Saturday, February 27, 2016

Dr Ralph Morton RIP

A brief note on the web page of the Royal School of Church Music Australia announces the death of Dr Ralph Morton

His brother, Graeme, reports that he passed away very peacefully on February 20, surrounded by his family, just as his favourite anthem, Like as the Hart by Herbert Howells, was being played in the ICU.
Among the tributes, a message has been received from Andrew Reid, Director of the RSCM, who says:
“I am sad for your loss, and ours, but like you I rejoice in Ralph’s faith and in the Resurrection, and I am grateful to have known a man with no apparent ego who served others, the Church, the RSCM and his Lord so faithfully. Rarely has a person been so open to the good in so many different traditions within the Church, and that has been a great blessing to RSCM Australia.”
The funeral is to be held at 2pm on Wednesday 2 March at St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Brisbane

Ralph was also the Director of Music at the Cathedral of St Stephen here in Brisbane. The photo featured in this post was taken with Ralph at the keyboard of the Jubilee Organ in the Cathedral for the World Youth Day Diocesan gathering in 2008.It is the only photo I ever took of this remarkable organist and choir director.

I only knew Ralph by sight and we would exchange  smiles at major events when I carried my camera and he carried the music. Ralph's Anglican preference began to emerge as he settled into the Catholic culture of our Cathedral.I was amused and delighted when  he finally replaced the standard final hymn with an organ postlude.No one was sure whether to keep standing when the ministers left the Cathedral and hardly anyone knew when the piece would finish. 

Ralph  has left us with a great tradition of choral music fir for the Cathedral space. He has also left  a generation of young singers whom he guided, inspired and directed.In January 2016 he was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal School of Church Music. in recognition of his  tireless work in training generations of musicians and encouraging excellent standards of choral singing all over Australia over many years.

Cathedral of St Stephen Newsletter 28 February 2016: Dr Ralph Morton Following a very private battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, our Director of Music, sadly died last weekend. Ralph is remembered today at all the Masses. You are invited to join the choir for morning tea following the 10am Mass where we can share our memories of Ralph. Ralph’s funeral service will be held at St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Ann Street, Brisbane on Wednesday 2 March at 2.00pm. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Mark Coleridge at St Stephen’s on Friday 4 March @ 5.30pm. Refreshments will also be offered after this Mass. The Cathedral car park will be available on Friday. All are welcome. Please keep Ralph, his wife Cheryl and his family in your prayers

May the angels sing you home to paradise and my  the choirs of heaven welcome you with a jolly good SATB setting. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Remembering Michel Quoist 1921-1997

This evening, Lord, I am afraid.
I am afraid, for your Gospel is terrible.
It is easy to hear it preached,
It is relatively easy not to be shocked by it,
But it is very difficult to live it.
I am afraid of deluding myself, Lord.
I am afraid of being satisfied with my decent little life,
I am afraid of my good habits, for I take them for virtues;
I am afraid of my little efforts, for I take them for progress;
I am afraid of my activities; they make me think I am giving myself.
I am afraid of my clever planning; I take it for success.
I am afraid of my influence, I imagine that it will transform lives;
I am afraid of what I give; it hides what I withhold;
I am afraid, Lord; there are people who are poorer than I;
Not so well educated,
cared for,
I am afraid, Lord, for I do not do enough for them,
I do not do everything for them.
I should give everything.
I should give everything until there is not a single pain, a single misery, a single sin in the world.
I should then give all, Lord, all the time.
I should give my life.
Lord, it is not true, is it?
It is not true for everyone,
I am exaggerating, I must be sensible!
Son, there is only one commandment, 

For everyone:
You shall love with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your strength.

Lord, why did you tell me to love all men, my brothers? I have tried, but I come back to you, frightened…
 Lord, I was so peaceful at home, I was so comfortably settled. It was well furnished, and I felt cozy. I was alone, I was at peace. Sheltered from the wind, the rain, the mud. I would have stayed unsullied in my ivory tower. 
But, Lord, you have discovered a breach in my defences, You have forced me to open my door, Like a squall of rain in the face, the cry of men has awakened me; Like a gale of wind a friendship has shaken me, As a ray of light slips in unnoticed, your grace has stirred me… and, rashly enough, I left my door ajar. 
Now, Lord, I am lost! 4. Outside men were lying in wait for me. I did not know they were so near; in this house, in this street, in this office; my neighbour, my colleague, my friend. As soon as I started to open the door I saw them, with outstretched hands, burning eyes, longing hearts, like beggars on church steps. T
he first ones came in, Lord. There was after all some space in my heart. I welcomed them. I would have cared for them and fondled them, my very own little lambs, my little flock. You would have been pleased, Lord, I would have served and honoured you in a proper, respectable way. Till then, it was sensible.
 But the next ones, Lord, the other men, I had not seen them; they were hidden behind the first ones. There were more of them, they were wretched; they over-powered me without warning.
 We had to crowd in, I had to find room for them. Now they have come from all over, in successive waves, pushing one another, jostling one another. They have come from all over town, from all parts of the country, of the world; numberless, inexhaustible. 
They don’t come alone any longer but in groups, bound one to another. They come bending under heavy loads; loads of injustice, of resentment and hate, of suffering and sin… 
They drag the world behind them, with everything rusted, twisted, or badly adjusted. Lord, they hurt me! They are in the way, they are everywhere, They are too hungry, they are consuming me! I can’t do anything any more; as they come in, they push the door, and the door opens wider… 
Lord! My door is wide open! I can’t stand it any more! It’s too much! It’s no kind of life! What about my job? My family? My peace? My liberty? And me?
 Lord, I have lost everything, I don’t belong to myself any longer; There’s no more room for me at home. 5. 
Don’t worry, God says, you have gained all. While men came in to you, I, your Father, I, your God, Slipped in among them.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Ballarat Survivors Pursue Cardinal Pell In Rome

Send Ballarat Survivors To Rome
In  an extraordinary show of public support a "gofundme' campaign has raised in excess of $78.000 in two days.

What makes this appeal so interesting its that it will fund the travel of survivors  of clerical abuse to Rome where George Cardinal Pell will give video evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Abuse.

What an extraordinary show of support for survivors of Clergy abuse. Those of us who have walked with survivors know the history of abuse and the culture of neglect promoted by Catholic Bishops in Australia and abroad
If only Archbishop Mark Coleridge would match the cost of his farewell gig to Bishop Brian Finnigan on Monday as a donation to this cause. Finnigan's name will now be remembered in history for his waffling evidence at the Royal Commission rather than any good deeds of his years of service.
There are none so blind as those who cannot see. And Cardinal Pell can't look beyond the Holy See. How ironic. Like the shameful Cardinal Law he will find the spotlight now in his face.
In a strange way this campaign is an important donation to the Church. It is the power of the pews calling those in the Sanctuary to account. Like the medieval sale of indulgences, the culture of neglect of those abused by clergy will trigger a reform unimaginable by those blinded by their clerical power.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Archbishop Hart Fails Again!

Cathy McGowan's Catholic Church oration cancelled over same sex marriage stance

Pathetic and damned poo faced of Archbishop Hart who like his predecessor seems to have heart problems. 

Has Archbishop Hart also expressed his anxiety about politicians in Cathy McGowan's position who support our Asylum Seeker policies of detention and cruelty?

Does Archbishop Hart has issues with politicians who do not support Catholic Social teachings as very important topics? 

Sheer episcopal hypocrisy in this act. 

How many  priests with views and lifestyles contrary to official Church teaching have been allowed to preach every Sunday without Hart raising concerns about their stand on other "very important topics"? 

Will Hart vet every invited speaker at Catholic events for their stand on marriage equality and overlook their voting patterns on issues like welfare support, refugees, climate and human rights ? . 

Hope the delegates at the conference move a motion condemning this lack of subsidiarity by Hart.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Ash Wednesday 2016

Ash Wednesday 2016
Ash Wednesday 2016
On this day we wear the mark of the ashen cross to remind ourselves that stardust is our origin and our destination. We have a responsibility for right living with each other and our Mother Earth.
We carry the cross of suffering and pain inflicted by injustice and exploitation. We wear this mark to remember  the words and deeds of Jesus of Nazareth so that all may have life and have it to the full.
Repent is not a popular word and rarely makes it into the friendly game of Scrabble. Yet it is a life giving choice we make if we are to be agents of change and rewrite grace into history
Ash Wednesday calls us to repent of all that is not life giving at the personal and social in our choices. Repentance also demands a change of heart and practice if it is going to be effective.
This is the time to fast from inhumanity and cruelty. This is the time to put our prayer into action and our alms giving into justice making.
Let us be glad for the season of Lent
#ashtag #lent #ambassadorsforchrist #lent2016

Monday, February 08, 2016

Liturgy For Sanctuary


Monday 8th February 2016

Leader 1: The earth is the sanctuary of the Lord.
Leader 2: This consecrated church is a sanctuary of the Lord.
Leader 1: We are temples of the Spirit, each of us a sanctuary of the Lord.
Leader 2: The whole earth is sacred, human life is sacred, this moment is sacred.
Leader 1: In the face of evil, ‘sanctuary’ reminds us of the steadfast love of God.
Leader 2: In the face of evil, ‘sanctuary’ reminds us of the love of God for each person.
Leader 1: In the face of evil, ‘sanctuary’ reminds us power should be the servant of justice.
Leader 2: In the face of evil, ‘sanctuary’ reminds us that good can only overcome evil, if it confronts evil, resists evil, and protects people from evil.
Leader 1: A place of sanctuary stands for hope.
Leader 2: A place of sanctuary stands for compassion.
Leader 1: A place of sanctuary stands for justice.
Leader 2: A place of sanctuary stands for mercy.
Both: In the night-time of people’s fear, a place of sanctuary is a beacon of light.
Verse 1
Fearful – we’re fearful of others.
Fearful of contact with people – unless they’re just like us.
Fearful – we’re fearful of difference.
Fearful of conflict with strangers – who ain’t the same as us.
(But) God’s embrace is great.
His amazing grace never fails to save.
God’s love conquers hate - so don’t be afraid. (x2)
Verse 2
Fearful – we’re fearful of changes.
Fearful of fighting – fearful of winning - fearful of loss.
Fearful – we’re fearful of dangers.
Fearful of following a leader who died on a cross.
(But) God’s embrace is great.
His amazing grace never fails to save.
God’s love conquers hate - so don’t be afraid. (x2)
Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid. (repeating)….
Leader 1:
For Mercy has a human heart;
Pity, a human face;
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.
And all must love the human form,
(Each person), Turk, or Jew,
Where Mercy, Love and Pity dwell,
There God is dwelling too.
- Poet, William Blake.
Leader 2:
In the Lord I take refuge. For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings. Let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that they may rejoice in you.
- The Book of Psalms
Leader 1:
“I was hungry and you gave me food; thirsty and you gave me drink. I was sick and you visited me, naked and you clothed me. I was a stranger and you welcomed me; in prison and you came to me. For whenever you did this to the least of these, my children, you did it to me.”
- Jesus Christ.
Leader 2:
“If they come for the innocent, without stepping over your body, cursed be your religion and your life.”
- Phil Berrigan, anti-war campaigner and founder of Ploughshares.
The Leader asks the people to respond to each statement with the phrase: “Together, we make this stand.”
Leader 1: We speak to those in Australia, vulnerable and afraid, who now face being returned to Nauru. This, and other places of sanctuary, will offer you protection and care.
People: Together, we make this stand.
Leader 2: You have endured enough trauma, and we will do our best to stand between you and further harm.
People: Together, we make this stand.
Leader 1: With you we share a common humanity, and we will resist all those who put politics, law or power ahead of the dignity of all people.
People: Together, we make this stand.
Leader 2: It is not in our name that our Government detains and oppresses you. In this place, you will be treated with dignity and consideration.
People: Together, we make this stand.
Leader 1: We will remind each other, and our Government, that when one of us suffers, we all suffer, and none of us is free unless we are all free.
People: Together, we make this stand.
Leader 2: Sanctuary is not just a building – it is a movement, a place in the heart, a community of care. We will be people of sanctuary, and we will be here for you.
People: Together, we make this stand.
A Leader calls the group to a minute’s silence.
The Leader then invites the whole group to share in a simple chant (a bit like Taize, for those who know that style). The words will be:
Men lead: Let them stay.
Women respond: Sanctuary.
(Liturgy composed by David Busch with Dave Andrews)

#LetThemStay #Sanctuary #LoveMakesAWay

Monday, February 01, 2016

Brisbane Screening of Spotlight

I invite my Brisbane friends to join me at this screening and fundraiser.

One of the most challenging and rewarding opportunities of my working life was my work with survivors of clergy and institutional abuse with Micah Projects at Lotus Place.

Lotus Place is a dedicated support service and resource centre for adults who as children lived in out-of-home care and adults who experienced sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse in out-of-home care or religious or institutional settings.

Micah Projects supports people who have experienced abuse to seek acknowledgement and redress by Churches, Governments and Community Organisations who failed in their duty of care.

When: 7pm, Thursday 4th February 2016
Where: New Farm Cinemas, 701 Brunswick St, Brisbane
Tickets available for only $15, please click here