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Chris McDonnell     2016 articles 


Dec 21: A cold coming we had of it
Her new-born baby was in our nativity crib. No-one knew the baby was real until the baby decided to wave his hand 

Dec 14: In a time of preparation: The Great Antiphons of Advent
It has been said that they create ‘a poetry that fills the liturgy with splendour’

Dec 7: What ever happened to the Easter People?
We might ask how many diocesan bishops have a lay pastoral council, where views might be exchanged and opinions offered? (Also published at ACP)

Nov 30: It’s journey time again
The Christ-child, helpless and dependent, whose journey from
Bethlehem would lead to Calvary and the garden of Resurrection, was not part of the story line

Nov 23: A tune is lost in the morning chill
A reflection on the life of Leonard Cohen, the Canadian poet and singer who died recently 

Nov 16: The simple beauty of place
We all have moments and places that we recognise for their simplicity and beauty, places of calm where we can bring our troubled selves before the Lo rd and recognise his beauty expressed in our very being and in all about us

Nov 9: Sorry isn't' simply a word
We live in a time when saying sorry for past events is not uncommon

Nov 3: How small is small?
When we start to make judgements on others, we step on stones that are slippery and insecure.      Also published here

Oct 26: An exchange of views
We have only a few days left before what has supposedly been presidential dialogue but has often degenerated to the level of insult, is concluded with an election result

Oct 19: When the tax-man called
Our atmosphere is fragile and incredibly thin. We are careless at our peril. The phrase ‘global warming’ was unheard until recent years. Now it is with us.

Oct 15: The tax-collector
c.f. Hurricane Matthew

Oct 12: Dates we remember…
It is in the life of Jesus that we find a truth to live by in the turmoil of a modern world

Oct 5: In the early hours

There is something about the stillness of dawn that is special

Sep 28: The recall of memory

Memory is a strange experience and often as we grow older, even though our short term memory is not wonderful, our long term memory of earlier years remains strong

Sep 24: Understandings

Sep 21: Understanding, questions and answers
Those who ask questions, serious questions, do so from within family of the Church, not seeking to be destructive but asking for a greater understanding of issues and situations

Sep 14: Repairing the damaged beam before it fails 
There are times when you need to challenge in order to come to a deeper understanding of truth

Sep 13: Fifteen decades on 
Fifteen haikus after 9/11

Sep 7: When ice flows melt
Too much had happened to prevent a complete return to pre-conciliar days.

Aug 31: To have and to hold and to give
here should be a place in the  Church for a married priesthood 

Aug 24: The River
  What is the pull that water, especially running water, has over us?

Aug 24: A lovely poem: Come again

Aug 17: A man remembered
... Fr Edward Daly, waving a blood-stained white handkerchief, leading a small group of men carrying a fatally wounded man ...

Aug 10: The Sturgeon Moon

Some Native American tribes knew that the Sturgeon of the Great Lakes were most readily caught during this full Moon, so they called it the Sturgeon Moon

Aug 9: Afternoon stillness Written after a visit to nuns of a small Benedictine house near Chester UK 

August 3: A long time passing
This week is marked by two significant dates from 1945, the use of the atomic weapons first on the city of Hiroshima on August 6th and three days later on Nagasaki

August 1: Say nothing
- poem re Pope at Auschwitz

July 29: Mid-week Eucharist
Reflection on the savage murder of 85 year old Fr Jacques Hamel
in Normandy on July 26   

July 28: One with each other

July 23: UK Catholic Times "Talking point" feature July 22, 2016
Courageous outlook needed to tackle the clergy shortage crisis  (also published here)

July 20: Fit for purpose
I have known parishes where the parish priest and people have been imaginative in their acceptance of a deacon as part of the community. And it has worked well, to the greater pastoral benefit of all. And others…? we all know the story.

July 17 (after attack in Nice, France):  Darkening Skies

July 13: Repairing broken friendships
As Christians we have to be positive in our contribution to the healing of peoples that must now be undertaken

July 6: Walking away from the crowd  Our political structure is in a state of melt down. Those elected by the people have become distanced from public opinion.

June 29: Between here and gone
Brexit: How sad that selfishness and xenophobia have won the day

June 22: Icons, East and West
We have got into the habit of being loose with language, careless of original usage, extravagant in our claims for words whose history we forget.

June 15: Changing the Rules, disturbing the peace
We should come together respecting differences of opinion, seeking the flexibility of love 

June 8: Since Pentecost, welcome to extraordinary time
Boff's ‘Come Holy Spirit’ explores our relationship with the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost. Boff suggests the presence of the Spirit at times can be clearly seen

June 1: This is me
It has never been easy for a small group or an individual to speak out when there is urgent need to do so. But sometimes, there is little choice. For the greater good the question has to be put, the argument developed and reality faced. Ignorance is no longer an option nor is inaction.

May 25: Let us break bread together
The smaller the number at the celebration the easier it would be to enact the original table of the Lord, using a loaf of bread that emphasises a sharing

May 18: A tile or two this summer  There are many aspects of the roof that concern us, not the least being ‘having a roof over our heads’

May 11: The radical priests
Daniel Berrigan and his brother Philip, with seven other Catholic protesters, used homemade napalm to destroy 378 draft files
on May 17, 1968. They became known as the Catonsville Nine

May 4: Staging posts on the way
Wouldn’t it be a good idea if baptism dates were part of family folklore and celebrated each year? 

April 27: Anticipating Spring and the changing Seasons
Pope Francis is basically asking  “What are you doing? 

April 20: Rooted in our past
The cold construct of legalism that has edges so sharp that they cut if you brush against them, has no place in a Christian faith whose roots are deep and secure in well-watered ground

April 13: A bigger splash in black and white
You have only to read the press coverage of his washing of the feet of Refugees this Easter to realise the twisting and turning that has gone on over Francis' decision for this to be inclusive.
In this action he wanted us to see another powerful, Jesus-shaped, sign. For some, like Peter, it has all been too much.

April 6: The balancing act of friendship
Anniversaries can be times of celebration or memorial, times of healing or the renewal of old animosities. 

March 30: Walking a dusty road together
There is something in the story of the road to Emmaus that is very different from other Gospel narratives, different because of its mystery and the very humanity of its experience. 

March 23: When a candle is lit
A candle flame can become a still point in a turning world when prayer is difficult and sometimes impossible. 

March 17: Hans Kung, recognition of a prophet
In the last interview given by Cardinal Martini, and published posthumously, the Cardinal spoke of the Church being 200 years behind the times. Why can’t we listen to prophets whilst they are still alive?

March 9: This Lenten Island
We have all met the occasional person who manages to live their life at a gentler pace, those who have slowed down and show a greater consideration for others, those whose response to a question or comment is not rushed and ill-thought through but values the quality of the exchange. In one of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Watson is told by his friend that “this is a two-pipe problem”. In other words, let me think about that a bit.

March 2: The folk singer
 That remarkable core of late 20th Century folk singing, built on so many simple songs and singers of earlier years, is no longer dominant in a commercially driven music world. Sad though it is, but their sounds echo now in a different world.

Feb 24: Stone upon stone
People become attached to their local church, often the place of their baptism and the home of their family. They treasure its surrounding grounds, care for the churchyard and the burial plots that go back many years. It has an importance in their lives.

Feb 17: Broken Bridges
I recently received this comment in an e-mail from a White Father I know who is visiting Tanzania . ‘During the offertory here, people bring all kinds of gifts apart from cash: often food, soap and household goods of different kinds.   For example, this morning the offerings included two bags of cement, half a dozen mugs and a bottle of Harpic.’  Well, that’s certainly different from an English Parish Church on a Sunday morning, for sure.  

Feb 10: What kind of place it is
Let me declare an interest. I have been involved with education since 1964, the last 24 years before retirement as the head of three different schools, two of them local authority state schools

Feb 3: Sharing an intimate act of love 
When Francis visited the young men and women in the juvenile detention centre in Rome on the first Holy Thursday after his election in 2013 he gave a message that reverberated round the world, not only for his action of kneeling to wash a stranger’s feet, but for the inclusivity of what he did

Jan 27: Yet another anniversary, questions remain
On the Holocaust victims and survivors the Pope said: The Holocaust teaches us that utmost vigilance is always needed to be able to take prompt action in defence of human dignity and peace. 

Jan 20: The sign of the Cross
Many Christian prayers begin and end with the Sign of the Cross, a finger-tip pattern that we trace on ourselves with the words, ‘Father, Son and Spirit’. Our rosaries and prayer beads include the symbol of a small cross and in numerous other ways that sign, that symbol, is important to us. Whatever the suggested reason for its removal from display, its significance cannot be overstated. There have been instances where the wearing of a small cross in the work place has been deemed unsuitable lest it be offensive to others and the wearers have been sanctioned.

Jan 13: My courteous Lord
Courtesy is often found wanting in the many exchanges we make in the market place of our society, be it in politics, sport, the media or the general to and fro that arises when we attempt to live in community

Jan 6: So what happened next?