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Dear Friends


f Jesus were to visit your community today, what would he say? Would he issue a warning like the one he gave to Chorazin and Bethsaida? And how would you respond? Wherever Jesus went he did mighty works to show the people how much God had done for them. Chorazin and Bethsaida had been blessed with the visitation of God. They heard the good news and experienced the wonderful works which Jesus did for them. Upon this Rock magazine is published monthly by EuropeAxess Media Ltd, Gibraltar. Editor Fr. Stuart Chipolina: Production Editor: A. Sargent

What would Jesus say?

Why was Jesus upset with these communities? The word woe is also translated as alas. It is as much as an expression of sorrowful pity as it is of anger. Why does Jesus lament and issue a stern warning? The people who heard the gospel here very likely responded with indifference. Jesus upbraids them for doing nothing! Repentance demands change – a change of heart and way of life. God’s word is lifegiving and it saves us from destruction – the destruction

of soul as well as body. Jesus’ anger is directed toward sin and everything which hinders us from doing the will of God and receiving his blessing. In love he calls us to walk in his way of truth and freedom, grace and mercy, justice and holiness. Do you receive his word with faith and submission or with doubt and indifference? Jesus hates the sin but loves the sinner!! God Loves you, Fr Stuart


Cover: Delegates at the European Network of Marian Shrines Annual Conference Photo: A. Sargent

Upon this Rock magazine is entirely supported by advertising and donations. It is run in liaison with the Catholic Diocese of Gibraltar by EuropeAxess Media Ltd. as a not-for-profit project.

To advertise: This magazine is hand-delivered to homes, churches, hospitals and many businesses around Gibraltar every month. To discuss your advertising requirements, or promote your church group or charity, call Tel: 200 79335 email Editorial is selected by EuropeAxess Media in liaison with the Catholic Diocese of Gibraltar. Neither of these parties is responsible for the accuracy of the information contained herein, nor do the views and opinions expressed herein necessarily reflect the views and opinions of either party. Advertisers are not endorsed by virtue of advertising in this magazine. EuropeAxess Media reserves the right to refuse space to any submissions or advertisements.

Join us on pilgrimage 24th April - 1st May 2011 Accompanied by Fr

Stuart Chipolina

485per Euros person

Includes: Travel in luxury bus, 1 night in Madrid ‘en route’ in a Four Star Hotel and 1 night in Catalayud on return journey in a converted Monastery/Hotel. Full board in Lourdes staying at Vatican Astoria Hotel. Optional Tours in Lourdes. For more information contact Fr Stuart on 58041000 or Richard Martinez on 54714000

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A young church in a 100 year old Diocese.

Celebrations are in Two important achievements for the Church in Gibraltar.


itting out in the small terrace behind St Theresa’s Church, chatting to Father Charlie Azzopardi I thought… “We have a cemetery behind us so this will be a very quiet spot for an interview!” Little did I know that busy Father Charlie would be receiving so many phone calls


and even visitors during our chat which showed how very busy and involved he is with his community and his congregation. Father Charlie became a priest 18 years ago, but the idea of taking up this vocation started way back when he was a very young boy. “I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that from the age of 7 I was attracted with becoming a priest. I was an altar boy for many years and got involved with youth prayer groups at a later date. Since I am not an academic I left school at the age of 16 and took a job with Gibraltar Motorways selling cars and later getting involved with the buses, but when the border opened I took over the tour operating side of the business. I was happy working there but the idea of the priesthood remained

within and in my early 20’s I approached Father Caruana, hoping he would tell me I was more suited to being a good catholic collaborating with the church, but instead his words were ‘I thought you would never ask’- then again that was not good enough for me so I started to bargain with the Lord! It was difficult for me to face studies in a formal way, as I was never a good student, so I had a year’s preparation locally before going to UK. I went to Liverpool, thanks to Brother Chincotta who suggested this. After a year in Liverpool I went for another year to Dublin and there I started a full course in Milltown Institute, run by the Jesuits. It is a consortium of Religious Orders. Afterwards I was sent to an official Seminary to continue my studies in Rome at a Missionary

College. I was privileged to be in Rome at the same time as three other Gibraltarians also attracted by priesthood.” Father Charlie was Ordained on the 6th of August 1992. It was a double Ordination together with Father Stuart Chipolina. I recall the beautiful and unique celebration. Initially Father Charlie was based in the Cathedral but when Father Paul was appointed as the administrator for the Cathedral by Bishop Caruana, he became the Parish priest for St Theresa’s Church. The church actually took its name from an infant school of past days. St Theresa’s seemed a very appropriate name for the church to adopt seeing that it was situated in the same area as the school had stood years before. St Theresa’s Church has obviously seen a great deal of transformation since Father Devlin, who later became Bishop Devlin, acquired a Nissen hut from the MOD to use as a church. The original Nissen hut grew larger

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An interview with Fr. Charlie by Sonia Golt

From The Gibraltar Chronicle.


The church that got bigger and bigger: The ‘new’ St. Theresa’s is a vibrant hub within the community, one example of the many events held there in recent years is the Rock Alight International Youth Conference.

DIOCESAN CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS Events run from Monday 15th to Saturday 20th November 2010 as another was joined to it as well as a couple of extensions that followed. In October 1992 these buildings were demolished and the Church was re-built into the building we now have. At the time the works were carried out under the supervision of Father Paul. Since then the outside walls have again been remodelled with a material that is fortunately maintenance free. The chapel of the Blessed Sacrament was then erected, and consequently two new altars, one on each side of the main altar were built in a similar format to the centre altar, the cross was also moved to the centre of the church. The Choir area had a new extension built. Now on the 29th of October the Church will be Consecrated. What will that entail? “To have a Consecration there are certain ecclesiastical requirements, one is to be free of debts, the other that the church will be in perpetuity and maintained as such and not just a temporary church, and last but not least that it has a stable and constant community. We luckily have financially never been in debt as money came from all walks of life and from different fund raising events. We also have a 199 year lease for the Church so we have all the three things in place now to be able to celebrate the much awaited consecration. We are therefore totally ready to

have a Mass on the 29th October and during that Mass there will be a celebration to anoint the Altar and the columns of the church, as this is what constitutes the symbolic consecration, in the same way as we anoint a child at his baptism or at confirmation.” Those persons wishing to attend the Novena of St Jude will be happy to hear that it starts from the 20th to the 28th of October culminating in the Consecration of St Theresa’s Church on the 29th of October, the latter will be officiated by Bishop Ralph Heskett with Mass at 7 p.m. and attended by Father Devlin and other parish priests. “The Novena is very popular with locals and with our friends from Spain who also attend every year. It will be a lovely and spiritual preparation for the week before the 29th October when we will have our feast and celebration, a day that we will have down on our calendars each year as a special day that celebrates the dedication of the church and that emphasizes that our church will be here for perpetuity!” The Diocesan Centenary Celebrations The See of Gibraltar was created in 1910 by Pope St. Pius X. The first bishp was Dom Gregory Thompson. Previous to that from 1816 to 1910 Gibraltar was a Vicariate Apostoic, optaining its




Mon 15th Service of Reconciliation (Service) St. Theresa’s Church Tue 16th Marriage (Mass) Sacred Heart Church Wed 17th The Sick (Healing Service) St. Paul’s Church Thu 18th Education / Youth (Mass) St. Joseph’s Church Fri 19th Mary Our Mother (Mass) The Cathedral Sat 20th Diocesan Celebration (Mass) Tercentenary Hall Please note during this week there will be no evening mass in any of the Churches. More information next month. ecclesiastical independence from the Diocese of Cadiz. The first Vicar Apostolic, John Baptist Zino, was from Mahon, Menorca which was also British. What can you tell us about the Diocesan Celebrations that will follow in November? Fr. Charlie explained how the celebrations will start on the 15th of November and there will be a series of events taking place in each of the churches. Each evening will have a different theme, on Monday a service

focussing on Reconciliation Past and Present, Other themes will be Marriage, Healing, Education and Mary Our Mother these will be a Mass or a Service. The week will culminate in a Diocesan Celebration to which everybody is invited, this will take the form of a Mass at the Tercentenary Hall. Father Charlie is excited about the forthcoming events as he believes they will contribute spiritually at this important time for the Church.

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The European Network of Marian Shrines Conference

“At the forefront of Bishop Emeritus Caruana gives an historical explanation of the devotion to Our Lady of Europe


n the morning of the 14th September Bishop Ralph Heskett welcomed 45 delegates from the European Network of Marian Shrines to the 8th Annual Conference and the first such conference to be held in Gibraltar. Bishop Jacques Perrier of Lourdes responded thanking His Lordship and saying how pleased he was that 17 out of 20 of the Shrines that form the Network had been able to send delegations to the Conference. He underlined


that many of them had travelled long distances and represented huge nations and yet they had to come to Gibraltar at the end of a year when they had been looking at Shrines as a meeting point for different religions. The first speaker was Bishop Emeritus Caruana who gave an excellent and concise history of the devotion to Mary the Mother of God under the title of Our Lady of Europe. During the coffee break I asked Fr. Jose Maria de Antonio, from Lourdes, what it meant to him,

Forty-five delegates from 17 countries requiring translation into 6 different languages met at the Europa Retreat Centre for the 8th Annual Conference of the European Network of Marian Shrines. after all the work that he and Mgr. Charlie Azzopardi had put in, firstly leading to the Shrine forming part of the network and secondly that the Conference should be held here in Gibraltar this year. Fr. Jose Maria was effusive in his answer. “The Shrine HAD to be part of the Network,” he insisted “due to its geographical location it is at the forefront of the European Network of Marian Shrines.”

He further explained “If the Network were a boat, Gibraltar would be at the bow.” Our Lady of Europe does indeed make a wonderful figurehead for such a Marian vessel. Fr. Caruana’s work on the history of the Church in Gibraltar is wellknown, and widely published. This allows writers such as Mike Brufal to make reference to it when writing articles such as this one, which recently appeared

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the Network.”

in Catholic Life magazine and which help to promote the devotion to Our Lady of Europe internationally. THE 700TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF EUROPE by Mike Brufal. The Jubilee Year in preparation for the 700th anniversary of the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe was inaugurated on Friday 9th May 2008 with a special Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Mary the Crowned. During the celebration Bishop Charles Caruana read an Apostolic Letter from Pope Benedict XV1 granting an Apostolic Blessing to all those present. The 15th century statue of Our Lady of Europe is closely inter-twined with the history of Gibraltar. A key day for the Gibraltarians was the 30th May 1969 when the Preamble to the Constitution was published. This is the feast of Our Lady of Europe. Ten years later Pope John Paul 11 approved that Our Lady of Europe should be the Patroness of Gibraltar and transferred her feast day to the 5th May, Europe Day. The Shrine was originally constructed around an ancient Mosque and then dedicated to Our Lady of Europe in thanksgiving for the restoration of Christianity in Southern Spain. In the shrine there are typical examples of Islamic architecture such as the Moorish arches within the Chapel building and also the ornate mosaic outside

the Shrine in the main patio area. To the east of the Shrine can be seen the Mosque built by the King of Saudi Arabia. It is possible to hear the Shrine bell tolling at the same time as the call for prayer from the Mosque. History of the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe. The Moors occupied Gibraltar from 711 until 1462 apart from a brief Spanish occupation (13091333). A small Mosque was built on the site of what is now the Shrine. On 20th August 1462, which happened to be St Bernard of Clairvaux’s feast day and explains why St Bernard is Gibraltar’s patron saint, the Spaniards recaptured Gibraltar and upon finding this small mosque converted it into a shrine in honour of Our Lady who was the Patroness of Europe. The Spaniards built a large chapel at right angles to the mosque’s east wall and the whole area became the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe. The Virgin holds in her hand a sceptre with three flowers standing for Love, Truth and Justice. The Shrine prospered in fame and popularity with ships passing through the Strait of Gibraltar saluting Our Lady as they passed Europa Point. Sailors from those ships that called into Gibraltar used to visit the Shrine and eventually an oil lamp was placed both in front of the statue and the tower. In 1568 Giovanni Andrea Doria presented an finely worked

silver lamp and his example was followed by Don Juan of Austria who, after winning the battle of Lepanto, presented two beautiful silver lamps. Spanish historians of the 17th century mention miracles which happened after pilgrims visited and prayed at the Shrine. These miracles were also written about in a book about the Shrine written by Father Jeronimo de la Concepción. Admiral Rooke captured the Rock from the Spaniards on August 4 1704. Tragically the shrine was looted by the marines, the statue of the Virgin and Child desecrated and thrown into the sea. Miraculously the pieces of wood were found by a fisherman who took them to Father Juan Romero de Figuero, the priest in charge of the Cathedral. The priest took the wise decision to take the remains of the statue to Algeciras for safekeeping. Algeciras is in Spain and faces the Rock across the Bay of Gibraltar. As it proved impossible to persuade the Spaniards the return the statue, a replica was crafted, decorated with jewels and placed in the Cathedral. During the Great Siege of 1779-83 the shrine was badly damaged and the Spanish extension demolished. A guild dedicated to Our Lady of Europe was formed and its aims were to encourage devotion to Our Lady, organise pilgrimages and take care of the poor. Funds would be provided to bury those who could not afford a Christian

burial. In 1779, at the start of the Great Siege, when the Cathedral was on fire, the statue was taken to Windmill Hill Flats where the congregation had taken refuge. In 1783 it was taken back to the Cathedral and placed on the main altar. In the meantime the original statue remained in Algeciras until May 1864 when Bishop Scandella, with the considerable help of Pope Pius 1X, persuaded the Spaniards to return it to Gibraltar. On the day it was brought back the military lined the route of the procession from Waterport to the Franciscan Convent in the centre of town. During the Marian Year in 1954 the statue was moved on the Feast of the Assumption to St Joseph’s Church which at the time was the Church nearest the Shrine. The Shrine had been used as an army storehouse for oil and packing cases and later a guard room and then a library. In 1959 the Army decided that it had no further use for the building and decided to demolish it. However the site was made an ancient monument and from that moment the Church authorities worked to restore the Shrine so that the statue could return to its rightful home. Restoration began in 1962 and on the 28th September Bishop Healey celebrated the first Mass at the Shrine for 258 years. The statue of Our Lady was returned to the Shrine on 7 October 1968.

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The European Network of Marian Shrines Conference

Work on the renovation started in 1973 and finished the next year. Whilst this work was being completed the statue was looked after by the nuns at Mount Alvernia. The Shrine was consecrated by Bishop Rapallo


on 5th October 1980. Since then a replica of the statue was presented by Bishop Charles Caruana to Pope John Paul 11 and replicas have been given to the Church of Our Lady of Dolours in Fulham and

churches in Ballymena, Madeira and Jamaica. The small statue has enjoyed a turbulent history but has always come out on top – no doubt due to divine intervention.

As the second day of the conference fell on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, the visiting clergy celebrated Mass in the tiny ‘Our Lady of Sorrows’ church in Catalan Bay.

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Womens Health

Fertility Awareness A window into women’s health.


ertility does not have to be shrouded in mystery and misunderstanding. The FertilityCare™ system is unique in tailoring monitoring and treatment to the woman’s individual cycle and needs. FertilityCare™ brings predictability and reassurance to a woman through simple charting techniques and a deeper understanding of her body’s signs of fertility. Women and couples are taught how to track the signs of fertility, so as to naturally achieve or avoid a pregnancy. Couples charting together also benefit from the honesty, intimacy and rekindled passion

for each other that the process encourages. This system evolved from extensive research carried out in the USA by obstetrician gynaecologist, Dr Thomas W Hilgers MD, commencing in the 1970’s and ongoing today.

Partnering with FertilityCare™ and NaProTechnology is a choice that can empower, restore and create life.

Dr Monique Risso The fertility journey begins here… This effective and comprehensive system can help you to better understand and manage your fertility. Our infertility treatment program is aimed at maximizing your chances of conceiving naturally during treatment cycles, maintaining your pregnancy to full term and helping you to care for your fertility in the long term.



y restoring and enhancing a woman’s reproductive cycle. NaProTechnology is also used to investigate and treat women’s gynaecological health problems such as difficulties conceiving, recurrent miscarriages, polycystic ovarian syndrome, irregular cycles, unusual bleeding, ovarian cysts, PMS, endometriosis, postnatal depression and more. NaProTechnology is used in conjunction with FertilityCare™ to uncover and resolve underlying fertility issues (anatomical, hormonal and otherwise), so that married couples can conceive naturally. By aiming to restore the body’s natural function, NaProTechnology does not suppress nor hyper-stimulate the body, nor carry increased risk of premature or multiple birth We understand that fertility treatment can sometimes be an emotional and personally confronting experience. That is why the FertilityCare™ and NaProTechnology team is committed to treating clients from a compassionate, holistic and personal perspective.

Our women’s health treatment programme aims to restore you to full procreative health, while encouraging you to understand and participate in the progress. Learning the system consists in attending an Introductory Session and individualized follow-up sessions. To adequately and confidently learn the system, the recommended follow-up schedule is five follow-ups during the first three months and three follow-ups over the next nine months. To schedule an appointment to attend an Introductory Session contact: Dr Monique Risso, MB ChB MRCGP, Valmar Medical Clinic, 11A Main Street, Gibraltar Phone:+350 200 78202 Email: mrissofertilityspice@

A New Dimension in Your Marriage

The next Marriage Encounter Weekend will be taking place at the Retreat Centre from the 8th to the 10th October: For further information contact:

Eliott & Macu Dobinson T: 20079586 or 58008309 Ernest & Jane Povedano T: 20070976 or 54007961

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The Origins of Halloween

A Candle for the Holy Sticking to a less pagan celebration of Halloween is not always easy.


ummer’s end; the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, (sow-an) November Day, was celebrated throughout Ireland. The harvest was in as the dark season of winter stepped over the threshold and this was the time when it was believed that the souls of the dead wandered about seeking help to enter the ‘otherworld’. It must have been very scary, this night when they believed the living and the dead co-mingled and to combat the fear the living built bonfires to ward off the darkness. Picture our ancient ancestors dancing around the fires, as much in fear for their own protection as seeking help for the wandering


souls. These ghostly shadows still dance around us today and I remember how families in Ireland celebrated Halloween, as we now know the festival. I understand more about it now of course, and how it became an intermingling of pagan and Christian observances. Christianity considered the festival heathen and ugly and attempted to strip it down to an acceptable level. Interesting that, it never sought to abolish the festival entirely; no doubt some wisdom was at work which recognized that this move would have caused strong resentment and opposition to the adoption of Christianity. When Saint

Patrick came to Ireland in the 5th century on his Christian mission he encountered an entrenched Druidic religion already centuries old. These ancient festivals were full of powerful imagery and symbolism and in the Christian calendar have become a bit of mixed observances thereby carrying on traditions (and this includes Easter). As a child I loved Halloween and oftimes as an adult too! Yes, it was scary but fun filled. We lived in the country and had to make our own fun. My mother baked a fruit loaf called a barmbrack, with a shiny sixpence inside. Oh, the jostling and excitement as we children awaited our turn for the next slice…would that sixpence be mine…would it ever? We bobbed for apples in a basin of water and got soaked in the process and more often than not, were minus the apple. Then came the scary part of the evening as we sat around the fire. My mother told us stories of the wandering souls from purgatory abroad this night seeking an entrance to the ‘otherworld’, heaven. This time of year wind and rain often lent quite an atmospheric ambience to the occasion and we would shake when the rain rattled against the windows. Mother explained that families

remembered their dead at this time of year and we helped set a place at table, place a chair by the fire and most importantly of all, lit a candle for any holy souls of ours who might be wandering abroad this night. (There is a link here with the lighting of the Christmas candle, placing it in the window to light the way for the Holy Family). There is always a perceived safety in numbers and leaving that cozy hearth to make our way to bed was, yes, frightening. Sleep often eluded me as my young mind wandered out there with these restless souls, Aunty X, Uncle Y, escaping from purgatory and of course my image of purgatory was one of suffering, and to have to range through this night of darkness seemed an added agony. “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below, words, without thoughts, never to heaven go”. It might seem incongruous to quote Shakespeare, (Hamlet) here, but bear with me. All Souls Day, November 2nd, when we pray particularly for the lost souls in purgatory has been with us since 998AD. It has been ‘added on’ if you will, and with All Saints Day, November 1st we have an example of Christianizing this pagan festival. Church teaching

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by Anne Mesilio

Souls tells us that purgatory is a state in which souls who have died in grace, but have not been purged of sin, must expiate their sins. I think this could very well be interpretated as an admission that our ancestors knew a thing or two! The holy souls need our prayers and are at our mercy, and mercy (charity) is what they deserve from us. To quote Cardinal Newman, “help; help Lord, the souls which thou hast made, the souls so dear to thee, in prison for the debt unpaid of sins committed here”. That, coupled with Shakespeare means we must be active in helping to get these lost souls into heaven. Observing All Souls’ Day with the celebration of the Eucharist will also help us face our own mortality as we may be the next holy souls knocking at the Pearly Gates. So then, Halloween as we know it today with fancy dress parties etc is a legacy from times past. In wearing scary masks we

hide behind our own fears, paradoxically declaring that we are not afraid. This vestige of the original celebrations of facing the darkness of the unknown with its traditional mix of pleasure and fear is a cry for protection. Who knows what is out there? Halloween was, and can still be a celebration, a festival of revelry, a mingling of fun and fear, with the fun bit winning. Halloween has not been much celebrated in Gibraltar until a few years ago when it erupted amongst us in a frenzy of egg throwing accompanied by widespread acts of vandalism. I can remember the shock this madness which had nothing at all to do with Halloween created in the community. It happened again the following year but thankfully our Royal Gibraltar Police took a firm stand on this lawlessness and put a stop to it. In the last couple of years children in fancy dress, accompanied by an adult have

knocked on my door demanding “trick or treat”, expecting me to dole out candy just because…. not seeming to understand that if I demanded a ‘trick’, they were nonplussed. Even though there is now a measure of ‘control’ in celebrating this feast, the concept of the festival is still not understood. Perhaps it is time to educate the young to the origins off this festival, how it exists side by side with our Christian beliefs today. Just like Christmas really when we often indulge in over eating and drinking, and forget we are celebrating the birth of Christ. Education is the key which unlocks understanding of our shared past. If you must revel, do so responsibly and then please remember, if it’s only in your heart, to light a candle for the holy souls.

This year, as on previous years there will be an

All Souls’ Day Mass 5.00pm at the


(there will not be a 6.00pm Mass at St. Theresa’s that day). But do look out for news of an Halloween Vigil at the Shrine on the 31st October.

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Reporting from a VSO placement

by Joanne Barabich

The Beauty of Work

A simpler way of life


aving completed six and a half months of my work placement in West Africa, I keep reminding myself not to take for granted the beauty of what goes on around me each day. Last February I was placed in Wa in the Upper West Region of Ghana to work as a Teaching Support Officer. The differences


in wealth between the North and South of Ghana were noticeable from the start. Wa is practically at the extreme North and not that far from Burkina Faso, which borders the north side of the country, and is the capital city of the Upper West. It is far from a typical buzzing capital city meaning it has a very rural, pretty and green aspect to it. The majority of the population is Muslim and we are now in the middle of Ramadam. Apart from the fact that I interact with these people every day, I am constantly reminded of the fact that it is Ramadam by my surroundings. The sounds of the mosque and prayers seem to be more frequent and longer and I hear these sounds from my bed as early as 4 am. The signs of a new day beginning usually

commence between 5 and 5.30 am, the sweeping sounds of the African broom , the sound of water, the smell of burning ,the large array of bird sounds, people singing, music playing etc. etc. However, things are slightly quieter now that it is Ramadam as people will get up to eat in the middle of the night and some will sleep until slightly later. Nevertheless, regardless of religion, one of the things that amazes me most in Ghana is the beauty of hard, physical, traditional work that is carried out by people on a daily basis. There is a palpable sense of peace and community in watching people of all ages carrying out their daily tasks. The fact that everything is done outdoors means that any direction you turn, you will catch a glimpse of this: women and children doing the laundry by hand often in groups, trails of women carrying wood, coal, leaves or an endless amount of things on their heads, children fetching water from the well, the list of activities is endless and can be seen from dusk until dawn. I cannot help but feel a little sad that the whole idea of working together and of children taking part in the daily household tasks has been lost in a great part of the western world. I see many advantages to this way of living and that many of the problems in Western society could be alleviated if we learnt something from developing countries. I am by no means saying that we should throw out all our household appliances, and start carrying things on our heads but

as human beings let us not forget the value of teamwork, talking to each other and the positive effects on our mental, spiritual and physical health of physical work. Let us remember to switch off the television during meals, ask each other how our night/day was at the beginning and end of each day. Do not forget to thank God for each meal and each new day that rises, for our health, for each other and for many other things. These are things that we can very easily take for granted in places where they are not things that, speaking generally, we tend to lack. However, remember that there are people who are literally toiling for their daily bread, wondering where the next meal for them or their children will come from or whether a family member will survive an illness, I am sure they do not forget to give thanks to God, Allah, the universe or wherever their beliefs lie. More about the VSO www.vso. or Kusuma Trust which represents it in Gibraltar. www.

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Theology- as if it really mattered

by Dom Sebastian

Wild Thinking

Dom Sebastian struggles with doubt


had what I think is a seminal intuition— somehow I think of Rudolf Steiner and ‘Christianity as a mystical religion’— about Mary as a Jewish girl ‘drawn more deeply into the mystery of God, drawn with exceptional depth, and as a result becoming radiant. I have long noted that taking the virginal conception as factual in a science-shaped culture such as ours gets us thinking of X and Y chromosomes, an extra Y chromosome to produce a man, so that a male parent is necessary for the baby to be male. But this entails the wrong sort of mystery for contemplation, as a concentration on the comingalive of Jesus in the tomb reduces the resurrection as all-changing mystery to resuscitation, the David Jenkins problem. Fergus Kerr was impressed, I remember, with my idea of Mary taken with exceptional depth in to the divine purpose, so that what we have is ‘an extremity of the mystical’ rather than a contravention of the natural. I recall William Temple, that great Anglican churchman, who had an extraordinary insight

into the virgin birth. He could not believe it, and so was delaying taking orders. Suddenly, during a symphony concert, he ‘knew it’ in a split second and was never in doubt thereafter. Did he experience ‘an exceptional extremity of the mystical’? Now I remember those ‘flashes of the infinite’ that Chapman says accompany contemplative prayer. Now in this context, I recall the worst sleepless night I have ever known, after reading ‘The Gospel According to Jesus’ by Stephen Mitchell, the Jewish poet-scholar. He says that Jesus must have been a ‘momsa’, which was the nickname for Jewish babies fathered by the soldiery in the Palestine of those days. All night, with no intermission, a voice said ‘you know it’s true, he’s just a momsa, the Christian story is a hoax!.’ It never stopped, and next day I was a wreck. Somehow I managed to preach at a large night-mass in Boston College. That night I took a pill that I hardly ever find necessary, and it must have put to rest an awful lot of my inside, because I woke early

with a sense of unusual peace and the words ‘my ways are not your ways’ extended into ‘I don’t talk legitimacy at all.’. It was an overwhelming transcendence that filled me all day with peace. I remember imagining myself asking ‘but what did happen?’ and getting the reply ‘I’m not

telling you!’ Notice that the notion of Joseph as the Father doesn’t come up. I call that a pious Protestant solution, Christianity made respectable. The birth of him is not respectable Any more than the way in which he died:

I yearn for a young mother, I the fool My fascination the crucified. Have I not crucified the feminine My destiny a fight between the two, Its theatre the pain-body with no win: Is Mary Mother young for me come through? Now I remember my most dreadful night Sleepless the Mary-birth a mockery Jesus a momsa—you just know that’s right: But you gave peace as deep as any sea Waking me with ‘my ways are not your ways’ You bring my body’s war to peace and praise.

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GibMissionAfrica Appeal: Part 1

Angela Sargent

Horrible Acts of Violence

Fr George Grima relates the plight of people with albinism in Kenya.


should know by now, that to go and listen to Fr. George Grima talk about his work needs an ‘X’ rating. Logistically, the lounge at the Rock Hotel was the easiest meeting point as Fr. George was on one of his whirlwind visits and I was to catch him between GBC and The Chronicle. But if I had been looking forward to a cosy chat over coffee, I was in for a shock. And if you are sensitive, I suggest you move on to the next article. Many of our readers will have

already seen his presentation as he visited many church groups during his visit to the Rock. I listened to his story, delivered swiftly, concisely, with the enthusiasm and energy that he brings to his mission. He told how around six years ago witchdoctors in Zimbabwe started to spread the rumour that albino skin would cure cancer, and that intercourse with an woman with albinism would cure HIV AIDS. And indeed, the News is full of it; a Bradford newspaper reports:

Although illegal, witchcraft is practiced widely in Kenya. “Albinism is a condition in which there is a lack of pigment to protect the skin and eyes from the sun. While rare in the UK, with one case per 17,000 people, it is more common in Africa with one in 1,100 people affected.” The figure Fr. George gave from his anecdotal evidence was one in 2,000, but this is part of the problem no one knows the true figure. Recently the Kenyan Government has heeded the appeals of people with albinism and now plans to carry out a census to determine how widespread the condition is. People with albinism live

uneasy lives, there is a price on their heads, while witchcraft is illegal in Kenya, there are still many practicing witchdoctors who put on an impressive show for naive or desperate people. They find their clients among those looking for a cure for illnesses that are bad enough in our Western society, but with the standard of healthcare available in rural Africa, more often fatal. And so we read about the man who was sold by his brotherin-law to a witchdoctor across the border in Zimbabwe, where it was hoped they would get a higher price for his skin. And we have his story because he escaped and was able to report it. Fr. George tells us about a mother who, having given birth to an albino child and understanding the life of exclusion this would mean, asked a doctor to cure the baby girl. But the doctor was not a real doctor, and arrived the next day at the woman’s hut with two ‘colleques’ to perform the ‘procedure’. He sent the mother outside to wait, and proceeded to murder and dismember the child. They left, telling the woman not to disturb her baby as she was sleeping. Fr. George then asks, “Can you imagine the drama when the woman discovered what had happened?” He tells of how the Catholic Church in Kenya has offered sanctuary to all children with albinism. Parents who are afraid they cannot adequately protect their children are invited to bring them to one of the church schools where they will be able to live in a sheltered environment, be fed and educated for as long as they like. This is an enormous undertaking, the population of Kenya in the August 2009 census was 38,610,097, if we take Fr. Grima’s more conservative estimate of one in 2,000 suffering from albinism, well I’ll let you do the maths, but I can tell you he is going to have to build a few more schools.

GibMissionAfrica is a local charity set up to support Fr. George Grima and other African missionaries. www. If you can help please send donations to GibMissionAfrica, Leon House, 3rd Floor, Suite 8, 1 Secretary’s Lane, P.O.Box 1437, Gibraltar.


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The immersion retreat Experience


Peaceful and restful Br. Tito’s retreat at The International Spirituality Centre in Lusaka


bout 20 years ago the Christian Brothers bought land near Lusaka Airport in Zambia to build an International Spirituality Centre. The previous owner of the land was running a brick-making factory. When this failed he evicted as many of the people living on his land as he could and sold the land to the Brothers. The fifty families remaining on the land were reassured by the Brothers that they would not be evicted. Instead the Brothers have done their best to improve their condition. One of the first things they did was to mark out a football pitch to provide some means of recreation for the young people. Some of the people in the compound were employed by the Centre as gatekeepers, groundsmen, cooks, and general maintenance men. Naturally some needed to be trained. The educational needs of the children were not neglected. Since the young children found it difficult to be admitted to junior schools because they had not been able to attend preschool, the Brothers built the INSAKA in their grounds and hired a teacher. The children

have to be clothed and provided with school equipment. Today principals of junior schools visit our pre-school to recruit our children. Our teacher is doing an excellent job. Some young men are also supplied with bursaries to develop their talents. This ISC is the most beautiful place I have ever lived in. The sight of the jacarandas, flamboyant, bougainvillaea, lime, jasmine can be breathtaking. Our abode is built like a Spanish monastery of the 17th century. With arches around the cloister, a gold-fish pond and a dove-cote. Those who come find it peaceful and restful. I find it an earthly paradise – a far cry from the war torn countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone which I left behind 15 years ago and the 14 years of life in the Namib Desert. Last year the Leaders of our Congregation alerted me to the fact that The International Spirituality Centre was in need of a member to complete the team of five and they thought that I would be admirably suited for the task. I was encouraged to visit the Centre and to dialogue with the other members of the team. The team consisted of three Brothers and a Sister: one

Brother from India, one from Australia and one from Ireland and the Sister from New Zealand. I discovered that my new assignment was admirably suited to me. Whereas in Namibia I had to drive long distances and was virtually conducting a one-manshow, here I have team support and the people come to us. At our centre we run a variety of programmes which provide us with the means to improve the conditions of life of those living around us. For example: The Immersion Retreat Experience which takes place during Holy Week each year has drawn participants from Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Uruguay, Canada, USA, UK, Switzerland, Argentina, & South Africa. They follow a model of experienceand-reflection. Participants are exposed to a number of different aspects of the lives of the poor in Zambia, and then meet in groups for reflection, sharing, and prayer. There are visits to places like schools, compounds, homes, markets, orphanages, hospices, home-based care

centres, and parish liturgical celebrations. In the second week, participants also get to see a stretch of the countryside and visit Livingstone, the mighty Zambezi, a game-park, and the great Mosi-o-Tunya (Victoria Falls) – for the sake of a more balanced picture and a taste of Easter. We charge 1,000 US$ for the 12-day programme and this goes a long way to pay for the running costs of the ‘Insaka’, our pre-school. It is my hope that some day I will see somebody from Gibraltar participating in the programme. Further information on the programme is available from Upon this Rock: Tel 20079335, and there are more pictures on our facebook page.

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A Community in Action

Faith and Light

Provincial meeting of Iber Atlantic Province Gibraltar, 18-20 June 2010 he provincial meeting held at the Gibraltar Retreat Centre, was carried out in a spirit of love and goodwill. The people involved at this meeting were Miquel and his wife Muski, Provincial Co-ordinators from Salamanca, Alvaro vice Provincial Co-ordinators also from Salamanca, Juan treasurer



from Madrid and Padre Victor Provincial Chaplain from Merida. Padre Victor is a Redemptorist and hoped to meet Bishop Heskett who is also a Redemptorist father, at his Ordination. On the local side were Douglas and Joanna also vice Provincial Co-ordinators, the three community leaders and their respective co-ordinating teams. The other local members of Faith and Light met the team from Spain on Saturday evening. The purpose of this meeting was to clarify certain issues within the family of Faith and Light throughout the world. The Charter and Constitution provides in detail all aspects of the provincial organisation, pages 20 - 26. It is advisable that all members read it and understand the need for change in this particular area of the constitution. On Friday evening the Gibraltar team welcomed the guests, tired after such a long journey. Following a hearty supper, lovingly cooked by Minerva and Alfredo,

it was time for Adoration, officiated by Mgr. Fr. Paul Bear. It was an appropriate start to the weekend, moments of silence, prayer, music, petitions and thanksgiving. After adoration the leaders of the Province had their 1st meeting. Saturday began with morning prayers followed by breakfast. Another meeting took place, which included leaders of communities and their co-ordinating teams. The meeting was interesting and informative where questions were asked, answers were given and views exchanged. After lunch the guests were taken on a tour around Gibraltar, on their return they were warmly received by the members who had just arrived for the Celebration. Once inside the lecture room, Douglas introduced the guests to the communities. The talk that followed with the help of visual aides, was called “The New Way of Organisation”. It was followed by a session of questions and answers which helped most people to under-

stand the change made in the “Introduction of Provinces” and therefore help clear some of their doubts. The mime that followed was entertaining, thanks to Odilia an her team. Then after a short break, Fr Jonathan celebrated Mass in Spanish. He joined the community for supper, after which photos were taken and songs were sung. After the members had left, another meeting was held with the Provincial team. On Sunday morning Padre Victor celebrated Mass, followed by breakfast and more meetings. The weekend meeting ended at the Cable Car Restaurant with a great lunch. Special thanks to the team for their time and effort in making this weekend a great success. God Bless you all Faith & Light, Gibraltar Photos: Left- Odila and her team put on an entertaining mime. Above- In the lecture hall.

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by Sonia Golt

Poetry or prayer? Sonia takes the time to sit and listen to Lawrence Bellotti’s poetry.

Poets have words within, and these words can either form rhythm or just express, in poetic format, the feelings and emotions of the person writing them. It is a very therapeutic thing to do, it makes you free from hurt and anger, from love and passion, from lust and kindness, it is a way of putting down on paper your frustrations, your likes and dislikes and it also brings out your spirituality and empathy for others…Poetry is an illusion that comes from the heart and soul, it is embedded within the poet, it is what makes the poet.

We have many poets in our midst but one that comes to mind is Lawrence Bellotti, his many poems have been published in local newspapers and magazines and he is still writing them. I met Lawrence a few years ago by pure chance and we got talking, him, his girlfriend, and me, about the beauty of poetry. I was highly impressed with his facility to convey on paper beautiful feelings and emotions of love. He has gone through a lot in his life but this has not deterred his love for poetry and his easy going attitude. He loves his stop for coffee

at the Elliott’s Hotel each day and there he speaks to a lot of people who love to see him around. His love for poetry is paramount, he always carries one or two of his poems with him and can delight you with it if you have the time to sit and listen to an array of beautiful words. We are all busy people nowadays but we need to take time to listen to the birds, see the flowers or hear beautiful poetry… “I love to write for people who are not well and maybe in need of an uplifting feeling especially if they are in Hospital, with my poems I try to help them forget their pain and suffering. I somehow brighten up their day by my inspiring words. I write mostly at home, but there have been many instances when I have written in other places too. I like to think that my poems might convey a message of hope to people who may be lonely or broken hearted as through my poems I try to convey a message of love, understanding and kindness” It is so true that Lawrence has a soft spot for people who may need help as he is a very kind man who is sometimes not fully understood by others. It is amazing that in such a small community as ours, and in such a charitable community too, we may sometimes not see that there are people needing to be listened to. I am glad I found that time to speak to Lawrence for I learnt a lot about him and about myself. Lawrence’s philosophy of life is to help and that is a wonderful asset to have. He is misinterpreted because he is different, maybe Bohemian, but yet again a poet

can be a person of strange moods, and composing poems can help us focus on our feelings and on who we are. Poetry is a spontaneous flow of powerful feelings and as Justin Stone, the American musician, author and poet said “In this world it is best to have a little poetry in you!” Lawrence started writing poetry at a very tender age and his very first poem was written when he was at the Gibraltar Grammar School, funnily enough he wrote it in Spanish and called it “El Rio” – it had such beauty that his schoolteacher decided to publish it in the School Magazine, this was in 1966, since then there has been no stopping Lawrence from publishing his poems in various local Newspapers. Some of Lawrence poems have also been published in this magazine. “At school I found literature a bit dry and old fashioned and this is what made me prefer writing light hearted poems so people of all ages, including children could enjoy them. Sometimes I find people are very reserved and even introspect and have difficulty with having relationships of any kind, so due to this I wanted to help by expressing ideas in a way that comes easy to me. I feel many emotions within me and some I talk about and share with my many good friends in conversation, but other times it is my pen and paper that take up my ideas so others can and hopefully enjoy later – it is a way of saying that someone out there does care for you.” This is Lawrence’s first poem it has depth of feelings and you too may find your own personal interpretation which could be different to what he was trying to convey… .....see over leaf

AI International Couriers Ltd 11 Engineer Lane P.O. Box 532 Gibraltar Tel: 200 73775 Fax: 200 74389

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Poetry or prayer? “El Rio” Rio lento que murmuras Y que fluyes felizmente Cerca esta la embocadura Pero sigues indiferente Tu lenguaje es algo Nuevo Es misterioso y extrano Como estrellas a lo lejos Que sonrien y no hacen daño Yo ayer fui a tu lado, Escuché lo que decías Y allí quedé sentado Lleno de tu poesía El peligro se aproxíma Olas grandes te amenazan Ya el mar esta encima Ni tus fuerzas lo rechasan Sigue alegre, rio lento No te asustes del destino Porque en mi pensamiento Seguire yo tu camino

To write poetry it is essential to read a lot of poetry in your youth. Listening to poetry or reciting it is also essential and once you feel ready to put pen to pa-


per and to express your feelings and emotions in writing then you have to read your poems aloud so you perceive how the rest of the world will receive it. Poets find that writing can console them when experiencing extreme emotions or events in life and it is like obtaining spiritual peace. This is when beautiful inspirational poems are written. When things are hard and you feel low and let down via a break up, bereavement, loss of job or let down in general then this is when deep emotional poetry hits your soul! The beauty of poetry can come from simple words and can sometimes be compared to the lyrics of a song, except it is not accompanied by music. But when poetry is recited, it must be like music to your ears. Poetry is a form of culture that as well as teaching you touches your feelings and even makes you change your attitude to situations while at the same time it can entertain you.

From the Production Editor’s Inbox

Recall The Maker of all human beings (GOD) is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to a serious defect in the primary and central component of the heart. This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units code named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units. This defect has been technically termed “Subsequential Internal Non-Morality,” or more commonly known as S.I.N., as it is primarily expressed. Some of the symptoms include: 1. Loss of direction 2. Foul vocal emissions 3. Amnesia of origin 4. Lack of peace and joy 5. Selfish or violent behaviour

6. Depression or confusion in the mental component 7. Fearfulness 8. Idolatry 9. Rebellion The Manufacturer, who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is providing factory-authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this defect. The Repair Technician, JESUS, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. There is no additional fee required. The number to call for repair in all areas is:

P-R-A-Y-E-R. Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE procedure. Next, download ATONEMENT

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Notice from the Repair Technician, Jesus, into the heart component. No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Jesus will replace it with:

1. Love 2. Joy 3. Peace 4. Patience 5. Kindness 6. Goodness 7. Faithfulness 8. Gentleness 9. Self control Please see the operating manual, the B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth) for further details on the use of these fixes. WARNING: Continuing to operate the human being unit

without correction voids any manufacturer warranties, exposing the unit to dangers and problems too numerous to list and will result in the human unit being permanently impounded. For free emergency service, call on Jesus. DANGER: The human being units not responding to this recall action will have to be scrapped in the furnace. The SIN defect will not be permitted to enter Heaven so as to prevent contamination of that facility. Thank you for your attention! - GOD P.S. Please assist where possible by notifying others of this important recall notice, and you may contact the Father any time by ‘Knee mail’! Because He Lives!

Sheriff Electrical Contractors Ltd.

Electrical Contractors Office 40/42 Cornwall’s Lane,

Tel: (350) 200 79353, Fax: (350) 200 74515 E-mail: Fire Services Division 3 Cornwall’s Parade, Tel: (350) 200 40583, Fax: (350) 200 74515 E-mail:

A. A. Sheriff (Wholesale) Ltd.

It’s not too soon to start planning for the ...


HOMES, SCHOOLS, GROUPS OF NEIGHBOURS, SHOPS, OFFICES, RESTAURANTS and other PLACES OF WORK Presentations will be held at St Theresa’s Church during the Children’s Christmas Eve Mass 24th December Full details will be available soon.

Marriage Care

The Gibraltar Counselling Service Tel: 20071717Ba

Retail 51 Engineer Lane, Tel: (350) 200 78065, Fax: (350) 200 74515 Wholesale Unit 12A, Watergardens, Tel: (350) 200 73083, Fax: (350) 200 40585 Planet Mobile Unit 12A, Watergardens, Tel: (350) 200 50063, Fax: (350) 200 40585 Offices 40/42 Cornwall’s Lane, Tel: (350) 200 40583, Fax: (350) 200 74515

E-mail: Warehouse Unit 14, The New Harbours, Tel: (350) 200 41836, Fax: (350) 200 46344


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Upon This Rock 112 October 2010  
Upon This Rock 112 October 2010  

European Network of Marian Shrines: "The Shrine of Our Lady of Europe is at the forefront of the Network" - Fr. Jose Maria de Antonio