Showing posts from August, 2014

"If the Catholic blogosphere is to survive then our bloggers must become more Catholic" - a comment

Find below a comment that I have just written as part of a debate on the Catholic Herald website in response to an article published yesterday on the site entitled  "If the Catholic blogosphere is to survive then our bloggers must become more Catholic" by journalist Mary O'ReganGo here for the original article and full comment discussion: *************************** It's all well and good declaring oneself to be a defender of orthodox Catholicism, but if that "defence" involves verbally abusing others (including other Catholics) who happen to not agree with everything you say (as some of the more extreme commenters seem to take delight in doing) then as far as I can see you are denying the core teaching of orthodox Catholicism, its foundational commandment which you would not need me to remind you. For the sake of clarity I will spell it out... Love God and love your neighbour as you love yourself. Pope Francis has chosen a particular way of responding to God…

#jonforeman of #switchfoot asks what makes us come alive #whenwecomealive

#jonforeman of #switchfoot asks what makes us come alive #whenwecomealive. For me it's the things about which I am passionate: God's love for me, the beauty of creation, friendships, music + songs that move me + touch my heart, movies that do the same, great sporting achievements, etc... AND being able to share these passions with others and help ignite similar passions in them. My motto? Be passionate!!

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Frère Bob and his pumpkins.

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Evening hike yesterday with Frère Bob @ St. Brieuc, Brittany

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Namib Desert viewed from an orbiting satellite. Our planet is so beautiful when you take a step back to observe. Image via StarWalk App

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Sponsored Cycle for Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool - Lourdes to Fulda (Germany), 943 miles in 9 days

It’s a few weeks now since I arrived at the shrine of St. Boniface in Fulda, Germany at the end of my 9 day sponsored cycle from Lourdes for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. It’s about time I shared some of my experiences. 
I arrived in Fulda, Germany (home of the shrine to St. Boniface) on Sunday July 27th as planned, overall very happy with the ride. So far over £1,800 has been raised, including over £1,300 (inc. GiftAid) on the Justgiving website. I’m still hoping to break the £2,000 barrier by the time all the money has come in. 
If you would like to make a donation you may do so at

Early morning leaving Besançon on day 6

During days 7 + 8 of the 9 I rode up into and through the hills and mountains of the beautiful Schwarzwald (Black Forest, 800-1,000m altitude for more than 80km), getting caught in a freezing cold thunderstorm (with dramatic lightning to boot) before coming back down to the hotter valley plains of the Neckar and Ma…

Robin Williams - part 2

Williams was a genius, a warm-hearted, funny, frighteningly intelligent, mad genius, one capable of making you laugh and cry. My favourite films of his, Good Will Hunting + The Fisher King both involve characters dealing with psychological trauma. In the former he plays a kindly, down to earth therapist and in the latter someone who's psyche is torn asunder by the violent death of his wife.

There is a scene in Good Will Hunting (in my all time top 5 films) in which Williams' therapist, Sean, gives to Will (Matt Damon) the most brilliant riposte on the theme of life experiences after Will had presumed to have learned all about the therapist from a watercolour painting of his hanging in his office that Will had analysed and metaphorically torn apart. It is a brilliantly written scene delivered in an unshowy but heartfelt manner by Williams. He received his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for this role. 

The film itself is, like Dead Poets mentioned in my previous post, one that has ha…

"Dead Poets' Society" + Robin Williams - thank you!!

The real teachers inspired by the film "Dead Poets' Society".

Click on the above link to go to a BBC article about teachers who have shared their experiences of being inspired to become teachers by this film starring that wonderful actor/comedian Robin Williams whose loss is being so keenly felt by people thought the world.

Here's my own response in the light of his death. 

This film inspired me too. 

I'll never forget watching it in a crowded Birmingham cinema in 1989, aged 20 (studying Music at Liverpool Uni.), the cinema filled with people about my age, during a weekend Catholic Student Council team meeting. Looking back, I don't think it is a "great" film artistically. It's shamelessly manipulative. And yet... very few films have ever fired me up or inspired me to the extent that this film did back in '89, and as a Film Studies teacher I've seen many films! 

Neither have I ever had such a communal experience as I did watching this film th…



Here's another lovely reflection, this time on friendship, from the makers of the DVO iPhone app. May you all be blessed with the kind of friendships it describes.

August 3One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV)
We were not created to do life alone. No man, or woman, is an island. I have come to believe more and more that we need each other, we are all connected. I grew up with an idea that to 'need' another human being was a sign of weakness... but after a few years of living, I think it just shows our inherit need for closeness, for sharing and for community.

There is an ebb and flow to life mostly influenced by our actions and our reactions to what goes on in us and around us. We often find ourselves using these moments to point out and focus on what makes us different from each other - and for some reason, maybe it's human nature, it mostly seems to be in a negative light.…