News & Blog

Can food nourish your soul?

Watch this delightful short film about Sister Mary of St Philip, a member of Notting Hill Carmel.  This cloistered Carmelite community of nuns make communion wafers in their monastery kitchens for Catholic congregations at home and abroad. Can food nourish your soul? Everybody needs to eat, but for many people of faith, food is much more than an indulgence or simple nourishment. Most of the major religions have rituals and rites revolving around food, making a clear link between physical and spiritual sustenance. This week 4thought gains exclusive access to a cloistered monastery where nuns bake communion wafers for use in Catholic Masses in Britain and abroad and meets a Muslim family staying true to the Quran in the growing of organic produce. Sister Mary of St Philip belongs to a cloistered Carmelite community of nuns who make communion...

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A homily from the Solemnity of St Peter Julian, Priest

Writings of Fr Anthony McSweeney, SSS Fr Anthony McSweeney, SSS, a member of the St Francis’ community, Melbourne, Australia, has recently made available a selection of his writings on Eucharist, Scriptural Studies, St Peter Julian Eymard and Spirituality. Release of these documents is in response to many requests to make some of his current work available. Please visit the Provincial site of the Blessed Sacrament Congregation to view these articles.  Over time the articles will be refreshed and will change, so you may wish to check back regularly.  Latest upload is a homily from the Solemnity of the Feast of St Peter Julian, Priest, on 2nd August, 2013....

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God and the State: Europe in the midst of secularity and secularism

The annual Plenary Assembly of the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe will take place this year in Bratislava (Slovakia) on the occasion of the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Slovakian territory. For the main theme of the meeting the bishops will tackle the issue “God and the State: Europe in the midst of secularity and secularism”.   It is at the invitation of the Archbishop of Bratislava, Mgr Stanislav Zvolenský, that the Plenary Assembly of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) is taking place this year in Bratislava (3-6 October) at the Falkensteiner Hotel (Pilárikova ulica 5 – Bratislava). CCEE is the ecclesial continental body which brings together the Presidents of Europe’s 33 Bishops’ Conferences, the Archbishops of Luxembourg and the Principality of Monaco, the Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus, the...

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National Music Day Scotland – Saturday 9th November 2013

  Musica Sacra Scotland National Music Day Programme Saturday 9th November 2013 – Turnbull Hall, GlasgowUniversity The programme content has been designed to meet the needs of diocesan clergy and ordinary parishes, offering learning opportunities for Catholic Church musicians at all levels of ability – regardless of educational background, prior knowledge or training.  The conference presenters combine the highest level of musical expertise with vast experience of workshop and adult education events.  They will be available to answer questions and offer practical demonstrations throughout the day. The conference programme will run from 10am – 5pm at Turnbull Hall, the Catholic Chaplaincy of Glasgow University.  Individuals and groups wishing to take part are required to register online and submit the £15 registration fee before the conference.  Sign-in on the day will open at 9.15am.  A buffet lunch and other refreshments will be provided to conference participants at no extra charge....

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Pencils for Benedict XVI

Pencils for Benedict XVI A campaign to send Benedict XVI a pencil case ‘so that he doesn’t give up writing’ His Holiness Pope emeritus Benedict XVI always used a pencil to write his texts. Now an online campaign called Pencils for Benedict collects testimonies on how his handwritten teachings have influenced people worldwide. Its creators explain they came up with the idea while listening to Pope Francis’ answers to journalists on the return flight from WYD. Pope Francis then compared living with Benedict XVI to “having grandpa at home”. And so they thought about editing a book with testimonies from people all around the world. The deadline for Testimonies is Monday, 30 September 2013, to be sent by e-mail to They want to give Pope emeritus Benedict the book along with a pencil case. This symbolic gift is meant to...

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For Worship & Glory – Ecclesiastical Embroidery Exhibit at the RSN

For Worship and Glory – exhibition of ecclesiastical embroidery May – December 2013    For Worship and Glory exhibiting examples of ecclesiastical embroidery worked by the RSN or which form part of our Collection. The starring role will be given to the 12 Litany of Loreto pieces which came to the RSN from a convent in Surrey. These date from the early 20th century and show just what can be achieved with accomplished design, exemplary stitching and a limited colour palette.  All 12 pieces have not been hung together in exhibition for a long time so this will be a rare opportunity to see them all. Other pieces include depictions of saints, angels and Christ using just a needle and thread in a wide range of techniques but especially metal thread and silk shading. There will also be archive...

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Sant’Egidio: “The Courage of Hope”

The International Meeting for Peace entitled “The courage of hope: religions and cultures in dialogue” will be held in Rome from September 29 to October 1. From September 29 to October 1, 2013 hundreds of leaders of all religions and personalities from the world of culture and politics, from more than 60 countries, will converge in Rome at the end of September, making our city the capital of peace and coexistence, a symbol for the whole world. This is the 27th edition of the meetings, started from the historical Prayer Day in 1986 willed by Blessed John Paul II, through which Sant’Egidio has spread the “spirit of Assisi” in many European and Mediterranean countries. On these occasions friendship, human and cultural dialogue, and prayer are intertwined with the power of the spirit. It is very valuable that men and...

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“I want diplomacy to be more efficient”

“I want diplomacy to be more efficient”   It is always good for a diplomat to be reminded that his job is to make a difference. The public image of diplomats too often remains that of the stereotypical cocktail party, and the focus on protocol for its own sake. I am glad to say that that is largely outdated. British ambassadors are appointed for their resilience, their strategic sense, their ability to react fast in tough circumstances, their analytical skills and their readiness to roll up their sleeves on behalf of the British public, British business, and British interests and values, not the deftness of their social small talk. But the stereotype dies hard, which is why it was so good to read the interview that Archbishop Parolin, the newly appointed Holy See Secretariat of State, gave to the...

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UK and Holy See: It’s Time to Act Together

UK and Holy See: It’s Time to Act Together   One of the highlights of the United Nations General Assembly in September will be an event hosted by Foreign Secretary William Hague and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to launch a high level political and ambitious declaration on the need to keep up the international momentum on tackling sexual violence in conflict. This event follows the powerful G8 declaration in April 2013 committing G8 countries to act, and the subsequent warm support from Pope Francis in June for this British initiative. The declaration at the UN will be action orientated and substantive. We welcome the support of international “Champions” on this issue from countries as diverse as Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Liberia and Jordan. We hope to demonstrate a clear commitment by the global community, including the Holy See, to...

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