Moving Home…

Three years on, in this Year of Faith, it seems the time to set out into the deep and use Facebook as a tool for new evangelisation 3.0.  Our pupils seem to love this, and it is thanks to Mr Bannon I can take this step.  Here is what he has to say…

Mr Bannon commented,

“The internet is developing all the time and we are now entering the 3rd generation of the internet (Web 3.0).  Up until recently you have had to seek out information, such as visiting us here; now the information finds you.  Take Facebook as an example.  When you like a page you give that page permission to post to your own timeline which means the information finds you.  You have control over this information and the page has no access to your personal profile.  This is why we have decided to use Facebook as the medium of delivering our weekly message here at Catholic Leadership.

We will maintain this blog for the purposes of video hosting and document hosting but all information, links and videos will begin to be regularly posted on the Facebook page.

With the recent ‘Twittering’ of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican are showing us how to engage our younger generation of ‘Saints’ on their terms, how they want the news delivered and where they want the news delivered.

We would encourage you to ‘Like’ our page over on Facebook by clicking the link below and update your bookmarks.  As of Monday 28th January this front page will cease to exist.

 We will see you over at http://facebook.com/jpacatholicleadership

A Wonderful Evening


We had a fabulous evening at our 30th Anniversary Mass. Our Assembly Hall was packed with prayer – and parents, pupils and staff. Archbishop Tartaglia was in inspired form, reminding us that our focus as a school community should be fully upon the person of Jesus, our Saviour and friend.

Thanks go to all the priests who attended, as well as to the great turn-out of pupils, parents and staff. Special thanks also to all who helped in any way in creating a memorable occasion – to our music ministry, readers, servers, greeters as well as to those teachers who turned a school hall into a sacred space. And thanks to Deacon Jim for his super coordination, and to Mr Bannon, the iEvangelist, for his live and lively twitter feed. Finally, thanks to all of you who could not be physically present but who remember our school in your prayers.

New Evangelisation Here


Mr Bannon has been working miracles behind the scenes, and he is preparing to tweet live from this evening’s Mass. Already his work today is adding new ‘likes’ to our school Facebook page: facebook.com/johnpaulacademy

You can virtually join us in prayer tonight as Mass unfolds by tweeting #jpa30

Mr Bannon will be bringing you our Mass booklet, readings, photos and live tweets of Archbishop Tartaglia’s homily.

Celebration Mass Tonight


Please join us in prayer as this evening we celebrate Mass with Archbishop Tartaglia. Mass is at 7 pm and all are welcome.

If you cannot be there in person then please join us in prayer. On this 30th anniversary we remember with fondness all former pupils and staff, living and dead, who gave so much of their life to our school. We ask that God, Father, Son and Spirit, blesses our present and guides our future, bringing us daily closer to him especially in this Year of Faith.

The Baptism of Jesus



Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

At times we think God is distant, far too busy or remote to be concerned with us. We think of his communication as past or abstract, very rare and kept for great saints. Nothing is further from the truth. Though the special form of revelation of today’s gospel is reserved for the Lord – here and on Tabor – yet he is close to us too. When we are still we hear his voice speak through Jesus in the people and events of our life.

In the need of our neighbour, we hear him. In the love of our friend, we hear him. In the familiar of family, we hear him. In the arrival of the stranger, we hear him. In the unexpected event, we hear him. In the Scriptures, we hear him. In the wisdom of the Church, we hear him. In our frailty and that of the Church, we hear him. In Mary and the saints, we hear him. In our memories, we hear him. In our hope, we hear him. In the stirrings of our soul, we hear him. In our body, we hear him. Alone, we hear him. Together, we hear him.

He loves us. He offers us peace, a peace the world cannot give. He offers us forgiveness. He offers us joy. Today, and every day, and forever.

Let us cry out ‘Abba Father’ through Jesus in the Spirit. And let us speak to others, in word and deed, of his love without end.

Great Expectations


This has been a busy and energising first week of term. We are in mega-collaborative mode as we work together ‘in perfect harmony’ to get ready for next Thursday’s 30th Anniversary Mass to be celebrated by Archbishop Tartaglia. It is a characteristic of the Archbishop to arrange the Mass on his first available evening in 2013. There is a mounting sense of anticipation and excitement as we await his first visit to John Paul Academy as Archbishop. He is a great devotee of our Patron, and we know that his presence and words will guide us in this Year of Faith and far beyond. Thanks to Mr Bannon for creating the image used at the top of the post.

May I also ask you to remember in your prayers several priests in our area of the city who are suffering illness at present. They are uniting their suffering with that of Christ whom they re-present for us. We ask that they will soon be brought to full health, and be able to pursue their ministry with greater mobility.

Ivan in Scotland


Ivan, one of the Medjugorje visionaries, was in Scotland last night. It is strange at times how little coverage – positive or negative – Medjugorje receives in Britain. A good friend of mine covered last night’s events in Uddingston for Catholic Leadership and sent me the above picture and the following report:

“Tonight was a little taste of heaven in Scotland. There was a fabulous spirit of prayer during the rosary. Mary’s presence was then sensed in silent wonder. Fr Towey then led us all in a beautiful Mass. He explained his answer to those who say Our Lady’s messages are always the same by telling the story about the new parish priest who was an instant hit with his new parishioners for his marvellous homily at his first Mass. However, he preached it identically five weeks in a row. When challenged, he explained that he would only change it when he saw people were starting to live its message.

Ivan then spoke with his usual humility and insight, explaining just how hard it is to reconnect with this world after meeting the love and beauty which is and comes with Mary. He said that we too would find it so difficult if we even saw her for a second. Our mother comes to us to awaken the world from its spiritual coma. She comes not as a harbinger of doom but to bring us hope and peace through prayer. She loves us incredibly and wants us to renew prayer; he spoke at length about the power and need of family prayer. Each of us should pray for three hours a day – and there is always time to do what we love. We should speak less about prayer and pray more. And the more we pray the more God will bless our prayer and the more we will enjoy it.

Mary tells us frequently to pray, to fast, to receive the Eucharist, to go to confession, to read Scripture, to forgive, to be at peace, to hope. But then every good mother constantly guides and advises her children.

Ivan concluded by speaking of Mary’s joy tonight. He said her love and joy were so great it was as if she had a tear in her eye. And indeed, so did I and no doubt many others who were privileged enough to be present this evening. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.”

A Peaceful and Joyful Christmas


Wishing you all the peace of this great feast. Here is a short reflection I penned quickly on my return from a beautiful Mass tonight.

Christmas Conversation

Can I hold you, Jesus?
The voice in me said.
Can I lift you, Jesus?
And cradle your crowned head

And can I hold you?
I’m sure he said
Can I lift you, friend?
Raise your spirit instead

You’re welcome, Lord
Make my heart your stable
For you, bread of life
Are our host at table.

A blend of stench
You’ll find for your home
But incense sweet
Prince’s presence transforms

Manger and cross
Mass and resurrection
Stay with us, Lord
Secure our conversion

Magnificat


St Bede wrote this in his commentary on Luke’s Gospel:

And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.

The Lord has exalted me by a gift so great, so unheard of, that language is useless to describe it; and the depths of love in my heart can scarcely grasp it. I offer then all the powers of my soul in praise and thanksgiving. As I contemplate his greatness, which knows no limits, I joyfully surrender my whole life, my senses, my judgement, for my spirit rejoices in the eternal Godhead of that Jesus, that Saviour, whom I have conceived in this world of time.

Mary said, “my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour”. She, and all the saints, clearly show us that only in Him do we find real and lasting joy. Joy is the keynote of this Season of Advent, and because of the marvels He has done for us, should be the keynote of our life. When we reflect on our life we can see that our joy is diminished when we turn from him.

We ask Mary our Mother to give us in these last Advent days the joy which comes from trusting the Father and staying close to her Son in the Spirit of love.

John Paul Academy Welcomes …

Yesterday, Thomas Pap of PAP Worldwide came to speak to some of our Leadership MAX pupils. Thomas is a friend of one of our teachers, Ms Beltran, and she had invited him to our school. Thomas is a ‘motivation speaker’ as well as a very successful entrepreneur. He gave a powerfully positive message to pupils, calling on them to realise the great potential within them. Much of what he said about the need for vision, clear goals, dedication, risk, perseverance and belief reminded me of the ‘stuff’ which Jesus used as the basic story in the parables. Our job as teachers is both to learn from such worldly wisdom, help our pupils benefit from it and then assist them to reflect on it and their vocation in the light of the richness of the Gospel. I will soon bring you a short video of the event… and here it is.