31 Aug 2011

Firm in the Faith - A pilgrim's reflection on WYD 2011

Firm in the Faith
Majella Moloney
“Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten, those who trust God shall never go wanting”[i].
These words of faith from Teresa of Avilla, a Patron Saint of the World Youth Day, inspired me on my journey to Avilla and Madrid, with the promise that neither the August heat, aching feet, nor the crowds would keep me from my goal – the fiesta that is World Youth Day, which holds the distinction of being the largest youth gathering in the world! Here you find the life of the Church, young people screaming “Benedetto”, waiting for the VIP of the moment – Pope Benedict XVI. The local context behind this international festival was described by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin in a catechesis session in Madrid, that his greatest fear is not the dwindling finances in the archdiocese but rather the dwindling participation of young people[ii]. The World Youth Day is a powerful, visible sign of the Church’s commitment to these young people; it is an action of solidarity which brings together young people from all over the world with a common purpose.
Going on pilgrimage is an action of the feet, heart and mind[iii]; for this reason I went first to Avilla to learn more about the lives of the Carmelite Saints – St Teresa of Avilla, St Therese of Liseux and St John of the Cross, before taking part in the celebrations in Madrid.  I walked around the medieval city and meditated on the discovery of St Teresa in this place that “God loves us far more than we love ourselves”[iv] The presence of the relics of St Therese for the WYD served an as example of the transformation of a sensitive child into a young woman, who overcame difficult relationships with some of the other sisters in her community, and a painful illness marked with periods of depression. As a group, we were led in a creative exercise in the style of St. John of the Cross, who wrote the epic spiritual poem “The Dark Night of the Soul” to express his enlightenment in the darkness of a prison cell, where his own community had left him to die. We were invited to think of a symbol that best described our relationship with God and to share the symbol and meaning with others in the group: a hill, a dress, a flag on a flagpole, were some of the personal ways in which people described how they relate to their faith and God!
These personal inner dimensions of faith were connected to the communal outer expression of faith when we joined in the joy and excitement of the World Youth Day on the streets of Madrid. The vigil took place in the barren but by no means lonely location of Quatro Vientos, here the 42degree heat and the storm that interrupted the Pope’s speech did little to damper the mass enthusiasm for that which satisfies more than food and water, and requires some readiness to endure material discomfort so that one can receive. The experience of faith is more than just a once off event which can be hidden and swept away by material trappings, if it is not” rooted and built up in Jesus Christ”[v]. An individual faith statement like that of St Teresa of Avilla reflects an interior disposition that seeks faithfulness as a virtue; the example of St John of the Cross and St Therese of Liseux is that faith can give strength and transform characters. In a very real way, the way of faith is an invitation to mature and to participate in a global and timeless community.
An amazing adventure of faith stretches out in front of me and I can recognise God’s action in my life not just in the comfortable routine but also in the surprises of my life[vi] – it reminds me that faith is always dynamic and alive – it is a flame that enkindles other flames – in this way the sharing of my World Youth Day experience will hopefully enkindle something in you – some passion to know more about some aspect of your faith, perhaps to share with someone else, or even to go to one of these great festivals of faith. The Pope invites young people to join him in 2013, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the dancing, sport and encounter that awaits the young people of the world.

[i] 1 Excerpt from the English translation of  The Interior Castle by St Teresa of Avilla
[ii] As reported in the Irish Catholic 25/08/11
[iii] Inspired by a saying from the Book of Lismore that I saw on the Tochar Padraig “Going on pilgrimage without a change of heart brings little reward from God. For it is by practising virtue and not by mere motion of the feet that we are brought to heaven.”
[iv] As quoted in the English edition of YOUCAT
[v] Colossians 2.7

30 Aug 2011

28 August - 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time & Julian of Norwich

With our sincerest apologies for the lateness of the post for this weeks show, last Sundays programme was a special show looking at the story of the English mystic Julian of Norwich as well as our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel and a quick run through the saints of the week.

Podcast of this weeks show.

Julian of Norwich

"All things shall be well,You shall see for yourself that, All manner of things shall be well"

On this weeks show we have interview recorded last year about the mystic Julian of Norwich.

Courtesy of Wikipedia:

Julian is thought of as one of the most important English mystics. She is venerated in the Anglican and Lutheran churches, but has never been canonized, or officially beatified, by the Catholic Church, probably because so little is known of her life aside from her writings, including the exact date of her death. It is determined that she was born in 1342 in Norwich, Norfolk, England, and she was last known to be alive in 1416 when she was 73 years old.

Her birth name is uncertain; the name "Julian" comes from the Church of St Julian in Norwich, where she was an anchoress.

At the age of 30, suffering from a severe illness and believing she was on her deathbed, Julian had a series of intense visions of Jesus Christ. They ended by the time she recovered from her illness on 13 May 1373. Julian wrote down a narration of the visions immediately following them, which is known as The Short Text. Twenty to thirty years later she wrote a theological exploration of the meaning of the visions, known as The Long Text. These visions are the source of her major work, called Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love (circa 1393). This is believed to be the first book written in the English language by a woman. Julian became well known throughout England as a spiritual authority.

If you want to read more about Julian including her Revelations of Divine Love:
Gospel - Matthew 16: 21-27

Reflections on Sunday's gospel:
Saints of the Week

August 29th - Feast of the Beheading of John the Baptist
August 30th - St Fiacre
August 31st - St Aidan of Lindisfarne
September 1st - Joshua the Patriarch
September 2nd - St Agricola of Avignon
September 3rd - St Gregory the Great

28 Aug 2011

28th August 2011 - 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Apologies to our regular readers and listeners today with the delay posting this weeks show. Some technical difficulties! We will put up the full post later but for those that want to get this mornings podcast about Julian of Norwich and this weeks gospel. Enjoy!

24 Aug 2011

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

As we head towards the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks in the USA on September 11th 2001, Sr Mary Ann Walsh recalls "The Church's Noblest at Ground Zero" - how in the depths of tragedy and fear, Catholic priests rose to the heights of their callings.

The WYD analysis continues with Sandro Magister examining how Benedict XVI has innovated WYD with three innovations that characterize the World Youth Days with this pope: moments of silence, the very young age of the participants, the passion to witness to faith in the world.

Fr Steven Wang over at Bridges and Tangents reflects on his WYD.

Catholic News Service captured an almost magical moment at San Lorenzo de El Escorial at the the meeting between Pope Benedict XVI with some 1,600 young religious women and the singing of the Our Father.

Tim Muldoon reflects on WYD and notes that "No Marx, no Nietzsche, no Freud can theorize his way into the hearts of young people the way that the Vicar of Christ can".

Over at First Things, Mark Misulia looks at why the numbers of seminarians has declined and suggests that perhaps the troublingly low number of religious vocations may parallel the troublingly high divorce rate in a fundamental way: a simple lack of commitment.

Dave Brenner, a Word on Fire intern recently returned from a silent retreat at a Trappist Monastery in France. He reflects on his experience commenting on the unexpected joy found in profound silence.

A reflection on the feast of the Queenship of Mary.

As previously mentioned on the blog, Fr Gregory Collins OSB was elected Abbot of the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem. Originally from Belfast and a monk of Glenstal Abbey, here is an interview with Dom Gregory in Jerusalem.

Archbishop Dolan of New York reflects on the external signs of being a Catholic and ponders whether we lost something in giving them up?

Each one of us is alone in the world. It takes great courage to meet the full force of your aloneness. Most of the activity in society is subconsciously designed to quell the voice crying in the wilderness within you. The mystic Thomas à Kempis said that when you go out into the world you return having lost some of yourself. Until you learn to inhabit your aloneness, the lonely distraction and noise of society will seduce you into false belonging where you will only become empty and weary. When you face your aloneness, something begins to happen. Gradually, the sense of bleakness changes into a sense of true belonging. This is a slow and open-ended transition but it is utterly vital in order to come into rhythm with your own individuality. In a sense this is the endless task of finding your true home within your life -  A reflection on solitude

Nuala O Loan reflects on "Why would any young man become a priest today?"

Quotes from WYD 2011

For those that would like to read Pope Benedict's addresses and talks at WYD 2011, they are available at the Vatican website. We have put together some quotes which jumped out at us from reading through the various talks.

Welcome cermony at International Airport of Madrid Barajas

"I come as the Successor of Peter, to confirm them all in the faith....to exhort young people to know Christ personally as a friend and so, rooted in his person, to become faithful followers and valiant witnesses."

"Why has this multitude of young people come to Madrid? While they themselves should give the reply, it may be supposed that they wish to hear the word of God, as the motto for this World Youth Day proposed to them, in such a way that, rooted and built upon Christ, they may manifest the strength of their faith."

"The discovery of the living God inspires young people and opens their eyes to the challenges of the world in which they live, with its possibilities and limitations."

".....with God beside them, they will possess light to walk by and reasons to hope, unrestrained before their highest ideals, which will motivate their generous commitment to build a society where human dignity and true brotherhood are respected...."

"With all my heart, I say again to you young people: let nothing and no one take away your peace; do not be ashamed of the Lord. He did not spare himself in becoming one like us and in experiencing our anguish so as to lift it up to God, and in this way he saved us."

"the young followers of Jesus must be aided to remain firm in the faith and to embrace the beautiful adventure of proclaiming it and witnessing to it openly with their lives. A witness that is courageous and full of love for their brothers and sisters, resolute and at the same time prudent, without hiding its Christian identity, living together with other legitimate choices in a spirit of respect while at the same time demanding due respect for one’s own choices."

Welcome at Plaza de Cibeles (Initial Address and Other address)

"Welcome to World Youth Day! You have brought with you profound questions, and you are seeking answers. It is always a good thing to keep seeking. Above all, seek the Truth, which is not an idea or an ideology or a slogan, but a person: Christ, God himself, who has come into our midst! You rightly wish to plant your faith in him, to ground your life in Christ. He has always loved you and he knows you better than anyone else."

"Make trust in Christ’s word the foundation of your lives! Planted and built up in him, firm in the faith and open to the power of the Spirit, you will find your place in God’s plan and enrich the Church with your gifts..."

"Dear young people, listen closely to the words of the Lord, that they may be for you “spirit and life” (Jn 6:63), roots which nourish your being, a rule of life which likens us - poor in spirit, thirsting for justice, merciful, pure in heart, lovers of peace - to the person of Christ. Listen regularly every day as if he were the one friend who does not deceive, the one with whom we wish to share the path of life."

The Way of the Cross, Plaza de Cibeles

"Christ’s passion urges us to take upon our own shoulders the sufferings of the world, in the certainty that God is not distant or far removed from man and his troubles. On the contrary, he became one of us “in order to suffer with man in an utterly real way — in flesh and blood ... hence in all human suffering we are joined by one who experiences and carries that suffering with us; hence con-solatio is present in all suffering, the consolation of God's compassionate love — and so the star of hope rises”"

"Dear young friends, may Christ’s love for us increase your joy and encourage you to go in search of those less fortunate. You are open to the idea of sharing your lives with others, so be sure not to pass by on the other side in the face of human suffering, for it is here that God expects you to give of your very best: your capacity for love and compassion"

"Youth, as I have said more than once, is the age when life discloses itself to us with all its rich possibilities, inspiring us to seek the lofty goals which give it meaning. So when suffering appears on the horizon of a young life, we are shaken; perhaps we ask ourselves: “Can life still be something grand, even when suffering unexpectedly enters it?”......A society unable to accept its suffering members and incapable of helping to share their suffering and to bear it inwardly through ‘com-passion’ is a cruel and inhuman society”"

"These witnesses speak to us, first and foremost, of the dignity of all human life, created in the image of God. No suffering can efface this divine image imprinted in the depths of our humanity.....because the Son of God wanted freely to embrace suffering and death, we are also capable of seeing God’s image in the face of those who suffer. This preferential love of the Lord for the suffering helps us to see others more clearly and to give them, above and beyond their material demands, the look of love which they need."

"Yes, dear friends, God loves us......We are not the product of blind chance or absurdity; instead our life originates as part of a loving plan of God. To abide in his love, then, means living a life rooted in faith, since faith is more than the mere acceptance of certain abstract truths: it is an intimate relationship with Christ, who enables us to open our hearts to this mystery of love and to live as men and women conscious of being loved by God."

"Faith does not run counter to your highest ideals; on the contrary, it elevates and perfects those ideals. Dear young people, do not be satisfied with anything less than Truth and Love, do not be content with anything less than Christ."

"Dear young people, if you wish to discover and to live faithfully the form of life to which the Lord is calling each of you, you must remain in his love as his friends. And how do we preserve friendship except through frequent contact, conversation, being together in good times and bad? Saint Teresa of Jesus used to say that prayer is just such “friendly contact, often spending time alone with the one who we know loves us”"

Eucharistic Celebration at Cuatro Vientos Air Base, Madrid.

"Faith is more than just empirical or historical facts; it is an ability to grasp the mystery of Christ’s person in all its depth.........faith is not the result of human effort, of human reasoning, but rather a gift of God....Faith starts with God, who opens his heart to us and invites us to share in his own divine life. Faith does not simply provide information about who Christ is; rather, it entails a personal relationship with Christ, a surrender of our whole person, with all our understanding, will and feelings, to God’s self-revelation."

"....today Christ is asking you the same question which he asked the Apostles: “Who do you say that I am?” Respond to him with generosity and courage, as befits young hearts like your own..."

"Having faith means drawing support from the faith of your brothers and sisters, even as your own faith serves as a support for the faith of others. I ask you, dear friends, to love the Church which brought you to birth in the faith, which helped you to grow in the knowledge of Christ and which led you to discover the beauty of his love...."

"Friendship with Jesus will also lead you to bear witness to the faith wherever you are, even when it meets with rejection or indifference. We cannot encounter Christ and not want to make him known to others. So do not keep Christ to yourselves! Share with others the joy of your faith. The world needs the witness of your faith, it surely needs God...."

Some good news about the Irish Catholic Church

Sacred Space 102fm gives a hearty congratulations to our blogging neighbour Fr Gerard Dunne over at Irish Dominican Vocations and his confrere's in the Irish Dominican Province on their good news with ordinations, solemn and simple professions as well as clothing ceremonies all of which will be happening over the next few weeks. Read the details here.

The Dominican nuns in Siena Convent in Drogheda celebrated the solemn profession of Sr Mary Teresa OP on June 29th 2011.
The Redemptristine nuns in Dublin have had a busy year with the solemn profession of Sr Maura on August 8th and Sr Maria's first profession on 16th July.

The Capuchian's have also been planning professions on August 11th of Br Liam and also have a postulant joining the community.

The Blogging Brother (Br Ray Dwyer who is the vocations director for the Anglo-Irish province of the Presentation Brothers) tells us about first professions in Dublin in July.

Fr Gregory Collins OSB was elected and installed as Abbot of the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem. Fr Gregory originally from Belfast had been a monk at Glenstal Abbey in Co Limerick.

21 Aug 2011

World Youth Day 2013 will be held in........................


In  what had to be one of the worst kept secrets of the summer, the destination for young pilgrims in 2013 for the WYD will be the city of Rio de Janerio in Brazil. Following on gaffs from the mayor of Brazil who let it "slip" before it was officially announced by Pope Benedict at the conclusion of the final Mass held in Madrid to close WYD 2011 symbolised by the handing over of the WYD Cross and Icon from the Spanish youth to the youth of the diocese of Rio de Janerio. WYD 2013 will be held in the year before the 2014 FIFA World Cup which is also heading to South America.

From News.va:

"At the end of Sunday's WYD mass in Madrid, Pope Benedict recited the Angelus prayer and entrusted the hundreds of thousands of young pilgrims present to the care of Our Lady. He also announced that the next World Youth Day will be celebrated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2013.

Read the text of his remarks below:

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Dear Friends,
You are now about to go back home. Your friends will want to know how you have changed after being in this lovely city with the Pope and with hundreds of thousands of other young people from around the world. What are you going to tell them? I invite you to give a bold witness of Christian living to them. In this way you will give birth to new Christians and will help the Church grow strongly in the hearts of many others.
During these days, how often I have thought of the young people at home who are waiting for your return! Take my affectionate greetings to them, to those less fortunate, to your families and to the Christian communities that you come from.

Let me also express my gratitude to the Bishops and priests who are present in such great numbers at this Day. To them all I extend my deepest thanks, encouraging them to continue to work pastorally among young people with enthusiasm and dedication.

I now commend all young people in the world, especially you, dear friends, to the loving intercession of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, Star of the new evangelization and Mother of young people, and we greet her with the same words as did the Angel of the Lord: […]

After the Angelus:

[Spanish] I greet the Archbishop of the Forces affectionately and I warmly thank the Spanish Air Force, which very generously permitted Cuatro Vientos Air Base on this, the centenary of the foundation of the Spanish Air Force. I place all Spanish Air Force personnel and their families under the maternal protection of Our Lady of Loreto.

In this context, I recall that yesterday marked the third anniversary of the grave accident at Barajas Airport which caused many deaths and injuries, and I express my spiritual closeness and my deep affection for all those touched by that unfortunate event, and well as for the families of the victims, whose souls we commend to the mercy of God.

I am pleased now to announce that the next World Youth Day will be held in 2013, in Rio de Janeiro. Even now, let us ask the Lord to assist all those who will organize it, and to ease the journey there of young people from all over the world, so that they will be able to join me in that beautiful city of Brazil.

Dear friends, before we say good-bye, and while the young people of Spain pass on the World Youth Day cross to the young people of Brazil, as Successor of Peter I entrust all of you present with this task: make the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ known to the whole world! He wants you to be the apostles of the twenty-first century and the messengers of his joy. Do not let him down! Thank you very much.

[French] My dear young people of the French-speaking world, today Christ asks you to be rooted in him and with him, to build your lives upon him who is our rock. He sends you out to be his witnesses, courageous and without anxiety, authentic and credible! Do not be afraid to be Catholic, and to be witnesses to those around you in simplicity and sincerity! Let the Church find in you and in your youthfulness joyful missionaries of the Good News of salvation!

[English] I greet all the English-speaking young people present here today! As you return home, take back with you the good news of Christ’s love which we have experienced in these unforgettable days. Fix your eyes upon him, deepen your knowledge of the Gospel and bring forth abundant fruit! God bless all of you until we meet again!

[German] My dear friends! Faith is not a theory. To believe is to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus and to live in friendship with him in fellowship with others, in the communion of the Church. Entrust the whole of your lives to Christ and bring your friends to find their way to the source of life, to God. May the Lord make you happy and joy-filled witnesses of his love.

[Italian] My dear young Italians! Greetings to all of you. The Eucharist that we have celebrated is the risen Christ present and living in our midst: through him, your lives are rooted and built upon Christ, strong in faith. With this confidence, depart from Madrid and tell everyone what you have seen and heard. Respond with joy to the Lord’s call, follow him and remain always united to him: you will bear much fruit!

[Portuguese] Dear Portuguese-speaking young people and friends, you have met Jesus Christ! You will be swimming against the tide in a society with a relativistic culture which wishes neither to seek nor hold on to the truth. But it was for this moment in history, with its great challenges and opportunities, that the Lord sent you, so that, through your faith, the Good News of Jesus might continue to resound throughout the earth. I hope to see you again in two years’ time at the nest World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Till then, let us pray for each other, witnessing to the joy that brings forth life, rooted in and built upon Christ. Until we meet again, my dear young people! God bless you all!

[Polish] Dear young Poles, strong in the faith, rooted in Christ! May the gifts you have received from God during these days bear in you abundant fruit. Be his witnesses. Take to others the message of the Gospel. With your prayers and example of life, help Europe to rediscover its Christian roots."

20 Aug 2011

21st Sunday of Ordinary Time - 21 August 2011 including reflection on Knock

On this weeks programme, John, Lorraine and Michael reflect on the meaning of the Apparition of Knock, as well as looking at the weekly gospel as well as a quick run through the saints of the week.

The podcast is now available on our podcast page.


Michael lead us through a short reflection on the Apparition at Knock, an apparition where not only did Our Lady appear but as Michael said "she also brought along the entire family". As Lorraine reminded us, Our Lady never appears in her own name but always to point the way to her Divine Son.

If you would like to find our more about Knock or ongoing events during the year, head over to the website of the shrine.

If you would like to hear a further extended reflection about Knock, we attach a link to the podcast for Michael's reflection which was first broadcast on 30 May 2010.

Gospel - Mathew 16:13-20

"Who do people say the Son of Man is? Who do YOU say I am?"

The weeks gospel Jesus poses a stark question for us, a very deep and somewhat harsh question for each follower of Christ, who do you say he is? Such a question could be the focus of our lectio on this weeks gospel. Who do you say he is? Such a question raises many challenges for us as individuals.

It is termed a gospel of hope because it reminds us that although the human agents of the church have been sinful, that at times the members of that church have not lived up to their baptismal calling, the church has survived because it is not our church, it is God's. Despite what looks like it is falling apart, it will survive.

          Lord, many people today are drifting through life, unsure of their identity.
       Remind them that your son Jesus too had to make the journey to being himself.
       Send them humble companions like Simon Peter who will see them in their truth,
       not replicas of anyone else, but your sons and daughters,
       anointed by you for a particular mission in the world.

       Lord, there was a time when we felt discouraged, wondering if our work was in vain.
       Then we came to a place, our own Caesarea Philippi,
       and we found that there were people who understood what we were about;
       we knew at that moment that the cause we had given our lives for
       was now on a solid foundation,
       the forces of evil would not hold out against it,
       and we could hand it over with confidence to our successors.

       Lord, every once in a way you send us young people who are special to us
       their teachers, parents or community leaders.
       Whereas others have only a vague idea of the message we are trying to convey,
       they understand it perfectly.
       We experience them as a gift,
       we know that it was not our hard work that revealed things to them;
       it was you yourself who taught them.
       Without being able to prove it, we know for certain that they will never fail us.
       Thank you Lord, for these blessed ones.

Other reflections on this weeks gospel:

Sunday Reflections
Word on Fire 
English Dominicans

Saints of the Week

August 22nd - Feast of the Queenship of Mary
August 23rd - St Rose of Lima OP
August 24th - St Bartholmew (Apostle)
August 25th - St Louis of France
August 26th - St John Bassano
August 27th - St Monica

WYD 2011 - Live Stream

If any one would like to watch what is happening in Madrid this evening at the Vigil or tomorrow morning's closing Mass head on over to Salt & Light TV to watch their live stream.

WYD 2011: The street party pauses for the Way of the Cross

From the Catholic Herald:

"Today, roughly 1.5 million pilgrims will walk 5 miles across Madrid, in the baking midday heat, to celebrate the Papal Mass at Cuatro Vientos airfield. The Mass will begin at 9.30 on Sunday morning and they will prepare with Vigil led by Pope Benedict this evening.

The mood of this pilgrimage has changed and it began with the Stations of the Cross last night at the Plaza de Cibeles in the centre of Madrid. There is undoubtedly a carnival atmosphere throughout this pilgrimage. It feels like a universal street party hosted by the Catholic Church. The elation so many felt during the Royal Wedding does not even touch what I have witnessed in Madrid over the past few days.

But the Catholic youth are focused ultimately on the Cross. Anyone who waded through the crowds yesterday evening at Plaza de Cibeles, to witness the Way of the Cross, could not deny this."

Continue reading here.

Also a short video explaining the symbolism of the WYD Cross and Icon

19 Aug 2011

WYD Bulletin from our Limerick Pilgrims

For those readers/listeners interested in hearing how our diocesan pilgrims are getting on in Madrid at WYD, we received this short bulletin this evening giving us a quick update on the happenings so far (forgive the quality of the photos, we are working with mobile phone pictures at the minute until we can get a few more):

"The Limerick contingent arrived in Madrid safe and sound to a very hot Madrid. The city was vibrant and full of colour in preparation for WYD.

To allow everyone to get to know each other we had a lovely meal in a Spanish restaurant as people in the group are from city and county. This WYD was the first opportunity for all Irish pilgrims to gather together and we attended this. It was nice to see each diocese represented and to meet and greet.

As a group we had our own cathechisis lead by Bishop Murray. This was a special experience for all in our group ad we gave us opportunity to discuss the Bishop's message.

We also attended a concert given by Elation Ministries which was thoroughly enjoyable.

The Pope has arrived and we saw him at the opening ceremony which was attended by all nations and the scene was a sea of coloured flags and banners.

Next to come are the Stations of the Cross and the all night vigil. The best way to describe WYD 2011 is that it's a magical experience."

18 Aug 2011

Some WYD related web browsing............

Just some quick highlights from the coverage online from WYD 2011. The coverage is extensive and the blogosphere is covered and recovered in links, photos, videos links and cross links so it is a tad diffifcult to pick out a few things to share.

First off, h/t to Deacon Greg, worth a thousand words

Pilgrims at World Youth Day in Madrid get a peek at the pope

If you want to follow online, Salt + Light in Canda is one of the best places to watch online along with EWTN.

The Vatican's own newsite News.va is carrying the texts of the Pope's addresses, video's and vox pop's from pilgrims.

One headline that caught our eye was "Young Catholics of Ireland "reassured" by World Youth Day"

Rome Reports is also carrying short video's of events in Madrid.

Meanwhile, the uber Catholic Blogger Rocco over at Whispers in the Loggia is keeping tabs of things on his Twitter account including links and updates to schedules if you want to keep track of what is happening in Madrid.

At the opening Mass on Tuesday, Cardinal Tells Youth Faith Is an Adventure at World Youth Day's First Mass 

On his arrival at the airport in Madrid, Pope Benedict poses the question, "Why has this multitude come?" He says to young people "Do not be ashamed of the Lord".

Pope Benedicts opening address to WYD 2011 - "Build your lives upon the firm foundation of Christ"
Pope says listening to, praying with young is a great joy.

You might be forgiven for thinking that based on the news reports from the BBC and RTE that Madrid was burning - Madrid protests ahead of Pope's World Youth Day but for an alternative take on the situation have a look at The pope draws 1.5 million young people to Madrid – but that's not news?

13 Aug 2011

14th August 2011 - World Youth Day 2011

On this weeks programme, John and the team have a discussion with young (and not so young) pilgrims from Limerick diocese that are heading to Madrid to participate in World Youth Day 2011.

This weeks podcast is available here.

World Youth Day 2011

World Youth Day (or in short 'WYD') was initiated by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1985. It is celebrated diocesan level annually, and at a week-long international level every two to three years at different locations Rome (2000), Toronto (2003), Cologne (2006) Sydney (2008) and this year it is being held in Madrid, Spain. The international level events attract hundreds of thousands of youth from almost every country on the planet.

This year WYD 2011 is being hosted in Madrid and the theme is "Rooted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in faith" (Col 2:7). Spain becomes the first country aside from Italy and Vatican City to host WYD twice. The last time WYD was in Spain was in 1989 in Santiago de Compestella

Each WYD has its own theme song which is a reflection on the overall theme of the celebration. This year's song is "Firm in Faith" (click to listen and it will open in a seperate tab).
This years WYD has the following patron saints:
  • St John of the Cross (Carmelite saint and mystic)
  • St Ignatious of Loyola (founder of the Jesuits)
  • St Francis Xavier (Missionary extraordinaire)
  • St Isidore the Worker
  • St Maria of the Head
  • St Rafael Arnaiz
  • St John of Avila
  • St Teresa of Avila (re-founder of the Carmelite order and mystic)
  • St Rose of Lima
  • Blessed Pope John Paul II
You can read about the saints and their lives here at the official WYD website.

Pope Benedict XVI will be attending WYD and will lead the Vigil and final Mass of the celebration. But, he reminds us all that "I am not the star......I am only the vicar. I point beyond myself to the Other who is in our midst."

If you want to find out more about Youth Ministry at the diocesan level in Limerick please have a look here.

Because the discussion was going so well about WYD 2011, we didn't get around to our usual lectio on this weeks Sunday gospel. However, for those of you looking for you guidance or inspiration for your lectio please have a look at the following links:

Saints of the Week

August 15th - Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
August 16th - St Stephen of Hungary
August 17th - St Clare of Montefalco
August 18th - St Helena
August 19th - St John Eudes
August 20th - St Bernard of Clairvaux

Terra Sancta News - Mount Tabor and the Feast of the Transfiguration

11 Aug 2011

Lough Derg - A Good News Story

Lough Derg continues to be on the rise

This small lake tucked away in Donegal seems to be surviving the tidal change of doom and gloom that is pervading society today. Entering the last week of the traditional Three Day Pilgrimage season, signs are encouraging that for the third consecutive year there will be a slight increase in the number of pilgrims to Lough Derg. If the trend holds until Saturday we will have seen pilgrim numbers increasing each year since 2008.  Fasting, going without sleep and shoes is contrary to the world we live in today where everything is instant and too often about ourselves. But still the practice continues unabated - pilgrims have been travelling to this remote Donegal Island for centuries, from all over Ireland and indeed the world. There are records of pilgrims coming from Catalonia in Spain in the 1300s - and in 2011 pilgrims have travelled not only from every county in Ireland but also from 30 other countries as far away as Brazil and Bermuda!

Lough Derg’s motto “Bringing you the Gift of Hope” seems to pervade the air on the third morning when pilgrims depart a little lighter in their heart after this tough but rewarding experience.
It’s always encouraging when a ‘business’ gets repeat trade and Lough Derg is delighted to welcome back each year 80% of regulars, but they are equally encouraged with 20% of new blood embarking upon this ancient rite for the first time. What has been remarked this Season is the number of people coming back after a lapse of up to 30 years and those pilgrims have been impressed with the many physical improvements to the Island which has been quite transformed over the last 20 or so years. ‘There is a definite trend of ‘Come back to Lough Derg, and see what they’re all talking about’, says Manager, Deborah Maxwell. Recent exposure on television such as Nationwide has also been a great help.’

For a place to have survived 1500 years it cannot stand still; Lough Derg certainly is passionate about creating new opportunities for people to enjoy the sanctity of the Island. 2011 has seen the biggest programme on offer ever - with a Mother and Daughter Retreat in May, a Father and Son Retreat in September, a special Family Day on August 19th, and not to be outshone on the festival circuit, an event called Pure Oxygen-a gig, on 25th August on the Island for young people. This event which may seem contrary to the ethos of the Island is all about welcoming young people from both sides of the community to enjoy some local talented music, without the pressure from their peers of alcohol and drugs.

There’s plenty other events remaining in the 2011 programme to allow you to experience this special Island where time has most definitely not stood still.

For more information, contact Deborah Maxwell, Manager call 071 986 1518 or email manager@loughderg.org  www.loughderg.org

Some Dates to Remember

13th August - Last day for starting the Three-Day Pilgrimage
15th August - Last day of the Three-Day Pilgrimage

One Day Retreats are available on       

August: 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31
September: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20

LIFE’S JOURNEY SERIES – an optional extra to the One Day Retreat programme

22nd August             Living In The Present

27th August             Understanding Our Children

30th August               Guided Prayer         

4th September        A Day With The Angels

14th September      Meditation for Beginners

Full Day Workshops
19th August               Family Day Retreat
9th September          Father and Son Retreat