25 Jul 2016

Limerick heads to WYD2016

There are almost 100 pilgrims traveling from Limerick to World Youth Day today. This is the diocesan pilgrimage group as they leave Shannon airport (including SS102fm's own Lorraine Buckley!) - we wish them, the Polish pilgrimage, pilgrims traveling with the Franciscans Friars of the Renewal and other groups all the very best. Pray for us as we pray for you all. ‪#‎wyd2016

Press release from Limerick Diocese with comments from Bishop Brendan available HERE.

Following WDY2016 online through the Facebook page and also on Twitter with #wyd2016

July 25-31, 2016 - World Youth Day is scheduled to be held in Krakow, Poland.
World Youth Day was created by Pope John Paul II after large turnouts at the 1984 Jubilee of Young People and the 1985 gathering for the International Year of Youth in Rome. orld Youth Day has been held every year since 1986. It is celebrated every two to three years with a large international gathering, and on off years, there is a smaller celebration in Rome.
During the big international events attendees spend time visiting the host country, performing community service, visiting dioceses, and participating in festival events.
Papal Mass is held on the closing Sunday of the event after a vigil on the Saturday night.
The official song of 2016 World Youth Day is "Light of the World."
The light of the world
The salt of the earth,
We scatter the darkness
When love becomes our way.

The light of the world

Christ is our light.
We shine with his brightness,
The reflection of his light

From day to day!
Past World Youth Days:
July 23-28, 2013
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
3 million attend the final Mass.
August 16-21, 2011
Madrid, Spain
1,400,000-2,000,000 attendees
Spain became the first country besides Italy to host WYD for a second time.
July 15-20, 2008
Sydney, Australia. Pope Benedict XVI makes his first trip to Australia to deliver the final Mass at the gathering.
500,000 attend
August 16-21, 2005
Cologne, Germany
400,000 attend
July 23-28, 2002
Toronto, Canada
800,000 attended mass presided by the Pope.
August 15-20, 2000
Rome, Italy
Over 2 million attendees; Dubbed the "Catholic Woodstock"
Featured concerts and prayer services.
300 portable confessionals were set up around the Colosseum and Circus Maximus arena.
2000 priests were on hand to hear confessions in over 30 languages.
August 21-24, 1997
Paris, France
Over 500,000 attendees
Over 1 million attended mass at Longchamps Race Track
Pope at mass: "there is more to life than films and pop music."
January 14-16, 1995
Manila, Philippines
450,000 attendees
Up to 5 million attended mass.
Pope had to use a helicopter to get to the stage.
1993 - Denver, Colorado
1991 - Czestochowa, Poland
1989 - Santiago de Compostela, Spain
1987 - Buenos Aries, Argentina
1986 - Rome, Italy

24 Jul 2016

24th July 2016 - The Mercy of God : A reflection with Marie Beirne

On this weeks programme John has a recording of a reflection on God's mercy from Maire  Beirne, a Charismatic Renewal speaker from Co Leitrim. The reflection was recorded at the Limerick Maranatha Prayer Group during May 2015. 

Maire lead a wonderful reflection in May 2015 and shared many stories and examples of the mercy of God in every day life. She reminds us that the mercy of God is flowing down from heaven and we can  do nothing to earn it. What we have to do is open up and receive this mercy which is eternal, new each day and powerful. Our response must start with prayer, we should not take the gift of prayer for granted.
The best way to receive the mercy of God is to take to heart what Jesus said in the Beatitudes - How blessed are the merciful, they shall have mercy shown to them. We are called to let the mercy of God flow out through us to others. let us ask the Lord to give us a 'Heart Transplant' so that his mercy and forgiveness can flow out through us to others. As this mercy flows from us to others, mercy will flow into us.

You can listen to the full programme podcast HERE with the reflection from Maire excerpted HERE.

Gospel - Luke 11:1-13

He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name.
   Your kingdom come.

   Give us each day our daily bread.

   And forgive us our sins,
     for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
   And do not bring us to the time of trial.’

And he said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.” And he answers from within, “Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.” I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
"So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy
English Dominicans

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - psalter week 1; 17th week in ordinary time

Saints of the Week

July 25th - St James the Great
July 26th - St Joachim & St Anne
July 27th - St Declan
July 28th - Blessed John Soreth
July 29th - St Martha
July 30th - St Peter Chrysologus

22 Jul 2016

Some web browsing.....

Seven things you need to know about World Youth Day 2016

Citizens’ convention is a smokescreen: Bishop Doran - "Any government which seeks to legalise the taking of innocent human life betrays its sacred trust and is guilty of a crime against humanity.”

Vatican Radio - New Evangelisation in Ireland: how to be a non-ghetto, creative minority

CNA - Catechetical youth site aims to share mercy at World Youth Day

CNA - Why pray after tragedy? This Sandy Hook mother has an answer

Catholic Herald - Francis has an excellent chance to heal his rift with followers of St John Paul II

CNA- Baptism at sea – refugee child born during boat rescue

Irish Catholic - Huge differences in priests’ pay across country; Parish clergy earn less than average earnings

Irish Catholic - Busting myths around priestly pay; A calling from God, not a cushy career

5 holy hotheads who worked for heaven - These men and women managed to turn their quick tempers into constructive, charitable service to God, the Church and the world

Pope Francis in Poland: Amid the celebrations, some serious prayer and remembrances planned - Poland's history of martyrs and more will be on his mind...

Fathers and the future of the Faith - When the father makes a point of going to church, there is a better chance that the kids will remain

Cloistered Nuns Want to Pray for You 

Facing East During the Liturgy: Fact and Fiction

It has been a few busy weeks for ordinations across the country but especially for the religious orders with ordinations for the Dominicans and the Pallotines. Ad multos annos to all the ordinands!

July 22nd - Feast day of St Mary Magdalene

Happy Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles! The saints liturgical observance was up graded this year to status of a feast by Pope Francis.
Fr James Martin SJ reminds us of a few important things about Mary:

First, she was the first one, according to the Gospel of John, to whom the Risen Christ appeared after the Resurrection. He could have chosen anyone to whom to appear, and he chose Mary. She is then asked to announce the good news to the disciples, thus her great title "Apostle to the Apostles,..." the one who is sent to the one who is sent. 

Second, she was not a prostitute. This unfortunate tradition comes from, among other sources, a homily from Pope St. Gregory the Great in which he conflated Mary with a prostitute in the Gospels. This is false. Jesus "drove seven demons from her" (which certainly prompted her gratitude and may have led her to follow him) but she was not a prostitute. (Interestingly, when you visit the Holy Land you see that the first town that you come upon on the Sea of Galilee when you travel from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee, is Magdala. She may have been one of the first he met in that area.)

Third, between the time that the Risen Christ appeared to Mary after the Resurrection and when she announced the Good News to the rest of the disciples, she was the church on earth. That is, only she, among all mortals, understood the full Paschal Mystery. 

21 Jul 2016

WYD 2016 - Poland welcomes the pilgrims

1600 pilgrims will travel from across the island of Ireland to World Youth Day in Krackow - 48 travel with Limerick diocese (including SS102fm's own Lorraine Buckley) and many more with various religious congregations and communities.

Our Bishops have asked for prayers for World Youth Day which will take place in Krakow, Poland, during 26-30 July. The theme for WYD 2016 is “Blessed are the Merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5:7). World Youth Day will provide the backdrop for Pope Francis’ first pilgrimage to Poland and it is anticipated that over two million young pilgrims from around the world will attend this faith and joy filled event.

Listen to Bishop Donal McKeown, Derry, speak of WYD2016 HERE

As you pray for our young people, you can follow the event schedule HERE

Obviously there will be coverage online from such sources as EWTN, Crux, CNA, Vatican Radio and Rome Reports - links to all of which are in the side bar on the right hand side - so check them out.

16 Jul 2016

17th July 2016 - Creating a Culture of Vocations - 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

This week's programme was the second of a two-part reflection on vocations. Last week we chatted about the universal call to holiness to which we are all called. This week we reflected on the particular vocations through which we can live out this universal call to holiness: marriage, priesthood, religious life and consecrated virginity (the dedicated single life). In particular we had a chat about the different ways in which we can all help to create a culture of vocations where each person is encouraged to listen to and respond generously to God's voice. You can listen to the full programme HERE.

Creating a Culture of Vocations
Our good friend of the programme Sr. Louise O'Rourke PDDM (you can follow Sr. Louise on Twitter HERE, friend her on Facebook HERE and read her blog Pilgrim Progress HERE) is doing great work in promoting a culture of vocations. You may remember reading a cross-post from Sr. Louise on whether it is too late to create a culture of vocations in Ireland today (HERE). The short answer is no! But it does require the concerted effort of each one of us.

We looked at the different personal vocations that each person is called to: married and family life, priesthood, religious life and consecrated virginity (dedicated single life) and spoke briefly about how there is a vocations crisis, not so much in numbers, but in the culture that surrounds us. There seems to be a fear of commitment, not just to priesthood and religious life, but to married life and consecrated virginity too. As a society, we are almost afraid to commit to anything or anyone. As one person put it to us recently: 'we have lost the love for the long-haul.'

So how do we go about creating a culture of vocations. Well its as easy as ABC... Okay maybe not 'easy,' but there are certainly many many ways we can all encourage vocations at home, in our communities and in our dioceses, especially in our families as Sr. Louise shares with us HERE. Do you pray for vocations from your own family, parish or diocese? Do you encourage those with particular God-given gifts and talents to consider married life or priesthood or religious life or consecrated virginity. The seeds we plant today will bear fruit tomorrow.  You can listen to our discussion on vocations excerpted from the programme HERE.

Gospel - Luke 10:38-42 - Mary and Martha

Jesus came to a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. She had a sister called Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and listened to him speaking. Now Martha who was distracted with all the serving said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do the serving all by myself? Please tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered: ‘Martha, Martha,’ he said ‘you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part; it is not to be taken from her.’

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Sunday Reflections
Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
English Dominicans

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 4; 16th week in ordinary time

Saints of the Week

20 July – St. Apollinaris
21 July – St. Laurence of Brindisi
22 July – St. Mary Magdalene
23 July – St. Bridget of Sweden

14 Jul 2016

Some web browsing.......

Statistics don’t back ‘civilised and compassionate’ claim
Vicar’s daughter brings quiet Anglican faith to Prime Minister’s post

Do not be afraid to proclaim your faith: Archbishop Brown - Church is built on young people, Archbishop Brown tells Youth 2000 summer festival.

World Youth Day is much more than ‘Catholic Woodstock’

Louis and Zélie Martin “failed” all the way to sainthood - What in our eyes can seem like embarrassing failures may look very different to God
Sisters, nuns, aspirants, postulants, novices: What does it all mean? A helpful glossary of terms related to female Catholic religious
Knock Finalises Programme for National Novena - Daily ceremonies of popular novena to be streamed on shrine internet site and on Radio Maria.
Miracles aren’t ‘making a comeback’ – they never went away
American & Spanish journalists named new spokespeople for ‘boomtown’ Vatican
Showdown in the Philippines - Cardinal Tagle is a 'Catholic rock star'; President Duterte scorns the Pope and believes in an eye for an eye. Both are loved by the people — so who will prevail?
A firebrand for the Phillipines - The new presidency bodes ill for the Church, writes Paul Keenan

Cardinal Sarah has challenged "the prejudices" behind "certain modern liturgical practices" - An interview with Sacra Liturgia’s international coordinator, Dom Alcuin Reid, about the recent London conference and the reactions to Robert Cardinal Sarah’s Address.

 On Mass facing East or the people, both camps are right

13 Jul 2016

Limerick 2020 - Ten Catholic and Church of Ireland bells in 20:20 chorus Welcome jurors – “We are Culture"

Limerick is in a bid to become the European Capital of Culture for 2020. This is bid is about reimagining Limerick. We all know the stereotypes that are out there about our beautiful city. Let's show the world what the culture of Limerick is truly like: a wonderfully eclectic mix of all backgrounds and peoples. This little video shows ten Catholic and Church of Ireland churches which came together to back this campaign.

Please consider sharing. ‪#‎limerick2020‬.



9 Jul 2016

10th July 2016 - Vocation: the Universal Call to Holiness - 15th Sunday in Ordinary times

On this weeks programme the SS102fm team reflect on the universal call to holiness which is the first of a two part series. We have our reflections on the Sunday gospel as well as regular liturgical odds and ends.

You can listen to the programme podcast HERE.

Vocation: The Universal Call to Holiness

On this weeks programme we have the first part of a two part series on vocations. This week we look at the universal call to holiness. We don't like to be called "holy", but holiness is "Love loved". The SS102fm team have a chat about the link between loving God and holiness and how we can live it in our daily lives.

Next week we will look at how we can respond to the universal call to holiness through our individual vocations.

You can listen to this part of the programme excerpted from the main programme podcast HERE.

Gospel - Luke 10:25-37 - The Good Samaritan
Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Sunday Reflections
Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
English Dominicans

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - psalter week 3; 15th week in ordinary time

Saints of the Week

11 July - St Benedict
12 July - Saint Louis Martin & Saint Marie-Azélie Guérin Martin
13 July - St Henry
14 July - Saint Camillus of Lellis also Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
15 July - Saint Bonaventure of Bagnoregio
16 July - Our Lady of Mount Carmel

6 Jul 2016

Limerick Diocese announces clerical changes

The evolving clerical landscape, including the emergence of ‘teams of priests’, in response to the fall-off in vocations has been evidenced in 2016 clerical changes announced today by Bishop Brendan Leahy.

The changes show the increased movement towards ‘teams of priests’ operating across a number of parishes, a shift very much signalled at the 2016 Limerick Diocesan Synod held in April
In addition to the clerical changes announced (full list below), Bishop Leahy has also appointed Canon Tony Mullins as Vicar General and Canon Donough O’Malley, who has retired as Parish Priest of St. Mary’s, as Chancellor of the Diocese.  This will see him take over some of the canonical duties of Fr. Paul Finnerty, who has taken up the post of Vice Rector of the Irish College in Rome.

Announcing the changes, Bishop Leahy said that while the move towards ‘teams of priests’ is inevitable, there will be no change for parish structures or identity. “We have been saying for a number of years that we have to adapt for the fall-off in vocations and so far the changes we have implemented have managed this new landscape very well. We have teams of priests working across different parishes and while this means we won’t necessarily have a priest living in every parish, there will be a PP for every parish.

“This enables us to retain the identity of a parish.  The parish still has the service of a priest, its parish council, finance committee, etc.  But its Parish Priest could also be Parish Priest for a neighbouring parish.”

The new landscape, he said, will be accompanied by greater lay involvement and that this was very much prescribed at the Diocesan Synod in April.  “One of the key reasons for holding our Synod was to look at how we can deliver the pastoral care going forward that the people of our diocese need and want as well as dealing with the reality of having less priests.

“The 400 Synod delegates very much instructed us that the way forward in terms of leadership in the diocese would be a combination of priests and laity.  The need for greater lay involvement was very much declared by delegates and welcomed by the diocese and the fall-off in vocations means that this will not only be desirable but inevitable.

“One proposal, which was strongly supported, at the Synod even suggested we would establish a Team Ministry Structure in each Pastoral Area, while delegates also believed that more supports should be given to foster and encourage more lay people, either individually or in pastoral councils, to come forward and get involved in leadership roles.”

  • Canon Tony Mullins to be Vicar General in succession to Msgr. Dan Neenan who has retired from that position.
  • Canon Tony Mullins to be Parish Priest of the parishes of Abbeyfeale and Athea and ministering in the Pastoral Area of Íde Naofa.
  • Canon Donough O’Malley to be Chancellor of the Diocese.
  • Canon Donough O’Malley to retire as Parish Priest of St. Mary’s and to be appointed to assist the team of priests serving the parishes of St. Joseph’s, St. Saviour’s and Our Lady of Lourdes, along with his duties as Chancellor.
  • Canon John O’Shea to be Parish Priest of Raheen parish and ministering in the Pastoral Area of Pobal Neasáin
  • Fr. Tom Coughlan to retire as Parish Priest of Effin/Garrienderk parish and to be appointed to assist the team of priests serving the parishes of Kilmallock, Effin/Garrienderk, Bulgaden and Martinstown.
  • Fr. Paddy Bowen to retire as Parish Priest of Athea and to be appointed to minister in the Cathedral Pastoral Area.
  • Fr. Michael Noonan to be Parish Priest of Ardagh and Carrickerry and linked to the team of priests serving the parishes in Our Lady’s Pastoral Area (Newcastle West).
  • Fr. Tim Curtin to continue as Parish Priest of Coolcappa/Kilcolman and ministering in the Pastoral Area of Tobar Phádraigh/Knockpatrick.
  • Fr. Willie Walsh to be Parish Priest of the Parishes of Rockhill/Bruree and Ballyagran/Colmanswell and linked to the team of priests serving in the Pobal Mocheallóig Pastoral Area (Kilmallock).
  • Fr. Des McAuliffe to be Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish and ministering in the Thomond Pastoral.
  • Fr. Derek Leonard to be PP of St. Mary’s Parish (along with his current duties as Parish Priest of St. Nicholas’) and member of the team of priests serving the parishes of St. Mary’s and St. Nicholas.
  • Fr. Seán Harmon to be member of the team of priests serving the parishes of St. Mary’s and St. Nicholas.
  • Fr. Michael Hanley to be member of the team of priests serving the parishes of St. Mary’s and St. Nicholas.
  • Fr. Damian Ryan to be Parish Priest of Fedamore (along with his current duties as Parish Priest of Manister).
  • Fr. Liam Enright to be Parish Priest of Rathkeale and ministering in the Pastoral Area of Curraghchase/Naomh Mhuire.
  • Fr. Michael O’Shea to be Parish Priest of the parishes of Kilfinane, Glenroe/Ballyorgan and Ardpatrick.
  • Fr. John McCarthy to be Parish Priest of Dromin/Athlacca and ministering in the Maigue Pastoral Area.
  • Fr. Richard Keane to be temporary Administrator of St. Saviour’s.

4 Jul 2016

July 4th - Feast day of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati - Salt + Light TV

“Verso l’alto”
July 4 is the Memorial (Feast Day) of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. The following is the homily of Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB preached on Monday, July 14, 2008 during WYD Sydney at the Prayer Vigil and Eucharistic Adoration with the body of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, Australia.

Dear Friends,
Dear Wanda, niece of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati,

What an honour and privilege it is to be here with you this evening in St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia! Led by the young adults of Canada’s Catholic Christian Outreach [CCO], one of our nation’s outstanding movements for Catholic university students, we have gathered together to adore Jesus, gift of God for the life of the world. And young people of the entire world have also come here, to pray around the mortal remains of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati during World Youth Day 2008.

We have just listened to the blueprint for Christianity in that magnificent text of the Beatitudes from Matthew’s Gospel [5:1-12]. The Beatitudes in Christ’s Sermon on the Mount are a recipe for extreme holiness. Every crisis that the Church faces, every crisis that the world faces, is a crisis of holiness and a crisis of saints.

If there was ever an age when young men and women needed authentic heroes, it is our age. The Church understands that the saints and blesseds, their prayers, their lives, are for people on earth; that sainthood, as an earthly honor, is not coveted by the saints or blesseds themselves.

3 Jul 2016

3rd July 2016 - The Dominican Friars Leave Limerick - 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

On this week's programme John has an interview with Fr. Frank Downes O.P., the Prior of St. Saviour's Dominican Priory in Limerick, about their sad withdrawal from their Limerick foundation. The full programme is available HERE.

The Dominican Friars

At the midterm assembly of their Province in September 2014 it was decided that the Dominican Friars would withdraw from their Limerick foundation in Glenworth Street where they have been ministering since July 1816.  Their presence in the diocese dates back to 1227.  Their departure is one of great sadness for the Dominicans and indeed for whole of Limerick who hold the Dominicans in fond esteem, yet Fr. Frank wished to express their immense gratitude to each and all who have supported them down through the years in so many kind and varied ways. 

The team here on Sacred Space would like to extend our gratitude to the Friars on our own behalf and on behalf of the good people of Limerick who will be sad to see them go. We wish God's blessing on them for their future and assure them of our prayers. Fr. Frank's interview excerpted from the main programme is available HERE.  

You can read more about the history of the Dominican Friars in Limerick HERE.

The church will remain open with daily Mass at 1pm (Monday to Saturday) beginning on Monday July 4th.  The Sunday Mass schedule has not been announced as yet.

Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia

Fr. Frank also expressed his gratitude that the Dominican presence remains with the arrival of the Dominican sisters of Saint Cecilia on Friday 19th August.  You can read more about their new foundation HERE.

Thanksgiving Mass
We invite you to join with us on Sunday July 3rd for a Mass of Thanksgiving and Farewell at 3pm followed by light refreshments in the Pery Hotel next door to us.

Gospel - Luke 10:1-12. 17-20

The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit. He said to them, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest. Start off now, but remember, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road. Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, “Peace to this house!” And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you. Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house. Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is set before you. Cure those in it who are sick, and say, “The kingdom of God is very near to you”. But whenever you enter a town and they do not make you welcome, go out into its streets and say, . “We wipe off the very dust of your town that clings to our feet, and leave it with you. Yet be sure of this: the kingdom of God is very near.” I tell you, on that day it will not go as hard with Sodom as with that town.

The seventy-two came back rejoicing. ‘Lord,’ they said ‘even the devils submit to us when we use your name.’ He said to them, ‘I watched Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Yes, I have given you power to tread underfoot serpents and scorpions and the whole strength of the enemy; nothing shall ever hurt you. Yet do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you; rejoice rather that your names are written in heaven.’


Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 2; 14th week in ordinary time

Saints of the Week

4th July - St. Elizabeth of Portugal
5th July - St. Antony Mary Zaccaria
6th July - St. Maria Goretti
7th July - St. Maelruain
8th July - St. Kilian
9th July - St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companion Martyrs

2 Jul 2016

Lest we forget - Remembering the Battle of the Somme - 141 Days of Bloodshed

Yesterday, former foes and allies gathered at the Thiepval Memorial to commemorate the beginnings of the Battle of the Somme on July 1st 1916. President Michael Higgins joined President Hollande of France, members of the British Royal Family and other  dignitaries to mark the beginning of the Battle of the Somme.

At 7.20am 1st July 1916, the Battle of the Somme began. It was to be 141 days of terror and bloodshed which resulted in the deaths or wounding of over one million men. On the first day alone over 3500 Irish men serving in the British  lay dead or injured, mowed down by German machine guns as they went over the top and the caught between the artillery rounds of both sides.

 The Somme offensive was urgently called for after the surprise German attack on French troops in Verdun on the 21st February. More French troops were sent from the Somme to Verdun for reinforcement, leaving the British troops to occupy most of the Somme front – 30kms. As the French losses mounted at Verdun, Haig was more and more pressed to launch the offensive of the Somme, the date of which had been fixed for the 29th June. Because of bad weather this date was then changed to the 1st July. The battle started with a six day, continual artillery bombardment, the aim of which was to destroy the German lines and cut the enemy wire.

On the 1st July 1916 at 7:20am the battle began: 100,000 inexperienced soldiers (Pals Battalions), carrying 30kg of supplies went over the top but were quickly hit by machine gun fire.
At the end of the day, 60,000 British soldiers had been made casualties, 40,000 of whom had been injured or taken prisoner. The German losses represent about 1/10 of this number.
The first day of the Battle of the Somme had been a failure, a disaster for the British army, and is known as “the bloodiest day of the British army”.

Thiepval was finally captured on the 27th September 1916 by British troops and the Battle of the Somme came to an end in November of the same year. The breakthrough had not been possible but the battle had enabled the French to keep a hold on Verdun. The German army, who had had to fight two battles – Verdun and the Somme – at the same time, were completely exhausted.

The British army suffered more than 420,000 casualties (killed, injured, missing, or taken prisoner) during the Battle of the Somme. In March 1918, as part of the German Spring Offensive, Thiepval was retaken by the Germans. It was finally recaptured in August 1918 by British troops.

The memorial was built between 1929 and 1932 and was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the greatest and most prolific architect of his time in Great Britain. In 1919, the Imperial War Graves Commission entrusted him with the construction of the Cenotaph in London. He would also design many of the British War Cemeteries, the “Stone of Remembrance” which can be found in many of these cemeteries, and the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux. The memorial commemorates more than 72205 men from the British and South African armies who were declared missing in the Somme between July 1915 and March 1918. Either the bodies of these men were never found or the body was found but couldn’t be identified. Nearly 90% of these men were killed during the Battle of the Somme with about 12,000 on the first day of the offensive.

The memorial, at 45 metres high, is the largest Commonwealth war memorial in the world. Its walls are clad in brick and its sixteen piers are faced with Portland stone on which the names of the “Missing” are engraved. The men commemorated here come from all social backgrounds and their ages range from 15 to 60 years old with an average age of 25.

The official website for the UK national commemorative event to mark the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme
Century Ireland 1913 - 1923 - Battle of the Somme

To my daughter Betty
Thomas Kettle
IN wiser days, my darling rosebud, blown 
To beauty proud as was your mother's prime, 
In that desired, delayed, incredible time, 
You'll ask why I abandoned you, my own, 
And the dear heart that was your baby throne,         
To dice with death. And oh! they'll give you rhyme 
And reason: some will call the thing sublime, 
And some decry it in a knowing tone. 
So here, while the mad guns curse overhead, 
And tired men sigh with mud for couch and floor,  
Know that we fools, now with the foolish dead, 
Died not for flag, nor King, nor Emperor,— 
But for a dream, born in a herdsman's shed, 
And for the secret Scripture of the poor.