26 Mar 2017

A Mother's Love - Helen Steiner Rice


A Litany for Mother's


To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you
To those who lost a child this year—we mourn with you
To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains—we appreciate you
To those who experienced loss this year through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment—we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.
To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms—we need you
To those who have warm and close relationships with your children—we celebrate with you
To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children—we sit with you
To those who lost their mothers this year—we grieve with you
To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother—we acknowledge your experience
To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood—we are better for having you in our midst
To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year—we grieve and rejoice with you
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising—we anticipate with you
This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.

— written by Amy Young, and posted on her Messy Middle blog.

25 Mar 2017

26th March 2017 - How is your Lent going?

On this weeks programme, John and Shane are joined by Sr Beatrice from the Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia to reflect on the on-going journey of the Lenten season. We have our regular weekly reflection on this Sunday's gospel as well as other liturgical odds & ends and some local notices.

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

How is your Lent going?


Sr Beatrice joins us from the Nashville Dominicans on this weeks programme to take a review of how our Lent is going and thoughts for continuing with our Lenten disciplines for the next few weeks 

You can listen to Sr Beatrice's reflection excerpted from the main programme podcast HERE.





Gospel - John 9:1-41



(Shorter version - JN 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38)
As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva,and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, "Go wash in the Pool of Siloam" — which means Sent —.So he went and washed, and came back able to see.
His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, "Isn't this the one who used to sit and beg?"Some said, "It is, "but others said, "No, he just looks like him."He said, "I am."
They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.He said to them,"He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see."So some of the Pharisees said,"This man is not from God,because he does not keep the sabbath."But others said,"How can a sinful man do such signs?"And there was a division among them.So they said to the blind man again, "What do you have to say about him,since he opened your eyes?"He said, "He is a prophet."
They answered and said to him,"You were born totally in sin,and are you trying to teach us?"Then they threw him out.
When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,he found him and said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"He answered and said, "Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?"Jesus said to him,"You have seen him, andthe one speaking with you is he."He said,"I do believe, Lord," and he worshiped him.
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
Sunday Reflections
English Dominicans

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 4; 4th week of Lent

Saints of the Week

March 27th - St John of Egypt
March 28th - Bl Donal O'Neylan 
March 29th - St Eustace of Luxeuil
March 30th - St John Climacus
March 31st - St Benjamin the Deacon
April 1st - St Celsus of Armagh

25th March 2017 - The Annunciation of the Lord

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end." 

And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.


The Annunciation
John William Waterhouse
1914
Annunciation - Today we mark the beginning of time, the new creation, a kairos moment. We mark the day when all the universe paused and waited with bated breath for the response of a simple young woman; who was asked to undertake a unique motherhood, to be God-bearer, Theotokas, and through the Cross mother of us all.........Where do we stand in that room at the Annunciation? Are we the messenger? Are we the ones who can go to another and remind ourselves because of Mary's "Yes" that we are all indeed "full of grace"? 
The grace of being children of God, co-heirs with Christ, made in the image of the Divine Light? Do we provide that moment of reflection where we remind each other, God has a special plan for you too? Often we are asked to focus on Miriam, Mary, Maria. Her 'fiat' given to us as exemplar and example. 
Virgin Madonna, Holy inviolate Mother, Ark of the Covenant, Tower of David, Gate of Ivory. But have we wrapped the woman-child in too many layers of mystical pastiche? Where is the trembling, frightened, awe struck young lady who makes the ultimate sacrifice? And what if she has said "No!"?

24 Mar 2017

"I will rise again in the Salvadoran people'- Remembering Blessed Oscar Romero

Cross post from Pilgrims Progress by Sr Louise O'Rourke:


Throughout history, the voice of the prophet is one of the vehicles through which God speaks to the community and to the world. Today, we commemorate one of these prophets. On this day, 37 years ago, evil men in El Salvador tried to silence the voice of a prophet. I claim this date as being special to my life story because it was the month and the year that I was to grace the world, the due date given to my mother. However God had another plan and I arrived a little earlier on January 24th. It continues to be a day where I remember Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero.
Knowing himself to be on the government’s “hit list,” Romero went to the hills to prepare himself for his final confrontation with evil. He telephoned his farewell message to Exclesior, Mexico’s premier newspaper, insisting that like the Good Shepherd, a pastor must give his life for those he loves. Romero was shot while celebrating an anniversary Mass of a  friend’s mother at the local convent. The assassin escaped in the hubbub and has never been found. 250,000 thronged the Cathedral Square for his funeral but sadly even that was not without bloodshed. A bomb exploded. Panic-stricken people stampeded. Forty died. In the next two years 35,000 Salvadorans perished. Fifteen per cent of the population was driven into exile. Two thousand simply “disappeared.” 

My personal admiration for Romero goes back to a discernment weekend which was held in our community in Dublin back in 1997. I remember it vividly because that weekend we watched the movie ‘Romero’. The story of this heroic pastor was life changing. At a certain point of his journey, Romero is shown literally at a crossroads. We see him fall to his knees and he utters a simple prayer: “I can’t, You must, I’m Yours, lead me!” It was the prayer from a heart that didn’t know what to do in the face of such injustice, death and despair. He was the pastor and the sheep continued to be slaughtered and torn from his grasp. I found myself in tears because I realised that that simple prayer echoed the sentiments of my own heart. I had been rebelling against the Lord for such a long time in responding to the call to religious life and I was tired. Romero’s prayer had become my prayer. If I was to embark upon the journey of trying consecrated life, it had to be upon fully surrendering to the guidance of the Shepherd. This simple prayer has been my lifeline on many occasions, a call back to reality and to see that I need to be guided and that I can’t do this on my own. It is a prayer which I whisper often each day when words fail me in prayer or don’t seem to carry me as they usually do.

 
Today in Italy, the Church marks the “Day for Prayer for Missionary Martyrs”. The United Nations have proclaimed this day “International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims”.

Last Monday Pope Francis received the Prelates of El Salvador, who are in Rome for their 'ad Limina Apostolorum' visit. They took the opportunity to request that, God, willing, the canonisation ceremony for Blessed Romero take place in El Salvador. What a great event that will be and what a witness for the Salvadoran people that the voice of justice, the voice of the prophet will not be silenced! As Monsenor Romero himself said: "I will rise up in the Salvadoran people". 


On the threshold of the Solemnity of the Annunciation, a quote from Blessed Romero can guide us so as to proclaim a 'Yes' to God's will, like that of Mary's: "Faith consists in accepting God without asking him to account for things according to our standard. Faith consists in reacting before God as Mary did: I don’t understand it, Lord , but let it be done in me according to your word. These are the words of our Mother Mary: let it be done in me according to your word. It is one word: Yes! A life programme! Surrender all! Fiat! Amen! Let it be done.  Believe it or not, the word YES is the most powerful prayer you can make. It is our ‘Amen’. How many times a day do we say ‘Amen’? This is saying that, “I believe God that you probably know what’s best for my life . . . for my life more than I do, and I’m willing to trust you with my life. And I’m willing to go along with what I understand to be your plans for my life."

A more detailed blog post I wrote before about Romero can be found here



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Previous posts from SS102fm 
Vatican Radio - Oscar Romero anniversary celebrated in his centenary year

22 Mar 2017

The Tomb of Christ Reopened in Jerusalem

This morning, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, presided over the reopening of the shrine over the tomb of Christ within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, after many months of restoration work. (The shrine is known as the Aedicule, from the Latin “aediculum - a small building,” and is contained within a large rotunda which forms the back half of the church.)



New Liturgical Movement notes that The Jerusalem Patriarchate has a fairly active Youtube channel, with the video below; go to after about 30 minutes of milling around, when there is some nice music, and representatives of the various communities that use the church speak, including the superior of the Holy Land Franciscans.



19 Mar 2017

Spiritual Rehydration - The Woman at the well

Cross posted from Pilgrims Progress:
Sometimes we need precisely that moment where we catch a glimpse of our own reflection and realise that the face that looks back at us is sad, tired and confused and needs to be hydrated from the wellspring of life, the encounter with Living Water, Jesus Christ. After the encounter with Jesus at the well, the Samaritan woman becomes a well-woman. Then, the reflection which she sees is that of a beloved child of God, beloved of the Father.

It took a while for her to get to that place where she could feel that. Yet, without realising it, she is like the empty water jug which she carries. It is ready to be filled. She is a container to be filled with the living water which gushes forth from the wellsprings of life. First she hesitates, she focuses on the law. Jesus focuses on grace. Jews weren't supposed to speak to Samaritans. More so, men weren't permitted to address women without their husbands present. And "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman," she reminded him. "How can you ask me for a drink?" (John 4:9).

If we're honest with ourselves, we're not very different. It can take us a lifetime to believe that anyone would want to seek us out, talk with us, hear our story, acknowledge our hunger and thirst for something more. We can find excuses, focus on stereotypes, customs or prejudices. Jesus focuses on love, compassion and mercy. We are often dehydrated without even realising.

"If you knew the gift of God … " (John 4:10). Do I know the gift of God? Do you know the gift of God? What do we thirst for? Many people thirst for meaning in life. Do we strive for popularity and acceptance? Are you longing to belong? We’re often reminded of what we lack when we search for our self-worth in others. A thirst for love and intimacy is often behind that search. Trying to satisfy our thirst can be difficult. Striving for perfection in relationships can be a constant struggle. That unquenchable thirst seems like it will always be a part of us. But it doesn’t have to be. The gift of God, his Son Jesus Christ, is being offered to us every day, every moment. But first of all, we need to accept the truth about ourselves. Jesus gently but firmly tells the woman at the well about her life, encouraging her towards change. It is not to judge or to castigate but to move her towards that fullness of life promised later in John's Gospel (Jn 10-10). She is free to choose.

There are so many articles and websites out there about the benefits of proper  hydration and drinking more water is one of the safest, healthiest ways to detox the body. For many of you reading this, if you're thirsty, you just turn on the tap and fill up a glass of water and drink it. Simples. There is no reason to be dehydrated but yet often we are. I confess, I'm not always the best for drinking water but one of  my Lenten resolutions has been to be more attentive to this. It reflects the spiritual thirst too which I carry and the commitment to aligning my life more to Christ by hydrating with the Word of God and the Sacraments, healthy relationships and as well as detoxing sin and unhealthy habits.

Jesus is thirsty....we see him expressing this very human need. We will hear him vocalise this need even more poignantly on the cross as he cried out: "I thirst". This Sunday as we look at our own emotional and spiritual thirst, let us be mindful of our brothers and sisters throughout the world who lack clean and running water and for whom thirst is a daily reality.


The Samaritan Woman at the Well

Every time I read the Samaritan woman's story, something new catches my attention.   Not only is this dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan woman the longest theological debate that Jesus had with anyone, it is also a story where Jesus is challenged by a woman.  In Jesus' time it was believed that a woman's role was in the private sphere, where she was to look after the home and the rearing of the children.  However the Samaritan woman does not follow the accepted norms of her day.  If she had then there would never have been a theological discussion and she would never have become a disciple by spreading the word of God to those in the city.  If she had followed the cultural norms when Jesus had asked for a drink, she would have gone home and Jesus would never have revealed himself as the Messiah to her.     

It is an incredible story to think that it took her only a few hours to challenge Jesus, understand Jesus and accept that he was the Messiah.  The apostles had been with Jesus for a few years but they did not understand who he was.  She challenged Jesus by asking if he is 'greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it'.  She then begins to understand by saying  'I perceive that you are a prophet'.  And when the woman said 'I know that Messiah is coming; when he comes, he will show us all things, Jesus answers 'I who speak to you am he' she accepts that Jesus is the Messiah.  She gained a rich insight into who Jesus was by asking questions.  She was eager to learn.

Jesus said to her when they first meet 'Give me a drink'.  After Jesus spoke to her about water and eternal life, she said to Jesus 'Give me this water.'  She copies what he has said to her.  This shows her gradual understanding and acceptance of what Jesus is saying to her.  The Samaritan woman's story is a powerful story because it places her in the centre of the story with Jesus.  When the apostles return with food, Jesus tries to explain to them about food and eternal life but they did not understand him.  They did not say give me this food, unlike the Samaritan woman who asked for the water and by doing so engaged in a theological discussion with Jesus which resulted in her knowing that Jesus is the Messiah, not his apostles. 

I always marvel at why Jesus chose this Samaritan woman to reveal himself as the Messiah to.  Culturally and religiously speaking it would have been much easier and more appropriate to have revealed himself to his Jewish male apostles.  However Jesus did not do this.  Instead he chose a Samaritan woman, who was alone at the well without any other women and the man she was living with was not her husband.  Yet Jesus does not dwell on these facts as many male theologians have done so throughout the ages.  Instead he sees a woman who challenges, understands and accepts that he is the Messiah.  She brings people to listen to what Jesus has to say and they ask him to stay for two days.  This shows that he is a true disciple of Jesus, bringing people to hear the word of God.    

Just as the Samaritan woman left her water jar behind in order to become a disciple of Jesus, it is time for us to follow in her footsteps, leave our water jars behind and become disciples of Jesus.

E Sexton.

18 Mar 2017

19th March 2017 - Beginning to explore the Ministry of Public Prayer

On this weeks programme, John and Shane are joined by Noirin Lynch from Limerick Diocesan Pastoral Centre who joins us to discuss the steps being taken to explore, develop and support the Ministry of Public Prayer in the diocese of Limerick following on from the request expressed during Synod 2016.

We have a short reflection on this weeks Sunday gospel as well as our regular liturgical odds & ends and notices during the programme.

You can listen to this weeks programme podcast HERE.

Extended Notices

On this weeks programme we covered a lot of forthcoming events. To find out more about what was mentioned please check out the weekly newsletter from the Limerick Diocesan Pastoral Centre for further information or contact the LDPC at 061 400133

Beginning to explore the Ministry of Public Prayer


During Synod 2016, one of the questions which arose was what happens as a praying community when we want to gather prayer but due to circumstances no priest is available to take their role as presider of the praying community could we build up lay people to assist in leading at times of prayer.

On this weeks programme Noirin Lynch joins us to discuss how as a diocese we are beginning to explore and think about the Ministry of Public Prayer - the idea of the leadership of public prayer where as praying communities we have a few people in the parish who can help us to lead, to start us off in public prayer where the need may arise. 

The exploration of the Ministry of Public Prayer is looking at the balance between maintaining our sense of community where we gather together but also preserving the understanding of special-ness of the Sunday Eucharistic gathering of the community.

During the discussion we explore the idea of what is the difference between public prayer (e.g. rosary, taize prayer, pilgrimages, chaplets etc which can be quite diverse, based on different spirituality's and ways of prayer) and the Liturgy (the core public official rituals of the Church as a faith community).

As a diocese we want to be in a situation where if the need arises that each parish has a few people who are comfortable to be able to lead public prayer and also 
Lay led liturgies - Liturgy of the Word (maybe with a Communion service) and/or Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office)

The journey of exploration of this renewed type of ministry is first off recognising that in many ways it is already happening already with people who lead rosaries or assist with prayers during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament etc and also resourcing and encouraging members of communities in this role. It is also about creating the backup plan for situations where maybe a priest isn't available at short notice and Liturgies are required. 

Part of the exploration is also about recognising the loss and grief of people will have because we may not be able to attend to daily Mass as often in the future - a loss and grief from love of the Mass. In a sense the journey of exploration is asking how we talk about how can we pray in the morning if we can't have Mass? Lets look at the options and how we as a praying community will still gather to pray.

As part of the process, every parish is to have one lay led liturgy on 25th April 2017.

The interview with Noirin can be listened to excerpted from the main programme HERE.

Gospel - John 4:5-42  - The Samaritan Woman at the Well

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.Jacob's well was there.Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.It was about noon.
A woman of Samaria came to draw water.Jesus said to her,"Give me a drink."His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.The Samaritan woman said to him, "How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?"—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—Jesus answered and said to her,"If you knew the gift of Godand who is saying to you, 'Give me a drink, 'you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."The woman said to him, "Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water?Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?"Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in hima spring of water welling up to eternal life."The woman said to him,"Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.
"I can see that you are a prophet.Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem."Jesus said to her,"Believe me, woman, the hour is comingwhen you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews.But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth."The woman said to him,"I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; when he comes, he will tell us everything."Jesus said to her,"I am he, the one who is speaking with you."
Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him.When the Samaritans came to him,they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days.Many more began to believe in him because of his word, and they said to the woman, "We no longer believe because of your word;for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world."
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 3; 3rd week of Lent

Saints of the Hours

March 20th - St Joseph (Solemnity)
March 21st - St Enda of Aran
March 22nd - St Nicholas Owen
March 23rd - St Turibius de Mogrovejo
March 24th - St MacCartan also Bl Oscar Romero
March 25th - The Annunciation of the Lord (Solemnity)

Some web browsing............


Feeling like your life is pointless and you’re adrift? - Read what John Henry Newman said about that. God didn't make you for nothing.

Treating saints like superheroes is a dangerous game.

The Irish tradition of ‘vernacular theology’ - Irish folktales can help make sense of complex questions, writes Prof. Salvador Ryan

New Zealand also bans sale of alcohol on Good Friday - “Ireland’s relationship with alcohol, particularly in the context of mental health, depression and suicide, has to be examined.”

What does it actually mean for a priest to be 'laicized'?

Meet the American Monks Who Might Re-Evangelize Ireland - A U.S. Benedictine community has planted roots in the Emerald Isle, becoming the first new monastery in the Diocese of Meath since the Reformation.

Christ in the Desert - Are you lonely? Mourning? Desperate? Afraid? Christ has come to meet you in this desert...

How the words of a stranger eased my grief over my son’s death

New evidence emerging that disproves image of Pius XII as “Hitler’s Pope”

It’s all so blindingly obvious

Faithful Await Vatican Verdict on Medjugorje

Confession must be a pastoral priority, Pope Francis says 

What Pope Francis did when guards tried to stop these Chinese pilgrims

SXSW 2017: Why is the Vatican at a tech conference?

Nuncio Archbishop Brown to leave Dublin post 

Rules of thumb for processing the latest papal bombshell 

Here’s a thought: If it’s fake or implausible, don’t share it

First martyr born in the United States to be beatified in September

Don't expect married priests from Pope Francis, Cardinal Vincent Nichols declares
NCR - Now is the time for married priests

De-Christianization in the West is a real threat. But Putinism isn’t the answer.

NCR Podcast: Austen Ivereigh on Pope Francis

The Catholic Herald's round up of commentary on the fourth anniversary of Pope Francis election -  John AllenHelen AlvaréAFPFr Rocco D’AmbrosioWilliam Doino JrAndrea GagliarducciDavid GibsonRuth GledhillAusten IvereighChristopher LambWyatt MasseyJoshua McElweeRobert MickensJoanna MoorheadNational Catholic ReporterAntoinette PalumboCardinal Pietro ParolinFr Thomas ReeseGianni ValenteMichael Sean Winters and Cardinal Donald Wuerl mark the fourth anniversary of Francis’s election.

Can Catholics dissent from Pope Francis’ teaching on the family? Wrong question.

“Two Lives, One Love” - contribution of the Irish Bishops Conference to the Citizens Assembly
Fake News around pretend "Strike" for Repeal is the norm for mainstream media.
"Eight Amendment was a lifeline to me and Hollie" 
When a baby’s diagnosis is grim, there is a path of hope

Who gave the Church the power to police society? 
Tuam sisters’ silence due to terms of commission 
Facts of Irish infants’ burial remain uncertain, despite outrage - A commission's report, however, fuels a different campaign.
The dark truth about modern Ireland its media don't talk about...
While we are busy apologising for the past we are creating tomorrow’s scandals - The conditions that created the Tuam mother and baby home scandal continue today in the form of unaccountable authorities, misplaced values and warped priorities

Bishop Eamon Casey – a leader who helped millions 
Bishop Casey funeral attended by 1,600


16 Mar 2017

17th March 2017 - Hail Glorious St Patrick! - Apostle and Saint of Ireland





March 17th is the celebration of St Patrick's Day which is the national Irish holiday. It is an occasion when we commemorate firstly the memory of the man who brought the Christian Faith to the Emerald Isle in 432AD and also a celebration of what is good and great about us as a people and a country in culture, song, language and other fields of life. 

St Patrick
Irish College Chapel Rome
It is also a day when we remember in a special way our emigrants - our beloved diaspora - who for many and varied reasons but generally economic ones have had to leave "the land of our birth". 

St Patrick's Day gains in significance while you are away overseas, a day of sadness for being far from kith and kin, but also of joy and pride in being from a little isle on the verge of the mighty Atlantic which, has in its own small way, has contributed to the betterment of society and our world in general through art, music, song, literature, science, peacekeeping under the UN flag, our many NGO's and volunteers, and of course the contribution of our missionaries to the development in many parts of the world in education, health care and the promotion of human rights in the course of spreading the gospel and witnessing to their faith.


We remember all of our diaspora fondly and as we pause in prayer or raise a glass in honour of St Patrick, from our hearts, we wish them all a very Happy St Patrick's Day from the Emerald Isle!


But like so many Christian feasts, St Patrick’s Day has been somewhat hijacked. St Patrick has about as much to do with a pint of Guinness as St Valentine has to do with a box of chocolates and a romantic meal for two. But what does this saint, so strong in missionary zeal and about whom we know very little, have to do with our modern day celebrations? 

The answer comes from the Confessio itself.


In the very opening paragraphs of the autobiography, St Patrick offers a meditation on the gift of faith and the praise that we owe in return to God for such a gift. Perhaps this is St Patrick’s greatest relevance, particularly in a culture that seems increasingly hostile to declarations of faith. He refuses to stay quiet; his evangelising zeal comes from knowing that he must speak to others of Christ:

“That is why I cannot be silent – nor would it be good to do so – about such great blessings and such a gift that the Lord so kindly bestowed in the land of my captivity. This is how we can repay such blessings, when our lives change and we come to know God, to praise and bear witness to his great wonders before every nation under heaven.”   


Enjoy the celebrations of St Patrick’s Day, but remember Christ’s call to conversion in your life; a call to conversion and change that St Patrick felt so strongly that he left behind everything he had and followed Jesus so that he might bring the gospel to others.



Archbishop Eamon Martin’s message for Saint Patrick’s Day 2017

OSV - The real St. Patrick More fascinating than his legends

CNS - Irish archbishop: St. Patrick was an ‘undocumented migrant’ 

CH - Russian Orthodox Church adds St Patrick to its calendar

St Patrick's Day 2017: Meet the sober Dubliners celebrating Ireland's patron saint without a Guinness





From the SS102fm archives! 
Fr Michael Liston introduces St. Patrick as someone who suffered a lot in his youth, but in the middle of all his suffering, he became conscious of God's presence and love.  Fr. Micheal encouraged us to set aside the external celebrations of St. Patrick's day to look at the model of St. Patrick as someone who had discovered the mysterious presence of God in his life.  We are invited to reflect on the reality that God is here with us as He was for Patrick.  God is fond of us. God has time for us. St. Patrick is also a great model of how we should respond to God's grace in our lives.  Patrick recognised his own limitations and the abundance of God's grace working in his life.  Fr. Micheal invited us to confess, as Patrick did, that with all our limitations, it is God who has done this good work in our lives.  Patrick gives glory to God, because the glory is God's.  God has a sheer ghrá (affection/love) for us and we are called through prayer and humility to imitate Patrick by responding to God's grace and love with a spirit of self-giving and gratitude.  This is the true spirit of Patrick. 
You can listen to the podcast of Fr Michael HERE.

At the inauguration of Uachtárain na h-Éireann (President of Ireland) Michael D. Higgins one of the pieces of music performed by Rita Connolly was the "The Deer's Cry" which is St Patrick's Breastplate arranged by Shaun Davy:





A Prayer for Immigrants
Blessed are You, Lord Jesus Christ.
You crossed every border between Divinity
and humanity to make your home with us.
Help us to welcome you in newcomers, migrants
and refugees.
Blessed are You, God of all nations.
You bless our land richly with goods of creation
and with people made in your image.
Help us to be good stewards and peacemakers,
who live as your children.
Blessed are You, Holy Spirit.
You work in the hearts of all
to bring about harmony and goodwill.
Strengthen us to welcome those from other lands,
cultures, religions,
that we may live in human solidarity and in hope.
God of all people,
grant us vision to see your presence in our midst,
especially in our immigrant sisters and brothers.
Give us courage to open the door to our neighbors
and grace to build a society of justice.

Source: Pax Christi