Pope Benedict XVI wrote ‘Every day Christians must face a struggle similar to the one that Christ underwent in the dessert of Judea where for forty days he was tempted …. it is a spiritual battle one that involves the whole of the person and demands attentive and constant watchfulness’. I think these words are apt at this time of the year and remind us that we all struggle during daily life especially when it comes to taking on extra responsibilities and duties.
The momentum around the work of the Catholic Union is gathering pace as our Committees, especially the newly formed Membership & Fundraising Committee and the Education Committee start to kick in on the tremendous work they are doing. We are building the blocks for the future. Plans are already underway to expand our working partnership with the Church at both parish and Diocesan level. More about this initiative will be posted in due course and discussed at the Summer Gathering.
The Catholic Union Charitable Trust is to be formally launched shortly, helping in our fundraising activity as it will allow us to claim the Gift Aid back on any donations received. The CUCT will be the umbrella under which most of our seminar/lecture programmes sit, including our educational seminars and the Craigmyle Lecture which this year is on 14 October, and will be given by Ann Widdecombe DSG
We have begun and continue to build closer collaboration with Good Works, a small group whose principles are to create a framework for business activity, by looking at the value of people in the business environment around the Common Good helping to promote businesses in a broader context as an active body of the community. They have a programme of seminars promoting the tenets of Catholic Social Teaching in the workplace in collaboration with the CUCT. This is a good starting point for the wider range of seminars that the CUCT will be organising over the coming year.
Our President, Lord Brennan, is stepping down in November after giving many years service and a special dinner in his honour has been arranged for 10 November at the RAF Club, Piccadilly. This dinner will also offer a great opportunity to invite prospective members of the Catholic Union, so I would encourage you to not only put this date in your diary but also look around at friends, fellow parishioners, colleagues and family members who you feel could potentially become members of the CU; we need to increase our membership if we are to grow and become more influential.
Finally, this year’s Summer Gathering is travelling north to Ampleforth Abbey (25 – 27 July) which I am hoping will attract our CU members who are located in the north of England. More details can be found on our website and the weekend will offer us an opportunity to recharge and reinvigorate not only our Catholic Union batteries but our spiritual ones as well. As we will be in a Benedictine setting, I thought it appropriate to sign off this Easter message with words from the Rule of St Benedict who said ‘ And let us be assured that it is not in saying a great deal that we shall be heard (Matt 6:7), but in purity of heart…..’
I wish you and your families a very happy and holy Easter.
London, 13th April, Palm Sunday, 2014