The September issue of Reality is now available. This year celebrates the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Limerick Confraternity of the Holy Family. Once the largest men’s organisation of its kind in the Catholic Church. One of its lesser known treasures is the two volume obituary of almost 8,000 members who died between its foundation and 1951. This article tells the story of some of them – for the most part, working class men, often scarcely more than boys, struggling with poverty and ill-health but finding in the confraternity male solidarity and a support for faith. Pope Francis apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate, has received less attention than some of his other teaching documents.
Briefly, it is a reminder that every baptised Christian is called to holiness and a suggestion that we might find our saints living next door. We will be running a four part series on this important teaching between now and Christmas. ST Alphonsus, founder of the Redemptorists, was a preacher and writer who was determined to make holiness available for everyone. Fr Dennis Billey, an American Redemptorist, introduces us to “Spiritual Direction in the Redemptorist Tradition. “ Next month will see the canonisation of Blessed Paul VI, the pope who brought “good Pope John’s” council to a successful conclusion. He was the first Pope in modern times to travel outside of Italy and to meet in deep friendship leaders of other Christian Churches, such as Patriarch Athenagoras and Archbishop Michael Ramsey of Canterbury. The usual articles are there – Fr George Wadding continues his reflections on the Mysteries of Light, Fr McVerry looks at the tradition of volunteerism and reminds us just how dependent we are on one another.
Finally, a thought from this month’s reflections: “The Church is a perpetually defeated thing that always outlives her conquerors” (Hilaire Belloc).