Friday, June 19, 2009


John Baptiste Mary Vianney (1786-1859) parish priest of the small remote French village of Ars-en-Dombes from 1818-1859. He was canonised in 1929.

One of the surprises I had on my first journey to England in 1989 was to see how many Anglo-Catholic parishes had a statue or picture of the Cure d'Ars, St John Vianney. Although we Aussies all knew him as the patron saint of parish priests (there will be a little bit about him on this blog on his feast day - 4th August) there has never been the same level of devotion to him among Australian Anglicans (or for that matter among Roman Catholics in these parts).

Pope Benedict has chosen the 150th anniversary of this godly man's death as the beginning of "The Year for Priests." Near the start of his letter, the Holy Father quotes St John Vianney:

"The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus.”

In his letter the Pope speaks movingly of the example set for him by the priest at whose side he learned the priestly ministry. He quotes some of the most beautiful bits of St John Vianney; he speaks of the particular difficulties priests face in fulfilling their vocations, as well as the sufferings and pain that are uniquely theirs. He pays tribute to the priests of the Church, while acknowledging with sadness the special evil of abuses committed by a small minority of priests in our day. Drawing his letter to a conclusion, Benedict says: "Despite all the evil present in our world, Jesus' victory over sin and death gives us the strength to look to the future with confidence."

Go HERE to read Pope Benedict's letter.


Praise to you, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
for in your infinite love you care for your people
by the ministry of priests.

May their faithful service bring lasting good to your Church
and great happiness to them.

Help them to do what is right,
that by their teaching and living
we may grow in the knowledge of your love.

As our priests instruct your people,
enlighten them with the wisdom of Christ the Teacher.

As they preach your Word and celebrate the sacraments,
sanctify them with the holiness of Christ the High Priest.

As they face weakness, suffering and discouragement,
strengthen them with the grace of Christ the Life-Giver.

As they work for peace, unity and healing in your Church,
uphold them with the courage of Christ the Reconciler.

Giver of all good gifts,
make the ministry of our priests a spiritual offering pleasing to you,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

This prayer was written by
+ Bishop John F. Kinney
Bishop of the Diocese of St. Cloud
(c) 2002 Diocese of St. Cloud.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Jesus, our Lord and our God,
Son of the Living God
and Son of the Virgin Mary,
we believe that you are here,
and we adore you.
Behind the whiteness of the Sacred Host,
we believe that you are present,
in all the perfection of your manhood
and divinity,
and we adore you.
With all the angels of heaven,
with your holy Mother Mary,
and with all your saints,
we kneel in humble adoration.


Lord Jesus,
our Eucharistic King,
reigning in the glory of heaven,
living in the hearts of your people,
and truly present before us
in this Blessed Sacrament,
we kneel in adoration and love.
We thank you for making us your people
and drawing us into your love;
we thank you for all the blessings you give us
to strengthen us
for our pilgrimage
through this world to the heavenly country.

CORPUS DOMINI by Fr Sandys Wason (1867-1950)

At every doorway of the rose-hung street,
On the stone stair-heads, in the angled shade,
Peasants in old-time festival brocade
Took refuge from the unrelenting heat;
These, all by some Mystery made one
With those who dozed or whispered, kissed or played
As silver trumpets rang through the arcade,
Leaned to the far-off sound like wind-blown wheat.

A dark-haired boy, sandalled and naked save
A shift of camel's hair, came first as John
The Baptist: in his wake a yearling lamb,
A crucifix, blest incense; next, a score
Of sunburnt singing-boys in lawn and black
Swept gaily on before a company
Of girls in long lace bridal veils and wreaths
Of oleander, telling rosaries,
But none so fervid that she failed to screen
The lighted taper in her small brown hand
Lest any love-lorn breeze mistake and woo
Its flame for some gold flower.

A group of children who from ribboned frails
Unendingly were flinging to the Host
Flowers of genista, poppy, myrtle, bay;
At last, as from a mist of frankincense
And candle-light and waving cypress boughs,
A priest in silver vestments flowered with gold
To which, as by a spell, his eyes were held;
He gazed, as if these transitory things
Were with the earth, all they had been before
They were created; as if our life were but
A greying garland doomed to pass away.

To him, within the pale orb of the Host,
All he had ever dreaded or desired,
Truth, wisdom, power, peace and righteousness,
As in a crystal mirror, stood revealed,
And so, adoring his uplifted God,
Wonder, profoundest wonder filled his soul.

This Host he held before him was, he knew,
But one of thousands he, with Christ's last words,
Had blessed and raised to God at break of dawn;
As known to him, as dearly natural
As his young olive trees, his violin,
The cedar press where lay the folded alb
He would at death be clothed in, the pale crown
Of 'everlastings' on his mother's grave.

This Host was close to these persisting things.
In this, then, dwelt the marvel; here abode
The Lord who made the beauty of the world,
The sun, the moon, and all the stars that be,
The solace and the menace of the sea.

Came holding, shaded by a baldaquin
Of white and silver tissue, thin with age,
A golden monstrance like an outspread fan.

Fr Wason was Parish Priest of Cury and Gunwalloe in the Diocese of Truro from 1905 until 1919 when (as part of a larger persecution of Anglican Catholics) the Bishop of Truro deprived him of his parish.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


This time last year I came across a new hymn for Corpus Christi on the Cantica Nova website. (Musicians and liturgical planners will find that site very useful as it is quite traditional in genre while at the same time encouraging of new compositions.)

So, in case you are still choosing hymns for Sunday (or tomorrow . . . if you live in countries where Corpus Christi is kept on the Thursday!) and are looking for something new, here are the words. The metre is 76767676. We had it as the Entrance Hymn and used the tune "Crüger." Note the copyright . . . And visit the Cantica Nova website.

How light the bread of angels
upon the human tongue!
This precious weight of glory
that binds the Church in one!
The flesh with all its passions
could never match the bliss
Of mind and heart and memory
caught up in heaven’s kiss.

How blessèd is this banquet,
Christ’s sweet and costly meal.
The love within the Godhead
mysteriously revealed:
When God the Son gives glory
to God the Father high,
As God the Holy Spirit
effects the sacrifice.

Forth from his wounded body,
the water and the blood,
The glad’ning stream of heaven
swells to a mighty flood.
It winds throughout the ages
and flows into the hearts
Of saints he makes from sinners
with skilful healing arts.

This food, so light, refreshing,
shall speed our pilgrim way,
Until that happy morning
when dawn turns into day.
Upon the holy mountain,
within God’s holy hall,
The Father and the Spirit,
and Christ, our all in all.

by Kathleen Pluth © 2005 Cantica Nova Publications

Monday, June 8, 2009


Those who have read Dawkins' The God Delusion, and also Oxford theologian Alister McGrath's The Dawkins Delusion will enjoy this frank debate. Dawkins is actually interviewing McGrath, who speaks about the central affirmations of the Christian Faith in a very convincing and moving way.