Apr 18, 2014

Good Friday - Christus factus est - Christ was obedient unto death, even death on a cross

Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis. Propter quod et Deus exaltavit illum et dedit illi nomen, quod est super omne nomen.

Christ became obedient for our sakes unto death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name.

“See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted…Though harshly treated, he submitted and did not open his mouth; Like a lamb led to slaughter or a sheep silent before shearers, he did not open his mouth…But it was the Lord’s will to crush him with pain. By making his life as a reparation offering, he shall see his offspring, shall lengthen his days, and the Lord’s will shall be accomplished through him,” (Isaiah 52:13, 53:7,10).

“Holy Week challenges us to step outside ourselves so as to attend to the needs of others: those who long for a sympathetic ear, those in need of comfort or help. We should not simply remain in our own secure world, that of the ninety-nine sheep who never strayed from the fold, but we should go out, with Christ, in search of the one lost sheep, however far it may have wandered. Holy Week is not so much a time of sorrow, but rather a time to enter into Christ’s way of thinking and acting. It is a time of grace given us by the Lord so that we can move beyond a dull or mechanical way of living our faith, and instead open the doors of our hearts, our lives, our parishes, our movements or associations, going out in search of others so as to bring them the light and the joy of our faith in Christ.” - Pope Francis (General Audience March 27th 2013)

White Crucifixtion by Chagall - Source and further information HERE
"The imagery of the Crucifixion has become so familiar it no longer shocks. We look at our crucifixes and see the twisted body, hanging bloodied and bowed, pierced through with nails, crowned with thorns, and barely register the suffering. The historically-minded will tell you that the crown of thorns was added only in the thirteenth century, that the poignant twist of the body is not found before the ninth-century cross of Lothair, but these are mere details. It takes a Julian of Norwich, with her account of the drying of Christ’s flesh on Calvary, or his drops of blood the size of herring-scales, to make us connect our theology and our feelings. It was not always so." - iBenedictines - continue reading here.

You can view various depictions and reflections on the Crucifixion HERE.

Christ of St. John of the Cross (View of the crucified Christ from above) DALI (1951)

It was on the Friday that they ended it all.
Of course, they didn't do it one by one.
They weren't brave enough.
All the stones at the one time or no stones thrown at all.
They did it in crowds.... in crowds where you can feel safe
and lose yourself and shout things you would never shout
on your own, and do things you would never do if you felt
the camera was watching you.
It was a crowd in the church that did it,
and a crowd in the civil service that did it,
and a crowd in the street that did it,
and a crowd on the hill that did it.
And he said nothing.
He took the insults, the bruises, the spit on the face,
the thongs on the back, the curses in the ears.
He took the sight of his friends turning away,
running away.
And he said nothing.
He let them do their worst until their worst was done,
as on Friday they ended it all....
and would have finished themselves had he not cried,
"Father, forgive them all."
And the revolution began.

You can read our series of reflections on the Stations of the Cross below:

We adore you O Christ and we bless you
Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Good Friday is the mirror held up by Jesus so that we can see ourselves in all our stark reality, and then it turns us to that cross and to his eyes and we hear these words, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." That is us! And so we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. We see in that cross a love so amazing so divine that it loves us even when we turn away from it, or spurn it, or crucify it. There is no faith in Jesus without understanding that on the cross we see into the heart of God and find it filled with mercy for the sinner whoever he or she may be.

- Sr Louise PDDM

What shall I give you, Lord, in return for all Your kindness?
Glory to You for Your love.
Glory to You for Your mercy.
Glory to You for Your patience.
Glory to You for forgiving us all our sins.
Glory to You for coming to save our souls.
Glory to You for Your incarnation in the virgin's womb.
Glory to You for Your bonds.
Glory to You for receiving the cut of the lash.
Glory to You for accepting mockery.
Glory to You for Your crucifixion.
Glory to You for Your burial.
Glory to You for Your resurrection.
Glory to You who were preached to men and women.
Glory to You in whom they believed.
Glory to You who were taken up into heaven.
Glory to You who sit in great glory at the Father's right hand.
Glory to You whose will it is that the sinner should be saved through Your great mercy and compassion.

Ephraem of Syria (ca. 306-373


Stabat Mater dolorosa
Iuxta crucem lacrimosa
Dum pendebat Filius

Cuius animam gementem
Contristatam et dolentem
Pertransivit gladius

O quam tristis et afflicta
Fuit illa benedicta
Mater unigeniti!

Quae moerebat et dolebat,
Et tremebat cum videbat
Nati poenas incliti

Reflections from Phil at Blue Eyed Ennis for the Triduum

Homily of Bishop Brendan Leahy - Chrism Mass 2014

Chrism Mass,
St. Joseph’s Church, Limerick,
In a few moments, the priests who are present will be renewing their priestly promises. In doing so, they will recall their ordination day. In the past year I have enjoyed discovering on various occasions aspects of the life and ministry of the priests of this diocese. It has been like a game of placing tiles in a mosaic as I realise such and such a priest was in this or that parish years ago, or had established such and such an initiative, or has had this or that story in common with others. It has brought home to me again how each priest’s life is a world that would be difficult to capture in all its variety and depth of experience.

It is touching to see the affection people have for priests. How often I have been told that I am not to move Fr….  “You’re going to be leaving him here with us, won’t you…?”. The “won’t you” has various degrees of tone to it…  It is indeed a tribute to the priests of the diocese that there is such affection. I have been very impressed by how close people feel to them. Any public event I attend I meet people who very easily talk to me of priests they know and esteem.

Priests live as people “sent” by the Lord, as the First Reading and the Gospel put it. They have brought good news to the poor, they have bound up hearts that are broken. They have proclaimed the message of liberty. How many who are mourning have been comforted by priests! How much new sight has been communicated through Jesus’ teachings proclaimed week in, week out around the diocese! I want to express my profound gratitude to the priests of the diocese of Limerick.

This evening, in the context of renewing priestly promises, let’s take it as an occasion to savour those moments in the life and ministry of priests when we felt a particular closeness to God, those moments when the zeal of mission was especially alive for us. Spiritual teachers recommend that we re-visit those moments in order to rekindle the fire in our hearts.

But the renewal of promises is also about starting out again with renewed vigour and zeal. In doing so, let’s heed the words of Pope Francis in his letter, The Joy of the Gospel when he says, ‘Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the “peripheries” in need of the light of the Gospel’. For each of us, it’s a question and a stimulus – what are the peripheries to which I can reach out more?

Because we are called to be instruments of joy in the world. So many of our contemporaries are searching for happiness and joy and don’t know where to find it. I was at a youth gathering some weeks ago when someone quoted John Lennon: ‘When I was five years old my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy” and they told me I didn’t understand the assignment. I told them they didn’t understand life.’

Yes, people want happiness. And Pope Francis invites us to hear again the Gospel of Joy in our own lives and to communicate it generously. As he puts it, we have joy the more we stop trying to be in charge of ourselves and let ourselves be taken into the adventure of leaving security on the shore and becoming excited by the mission of communicating life and joy to others.

No one can deny that in the rapidly changing circumstances of today’s world, priests can find themselves buffeted by the various storms that arise in their ministry. We know only too well of how many innocent people have suffered terrible darkness because of clerical abuse. As I said on the day of my ordination and since then, at Masses celebrated for them, I want to make their pain my own and seek forgiveness seventy times seven. It is a deep wound for all of us.

And yet, despite the storms, research shows that most priests are profoundly fulfilled in their ministry. It’s a message we need to shout from the rooftops. Every life has its challenges but there is a joy that persists in following God also along the road of priesthood.

Our priestly vocation is, yes, to be without a specific family because of celibacy, but it is in order to be builders together of the bigger family of God and in that there is deep satisfaction and happiness. We need to let others know that in offering our humanity as a gift to the Risen Christ, he has extended our heart to a new fatherhood, a new spiritual paternity, a new universal love that the Second Reading points to. And that’s why we need not be afraid to appeal to young men who may feel this calling, to follow the vocation to be a priest. It is an adventure of life that can bring deep joy, a joy the world does not know.

So this evening, as we renew our priestly promises, let’s give witness to the hope that is within us. We have been called and anointed with a mission. Jesus Christ “loves us and washes away our sins” as the Second Reading tells us. It is in the Crucified, pierced Christ that we find our deepest inspiration. He reached all the peripheries of existence and from there generated the Church.

The Risen Christ, the Alpha and Omega of history, invites us too in this moment of history to renew the gift of our humanity to him so that today too he may reach the peripheries through our reaching out and our closeness to others as well as our compassion and perseverance.

Let’s be thankful for our vocation, and in a spirit of gratitude, renew our priestly promises, knowing that we have a mother, Mary, who will pray that our promises may be ratified in heaven.

Holy Thursday - Mass of the Lord's Supper

Holy Thursday night; the Church recalls the Last Supper and the institution of the priesthood and the Eucharist. It is the first night of the Sacred Triduum as we enter into the hourly recollection of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Vatican Radio:
In a gesture of humility and service, and in imitation of Christ, Pope Francis put on an apron and knelt down to wash the feet of 12 patients at a long-term care facility, during the Missa In Coena Domini, or the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, on Thursday evening.

Visibly fatigued and requiring assistance to kneel and stand up again as he came close to the end of the rite, Pope Francis conveyed tenderness and concern for each person, pouring water on each person’s foot, then drying it and kissing it, before offering a loving gaze, sometimes reciprocated, depending on each person’s state of health. The patients ranged in age from 16 to 86, and all suffer from a variety disabilities. All of them are Italian (though three were of a different ethnic origin), including one Muslim man.  
The Mass was celebrated in Italian in the chapel of the Santa Maria della Provvidenza Centre, one of more than two dozen healthcare facilities, run by the Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation. It reflected the character of the healthcare centre and of the local Christian community, with the centre’s usual Sunday choir, consisting of patients, volunteers and staff, singing popular Italian hymns. Many of the centre’s patients sat in their wheelchairs in the front rows of the assembly.

The Mass, which recalls Christ’s last Passover meal with this Apostles, his washing of their feet in a gesture of service, and the institution of the Eucharist, begins the Easter Triduum.

The Pope’s selection of the location and his gesture of washing the feet of 12 people with disability was intended to underline the forms of fragility, in which the Christian community is called to recognize the suffering Christ and to which it must devote attention, solidarity and charity.

In his brief homily, the Pope recalled that God made himself a servant in Christ and that this is the inheritance of all believers. Christ came to love and his followers, in turn, “need to be servants in love”.

Speaking extemporaneously, he said to wash the feet of another was, in Jesus’ time, the task of the slave or the servant of the house. In executing this gesture, Jesus tells his followers that they are called to be servants to each other.

“Everyone here must think of others… and how we can serve others better,” he said.

At the end of the Mass, the Pope carried the Blessed Sacrament to an Altar of Repose. He remained there in prayer until the end of the Pange Lingue hymn, after which he processed out of the chapel in the usual silence with which the Holy Thursday evening liturgy concludes.

This is the second year the Pope celebrates the Mass of the Lord’s Last Supper among a group of people usually marginalized by society. Last year, the Pope celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Last Supper at a youth detention centre.
Rome Reports:

Vatican Radio

Pope Francis preached an extemporaneous homily during the celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which was held at S. Maria della Provvidenza, a rehabilitation and long-term care facility in the suburbs of Rome. The following is an English translation of Pope Francis’ reflections on the Lord’s loving act of service, an act which the Pope himself imitated later in the Mass, kneeling down to wash the feet of twelve patients of the centre.
We have heard what Jesus did at the Last Supper: It is a gesture of farewell. He is God and He makes Himself a servant, our servant. It is like an inheritance. You also must be servants of one another. He crossed this path by love. Also you must love each other and be servants in Love. This is the inheritance that Jesus leaves us. And He makes this gesture of washing feet, which is a symbolic act. The slaves performed this, the servants at the meals for the people who came to dine because at that time the streets were made of dirt, and when they entered in a house it was necessary to wash one’s feet. And Jesus made performed this action, a work, a service of a slave, of a servant. And this He leaves like an inheritance amongst us. We must be servants of each other.  
And for this reason, the Church, today, commemorates the Last Supper when Jesus instituted the Eucharist, also—in the ceremony—performs the action of the washing of the feet, which reminds us that we must be servants of one another. Now I will perform this act, but all of us, in our hearts, let us think of others and think in the love that Jesus tells us that we have to have for the others and let us consider also how we can serve better, other people. Because Jesus wanted it this way amongst us

Apr 17, 2014

Holy Thursday - Chrism Mass - UPDATED

Vatican Radio

In a series of reflections, the Secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, Archbishop Arthur Roche, walks Vatican Radio through the Holy Week liturgies, explaining their significance, symbolism and place within the history of Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection.

He begins with the Chrism Mass, the first of the liturgies Holy Thursday morning, that leads us towards Easter.

You can listen to the report from Vatican Radio HERE.


Limerick's diocesan Chrism Mass was held on Wednesday night in St Joseph's Church in Limerick which was + Brendan's first Chrism Mass as bishop of the diocese.

The Chrism Mass for the diocese of Rome presided over by Pope Francis is being held in St Peter's Basilica this morning and you can watch a live stream HERE.

You can learn more about the Chrism Mass here, here and here


On Holy Thursday, Pope Francis celebrated the Chrism Mass, where he blessed the Holy Oils used in the several Sacraments, including the ordination of priests. This particular moment was the theme of his homily. The Pope said that, upon their ordination, all priests are anointed with the "oil of joy.”

"Priestly joy is a priceless treasure, not only for the priest himself but for the entire people of God: those faithful for which the priest is called to be anointed, and which he, in turn, is sent to anoint.”

In defining what priestly joy is, the Pope listed three main points. The first is that it comes from deep within, from the moment priests are ordained and anointed with holy oil. The second is that joy is never-ending, and can also be renewed. The third point, he said, is that priestly joy is missionary at heart.

"Our anointing is done to anoint God’s holy and faithful people: for baptizing and confirming them, healing and sanctifying them, blessing, comforting and evangelizing them.”

Pope Francis said this connection between a priest and his flock is essential. And that in times of boredom or sadness, a priest can find joy within his congregation. He referred to it as a "protected joy,” guarded by the congregation, and by its "sisters”: poverty, loyalty and obedience.

A priest is materially poor, the Pope explained, so instead he seeks joy in God, and his people. But in order to do so, he asked them to "go out” from themselves, and among the people of God, who gives the priests purpose and identity.

"If you don't go out from yourself, the holy oil grows rancid and the anointing cannot be fruitful. Going out from ourselves presupposes self-denial; it means poverty.”

The Pope added that priests must also be loyal to the "living Church,” made up of his "spiritual children,” which include the children he's baptized, the sick he's tended to, and the people he helps.

He also stressed the obedience all priests must have to the Church, but especially the Church's mission to be there, with arms open, for all.

"Wherever God’s people have desires or needs, there is the priest, who knows how to listen and feels a loving mandate from Christ, who sends him to relieve that need with mercy or to encourage those good desires with resourceful charity.”

To conclude his homily, Pope Francis called on Christ to preserve the joy of newly ordained priest, to confirm the joy of experienced priests, and make better known the joy of elderly priests.

You can read the full text of Pope Francis homily HERE.

Apr 16, 2014

A Reminder about that Trocaire Box (and how much the people of Limerick diocese have contributed to Trocaire (2010-2013))

SS102fm is always happy to support the great work that Trocaire does and help promote the Trocaire Lenten campaign. We had a programme about the 2014 Lenten campaign on 23rd March 2014 where Noirin Lynch came on the programme to tell us about it and you can listen to it HERE.

Just a reminder for you to take your Trocaire box to your local parish and ensure you contribute to their great work. All donations through parishes in Limerick are remitted directly to Trocaire.

From 2010 to 2013, the Limerick Diocesan Central Office remitted the following amounts collected from parishes around the diocese to Trocaire. This doesn't include any amounts that may have been donated directly by parishes, organisations, religious communities or individuals.
  • Trocaire Lenten campaign 2010 - 2013 €885,000
  • Trocaire Disaster Appeals 2010 - 2013 €516,000
That makes a total of €1,401,000 donated by the people of Limerick diocese!!

If you wish to make a donation to Trocaire directly please go HERE.

Apr 14, 2014

Ad multos annos + Brendán Leahy

Today is the annivesary of the episcopal consecration of Bishop Brendán Leahy of Limerick in St John's Cathedral in 2013.


You can read back on SS102fm's coverage of the event HERE and HERE.

You can check out the diocese's photo album of the event HERE.

And to + Brendán, every blessing and best wish as you continue in your ministry as Bishop of Limerick.

Good Friday Collection in solidarity with Church in Holy Land

(Vatican Radio)

Parishes around the world this week will be taking up the traditional annual Good Friday Collection for the Church in the Holy Land.The proceeds from the Good Friday Collection go to the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. The Franciscans have been caring for the holy sites there since 1209. They also assist the poor, run schools, provide scholarships, and conduct pastoral ministries to keep Christianity alive in the land where it originated.

In his appeal to Catholics to donate generously this Good Friday, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, said “The Collection is still today the principal source which sustains the life and works of the region’s Christians.”

Cardinal Sandri described the current situation in the region, particularly the conflict in Syria, tensions in Egypt and between Israel and Palestine as “truly precarious.”

“Every day the Christians in various regions of the Middle East ask themselves whether they should remain or emigrate,” he noted. “They live in danger and often suffer violence only for the fact of professing the faith common to them and us.” The Collection helps Christians of many different denominations remain in the region as living witnesses to Christ.

A quick look at these Franciscan websites gives an idea about the kinds of services the Good Friday Collection helps provide: www.myfranciscan.org or www.custodia.org.

Social & Charitable Activities
In order to assist Christians to remain in the Holy Land, including the poor and young couples, the Franciscan Custody has built more than a thousand residential units in multiple locations – Bethlehem, Bethphage and Nazareth. In the Old City of Jerusalem about 80 homes have been rehabilitated for Christian families. Senior Care facilities have been built in Bethlehem and Nazareth. Medical assistance is provided for the needy.

Educational & Scientific Activities

To help over 10,000 pre-K through grade 12 students, the Franciscans operate and support schools open to all, regardless of religion or nationality. Muslim and Christian students, teachers and families get to know each other and live in harmony. University scholarships for 360 students prepare them to get jobs and remain in the Holy Land as part of living Catholic communities. Some 120 young men are preparing to be priests or brothers. Still others are pursuing advanced degrees in Biblical Studies and Archaeology and Theology. Franciscan archaeologists pursue ongoing research at the Holy Places including the new projects at Magdala, the home of St. Mary Magdalene.

Pastoral Activities

The Franciscans provide pastoral care in 29 parishes in the Holy Land offering Worship, Christian Formation, youth and family programs and new parish centers in Jericho and Cana.

Liturgical, Ecumenical and Communications Programs

The Franciscan Media Center tells the story of the Holy Land through multimedia distributed throughout the world in more than seven languages. The friars organize Liturgical Celebrations for the local Christians and Pilgrims and share with other Christian communities in the Holy Land in ongoing Ecumenical cooperation.

Reason for the Season - The Easter Triduum

From Dominican Interactive:

A well-known chocolate company is currently running an advertising campaign for bunny-shaped treats with the tagline, ‘Why wait until Easter?’ I imagine the concept of ‘Lent’ isn’t a popular one among chocolate manufacturers, but it says a lot that they could ask this rhetorical question as if there were no obvious answer. Just as Christmas festivities are extended (for commercial reasons) into the waiting period before Christmas, so too the allure of Easter indulgence pops its head up in the last weeks of Lent.

How should we respond? Well, we should certainly ‘wait until Easter’, and stay faithful to our Lenten regimes. But in response to worldly indulgence we should be careful not to become mere puritans. The best way to avoid this possibility is to really spend time meditating on the mysteries we celebrate at Easter, which motivate both our Lenten simplicity and our Easter celebration.

The video above, produced by the Irish Dominican students, is a good way to enter more deeply into the Paschal mysteries. It explains, step by step, the Church celebrations that mark the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday), ending with the drama of the Easter Vigil. This collective journey through the liturgy is also a spiritual journey with Christ.

Cadbury’s might want to rush us to Easter, but a better path is to take your time on the journey, to walk slowly through the Upper Room, to Calvary, to the tomb, and beyond.

Resources for Holy Week


The Lament above is taken from Ceílí De Collection - Hymns of Passion and Resurrection: The Story of Holy Week. These songs recount the story of Holy Week using old and new Irish hymns and tunes. The first three tracks, Domhnach na Pailme, Duan Chroí Íosa and Deus Meus lead up to Holy Thursday and the start of the passion of Christ, with tracks Amhrán na Páise and Críost Liom. On Good Friday we hear hymns of lament from the Mother of Jesus, Caoineadh na dTrí Muire and Seacht nDólás na Maighdine Muire. Holy Saturday is captured by two stark, but beautiful tracks Iontas and A Mhaighdean Bheannaithe. Finally, the joy of the Resurrection, of Easter, of Jesus as King, is heard in the last three tracks An tAiséirí, Amhrán na Cásca and Rí an Domhnaigh. You can read more reflections on this HERE.

Thinking Faith - The Way of Holy Week

Blue Eyed Ennis round up 2013

Blue Eyed Ennis resources 2012

Holy Week Reflections

 The Seven Last Words of Christ: Reflections for Holy Week

Suggestions for Holy Week Preparations from Catholic Culture

Books for Holy Week and Easter

Various Stations of the Cross - HERE, HERE and HERE

Thinking Faith - Story, theology and drama in the Gospel of John

Thinking Faith - The Voices of the Passion

Apr 13, 2014

Pope on Palm Sunday: Where is my heart before the suffering Jesus?

From Vatican Radio:

In the narrative of Christ’s Passion and Death, who am I?

This was the central question of Pope Francis’ homily during Palm Sunday Mass in Saint Peter’s Square, where 100,000 had gathered from around the world, bearing palms and olive branches.

The Pope said that while this week begins with a festive procession of welcome and praise of Jesus, it also recalls the mystery of the Lord’s death and resurrection of Holy Week.

During this week, he said, “We would do well to ask just one question: who am I? Who am I, before my Lord? Who am I, who enters into Jerusalem in celebration? Am I able to express my joy, to praise Him? Or do I keep distant? Who am I, before Jesus Who suffers?”

The Holy Father recalled the names of those appearing in the Gospel reading for the day which recounts Christ’s Passion and Death. “Is my life asleep,” he said, like that of the disciples who slept while the Lord suffered? “Am I like Judas, who pretended to love, and kissed the Master to give him over, to betray him? Am I a traitor?”

Pope Francis listed the other players in the account of Christ’s Passion, calling us to ask ourselves if we are like one of these: Pilate, who washed his hands of his responsibility in condemning Jesus; the crowds who chose the criminal Barabbas over Jesus; the soldiers who struck Jesus and mocked him; the passersby who mocked Jesus as he hung on the Cross.

The Pope then went on to name those in the Gospel reading who showed their fidelity to Jesus: Simon of Cyrene, who helped carry the Cross; Joseph of Arimathea, the “hidden disciple,” who offered his own newly-hewn tomb for Jesus’ Body to be laid in; the women who wept and prayed before the tomb. Am I like Mary, he said, the “Mother of Jesus, who was there, suffering silently?”

Pope Francis concluded his homily saying that this question ought to accompany us through Holy Week: “Where is my heart? To which of these people am I most alike?”

After the distribution of Holy Communion, the Holy Father delivered his Angelus address, during which he extended a special greeting to the participants of the World Youth Days (WYD) organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

He recalled that the next WYD will take place in 2016 in Krakow, Poland, under the theme: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Mt 5,7).
The Pope recalled how 30 years ago John Paul II entrusted the WYD Cross to the youth, exhorting them to “carry it through all the world as a sign of Christ’s love for humanity.”
Rocco over at Whispers in the Loggia provides a translation of the days full homily:

Homily of Pope Francis
Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion
St Peter's Square
13 April 2014

"This week begins with the festive procession with olive branches: all the people welcome Jesus. The children, the young people sing, praising Jesus.

But this week proceeds into the mystery of Jesus' death and his resurrection. We've heard the
Passion of the Lord.
So it'll do us well to ask ourselves one question: Who am I? Who am I before my Lord? Who am I before the Jesus who enters Jerusalem amid celebration? Am I able to express my joy, to praise him? Or do I keep a distance? Who am I before the Jesus who suffers?

We've heard many names, many names. The group of rulers, some priests, some Pharisees, the teachers of the law, who decided to kill him. They waited for the chance to apprehend him. Am I one of them?

We've likewise heard another name: Judas. Thirty pieces of silver. Am I like Judas? We've heard other names: the disciples who couldn't understand any of it, who fell asleep while Jesus suffered. Has my life fallen asleep? Or am I like the disciples, who didn't understand what betraying Jesus meant? Like that other disciple who wanted to settle everything with the sword: am I like them? Am I like Judas, who made a show of loving and kissing Jesus, only to hand him over, to betray him? Am I a traitor? Am I like those rulers who rushed to hold the tribunal and seek false witnesses: am I like them? And when I do these things, if I do them, do I believe that I save people with this?

Am I like Pilate? When I see that the situation's tough, I wash my hands and don't know to take my responsibility and I let them condemn – or do I condemn – people?

Am I like that crowd which didn't know whether it was taking part in a religious gathering, a trial or a circus, and chooses Barabbas? For them it's all the same: it was more fun to humiliate Jesus.

Am I like the soldiers who strike the Lord, spit on him, insult him, enjoying themselves by humiliating the Lord?

Am I like the Cyrenian who was coming home from work, was tired, but had the goodwill to help the Lord carry the cross?

Am I like those who went before the Cross and taunted Jesus: "If only he had more courage! Come down from the cross, and we'll believe in Him!" They taunted Jesus....

Am I like those courageous women, and like Jesus' Mamma, who were there, suffering in silence?

Am I like Joseph, the hidden disciple, who carries the body of Jesus with love to give it a tomb?

Am I like the two Marys who remain before the Tomb crying, praying?

Am I like those leaders who went to Pilate the following day to say: "Be on guard – this one said he would rise, so don't let them be fooled again!" and blocked his life, blocked the tomb to defend doctrine, so that life could not come out?

Where is my heart? Which of these people am I like? May this question accompany us all through this week.

Holy Week in Two Minutes (Busted Halo)

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel

From a sermon by Saint Andrew of Crete, bishop
from the Office of Readings - Palm Sunday

Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today he returns from Bethany and proceeds of his own free will toward his holy and blessed passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation. He who came down from heaven to raise us from the depths of sin, to raise us with himself, we are told in Scripture, above every sovereignty, authority and power, and every other name that can be named, now comes of his own free will to make his journey to Jerusalem. He comes without pomp or ostentation. As the psalmist says: He will not dispute or raise his voice to make it heard in the streets. He will be meek and humble, and he will make his entry in simplicity.

Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward his passion, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before him by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish. Then we shall be able to receive the Word at his coming, and God, whom no limits can contain, will be within us.

In his humility Christ entered the dark regions of our fallen world and he is glad that he became so humble for our sake, glad that he came and lived among us and shared in our nature in order to raise us up again to himself. And even though we are told that he has now ascended above the highest heavens—the proof, surely, of his power and godhead—his love for man will never rest until he has raised our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with his own in heaven.

So let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of his victory. Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the children’s holy song: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel.

Apr 12, 2014

13th April 2014 - Palm Sunday - Stations of the Cross - Updated

And so at last this year we begin the beginning of this most Holy of Weeks, an intense liturgical and reflective week which is the pinnacle of the Christian year; a celebration of the raison d'etre of why we are Christian - to mark the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord. To celebrate Palm Sunday SS102fm reflects on the Stations of the Cross to provide a moment of space and reflection.

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

Palm Sunday - SS102fm reflects on the Stations of the Cross

Palm Sunday, or Passion Sunday as it is also called, begins Holy Week. This week is the “holy of holies” of the Christian Church Year. For today we begin our observance of the last days of our Lord’s early sojourn, “for us and for our salvation,” as He enters in the very heart of darkness, sin and death itself. The triumph of the humble King who enters Jerusalem, humble and riding on a donkey, is marked on Sunday with a triumph: shouting crowds and exuberant shouts of welcome and celebration, but in only five days, the shouts of welcome turn to shouts of anger, hate and a call for his death. “O, Dearest Jesus, what law hast Thou broken?” as the old Lutheran hymn puts it. Let us then fix our hearts and minds on prayerful watching and waiting during these days, as we again are led by the Holy Spirit to see in our hearts, and our minds, the evil sinful nature and the thoughts, words and deeds, which put our Lord on the Cross. And repenting of them, despairing of ourselves, we turn once more to Christ the Crucified One, on whom is placed the sins of the world: your sins, my sins. “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!”


"When Jesus and the disciples drew near Jerusalem
and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives,
Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them,
“Go into the village opposite you,
and immediately you will find an ass tethered,
and a colt with her.
Untie them and bring them here to me.
And if anyone should say anything to you, reply,
‘The master has need of them.’
Then he will send them at once.”
This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Say to daughter Zion,
“Behold, your king comes to you,
meek and riding on an ass,
and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them.
They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them,
and he sat upon them.
The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road,
while others cut branches from the trees
and strewed them on the road.
The crowds preceding him and those following
kept crying out and saying:
“Hosanna to the Son of David;
blessed is the he who comes in the name of the Lord;
hosanna in the highest.”
And when he entered Jerusalem
the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?”
And the crowds replied,
“This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:1-11)
Reflections on this weeks gospel:



This week we reflect on the Stations of the Cross. The Way of the Cross is the journey through the Passion and Death of Jesus through out the first Holy Week in the city of Jerusalem. To this day Christians of all denominations will walk the ancient streets of the Old City retracing that journey from the Mount of Olives to Calvary.

We reflect on the stations through the eyes of Mary as the mother of Jesus walks the road to Calvary. We take this opportunity to enter into an intimate journey of faith through a deep reflection that unites our pain and suffering with Jesus on the cross through the sorrowful heart of His Mother.

You can find the text of the reflections we used for this weeks programme HERE.

The podcast of the Stations of the Cross is available HERE.

You can read individual reflections on the Stations of the Cross from previous posts on SS102fm HERE.

"Let us resolve to make this week holy"
Let us resolve to make this week holy by claiming Christ’s redemptive grace and by living holy lives.

The Word became flesh and redeemed us by his holy life and holy death. This week especially, let us accept redemption by living grateful, faithful, prayerful, generous, just and holy lives.

Let us resolve to make this week holy by reading and meditating Holy Scripture.

So often, we get caught up in the hurry of daily living. As individuals and as families, reserve prime time to be with Jesus, to hear the cries of the children waving palm branches, to see the Son of Man riding on an ass' colt, to feel the press of the crowd, to be caught up in the "Hosannas” and to realize how the cries of acclamation will yield to the garden of suffering, to be there and watch as Jesus is sentenced by Pilate to Calvary, to see him rejected, mocked, spat upon, beaten and forced to carry a heavy cross, to hear the echo of the hammer, to feel the agony of the torn flesh and strained muscles, to know Mary’s anguish as he hung three hours before he died.

We recoil before the atrocities of war, gang crime, domestic violence and catastrophic illness. Unless we personally and immediately are touched by suffering, it is easy to read Scripture and to walk away without contacting the redemptive suffering that makes us holy. The reality of the Word falls on deaf ears.

Let us take time this week to be present to someone who suffers. Sharing the pain of a fellow human will enliven Scripture and help us enter into the holy mystery of the redemptive suffering of Christ.

Let us resolve to make this week holy by participating in the Holy Week services of the church, not just by attending, but also by preparing, by studying the readings, entering into the spirit, offering our services as ministers of the Word or Eucharist, decorating the church or preparing the environment for worship.

Let us sing, "Lord, have mercy," and "Hosanna." Let us praise the Lord with our whole heart and soul and mind and strength, uniting with the suffering church throughout the world -- in Rome and Ireland, in Syria and Lebanon, in South Africa and Angola, India and China, Nicaragua and El Salvador, in Washington, D.C., and Jackson, Mississippi.

Let us break bread together; let us relive the holy and redemptive mystery. Let us do it in memory of him, acknowledging in faith his real presence upon our altars.

Let us resolve to make this week holy by sharing holy peace and joy within our families, sharing family prayer on a regular basis, making every meal a holy meal where loving conversations bond family members in unity, sharing family work without grumbling, making love not war, asking forgiveness for past hurts and forgiving one another from the heart, seeking to go all the way for love as Jesus went all the way for love.

Let us resolve to make this week holy by sharing holy peace and joy with the needy, the alienated, the lonely, the sick and afflicted, the untouchable.

Let us unite our sufferings, inconveniences and annoyances with the suffering of Jesus. Let us stretch ourselves, going beyond our comfort zones to unite ourselves with Christ's redemptive work.

We unite ourselves with Christ's redemptive work when we reconcile, when we make peace, when we share the good news that God is in our lives, when we reflect to our brothers and sisters God's healing, God's forgiveness, God's unconditional love.

Let us be practical, reaching out across the boundaries of race and class and status to help somebody, to encourage and affirm somebody, offering to the young an incentive to learn and grow, offering to the downtrodden resources to help themselves.

May our fasting be the kind that saves and shares with the poor, that actually contacts the needy, that gives heart to heart, that touches and nourishes and heals.

During this Holy Week when Jesus gave his life for love, let us truly love one another

Limerick Diocese on Facebook

As posted earlier in the week, Limerick Diocese has joined Facebook with its own page and Noirin Lynch from LDPC came on to tell us all about it. You can listen to Noirin's interview excerpted from the main programme here.

Limerick Diocesan Facebook page.

Liturgical odds and ends

Holy Week is the pinnacle of the liturgical year and as such out ranks any commemoration of the saints that may occur during that time so we wont be posting the saints of the week this week.
  • Holy Thursday - Mass of the Lord's Supper - Reminder to bring back your Trocaire boxes/donations to your parish.
  • Good Friday - Passion Ceremony - Day of Fast & Abstinence (First Friday) - traditional to perform the Stations of the Cross and is also the date for the collection for support of the Holy Places.

  • Resources for Holy Week

    The weekly diocesan newsletter from LDPC has had lots of notices and resources over the last couple of weeks for Holy Week. You can find the newsletters HERE.

    Easter Ceremonies in the Diocese

    You can find out about the diocesan celebration of Easter including the details of the Chrism Mass (Wednesday 17th at St Joseph's Church at 7.30pm) and the broadcast of the Easter ceremonies from St John's Cathedral on the diocesan website.

    Time for celebrating the Easter Vigil in Limerick Diocese

    The Easter Vigil must take place after sunset. As summer time commenced on Sunday 30th March the Easter Vigil in the diocese of Limerick is to be celebrated no earlier than 9.00p.m.

    Celebrations with Pope Francis in Rome

    You can find out the details of the ceremonies which Pope Francis will preside over in Rome during Holy Week here. As usual we will post the main homilies of the week and the Pope's "urbi et orbi".

    Celebrations in the Holy Land
    Anticipation for Easter is growing in the Holy Land. The most important week for the life of the Church will this year be celebrated simultaneously with other Christian churches as well as falling the same week as the Jewish Passover. You can follow events from the Holy Land on the website of the Custody of the Holy Land. Sadly we cannot embed videos from the site but head on over to watch and read the reflections and of course, please remember to be generous on Good Friday for the traditional collection taken up for the Holy Places.