30 May 2012

May 31st - Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth (repost)

The Visitation - mosaic on the exterior of the Church of the Visitation at Ein Karem, Holy Land

"Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’
Mary greets Elizabeth - statue at  Ein Karem in the Holy Land
And Mary said:
‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit exults in God my saviour;
because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.
Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,
for the Almighty has done great things for me.
Holy is his name,
and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.
He has shown the power of his arm,
he has routed the proud of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.
He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy
– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –
of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home." (Lk 1:39-56)

The feast of the Visitation recalls to us the following great truths and events: The visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth shortly after the Annunciation; the cleansing of John the Baptist from original sin in the womb of his mother at the words of Our Lady's greeting; Elizabeth's proclaiming of Mary—under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost —as Mother of God and "blessed among women"; Mary's singing of the sublime hymn, Magnificat ("My soul doth magnify the Lord") which has become a part of the daily official prayer of the Church.

The Mass of today salutes her who in her womb bore the King of heaven and earth, the Creator of the world, the Son of the Eternal Father, the Sun of Justice. It narrates the cleansing of John from original sin in his mother's womb. Hearing herself addressed by the most lofty title of "Mother of the Lord" and realizing what grace her visit had conferred on John, Mary broke out in that sublime canticle of praise proclaiming prophetically that henceforth she would be venerated down through the centuries:
"My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me, and holy is His name" (Lk. 1:46).
Digitalnun has a short reflection on the feast we celebrate today:

"When Paul VI moved the feast of the Visitation to 31 May, he ensured that May, ‘Mary’s month’, would finally have a feast of Our Lady, and what a beautiful feast it is!

There is something very moving about Mary’s making the difficult journey to visit her kinswoman when she was herself pregnant. Equally moving is Elizabeth’s amazed and humble greeting, ‘Why should the mother of my Lord come to me?’ We tend to think of the Visitation as the feast of the Magnificat, that glorious canticle of praise that fell from Mary’s lips, but perhaps for us it is Elizabeth’s question that matters. Why should the saints, chief of whom is Mary, bother themselves with us?

The Visitation is yet another reminder of the strength of the communion of saints, of the bonds of prayer and mutual concern that bind us together. The communion of saints is a reality here and now as well as hereafter. When times are hard, there is a tendency to put ourselves first, arguing that we cannot afford to be generous to others.......Today we have the example of Mary and Elizabeth to encourage us: we can and must help others and in so doing we may help more than we know. We must be saints for others."

A reflection on evangelisation in modern Ireland - Fr John Coughlan

"...........as people of faith we are called to be converted and converted and converted, over and over again. That is to say that we are to be immersed in Christ, which is to be evangelised or gospelified over and over again. Our sacramental baptism and our sacramental confirmation are not ends in themselves but rather are beginnings. And, like an inspirational song, we have to tune in all the time to that one true Spirit that Jesus promises us. It is his Spirit. And it is to be found in Scripture, in the Sacraments, in the Church understood as the gathered people of God, in other people, in people that we minister to, and in people that minister to us. The Spirit of Christ is real, perhaps it is the most real experience we ever have in life – the most true experience that we ever have in life. And Christ's Spirit is with us always, we simply have to open our eyes and ears, reach out and touch other people, pray, sing, be gospelified, evangelised, converted, whatever you want to call it. And Christ's Spirit always draws us together – gathers us into the "ekklesia", the great gathering unto Christ that the Church actually is."

Continue reading Fr John Coughlan's very thoughtful reflection here which was presented at the Elation Ministry Group called "Ruah" meeting which was held on 25th May 2012 at the PDDM Convent in Athlone. 

27 May 2012

Veni Creator Spiritus

The sun sets on Pentecost and Eastertide draws to a close 50 days after the Resurrection. Did you celebrate for 50 days as well as you kept your Lenten fast for 40?
But like the apostles on the first Pentecost, we are not called to hide behind locked doors in the Upper Room, we are sent out to share the Good News. The message of Christianity is not about rules and regulations, it is a message of joy, hope and freedom. It is about personal relationship with Christ.
This morning in Rathmines I watched as two young women were welcomed into the Catholic Christian community with baptism, confirmation and first Eucharist. One of the reasons they gave for wanting to become Catholic Christians was the welcome and witness of the Rathmines faith community. Think it says a lot about faith in Ireland, it is not all doom and gloom!
Come Holy Spirit!


Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our hearts take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heav’nly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O Comforter, to Thee we cry,
Thou heav’nly gift of God most high,
Thou Fount of life, and Fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

O Finger of the hand divine,
the sevenfold gifts of grace are thine;
true promise of the Father thou,
who dost the tongue with power endow.

Thy light to every sense impart,
and shed thy love in every heart;
thine own unfailing might supply
to strengthen our infirmity.

Drive far away our ghostly foe,
and thine abiding peace bestow;
if thou be our preventing Guide,
no evil can our steps betide.

Praise we the Father and the Son
and Holy Spirit with them One;
and may the Son on us bestow
the gifts that from the Spirit flow.

'But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth' (Acts 1:8).

Pentecost Sunday - Homily of Pope Benedict XVI

As Eastertide draws to a close, courtesy of Rocco over at Whispers in the Loggia, Pope Benedict XVI's homily from Mass in St Peters this morning for the Solemnity of Pentecost.

Dear brothers and sisters!

I am happy to celebrate this Holy Mass with you – a Mass animated by the Choir of the Academy of Santa Cecilia and by the Youth Orchestra, which I thank – on this Feast of Pentecost. This mystery constitutes the baptism of the Church, it is an event that gave the Church the initial shape and thrust of its mission, so to speak. This shape and thrust are always valid, always timely, and they are renewed through the actions of the liturgy, especially.

This morning I want to reflect on an essential aspect of the mystery of Pentecost, which maintains all its importance in our own day as well. Pentecost is the feast of human unity, understanding and sharing. We can all see how in our world, despite us being closer to one another through developments in communications, with geographical distances seeming to disappear – understanding and sharing among people is often superficial and difficult. There are imbalances that frequently lead to conflicts; dialogue between generations is hard and differences sometimes prevail; we witness daily events where people appear to be growing more aggressive and belligerent; understanding one another takes too much effort and people prefer to remain inside their own sphere, cultivating their own interests. In this situation, can we really discover and experience the unity we so need?

The account of Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles, which we heard in the first reading, is set against a background that contains one of the last great frescoes of the Old Testament: the ancient story of the construction of the Tower of Babel. But what is Babel? It is the description of a kingdom in which people have concentrated so much power they think they no longer need depend on a God who is far away. They believe they are so powerful they can build their own way to heaven in order to open the gates and put themselves in God's place. But it's precisely at this moment that something strange and unusual happens. While they are working to build the tower, they suddenly realise they are working against one another. While trying to be like God, they run the risk of not even being human – because they've lost an essential element of being human: the ability to agree, to understand one another and to work together.

This biblical story contains an eternal truth: we see this truth throughout history and in our own time as well. Progress and science have given us the power to dominate the forces of nature, to manipulate the elements, to reproduce living things, almost to the point of manufacturing humans themselves. In this situation, praying to God appears outmoded, pointless, because we can build and create whatever we want. We don't realise we are reliving the same experience as Babel. It's true, we have multiplied the possibilities of communicating, of possessing information, of transmitting news – but can we say our ability to understand each other has increased? Or, paradoxically, do we understand each other even less? Doesn't it seem like feelings of mistrust, suspicion and mutual fear have insinuated themselves into human relationships to the point where one person can even pose a threat to another? Let's go back to the initial question: can unity and harmony really exist? How?

The answer lies in Sacred Scripture: unity can only exist as a gift of God's Spirit, which will give us a new heart and a new tongue, a new ability to communicate. This is what happened at Pentecost. On that morning, fifty days after Easter, a powerful wind blew over Jerusalem and the flame of the Holy Spirit descended on the gathered disciples. It came to rest upon the head of each of them and ignited in them a divine fire, a fire of love, capable of transforming things. Their fear disappeared, their hearts were filled with new strength, their tongues were loosened and they began to speak freely, in such a way that everyone could understand the news that Jesus Christ had died and was risen. On Pentecost, where there was division and incomprehension, unity and understanding were born.

But let's look at today's Gospel in which Jesus affirms: “When he comes, the Spirit of truth, He will guide you to the whole truth”. Speaking about the Holy Spirit, Jesus is explaining to us what the Church is and how she must live in order to be herself, to be the place of unity and Communion in Truth; he tells us that acting like Christians means not being closed inside our own spheres, but opening ourselves towards others; it means welcoming the whole Church within ourselves or, better still, allowing the Church to welcome us. So, when I speak, think and act like a Christian, I don't stay closed off within myself – but I do so in everything and starting from everything: thus the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of unity and truth, can continue to resonate in people's hearts and minds, encouraging them to meet and welcome one another. Precisely because it acts in this way, the Spirit introduces us to the whole truth, who is Jesus, and guides us to examine and understand it. We do not grow in understanding by closing ourselves off inside ourselves, but only by becoming capable of listening and sharing, in the “ourselves” of the Church, with an attitude of deep personal humility. Now it's clearer why Babel is Babel and Pentecost is Pentecost. Where people want to become God, they succeed only in pitting themselves against each other. Where they place themselves within the Lord's truth, on the other hand, they open themselves to the action of his Spirit which supports and unites them.

The contrast between Babel and Pentecost returns in the second reading, where the Apostle Paul says: “Walk according to the Spirit and you will not be brought to satisfy the desires of the flesh”. St Paul tells us that our personal life is marked by interior conflict and division, between impulses that come from the flesh and those that come from the Spirit: and we cannot follow all of them. We cannot be both selfish and generous, we cannot follow the tendency to dominate others and experience the joy of disinterested service. We have to choose which impulse to follow and we can do so authentically only with the help of the Spirit of Christ. St Paul lists the works of the flesh: they are the sins of selfishness and violence, like hostility, discord, jealousy, dissent. These are thoughts and actions that do not allow us to live in a truly human and Christian way, in love. This direction leads to us losing our life. The Holy Spirit, though, guides us towards the heights of God, so that, on this earth, we can already experience the seed of divine life that is within us.

St Paul confirms: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace”. We note how the Apostle uses the plural to describe the works of the flesh that provoke the loss of our humanity – while he uses the singular to define the action of the Spirit, speaking of “the fruit”, in the same way as the dispersion of Babel contrasts with the unity of Pentecost.

Dear friends, we must live according to the Spirit of unity and truth, and this is why we must pray for the Spirit to enlighten and guide us to overcome the temptation to follow our own truths, and to welcome the truth of Christ transmitted in the Church. Luke's account of Pentecost tells us that, before rising to heaven, Jesus asked the Apostles to stay together and to prepare themselves to receive the Holy Spirit. And they gathered together in prayer with Mary in the Upper Room and awaited the promised event.

Like when it was born, today the Church still gathers with Mary and prays: “Veni Sancte Spiritus! - Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love!”


26 May 2012

27th May 2012 - Pentecost Sunday

On this weeks programme we are joined by Dom Patrick Hederman OSB, abbot of Glenstal Abbey to reflect on Pentecost which is celebrated today and brings to a close the Easter season. We have our regular reflection on the gospel of the day, saints of the up coming week and some local notices. You can listen to our podcast HERE.


Pentecost is the festival when Christians celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is celebrated on the Sunday 50 days after Easter (the name comes from the Greek pentekoste, "fiftieth"). Pentecost is regarded as the birthday of the Christian church, and the start of the church's mission to the world.

Ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven, the twelve apostles, Jesus' mother and family, and many other of His disciples gathered together in Jerusalem for the Jewish harvest festival that was celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover. While they were indoors praying, a sound like that of a rushing wind filled the house and tongues of fire descended and rested over each of their heads. This was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on human flesh promised by God through the prophet Joel.

The disciples were suddenly empowered to proclaim the gospel of the risen Christ. They went out into the streets of Jerusalem and began preaching to the crowds gathered for the festival. Not only did the disciples preach with boldness and vigor, but by a miracle of the Holy Spirit they spoke in the native languages of the people present, many who had come from all corners of the Roman Empire. This created a sensation. The apostle Peter seized the moment and addressed the crowd, preaching to them about Jesus' death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins. The result was that about three thousand converts were baptized that day. (You can read the Biblical account of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-41).

On this weeks programme we are joined by Patrick Hederman OSB who is the abbot of Glenstal Abbey to reflect on the feast.

Dom Patrick takes us back to the Upper Room where the disciples and Mary were sheltering in fear. When the Spirit arrived, it went to each of them as a tongue of fire over their head and for each of us today, the Holy Spirit is hovering over us asking us for our permission to land and enter into our hearts and lives.

The Holy Spirit is often the most ignored person of the Trinity. It was necessary for Jesus to leave us, despite the fact that the disciples wanted to cling on to his human presence so that the Holy Spirit, the manifestation of the Divine Love could come to us. But it was not as if the Spirit was never there before, it was the Holy Spirit who brooded over the waters at Creation, it was the Holy Spirit who organised Christs arrival on earth and prepared  the womb of Mary at the Annunciation and the Holy Spirit who descended on Jesus at his baptism in the Jordan. It is almost as if the Holy Spirit was the director of the play in which Christ had the main part.

We have to really believe that the Spirit is in our hearts so that when we pray or want to pray, we dont have to make things us but rather we have to lower ourselves down into the conversation of love of the Trinity which are occurring all the time in our hearts so we can partake in the conversation of love.

Pentecost isnt just something that happened 2000 years ago. It is still happening today, the Spirit came on the disciples and then drove them out into the streets of Jerusalem and across the world to spread the mesage of the love of God. Are we listening personally to the Spirit, as a community are we in dialogue to discern what the Spirit is calling us as a community to do and finally are we open to going out and sharing with the world what the Spirit has shared with us all.

Podcast of the Pentecost Reflection extracted from the programme is available here.

Gospel - John 15: 26-27, 16:12-15

This weeks gospel is taken from the Discourse at the Last Supper and in some ways is almost a distraction from the account of the Descent of the Holy Spirit as recounted in the Acts of the Apostles which is the first reading of this Sunday.
But it challenges us to engage and reflect on this weeks gospel. It is a piece of scripture where we will have to read and reflect word by word so as to listen to what God is trying to tell us in this weeks scripture.

John tells us of the promise by Jesus of the presence of the Advocate to guide us in our lives and moments of trial. The Spirit is one who speaks for us when we cant speak for ourselves. She is a Counsellor, Friend, Comforter always their to support and console us.

Other reflections on this weeks gospel:
Liturgical Odds and Ends

Psalter - Week 4, 8th Week of Ordinary time

June is the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart.

June 1st is the First Friday.
Popes prayer intentions for the month of June

General Intention - That believers may recognise in the Eucharist the living presence of the Risen One who accompanies them in daily life.
Missionary Intention - That Christians in Europe may rediscover their true identity and participate with greater enthusiasm in the proclamation of the gospel.

Saints of the Week
May 28th - St Germanus of Paris
May 29th - St Maximus of Trier
May 30th - St Joan of Arc
May 31st - Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
June 1st - St Justin, martyr
June 2nd - Ss Marcellinus and Peter (martyrs)
June 3rd - In Ireland - feast of St Kevin. Universal Calendar - St Charles Lwanga & Companions (the Ugandan Martyrs). Neither is celebrated this year (except in Uganda for the martyrs) as the feasts fall on a Sunday.

25 May 2012

The Seven Rejoices of Mary - Noirin Ni Riain

Here are two versions of ' The Seven Rejoices of Mary' both performed by Noirin Ni Riain. The first is the traditional Irish 'Seacht Suáilci Na Maighdine Muire' taken from the album Vox de Nube, whilst the second is in English (accompanied by the monks of Glenstal Abbey) and taken from the album The Darkest Midnight.


An chéad suáilce fuair an Mhaighdean Bheannaithe
ba í sin an tsuáilce mhór
suáilce a fuair sí óna haonmhac uasal
go bhfuair sí a haon mhac beo.

An dara suáilce fuair an Mhaighdean Bheannaithe
ba í sin an tsuáilce mhór
suáilce a fuair sí óna haonmhac uasal
go deachaidh sé a léamh na leabhar.

An triú suáilce fuair an Mhaighdean Bheannaithe
ba í sin an tsuáilce mhór
suáilce a fuair sí óna haonmhac uasal
gur thug uirthi bláth na n-ord.

An ceathrú suáilce fuair an Mhaighdean Bheannaithe
ba í sin an tsuáilce mhór
suáilce a fuair sí óna haonmhac uasal
gurbh é fhéin an Slánaitheoir.

An cúigiú suáilce fuair an Mhaighdean Bheannaithe
ba í sin an tsuáilce mhór
suáilce a fuair sí óna haonmhac uasal
go ndearna sé na mairbh beo.

An séú suáilce fuair an Mhaighdean Bheannaithe
ba í sin an tsuáilce mhór
suáilce a fuair sí óna haonmhac uasal
gur thug sé fíon le hól.

An seachtú suáilce fuair an Mhaighdean Bheannaithe
ba í sin an tsuáilce mhór
suáilce a fuair sí óna haonmhac uasal
go dtabharfadh sé í suas ar neamh.


The first rejoice Our Lady got,
It was the rejoice of one,
It was the rejoice of Her dear Son when He
was born young

The second rejoice Our Lady got,
It was the rejoice of two,
It was the rejoice of Her dear Son when He
was sent to school.

The third rejoice Our Lady got,
It was the rejoice of three,
It was the rejoice of Her dear Son when He
led the blind to see.

The next rejoice Our Lady got,
It was the rejoice of four,
It was the rejoice of Her dear Son when He
read the Bible oer.

The next rejoice Our Lady got,
It was the rejoice of five,
It was the rejoice of Her dear Son when He
raised the dead to life.

The next rejoice Our Lady got,
It was the rejoice of six,
It was the rejoice of Her dear Son when He
carried the crucifix.

The next rejoice Our Lady got,
It was the rejoice of seven,
It was the rejoice of Her dear Son when He
opened the gates of heaven

Dom Patrick Hederman OSB

Some various videos of reflections by Patrick Hederman from around the internet.

Mark Hederman, abbot of Glenstal Abbey in Limerick, discusses for the UpStart Blog the role of art in society. He talks about how art helps us to see into ourselves and into what the future might look like.

Mark Hederman, abbot of Glenstal Abbey in Limerick, reflects on 'Faith' at the annual novena at Knock on August 15th 2011.

Mark Hederman homily at the John Main Seminar in Cork in 2011.

Rome Reports: What is Pentecost?

IEC2012 : Walking with God in Dublin

Well I am not sure who was copying who here!

From Vatican Radio:

In our world today there is a great hunger for God” says Fr. Damien O’ Reilly, administrator of St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral Dublin. “And in our world of fragile peace, our world of many broken promises, is that hunger”.

Fr. Damien is also one of the organisers behind a new city centre "Camino," or pilgrim walk, that has been launched in Ireland’s capital as part of the celebrations surrounding the International Eucharistic Congress set for June 10-17. Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral, the seat of Archdiocese, will be the final destination for pilgrims taking part in the walk, from across Ireland’s Christian traditions.

While the walk will mark a journey of spiritual preparation in the final days before the Congress it will also be a very visible witness of faith in the heart of the nation’s Metropolitan capital which has not been immune to the negative side effects of a spreading secularism, as often noted by Archbishop Martin. These include a steep decline in participation in the sacraments by faithful and in the words of Fr. Damien, a “pushing of God to the fringes of everyday life”. Fr Damien hopes that the Congress will encourage Christians to recognise that even in the most difficult stages of their life’s journey, God has been present every step of the way.

Continue reading/listening here.

IEC 2012 - Irish Independent carries a special supplement

In today's Irish Independent there was a special supplement on IEC2012. Below are a selection of the articles available online from the Indo's website.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin - 'These are simple signs the Church is on the move and it wishes to reach out.

Archbishop Michael Jackson (CoI Archbishop of Dublin) - It's a privilege to be invited to Congress

Emerging from the darkness with love and hopeFor Fr Joe McDonald, the light is burning stronger than ever after a bleak period for his beloved church. He argues that Congress could set the seal on a magnificent renewal

A space with a difference for young visitors

Souvenirs from 80 years ago a wonderful reminder of unifying occasion

Ronan Abayawickrema charts the progress of the Congress Bell on its pilgrimage throughout Ireland and beyond, as it calls worshippers to IEC 2012

Mary O'Sullivan (53) will be the confessions co-ordinator in the Prayer Space. She lives in Blackrock, Co Dublin

24 May 2012

Irish Dominican Vocations: Good News Stories for Irish Vocations

Irish Dominican Vocations: Good News Stories for Irish Vocations: Irish Dominican Vocations is always on the lookout for good news stories related to the vocations scene in Ireland - and happily there are are three such stories to tell.

Click on the link!

Special guest.......

.........on this weeks programme we are joined by Dom Patrick Hederman OSB, abbot of Glenstal Abbey in Murroe county Limerick who joins us to reflect on Pentecost and the Holy Spirit.

Listen in on Sunday morning at 10am on West Limerick 102fm or come back on Sunday to get access to our podcast of the programme.

23 May 2012

Pentecost in 2 minutes (Busted Halo)

IEC2012: Limerick Diocese News for the Congress

Limerick Pilgrim Walk

The people of Limerick will be offered a unique opportunity to prepare for the International Eucharistic Congress coming up next month. There will be a Congress Pilgrim walk around the city of Limerick from June 1st to June 10th. This walk is been called a Novena of Churches. The idea of visiting a succession of Churches comes from the old Roman custom of visiting seven Churches during Lent around the city Rome and praying in each one as part of a Pilgrim Walk. The organisers of this Pilgrim Walk have chosen nine Churches as there are now nine churches in the inner city of Limerick.

The Churches involved are:
  • the Redemptorist Church of Mount St Alphonsus,
  • St Joseph’s O’Connell Ave,
  • The Dominician Church of St Saviour’s, Glentworth St, ,
  • The Augustines, O’Connell St ,
  • St Michael’s, Denmark Street,
  • St Mary’s, Athlunkard St.
  • St Patrick’s Dublin Road,
  • Our Lady Queen of Peace, Janesboro
  • St John’s Cathedral.
The Churches can be visited in any order, any time between the 1st and 10th June, however the above order finishes the Pilgrim Walk in the Cathedral which is fitting. A Pilgrim - any person who decides to participate - can get a Pilgrim Card free of charge from each of the participating Churches which can be stamped in each church at a table provided.
The Card will contain the IEC (International Eucharistic Congress) Prayer and pilgrims are encouraged to pray this prayer in each of the Churches for the success of the Congress which will be held in Dublin next month from June 10th to 17th.
Other Limerick News for the Congress


Those who would still like to get a ticket for either the Opening or Closing ceremony can do so, at participating CENTRA shops. A max of 2 tickets per person, for the top tiers of the Stadium are available. (€10 per ticket)

Limerick IEC Special Train
Limerick Diocese also has a special Congress Pilgrim Train bringing pilgrims to Connolly Station near Croke Park for the Closing Ceremony in "Croker" on June 17th. These tickets can be purchased on line at www.irishrail.ie. Limerick is one of the three or four Dioceses in the country to have its own pilgrim train. Limerick also has the third largest number of pilgrims attending the IEC, Dublin been the first and County Meath been second.
There is also a specially produced CD explaining what the Mass is about which is available for a donation of just €2 in all Parishes around the Diocese.

IEC2012: Living Faith in Moyross

As part of the preparations for the Eucharistic Congress in June, Corpus Christi Parish Moyross is hosting LIVING FAITH - an afternoon series of gatherings where leading Christian thinkers will guide reflection on challenges for Christians today.
The Sessions will be guided by:
  • Fr Peter McVerry SJ, Jesuit Social Campaigner, author and a Key Note Speaker at the International Eucharistic Congress
  • Fr Gerry O'Hanlon SJ, Associate Professor of Theology and former Jesuit Provincial and prolific writer on Church reform.
  • Dr Sue Mulligan, Lecturer in Moral Theology at the Milltown Institute and Visiting Lecturer in Moral Theology, Maynooth.
Sessions will be held in Corpus Christi Church at 4.30pm on Wednesday 23rd May, 30th May and Wednesday 6th June.
Contact Fr Tony O'Riordan on 087 9286945 or email:tony@jcfj.ie


22 May 2012

As we wait in anticipation..............

........for the celebration of the Descent of the Comforter, the Breath of God, the Advocate.
"Jesus answered him, "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me. "These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. " (John 14:23-27)"

(An alternative) Eurovision Mass for the Solemnity of Pentecost

On Sunday 27th May 2012, live on RTÉ One television at 10am (BST) from Glenstal Benedictine Abbey in Murroe Co Limerick, and via Eurovision in France, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Presider: Rt Revd Mark Patrick Hederman OSB, Abbot
Homilist: Br Martin Browne OSB, Headmaster
  • Glenstal Monastic Schola (Dir: Senan Furlong OSB)
  • Glenstal Abbey School Choir with Nóirín Ní Riain (Dir: Columba McCann OSB)
  • UL Irish World Academy of Music and Dance Schola (Dir: Wolodymyr Smishkewych)
  • Organist: Br Cyprian Love OSB

It will be available to view online afterwards on RTÉ Player.

20 May 2012

Ron Rolheiser - The New Evangelisation

"Recently a new expression has made its way into our theological and ecclesial vocabulary. There's a lot of talk today about the New Evangelization. Indeed the Pope has called for a Synod to meet this year for a month in Rome to try to articulate a vision and strategy for such an endeavor.

What is meant by New Evangelization? In simple terms: Millions of people, particularly in the Western world, are Christian in name, come from Christian backgrounds, are familiar with Christianity, believe that they know and understand Christianity, but no longer practice that faith in a meaningful way. They've heard of Christ and the Gospel, even though they may be overrating themselves in their belief that they know and understand what these mean. No matter. Whatever their shortcomings in understanding a faith they no longer practice, they believe that they've already been evangelized and that their non-practice is an examined decision. Their attitude toward Christianity, in essence, is: I know what it is. I've tried it. And it's not for me!

And so it no longer makes sense to speak of trying to evangelize such persons in the same way as we intend that term when we are speaking of taking the Gospel to someone for the first time. It's more accurate precisely to speak of a new evangelization, of an attempt to take the Gospel to individuals and to a culture that have already largely been shaped by it, are in a sense over-familiar with it, but haven't really in fact examined it. The new evangelization tries to take the Gospel to persons who are already Christian but are no longer practicing as Christians.

How to do that? How do we make the Gospel fresh for those for whom it has become stale? How do we, as G. K. Chesterton put it, help people to look at the familiar until it looks unfamiliar again? How do we try to Christianize someone who is already Christian?
There are no simple answers. It's not as if we haven't already been trying to do that for more than a generation. Anxious parents have been trying to do this with their children. Anxious pastors have been trying to do that with their parishioners. Anxious bishops have been trying to do that with their dioceses. Anxious spiritual writers, including this one, have been trying to do that with their readership. And an anxious church as a whole has been trying to do that with the world. What more might we be doing?"

Continue reading here.

19 May 2012

20th May 2012 - Ascension Sunday (Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord)

On this weeks programme Fr Phonsie Cullinan visits us again on the programme to remind us again about the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin from 10th to 17th June 2012 as well as our regular reflection on this weeks Sunday gospel and saints of the week.

50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012

Fr Phonsie Cullinan is back on the programme this week to give us an reminder and an update in relation to preparations for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 hich is being held from June 10th to 17th in Dublin. All the details of the daily programmes, links on information, and registration details are available online at the IEC2012 website.

Local events to mark the IEC2012 coming up in the next few weeks:

  • Cratloe Grotto 20th May 2012 - Mass at 2pm at the Grotto
  • Holy Rosary Parish - 40 hours adoration 31st May - 1st June 2012
  • Limerick Congress Walk - a Novena of Churches - a pilgrimage walk to nine city churches in Limerick - Our Lady Queen of Peace (Redemptorists Mt St Alphonsus), Augustinians, St Joseph's (the Crescent), St Michael's Denmark St, St John's Cathedral, St Patrick's (Dublin road), St Saviours (Domincan parish),
Keep on eye on the diocesan website for more information.

Gospel - Mark 16: 15-20

Last October, as part of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land last year, one of the places visited on the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem was the Dome of the Ascension. The shrine marks the spot where christians believe Jesus ascended into heaven. All that remains of the several churches built to celebrate the Ascension is a small octagonal structure that is now a mosque. Plain and unadorned, it stands in a walled compound east of the main road that runs on the top of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. The location is just north of the Church of Pater Noster — which is built over a cave that the first Christians used as a more secluded place to commemorate the Ascension. The last church on the site was captured by the Muslim sultan Saladin when he defeated the Crusaders in 1187. Since Muslims also believe in the Ascension of Jesus, it was converted into a mosque which it remans today. You can read more about the history of the shrine here and here.

An unusual feature of the tiny building is that it contains what has been traditionally regarded as the last impression of Jesus’ right foot on earth before he ascended into heaven.

Reflection on this weeks gospel:

The appearance of Jesus to the disciples after the Resurrection is part of the gentle encounter of the Divine with us rather than imposing his prescence on us. He continues to knock gentely on the doors of our hearts if we are willing to be open to and welcome him in.

St Augustine reflecting on the Ascension of the Lord:
Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.

Christ is now exalted above the heavens, but he still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of his body, have to bear. He showed this when he cried out from above: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? and when he said: I was hungry and you gave me food. 

Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to him? While in heaven he is also with us; and we while on earth are with him. He is here with us by his divinity, his power and his love. We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love.

He did not leave heaven when he came down to us; nor did he withdraw from us when he went up again into heaven. The fact that he was in heaven even while he was on earth is borne out by his own statement: No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.

These words are explained by our oneness with Christ, for he is our head and we are his body. No one ascended into heaven except Christ because we also are Christ: he is the Son of Man by his union with us, and we by our union with him are the sons of God. So the Apostle says: Just as the human body, which has many members, is a unity, because all the different members make one body, so is it also with Christ. He too has many members, but one body.

Out of compassion for us he descended from heaven, and although he ascended alone, we also ascend, because we are in him by grace. Thus, no one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is no distinction between the head and the body, but because the body as a unity cannot be separated from the head.

Other reflections for this weeks gospel:

Reflections for the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

Saints of the Week

Psalter - Week 3

May 21st - SaintChristopher Magallanes and his Companions, Martyrs
May 22nd - St Julian of Corsica
May 23rd - The Martyrs of Cappadocia
May 24th - St David of Scotland
May 25th - St Gregory VII (Pope) and St Mary Magdelen of Pazi and St Bede the Venerable
May 26th - St Philip Neri


16 May 2012

St Brendan of Clonfert (The Navigator)

Patron of the dioceses of Kerry and Clonfert, Brendan is associated with Ardfert and Mount Brandon in Kerry as well as with many other places in the British Isles. He is acclaimed as a navigator, and some even say he reached America long before Columbus.

Read more about St Brendan here including more about his voyage:

14 May 2012

IEC2012: Rome Reports

Ireland is getting ready to host the International Eucharistic Congress from June 10 to the 17th in the city of Dublin. To talk about all the details, Piero Marini, who serves as the president of the Pontifical committee for International Eucharistic Congresses and also the bishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, held a press conference at the Vatican.

The gathering will mark the 50th Eucharistic Congress and the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. Among other things, Dublin's bishops says it will help the 'wounded Church of Ireland.'

Archbishop of Dublin (Ireland)

“The Church in Ireland is in the process of reconciliation. The letter the Pope wrote to the Catholics of Ireland is helping us a lot because it indicates some areas where you have to work. The Eucharistic Congress is one of them.”

Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses

“Ireland's bishops asked that the Congress take place in their country. It's a way to renew the Church while celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and this Eucharistic Congress.”

A day of the conference will be devoted to the topic of reconciliation, which will include writings done by victims of sexual abuse.

Even though the Pope won't be attending, he will be sending a video message. He will also send Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet as his representative.

Archbishop of Dublin

“The pope himself has said this to me that he would like a visit to Ireland to be an integral part of this process of renewal and he would make a journey, even if it was difficult for him to be able to contribute to that. Just at the moment I don’t think that process of renewal particularly renewal in faith has gone far enough to be able to use that visit of the pope in a way that would strengthen the faith. But that day will come.”

The Eucharistic Congress will take place as the Catholic Church and civil institutions in Ireland face high tensions, triggered by criticism on the handling of sex abuse cases. Even though it won't happen over night, the Church hopes this Congress will help in the renewal process. 

IEC 2012 - 3 weeks, five days and counting!