Showing posts from December, 2008

Christmas greetings

Here are my Christmas greetings to all who happen to visit this blog during the season of our Lord's birth. God bless you all :-)

Suggestions for a more meaningful Christmas

Over at, Mark Hart (aka Bible Geek) offers us some useful suggestions for how to make the graces received during the Christmas season have a lasting effect on our daily lives once the season of Christmas is over.

LIFE TEEN Presents "Spread the Word"

'Tis the Season!?!

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” - Ecclesiastes 3:1

Situation Explained
Ready for Christmas? Ready for Christmas to be over?
How do you keep Christmas going?

Solution Offered
a familiar sight: boxes torn open, bellies full of food, trash cans
overflowing and wrapping paper flung aimlessly about while children
unleash a sugar fit and parents enter into a sleep-deprived food coma.

Christmas is not a day, it’s a season It’s
Christmas night. Families have squeezed into overstuffed pews,
encountered the Lord of the universe in the Sacrament(s) and returned
home with “Silent Night” engrained in their heads. Santa
has come. Relatives have joined together and departed (…

Yr. 7 fund-rasing for Haiti

At the request of us Brothers, Miss Staunton (Head of Year 7 at our Liverpool school, St. Francis Xavier's College) has agreed that fund-raising carried out by Year 7 pupils (11-12 years old) this year will go towards helping the relief efforts in Haiti in the aftermath of the Caribbean country suffering the devastating effects of 3 hurricanes and a tropical storm in quick succession during the summer. The worst effects were due to severe flooding and mud slides down hillsides. These areas have had most of their trees cut down to make paper by big international companies. Without the trees, any heavy rainfall quickly becomes a mudslide. Officially, 793 people died (466 in the city of Gonaives alone) as a result of the storms and the bodies of over 300 others are still missing.

The De La Mennais Brothers have many schools and about 45 Brothers in Haiti (with the majority native Haitians). I did some of my studies with a Haitian Brother in France who is now the Head Teacher of a prim…

A New De La Mennais Brothers Website and Magazine

The religious order that I belong to, the De La Mennais Brothers (with Brothers in 24 countries worldwide), has a new central website:

For the moment most of the website is just in French, but it will soon be available in both English and Spanish versions. For the more inquisitive, there are some documents available for download in English, especially the new, colourful version of the Brothers’ worldwide bulletin, “La Mennais Magazine” (download it as a .pdf file here). It has a variety of articles and photos showing what is going on in De La Mennais Brothers’ schools, communities and youth movements around the world. You may even spot one or two familiar faces inside!

Anyone (parents, staff, pupils) who is interested in taking out a yearly subscription for the magazine (£10 for four issues, plus the first one FREE) can contact me (Bro. James) in the Chaplaincy - perhaps with a short letter from a parent/guardian in the case of a pupil - or leave me a message in…

Spiritual evolution - part 2

Here is a follow-up discussion post in the same blog thread as the text quoted in my previous blog article here. It is in response to remarks by another contributor to the blog discussion. His comments are in quote marks:

What you say is indeed totally coherent and I very much agree (as someone in education) with your analysis of both modern day teaching and society in general in terms of a desire to efface the past/traditions and that this has led to people becoming more and more rootless. I think people today have a thirst to know where they have come from, as well as where they are going (just think about the fascination today with genealogy, retracing one's family roots). This responds to some kind of inner need in us.

Statue of St. James the Major, Santiago De Compostella Basilica.

Fortunately, in our school (a Catholic state boys' comprehensive/for US readers, a govt.-funded Catholic High School) we still teach both Latin + Greek up to A-Level (end of Hig…

Spiritual evolution

Here is an edited version of a blog post that I wrote on the right-leaning Daily Telegraph religion blog, in a thread looking at the willingness of Pope Benedict XVI to encourage making the latin Mass more easily available to ordinary Catholics:

(original article)


I have always tried to look at the decline in religious practice from a positive perspective... i.e. yes, things have gone wrong post-Vatican II, but maybe, just maybe, this is part of a process, a much bigger picture that only God knows, and that we (the Church) have needed to go through this difficult time to come out stronger the other side. My main reason for this is that I feel humanity's religious nature is one in evolution (or purification), an evolution/purification that is gradually (through many highs and lows) bringing us all closer to God, closer to the day when we will all be one with Him again. I have always felt that the Book of Job is a crucial one in terms of highlighting this process of pu…

Faith + resurrection

This is an e-mail message I received recently from an American Brother in my congregation which I reproduce here with his permission. I think it is a moving, hope-filled reflection on death and resurrection: not particularly Christmas-y, but I felt it would be good to share it:

Dear relatives, confreres, friends:

About a week ago I got news that Jordan, a grandson of my (departed) sister Denise, had died in uniform in Iraq, aged only twenty! The grief of his family, my nephew and his wife and daughter can only be imagined. I wish I could give them some real consolation.

This morning about 3 o’clock, my confreres Brother Roland Vigeant, only a year and two months older than I, died from cancer. Only a year and a half ago he was his usual vigorous self. Until about two years ago, like every preceding year, he had gone skiing at Mont-Tremblant in the province of Quebec, Canada. He would also go skating almost every week at a local rink. He also liked to amble around on a bike, and was a ded…