By Kathy Horan
In our Christian story, down through the ages the idea of vocation is centred around the notions of being called to be, to listen and discern, and to respond by acting out of a particular view of life or context that is grounded in the life of Christ. Often in the past, the term ‘vocation’ was understood by many to refer to a particular calling to priesthood and religious life; these callings are still an important part of the Christian response to God, and they continue to be important expressions of vocation, or call and response to God, for today.
Following the Second Vatican Council, the Church reminded us that we are all called to the fullness of life and holiness in whatever role we undertake in life. Since the time of Jesus we have heard of many who were called by Jesus to ‘come and see’ what Jesus was on about. He called particular individuals to discipleship, including them in his ministry of hope, healing and liberation: a challenge to all of them to be willing to stand alongside the poor, the marginalised, the outcast.
By Dr. Jenny O'Brien
According to Luke’s Gospel, it is immediately after her conversation with the Angel Gabriel that Mary sets off ‘with haste’ to visit her kinswoman Elizabeth in the hill country of Judaea. The beautiful image chosen for this year’s Marian Procession features the encounter between the two women – the older woman heavily pregnant and the younger still in the earliest stages of pregnancy.
The meeting between these two women is quite extraordinary at more than one level. First, the voices in this story are purely female. Even though the women are meeting in Zachariah’s house, Elizabeth’s husband is not present and even if he were he would not be able to speak, having been struck dumb after doubting the angel’s message that his aged wife would bear a son. No, here are two women who are both playing central roles in the story of redemption – Elizabeth preparing for the birth of the precursor of the Messiah, known best to us as John the Baptist, and Mary carrying within her the very son of God.
By Kathy Horan
As we move through the month of November we are conscious that this year is coming to closure, and we are also in the process of looking ahead to plan and prepare for the coming year.
November is a special month for remembering, reflecting on the events of the year and their significance. It is also a time for calling to mind and celebrating the people and events that are important and provide deep meaning for us. As we approach the end of the year, we celebrate the feast of All Saints and All Souls, reminders that we continue to be linked in our faith in the communion of saints.
Author: Dr Jenny O'Brien
At the beginning of November the Church celebrates two important feasts: All Saints on the first, followed by All Souls on the second. While in the minds of many Catholics these two feasts are inextricably linked, they originated at different times and have different emphases.
From its earliest days the Church has commemorated the anniversaries of the martyrs, those who would face death rather than deny their faith in Christ. In the West, the number of martyrs was particularly high under the rule of the emperor Diocletian at the end of the 3rd century, but less than ten years after his death Christianity was given legal status as a religion. Because there were not enough days in the year to mark the death of each individual martyr the first Sunday after Pentecost was assigned to celebrate all martyrs.