Friday, April 28, 2006

New resource for Building Communities of Faith and Justice

Compassionate Community Work

In “Compassionate Community Work”, Dave Andrews has provided a truly remarkable and comprehensive resource for teaching and learning about community development. This “introductory course on community work for churches”, is much more than a text book. It is an invitation to participate in an experiential, highly practical, spiritually rich, and potentially life-changing learning process

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Feast of St Joseph the Worker and Labour Day 1st May 2006

Feast of St Joseph the Worker and Labour Day 1st May 2006

I led a prayer service at St Mary's South Brisbane prior to the Labour Day march. For those who don't know much about the Catholic community at South Brisbane and it's ability to stir more than the possum, I suggest you visit Dreadnought, whose frenzied attack on our local Church includes a descriptor of me as a "communist crank". Well, it's a lot to live up. I'm more comfortable with "Holy Irritant".

For our prayer, we gathered around our new community banner and an open copy of the Scriptures. We silently used the sign of the cross as our gathering ritual and acknowledged the Indigenous Owners of the land on which we gathered. We sang They'll Know We Are Christians, an old favourite which enough of us could sing from memory. The readings of the day for the feast of St Joseph, the Worker provided food for reflection. Our prayers and petitions included those used in the Church last week for the International Day of Mourning:

We concluded our prayer in a circle around the banner singing "We Shall Overcome" for as Paul reminds us in the Letter to the Romans: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (12:21) and nothing can separate us from the love of God, neither legislation, nor exploitation, nor injustice.

I have uploaded my collection of images from Monday's Labour Day Celebraton. If you need ahigher resolution copies, please feel free to let me know. Any use of the images in the public domain, should include the caption: "Tony Robertson, Community Photographer"

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Easter Message from the Chapel of the Holy Irritant

Easter 2006!!! It's that time of the year again. The mob are somewhat overwhelemed by the combination of Chocolate, a full moon and the anticipation that comes with the Bert compering the Logies yet again.

Religion has been the preferred choice of the media this month as the wannabe experts get themselves into a lather over the discovery of the Judas Gospel. Also worth a read is this transcript from The World Today. The program is broadcast around Australia at 12:10pm on ABC Local Radio. This interview includes ELEANOR HALLwith Father John Flader from the Catholic Adult Education Centre in the Sydney Archdiocese and Dr Malcolm Choat from Macquarie University.

Meanwhile back at Vatican City the real scoop of the month is the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church complete with piccies and quotable quotes. Bit more commentary on this volume at: Sentire cum Ecclesia: The Compendium is here!

Well, I waited a few days and managed to pick my copy up with a $3 discount from the cute seminarian that helps out at our local St Paul's Bookshop here in Brisbane. Now, there's quite a saga about the poor old bookshop. During the very expensive fit out of the new Francis Rush Centre Father Bruno and his staff including the effusive Heather were all relocated to a cavern that fronts the dead end of Elizabeth Street. Usually there are more people laying on the grass topped roof in the sun than browsing the shelves underneath. However they continue to "soldier on" in the most remote outpost of the Catholic Centre in Brisbane.

So, back to the Compendium of the Catholic Catechism. It's quite a neat looking volume with a good collection of images that were apparently hand picked by B16 hisself!! It shows.Papa has a very Euro-centric taste and there is nothing from any other continent and nothing from contemporary religious art.

The text is faithful to the original Catechism using the late Archbishop D'Arcy's preference for exclusive male langugae for God and humanity It also has a series of blue boxes of quotable quotes. Once again, I ask myself, where is the wisdom of the women? Every single quote is from an old cleric of some fame and the most recent quoted cleric is dear old John Vianney (1786-1869)who scored the parish of Ars !!

My next quandry was where to locate this volume? Shelf space is now a premium and short of a devestating cull,I feared it may have to sit on top of some other texts for a while. However, some clever re-stocking and here it is right next to its big sister volume and close to some of the more interesting contemporary thinkers in Christianity today. The more observant among you will alos recognize that it is supported at one end with the classic Butler's Lives of the Saints and right at the end of the shelf is , yes, it is!! good old Fulton Sheen's These Are The Sacraments.

However, the volume that really stands out on this shelf has to be a 1958 edition of Fortescue-O'Connell's The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described.
I hear you ask,"how does one come by such a volume? Well, that's a tale of its own. The book is stamped with "Chrsitin Brothers Wagga" and came into my hands via a former cleric now living outside Canberra. More details in my last will and testament.