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The United Kingdom

Responses to Totus2us podcasts given by Brits with Christian names beginning with A - many thanks to you all       ♥

Adeline      

"I feel that Mary is a real role model for women in the Catholic Church, in the Catholic faith. We are all equals and she had such an important job in the role of Catholicism and making sure that Jesus was able to do what he did for all of us. So I think Mary is for me not only somebody who has helped us to become closer to God and know just how much God loves us, but also she's somebody who, as a woman, inspires me in everything that she's done and something that I aim to hopefully become a fraction of."

Adrian      

"Mary is the mother of my vocation."

Adrian      

"When I am sitting there with Jesus in adoration and he is present in the Eucharist, it is really an encounter with a real person.. And it's not just any person but with Him, with Jesus who is love itself .. Jesus is really present in the here and now, in the Eucharist, he is there and he is asking me to be as fully present as I can be in that moment with him. That has helped me in my day to day life to try to be present in each moment and know that Jesus is present in all the other moments of my life."

Adrian chose Ephesians 3: 17 for his Word on the Street      
- that Christ may dwell, through faith, in your hearts, being rooted and founded in love ..
"It has recently struck me that in my day to day life, to be founded and rooted means to be really connected with God in the day to day things, and to do everything that I can, every action, every thought and word with love, and to keep that connection with God through prayer, through the Sacraments"    

Adrian      

"I will going to see Our Blessed Mother, Queen of Peace, in Medjugorje. I will be with people who, like myself, are recovering from addiction and we will be entrusting our lives to Our Blessed Mother to bring us through our darkest days."

Sister Agatha PCC      

"Blessed Virgin MaryMary has always been for me in my Christian and more specifically my religious life, the icon of what I know and desire with all my heart to become, another Mary: a woman full of the spirit, a woman of prayer, a woman open to others, carrying all the burdens and sufferings to the Cross and remaining under the Cross, when at any specific time on my journey that has been God's will. I cannot imagine my Christian journey without Mary and, with my whole heart and soul, I have invested so much trust and so much hope that at the end of my journey, it will be through the prayers of Mary that I will obtain heaven and union with my Lord."

Sister Agatha is a Poor Clare Sister at Ty Mam Duw in North Wales.

Aisling      

"It was all through Mary that I came to know Jesus and she is part of my life every day. She is my model, a model of a pure heart, of a perfect woman, of a mother, of love and she is who I strive to be like."

Alan       

The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15, 11-32) - "It was one of the first things I heard in the Church, in the Mass, when I came back after many years away.. Although it is very familiar, it offers something very different every time I read or meditate on it."

Father Alan Robinson      

"The heart of Fr Augustine Hoey's whole life - and we're talking about a man now who's approaching 100 - the thing that is consistent in his life is his life of prayer. He has always been a huge prayer, whether it's within the community, in Mirfield, in Sunderland, whether he's been in South Africa, when he was setting up a flat in Manchester as a sort of hermitage praying in the middle of quite a deprived area, the routine is always the same: huge amounts of prayer and it's that which has been the consistent thing in his life. Now, in his 100th year, he still rises very early and spends about three hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament, concelebrates a public Mass, goes from church to church saying the Divine Office, praying for the unity of Christians. And that's really the heart and answer to everything for Augustine. He's a great prayer and he always says 'There are thousands of books about how to pray but the only way to learn how to pray is to pray, is to get on with it. It's like cookery books: you can buy so many cookery books but in the end you just have to go in the kitchen and get on with it, start cooking!""

Father Alan Robinson is parish priest at Corpus Christi in Covent Garden, London.

Alanna      

"All I want to say about Our Lady really is about her love and her attentive ear to Our Lord. I guess what she means to me is a good example of a Christian and, with her Immaculate Conception, an example of what we're supposed to be."

Alex      

"I was completely amazed by the whole experience [at World Youth Day]: the crowds were humongous and every nationality under the sun."

Alexander      

"My something about Mary is that I am very blessed to have my birthday on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, which is 11th February, when she first appeared to Bernadette."

Father Alexander Sherbrooke     

"What you saw with Father Michael Hollings was someone who was in love with God and wanted to take other people to God. For those of us who came into the radar of Michael, he has left an enduring memory which is probably summed up by that simple adage that we are called to be here for people. If we are here for people, we are being like Christ, because Christ was always here for people, Christ was always present to people, even those who rejected him, those who turned their back on him, Christ was permanently present. Michael endeavoured to walk the same way and as he did so he was able to touch many with the love of Jesus."

3 2us on Our Lady of Lourdes      
"What happened in Lourdes, as then as today, Our Lady came to those who were suffering greatly because of poverty, illness, brokenness in their lives. Our Lady comes to teach us and to lead us to her Son Jesus. She wants to show us the way to understand that we are loved unconditionally by God."

Fr Alexander Sherbrooke is parish priest of St Patrick's, Soho Square in London.

Alice      

"For me Mary is a great source of comfort and inspiration, inspiring in her own right but also through other people, such as Mother Teresa and indeed my own mother, both of whom possess very many of the qualities that Mary possesses. I've been lucky enough to have a trip to Rome during which I've felt particularly inspired as Mary is clearly so present, in every street, every church, every area of the city, which has been truly amazing."

Alice       

"In 2010 I was lucky enough to meet the Holy Father when he came to the UK on his state visit. Listening to what he said to the young people gathered on the steps of Westminster, and being lucky enough to have been given blessing by him, it was really moving and his words really struck a chord with myself and a lot of young people I spoke to that day. I think it really helped the young people of the UK to bear witness more easily to their faith."

Alice      

"For me the most beautiful thing about Mary is that she is the embodiment of the response of the Church, she’s the feminine ‘yes’ of the Church to Christ. She embodies the beautiful ‘yes’ of the Church."

Alice      

"On this Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows it was really helpful to think about all the sufferings that Mary had.. It wasn't until we broke down the dolours in Mass with the children that I thought particularly of her in the flight into Egypt."

(The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is on 15th September, the day after the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross)

Alicia      

"Mary is a very precious person to me. It’s like being with a mother. You can go there with all your problems and sorrows, and you know at the end of the day you'll be comforted. Don't care what your problems, don't care what the trials, don't care what the tribulations, take her all your suffering, she's always there to answer our prayers."

Alicia      

"What Our Lady means to me is absolute serenity always, always completely composed and ready to listen to anything without being disturbed by it, but yet total compassion and sympathy and understanding."

Alison      

"Mary is the person I speak to in times of greatest need, to intercede with my prayers."

Amanda      

"Our Lady is so important to me and to my life and I’m so grateful to her because it was really through her that I came back to practicing my faith. Having experienced really a desert for several years I rediscovered the rosary which I had lost an understanding of, and I remember several moments of opening up my heart and asking Our Lady to show me to pray. And it was through that help that she gave me to open up my heart that I discovered that God was real in my life and that He was going to guide every moment of it."

Sister Amata PCC      

"Mary surrendered everything to God, everything."

Sister Amata is a Poor Clare Sister in enclosed community at Ty Mam Duw in North Wales.

Amelia       

"Mary to me, really, pure and simple, has always been a mother in my life and somebody who I can go and ask for things. She is also somebody who I feel is interceding on our behalf to God and who I hope will help me in my hour of death. She is also somebody who I find immensely comforting whenever I've been in any trouble, I've been able to turn to in prayer."

Anastacia      

"I think Mary is about finding love from something when you can't find it anywhere else."

Andrea      

"I think of Our Lady overshadowed by the Spirit and also praying with the Apostles before Pentecost, and I see her as the one who draws the Spirit down on us all."

Andrea      

"When I’m feeling a bit down or wound up, I ask “Jesus, Mercy. Mary, help me.”"

Andrew      

"Our Lady is a short cut to Jesus for me."

Andrew      

"For me, Christmas is the Eucharist. At the Annunciation, God becomes man, the Word becomes flesh and at Christmas, to me it's exposition - the Lord, as happens every time there's Mass, is exposed and shown to the world. And it's just an amazing thing, that God, even though we're all in all our sins, willed in mercy that we didn't deserve, to come down and be with us, to forgive us and give us the grace we need to go back to Him. And all we need to do is to avoid wrong and to do what is right and to trust in Him."

Andrew      

"Pius X died in 1914 at the time of the First World War. He couldn't comprehend the notion of Catholic fighting against Catholic and, often, seminarian being forced to fight against seminarian, whether they were German or English - that notion couldn't gel with his mind. He was said to have even prayed that God would accept him as a sacrifice, if to prevent the war. So we could say that he died of a broken heart almost."

Father Andrew Kingham      

"I remember Pope John Paul II’s visit to Great Britain in 1982 and in the preparation for that visit in the parish (I was only 14 at the time), the great slogan was ‘Saying Yes to God.’ But my experience with my calling and my vocation was not so much saying yes to God but giving in to God,  'Ok God, I'll do this.' God had been calling me for a long, long time, and He just needed to have me in that right place, in that right time, where I would have enough courage and enough trust in Him to say 'Ok God.' So I would say that saying yes to God is one thing, but there's also that giving in to God, handing everything over to God, and once you hand that over to Him, He takes control and He leads you."

Father Andrew Kingham is currently the Catholic chaplain at St Andrew's University.

Father Andrew Pinsent     

"In today’s Gospel we have one of the most famous, perhaps the most famous, of all the accounts of the resurrection appearances of Jesus Christ. Thomas does not believe the resurrection and he sets a test for believing that Jesus has risen, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A few days later, Jesus himself appears and invites Thomas to conduct his test, to which Thomas responds, “My Lord and my God!” Now this appearance of Jesus, with a body and wounds, emphasizes that the Resurrection is physical: the risen Christ is not a ghost or disembodied soul or mere symbol of the continuation of the Christian message. There is, nevertheless, something of a mystery about Christ's risen body. If Jesus has the power to rise from the dead, why does he still bear the wounds of the cross? Furthermore, what do the wounds of the risen Christ imply for our own vocation as followers of Christ?" 

Father Andrew Pinsent is Research Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at Oxford University, a Research Fellow of Harris Manchester College and a member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at Oxford. He founded Evangelium with Father Marcus Holden - and they both feature on the Totus2us podcast Sunday Evangelium.

Andy      

Andy's Man for Others is his old parish priest: "In terms of his preaching, I always felt he had a very positive view of humanity; I think he was largely inspired by St Vincent de Paul - very much that thing of putting contemplation into action. I was always struck really by the good news that I heard from him, very much about salvation rather than condemnation."

Angela      

"My understanding of Mary has really grown; of her being not just a mother who's there to support me but a mother who's there to encourage me and lead me. And I've been really growing in the knowledge of her as that first disciple. She's just so awesome because she leads us, she leads the way to her son."

Angela      

"Blessed Mother I wouldn't do this for anyone else! I went to Medjugorje in 1987 and I didn't want to go at all but you got me there by hook or by crook and you really changed my life there and my love for you just keeps growing now and I just thank you."

Angela      

"Our Lady for me is the one person I'd pray to continually as the Mother of God. I think she obviously understands the trials of life and had her sufferings with her Son Jesus."

Angela      

"Mary for me is primarily a mother and is a shining example to me as the Mother of Christ as to how I should be to my children."

Ann       

"Our Lady helps us get through to her son Jesus."

Ann      

"There are no words that I could put into description as to the love that I have for Our Lady. But if I could just try to imagine, I ask Jesus to love her with His heart and, vice versa, that we may love Our Lord with her heart."

Ann      

"I love our Holy Mother with such love, and I know she’s always there for my family, for my children, for my husband. Her blue mantel is always around us and she's my one and only mother in heaven."

Ann      

"Mary is everything unto me, isn't she. She’s the mother of God, she’s the mother of me, she's the mother of my children, and she is my whole world, ain't she. She's just pure, there's not enough words I can say about her. I love her as much as I love my children."

Anna      

"I'm passionate about Mary. I didn't become so consciously though until my mid 20s because I had the wrong ideas about Mary, and then I suddenly realised that she was the most wonderful, passionate, warm, loving woman that had ever lived."

Anna      

"When I'm heading for the finish line but fail it's Mary who picks me up through her prayers and takes me forward to Jesus, to her Son."

Anna      

"For me Our Lady is someone in whom I place my faith and my trust."

Anna       

"Mary kind of stands out from the crowd and she is always there and she has to go through so much hardship but she gets through it and she's like a role figure."

Annabel      

"Mary for me is a great inspiration. Her strength is something that I think many people underestimate, in that her humility is an extremely courageous one. In order to be truly humble you have to have the strength in order to give yourself completely. Mary is one of the very few people who we can point to who has managed to do that, who has managed to give her life entirely, you have to have great strength in order to do that, and she's hugely inspirational in that and in her love."

Anne      

"Mary is just a cozy, wonderful, all-embracing, understanding woman, who suffers the same as all the rest of us, who happened to love God more than most of us, who had great faith and great love, and who has been sent to be our mum really… and she's the mother of us all."

Anne      

"Our Lady for me, she is our mother and protectress and she loves us all and she helps us get to Jesus."

Anne      

"I’ve always felt close to Mary, particularly because my grandfather gave me a miraculous medal when I was a little girl. On the front there is an image of Mary and she's standing there with rays shining down from her hands and he explained to me that this means that Mary is full of grace and all we need to do is to pray to her and ask for this grace. She is so pure and spotless that grace just flows through her like a channel. So she'll always be there to listen, to be a mother to us and to be with us."

Anne      

"For our family, we first really became involved with Our Lady when friends of mine had been to a small, backwater village called Medjugorje and they came back and said that Our Lady was asking for family rosary and family prayers. With a family of young children at the time, I suddenly felt that this was really important, and so we started praying the rosary each evening. Many years later now, even though we don't necessarily hit it every evening, we have our own chapel and we go in there as a family and we pray to the Mother of God. … So she's just been very prominent in our life and we just love her and we're very grateful to her for what she has given to our family.

Anne      

"Our Lady for me is a mother: she cares for us, she loves us, she watches over us. She is the mother of our Saviour who is the redeemer of the world, and she gives us Jesus to love and to serve, and she's the best mother in the world."

Anne's Incredible Saint: Theresa of Lisieux      

"I want to encourage anybody that is going through any kind of trauma or distress to turn to St Therese because she has been there herself. When she was a child and her sister entered Carmel and her mother died, she got very ill in bed. Nobody knew what to do and in the end Our Lady healed her but she knows what it is like to suffer trauma and emotional distress. As soon as I prayed to her I just felt her love and prayers, and she has helped me so much, so I recommend her to anyone, especially young girls."

Anne      

"Mary to me is above all else a comforter and I ask her all the time to go and comfort all my friends who need help, just so that they can feel wanted and loved."

Anne      

"Mary is around us. I pray to Mary the Mother of God because I’m a mother as well and I hope that she’ll help us through life. Amen."

Anne-Marie      

"My relationship with Mary is like that of knowing I suppose having a relative that you don’t know very well, that you want to know more because you know that they are in the background and that they are supporting you and loving you, but you're not quite sure how to love them back, and I want to reach out and love her back."

Anne-Marie      

"Mary to me is a lot of bright colours and smiles, and always thanking and praising people who do good. And she is like a light to me, and full of goodness. And she is like a bunch of flowers that won't ever dry up or wilt or die because she keeps on shining and spreading the word of God to everyone."

Annette      

"I feel Our Lady's love and presence every day and she has brought me closer to Jesus and has given me jobs for me to do for her. I have experienced heaven through her and it makes me long more for heaven."

Annie      

"Another helper came over to me out of the blue (I think she was an Italian lady who I'd never seen or met before) and she said 'You're Anne, aren't you.'  and I said yes. I didn't think at the time it was strange that she knew my name. She said to me: ‘I've been directed to you, the Virgin has directed me to you and wants me to give you a message. She says that she knows you've been having a difficult time for some time now and as she stands here now, she's looking at you with all encompassing and unconditional love and you would weep for joy if you knew how much she loves you.' And with that the lady (the helper) gave me a hug and walked away and I then went into the healing waters in Lourdes, was immersed and came out again."

Annie      

"There is a special little ceremony that any child, any little group, can do and that is the crowning ceremony of Our Lady to honour her as Queen of the May."

Annie ends by singing the hymn:

Bring flowers of the rarest, bring blossoms the fairest,
from garden and woodland and hillside and dale;
our full hearts are swelling, our glad voices telling
the praise of the loveliest flower of the vale.

O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May
.
(x2)

Their Lady they name thee, their mistress proclaim thee.
Oh, grant that the children on earth be as true
as long as the bowers are radiant with flowers
as long as the azure shall keep its bright hue.

Sing gaily in chorus, the bright angels o'er us
re-echo the strains we begin upon earth;
their harps are repeating the notes of our greeting,
for Mary herself is the cause of our mirth.

Anouska      

"My latest experience of Our Lady is when I went to a retreat in Walsingham and, while a lady was praying with me, she saw a vision of Our Lady giving me a sceptre and a veil above my head, and I immediately felt her protection. When I feel alone, I relive that experience and then I remember she is with me and that she is a mother like no other and that all my prayers will be directed to her son."

Anthony      

"I love Jesus and Mary."

Father Anthony Doe

3 2us on the Annunciation      
"We must always remember that Our Lady is the Lord's first disciple. And what she did we are called to do as well. To find a way, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, of responding more and more in our own life with that prayer that she first uttered to the angel Gabriel. "Let it be done to me according to your word." It's the prayer that sums up the attitude of faith; it's the prayer that Our Lady wants to encourage us to pray every day, with great openness of heart, because it's the prayer that allows Jesus to come and make his home deep within us, incarnate his presence in us, and so enable us then to share with him that great prayer for the mercy of the Father on the world."

3 2us on Corpus Christi      
"And in this union with Jesus and the Father, something amazing begins to take place in our humanity: our flesh and our spirit find a new relationship; we discover a new capacity to love selflessly like Jesus has loved us, loving each other with a new quality of self-gift, we're able to give ourselves in total freedom for the good of others, we are able to open our hearts out to the wonder of the world around us, but in such a way that we are constantly aware of God's loving presence within us. And this is really what the meaning of the Eucharist is - being brought alive first of all by the intimate love that Jesus has for our humanity, uniting himself to us in our woundedness but also our great capacity to be free and to love like He loves. And then, through the presence of Jesus within us, mysteriously He opens our spirit up to the love of the Father."

3 2us on the Coronation of Our Lady      
"This is really the meaning of Our Lady as Queen of Heaven: Queen of Mercy, Queen of the compassionate outreach of the Father's love in her Son. And so she stands as the greatest gift to the human race. She is one of us, somebody who is now living her humanity to the full, and who is living it for us, for our salvation, and is there always with that power and authority that comes from God, to take every single human being by the hand and lead them into His merciful presence. So we really do thank the Father for this greatest of gifts, this wonderful friend, this wonderful mother, this wonderful person, who embodies the fullness of God's merciful compassion for the human race. We turn to her and ask her always to be with us, especially in moments of greatest need. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us."

3 2us on Saint Joseph      
"The Father chose Joseph because He saw in him a man who would be able to initiate His Divine Son into His own life; He saw in Joseph the depth and tenderness of heart, the compassion, the mercy, the wisdom and the openness to others that He wished to communicate to His Son Jesus in the flesh. So Joseph was the one who enabled Jesus to really freely embrace the Father in the depths of His spirit and come to know him, because Joseph was the human template that had cared for him as a child. So Joseph played an extremely important part in the life of Jesus. In those hours of silent prayer, in those encounters with the Father, something had already been implanted so that Jesus could genuinely know that the Father's presence was authentic and true, because he had already experienced it in Joseph."

3 2us on Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus      
"The Father chose Joseph because He saw in him a man who would be able to initiate His Divine Son into His own life; He saw in Joseph the depth and tenderness of heart, the compassion, the mercy, the wisdom and the openness to others that He wished to communicate to His Son Jesus in the flesh. So Joseph was the one who enabled Jesus to really freely embrace the Father in the depths of His spirit and come to know him, because Joseph was the human template that had cared for him as a child. So Joseph played an extremely important part in the life of Jesus. In those hours of silent prayer, in those encounters with the Father, something had already been implanted so that Jesus could genuinely know that the Father's presence was authentic and true, because he had already experienced it in Joseph."

Fr Anthony Doe has also given 3 2us on Advent and Talks 2us on Mary attuned to the heart of Mary. Father Anthony is a priest of Westminster archdiocese and works as a psychotherapist.

Father Anthony Meredith SJ      

Fr Anthony observes how his vocation was inspired by the parish priest of his childhood, convert Fr Clement Lloyd Russell, and later by his fellow Jesuits Fr Cyril Martindale SJ, Fr George Walkerly SJ (his master of novices) and Fr David Hoy SJ:

"His wise advice to me on one occasion: When people come to you asking for advice or help, you will immediately stop listening to them and think to yourself, 'What on earth am I going to say?' "Don't," he said. Very often people really want someone to listen to them and they will work out the answers to their problems by themselves, and they simply want an intelligent and interested hearer and ear, in order to discover themselves and discover their deepest needs."

3 2us on Saint Anthony of Padua      
"So marvellous was his preaching that the churches in Northern Italy weren't large enough to contain the crowds that wanted to hear him preach. He did preach remarkably and this fact is recorded. Not only did he write out many of his sermons, which are still preserved, but also the animals also wanted to hear him preaching and apparently even the fish poked up their heads out of the water to hear him. Shortly toward the end of his life he held an important position in Padua in the order of St Francis and he moved to Padua where he died. One of the extraordinary things about him is that the rest of his body corrupted very quickly except for one particular part, the tongue. The fact the tongue alone remains now reflects something of his power as a speaker, that he was able to attract so many people and perhaps even the animal world to hear him, and that brings home to us the importance of preaching, of bringing home to other people the message of the Gospel."

3 2us on Saint Augustine      
"One of the most vital and important elements of St Augustine's spiritual vision is his stress on the importance of the heart; he is not simply a mental thinker or a mental prayer. He believes the heart is important and he has famous sentence in the opening of The Confessions when he says 'Thou has created O Lord for Thyself and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.' The word heart occurs on many, many occasions.  The inner truest self .. the heart directing itself always inwards and upwards, upwards and outwards to God."

3 2us on Saint Bonaventure      
"St Bonaventure had the enormous power of having both a spiritual approach to life, which was not something which was divorced from a clearly articulated way of dealing with the subject. It wasn't simply a question of having a funny inside feeling, it was something connected very closely with very clearly articulated ideas and structures, some of which he inherited from his ancestors in the spiritual life. There are 2 particular works of his which call for our attention - one is called The Threefold Way and the other is The Journey of the Mind into God. The Threefold Way outlines 3 basic stages through which the human spirit has to go if it wishes to arrive at the knowledge and love of God. And these 3 are: purgartio - freeing ourselves from sin, illuminatio - the knowledge of God which is the consequence of our purification, & perfectio - finally enjoying God, which takes place most perfectly in the life to come. ..This work has been called a masterpiece of the spiritual psychology - it's not simply a question of knowledge, or learning or understanding, or even of moral purity but it is a psychological introduction to the depth of the nature of God and that is something extremely important for us - the demand for the upward journey. "

Fr Anthony Meredith SJ has also given 3 2us on St Anselm, St Athanasius and Saints Peter & Paul. Father Anthony is a parish priest at the Jesuit Church of the Immaculate Conception in Farm St, London.

Father Anthony Nye SJ       

"Mary means so much to me because she's one of our humanity. She's one of us, specially without sin so that she could receive Jesus into her womb - God Emmanuel, God with us, and so in His humanity one of us. And when we think of Mary we think of Him and when we think of Him we think of His mother and we think of the share in our humanity so that we can share in His divinity."

On his conversion to the Catholic Church & vocation to the priesthood      
"A thing that Father McKenna said to me before the novitiate was a great help (and I've found it's been a great help to quite a lot of seminarians and young Jesuits that I've been able to help since), he said 'If you ever think of leaving, wait 2 weeks.' It's very good practical advice, so you're not just swayed by emotion and you reflect a bit more.. Not long before my vows, when I was seeing the novice master, I said "Do you really think I have a Jesuit vocation?" And there was a long pause that seemed to last forever, and he said "Do you?" That's a very good way of treating a vocation, I think: it has to come back to the person, to reflect, to look at their own heart and their own mind and not to be swayed too much by other people."

3 2us on Good Shepherd Sunday      
"This Sunday is about a special call: vocation to the priesthood and the religious life, a special way of following the Good Shepherd. Of course there are other vocations too: the important one of marriage and many ways of serving in the Church as lay people. Those special vocations to the priesthood and religious life are supported and formed from the general vocation of lay people in the Church. We need each other. Pope Benedict's message for this day calls on that support: 'All vocations' he says, 'are a gift of God's love. In every age the source of the divine call is found in the initiative of the divine love of God, who reveals himself fully in Jesus Christ.' Vocation, call, does not come from us or our personal preferences but from God's love. The secret is to respond to that love, fully understanding and freely willing it."

3 2us on Patience     
"Last Friday was the Sacred Heart of Jesus: the Word of God loving us, guiding us, teaching us with a human heart, showing us humanity as it should be. Jesus is the supreme example of patience for us to follow. He said 'Learn of me for I am meek and humble of heart.' His whole life on earth was to seek the will of his Father, whatever the cost, wherever it led. 'My food', he said, 'is to do the will of Him whom sent me and to accomplish His work.' That meant much patient waiting on the will of God, his Father, as an example for our lives too. It was the silence and poverty of being born a baby, lying in the manger at Bethlehem, and then having to be taken as a refugee to Egypt to escape King Herod. There were 30 silent years, working as a carpenter in the out-of-the-way village of Nazareth, until the time that God his Father decreed he should appear in public. His way of teaching and gathering followers was not to dominate but  invite, respecting human freedom with patience; respecting weakness as well as generosity in answer to his appeal. Think how patient he had to be with the growing opposition of the Pharisees and scribes, and how patient too with his disciples who were slow to understand his teaching, and especially slow and reluctant to accept that His way would be the way of the Cross and of suffering. There was so much silent and dignified patience in undergoing that suffering."

Fr Anthony Nye has also given 3 2us on the Resurrection, the Ascension of Our Lord and Pentecost. Father Tony is a Jesuit priest based at Farm Street in London.

Anton      

"Apart from Our Lady being one of the major figureheads of the Church and an important part of my life in the sense that I pray to her daily in the rosary, she played a big role in my life for 6 months when I was in a place called Medjugorje, where I was able to deepen my relationship with Our Lady and really experience her love as a mother, but also as someone who is able to offer comfort and joy and peace and pretty much every good measure of life all in one."

Antonia      

"On Sunday 16th June (which happened to be the 45th anniversary of my first holy communion) I celebrated the greatest day of my life when the solemn Act of Consecration of Lebanon and the entire Middle East took place in the National Shrine of Our Lady in Harissa to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This solemn Act of Consecration was carried out by the Cardinal of Lebanon and the entire episcopate of Lebanon, along with the Catholic Patriarchs of the different Middle Eastern countries."

Brother Antony      

"I’m very thankful for having Our Lady in our hearts and our minds so that we can think of her as Mother of God, being the highest creature we could have in the world because she went without sin. Jesus Christ was without sin but she had to ponder it all the way through her life."

Antony      

"Our Lady is the mother and protector of my family."

Antony      

"I'm no longer scared about death because in the Hail Mary it says 'pray for us now and at the hour of our death' and I know that if Our Lady is praying for me at the hour of my death, all will be well."

Anu      

"I've never thought specifically about Mary, but the whole idea of spirituality is just something that hits you in a place like a church, where everything else seems so much smaller and insignificant, and you can just come to terms with yourself and what's going on; everything just seems far more peaceful."

Aoife      

"Mary is someone to aspire to be. She’s the person to follow."

Archie      

"Our Lady, Mary, or Maria as you say in Bosnian, she's my mother, she's my heavenly mother with extraordinary love for us. She sacrificed her only son for us and she's absolutely my guide, my love. I turn to her for just everything I need in my life and for my children."

Arianna      

"Last year I went to Santiago de Compostela for a pilgrimage and it was very beautiful. I got to meet so many wonderful people on the way and it was a true blessing because there were times when you were walking for 8 hours and you just felt like you couldn't go on but then you'd say a prayer and somehow it would lift you up and it would really help you along the way. It was a truly blessed time to see God working."

Ashley      

"I like to say Hail Marys coz I feel like Mary is protecting me when I say them."

Father Augustine Conner CFR      

"Mary has played a very big part in my journey towards the priesthood and in the priesthood."

3 2us on the Baptism of Our Lord      
"In Jesus Christ, true man and true God, we discover who we are and why we exist.  We discover that we were made through him and for him. We discover that we are made in his image and likeness; that we are his brothers and sisters and beloved sons and daughters of the Father filled with his Holy Spirit and destined to share his glorious resurrection. We discover that each of us is eternally loved and chosen and shares in the very dignity of God."

Father Augustine Conner CFR is a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal.