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Light of the North

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I s s ue 4 , Wi nter, 2 006/07

Apostolic Nuncio makes history

The Baptism of our Lord 8th January, 2007

Czwarty Król Ks. Aleksander Herba

Fr Giles’ Kristo Buase Challenge

Cornerstone’s Nick Baxter

Praying the Psalms with Paul Costello

A quarterly magazine produced and published by the Ogilvie Institute for the Diocese of Aberdeen

Light of the North

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he Feast of the Epiphany commemorates not only Christ’s appearance to the gentiles in the person of the Three Kings but also his baptism and first miracle at Cana where he changed the water into wine.

up front

In the Orthodox Church the feast is referred to as the Holy Theophany and is celebrated each year on January 6. The Feast also commemorates the Baptism of Christ and the divine revelation of the Holy Trinity. At the Baptism of Christ, all three Persons of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, were made manifest together: the Father testified from on high to the divine Sonship of Jesus; the Son received His Father’s testimony; and the Spirit was seen in the form of a dove, descending from the Father and resting upon the Son. Thus, the name of the

Czwarty król

Some archaeologists believe that this settlement beyond Bethany could be the site of Our Lord’s baptism Feast is Epiphany, meaning manifestation, or Theophany, meaning manifestation of God. Our pictue on the front cover shows a mosaic of the Baptism of our Lord which is in the sacristy of the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid. See Abbot Hugh Gilbert’s article on baptism, page 16

The Fourth King

W styczniu w liturgii Kościoła obchodzimy uroczystość Objawienia Pańskiego – jedno z najstarszych świąt chrześcijańskich. Wspominamy w tym dniu wizytę trzech Mędrców (późniejsza tradycja nazwała ich królami), którzy przybyli ze Wschodu, by oddać pokłon nowonarodzonemu Dziecięciu. W wydarzeniu tym widzimy symboliczne uznanie bóstwa Jezusa przez wszystkie narody świata. Ulubionym tematem związanym z tym świętem są historie o tzw. czwartym królu (sam słyszałem ich chyba kilka), który też miał przynieść swój dar Dzieciątku, ale z różnych powodów do tego nie doszło. Nie musimy jednak szukać legend, czy bajek – same Ewangelie mówią nam o czwartym królu. Jest nim Herod. Inni, usłyszawszy o narodzeniu Jezusa, uradowali się i wybrali w drogę, by ofiarować dary. Z Herodem było odwrotnie – wieść o nowonarodzonym królu żydowskim przeraziła go. Postanowił pozbyć się niewygodnej Osoby. To wydarzenie ukazuje nam, jak różne mogą być ludzkie postawy wobec Boga wkraczającego w naszą historię.

In January the liturgy of the Church celebrates the solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord – one of the oldest feasts of Christianity. We commemorate on this day the visit of the three Wise men (later tradition described them as kings) who arrived from the East to worship the Infant Jesus. We understand that event as a symbolic recognition of Christ’s divinity by all the nations of the world. A favourite subject associated with the solemnity are stories about the so called fourth king (I myself have heard at least several of them) who was also to bring his gift to the Infant Jesus, but did not manage to do so. However, we do not have to turn to legends or fairy tales to complete this story– the Gospels themselves tell us all about the fourth king, I mean Herod. Other kings having heard about the newly born Jewish King rejoiced and set out to deliver their offerings. Herod, on the contrary, was frightened by the news. He schemed to get rid of this threat. It all shows us how different may be people’s attitudes towards God intervening in history.

Tak działo się kiedyś i tak bywa również dzisiaj. Dla wielu prawda o Bogu, który stał się człowiekiem jest powodem do wielkiej radości. Nie brak, niestety, i takich, którzy czują się tym faktem zagrożeni i na wszelkie możliwe sposoby starają się zaprzeczać tej prawdzie, czy wręcz walczyć z nią. A jaka jest twoja reakcja? Jaki jest twój dar dla Dzieciątka Jezus?

Such things have taken place in the past but they also happen nowadays. For many people the truth about God become man is a source of a great joy. Unfortunately, there are also people apparently threatened by the fact; they deny the truth in every possible way, sometimes fighting against it. And how do you react? What is your gift for the Infant Jesus?

Ks. Aleksander Herba

Fr. Aleksander Herba

Light of the North

contents deaneries 4 faithin faith inaction action 10 witness 12 socialteaching social teaching 14 youthlight youth light 15 liturgy 16 educationandformation education andformation 18 children’slight children’s light 24 faithand faith andculture culture 25 humour 29 crossword 30 Rome 31 OgilvieInstitute Ogilvie Institute 32

Light of the North Managing Editor Deacon Tony Schmitz Editor Cowan Watson Chief Reporter Fr Paul Bonnici Editorial Advisor Canon Bill Anderson

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New beginnings January 8th marks the feast of Our Lord’s Baptism and, as Abbot Hugh Gilbert remarks in his article on page 16: “It’s our Lord’s starting-point, the beginning of his public life”. It also marks a new beginning for us so it’s an appropriate time to look back over the last year, to take stock and make some new resolutions. It might simply be to take more exercise and to eat more healthily; to control a bad temper or a tendency to moan and complain. But whatever our weakness or weaknesses, thank God, we can call on some supernatural help at this time rather than rely on pure willpower! First, we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation to enable us to face up to our lamentable condition, make a clean breast of it, have the slate wiped clean, and be given a fresh start. Then we have the great gift of the Eucharist and the amazing power of Grace. It’s a comfort to know that while “every saint has a past; every sinner has a future”! Saints and sinners alike are all supported by God’s gifts freely given. Talking about free gifts, we are most grateful for all the support and donations we have received for the Light of the North this past year. Perhaps each parish might consider making a New Year’s resolution; to continue to give the financial support the magazine needs if it is to continue to spread the Word around the Diocese! Cowan Watson

“Please sir, can I have some more?”

If you would like to advertise in the Light of the North from only £250 a quarter page, or sponsor a page for just £200, get in touch with us at the address below. Light of the North Ogilvie Institute 16 Huntly Street Aberdeen AB10 1SH Tel: 01224 638675 Email:

Special thanks to those who sponsored the Light of the North in 2006 John McFarlane £500; Paul Miller £100; St Thomas’, Keith £250; Our Lady and St John the Baptist, Ellon £100; St Mary’s, Inverness £100; St Margaret’s, Lerwick £100; Holy Family, Mastrick £2.50; Ogilvie Collection Box £9; St Mary’s, Blairs £14.74; Archie Dunbar £20; Mrs A.Tonna £20; R.Norven £25; Anon £25; Mary Hunter £15; J.V. Isaacs £20; Eric Leoutre £20; The Immaculate Conception, Stonehaven £17.10; St Mary’s, Blairs £5; M.S.Robertson £10; Catenians £200; St Sylvester’s & St Columba’s, Elgin and Lossiemouth £500; St Francis of Assisi Evening Musicians £200; Aardvark Property Ltd. £500; St Joseph’s, Aberdeen £100; Professor P.J. Helms £200


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Ne wss fro m the New th e D e a ne ries ri es

New Deans appointed

Fr Colin Stewart

Fr Christopher Brannan

Fr James Bell


ishop Peter has announced Michael’s Residential Centre in the village the appointment of three new Fr Paul Bonnici of Tomintoul. deans, whose task it will be to promote and co-ordinate common pastoral Bishop Peter has said that these deans are appointed action in the various deaneries of the Diocese. for four years or until any restructuring of deaneries, whichever is the shorter period. These are Fr James Bell from Tain for St Joseph (Highland) Deanery, Fr Christopher Brannan from the Ca- In St Columba’s Deanery (Aberdeenshire except thedral for St Mary’s (City of Aberdeen) Deanery and Huntly) Canon Raymond Coyle from Ellon continFr Colin Stewart for St Thomas’ Deanery (Moray and ues as dean. He was appointed in December 2004 for Huntly). Fr Stewart will also continue to run Saint a period of six years.

Ringing out the changes Fr James Bell, the first former Anglican to have been ordained a Catholic priest in Scotland has made history again with his appointment, a year on, as Dean of the Highland Deanery.

prehensive and cautious. However, the degree of clergy support was encouraging, so when Bishop Peter announced it at a Priests’ Council, I saw it as a duty to be accepted.

Welcoming his new appointment, Father Bell said: “Since I became a Catholic in 2000, I have been warmly “When the idea was first mooted some months ago, received, made welcome and given every support by my when soundings were being taken, I was hugely ap- brother priests and the Catholic people.


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Papal Nuncio makes history Links between the Church and the City of Aberdeen were strengthened when the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, was welcomed warmly to the Granite City last October. The Apostolic Nuncio was officially welcomed to the City during a civic dinner held in his honour in Aberdeen’s Town House. Back row: L to R : Douglas Paterson, Chief Executive of Aberdeen City Council, Councillor Ian Yuill, Councillor Karen Freel, Canon Andrew Mann Front Row: L to R: Bishop Peter Moran, Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, Monsignor Vincent Brady

The Nuncio made history when he became the first Papal Nuncio to visit the University of Aberdeen. He prayed at the tomb of Bishop Elphinstone, who founded the university with the authorisation of the Holy See in 1495. His Excellency Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, the Apostolic Nuncio on a visit to Aberdeen University with University Principal, Professor C. Duncan Rice and Bishop Peter Moran

The Apostolic Nuncio accompanied by Bishop Peter Moran also visited Pluscarden Abbey where he was introduced to Abbot Hugh Gilbert

Mgr Robert McDonald, Provost of the Cathedral Chapter, presented the Nuncio with a statue of Our Lady of Aberdeen


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Fifty years of Priesthood Fr Paul Bonnici


arishioners from all over Sutherland congregated at Christ the King Church in Brora to celebrate fifty years of priesthood of their parish priest Father Benedict Seed. They were joined by all of Fr Benedict’s six brothers and a sister who travelled to Sutherland for the occasion. The local bishop, Bishop Peter Antony Moran of Aberdeen was there as well as a number of priests from the diocese. Around 100 people joined Fr Benedict for a Mass at the Catholic Church in Brora with 80 of them going on to a celebration lunch at the village’s Royal Marine Hotel.

From left to right: Fr James Bell, Fr Gerry Livingstone, Fr Benedict, Bishop Peter, Deacon Paul Lippok, Deacon Kenneth Bromage and Fr Walter Beale

which had its base within the grounds of Fort AugusCongratulating Fr Benedict on the occasion, Bishop tus Abbey. Within the monastery and outside of it, Peter Moran said that there was another priest or- he was well known, and still is, for being a bee keeper dained on the same day ion 1956. He is now Cardi- of distinction and for his delicious local honey. nal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster. Even as a monk of Fort Augustus, Fr Benedict helped “So, Cardinal Murphy O’Connor is in very good out at weekends in many churches of the diocese. company!” said Bishop Moran. His association with Brora started in 1997. Initially he returned to the monastery from Monday to FriFr Benedict Seed, 73, who spent many years as a day. When the monastery closed, he took up the pomonk at Fort Augustus Abbey on Loch Ness was sition at Brora full-time in early 1999. born at Duns, in Berwickshire, and went to school at Fort Augustus Abbey. He joined the monastery in He was ordained in 1956 on the Feast of Christ the 1950 and remained a member of that community King, which fell on October 28 in that year. The until it closed in 1999. feast has since been moved to the last Sunday of November. He completed philosophical and theological studies at the Benedictine college of Saint Anselm on the Fr Benedict is based in Brora on the east coast of Aventine Hill in Rome. He also is a graduate of St Sutherland but has parishioners in Lochinver and Andrews University. Kinlochbervie in the far North West. His parish covers the whole of Sutherland, which is some 3,000 At Fort Augustus Abbey School, Fr Benedict taught square miles, and is home to about 200 Catholics. chemistry for several years. He also served as House Master and later Head Master there. He worked also in the community, being responsible for the Fort Augustus voluntary Fire Brigade service


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Master class in Catholic Studies


he first students of the new post graduate degree of Master of Theology in Catholic Studies, graduated from Aberdeen University in the Mitchell Hall, Marischal College on Saturday 24 November.

From left to right: Mrs Margaret Coll, Dr Nick Thompson, Rev Deacon Peter Macdonald, Dr Francesca Murphy, Miss Valerie Friel Mrs Margaret Coll, a former teacher, is Pastoral Assistant at Holy Family Parish in Mastrick, Aberdeen.

This is the first time that a specifically Roman Catholic course has been delivered at the University of Aber- Rev Peter Macdonald, a former Taxation Advisor in deen in the School of Divinity and Religious Studies. the North Sea oil industry, is permanent deacon at St Mary’s, Blairs and RC Chaplain to Royal Aberdeen The course was run by Dr Francesca Murphy and Dr Children’s Hospital and Aberdeen Maternity Hospital. Nick Thompson. Of the four elective courses, the three required courses were: Contemporary Catholic The fourth graduate, Mr Tony Luby (who was unable Thought, Early Modern Catholicism and Catholicism to attend the graduation ceremony) is a peripatetic and Politics in the 19th and 20th centuries. In addi- teacher of Roman Catholic Religious Education in the tion, students were required to submit a dissertation City of Aberdeen and lives in Banchory. on their specific area of interest. The four graduates, who completed the course on a part-time basis over two years, are: Miss Valerie Friel, from the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh and who has been actively involved in Catholic Education for over 40 years, latterly at the University of Glasgow, and recently received the Pa- Bezpłatne szkoły katolickie dla wszystkich, pal Award , Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, in recognition of zainteresowanych wychowaniem dzieci w duchu humanizmu chrześcijańskiego. her service.

Szkoły Katolickie

Under the auspices of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, The National Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults are carrying out Training for Trainers sessions throughout the dioceses of Scotland. Those who have attended the sessions in the Aberdeen Diocese have now been equipped to deliver Child Protection Basic Awareness sessions to parishioners who are working with children or vulnerable adults

and who have not had training of this nature or who require updating in this field. The Diocesan Child Protection Adviser is Helen Munro and if you wish to discuss any relevant matter with her, please contact by telephone on her dedicated line: 07767 736856 or by e-mail:


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Church is damaged by floods

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Divine help for tunnellers


ishop Peter Moran paid a visit to Orkney to see the ongoing work to repair Our Lady and St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Kirkwall which was damaged by floods at the end of October.

“I am standing in a scene of devastation, but I am not feeling devastated,’’ said Bishop Moran as he stood in the shell of the Church. Bishop Moran said: “I am pleased that this adversity has once again shown how a community can pull together. The support of the other churches locally demonstrates the strength of the whole Christian community within Orkney.” The church, on the corner of Main Street and Junction Road, is expected to be out of operation for six months. After two months drying out, renovation work is expected to last four months. Bishop Moran said: “The congregation of Our Lady and St Joseph’s are very grateful to all the people, churches, local businesses and to Orkney Islands Council who have given their help and support in this difficult time. ‘’I will remember in my prayers all the families whose homes have been damaged by the flooding.”

The tunnels at the new Glendoe hydro scheme above Loch Ness were blessed on the 4th of December, the feast of St Barbara, the patron saint of miners and those who risk their lives. Fr Ryszard Świder and Fr Michael Savage from St. Mary’s, Inverness, together with Rev Adrian Varwell from the Church of Scotland and local representatives gathered with the work force for the blessing.

Each tunnel entrance has its own shrine to St Barbara complete with a figure of the saint to guide and protect those starting a day’s work in the depths of the earth.

Double congratulations Fr Keith Herrera of St Peter’s and St Columba’s, Aberdeen has been appointed Diocesan Director for Vocations to the Priesthood. He has also been elected chair person of the National Conference of Priests and Deacons for Scotland.

The bishop was welcomed by Parish Priest Fr John Allen as well as Fr Ronnie Walls who has moved to Orkney in his retirement. Bishop Moran met with members of the parish as well as people involved in the renovation works. Sunday Mass is being celebrated at St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall for the time being, by the kindness of the Church of Scotland congregation.

Greetings from Shetland: Erraid Davies, age five, meets Pope Benedict after a Wednesday audience at St Peter’s Square in Rome.

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Praying the Psalms Paul Costello


group of Ellon parishioners met over a threeweek period to explore the Psalms with the intention of studying their historical context, format, meaning and purpose, also how they were used by the early people of Israel through to the present time. The group also studied the Canticles used in the Daily Prayer of the Church. Two of the participants were inspired to compose their own Psalms – a wonderful product of study and sharing. We hope that these contemporary Psalms will speak as powerfully to our friends across the Diocese as they did to the study group, and that others will be similarly motivated to share their prayer. The first Psalm gives some room for thought...

The pictures of disaster unfolded before me, and I was angry with the Lord. Why do you let such things happen? These people are poor and have so little. Yet the earth has destroyed their poor houses, and swept away their meagre crops. Why do they have to suffer? The Lord replied, “Look again”. I looked and saw a grey-faced doctor tending a wounded man. I saw a woman comforting a grieving mother. I saw a man waist-deep in mud, pulling at a rock to rescue a man he didn’t know. I saw a hungry child, eating food given by another country. “What did you see?” said the Lord. I replied, I saw mercy, compassion, love and generosity. The Lord said, “You want a perfect world free from tribulation and sorrow, but in this world where would you find the virtues you saw? How would you recognize love if you had never encountered hate? How could you shout for joy if you had never known sorrow, or show mercy if no one had need of it?” Tribulation and trial are part of man’s journey through life, and the gifts of the spirit are given to ease that journey. For my ways are not your ways. Jean Sandvoss

Ellon parishioners exploring the Psalms The second Psalm is called “Blueprint”… I am a cell, a gift from God the blueprint of a human life. Here in the womb I form and develop maybe some day I could be someone’s wife, or a nurse or doctor, teacher, lawyer. I could be whatever I like. I am a cell a gift from God in strange surroundings now a cold test tube, instruments, a microscope, this laboratory is my home, no hope, no mother, no future, no survival, I am an experimental, disposable cell. I am a cell a gift from God In a mother’s womb I’m growing three months now I have arms and head showing. Suddenly cold steel attacks my fragile body and I am no more, why why I ask, was I the wrong colour, wrong sex, wrong time, diseased, Or just another unwanted, disposable cell I am a cell a gift from God The blueprint of a human life. In a welcoming womb I grow and thrive until nine months later and I’m alive, my mother’s arms enfold me I feel secure and loved I gaze into my mother’s eyes as she thanks God above for his great gift of life and love. Jo Costello

Light of the North

faithin faith inaction action

The stone that the builder rejected Fr Paul Bonnici Cornerstone Community Care, an organisation which offers services for people with learning disabilities and other special needs, today provides services to over 1,200 people in 12 local authority areas across Scotland. Here, Fr Paul Bonnici speaks to Nick Baxter, its Chief Executive, who founded it in 1980 with a group of parents and professionals who had become concerned about the lack and quality of services for people with learning disabilities and other special needs.


ick Baxter’s struggle with institutions established to provide care for people in need started when he was a young boy of five. That was when both his father and sister drowned in a tragic sailing accident. As a consequence of his mother’s grief, most of his later childhood life was spent away from home where he first came across social care institutions. Today, Nick traces his desire to oppose institutional thinking, his support for the disadvantaged and his determination to find a better way to these formative experiences of his youth. As such, the tragedies of his early years seem to have altered his outlook on life in a lasting way. Nick says: “These early childhood experiences made me deeply suspicious of large institutions and the negative cultures they can create…I suppose it was one of the main reasons I’ve always been interested in social work.”

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Nick Baxter, Founder and Chief Executive of Cornerstone Community Care

He did not really excel as a student at boarding school. However, he did become involved in social work through regular visits to a local home for the elderly. He admits his motives were not solely altruistic, as such visits also provided him the rare opportunity to purchase cigarettes. He left school to study Materials Science at Bradford University, but quit the programme after two terms, following poor exam scores and the course leader’s recommendation. Soon after Nick was advised that a degree in Sociology might lead to a career in social work, so he re-engaged at university. Even then, he managed to fulfil his anti-establishment leanings and discover incipient leadership skills by instigating sit-ins, rallies and other general dissidence in the name of academic freedom. His first post was as Child Care Officer Trainee for the Birmingham Council, in 1970. It was in this capacity that he gained his first exposure to learning disability, when introduced to a “mentally handicapped” man who was presently employed by his parents to chop up sticks in their garden shed. While the man’s parents gainfully occupied their son in this manner as a way of coping with his demanding condition, at the time, such activity was seen as forward-thinking and innovative. Ten years later, Baxter found himself managing a centre that employed 120 individuals with similar types of repetitive tasks. By 1980, he was presented with the role that would change his life. Nick applied for the position of Senior Social Worker with Aberdeen City Council, responsible for managing a team of staff in the toughest part of Aberdeen. When he was hired for the position, Baxter found himself supervising and supporting a number of severely mentally handicapped people. Because this was a service area that he did not feel he understood well enough, Baxter gained permission to return to university in order to pursue a degree in Mental Handicap Studies.

faithin faith inaction action

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Nick says: “It was here that my understanding of peo- that in other parts of the world, there was an alternaple with a learning disability was transformed and I tive view. People were treated as citizens.” realised that they could and should be treated as people first.” “I wanted to see them as equal citizens and to see them as part of the community.” He recalls the pitiful sight of watching 80-year-old mothers of care recipients as they queued up in Ab- What does he have to say to those people who say that erdeen to catch the bus for a 45-mile journey to a care in the community doesn’t really work because hospital near Banff. He managed to bring together a some people need an institution?” small group of parents and professionals to campaign for services that could be delivered in a community Nick replied: “We know care in the community does setting closer to relatives and other care givers. work because we have been successful. In over twenty five years, if it didn’t work we would have been found In 1980, Baxter became the Chairman for “The Cor- out. People wouldn’t come back to us and say can you nerstone Society for the Mentally Handicapped,” a do more of this. Our work has been recognised. The not-for-profit organisation. government has closed most of the institutions down. The demand for hospitals has withered to such an exHe continues: “The name cornerstone came after lis- tent that the government no longer funds them. tening to the text about the stone the builders rejected becoming the ‘Cornerstone’. It was a line that kept “Care in the community for supporting people concropping up at Church at Easter time. This seemed tinues to grow. Basic market economics proves that to me to reflect the situation for people with learn- at this point in time, this is certainly the best way of ing disabilities. The architects of our community had going about it. Having said that if you have a viorejected these people and I could envisage them com- lent society, care in the community can only work in a ing back into the community and becoming central to reasonably stable society that doesn’t require Asylums. our community. Vulnerable people do require Asylums when that society is filled with chaos and violence. Fortunately we “People were placed in hospitals and those hospitals do not have that chaos in Scotland at the moment.” were large. In a hospital ward there could be 60 people being looked after. They were not respected as indi- Nick admits that there are many voluntary organisaviduals and those hospitals were frequently located far tions inspired to treat people with a learning disability away from the communities which they served. The as equal citizens. What he thinks is different about local hospital for Aberdeen was 45 miles away. It was Cornerstone is that Cornerstone tried to be more cusdifficult to maintain relationships with relatives and carers. tomer focused. “Basically, how people were being described in terms He says: “What is important is seeing these ‘vulnerof mental negatives was unhelpful in its tone. So the able people’, as people having requirements. They, the whole infrastructure was one of rejection of that group stone rejected by the architects of our society, could of people as people and equal citizens and yet I learnt truly become its cornerstone.”

A Smile!

It costs nothing, but means a great deal. It enriches those who receive it, without taking anything away from those who give it. It happens in a second, but the memory of it can last a lifetime. No one is so rich that he can manage without it, and no one so poor that he cannot give one. It makes the family happy, promotes the wellbeing of social life and is a sign of friendship. It signifies rest for the weary, hope for the discouraged. And yet it cannot be bought, borrowed, begged or stolen. For it is not a tangible gift - until it is freely given. And if anyone should be too tired to give a smile, then give them one yourself! No one needs a smile more than someone who is unable to give one themselves.


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Kristo Buase challenge Father Paul Bonnici talks to Father Giles Conacher in Moray have been helping out there in OSB, Superior, Kristo Buase Monastery, Ghana various capacities “People in Ghana are very spontaneous and very wel- over the years. coming. They take God seriously and the idea of eth- Father Giles exics seriously. Most people live quite a poor life without plained: “My attithe advantage of things like water, electricity, and good tude about leaving which roads. There are also very many young people. They need Pluscarden had been my home a lot of help. There are plenty of challenges.” for thirty three years That is the new world into which fifty seven year old and going to Ghana Benedictine monk Father Giles Conacher was immersed is that it was clearly when he was asked to go and help build up a fledgling what the Lord wantmonastic community near Techiman in Central Ghana. ed. I am a monk, so I obey . So I go.” For thirty three years Fr Giles had lived at Pluscarden Abbey. He had served as Prior there for over a decade and as Cellarer or business manager for more than twenty years. Now he has been appointed superior of the monastery of Christ in the Rocks, Kristo Buase, some four hundred kilometres from the coastal capital of Accra.

Father Giles Conacher

And he went. After a three month trial period last year at the Monastery of Kristo Buase, Father Giles returned home to Scotland. This trip home was not exactly a holiday because he had six weeks during which to pass a driving test before being sent back to Ghana for an extended period. Father Giles explained: “At Pluscarden I did not really need to drive but in Ghana, because of the local needs and conditions, it was vital that I learnt how to drive.” For Father Giles the journey to Kristo Buase has been a journey from the first world to the third world, from the Catholic Church in Scotland to that of Africa. It continues to be a journey from the relative simplicity and frugality of life in one of Europe’s most successful monasteries to that of poverty verging on abject destitution in Africa.

“We have just sold a twenty five tonne cashew nut crop. What we got this year is seventy five percent of what we The beautiful monastery grounds of Kristo Buase got last year. After inflation we only got sixty per cent of last year’s revenue. The minimum wage here is about Kristo Buase came to be when in 1987, the Bishop of £1 sterling a day. The other day we had £11.42p in our Sunyani, in Ghana, asked for monks from Britain to kitty,” he explained. found a monastery in his diocese. None of the Abbeys approached could help him individually but it was de- It is also a journey into understanding African culture cided to accept the invitation and make it the work of and language. Father Giles continued: “There are forty the whole Province of the Subiaco Congregation of the seven local languages spoken. If you go to the local market six miles away, you will hear seventy languages. The Benedictines in Great Britain. A beautiful site was chosen, with three springs of wa- climate here, of course, is very different. In mid April the ter and spacious lands for building and planting, and temperature was in the eighties.” some monastic buildings erected. Monks of Ramsgate in Kent, Prinknash in Gloucestershire and Pluscarden


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It is also a journey of getting used to living in a culture where people are accustomed to living well below the breadline. Food is certainly not European neither in its content nor its preparation. Gas and electric cookers as known to us in Europe seem a long way away.

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medication was not taken promptly the venom would have killed the child. Thankfully they were both taken to the hospital and the child survived.”

“So, for example, what is it exactly that you eat in the monastery if people live on about one pound sterling a day?” I ask.. “Banku and Fufu” replied Fr Giles. “Banku From an administrative is something like fermented polenta, pounded up maize point of view, keeping paste, presented in a wrapper of maize or other leaves. the monastery physically It usually appears with a “light soup”, which in Ghana secure seems to be one is theoretically a sort of consommé, but which in fact is of Fr Giles’ priorities at Cashews grown at the rather thicker, and is a vehicle for fish, chicken or other the moment. On Christmonastery protein, plus very large amounts of pepper. It is white mas Eve 2000, just before and pasty, with small black specks, and tastes sour. Fufu Midnight Mass the monks were held at gunpoint by robis just bland and tasteless. bers. Thieving has been a problem since then as well. On one occasion even the monastery guard dog was stolen. “Various stews, such as “red-red”, a kind of bean stew, and other similar items, are quite tasty, but Father Giles’s new community is smaller than that of every thing tends to be chopped up and fried or oth- Pluscarden. It is made up of only eight monks, one of erwise reduced to a similar consistency. Much cooking whom is a postulant. However, some things, such as the is done over charcoal fires, in an iron grate that looks monastic prayer life, have not changed. Yet Kristo Buase like two pyramids, joined point-to-point, cooking things is in Ghana, and things there are somewhat different over the coals, in a wok-like frying pan, or in large caul- from the north of Scotland. drons, usually locally-made, of aluminium. “For the Easter Vigil, for example, we started off at half “These are a testimony to past ten at night and went to bed at four in the morning the local “can-do” attibecause we had sixty one baptisms. tude. We have one made from a broken alloy gear“There are many positive things about the youth and enbox-housing, that a local ergy of the local church in Ghana. For me, this is an craftsman simply melted opportunity to contribute something to our Benedictine down and turned into a community out here, to the Church, the country and the large cauldron. people,” concluded Father Giles. “Meat is usually served with bones and skin, and fish is simply chopped into segments and served complete with head and Dinner should be ready bones. Meat, as roast, soon! seems uncommon. Eggs here are quite common, but the old joke about “Which is correct, ‘Yolk of eggs is white, or yolk of eggs are white’?” would not work here, as the yolk of eggs here is white or grey. Presumably this reflects the poor diet of chickens, since hens not fed carotene in Britain nonetheless manage quite acceptable yellow yolks. “Because of the poverty, life expectancy is short. For example, recently a parent of a child appeared at the monastery door needing a lift to the hospital several miles away because her daughter was bitten by a snake and if

To support Fr Giles and his community please send cheques payable to Kristo Buase Monastery and posted to Prinknash Abbey, Cranham, Gloucestershire GL4 8EX, England, and clearly marked for Kristo Buase.

“Quote ... Unquote” Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. And perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1.2-4

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A ‘Just War’ is allowed to kill only if necessary for defence of one’s own life or that of innocent parties. It is also the opinion of many moral theologians that the State is entitled to defend itself against a violent incursion that would destroy the social institutions that benefit the citizens. But these reservations are subject to the limitation of + Bishop John Jukes OFM CONV. there being no other way to preserve innocent life. They are also to be approached under a general principle that The Editor of the Light of the North has asked me to to unjustly initiate war is a great moral evil. give a short comment on the “Just War Theory”. It is not a matter that I have especially studied except Confronted by the reality of the destructive power of modern weapons and the certainty of the destrucin the context of past lengthy debates in the Bishtion of many innocent persons if these weapons are ops of England and Wales Conference on Nuclear issues. So I will put down a few considerations that deployed, the Popes have led the Church in moving form the point of departure for the teaching of the the debate on the possibility of a “Just War”, rather to proclaiming the need to achieve Peace by the elimiCatholic Church on War. I hope this will provide a useful aid to my fellow Catholics as they form their nation of injustice between and within nation States. own views on War and our response as followers of The Pastors of the Church do not regard themselves as commissioned by their office to pronounce (except Jesus Christ. as private citizens) on particular practical issues. They n eminent writer (R.Schnackenburg in The will proclaim the need of respect for all human life and moral teaching of the New Testament, p.121) dignity by those who wield power. May we as Catholics says “Jesus spoke realistically about war but try to support those who have to take decisions on our did not enunciate a principle. He called for behalf always to act according to conscience and the pacific dispositions and a love of enemies, but did not spirit of the Gospel. deal directly with the emergencies that may face a naThe Catenian tion”. So it seems that Jesus has left to His Church the Association is an challenge of indicating the moral principles to be folinternational lowed when nation fights against nation. War then is brotherhood of considered here not simply as any fighting or violence. Catholic men who Rather it occurs when conflict arises between States.


States as human organisations are of great significance to the social well being of most of the human race during its recent history. Yet that history has been in constant flux and this has been accompanied with enormous changes in the mechanics of warfare. There has been constant debate inside and outside the Church on the morality of war in itself and in its prosecution. So the teaching of the Church has had to respond to the changing circumstances of the human race while retaining certain fixed principles derived from the natural law and Revelation. I will set out some of these fixed points. God in the fifth Commandment says, “Thou shall not kill”. This absolute command is in practice set aside in all wars. The general tradition of the Church is that one

meet socially at least once a month. Its motto is: ‘Strengthening family life through friendship and faith’.

The Aberdeen group, or Circle as it is called, is keen to welcome new members. To join us at one of our meetings or social functions contact Peter Sims on Aberdeen 584407.

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Filling the gap

Diocese of Aberdeen Youth Service

Matt Hadley ‘[Young people] make up an exceptional potential and a great challenge for the future of the Church... and ought to be encouraged to be active on behalf of the Church as leading characters in evangelisation’ (Christifideles Laici 46).


hose of you who read the article about me in the last edition will know that I worked as a volunteer in the Diocese of Nottingham (my home diocese). I was looking for a ‘year out’ and successfully applied to join The Pilgrims Community. I was part of a mission team working in schools and parishes across the diocese. This provided me with a great opportunity to grow in my own faith while, at the same time, sharing aspects of it with others. I was also privileged to spend three weeks working in the Diocese of Livingstone, Zambia. After university I spent a year working in a youth retreat centre in the Diocese of Westminster. Both of these experiences helped to form me as a person and equipped me with the necessary skills to come and work for this diocese. There are a growing number of volunteering opportunities available for those finishing school or university and looking for a rewarding and challenging experience. Many of them are based in England but there are some placements closer to home. Living Water Ministry, based in Saltcoats, Ayrshire, provide interactive and fun retreats across the UK. The following websites contain information and links to other organizations: (contains a link page) I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent as a volunteer worker and would encourage you to consider this opportunity. It can be a life-changing experience. Myself and Kamila met while working in a retreat centre and got married this year!

JESUS IN JOHN’S GOSPEL A 24 HOUR RETREAT FOR POST-CONFIRMATION GROUPS Saturday 24th - Sunday 25th of March, 2007 St. Michael’s Centre, Tomintoul For more information and to book a place, please contact the Youth Office: T. 01463 232136 E.

Matt Hadley Diocesan Youth Coordinator Happy the one who can give without remembering, and receive without forgetting Only those who can see the Invisible can do the impossible Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first overcome Praise does wonders for one’s sense of hearing To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising yourself Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed A woman who strives to be like a man lacks ambition Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent


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Baptism Bap + Abbot Hugh Gilbert OSB


hroughout the liturgical year we are given several starting-points, all to give us confidence and energy, to orientate us, to ensure that the compass of our will is magnetised by the divine north. With the Lord’s baptism, we find another startingpoint. “Water is at the origin of the world, the Jordan at the origin of the Gospels,” said Cyril of Jerusalem. It’s our Lord’s starting-point, the beginning of his public life, yet another revelation of Him as the Christ and the beloved Son of the Father, a prophecy of his death and Resurrection. This day, of course, is our starting-point, too. This is the day he sanctified water and made it a vehicle of sacramental grace. It’s the day the Sacrament of Baptism was instituted or at least exemplified: Baptism at the beginning of the public life, the Eucharist at the end. “Water burns up sin today, as the Liberator appears ... Christ our God has now consecrated every creature … the Saviour has crushed the serpent’s head in the river Jordan, snatching everyone from his power … a great mystery comes to light today, the Creator of everything purges away our misdeeds in the Jordan.” So run the Vigils antiphons. To live life with good will and patience and even joy, we need points of reference that are, in some way, above life; and there’s our baptism. Make this a day for recalling it, remembering it firstly; for reviving our gratitude for it, secondly; and for resolving, thirdly, to live our life in its light, by its grace; to live it out.

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“Those who are baptized and by this means incorporated into Christ’s Mystical Body, his Church, must attach the greatest importance to this event. They must be acutely aware of being raised to a higher status, of being reborn to a supernatural life, there to experience the happiness of being God’s adopted children, the special dignity of being Christ’s brothers and sisters, the blessedness, the grace and the joy of the indwelling Holy Spirit. “They have indeed been called to a new kind of life, but they have lost nothing of their own humanity except the unhappy state of original sin. Rather, the humanity in them is now capable of bearing the fairest flowers of perfection and the most precious and holiest of fruits. To be a Christian, to have received holy Baptism, must not be looked upon as something of negligible importance. It must be something which thrills the baptized person to the very core of his being. He must look upon it with the eyes of the Christians of the early Church, as an ‘illumination’ which draws down upon his soul the life-giving radiance of divine truth, opens heaven to him, and sheds upon his mortal life that light which enables him to walk as a child of the light towards the vision of God, the wellspring of eternal happiness” (Ecclesiam Suam 39). Remember your baptism. Infant baptism has a specific meaning. It means that God signalled his love for us from the very beginning, before our response. “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us ... We love because he first loved us.”(1 Jn 4:10,19) “He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”(Titus, 3:5) In this century, we’ve become very conscious of how important, how determining what happens to us in infancy is. How marked we are by the experiences of early childhood. Here’s another mark – the sacramental character – which is a divine shaping of us. And the sacraments are potent, very potent. They work at a level all their own, but they do work. They change us.

And then one thinks of the whole phenomenon of child abuse, of whatever kind. Again, it’s a marking, of a destructive kind, that is all but indelible. And it seems to happen that at certain points in people’s lives, the memory of abuse surfaces. A critical moment, a moment ideally for a coming to terms with it and a certain healing. But I just wonder this: if baptism has Just some thoughts to that end, but all summed up by come before that abuse, can’t the healing be, in part, what Paul VI wrote in his first encyclical: a re-surfacing of the baptismal memory? There’s a divine love that precedes the human un-love. The Father


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has said to us: “This is my Son, the beloved; my favour rests on him.” There are healing energies lying beyond our conscious mind, a hidden resource. There’s a sacramental dimension to therapy. “Grace resides in a man’s innermost centre, in the very substance of his soul, below consciousness, the human faculties and the informing of the body by the soul, thus setting the whole [person] on the bedrock of Being itself and divinising man from within”(Emile Mersch).

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ering, an incorporation into the Body of Christ, entry into the Church. Let us live our baptism, live in its light, allow its energies to energise us. “Today let us do honour to Christ’s baptism and celebrate this feast in a manner worthy of it. Wash away every stain and keep free from all further pollution. Nothing rejoices God more than for us to be converted and saved. Every word of his and all the sacraments are for our benefit. Once cleansed you will be like lights shining in the world and have power to give life to others as well. You will be radiant lights beside the one great Light, yourselves illumined by that Light. The radiance of the Trinity will shine on you...”Gregory of Nazianzen)

Remember the word: immersion. It’s a strong word, a strong thing. What would it be like to be immersed in boiling oil? We’ve been immersed, plunged into the Name of the Father etc. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them ... And that mention of nations inWhen we do lectio divina, we are spires a fantasy. I wonder, could prolonging the catechesis we reone see a suggestion here that Faceived before baptism. When we ther, Son and Holy Spirit – and pray, we are living out our union therefore the Church – becomes with Christ in his relation to the our nation, our homeland, our Father, the Spirit in us crying Adult baptism in the Early Church environment. Remember the “Abba, Father!” When we work, rite. God has been using water for 2000 million years we are serving one another and living out the brothas a source of life ... Who is there who wants life? erhood that baptism creates. When we renounce our Come to the waters. Remember the meaning (what own will and take up the strong, bright weapons of the New Testament says, what the Catechism says): a obedience, to serve the true King, we are living out new creation by water, a crossing of the Sea, a wash- the renunciation of the devil and the commitment to ing away of sin and a new begetting as a son of God Christ as sons of obedience that we made at our bapto whom the Father says what he said to his Son as he tism. When we share by patience in the sufferings of came up from the Jordan, a death and a rising to new Christ, we are allowing baptismal grace to penetrate life, an illumining, a clothing with Christ, an empow- our lives.

Unfolding the Mystery Unfolding the Mystery - monastic conferences for the liturgical year by Dom Hugh Gilbert OSB will be published by Gracewing at Candlemas and available from the Ogilvie Institute. It represents a small selection of the many talks on the liturgy delivered by Abbot Hugh to his brethren since he was elected abbot in 1992. It is of immense satisfaction to those who have long appreciated Abbot Hugh’s work that he has so generously agreed to share his insights with a wider public. He reminds us: ‘The Liturgy is the summit and source of the Church’s life, said the Second Vatican Council, and the liturgy unfolds its riches within an annual pattern: the Church’s year. Here our life, lived in time, can meet and mingle with the life of Christ communicated in time. In Benedictine monasteries, the liturgical year shapes the whole life of the community. In these community conferences and homilies a Benedictine abbot shares with fellow-monks and fellow-Christians something of the wealth of the mystery of Christ as the liturgy unfolds it.’ Archbishop Mario Conti has added a warmly appreciative Preface. ISBN 085244 093 6

Page sponsored by the parishioners of St Sylvester’s Elgin and St Columba’s Lossiemouth


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Art as a witness to faith The new Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, commissioned by Pope John Paul II, is a 200-page synthesis of the original Catechism divided into four sections. Each section is reinforced by renowned examples of religious art. In the final part of this series the Rev. Dr. Bernie O’Connor summarises parts two, three and four. Part Two – The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

The section opens with a mosaic from the Vatican’s Redemptoris Mater Chapel. Mary’s hands are bathed with the blood of her crucified Son. A centurion looks on, a reminder of humanity in waiting. Jesus’ blood, His grace, flows abundantly, exactly as happens in the Church’s liturgy. Rogier Van Der Weyden’s Triptych of the Seven Sacraments portrays the sacraments as being the fruit of Jesus’ redemptive sacrifice.

The Eucharist, depicted in Jacob Copiste’s Illustration of the Fourth Gospel, is no mere reminder of Calvary, but a prolongation of Calvary through the ages and reaching towards our own heart.

Part Three – Life in Christ

The moral life of the Christian, similar to our individual and corporate call to holiness, is never passive. We are engaged actively in the faith process. We invest ourselves and immerse ourselves, similar to El Greco’s version of St. John in Contemplation of the Immaculate Conception. John steadily focuses upon her fidelity, a model for the whole Church. The teaching of the Hebrew scriptures (e.g. the Ten Commandments) is subsumed and enhanced by the Gospel, as represented by Fra Angelico’s, The Sermon on the

Mount. And like the Coptic Icon of Pentecost, the Apostles, with the Mother of the Church, announce to us the fullness of the Spirit of Divine Love.

On June 1, 2006, the Holy Father received the patrons of the Vatican Museums. His Address is no less apt for us who are the patrons of the Compendium. For their artistic treasures “are not simply impressive monuments of a distant past.” Rather, they witness to the ongoing “promise of a cosmos redeemed and transfigured” by Christ.


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Part Four – Christian Prayer

The section commences with an Icon of the Principal Liturgical Feasts. The meaning is evident. Every moment in our life is liturgical, because every moment signals an openness to prayer. As with El Greco’s, The Prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Olives, prayer does not preempt suffering, but gives us the strength to struggle with our own personal cross. We are not alone when afflicted.

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Believers belong to the Church as

community; those whose voices unite in homage before our Triune Hope. We are, as Jan Van Eyck’s, Angel Choir, a song of ceaseless gratitude and praise.

Food for thought! Alpha is a ten week course which starts with people sitting around tables enjoying food and getting to know each other. The meal is followed by a video (the videos cover the main areas of Christian Faith), and the session concludes with coffee and a chat about the evening’s talk. Every course has a Holy Spirit Day or weekend following week six. St Columba’s have held both their Days at the Bishop’s House. The recent Holy Spirit Day held on Saturday 28th October, was an enjoyable one, again proving to be the highlight of the course. A Holy Spirit Day at the Bishop’s House in Aberdeen

The day started with prayer and worship led by Father t Columba’s church at Bridge of Don has just Keith, a beautiful Mass was celebrated and the topic hosted their second Alpha course in the space of ‘The Holy Spirit’ was explored. One guest member of six months, with another planned for Janu- enthused the following day at Mass, that for her: “It was one of the most powerful and peaceful experiences ary 2007. of her life”. The final consensus amongst parishioners at St Columba’s is that Alpha has enriched and blessed all those Indeed, The Lord has blessed all those in the Alpha team who have led groups, cooked, set up tables and who have participated in these sessions. washed dishes. Everyone works together, the basis sureFather Keith Herrera, who became the Parish Priest in ly for a wonderful Church Foundation. January 2006, has been involved with Alpha for some years now and was the inspiration behind launching the programme at the Church. He maintains: “The course has helped cement our community and is helping us develop and deepen our faith and love for Christ.”


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G O D T H E S P I R I T ‘ We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love!


ho is the Holy Spirit? He is the Third Person of the Trinity, of the same substance as the Father and the Son, with them since before the dawn of time. He is always there, in that eternal circle of love which is the Trinity. He is that eternal love between the Father and the Son, a love so great, so overpowering, that it is a Person. This Love, the Father willed to pour into human hearts through His Son in the fullness of time. The Holy Spirit was involved with the Father and the Son in the work of Creation. He inspired the Prophets with the word of God. He was active in the Incarnation and performed a ‘joint mission’ with the Son, for ‘when the Father sends His Son, He always sends His Breath’ (CCC 689). When the Son returned to the Father, he left the Spirit to help, teach and comfort his followers. That Spirit continues to be present and active in the world, in the Church, today.

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What you always wanted to know about your faith but were afraid to ask! ‘reminds’ us of all that Jesus taught. We can recognise the Spirit through various signs: Water – invoked at our Baptism, he becomes active in the water and gives us new birth into Christ. He is the ‘living water’ which Jesus promised, water of eternal life, the water that welled up from the side of the crucified Christ. On the cross Jesus thirsted to give the Spirit to those he loved, to us. Anointing – when the Bishop consecrates the oil of Chrism, he calls upon the Holy Spirit to come upon the oil: the Spirit is active in that Chrism with which we are anointed at Baptism and Confirmation. Receiving the Spirit in this way makes us, and confirms us as, children of God. Christ means ‘anointed one’; when we are anointed at Baptism we are ‘chrismated’ (a term still used in the Eastern Church); we are ‘made Christ’. It’s a lot to live up to! But the indwelling Spirit of God can help us do it. Fire – the Holy Spirit is that burning energy that transforms us, sets us on fire with love. John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus as the one who ‘will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire’. Jesus himself said: ‘I came to cast fire upon the earth and would that it were already kindled’ (Lk.12: 49). Tongues of fire came upon the disciples at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled them with himself and sent them out to continue Christ’s mission; he gave them the power and the gifts needed. He offers the same to us when we are anointed:

‘That is what distinguishes the Christian – that he has received a tongue of fire in addition to his human na‘Ruach’- the Hebrew word for ‘breath, air, wind or ture’ (St John Chrysostom). spirit’, the Father continually breathing out His Spirit, as when He breathed life into the first human being The Holy Spirit continues to inflame men and womof His Creation; into Mary at the Incarnation of His en, to engrave a new law on human hearts, to gather together the scattered and the lost. He comes to Son; and into each one of us at our baptism. transform the first creation, to ‘renew the face of the Paraclete – our advocate, ‘he who is called to one’s earth’ through those who are set on fire with his love, side’; he is the consoler who comforts us in our dis- through us. tress, the ‘Spirit of truth’, our teacher, the one who We associate many titles and symbols with the Spirit:


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Cloud – in the Old Testament the cloud in the wilderness and on Mt Sinai reveals God while yet veiling His glory. The Spirit ‘overshadows’ Mary at the Incarnation and at Our Lord’s Transfiguration the cloud hides Jesus, Moses and Elijah from the disciples’ awestruck sight, and ‘a voice came from the cloud, saying, This is my Son, my chosen; listen to him.’ It is this cloud that lifts Jesus up at his Ascension into glory and that will bring him back, to reveal him in his glory on the day of the Final Coming.

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ness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Only don’t expect them all to fall in your lap at once!) ‘God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying Abba! Father!’(Gal 4:6) As God breathed life into the first human being, so He, through His Spirit, breathes life into each of us; we live the ‘spiritual life’ when we live a life filled with the breath of God, a breath that fills all the cracks and depths of human experience and which draws us up to God in prayer. St Paul tells us how, when we are too weary or distressed to find the words to talk to God our Father, the Spirit comes to our aid, ‘for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words’ (Rom 8: 26). When we breathe out, we immediately breathe in again; so it is with God: He breathes out His Spirit into us and when He breathes in again, He draws us upwards towards Him.

The Spirit is a ‘seal’, imprinting on us the indelible effect of our anointing. He is invoked by the ‘laying on of hands’ in the Sacraments and is sometimes referred to as the ‘left hand of God’: ‘God fashioned man with His own hands (i.e. the Son and the Holy Spirit) and impressed His own form on the flesh He had fashioned, in such a way that even what was visible might bear the divine form’ (CCC 704). The ‘finger of God’ writes God’s law – the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone and later Christ’s new law ‘with the spirit The ‘spiritual life’ is the life in the Spirit of God, the of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tab- transforming, fiery, wind-blowing-where-it-will Spirlets of human hearts’ (2 Cor 3:3). it of God who will blow your life apart at the drop of a hat, and the murmur of a prayer, or when you The most common symbol of the Spirit is as a ‘dove’: turn on the news on the radio, or when you pick up as a dove he descends on Jesus at his baptism. The your child at school, or when you watch a sick person Spirit is always self-effacing, always pointing us to- die or someone you love is broken by unhappiness wards the Father and the Son, but he too is God, the or when the bus comes sooner than you expected; or Third Person of that Trinity of love. when it doesn’t come at all; or when a picture or a film moves you; or a poem makes you think again. In Joy is a sure sign of the presence of the Spirit. John the all these things the mighty wind of God is blowing Baptist, while still in his mother’s womb, is filled with free, through men’s minds and hearts and hair (Mael the Spirit, brought to him by the newly conceived Choluim). Jesus; and he ‘leaps for joy’. The Spirit brings joy to all who recognise him. We, then, may be caught up into the very life of the Trinity. The Father eternally begets His Son and The Holy Spirit is LOVE: for ‘God is love’; love is the expression of that eternal love flowing between God’s gift to us, poured out in superabundance into them is the Holy Spirit. Wherever there is love in us, our hearts through the Holy Spirit. All we have to do through us, around us, there is the Third Person of to receive this incomparable gift is to open our hearts the Trinity of Love. to it. This gift of love brings us forgiveness, restoration of the divine likeness, a way into that Trinitarian ‘Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes communion of love, fruitfulness in our lives, unity from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God among human beings. He offers us ‘wisdom’, that we and knows God. Whoever does not love does not may recognise what comes from God; ‘understand- know God, because God is love … No one has ever ing’, to penetrate the mysteries of faith; ‘counsel’, to seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us choose what is God’s will; ‘fortitude’, to stand firm and His love is made complete in us. We know that in the cause of truth; ‘knowledge’, to discern what is we live in Him and He in us because He has given us right; ‘piety’, to practise our religion faithfully; ‘fear His Spirit’ of the Lord’, which inspires us with a filial reverence (1 Jn 4: 7-8, 12-13). for our Father. The presence of the Spirit bears fruit in Eileen Grant, RCIA Catechist, St Mary’s Cathedral, our lives of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodAberdeen

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Our mission An adventure without equal! Clare Benedict

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intrepid priest or nun roughing it in the African bush or the Chinese underground or even the city slums of our own country; when was the last time you heard your neighbour leave after Mass announcing that he/she was off to do mission work? Yet that is precisely what many of our fellow parishioners are off to do and it’s what we are all called by God to do. Before you decide to go off and join some less challenging organisation, think about it; ask yourself, what is my mission? Go therefore and make disciples of all nations – Our Lord’s last command to his first disciples before he left them to ascend to the Father. He didn’t just mean that first twelve, or the first members of the infant Early Church. He didn’t just mean priests and religious. He meant anyone and everyone who is a fully paid up member of his family – you and me, all of us, from the youth who’s just been confirmed to the ninety year old in sheltered housing. But those weren’t his final words; he added – because he loves us and knows our frailty – “and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” We’re not on our own; wherever we go, whatever we do, Jesus is always right there with us and the Holy Spirit keeps us right, reminding us of the Lord’s teachings and giving us the right words to say at the right time.

‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.’ “Christianity is not at all something mediocre; it is a great mystery. Meditate on your own nobility … all have become kings, priests and prophets of the heavenly mysteries” (St Macarios). Ite, Missa est. Some of you may remember those words signalling the end of the Mass. The English version we now hear has unfortunately lost much in the translation. Sometimes it seems as if we are giving thanks to God for the very fact that Mass is over and we’ve been released, like children from school! The word ‘missa’ does not signify an ending but rather a ‘sending forth’. From it we derive our words ‘mission’, ‘missionary’ and ‘Mass’ itself. We come a little closer when the words used tell us to go ‘to love and serve the Lord’. Talking about ‘sharing God’s Mission’ a priest once made the alarming statement: ‘No one should come to Mass unless he/she is prepared to be a missionary!’ He’s now a bishop and still challenging his flock! Does God really expect us all to be missionaries? It’s an alarming, and very challenging, prospect. Our problems begin with words and our perception of what they mean. When we hear ‘missionary’ we think of some

“I will make you fishers of men,” Jesus said to his first disciples. That’s what missionary means – sent to be fishers of men, to ‘evangelize’, to be ‘evangelists’. Again, we can have rather negative images of what that means – pictures spring to mind of loud Americans on TV or men on soapboxes at street corners waving a Bible and haranguing passers-by. But it needn’t be like that. ‘Evangelize’ means to spread the ‘evangelion’, the ‘good or joyful news’, the Gospel of the Lord. To be an evangelist means to proclaim the Good News wherever we happen to find ourselves. What is this Good News? The news that the Kingdom of God is at hand and that the Lord has died and risen in order to raise us up as children of God. That’s why we’re reminded of our task at the end of every Mass; we’ve just been nourished, strengthened: first by the word of God and then by the Body and Blood of Our Lord. “The proclamation ‘Ite, missa est’ ought to release into our society a mighty force for all that is truly good, truly of God. But does it do so? The first impression must be that it does not … Yet … Who can imagine what the history of our human family would have been like without the revelation of God in Christ and its courageous proclamation over the centuries by countless ‘missionaries’?” (Archbishop Vincent Nichols)


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We’re just ordinary folk, quietly getting on with our lives at work, in the home, at school or university; some of us are retired; some of us feel the Lord can’t possibly mean us – we don’t have the ‘gift of the gab’; our talents lie in other directions. God doesn’t accept any excuses! Being a Christian is not an easy option: we don’t follow some vague airy-fairy philosophy that doesn’t make great demands on us; we follow Someone who literally ‘put his whole self ’ into the task with which God had entrusted him. Someone whose whole public life was a powerful witness of the love with which God loves all His people. And that’s what He calls us to do: to witness by our very lives the fact that “God loved the world so much that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”. “The mission we are given is one of bringing the best out in every situation, bringing a vision of how life is meant to be, an idealism which is not a remote dream but a promise of God. It is an adventure without equal” (Vincent Nichols). We have special advantages that priests and religious don’t have: we are out in the world all the time, living, working, walking about amongst people who are perishing from hunger for the Word – even though they don’t know what it is they are seeking. The world in which we live is full of restless, unhappy people, desperately searching for a deeper meaning in their lives. We are so privileged; we know God loves us. He showers us with blessings; He lavishes gifts on us and His greatest gift – our Faith – is far too great to hug to ourselves; it is a gift given to us in order to share with others. We cannot actually give someone else that gift of faith, but we can offer to share what we have been given in a way that will lead others to ask God to give them the gift. How can we do this? We can start with our own families and extended families, for evangelization, like charity, begins at home. “The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called ‘the domestic church’, a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity” (CCC 1666). A truly Christian family can also witness to the world the values of Christian community: just remember how the pagans of the Roman Empire exclaimed in amazement: “See how these Christians love one another!”

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We can be evangelical witnesses in the workplace, by doing our work willingly and well, by exercising charity to those who try our patience – next time someone’s driving you up the wall by his general uselessness, just remember he’s made in God’s image as well! We can refuse to be drawn into arguments or talk that is unworthy of a child of God. Likewise, out in the ‘market-place’: we can refuse to give in to ‘trolley rage’, or road rage or any other kind of rage. We don’t have to give to every beggar on the street or buy ‘The Big Issue’ from twenty different vendors but we can give them a smile or the time of day; it doesn’t cost us anything and might remind them and other passers by that we’re all made in the image of God. We can be quite open and matter of fact about our faith, about being people of prayer, about going to Mass, about being glad to celebrate the mysteries of God’s love. We should never feel ashamed or afraid to witness to our faith; people can actually be quite curious! Above all, we can pray. Contemplative monks tell us it’s their job to pray for the needs of the world; well, they haven’t got a monopoly on it! We can all pray for the needs of the world, of our friends and family, of our neighbours, of our enemies, of those who are so full of hate and envy and resentment that they’ve cut themselves off from God. We may not have the same time and opportunities as enclosed religious, but we’re still very privileged; we do have a ‘hotline’ to God called prayer. He will always hear us and it will delight Him to hear us intercede for the needs of others. We can all pray, no matter what our circumstances: at work or school, in the street or supermarket, housebound or travelling, in hospital or on a sickbed: God will hear us. As he hung dying in agony on a cross Jesus prayed for his enemies and gave a promise of joy to a repentant sinner. We can help to carry on his mission of bringing hope and joy to a hurt and degraded world. That is what we were called into God’s Church for. “The mission proclaimed at the end of every Mass is this: ‘Go from here now, to love and serve the Lord in all that you do during this day, this week, in every circumstance, in every place, without exception’” (Vincent Nichols).

This page has been sponsored by the Society of the Sacred Heart rscj


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nice feed of hay and a handful of corn. Then Father Wenceslas went home on the borrowed pony.

Father Ronald Walls‛ Guide for happy young folk

Fr Wenceslas’ Pony Once upon a time, quite long ago, there was an old priest called Father Wenceslas, who lived in a little village in the beautiful mountains of Austria. The village lay in a valley, and in the centre of the village was a little church with a tower shaped like an onion; and ‘the snow lay all around, deep and crisp and even’ for it was Christmas-time.

A few days later Father Wenceslas was taking a walk in his parish and met the farmer who had lent him the pony walking off down the road towards the next village. ‘Why are you not riding your pony today’, he asked the farmer. ‘Oh’, said the farmer, ‘my pony is in the stable. You carried the Blessed Sacrament with you on that pony, which means that our Blessed Lord himself has ridden that pony; and so no one else will ever ride that pony again.’

Eight pretty ponies, Looking much the same Only two are twins tho‛, Can you guess their names?

About four miles further up the valley and along a track into the forest there was an old lady who lived with her son and his wife and children. They called her ‘Oma’ which is German for ‘Grannie’. All the famaily had been to midnight Mass on Christmas Eve – all except Oma, who was too old and weak to go. But the family had asked Father Wenceslas if he could come the next day and give Oma Holy Communion. This would be the Christmas present she would like more than anything. And so next day, that is on the Feast of St Stephen, Father Wenceslas went into the church, took the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle then, well wrapped up because of the cold, went over to the stable to saddle his pony. Disaster! The pony was lying down and could not rise; it was sick. Father Wenceslas was too old to walk all the way up the valley. What was he to do? He went to a farm-house quite near and asked the farmer to lend him his pony. The farmer gladly lent Father Wenceslas his pony, and off went Father Wenceslas up the valley. After he had given Oma Holy Communion Father Wenceslas joined the whole family in a jolly Christmas meal; and the pony too got a

Just for fun we‛ve hidden a picture of a pony in the pages of this magazine. Why not see if you can find him?

Pennies from Heaven! If you have any foreign currency or old jewellery, these items could help towards the production costs of this magazine. They can be left at the Ogilvie Institute, 16, Huntly Street, Aberdeen AB10 1SH We also collect used laser printer cartridges

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Sweet sound of success

In 2001 Bishop Mario Conti invited David Meiklejohn to create a choir to lead the music in a Mass to mark the Silver Jubilee of his episcopate. Five years on the Diocesan Choir is still in full voice!


hile it was not envisaged that the choir would continue to function beyond this special Jubilee Mass on 3 May 2002, the enthusiasm and commitment of its members along with the support and encouragement of clergy and parishioners, ensures that it remains a viable and vital force within the life of the Diocese. Now serving under the auspices of Bishop Peter Moran, the choir’s patron, it continues to develop and flourish in its endeavours to enhance the liturgical and spiritual development of the Diocese. The Aberdeen Diocesan Choir is requested to lead the liturgical and other religious music, as well as secular music, for special diocesan events including priestly and diaconate ordinations, special masses for church organisations, services in parishes and the diocesan pilgrimages at Pluscarden Abbey and the Abbey of Deer. The choir also prepares an annual Service of Readings and Carols in St Mary’s Cathedral each

December, raising funds for a charity nominated by the Bishop. Donations have benefited Cornerstone and Cyrenians, The Apostleship of the Sea and Alzheimer’s Scotland. A fully constituted organisation, the choir is interdenominational, welcoming members from all Christian faiths, following successful audition. It provides an informal forum for individuals of various parishes to meet and share ideas in developing the music ministry, thereby strengthening parish music and supporting links throughout the city of Aberdeen and beyond. The Aberdeen Diocesan Choir seeks to continually develop its knowledge and understanding of liturgy and its close alignment with the sacred music repertoire, thus attempting to provide continuing higher standards of performance. Choir rehearsals are held on Tuesday evenings from 7.30 – 9.00pm in the upper hall of St Mary’s Cathedral Huntly Street., Aberdeen. Further information can be obtained from the hon. Secretary, Georgina Layhaye, telephone (01224) 705507 mobile 07711 916437 E-mail: David Meiklejohn

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If you know somebody who is unable to get to church Light of the North to pick up a copy of the please let them know that for just £10.00 they can be put on our subscribers mailing list, and we will send them the next four issues of the magazine by post. All cheques should be made out to the Ogilvie Institute

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On a wing and a prayer Father Peter Barry explores the bird life of Scotland and other exotic climes!

beauty indeed. The feathers shimmered in the sun, metallic green and red and gold. The long tail feathers were powdery blue in colour, and didn’t seem to impede the bird’s feeding. Even he word Panama used to conjure up visions Ito, who had seen them many times, seemed quite overcome. of a country where the dictator, Noriega, was The bird fed at a distance of 15 metres, greedily stoking up known as ‘pineapple face’ (but not in his presence!), on fruits available. where drugs were rife and walking anywhere was a perilous adventure. Today Panama is more stable, and attracts birdwatchers from all over the world to see the most beautiful bird in the tropics, the resplendent Quetzal.


This is a high altitude bird, living in the Chiriquí highlands at around 8,000 feet. Any trip involves a bone-crunching, spinetwisting drive along the most appalling roads. No sighting is guaranteed, and it would be foolish to set off without a good local guide. The weather can close in at any time. Rain and mist mean the birds will not move or feed. Ito, our young guide, had a genius for bird sounds. He would stand in the forest and mimic the call of a Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, a tiny carnivore with the courage of a Jack Russell terrier. Instantly small birds would flit around our heads, so close that binoculars were redundant: Hummingbirds, living jewels of the tropics, along with tanagers and flycatchers of all types, launched out into the skies to frighten off the “ invader”.

The Quetzal cannot live in a cage. It invariably dies, and so has become a symbol of liberty throughout Central America. The Mayan chiefs thought of the bird as their spiritual protector. In their mythology the bird plummeted to earth at the very moment when the Spanish conquistador Alvarado plunged a dagger into the heart of Tecum Uman, the Mayan chief. The Ito asked my profession, and on hearing I was a Priest, asked bird settled on the corpse, and after keeping its death watch, to receive my blessing. I felt very humbled. There were others rose transformed. The breast was now permanently red from his present, and he showed no embarrassment as he knelt in the blood. mud and blessed himself. We feasted on this splendid vision for another hour, and added We set off in high hopes, myself, Ito and a retired American law- several more high-altitude birds to the list. Among them was a yer with his wife. The entrance to the site is guarded by a farm- tiny McGillivray’s warbler, five inches in length, thousands of er and his dogs. His family, the Fernandez, take great care miles away from its home in North America, eating caterpillars to monitor everyone, lest the birds are shot for their feathers. to build up its body weight for the long journey home. Plump In years past they decorated the head-dresses of Mayan war- and healthy, it would soon start the long 3,000 mile return riors. Now they risk becoming extinct through slash and burn journey to Mikwaukee, where they are plentiful. On arrival farming methods. We each paid the fee of three dollars to gain it would have lost half its bodyweight, and the process of access, parked the jeep well away from the dogs, and started feeding and reproduction would begin all over again. climbing. As we left the mountain, and the farmer opened the gate for After an hour Ito spotted a young male Quetzal, its plumage us, the dogs snarled at the wheels, and we gave the thumbs glowing, but without the metre- length tail. It took another up. At three dollars a throw, I didn’t think there was better hour of solid climbing to find an adult male. This was great entertainment anywhere in the world.

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Canon Bill Anderson takes a look at some of his favourite inspirational verse

Last Verses Edmund Waller

“The seas are quiet when the winds give o’er; So calm are we when passions are no more. For then we know how vain it was to boast Of fleeting things, so certain to be lost. Clouds of affection from our younger eyes Conceal that emptiness which age descries. The soul’s dark cottage, batter’d and decay’d, Lets in new light through chinks that Time hath made: Stronger by weakness, wiser men become As they draw near to their eternal home. Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view That stand upon the threshold of the new.”

ry. He took some part in the political upheavals of his time, and seems to have survived periods of danger quite adroitly, praising both Cromwell and King Charles II to suit his own advantage! He is remembered today chiefly for a few short lyrical poems, though his total literary output was considerable from an early age. The poem above is less anthologised than the beautiful “Go, lovely rose”, but it worthily appears in the weighty Oxford Book of Christian Verse - quite an accolade.

It’s a reflective piece, contrasting the inexperience of youth with what Waller sees as the wisdom of old age. Three elements are particularly evocative: the serenity of the first two lines; the delicate metaphor about “the soul’s dark cottage”, a perfect couplet; and the peaceful concept of the backward and forward glance of those completing their life’s journey. The poem’s aphose lovely lines were written by Edmund Waller, propriate title is simply “Last Verses”. whose life spanned most of the seventeenth centu-


Leslie John Macfarlane - a personal appreciation for “Light of the North” by Canon Bill Anderson. “Gentlemanliness” springs to mind in connection with Leslie’s life. Better still,we could split that term in two, and call it gentle-manliness. Granted that we, his friends of later years, have loved and experienced his mildness, it should not be forgotten that as a young man he had spent ten years in the army, had fought in Belgium and France, and had been grievously wounded in action in 1944, so much so that it took fully eighteen months of surgery and rehabilitation to make him fit again. It must have required further manliness to face up to the pursuit of long-drawn-out academic work in his chosen field of Medieval History, first in London, then at Oxford, and finally at the British School in Rome. Armed in due course with his doctorate and other distinctions, he came to teach in Aberdeen University in 1953. Yet this was an “annus mirabilis” for another reason, for it marked the celebration of his marriage to Leila. Their devoted life together was to

continue for more than fifty years, and Leslie was constantly aware of her worth and her loveliness as a perfect wife. His regard for this city’s ancient University was deep, and he generously repaid his debt to it by much meticulous scholarship. This was attested by his colleagues, but little signs of his

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exactness came through to all: his neat handwriting, his punc- University’s founder. It will unquestionably remain a standtuality, and even his sartorial correctness! ard study in university and other libraries for a very long time. The fruit of years of intense application, it will stand as There was a deliciously lighter side to him too. Among many a fine memorial of its author. instances this one stands out for me. It was at a Founder’s Day dinner in Old Aberdeen. As the procession of guests , replete It is as family man and staunch friend, however, that we prayerwith doctorates made its way into the hall, Leslie , with a smile, turned fully and thankfully commemorate him together. A true to me and said: “You know, Father , some of them think they’re Christian gentleman, an exemplary member of the Catholic important!” community in Scotland, a person in whom the flame of faith ever burned brightly: what a joy to have had him in our His professional career reached its apex with the publication midst! May his goodness continue to spur us on until, please in 1985 of his massive work about Bishop Elphinstone, the God, we meet again in heaven and enjoy his company afresh.

Natural Family Planning – Witness to Life and Love It’s such a shame that a great number of married couples still remain unaware of the dramatic advances in the use of natural family planning. We live in an age where society is flooded with information in all sorts of ways. There is a serious need for all people, especially in the church, to actively promote NFP with apostolic zeal. Our times demand it. The fertility rate of 1.47 babies per woman (in the EU) is very low, according to the Population Research Institute. “A rate of 2.1 in a stable society is considered necessary to keep that society’s population constant in the long-term.” That quote was made by Cardinal Alfonso Lopez, who also said, “Vast areas of the world are entering the so-called ‘demographic winter’ resulting in a more aged population; families thus appear seized by the fear of life, of paternity and maternity. Courage must be instilled into them, so that they may continue to achieve their noble mission to procreate in love.” Our Diocese recently had the pleasure of welcoming His Excellency Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz who asked us to pray for “good and generous catholic families”. Not generous in the material sense of the world, but “productive”. “Parents must have three, four or five children at least, in order for there to be a possible vocation”. He read some of the Angelus given by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday 8 October: “My thoughts now go to all Christian spouses. I thank the Lord with them for the gift of the Sacrament of Marriage, and I urge them to remain faithful to their vocation in every season of life, ‘in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health’, as they promised in the sacramental rite. Conscious of the grace they have received, may Christian husbands and wives build a family open to life and capable of facing united the many complex challenges of our time. Today, there is a special need for their witness. There is a need for families that do not

let themselves be swept away by modern cultural currents inspired by hedonism and relativism, and which are ready instead to carry out their mission in the Church and in society with generous dedication.” NFP should be seen primarily in the context of conjugal love and responsible parenthood. NFP is not simply another birth control technique. It involves a fundamental approach to human sexuality that places conjugal intimacy in the larger context of marital rights and responsibilities. It fosters marital intimacy and sexual self-mastery. It preserves openness to life and a willingness on the part of the couple to share life and love with their own children. This is so important with the current culture dedicated to the corruption of the youth. Inculcated towards recreational, “values free” sex, but fearing marriage and childbearing. After all our soul is eternal, as we read in Gaudium et Spes: “Everyone should be persuaded that human life and the task of transmitting it are not realities bound up with this world alone. Hence they cannot be measured or perceived only in terms of it, but always have a bearing on the eternal destiny of man” (51).

Marie Sandison, NFP advisor for the Diocese of Aberdeen

This page has been sponsored by an anonymous donor

Light of the North


Humour from the Vestry Humour serves to destabilise the ego. This is why laughter is essential to religion. It cuts a person down to size. Humour is the first step to humility.

A Franciscan and Jesuit were debating which order was the greatest. So, they decided to ask for a sign from God. This is what they received falling down from heaven: My sons, Please stop bickering about such trivial matters, GOD, O.P.

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A Perfect Day Dear Lord, So far today Lord, I’ve done alright. I haven’t gossiped, haven’t lost my temper, haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, nor over-indulgent. And I’m very thankful to you for that. But, in a few minutes, Lord, I’m probably going to need a lot more help because I’m going to get out of bed! “Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like you do when nobody’s watching.”

Helps you work rest and play!

What did Satan have when the flash on his camera failed? The Prints of Darkness ....... How do agnostics repel vampires? They hold up a question mark. The Dead Seagull A father was at the beach with his children when the four-year-old son ran up to him, grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore where a seagull lay dead in the sand. “Daddy, what happened to him?” the son asked. “He died and went to Heaven,” the Dad replied. The boy thought a moment and then said, “Did God throw him back down?”

Having the last word Eleven people were hanging on a rope under a helicopter, ten men and one woman. The rope was not strong enough to carry them all, so they decided that one had to leave, because otherwise they were all going to fall. They weren’t able to decide on that person, until the woman gave a very touching speech. She said that she would voluntarily let go of the rope, because as a woman, she was used to giving up everything for her husband and children or for men in general, and was used to always making sacrifices with little in return. As soon as she finished her speech, all the men started clapping.

News Flash Looking to sell your house or flat? Good prices offered. Call Julian on 07917616603

Larry LaPrise, the man who composed the “Hokey Pokey,” has died peacefully at the age of 83. Although he lived a long and full life, it was still difficult for his family. Not surprisingly, most difficult was getting him into the coffin. It all started when they put his left leg in...


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Calling all Catechists If you are preparing children for the Sacraments you may like to know that there is an excellent series of books available which are recommended by the Ogilvie Institute. They are: Making Things Right (Sacrament of Reconciliation) and Called to His Supper (Holy Communion) by Jeannine Leichner. They can be ordered from the Ogilvie Institute at £3.99 each and the Ogilvie has preview copies if you wish to see them before ordering.

Studies in the Catholic Catechism You can enrol for this fascinating course now by contacting Deacon Tony Schmitz or Courses Coordinator, Mary Nelson at the Ogilvie Institute, 16 Huntly Street, Aberdeen AB10 1SH, Tel 01224 638675, Email: The next study day will be on Saturday, 10th March in the Ogilvie Library from 10.30am to 3.00pm. Please bring a packed lunch.

Faith Seeking Understanding Faith Seeking Understanding – a Guide to Adult Faith Formation, compiled by Eileen Clare Grant (Inverurie/ Fetternear parish), for use in the Diocese, is now ready for distribution. Part I outlines a typical course following ‘the Faith we profess’; Part 2 gives brief summaries of and suggestions for as wide a range of programmes as the compiler could think of. Appendices give details of more formal courses, multimedia resources and websites and an extensive bibliography. Several additional resources are also available, including an anthology of Christian poetry. The guide (plus accompanying resources) can be made available either on disk or as hard copy (a small donation is requested to cover p&p), either direct from Eileen at or through the Ogilvie Institute.

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For your chance to win a copy of the new Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church send your completed entry, together with your name, address and telephone number to the Light of the North, Ogilvie Institute, 16 Huntly Street, AB10 1SH. First correct entry drawn out of Crossword 3 the hat is the winner.

Across 1 Arius, for example. (7) 7 Appal? Unscrambled, this Bull won’t. (5) 8 Just ask! Armagh contains Hindu’s fate. (5) 9 S Maolrubha went over the sea to evangelise this island. (4) 10 Where Goliath came from (Old Style). (4) 11 Oxford University at Church? In short, it hurts! (4) 13 One of the three gifts the Magi made to Jesus. (4) 17 A High Priest who was an idiot, we hear. (5) 18 Saint Prosdocimus was the first bishop of this N Italian city. (5) 19 Near yew? Not quite, it’s 2007! (3, 4) Down 1 A dwarf – and what I hope you are! (5) 2 This Saint has a tower in St Andrews. (4) 3 It is more blessed to give than to …. (4) 4 The administrative body of the Holy See. (5) 5 Pipes coal? No, Bishop’s orders (9) 6 S Mary’s, for example. (9) 12 A Chapter member who is fired, we hear. (5) 14 Command the Augustinians or Benedictines, perhaps. (5) 15 She’s a swine! Prodigal Son’s charge? (1, 3) 16 Lapse? If fifty go, it’s the end of the Church. (4) Congratulations to Mrs Norah Jackson from Insch, last issue’s crossword winner. Congratulations also to Alessandro De Filippi from Aberdeen who won our brain teaser. Last issue’s Solution Across: 1 Ave Maria; 4 Ass; 6 Grim; 7 Spur; 8 Lebanon; 10 Moran; 12 Gratia; 14. Abbess; 15 Brass; 16 Parable; 19 Iona; 20 Emma; 21 Lot; 22 Catacomb. Down: 1 Angel; 2 Eliab; 3 In fun; 4 Asperge; 5 Springs; 9 Olaf; 11 Lama; 12 Gabriel; 13 Against; 16 Plena; 17 Bembo; 18 Enalb.

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Sister Janet Fearns FMDM works with the English Programme of Vatican Radio. She also has her own website called Pause for Prayer :


appy New Year! Are you wondering whether to neatly fold and re-use decent pieces of wrapping paper? Do the Christmas decorations still manage to fit into that little space where they were quite comfortably concealed a couple of weeks ago?

Here in Rome, the decorations are not taken down until the Feast of the Purification on 2nd February, so even St. Peter’s still has its tree, festooned with hundreds of white lights. Even though Christmas is over, the tree still looks magnificent as it lights up the night and early morning. Then, during the daylight hours, tinsel streamers still catch the sunlight as they wave in the breeze.

In Rome, it is traditional to take children to the Piazza Navona for the Epiphany, also known as ‘Little Christmas’. There, the stalls which, before Christmas, had sold exquisite Crib figures of every description, are transformed. Within the one small area, there are thousands of multi-coloured witch dolls and other toys on sale. The place becomes one seething mass of humanity, such that it is impossible to make any rapid progress through the crowds. Actually, it must be a paradise for pickpockets, but, as night falls and the lights are switched on, the joy in the eyes of the children is lovely to behold. Something that must be a parental nightmare is a child’s wonderland.

Of course, Rome had its own unique flavour. There aren’t St Peter’s Square at Christmas too many cities in the world St. Peter’s, along with the rest of Italy, still has its Crib, where part of the Christmas Day celebrations involve this year, sponsored by Bavaria. In Italy, the Cribs are travelling across to St. Peter’s to greet the Pope! Still, really an art form. As a rule, each Nativity scene is set that is all part of the Roman scene and so whatever in the midst of daily life in a town or village, so that transport there was filled to overflowing as people of there might easily be as many as one hundred figures every shape and size headed in the direction of the included alongside the Holy Family, the shepherds Vatican. The Square was packed in a way that United and the Magi. The implication is that Jesus is incar- Nations would find hard to equal. There was a lovely nate in every aspect of daily life, but it also makes for cheer as Pope Benedict gave his Christmas greeting something that is beautifully picturesque and makes “To the city and the world” (Urbi et Orbi). The atthe custom of ‘cribbing’ (going from one church to mosphere was unique, vibrant and wonderful! the next to visit the Cribs) well worthwhile. Yet Christmas is now over for another year. We’re As far as possible, Christmas Day is still for the religious looking at New Year Resolutions to make and break. celebration of the birth of the Baby Jesus. Presents are Will I be a better person this time next year? What given to the children for the feast of the Epiphany in will 2007 hold for me, my family, for my friends and imitation of the Magi bringing their own gifts….but for the world? there is a catch. Children are warned that if they have not been well-behaved during the year, instead of a The year opened with the feast of Mary, Mother of present, ‘La Befana’ (the witch) will leave them a lump God and Mother of the Church. Let us place ourof coal. Hence throughout the city, sugar charcoal is selves, our hopes, fears and all those whom we love in on sale and as many witches as might grace Hallowe’en her hands. Then, whatever 2007 might or might not are visible in the form of both humans and dolls. hold for us, she’s in it with us.

Ogilvie Institute

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Dixy-Ann Morrison has just completed the Diploma Course in Evangelisation and Ministry. This is what she had to say about this life-enhancing experience.


t is my pleasure to say that the Diploma Course in Evangelisation and Ministry was extremely interesting and very enjoyable. The study brought me in touch with not only my deepest thoughts and memories but those of others who worked with me throughout the course. To look back on our juvenile years within our families and to recollect those who affected our lives the most, who shaped and educated us to become the people we are today, was an eye-opening experience. It was one which brought us tears, laughter, a deeper understanding, and prayers of thankfulness. We explored and enjoyed listening to each other recount how we felt we had affected other’s lives in the past and in the present, in the wider community but especially in our families as well as in the wider community. These discussions often prompted much private reflection afterwards.

Dixy-Ann Morrison being presented with her Diploma in Evangelisation and Ministry by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Faustino Sainz Munoz bound to give that same love and support not just to my own children, and those at home, but to the world at large.

My sincere thanks and love go out to the combined teams at Maryvale. Also the sisters at the convent; the Ogilvie Institute; my parish priest; my children More importantly, this excellent course brought me and all those who gave me their encouragement, face to face with my Saviour, Jesus Christ, and gave support and prayers. me fresh insights into who He is and who He created me to be. It gently unpeeled layers of lessons learnt God bless. through the experiences of my life and opened my eyes to how loved I am by heaven and by so many Dixy-Ann Morrison on earth, all of whom are His children. In turn I feel

OGILVIE INSTITUTE COURSE DIRECTORY 2007 MARYVALE COURSES OFFERED IN SCOTLAND Certificate for Parish Catechists Studies in the Catholic Catechism Listening to the Word BA in Applied Theology Diploma in Evangelisation and Ministry Art Beauty & Inspiration in a Catholic Perspective

OGILVIE WORKSHOPS Workshops on Spirituality Workshops for Readers Workshops for Auxiliary Ministers of Holy Communion Workshops on Liturgy Workshops for Catechists Workshops on Catholic Social Teaching Workshops on Catholic Faith and Culture Workshops on Scottish Catholic History Workshops for training Echoes Coordinators

If you would like further information on any of the above courses contact the Ogilvie Institute, 16 Huntly Street, Aberdeen AB10 1SH, Tel 01224 638675, Email: Director: Deacon Tony Schmitz Courses Coordinator: Mary Nelson Have you seen the Ogilvie Institute’s new web site? Just go to to learn about all the great courses and workshops on offer, such as the ‘Listening to the Word’ scripture course or the ‘Parish Catechists’ course. You can also find out about forthcoming events, and soon you will have complete access to the Ogilvie on-line Library.

Light of the North Issue 4  

A quarterly magazine produced and published by the Diocese of Aberdeen

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