Jan 24, 2015

25th January 2015 - Little Way Healing Ministries - 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

From our Come & See studios this week John is joined by Fr Laurence Brassill OSA  from Little Way Healing Ministries who tells us of the work that they are undertaking in a healing ministry. We have our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel as well as some other liturgical odds and ends.

You can listen to the podcast of this weeks full programme HERE.

Little Way Healing Ministries

On this weeks programme John speaks to Fr Laurence Brassill OSA who with Pauline Edwards leads a team involved in a "Holy Spirit-led approach to the healing of memories". It is a charism gifted by the Holy Spirit to the Church of our time. This gift is a four-stepped prayer that through the healing of memories contributes to the healing of the whole person. Through this particular way of praying , Jesus shows himself continuing his work of healing amongst us today in the midst of his Church. People are healed so they can testify to the Lord's working in them and thereby draw others to their Lord and Saviour, the Divine Physician.

You can listen to Fr Laurence's interview with John excerpted from the main programme HERE.

You can find out more about Little Way Healing Ministries at their website HERE. You can see their Youtube site HERE.

Gospel - Mark 1: 14-20

"Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel." 
And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men." And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zeb'edee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them; and they left their father Zeb'edee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed him".

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Sunday Reflections
English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy
Limerick Diocesan Weekly Resource Newsletter
Interrupting the Silence - Casting and Mending 

Liturgical Odds & Ends

Liturgy of the Hours: Psalter Week 3; 3rd week in Ordinary Time

Saints of the Week

January 26th - Ss Timothy & Titus
January 27th - St Angela Merici
January 28th - St Thomas Aquinas
January 29th - St Blath of Kildare
January 30th - St Aidan also Blessed Margaret Ball and Blessed Francis Taylor
January 31st - St John Bosco 

Jan 20, 2015

Salt + Light - Vatican Perspectives 16 Jan 2015

Salt + Light: Pope Francis Visits the Philippines - Perspectives Daily

Habemus Episcopum Anglicanam II - We have a new bishop!

Back in September SS102fm extended our congratulations to the Church of Ireland United diocese of Limerick & Kilaloe on the election of their new bishop.

The Service of Ordination and Consecration of the Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon as the new Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe will take place in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin on Saturday 24 January 2015 at 2.30 p.m. – the Eve of the Conversion of St Paul.

The service will be led by the Archbishop of Dublin, The Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, and the preacher will be The Most Revd Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales.

For those unable to attend, the service will be streamed by the cathedral; visit: http://christchurchcathedral.ie/worship/live-webcast/

The date of his installation/enthronement in St Mary's Cathedral in Limerick is still to be announced and confirmed is 7th February 2015.

In this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, lets pray for the new bishop and his family and welcome them to Shannonside!

Jan 17, 2015

18th January 2015 - Adult Faith Formation in Limerick Diocese - 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

On this weeks programme the SS102fm interviews one of our own with a friendly discussion with Lorraine Buckley about her new role in as Faith Development Coordinator in the diocese of Limerick and the opportunity for people to learn more about their faith with a particular focus on the Irish Catholic Catechism for Adults. We have a brief reflection on the Sunday gospel and some other odds and ends

You can listen to the podcast of this weeks programme HERE.

The Irish Catholic Catechism for Adults and Limerick Diocese Faith Development Programme

John interviews Lorraine Buckley about the role of Faith Development Coordinator in the diocese of Limerick and the need and importance of adult faith formation particularly in the Irish church at this time.

You can listen to the interview with Lorraine excerpted from the main programme HERE.

The Faith Development Coordinator works at the direction of the Bishop, chief catechist of the diocese, in the promotion of and co-ordination of faith development initiatives in the diocese. Such initiatives range from preparation programmes for the sacraments of initiation to adult faith development. Why is faith development so important? Sherry Weddell wrote in Forming Intentional Disciples:

“The majority of Catholics in the United States are sacramentalized but not evangelized. They do not know that an explicit, personal attachment to Christ – personal discipleship – is normative Catholicism as taught by the apostles and reiterated time and time again by the pope, councils, and saints of the Church.”
In an Irish context, the two questions Lorraine put to listeners:
  • How can we renew and deepen our own faith so that we may share that faith with others? 
  • What can we do to facilitate that encounter with Christ in our Parishes and in our Pastoral Area? 
The first question is really important – a lot of people say ‘we must do more to get the young people back into Church’, but what are we inviting them back to? Are we convinced by what we believe? Do we live as if we believe in Jesus? Do we worship and celebrate liturgy as if we believe in Jesus? If we have gone lax in our own relationship with God, how can we speak of that relationship with others? This is why Pope Francis encourages us to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus. We know from our experience of human relationships that relationships take work! They don’t just happen. It is the same with our relationship with God. He will fill our hearts with love – He will do most of the work for us – but we have to be open to Him.

There are many different ways in which we can deepen our faith – through prayer, through Scripture and Lectio Divina, through different retreats, courses, prayer groups, spiritual reading, different ecclesial movements etc.
There is a wealth of resources out there too. One of the tools or resources for helping to build our relationship with God is the new Irish Catholic Catechism for Adults, which was launched last year. Now before everyone turns off the radio, it is not about rote learning or question and answer style formats like the Penny Catechism. 

The Irish Catholic Catechism for Adults presents adults with a renewed opportunity to study, reflect on and live by the faith we profess in the Creed, celebrate in the Sacraments, live in the Christian moral life and deepen through prayer. Each chapter begins with a short account of a saint or holy person who tried to follow the Christian path in their own time and circumstance. This is followed by a section explaining God’s revelation through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit that relates to that story. It places this teaching alongside questions and doubts that arise from our daily life and our country’s culture and tries to resolve them.

During autumn this year, two reflection groups started using the Irish Catholic Catechism for Adults as part of the Growing Faith programme.  Over ten weeks, we gathered together once a week to learn more about our story – who God is and who we are as God’s beloved children.  It is not about learning things off by heart, but learning more about our faith through music, videos, chat and a cuppa at the end of the evening.  One of those who attended said: “I find this course a great way of developing a loving rather than a fearful relationship with Our Father in Heaven.”  Growing Faith is about change – looking at ways in which we can live our faith better and many were inspired by the “stories of great people who have and are living out their faith in action.” 

Next week, LDPC will be starting the next ten week course on Part II – Sacraments: Faith Celebrated. They are running the course in two venues, Limerick Diocesean Pastoral Centre, which meets on Tuesday evenings, beginning next Tuesday, January 20th at 7.30pm, and Newcastle West Parish Centre, which meets on Wednesday evenings, beginning next Wednesday, January 21st at 8pm. Each group meets for an hour and a half – which isn’t as long as it sounds – as we use a mixture of media to share our faith and learn more about our faith.

If anyone would like to find out more about the Growing Faith reflection groups or indeed would like Lorraine to visit their Pastoral Area/Pastoral Council please contact Lorraine at 069-61816 or 061-400133 or email lbuckley@ldpc.ie

Gospel - John 1: 35-42 - "Come and see"

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples; and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, "What do you seek?" And they said to him, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?" He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, "So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas" (which means Peter).

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Liturgical odds and ends
Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter Week 2, Second week in Ordinary time

Ordinary Time encompasses two different periods in the Catholic Church's liturgical year. Ordinary Time begins on the Monday after the first Sunday after January 6 (the Feast of the Epiphany) and runs until Ash Wednesday. Both Lent and the Easter season fall outside of Ordinary Time, which resumes again on the Monday after Pentecost Sunday and runs until the First Sunday in Advent (the start of the new liturgical year).

Saints of the Week

January 18th - 2nd Sunday in Ordinary time - also World Day of Migrants & Refugees
January 19th - Nine Martyrs of Numidia
January 20th - St Fabian and St Sebastian (martyrs)
January 21st - St Agnes (virgin martyr) - also the Blessing of the Lambs will take place in Rome today. The lambs wool will be harvested to make the palliums to be bestowed on new archbishops by the Pope on the feast of St Peter & Paul in June.
January 22nd - St Vincent (martyr)
January 23rd - Saint Colman of Lismore
January 24th - St Francis De Sales

Jan 15, 2015

January 15th - St Ita of Kileedy (co-patron of Limerick Diocese)

Ever living God,
We rejoice in the life of Saint Ita of Killeedy.
We give you thanks for her powerful intercession and we implore her continual protection. Inspire us by her example to live with joy our calling in life, give us perseverance to serve you all our days;
We make this prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, world without end. Amen
Today is the feast day of St Ita of Kileedy - co-patron of the diocese of Limerick. You can find all the previous posts, programmes and reflections about St Ita HERE.

Resources from LDPC available HERE.

Jan 13, 2015

Ar Misean le Cheile - Launching the Synod as gaeilge

You are invited to the launch of 'Ar Misean le Chéile - Uain Atúsaithe' the Irish language version of 'Together in Mission - A Time to Begin', the letter from Bishop Brendan Leahy regarding the Limerick Diocesan Synod 2016.  

The launch will take place in Room G10, Mary Immaculate College on Lá 'le Íde, Thursday, 15th January, 2015 at 7.00pm.

Everyone is welcome to attend.   Please enter at College Reception.

Jan 11, 2015

11th January 2015 - Feast of the Baptism of the Lord - Christmastide 2014

On this weeks programme John is joined in studio by Martina and Michael Keating who discuss the role and history of St Ita in Limerick diocese as well as a reflection on baptism. We have our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel which is the last gospel of the Christmas period as well as other liturgical odds and ends.

You can listen to the full programme podcast HERE.

Sacrament of Baptism

The Sacrament of Baptism is the doorway into the church as it is the first sacrament of initiation into the Body of Christ and on this weeks programme John and his panel reflect on the meaning of the sacrament and its impact on our lives as Christians and how it is an opening to grace in our lives.

You can listen to the reflection on baptism excerpted from the main programme HERE.

Pope Francis has reflected on the sacrament of baptism at numerous times since he was elected Pope with many reflections.He has reminded us that baptism is no just a formality. "It is an act that touches the depths of our existence. A baptized child and an unbaptized child are not the same. A person who is baptized and a person who is not baptized are not the same. We, by Baptism, are immersed in that inexhaustible source of life which is the death of Jesus, the greatest act of love in all of history; and thanks to this love we can live a new life, no longer at the mercy of evil, of sin and of death, but in communion with God and with our brothers and sisters". He has reflected on baptism during his weekly general audiences links to which are:

8th January 2014
15th January 2014

SS102fm has done a number of programmes on baptism before including a part of our series on the Sacraments when Sr Margaret O'Sullivan reflected on the sacrament of baptism HERE.

Gospel - Mark 1:7-11 - The Baptism of the Lord

And [John the Baptist] preached, saying, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." 
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased."
Catholic Culture - Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord. This brings to an end the season of Christmas. The Church recalls Our Lord's second manifestation or epiphany which occurred on the occasion of His baptism in the Jordan. Jesus descended into the River to sanctify its waters and to give them the power to beget sons of God. The event takes on the importance of a second creation in which the entire Trinity intervenes.

In the Eastern Church this feast is called Theophany because at the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan God appeared in three persons. The baptism of John was a sort of sacramental preparatory for the Baptism of Christ. It moved men to sentiments of repentance and induced them to confess their sins. Christ did not need the baptism of John. Although He appeared in the "substance of our flesh" and was recognized "outwardly like unto ourselves," He was absolutely sinless and impeccable. He conferred upon the water the power of the true Baptism which would remove all the sins of the world: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who takes away the sin of the world."

It was a voice out of nowhere.
It was a voice from everywhere.
It was the voice of love.
It was the voice from above.
“You are my beloved,” came the words;
“You are my beloved,” was what they heard.
“You are my Son;”
“You are the One.”
The words were spoken at the river
By One, who of all life, is the giver.
The words were spoken to identify Jesus;
The words were spoken that God might touch us.
Down through the centuries of life,
Through war and pestilence and strife,
The faithful lose all fear,
When “You are my beloved” is what they hear.
The words are meant for all;
The words are God’s call.
“I love you without reserve.”
“I love you more than you deserve.”
And then there comes a time in each soul
When we embrace our God and commit our whole.
We say we will follow Jesus’ way
And in his path we will stay.
But sometimes we forget that we are the beloved.
Sometimes we fail to seek the way of love.
Sometimes we think that on our own we can win.
Often we must repent of our life of sin.
And again we pledge our hearts and vow
That we want to make a difference now.
We hear the challenge to reach out –
We look beyond our walls and that’s what Christianity is about.
We remember that Jesus would not be in our midst.
He would be among the people whom we try to miss.
He would walk with the homeless, sit with the sick –
The poorest of the poor would be his pick.
When we do likewise, our soul is eased
And God says of us, “With you I am well pleased.”
And in the squalor of our sinful life, God continues to love
And speaks to the people of the ages that we, too, are the beloved.

Rev. Terry Heck, Bellbrook UMC, Bellbrook, OH.

Other reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy

St Ita of Kileedy - co-patron of the diocese of Limerick

St Ita also known as the Brigid of Munster is associated with the parish of Killeedy and is one of the co-patrons of the diocese of Limerick. January 15th is her feast day. 

In previous years Michael Keating has shared with us about this extraordinary woman and her role on the development of the faith. 

We discussed how she is a role model and especially how she is a role model for women and what she would say to us in Limerick today. 

We discussed her links with Killeedy, her fostering of various Irish saints and her link with St. Brendan the Navigator. 

She is reportedly a good intercessor in terms of pregnancy and eye illnesses.

"St Ita, the patron saint of Killeedy, was born before 484AD in County Waterford, in the Tramore area. Her father was Cennfoelad or Confhaola and her mother was Necta. Cennfoelad was descended from Felim the lawgiver. 

Ita's name was originally Dorothea or Deirdre. She was a member of the Déisí tribe. Ita refused her father's wish that she should marry a local chieftain, as she believed that she had a calling from God and wanted to become a nun. To convince her father to change his mind, she fasted for three days and three nights. On the third night, God gave out to her father in his sleep. The next morning, Cennfoelad agreed that Ita could do as she wished. At the age of sixteen, Ita set off on her journey. Bishop (St.) Declan of Ardmore conferred the veil on her. 

Legend has it that Ita was lead to Killeedy by three heavenly lights. The first was at the top of the Galtee mountains, the second on the Mullaghareirk mountains and the third at Cluain Creadhail, which is nowadays Killeedy. Her sister Fiona also went to Killeedy with her and became a member of the community. Ita was welcomed to Killeedy by the local chieftain of the Ui Conaill Gabhra tribe. The chieftain wanted to give Ita a large trait of land but she only wanted a few acres as a garden for her community."

You can listen to Michael Keating's 2014 reflection on St Ita HERE.

You can read the 2013 post on St Ita including a discussion between Fr Michael Liston and Michael Keating HERE and previous posts including the readings and other information HERE.

Liturgical odds and ends

Liturgy of the Hours - 1st Week in Ordinary time, Psalter Week 1

Saints of the Week

12th January - Blessed Pierre-François Jamet
13th January - St Hilary
14th January - St Sava of Serbia
15th January - St Ita of Killeedy; co-patron of the diocese of Limerick
16th January - St Fursa (abbott and missionary)
17th January - St Anthony (abbot)
18th January -Beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Jan 7, 2015

Synod 2016 - Are you in staying in touch?

2015 promises to be an exceptional year for all communities in the diocese of Limerick, as the work of the Synod will affect every single community and group this Spring. So are you planning to stay in touch and connected with what is going on?
It is especially important that all pastoral councils, chaplaincy teams and leadership groups are connected both with their synod delegates and with diocesan communications.
So to stay in touch check out:

And of course, keep an eye on Sacred Space 102fm where you can find all items related to the Synod under the tag Synod 2016.
And as we proceed into the process and journey which is Synod 2016, we are all called to continue to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of St Munchin and St Ita for Limerick's Synod.

God our Father,

You have called us to be your Church. As we prepare for a diocesan synod be with us in the power of your Spirit;

Open our ears to hear your Word, our eyes to see the needs of your people.
Help us to cast off our prejudice, to face bravely the problems of your church.
Keep us united in constant prayer with Mary our Mother. So that together in mission - a time to begin again, we can build your church, your people, to be a sign of your loving saving presence in our country and our diocese.

Jan 5, 2015

6th January 2015 - Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

Arise, shine out, Jerusalem; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 
For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. 
Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses' arms. 
Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. 
A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.
Isaiah 60:1-6

Today in Ireland we celebrate Epiphany which is feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. On this feast, Western Christians commemorate principally the visitation of the Biblical Magi to the Baby Jesus, i.e., his manifestation to the Gentiles; Eastern Christians commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God. It is also called Theophany, especially by Eastern Christians.

St Matthew tells us (2:1-12) that Wise Men came from out of the east seeking the new born child as the Messiah of the whole world not just for the people of Israel. Their homage to him upon locating him in Bethleham is representative of the whole world who adore the Holy Child and recognise his Divine Kingship, he who is the Light of the World.
"They set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh."
The feast of the Epiphany in the latin tradition focuses on the manifestation or showing of the Child Jesus to the Magi or Wise men who have come to seek the new King of the Jews. The three wisdom seekers represent the gentiles; those outside the covenanted community of Israel to whom the Messiah will also come. Where the shepherds represented the Chosen People, the three magi represent all those who truly search and seek for God in our world even if from out side our community and experiences. The questions this familiar part of the Christmas narrative can pose to us include:
  • What "star" do I follow in my life? Do I follow the Morning Star which is Christ or do I have other things I follow?
  • Am I open to seeing the Divine in others even if they are different from me?
  • Like the Wise men, am I willing to trust in God and go where She leads me, even if it means travelling far (literally or metaphorically), believing that God will be "my staff and my shield"?
But like the shepherds, the three magi did not stay in Bethleham, they had to go back out into the world, back to their homes and families and daily lives; just like we have to. But they took the message of what they had seen and heard with them.Epiphany demands that like these kings we should return to our own countries a different way, carrying to all those we meet the light of Christ. "For behold, darkness shall cover the earth," says the Epistle of the Epiphany Mass, "and a mist the people: but the Lord shall arise upon Thee, and His glory shall be seen upon Thee. And the Gentiles shall walk in Thy light..." These words may be applied to us, upon whom the light of Christ has indeed risen, and who have the responsibility to radiate that light in the darkness of our own world. It is clear how much the feast of Epiphany must mean to all who are engaged in the apostolate and are striving to extend the kingdom of Christ.


We join with the psalmist (Psalm 44) and the Magi and all the Heavenly Court in praising the Prince of Peace:
My heart overflows with noble words.
To the king I must speak the song I have made,
my tongue as nimble as the pen of a scribe.
You are the fairest of the people on earth
and graciousness is poured upon your lips,
because God has blest you for evermore.
Your throne, O God, shall endure for ever.
A scepter of justice is the scepter of your kingdom,
Your love is for justice, your hatred for eil.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness above other kings;
your robes are fragrant with aloes and myrrh.
From the ivory palace you are greeted with music.
The daughters of kings are among your loved ones.
On your right stands the queen in gold of Ophir.

Reflections on the gospel reading:

Reflections and thoughts for the feast:

The Proclamation of the Date of Easter on Epiphany (the "Noveritis") 2015

As traditional on SS102fm we post the the Proclamation of the Date of Easter on Epiphany (the "Noveritis") each year. The practice dates from a time when calenders were not too readily available. It was necessary to make known the date of Easter in advance, since many celebrations of the liturgical year depend on its date. The number of weeks that follow Epiphany, the date of Ash Wednesday and the number of Sundays that follow Pentecost are all computed in relation to Easter.

If you would like some more detail of the history of the Proclamation head over to New Liturgical Movement.

Although calendars now give the date of Easter and the other feasts in the liturgical year for many years in advance, the Epiphany Proclamation still has value. it is a reminder of the centrality of the resurrection of the Lord in the liturgical year and the importance of the great mysteries of faith which are celebrated each year. This beautiful proclamation puts everything into perspective. Every liturgical celebration of the Church finds its authentic meaning in the Paschal Mystery, even Christmas. The Paschal Mystery was precisely why the Eternal Son of the Father, the Eternal Word, deigned to leap down from heaven and become incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was born in time so that He could give His flesh for the life of the world.

Below is the Proclamation with the dates for 2015 as per the Irish Liturgical Calendar.

Know, dear brothers & sisters,
that, as we have rejoiced at the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ,
so by leave o
f God's mercy
we announce to you also the joy of his Resurrection,
who is our Saviour.

On the eighteenth day of February will fall Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of the fast of the most sacred Lenten season.

On the fifth day of April you will celebrate with joy Easter Day, the Paschal feast of our Lord Jesus Christ.

On the seventeenth day of May will be the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.

On the twenty-fourth day of May, the feast of Pentecost.

On the seventh day of June, the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

On the twenty-ninth day of November, the First Sunday of the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ,
to whom is honor and glory for ever and ever.


Jan 3, 2015

4th January 2015 - SS102fm Year in Review 2014 - 2nd Sunday of Christmas

On this weeks programme the team does their annual review of the previous year 2014, we find out who our patron saints for 2015 are going to be and we have our regular reflection on the gospel of the Sunday.

You can listen to the podcast of this weeks programme HERE.

Review of the Year

As is customary at this time of the year we have our review of 2014 from a church perspective looking at the highs and lows of the year in Ireland, Limerick and around the globe with a special focus on what has happened with Pope Francis over the last twelve months.

You can listen back to our review of 2014 HERE excerpted from the main programme podcast.

Links to items raised during the review of the year and websites to keep an eye on during the year.

Limerick - Synod 2016
2014: The year in review in Catholicism 

Also check out Rome Reports who have prepared a short video for each month of 2014.

Gospel - John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

(John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”)From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

Reflections on the gospel:

Sacred Space - John 1:1-18
Irish Carmelites (OCarms) - reflection
Bring It! A Christmas Reflection on John 1:1-18

Patron Saints 2015

On Sacred Space 102fm for the last couple of years we have taken a Blog Patron Saint who in 2014 was the Franciscan St Bonaventure. 

We also each took a personal patron saint:

Anne - Pope St Paul V
John - St Michael the Archangel
Lorraine - St Cecilia
Shane - St Andre Bessette
So for 2015 who are our celestial guides for the coming year?!?

Blog Patron 2015 - St Joachim

Husband of Saint Anne, elderly father of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Grandfatherof Jesus Christ. Probably well off. Tradition says that while he was away from home, he and Anne each received a message from an angel that she was pregnant. Believed to have given Mary to the service of the Temple when the girl was three years old. Joachim is mentioned in neither historical nor canonical writings.

The information we have on Joachim derives mainly from the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James.

Patron saint of fathers,grandfathers and grandparents.

John's patron for 2015 - St Jerome Emiliani
A careless and irreligious soldier for the city-state of Venice, Jerome was captured in a skirmish at an outpost town and chained in a dungeon. In prison Jerome had a lot of time to think, and he gradually learned how to pray. When he escaped, he returned to Venice where he took charge of the education of his nephews—and began his own studies for the priesthood. In the years after his ordination, events again called Jerome to a decision and a new lifestyle. Plague and famine swept northern Italy. Jerome began caring for the sick and feeding the hungry at his own expense. While serving the sick and the poor, he soon resolved to devote himself and his property solely to others, particularly to abandoned children. He founded three orphanages, a shelter for penitent prostitutes and a hospital. Around 1532 Jerome and two other priests established a congregation, the Clerks Regular of Somasca, dedicated to the care of orphans and the education of youth. Jerome died in 1537 from a disease he caught while tending the sick. He was canonized in 1767. In 1928 Pius Xl named him the patron of orphans and abandoned children. Feast day February 8th.

Anne's patron for 2015 - St Augustine of Hippo
St Augustine of Hippo was an early Christian theologian and philosopher whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He was the bishop of Hippo Regius (modern-day Annaba, Algeria), located in Numidia (Roman province of Africa). He is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in the Western Christianity for his writings in the Patristic Era. Among his most important works are City of God and Confessions. St. Augustine of Hippo is the patron of brewers because of his conversion from a former life of loose living, which included parties, entertainment, and worldly ambitions. His complete turnaround and conversion has been an inspiration to many who struggle with a particular vice or habit they long to break. Also patron saint of printers. His feast day is 28th August.

Lorraine's patron for 2015 - St Josephine Bakhita of Sudan    
Born to a wealthy Sudanese family, she was kidnapped by slave-traders at age 9, and given the name Bakhita (lucky) by them. Sold and resold in the markets at El Obeid and Khartoum, finally purchased in 1883 by Callisto Legnani, Italian consul who planned to free her. She accompanied Legnani to Italy in 1885, and worked as a nanny for the family of Augusto Michieli. She was treated well in Italy and grew to love the country. An adult convert the Christianity, she joined the Church on 9 January 1890, she took the name of Josephine as a symbol of her new life. She entered the Institute of Canossian Daughters of Charity in Venice, Italy in 1893, taking her vows on 8 December 1896 in Verona, Italy and serving as a Canossian Sister for the next fifty years. Her gentle presence, her warm, amiable voice, and her willingness to help with any menial task were a comfort to the poor and suffering people who came to the door of the Institute. After a biography of her was published in 1930, she became a noted and sought after speaker, raising funds to support missions.

Shane's patrons for 2014 - St Veronica 

When Christ fell on his way to the Golgotha, a woman wiped his face with a towel; an image of Christ remained on the towel. This woman was Veronica; this incident is all we really know about her, and the relic has become her symbol ever since. Patron saint against bleeding, against hemorraghes, domestic workers, dying people, laundry workers, linen weavers, maids, photographers, seamstresses, washerwomen

If you would like to pick a patron saint for 2015 check out the Saint Name Generator from Jennifer Fulwiler over at Conversion Diary

Liturgical odds and ends

Online could be confusing for people this week as we have divergences in the liturgical calendar. In the USA and UK the feast of the Epiphany is celebrated on the Sunday (4th January) where as in Ireland we still observe it on the 6th January.

Saints of the Week

January 7th - St Raymond of Penafort
January 8th - Saint Athelm of Canterbury
January 9th - Blessed Józef Pawlowski

Christmastide 2014 - A Review of the Year with Catholic News Service

Jan 1, 2015

Christmastide 2014 - Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (Theotokas; Mater Dei) - 1st January 2015

O God, who through the fruitful virginity of Blessed Mary bestowed on the human race the grace of eternal salvation, grant, we pray, that we may experience the intercession of her, through whom we were found worthy to receive the author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

On this the January 1st, the Octave Day of Christmas, the Church once more celebrates the role of Mary in the mystery of Christmas under her most ancient title Theotokos (Mater Dei, God-bearer, Mother of God.). "The transcendent omnipotence of divinity is entrusted to the gentle intimacy of maternity, even to a certain unassuming and gentle young woman. It’s not, of course, that Mary was the source of God as such (the opposite is the case). The meaning of “Mother of God” is that the person to whom she gave birth in human flesh, whom she nursed and raised, was and is God".

As Dame Catherine reminds use over at iBenedictines:
Like January itself, named for the old pagan god Janus, it is a feast that looks two ways: back into the history of the Chosen People, forward into eternity. Mary herself is the hinge between the Old and New Covenants: she gives us Jesus Christ to be our Saviour, and we ourselves, by virtue of our baptism, are part of the great chain of being centred on Him. But an octave means eight days celebrated as one, with the eighth day a symbol of perfection, the point at which we go beyond time and enter eternity. So today is Christmas Day just as much as 25 December, but also our launch-pad into eternity.

Homily for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God
Glenstal Abbey
Rev. Martin Browne OSB
1st January 2015

We Catholics celebrate Mary a lot…. The calendar has numerous feasts and commemorations of her…. We celebrate her Conception on the 8th of December, her earthly birthday on the 8th of September, her presentation in the Temple on the 21st of November, and her heavenly birthday on the 15th of August. We celebrate feasts of Mary in parallel with some feasts of Jesus too – such as her Immaculate Heart on the day after the feast of his Sacred Heart; her Sorrows on the day after the feast of the Exaltation of his Cross. We celebrate her on every Saturday throughout the year. And, of course, we celebrate her in many of the Feasts of the Lord too, because of the part she played in those mysteries of Christ: including Christmas, the Presentation of the Lord, the Annunciation, Easter and Pentecost. And then there are the countless titles under which she is honoured throughout the world – Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of Lourdes …of Fatima …of Knock …of Walsingham ….of Guadalupe. There is even a statue of Our Lady of Limerick in the Dominican church in the city! And then there are all the other titles which the Church gives her: ‘Queen of Heaven’, ‘Seat of Wisdom’, ‘Daughter of Zion’, ‘Help of Christians’, ‘Mother of the Church’, ‘Refuge of Sinners’, and so on, including Pope Francis’s favourite, ‘Untier of Knots’.

We monks sing a short song in Mary’s honour at the very end of the day’s prayers every single evening. Depending on the time of the year, we address her as the ‘Kindly Mother of the Redeemer’; ‘Queen of the Heavens’; ‘Queen of Heaven’; ‘Queen and Mother of Mercy’ and ‘Holy Mother of God.’ Every time Pope Francis leaves Rome, he goes first to the Basilica of Mary Major, to pray before an icon of Mary, ‘Health of the People of Rome’. He visits it again on his return, sometimes on his way back from the airport, even before he returns to the Vatican. Mary is big in the Catholic landscape….

All of these titles and devotions can seem a bit exotic to some people’s taste. Some over-rational minds find it all a bit much. It looks to them as if we simply cannot say or celebrate anything about Jesus without somehow dragging Mary in it too. Or that we don’t understand the uniqueness of the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, and life and ministry of Jesus, or the unique saving power of his Passion, Death and Resurrection well enough, and so feel the need for mediators and third parties… Some write off Marian devotion completely as superstition or emotion and as a sign that we don’t really take the Gospel seriously.

They are wrong! In fact they couldn’t be more wrong! It is because we take the Incarnation seriously that we honour Mary! Mary is the proof and guarantee that God, in Jesus, became truly human. Mary was not a surrogate or a mere incubator, to use language which has become current in our ‘brave new world’…. Jesus was physically her true son, the fruit of her womb, with all the wonderful and sometimes messy consequences which that entails. A spirit doesn’t have a mother. A human being does…. A projection doesn’t feed at the breast. A baby does….. There is no more serious way of getting in touch with the reality of what God in Jesus did at the Incarnation than to reflect on and honour the bodily maternal role of Mary. She is the mother of Jesus. But she is more. For, because Jesus truly is whom we say he is – God – so is Mary the God-bearer, the Theotokos. She is the MOTHER OF GOD. Out of the many hundreds of titles of honour for Mary, that is the one under which we honour her today, the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. What could show more clearly that God in Jesus truly became one of us than the fact that he had a human mother?

As we heard in the Second Reading: ‘When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman.’ And so, on this octave Day of Christmas, as we contemplate the crib scene, it is a good day to let our attention dwell on Mary. To savour the truth about Mary is to savour the truth about Jesus. He took on our nature, so that he could redeem our nature. And by her ‘yes’, she made it possible. Of her the Word took flesh, and so we honour her as the Holy Mother of God. Some early Christians had difficulty getting their heads around this idea – largely because they had difficulty getting their heads around the idea that Jesus was true God and true man. But one of the earliest Councils of the Church, the Council of Ephesus, pronounced definitively on the question in 431. Jesus is true God and true man, and so Mary is truly Mother of God. As a medieval lyric sings:
Mary the Dawn, Christ the Perfect DayMary the Gate, Christ the Heav’nly Way!Mary the Root, Christ the Mystic VineMary the Grape, Christ the Sacred Wine!Mary the Wheat-sheaf, Christ the Living BreadMary the Rose-Tree, Christ the Rose Blood-red!Mary the Font, Christ the Cleansing FloodMary the Chalice, Christ the Saving Blood!Mary the Temple, Christ the Temple’s LordMary the Shrine, Christ the God adored!Mary the Beacon, Christ the Haven’s RestMary the Mirror, Christ the Vision Blest!Mary the Mother, Christ the Mother’s Son.
Of all the celebrations in honour of Mary that I listed at the start, the feast of her motherhood, on the first day of the year, is by far the oldest. Over the centuries, the naming and circumcision of Jesus was given more emphasis. This is understandable, given that today’s Gospel tells us that the naming and circumcision took place ‘after eight days had passed’. However, since Vatican II, New Year’s Day has happily once again become the feast of Mary’s motherhood. I say ‘happily’ because the feast of Mary as Mother of God is not only the oldest celebration in honour of Mary. In a real sense, it is the greatest one. All of her other titles, and all of her privileges – including dogmas the Church teaches about her, such as her Immaculate Conception, her virginity and her Assumption – only make sense because Mary is the Mother of God. Were she not God’s mother, would she have been preserved free from the stain of sin from the moment of her conception? Were she not God’s mother, would she have been saved from physical decay and assumed bodily into heaven? Of course not! It is because she is Mother of God that she enjoys these privileges. And more significantly for us, it is because she is Mother of God that we can claim her as Mother of the Church and our Mother too. Rightly we sang at the beginning of this Mass:
Salve sancta Parens….Hail holy Mother, Child-Bearer, who have brought forth the King who rules heaven and earth for ever.
As we continue our celebration of the Word made Flesh, we honour her and praise her, for giving the world its Saviour. And just as we praise her, so too do we turn to her and ask for her prayer. The song we sing after Compline on weeknights throughout much of the year, the oldest song in honour of Mary, expresses this:
Sub tuum præsidium confugimus….We fly to your patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin.
So let us not be bashful about expressing our love and devotion for the Holy Mother of God! Drawing close to her, we draw close Jesus – Emmanuel, the God who comes to save us. She is the glory of Jerusalem. She is the joy of Israel. She is the highest honour of our race.
You bore for me the One who came to bless
And bear for all, to make the broken whole.
You heard his call, and in your open ‘yes’
You spoke aloud for every living soul.
Oh gracious Lady, child of your own child,
Whose mother-love still calls the child in me,
Call me again, for I am lost and wild
Waves surround me now. On this dark sea
Shine as a star and call me to the shore.
Open a door that all my sins would close
And hold me in your garden. Let me share
The prayer that folds the petals of the Rose.
Enfold me too in love’s last mystery,
And bring me to the One you bore for me

Other homily's on the Solemnity:

Pope Francis - Homily for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God
Pope Francis opens 2015 with calls for peace, loyalty to the Church, and devotion to Mary
Pope Francis - Pope at Angelus: fix your gaze on Mary the Mother of God

Mary, Virgin and Mother,
you who, moved by the Holy Spirit,
welcomed the word of life
in the depths of your humble faith:
as you gave yourself completely to the Eternal One,
help us to say our own “yes”
to the urgent call, as pressing as ever,
to proclaim the good news of Jesus.

Filled with Christ’s presence,
you brought joy to John the Baptist,
making him exult in the womb of his mother.
Brimming over with joy,
you sang of the great things done by God.

Standing at the foot of the cross
with unyielding faith,
you received the joyful comfort of the resurrection,
and joined the disciples in awaiting the Spirit
so that the evangelizing Church might be born.

Obtain for us now a new ardour born of the resurrection,
that we may bring to all the Gospel of life
which triumphs over death.
Give us a holy courage to seek new paths,
that the gift of unfading beauty may reach every man and woman.

Virgin of listening and contemplation,
Mother of love, Bride of the eternal wedding feast,
pray for the Church,
whose pure icon you are,
that she may never be closed in on herself
or lose her passion for establishing God’s kingdom.

Star of the new evangelization,
help us to bear radiant witness to communion, service, ardent and generous faith,
justice and love of the poor,
that the joy of the Gospel
may reach to the ends of the earth, illuminating even the fringes of our world.

Mother of the living Gospel,
wellspring of happiness for God’s little ones, pray for us.
Amen. Alleluia!
Evangelii Gaudium, 288
Reflections on the feast day and what it means: