26 Feb 2011

27th February 2011 - 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

On this weeks show we begin the programme with a prayer space where we remember all those who were lonely, sick and struggling and those for whom we were asked to pray and invited the sick and the housebound who may not have been able to receive Holy Communion to join us in making a spiritual communion. We have an introduction to the Legion of Mary and how it encourages people to holiness and evangelisation, attempts at responding to our baptismal vocation; our regular reflection on the weekly gospel, Saints of the Weeks and EWTN 

We wish to thank our listeners for their positive comments on our programme - especially our new listeners who listen in to the repeat programme on Thursday nights at 10.30pm.

The Legion of Mary

On this weeks programme, we are introduced to the Legion of Mary - a very Irish contribution to the world wide Church.

The Legion of Mary is a lay apostolic association of Catholics who, with the sanction of the Church and under the patronage of Mary Immaculate, Mediatrix of All Graces, who serve the Church and their neighbour on a voluntary basis in about 170 countries with an excess of 10 million members worldwide.The first meeting of the Legion of Mary took place in Myra House, Francis Street, Dublin, Ireland, on 7 September, 1921. Membership is highest in South Korea, Philippines, Brazil, Argentina and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These countries have between 250,000 and 500,000 members each. 

Active members serve God under the banner of Mary by practising the Spiritual Works of Mercy. The main apostolate of the Legion consists in activities directed towards all men and women, young and old, rich and poor as well as people from the margins of society (homeless, prostitutes, prisoners etc.) and towards non-Catholics. The members of the Legion are primarily engaged in the performance of the Spiritual Works of Mercy rather than works of material aid with a particular focus on true devotion to Our Lady based on the teaching of St. Louis de Montfort which inspires the devotions and work of the Legion.  

Lorraine also introduces us to the potiential new Irish saints with the causes for beatification in the Legion - Frank Duff, Servant of God and Founder of the Legion, Venerable Edel Quinn, and Alfie Lamb, Servant of God.

We discuss how lay associations such as the Legion, which promote holiness and evangelisation among the laity, are attempts at responding to our baptismal vocation - the universal call to holiness (Lumen Gentium V).  John and Lorraine speak about the different apostolic works that the Legion carry out - visiting homes, nursing homes the sick etc.  Anyone interested in finding out more about the Legion is encouraged to go to their local meeting (e.g. in Newcastle West - every Tuesday, parish office, 4pm).

Sunday's Gospel is another excerpt from the Sermon on the Mount. This weeks gospel is especially challenging and we begin our reflection this week focuses on how sometimes we may have the tendency to skip over the challenging parts of the Gospel in order to go to the nicer, more encouraging bits of the Gospel. 

The lesson from today's gospel is very evident: God must have first place in our lives, if we really believe in the future, eternal life, as all Christians and most other people do. But we still must earn our living and work our passage through life. What Christ is warning us against is that we must not get so attached to, and so enslaved by, the things of this world, that we neglect our own eternal happiness. 

Lectio teaches us about the importance of sitting and meditating with the challenge of Sunday's Gospel - there are many who are genuinely asking " ‘What are we to eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed?’ " (Mt 6:31) - how are we to pay the mortgage? how are we to feed the children?  where are we going to get the next pay check?  We encouraged people, if they could, to take a little step back today from the immediate worries of the recession, to see whether God or money was at the centre of their lives - what is the focus of our lives? - God or money? - because we cannot serve two masters (cf. Mt 6:24).

We acknowledged that we do have responsibilities to our families and to work as part of the dignity of the human person, but that if we put God at the centre of our lives, these responsibilities take on their proper proportion - "Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well." (Mt 6:33).  It is not that God is asking us to ignore our responsibilities, but rather He is reminding us that if we get our priorities right, everything else will fall into place.

Most of us will say: "There is little danger that we shall get enslaved by the wealth of this world - we have so little of it". But a person can be so attached to the little one has and so anxious to increase it, that one can cut God out of his/her life and forget the one thing necessary. It is not the possession of things of this world that Christ forbids, but letting the things of this world possess us. While we make wealth and goods of this earth serve our eternal purpose we can be true followers of Christ, but if we let them enslave us to the exclusion of that purpose then we are indeed on the wrong road.

As a closing thought, we looked at the very human response of worry in the face of difficulties and needs and pondered the question "Can any of you, for all his worrying, add one single cubit to his span of life?" (Mt 6:27).  In particular, John highlighted Fr. Frank's invitation from Lectio to think of a time in our lives when we were really worried about something... and what happened?  It was resolved or it didn't turn out to be as bad as we thought, because the grace and providence of God was working in our lives.  We encouraged those who were worried to imitate Our Lady, our model of faith and trust, by bringing our worries and needs to God in prayer, because our heavenly Father already knows all our needs (cf. Mt 6:32).

Other reflections on this weeks gospel from Word on Fire, English Dominicans, Catholic Ireland.net

Saints of the Week

February 28th - St Hedwig, Queen of Poland
March 1st - St David - Patron of Wales
March 3rd - St Katherine Drexel
March 4th - St Casimir
March 5th - St Kieran 

As always, thanks for listening.

John, Lorraine, Shane, Michael and Fr Michael

24 Feb 2011

Some web browsing........

This weeks web browsing for you:
  • Deacon Greg asks "What Catholics don't know" and poses the issue that a lot of Catholics are unaware of the basics of their faith but they still have an ability to Wonder.
  • Pat Gahn tells us how she is rediscovering the joys of pilgrimage as she visits various places while recovering from surgery and how the key to any successful pilgrimage is keeping one's heart well disposed to him, - "Pilgrim Feet".
  • Another take on the faith journey that we live through as Christians - "The Christian Journey is hard, but you can do it!"
  • Exploring the Mission of the Laity.
  • What makes a real Christian - The Real Orthodoxy Test
  • Simcha Fisher has an interesting take on the need for beauty in liturgy but also Why I love my Ugly Little Liturgy.
  • Following on from the case of the Miami priest who attempted to con-celebrate Mass with a Presbyterian minister, The Anchoress discuss why for some it is a travesty and others it is just trivial but for many for many Catholics (and other Christians), this seems like a no-brainer: who has the right to stand between Christ and another human being? Her response includes the point that:
"There exists an odd double-standard concerning Catholic observances and almost any other ritual. Culturally nuanced and sensitive Americans would never presume to attend a Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim or even Orthodox Christian celebration with an expectation of full participation, but when Catholics ask the same respect for their holiest sacrament, they are criticized for being unreasonable and “exclusionary,” and always there is a whiff of that dreaded word “intolerance.” Other cultures and religions are to be allowed their exclusivities with full respect, but Catholics who base their beliefs on Jesus’ own words, and on reasoned theology and philosophy, tradition and supporting scripture, ought not expect the same courtesy. And then there's courtesy. Holy Communion is a great mystery of ponderous depth"
And a quick reminder that even when it seems darkest, God is always near......

21 Feb 2011

On behalf of the Holy Father, I ask forgiveness.

Photo: RTE News
Full text of Cardinal Sean O'Malley's talk at the Liturgy of Lament and Repentence yesterday in St Mary's Pro-Cathedral in Dublin (H/T Whispers in the Loggia)


My brothers and sisters, I am very grateful for this opportunity to be with you today and to take part in such a moving service of reparation and hope. I am especially thankful to our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, for his care for the Church in Ireland and for inviting me to be part of this Visitation.

On behalf of the Holy Father, I ask forgiveness for the sexual abuse of children perpetrated by priests and the past failures of the Church’s hierarchy, here and in Rome; the failure to respond appropriately to the problem of sexual abuse. Publicly atoning for the Church’s failures is an important element of asking the forgiveness of those who have been harmed by priests and bishops, whose actions -- and inactions -- gravely harmed the lives of children entrusted to their care.

The O’Malleys hail from County Mayo, a part of Ireland that was hallowed by St. Patrick’s ministry there. They tell the story of a dramatic conversion of an Irish chieftain by the name of Ossian. A huge crowd assembled in a field to witness his baptism. St. Patrick arrived in his Bishop’s vestments with his miter and staff. St. Patrick stuck his staff in the ground and began to preach a long sermon on the Catholic faith. The people noted that Ossian, who was standing directly in front of St. Patrick, began to sweat profusely, he grew pale and fainted dead away. Some people rushed over to help and they discovered to everyone’s horror that St. Patrick had driven his staff through the man’s foot. When they were able to revive Ossian they said to him, ‘Why did you not say something?’ And the fierce warrior replied, ‘I thought that it was part of the ceremony.’

The warrior did not understand too much about liturgy and rituals, but he did understand that discipleship is often difficult. It means carrying the Cross. It is a costly grace and often we fall down on the job.

Jesus teaches us about His love in the Parable of the Good Samaritan where in a certain sense the Samaritan represents Christ, who is so moved to compassion by the sight of the man left half dead on the road to Jericho. The innocent victim of the crime is abandoned by all. The priests and levites turn their back on him, the police fail to protect him, the innkeeper profits from the tragedy. It is Christ who identifies with the man who is suffering and showers compassion on him.

Jesus is always on the side of the victim, bringing compassion and mercy. Jesus is not just the healer in the Gospel. He identifies with the sick, suffering, homeless, all innocent victims of violence and abuse and all survivors of sexual abuse. The Parable ends with injunction; ‘Go and do likewise!’; just as Jesus turns His love and compassion to those who have been violently attacked or sexually abused. We want to be part of a Church that puts survivors, the victims of abuse first, ahead of self-interest, reputation and institutional needs.

We have no doubt of Jesus’ compassion and love for the survivors even when they feel unloved, rejected, or disgraced. Our desire is that our Church reflect that love and concern for the survivors of sexual abuse and their families and be tireless in assuring the protection of children in our Church and in society.

From my own experience in several dioceses with the tragic evil of sexual abuse of minors I see that your wounds are a source of profound distress. Many survivors have struggled with addictions. Others have experienced greatly damaged relationships with parents, spouses and children. The suffering of families has been a terrible and very serious effect of the abuse. Some of you have even suffered the tragedy of a loved one having taken their own life because of the abuse perpetrated on them. The deaths of these beloved children of God weigh heavily on our hearts.

The wounds carried in Ireland as a result of this evil are deep and remind us of the wounds of the body of Christ. We think of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane as he experienced his own crisis. He, too, was overwhelmed with sorrow, betrayed and abandoned. Not only survivors of abuse and their family members, but many of the faithful and clergy throughout Ireland can echo our Lord’s plaintive cry, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ But today, through the saving power of the Cross, we come together to share in each other’s sorrows as well as our collective hope for the future. We come together to bind up the wounds we carry as a result of this crisis and to join in prayer for healing, reconciliation and renewed unity.

Based on the experience I have had with this Visitation, I believe there is a window of opportunity for the Church here to respond to the crisis in a way that will build a holier Church that strives to be more humble even as it grows stronger. While we have understandably heard much anger and learned of much suffering, we have also witnessed a sincere desire to strengthen and rebuild the Church here. We have seen that there is a vast resource, a reservoir of faith and a genuine desire to work for reconciliation and renewal.

During the course of many meetings, I have been blessed to hear from many survivors and their families, lay women and men and religious and clergy who seek reconciliation and healing. Today’s service, which survivors so generously assisted in planning and are participating in, gives testimony to the longing of so many to rebuild and renew this Archdiocese and the Church throughout Ireland.

Just as the Irish people persevered and preserved the faith when it was endangered, and carried it to many other countries, the commitment to sustain the faith provides the opportunity for the hard lessons of the crisis to benefit the Church in our quest to do penance for the sins of the past and to do everything possible to protect children in the present and in the future.

I would like to conclude my remarks by sharing another parable with you that further illustrates the demands of the Great Commandment which contains the whole Law and the prophets. The Japanese tell the story of a man who lived in a beautiful home on the top of a mountain. Each day he took a walk in his garden and looked out at the sea below. One day he spotted a tsunami on the horizon coming toward the shore and then he noticed a group of his neighbors having a picnic on the beach. The man was anxious to warn his neighbors, he shouted and waved his arms. But they were too far off, they could not hear nor see him. So the man set fire to his house. When the neighbors on the beach saw the smoke and flames some said let us climb the mountain to help our friend save his home. Others said: ‘That mountain is so high and we’re having such fun, you go.’ Well, the ones who climbed the mountain to save their neighbor’s home were themselves saved. Those who remained on the beach having fun perished when the tidal wave hit the shore.

The Gospel of Christ is about love, sacrifice, forgiveness, hope and salvation. The burning house on the top of the hill is the Cross, and it is the suffering of all those children who experienced abuse. Climbing the mountain, we are not doing God a favor, we are saving our souls.

In Dublin, the Three Silences..........

Reflections of Archbishop Martin at the Liturgy of Lament and Repentance at St. Mary's Pro Cathedral , 20th February 2011 from the Dublin Archdiocese website.


"There are moments where silence and listening are more important than words and what we say. 

What can I say to you who are victims of sexual abuse by priests of the Archdiocese of Dublin or by religious?   I would not be honest and sincere if I were to say that I know what you have suffered.  I may try to understand, but that suffering is yours.  Only you know what it means to have been abused sexually or in some other way.  I can try to imagine the horrors of being abused when just a child, helpless and innocent.  I can try to imagine how this abuse has haunted your life until today and sadly may continue even for the rest of your lives.

I can recognise the humiliation you suffered, the assault on your dignity and self-esteem, the fear and anxiety, the isolation and abandonment you experienced.  I can listen to you tell me about your nightmares, your frustrations and your longing for a closure which may never come.  I can imagine your anger at not being believed and of seeing others being cared for while you were left on your own.

I can try to imagine all those experiences but I know that it is only you who have had that experience.  Whatever I imagine, what you experienced must be a thousand times worse.

I can express my sorrow, my sense of the wrong that was done to you.  I think of how you were not heard or not believed and not comforted and supported.

I can ask myself how did this happen in the Church of Jesus Christ where as we heard in the Gospel children are presented to us as signs of the kingdom.  How did we not see you in your suffering and abandonment?

The Church of Jesus Christ in this Archdiocese Dublin has been wounded by the sins of abusers and by the response to you for which we all share responsibility.

Someone once reminded me of the difference between on the one hand apologising or saying sorry and on the other hand asking forgiveness.  I can bump into someone on the street and say “Sorry”.  It can be meaningful or just an empty formula.  When I say sorry I am in charge.  When I ask forgiveness however I am no longer in charge, I am in the hands of the others.  Only you can forgive me; only God can forgive me. 

I, as Archbishop of Dublin and as Diarmuid Martin, stand here in this silence and I ask forgiveness of God and I ask for the first steps of forgiveness from of all the survivors of abuse.


There is a time for silence.  But there is also another silence: a silence which is a sign of not wanting to respond, a silence which is a failure of courage and truth. 

There are men and women in this Cathedral today to whom we must express our immense gratitude for the fact that they did not remain silent.   Despite the hurt it cost them they had the courage to speak out, to speak out, to speak out and to speak out again and again, courageously and with determination even in the face of unbelief and rejection. 

All survivors are indebted to those who had the courage to speak out and let it be known what had happened and how they were treated.  The Church in Dublin and worldwide and everyone here today is indebted to them.  Some of you in your hurt and your disgust will have rejected the Church that you had once loved, but paradoxically your abandonment may have helped purify the Church through challenging it to face the truth, to move out of denial, to recognise the evil that was done and the hurt that was caused.

The first step towards any form of healing is to allow the truth to come out.  The truth will set us free, but not in a simplistic way.  The truth hurts.  The truth cleanses not with designer soap but with a fire that burns and hurts and lances. 

Again the Church in this Archdiocese thanks you for your courage. I in my own name apologise for the insensitivity and even hurtful and nasty reactions that you may have encountered.  I appeal to you to continue to speak out.   There is still a long path to journey in honesty before we can truly merit forgiveness.


There is a third level of silence in our midst this afternoon.  It is the silence of the cross.  I was asked who should preside at this liturgy.  My answer was not a Cardinal or an Archbishop but the Cross of Jesus Christ.   We gather before the cross of Jesus which presides over us and judges us.  It is the Cross of Jesus that judges whether our words and our hearts are sincere.

The final moments before the death of Jesus were marked by darkness and silence. That silence is broken by the words of Jesus: He forgives those who kill him.  He also brings forgiveness and new life to one of the thieves who surround him.  But that forgiveness is not cheap forgiveness.  One thief mocked Jesus; he did not recognise that act of injustice that was being carried out.  The other recognised his own guilt and that recognition opened the door to forgiveness.  No one who shared any responsibility for what happened in the Church of Jesus Christ in this Archdiocese can ask forgiveness of these who were abused without first recognising the injustice done and their own failure for what took place.

The silence of Jesus on the cross is again interrupted by his prayer of abandonment:  “My God why have you forsaken me?”   It is the prayer that so many survivors must have made their own as they journeyed with the torment of hurt which for many years they could not share and which haunted them day after day, from their childhood and into adult life. 

But Jesus faces that abandonment and finally hands himself over to the Father bringing his self-giving love to the utmost moment of giving his own life in love.  That opened the door to newness of life.

We gather under the sign of the cross which judges us but which ultimately liberates us.


This afternoon is only a first step.  It would be easy for all of us to go away this afternoon somehow feeling good but feeling also “that is that now”, “it’s over”, “now we can get back to normal”.   

The Archdiocese of Dublin will never be the same again.  It will always bear this wound within it.  The Archdiocese of Dublin can never rest until the day in which the last victim has found his or her peace and he or she can rejoice in being fully the person that God in his plan wants them to be."

19 Feb 2011

Some web browsing.....

This weeks web browsing is a little shorter than normal but never the less have a browse and see what you think:
  • To get us started, a quote of the day that we came across during the week:
"The man who fears to be alone will never be anything but lonely, no matter how much he may surround himself with people. But the man who learns, in solitude and recollection, to be at peace with his own loneliness, and to prefer its reality to the illusion of merely natural companionship, comes to know the invinsible companionship of God." Thomas Merton

"We live in an entertainment age where we are easily bored or distracted unless nearly all of our senses are engaged.  It's a sad fact.What follows is a talk given by a young man dying of brain cancer.  I can't call it riveting.  At least not like that today which is too often called riveting. What I can call it is enlightening.  I can call it wisdom.  I can call it a dose of reality that we need to hear.  I can call it that which we should all listen to because the fact is that if you live long enough (and for this young man, not so long enough), you're going to suffer. Set aside 30 quiet minutes and listen to what he has to say.  It may just prepare you for something you'll appreciate later in life.  It may give meaning to that which you're experiencing now. No, it's not riveting.  It's just necessary."

  • Max Lindenman ponders the reckless genuine piety of nuns, the mysteries of discernment, juicy turkeys, and where the spattered blood of martyrs may lead - Houses and the Holy.
  • "Let there be light" - the new Saskatoon cathedral will have stained glass that are also be solar panals!
  • The New York Times has a very negative view of the meaning of the term Irish Catholic and regards it as being "The Irish Affliction"
  • And to finish up, a more positive view of the youth and vibrancy of the church with a video about the World Youth Day's with WYD 2011 being held in Madrid in August 2011.

20th February 2011 - 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time

On this weeks show, Fr Micheal returns from pilgrimage to Lourdes and gives us a reflection about his time there. We also have our usual reflection on the Sunday gospel and a run down of our Saints of the Week.

Pilgrimage to Lourdes
Fr Micheal gives us a reflection around his recent visit to Lourdes in the south of France for the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on February 11th.

He reminds us of the faith and simpleness of Bernadette's family life and especially through out her own life. He focuses on the joy experienced by her even in the sickness, hardship and poverty of the times.

He also reminds us of the Grotto's dotted around our countryside many of them erected after the Marian year in 1954 which are beautiful though often ignored Prayer Spaces that remind us of Our Mother's love for all of us. Many of the grotto's use the traditional imagery of Our Lady of Lourdes or that of the Immaculate Conception but are without a statue of Bernadette. Those without Bernadette are a special reminder for us to follow the example of Bernadette to join in the pray of the Madonna to her Son.

Gospel - Mt 5:38-48

A very timely and challenging gospel is presented to us this week with Jesus over asking us to overturn the natural human instinct of wanting to get even with those that wrong us but he calls us to Divine perfection;

"offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well........love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike...."
As Jesus continued his Sermon on the Mount, he cited the earliest known code of law --an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. The law was known as the "Lex Talionis," which may be described as the law of "tit for tat." Its aim was the limitation of vengeance -- the punishment must fit the crime. Jesus abolished the old law and introduced a new law of love and non-retaliation. It was no virtue to love only those who love you; nonbelievers could do as much. A disciple was to go an "extra mile" in response to another person's needs, even at one's own expense, and to give generously without expecting repayment. Jesus asked his disciples to imitate the perfect love of God who gave gifts of sun and rain to the just and unjust alike. He emphasized that no limits could be placed on Christian forgiveness. They must never seek retaliation for any insult no matter how hostile. Injured parties might have to force themselves to love their enemies, but the Lord would show them the way. The Christian must strive to love even those who persecuted them (Mt 5:11). On the cross, Jesus gave us the supreme example of enemy love when he asked God to forgive those who were putting him to death (Lk 23:34) (H/T to Kays Commentaries on the Gospels).

Our gospel reflection connected with our up coming General Election, in that its not all about Money and Power but about stepping out and going the extra Mile for the Good of all. Fr Micheal especially asked us to listen the response to the psalm - The Lord is Compassion and Love.

Other reflections on this weeks gospel available from Word on Fire, English Dominicans , Australian homilies, Fr Philip Neiri Powell OP, "God's ridiculous demands" and the Preaching Life

Saints of the Week

February 21st - St Peter Damian
February 22nd - Feast of the Chair of St Peter
February 23rd - St Polycarp
February 24th - St Ethelbert of Kent
February 25th - St Walburga
February 26th - St Paula Montal

As always thanks for listening
John, Fr Micheal, Lorraine, Shane and Michael

16 Feb 2011

St John of the Cross - Pope Benedict XVI Weekly General Audience

“Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In today’s catechesis, we discuss the sixteenth-century Spanish Carmelite mystic, Saint John of the Cross. John was born into a poor family. As a young man he entered the Carmelites and was ordained priest. Soon afterwards, he met Teresa of Avila in what was a decisive encounter for them both, as they discerned plans for reforming the Carmelite Order. He became confessor at Teresa’s monastery, and together they developed a rich articulation of the workings of the Lord upon the soul in the spiritual life.

Despite persecution and misunderstanding from within his own Order, John produced some of the most illuminating and insightful treatises in all of Western spirituality. His four major writings are The Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Dark Night of the Soul, The Spiritual Canticle, and The Living Flame of Love. One of the themes much developed by John was that of the purification of the soul: by means of created things, we can discover traces of the living God in this world.

Faith, however, is the unique means by which we can come to know God as he is in himself. The demanding process of purification, at times active and at others passive, requires our determined effort, but it is God who is the real centre; all man can do is dispose himself and humble himself before the loving work of God in the soul. In this sense, John is for us a model of humble dedication and of faithful perseverance on the road to spiritual maturity.

I extend a warm welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially those students from Saint Benedict’s School, Saint Aloysius College, Saint Patrick’s Grammar School, and students and parishioners from the United States. Upon you all, I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!”

13 Feb 2011

Emails to the Christians of Iraq

Back in November we asked readers to consider joining in an international appeal to send letters and emails of support to the Christian Community of Bagdad after the attack on October 31st. Over at Why I am Catholic, Alison gives an update as to how the campaign is going - Why I Am Catholic: Thanks to Hundreds of Thousands Who Answered the Cries of the Christians in Iraq

Some web browsing

This weeks round up of some web browsing for you to peruse through at your leisure:
  • First off, Sacred Space 102fm gives a BIG THANK YOU to Fr Gerard Dunne OP, the Vocations Director for the Irish Dominican Province who gave us a recommendation this week and to his visitors who have popped over to say hello, welcome to Sacred Space 102fm! Sacred Space 102fm readers are encouraged to pay a return visit to Fr Gerard's blog - Irish Domincan Vocations - and to continue to pray for vocations to the Dominicans and all religious congregations in Ireland
  • In this weeks Irish Catholic, Michael Kelly has a piece about debating the "new" Mass which will be introduced in November 2011. An intro for people to begin getting their heads around it. We will be posting links from around the web for people to read the new translation and to follow the discussion in the next week or so, so keep an eye on the side bar to the right.
  • Over at Patheos.com, Chelsea Zimmerman has a piece about how Refusing to suffer is refusing to live.
  • Archbishop Hilarion, who is the main contact man for dialogue between the Roman Catholic church and the Russian Orthodox Church gives his views on the state of ecumenism and moves towards christian unity.
  • The Anchoress picks up a Marian connection this week with the stepping down of Egyptian President Mubarak.
  • One of the premier English speaking religious affairs correspondants, NCR's John Allen points out how in America's religious marketplace, the real Catholic problem is new sales.
  • The Tablet is following the debate that has (once more) broken out in Germany about the role of celibacy and its interconnectedness with priesthood in the Latin Rite.
  • A lot of discussion around the place about the new Confession App which was launched this week with some interesting commentary about it from Fr Z (well actually the uber catholic blogger Fr Z posted here, here and here), the Anchoress (here and here), Deacon Greg and Inside Catholic. Of course we need to point out to the misinformed and to some media outlets that the App is not confession, has not been disapproved of by the vatican, can't be confession and in an old fashion kind of way, is a modern presentation of An Examination of Conscience.
  • Anti-christian violence in Indonesia is alarming, lets continue to pray for our fellow Christians around the world.
  • Marie Keenan poses questions about the role of the Irish bishops, officials in the Vatican and the silence of the Murphy report about that 1997 letter from the papal nuncio.
  • An example of the New Evangelisation in practise in of all places, London!
  • The Pope announces the publication of YouCat - a youth cathecism which will be out in time for WYD 2011 in Madrid. Sandro Magister has a report about it as well.
  • Does the instinct to deny beauty to the materially poor betray a wider spiritual poverty?
  • Archbishop Martin reminds us that Liturgy is not purely a human action but rather is the action of God.
  • Continuing the theme of beauty and liturgy, Michael Kelly introduces us to the newly redecorated Chapel in the Irish College in Rome. If you are in Rome, a definite recommended place to visit - preferably on a Sunday morning to join with the seminarians for Mass.
  • Ever wonder what outsiders think of Mass? Here an evangelical protestant goes to Mass and gives their view, which in the context of our debates about liturgy is an interesting view from an outsider.
  • Blogger Jennifer Fulwiler puts out a survey - What is the religious climate in your country? The responses are informative.......
  • The path of returning to God - another article in the series by Fr James Martin SJ.
And finally some art to lift the heart and mind:

Consecrated Life - reports from Rome Reports

As a follow up to our post on Febraury 2nd for the World Day for Consecrated Life, we have put together a number of video reports about religious life around the world which you may be interetsed in from Rome Reports .

12 Feb 2011

13th February 2010 - 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

On this weeks Sacred Space 102fm, Michael and John discuss the upcoming Divine Mercy Conference at the RDS in Dublin, we have our usual reflection and discussion about this weeks gospel, our upcoming weekly Saints and some notices and a quick run through the Irish Catholic.

Divine Mercy Conference

Divine Mercy Conference
February 19th - 20th 2011
RDS Dublin
The Divine Mercy Conference is on next week in RDS in Dublin. Michael & John shared their experience of previous visits to the conference which is very popular conference and a very popular devotion in Ireland.

The conference is on in the RDS in Dublin for Febrary 19th to 20th 2011.
Saturday 19th - 10.00am to 9.00pm
Sunday 20th - 10.00am to 5.30pm
Doors open each morning at 9am for all day registration.

Michael gives an introduction to the devotion to the Divine Mercy which is based on the message which was entrusted to a Polish nun from the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy, now known as St Faustina which promotes a rememberence of the belief that Jesus' death on the Cross was to beg mercy from the Father for the world, imortalized with His heartfelt appeal to the father, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do"

Further information about the conference can be got from their website.

Gospel - Mathew 5: 17-37

This weeks gospel is a continuation of the Sermon on the Mount with Jesus reminding us that the call to a life in communion with the Divine is not just a case of obeying and conforming to external laws and rules which was the complaint against the Pharisees and Scribes of his time. While the Law and the Prophets had a role in pointing the way to the Love of God, in someways they almost became idols in themselves instead of acting as the sign posts that they were. Jesus reminds us this week that unless we understand the reason for the rule/law in the sense of it leading us deeper into relationship with God then we may have missed the point. It is not enough to be able to say we have obeyed the commandments and not killed anyone for example, but aside from taking their earthly physical life, have we been guilty of taking their good name or ignoring them or making life awkward and difficult for them by "killing" their acceptance by society and the way they live their lives?

We must seek, heart to heart with God how best we can answer the call to repentance and forgiveness of sinners that Jesus preached. It is not a case of just receiving what the German martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer called cheap grace which in his words is:
"cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ."
Or, even more clearly, it is to hear the gospel preached as follows: "Of course you have sinned, but now everything is forgiven, so you can stay as you are and enjoy the consolations of forgiveness." The main defect of such a proclamation is that it contains no demand for discipleship. In contrast to this is costly grace:
"costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus, it comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. It is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." "
The call to perfection is spelled out in Jesus' new interpretation of the law. The deeper virtue he demands encompasses attitudes of mind and spirit. A deeply counter-cultural message in the modern world which Paul reminds us in this weeks second reading from his first letter to the Corinthians:

We have a wisdom to offer those who have reached maturity: not a philosophy of our age, it is true, still less of the masters of our age, which are coming to their end. The hidden wisdom of God which we teach in our mysteries is the wisdom that God predestined to be for our glory before the ages began. It is a wisdom that none of the masters of this age have ever known, or they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory; we teach what scripture calls: the things that no eye has seen and no ear has heard, things beyond the mind of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him. These are the very things that God has revealed to us through the Spirit, for the Spirit reaches the depths of everything, even the depths of God.
Further reflections on this weeks gospel available from Word on Fire, English Dominicans, and Catholic Ireland.net.

Saints of the Week

February 14th - Sts Cyril and Methodius, co-patrons of Europe
(oh yes there is also the more famous rememberance of St Valentine whose relics are in the Whitefriar Street Carmeilte Church in Dublin whose website is here)
February 15th - St Claude de la Colobiere - Apostle of the Sacred Heart
February 16th - St Onesimus
February 17th - St Fintan, Abbot of Swords
February 18th - St Colman of Lindisfarne
February 19th - Bl. Fra Anglico OP


The main notice on this weeks show was about the upcoming visit of one of the seers of Medugorje to Ireland:

The eldest of the Medjugorje visionaries is planning a number of engagements in town halls and churches all over Ireland this month. Vicka Ivanković-Mijatović (46) who was the eldest of six local children who claimed that they were contacted by the Virgin Mary in 1981, will attend a number of church services in Ireland throughout February and will also appear on The Late Late Show. Vicka has claimed that she gets a vision from Our Lady at 4:40pm daily and this has been reflected in the schedule for her nationwide tour.  Her schedule commences at 4:00pm in Dublin's RDS Concert Hall on February 17. The following night she will appear with Ryan Tubridy on The Late Late Show, while she will be in Mitchelstown Town Hall in County Cork at 4:00pm on February 19 and Silver Springs Hotel in Cork on February 20. On February 22 she will attend Saint Brendan's Church in Tralee at 4:00pm while on February 27 she will attend An Evening of Prayer through Song with singer David Parkes at the Sacred Heart Church in Roscommon town commencing at 7:00pm. According to tour organiser Niall Glynn, whose company Marian Pilgrimages specialises in trips to Medjugorje, “Thousands of Irish pilgrims visit the pilgrimage town each year.  In terms of pilgrims going to Medjugorje, Ireland is second only to the Italians.”

As always, thanks for listening!

John, Michael, Lorraine and Shane