We need you help to reach as many young people as possible. Last year a number of young people mentioned they came because they saw Invocation advertised in their parish newsletter. However, lots more said they had heard about it from a friend but hadn't seen it advertised in their parishes. So it seems to me that we have two tasks:
1.   To get it advertised in every parish newsletter in the country. Potentially this would enormously increase the numbers of people attending. Can you mention it to your parish priest?
2.  To get it advertised through all other available channels: university chaplaincies, ethnic chaplaincies, youth groups, youth services, and any others you can think of. Why not leave a comment in the combox to share ideas....

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Blessed John Paul II

Much as many of my parishioners found it hard to believe, I wasn't able to be in Rome on Sunday for the beatification of the great Pope John Paul II. The assistant priest is away and on Saturday I had a wedding. We also have a large group of pilgrims that comes every year for Divine Mercy Sunday. So, although my heart was in Rome, I was doing what so many of us learned from the saintly Pope: tending the flock entrusted to my care. So I was really pleased to open the inbox this morning and find a link to the latest video from "May Feelings":