30 Jun 2012

1st July 2012 - 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time - 50th International Eucharistic Congress and Lourdes Diocesan Pilgrimage 2012 - Sharing thoughts and experiences

On this weeks show, John is joined by Reena Curtin and Fr Michael Liston to share their experience of the International Eucharistic Congress and the Limerick diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes. Reena in particular fills us in on the youth participation at the Congress. We have our regular reflection on the gospel as well as some liturgical odds and ends including the Saints of the Week.

This weeks podcast is available HERE.

50th International Eucharistic Congress and Lourdes Diocesan Pilgrimage 2012 - Sharing thoughts and experiences

Fr Michael and Reena joined us on the programme this week to share their experiences of what happened at IEC2012 and also the diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes. For Fr Michael some of what struck him about the Congress was the atmosphere of friendship between those who were attending the Congress. He was also struck by the atmosphere of prayer and opportunities for prayer which were provided through out. But also the many different ways of praying that are available to people which was demonstrated by the many stands in the main exhibition hall. For many people it was also an experience of quiet hope being nursed and supported. It was a week of friendship with each other that being friends with Christ offers us; truly a manifestation of communion. The openness to other people like what happens on pilgrimage to Lourdes, allows the Lord to be the Lord of our Hearts and allow every one in; the challenge of course being to continue to let people in when we return home.

Reena worked as a volunteer at the Youth Space as a greeter and welcoming them to the Congress. Youth Space was located at the Simmonscourt Pavilion and was a place of welcome for young people from 16 - 25 years old. The days were ful of prayers, workshops and uplifting music provided by Elation Ministries. Very much a place full of infectious energy and enthusisim.

The Lourdes pilgrimage was a huge success this year and was a great example of inter-generational interactions. It was an experience of festival to remind us that the church has joyous occassions. and also a sharing of experiences between young people which validated their experiences of faith for young people in these difficult times.

Fr Michael and Reena can be heard here

Limerick Diocesan website is hosting pictures from the 2012 pilgrimage

Gospel - Mark 5: 21 - 43

This weeks gospel reading is a Gospel of healing. It is a presentation of the mystery of the presence of Jesus - which is a healing presence. It is a reminder to us that that healing presence is still present in his Word and in the thanks giving and self giving of the Eucharist. Faith requirement for healing - Jesus would and could heal us. Each of us would like to reach out and touch the hem of his cloak, but that doesnt mean necessarily that in our lives we will have instantaneous response to our prayers and intercession to Jesus. Freeing power of Jesus encourages us not despair; all of us are subject to fraility, Jesus encourages us to not be afraid but to have faith.

Other reflections on this weeks gospel:

Blue Eyed Ennis
Word on Fire
Sunday Reflections
English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy

Liturgical Odds and Ends

From CatholicCulture.org: The month of July is dedicated to The Precious Blood of Jesus. The entire month falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, which is represented by the liturgical color green. This symbol of hope is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. It is used in the offices and Masses of Ordinary Time. The last portion of the liturgical year represents the time of our pilgrimage to heaven during which we hope for reward.

Popes Intentions for the month of July

General prayer intention for July is: "That everyone may have work in safe and secure conditions".
Mission intention is: "That Christian volunteers in mission territories may witness to the love of Christ".

Divine Office - Psalter Week 1

Saints of the Week

July 1st - St Oliver Plunkett
July 2nd - St Swithin
July 3rd - St Thomas (Apostle)
July 4th - St Elizabeth of Portugal
July 5th - St Antony Mary Zaccaria
July 6th - St Moninne, Virgin or St Maria Goretti (First Friday)
July 7th - St Maelruain, Bishop and Abbot

28 Jun 2012

Who were St Peter and St Paul? - Benedict XVI

Today’s catechesis focuses on Saint Paul’s conversion. In the Acts of the Apostles, Saint Luke recounts for us the dramatic episode on the road to Damascus which transformed Paul from a fierce persecutor of the Church into a zealous evangelizer.

In his own letters, Paul describes his experience not so much in terms of a conversion, but as a call to apostleship and a commission to preach the Gospel.

In the first instance, this was an encounter not with concepts or ideas but with the person of Jesus himself. In fact, Paul met not only the historical Jesus of the past, but the living Christ who revealed himself as the one Saviour and Lord. Similarly, the ultimate source of our own conversion lies neither in esoteric philosophical theories nor abstract moral codes, but in Christ and his Gospel.

He alone defines our identity as Christians, since in him we discover the ultimate meaning of our lives. Paul, because Christ had made him his own (cf. Phil 3:12), could not help but preach the Good News he had received (cf. 1 Cor 9:16). So it is with us. Transfixed by the greatness of our Saviour, we – like Saint Paul – cannot help but speak of him to others. May we always do so with joyful conviction!

(General Audience. September 3, 2008)

"Today, I wish to focus again on the Apostle Peter. Christ’s teachings, like all his behaviour, were difficult to accept. Many withdrew and went their separate ways. Yet, when Jesus questioned the Twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?" Simon Peter answered, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we believe … that you are the Holy One of God."

In this way, Peter initiates the Church’s Christological confession of faith. Though incomplete, his faith was nevertheless authentic and open – not a faith in something, but in someone; in Christ.

Peter was not, however, free of human weakness, and in time he too betrays the Master.

The school of faith, then, is not a triumphal march but a journey marked daily by suffering and love, trials and faithfulness. Peter knew the humiliation of denial, and for this he wept bitterly. But having learned his own nothingness, he was then ready for his mission.

That mission, made possible by our Lord’s acceptance of Peter’s fragile love and launched with the words "Follow me", is marked with hope: notwithstanding his infidelity, Peter knows the Risen Lord is at his side. His long journey in faith, constantly open to the Spirit of Jesus, renders him a credible witness; one who knows the true joy that lies in Christ, the way of salvation!"

(From the General Audience of May 24, 2006)

27 Jun 2012

29th June 2012 - Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul - An Ecumenical Event

The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, or the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, is a liturgical feast in honour of the martyrdom in Rome of the apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, which is observed on 29 June. The celebration is of ancient origin, the date selected being the anniversary either of their death or of the translation of their relics.

Catholicculture.org has more on the feast day HERE.
"Veneration of the two great Apostles, Peter and Paul, has its roots in the very foundations of the Church. They are the solid rock on which the Church is built. They are at the origin of her faith and will forever remain her protectors and her guides. To them Rome owes her true greatness, for it was under God's providential guidance that they were led to make the capital of the Empire, sanctified by their martyrdom, the center of the Christian world whence should radiate the preaching of the Gospel.

St. Peter suffered martyrdom under Nero, in A.D. 66 or 67. He was buried on the hill of the Vatican where recent excavations have revealed his tomb on the very site of the basilica of St. Peter's. St. Paul was beheaded in the via Ostia on the spot where now stands the basilica bearing his name. Down the centuries Christian people in their thousands have gone on pilgrimage to the tombs of these Apostles. In the second and third centuries the Roman Church already stood pre-eminent by reason of her apostolicity, the infallible truth of her teaching and her two great figures, Sts. Peter and Paul."

Phil over at Blue Eyed Ennis has a great post about the feast day with links, videos and suggested readings about these pillars of the church.

In Rome, the Solemnity is also the day for the imposition of the pallium on the newly appointed archbishops. The pallium is a white scarf made of wool that carries six black crosses, it's meant to symbolize each bishop's unity with the pope. At the beginning of the Mass each pallium is laid over the tomb of St. Peter and then handed to the pope before being presented. The full list of archbishops receiving the pallium this year is available here.

This year as well, there is an ecumenical theme to this celebration associated with the See of Rome. While it is traditional for representatives of the other christian churches to attend the patronal feast of the See of Rome particularily the representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, this year following on from the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to England, the world famous Westminster Abbey choir is here in the Vatican to sing alongside the Sistine Chapel choir at the Papal Mass for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul on Friday morning. In issuing the invitation, Pope Benedict stressed that such an event may serve to encourage the enriching mutual exchange of gifts between the two liturgical and cultural traditions. Further reports about the visit of the choir are available from Vatican radio HERE and HERE.

Also, for the current successor of St Peter, it is a special feast day as it is the anniversary of the ordination to the priesthood of Joseph Ratzinger, 61 years ago this year. Ad multos annos!

26 Jun 2012

IEC2012 - Timothy Radcliffe and Patrick Hederman

As regular readers/listeners will know, both Timothy Radcliffe OP and Patrick Hederman OSB are particular favourite authors of some of the Sacred Space 102fm team. Below we have posted the videos of their talks given at IEC2012 which are available from iCatholic which you might be interested in.

Fr Timoth Radcliffe OP - "Spirituality for Today, Suffering and Healing"

Dom Patrick Hederman OSB - ‘James Joyce and the Structure of the Mass’

23 Jun 2012

24th June 2011 - Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist - Permanent Diaconate

On this weeks programme we are joined by Br Martin Browne OSB from Glenstal monastery to discuss the permanent diaconate. We have our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel as well as some celestial guides for the coming week and local notices.

The podcast for this weeks programme is available HERE.

The Emmanuel Community Youth Forum

Anna McNevin joins us for a few moments on this mornings programme to tell us about the international Youth Forum from 3rd to 8th August 2012 which is being hosted by the Emmanuel Community in Altotting which is the spiritual heart of Bavaria in Germany.  

The Forum, a word taken from latin and meaning something like ‘marketplace’ takes place the heart of the town, in the central square, in the open air. Young people are invited to come and celebrate in Altötting. The European Youth Forum is a Catholic summer meeting for young people! The Forum will be in English and German with translation to several other languages.

Further information about the European Youth Forum is available HERE.

Contact: info@emmanuelcommunity.ie before 10th July 2012.

The Permanent Diaconate

"The deacon is one who waits. He is never in charge. He is the servant of others — of God, of his bishop, of the congregation. He is a voice: it is his task to read the Lord’s Gospel, not his own . . . He is a servant: it is his task to wait at the Lord’s table. . .It is others who preside; he is the waiter, the attendant. Is there anything at all that is peculiar to the deacon? Is he given powers that are given to no one else? The answer is ‘No.’ There is nothing he can do which nobody else can do. But that is just what is distinctive about him. He has no power. He is a servant. He is entrusted with the ministry of Christ who washes his servants’ feet. He embodies the service of the Lord who has made himself the servant of all.”  - Deacons and the Church by Owen F. Cummings (Paulist Press, New York)

Br Martin Brown OSB joins us on this weeks programme to discuss the restoration of the permanent diaconate to the Irish diocesan church fifty years after Pope Paul VI restored it to the universal church at the Second Vatican Council.

Br Martin is a monk of Glenstal Abbey and is also a permanent deacon who works as the headmaster to the Glenstal Abbey School. He joins John and Shane on this mornings programme to discuss what exactly the diaconate is and its role in the ministry of the church.

The diaconate is seen as the public manifestation of the servant nature of the church. Deacons are ordained ministers of the church who also serve in a liturgical function.

"The restoration of the ministry of permanent deacons is somehow looked on in terms of what the deacon can or cannot do compared with the priest and ministry of the deacon is looked on as some sort of second-class ministry. People who speak or write in this framework fail to understand the deaconate and fail to understand ministry. The order of deacons is not just about doing things; it is a call to be configured in a special way to Jesus who serves and to represent in a special way in the life of the Church Jesus who serves." - Archbishop Diarmuid Martin 

The Acts of the Apostles describes how, in the first century, the Church was faced with the challenge of responding to the needs of those who were at risk of being marginalised, either through culture or through material poverty. Keeping in mind the example of Jesus, the Apostles selected and ordained a number of men specifically for this service.

For a number of centuries, deacons ministered in close co-operation with the bishops of the Church, assisting at the Eucharist, preaching the Gospel, and exercising a ministry of charity. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan Orders, is probably one of the best known deacons, though many tend to assume that he was a priest. Gradually, in the Western Church, the functions of deacons were absorbed into the ministry of the priest, and the diaconate became a transitional order, for those on the way to priesthood. The diaconate continued to exist as a permanent ministry in the Eastern Churches, including those in full communion with Rome.

The Second Vatican Council envisaged a renewal of ministry, both lay and ordained, in the Church. The Council’s Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, explains that the lay faithful, by virtue of their Baptism, are commissioned to an active apostolate and insists that “every opportunity be given them so that, according to their abilities and the needs of the times, they may zealously participate in the saving work of the Church. The Second Vatican Council also proposed the restoration of the diaconate as a “distinct ministry of service” to be exercised “in communion with the bishop and his group of priests”.

Many of the functions which deacons perform can also be carried out by members of the lay faithful. The restoration of the diaconate is not intended in any sense to change that situation. The idea is that some of those who already exercise these functions would be “strengthened with the grace of diaconal ordination” and in that way would be designated to be a visible public sign of the Christ the Servant in the community of the Church.

Deacons are ordained to service, to charity and to proclaim  the Word.

Other links and information on the permanent diaconate:
Deacons who blog:
Br Martin's reflection/discussion is extracted from the main programme and is available HERE.

Gospel - Luke 1: 57 - 66, 80

This weeks gospel is taken from the beginning of St Luke's gospel and recounts the events surrounding the birth of St John the Baptist. John will be the voice in the wilderness proclaiming the way of the Messiah but today we celebrate a very human event, the birth and naming of a baby boy. It is a celebration of great joy; something which many of us can empathise with. But also asks the questions to us, have we "celebrated" the many gifts that God has given to us? John was a gift to his parents in their old age; we have received many gifts and blessings in our lives and one of the questions posed to us by today's gospel is whether we have reflected and given thanks and celebrated the gifts we have received.

The other thought that strikes us in this weeks gospel is the naming of John by his mother which is echoed by his father. Each of us is called and named; at baptism we are called into the family of God; we are named for God and reminded that we are loved by God!

From the Limerick Diocesan Weekly Newsletter:

This Sunday we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist, of whom the people said 'Who then will this child be?' This is one of the oldest feasts in the church and surely one we can all associate with.  
A much longed for child is born, family & friends descend to celebrate the happy event, a name is discussed & decided upon (by the parents!), and the child is placed under Gods protection. Like us, Elizabeth and Zechariah had deep love and high hopes for their child. Like us, they did not know what the future might hold, so they could not promise John a perfect life. Thus they brought John to God for Gods blessing - as we bring our children to God in the Sacrament of Baptism.  
Speaking to parents of infants for Baptism in 2006, Pope Benedict said: "What do we hope for from Baptism? ... We hope for eternal life for our children. ...In simpler words, ... we hope for a good life, the true life, for these children of ours; and also for happiness in a future that is still unknown. We are unable to guarantee this gift for the entire span of the unknown future, so we turn to the Lord to obtain this gift from him. ... No one of us knows what will happen on our planet, on our European Continent, in the next 50, 60 or 70 years. But we can be sure of one thing: God's family will always be present and those who belong to this family will never be alone. They will always be able to fall back on the steadfast friendship of the One who is life." (Jan 9th 2006, Rome)  
Todays we pray for all parents & guardians & those who care for our children. May God, who is the giver of all life, human and divine, bless them. May each of us be also the best of teachers to these children, bearing witness to the faith by what we say and what we do, in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Other reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy
Sunday Reflection
The Carmelites
Dominican Nuns of Summit, NJ

Saints of the Week

June 25th - Saint Domingo Henares de Zafra Cubero
June 26th - Saint Josemaria Escriva
June 27th - Saint Cyril of Alexandria
June 28th - Saint Irenaeus of Lyons
June 29th - Feast of Ss Peter and Paul
June 30th - First Martyrs of Rome

19 Jun 2012

100,000 Thank You's!

100, 000 Visitors!

Tonight at 22.19pm Plano in Texas, USA became the 100,000th Visitor to the Blog!!
We started out on this online adventure on 7th Sept 2010
A sample of monthly visits over that time:
  • December 2010 - 1,442 Visitors
  • June 2011 - 2,717 Visitors
  • December 2011 - 5,565 Visitors
  • May 2012 - 13,858 Visitors
Just today the Countries that visited us are: -
Australia, Turkey, Finland, Philipines, US, Russia, South Africa, Vietnam, Mexico, UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Tanzania, Malaysia,Bosnia & Herzegovina, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, China, Belgium, Poland, Sweeden, India, Canada, Pakistan, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, France, Mali and Niue
We thank God to have the opportunity to share the Good News with your our readers and listeners!

God bless and thanks to all for your prayers and support.

John, Lorraine, Shane and all the Sacred Space 102fm team

17 Jun 2012

IEC2012 - Pope Benedict XVI's address to the IEC2012

Text from Vatican Radio (listen to it here):
Video from Salt + Light Tv:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

With great affection in the Lord, I greet all of you who have gathered in Dublin for the Fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress, especially Cardinal Brady, Archbishop Martin, the clergy, religious and faithful of Ireland, and all of you who have come from afar to support the Irish Church with your presence and prayers.

The theme of the Congress – Communion with Christ and with One Another – leads us to reflect upon the Church as a mystery of fellowship with the Lord and with all the members of his body. From the earliest times the notion of koinonia or communio has been at the core of the Church’s understanding of herself, her relationship to Christ her founder, and the sacraments she celebrates, above all the Eucharist. Through our Baptism, we are incorporated into Christ’s death, reborn into the great family of the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ; through Confirmation we receive the seal of the Holy Spirit; and by our sharing in the Eucharist, we come into communion with Christ and each other visibly here on earth. We also receive the pledge of eternal life to come.

The Congress also occurs at a time when the Church throughout the world is preparing to celebrate the Year of Faith to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council, an event which launched the most extensive renewal of the Roman Rite ever known. Based upon a deepening appreciation of the sources of the liturgy, the Council promoted the full and active participation of the faithful in the Eucharistic sacrifice. At our distance today from the Council Fathers’ expressed desires regarding liturgical renewal, and in the light of the universal Church’s experience in the intervening period, it is clear that a great deal has been achieved; but it is equally clear that there have been many misunderstandings and irregularities. The renewal of external forms, desired by the Council Fathers, was intended to make it easier to enter into the inner depth of the mystery. Its true purpose was to lead people to a personal encounter with the Lord, present in the Eucharist, and thus with the living God, so that through this contact with Christ’s love, the love of his brothers and sisters for one another might also grow. Yet not infrequently, the revision of liturgical forms has remained at an external level, and “active participation” has been confused with external activity. Hence much still remains to be done on the path of real liturgical renewal. In a changed world, increasingly fixated on material things, we must learn to recognize anew the mysterious presence of the Risen Lord, which alone can give breadth and depth to our life.

The Eucharist is the worship of the whole Church, but it also requires the full engagement of each individual Christian in the Church’s mission; it contains a call to be the holy people of God, but also one to individual holiness; it is to be celebrated with great joy and simplicity, but also as worthily and reverently as possible; it invites us to repent of our sins, but also to forgive our brothers and sisters; it binds us together in the Spirit, but it also commands us in the same Spirit to bring the good news of salvation to others.

Moreover, the Eucharist is the memorial of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, his body and blood given in the new and eternal covenant for the forgiveness of sins and the transformation of the world. Ireland has been shaped by the Mass at the deepest level for centuries, and by its power and grace generations of monks, martyrs and missionaries have heroically lived the faith at home and spread the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness well beyond your shores. You are the heirs to a Church that has been a mighty force for good in the world, and which has given a profound and enduring love of Christ and his blessed Mother to many, many others. Your forebears in the Church in Ireland knew how to strive for holiness and constancy in their personal lives, how to preach the joy that comes from the Gospel, how to promote the importance of belonging to the universal Church in communion with the See of Peter, and how to pass on a love of the faith and Christian virtue to other generations. Our Catholic faith, imbued with a radical sense of God’s presence, caught up in the beauty of his creation all around us, and purified through personal penance and awareness of God’s forgiveness, is a legacy that is surely perfected and nourished when regularly placed on the Lord’s altar at the sacrifice of the Mass. Thankfulness and joy at such a great history of faith and love have recently been shaken in an appalling way by the revelation of sins committed by priests and consecrated persons against people entrusted to their care. Instead of showing them the path towards Christ, towards God, instead of bearing witness to his goodness, they abused people and undermined the credibility of the Church’s message. How are we to explain the fact that people who regularly received the Lord’s body and confessed their sins in the sacrament of Penance have offended in this way? It remains a mystery. Yet evidently, their Christianity was no longer nourished by joyful encounter with Jesus Christ: it had become merely a matter of habit. The work of the Council was really meant to overcome this form of Christianity and to rediscover the faith as a deep personal friendship with the goodness of Jesus Christ. The Eucharistic Congress has a similar aim. Here we wish to encounter the Risen Lord. We ask him to touch us deeply. May he who breathed on the Apostles at Easter, communicating his Spirit to them, likewise bestow upon us his breath, the power of the Holy Spirit, and so help us to become true witnesses to his love, witnesses to the truth. His truth is love. Christ’s love is truth.

My dear brothers and sisters, I pray that the Congress will be for each of you a spiritually fruitful experience of communion with Christ and his Church. At the same time, I would like to invite you to join me in praying for God’s blessing upon the next International Eucharistic Congress, which will take place in 2016 in the city of Cebu! To the people of the Philippines I send warm greetings and an assurance of my closeness in prayer during the period of preparation for this great ecclesial gathering. I am confident that it will bring lasting spiritual renewal not only to them but to all the participants from across the globe.

In the meantime, I commend everyone taking part in the present Congress to the loving protection of Mary, Mother of God, and to Saint Patrick, the great patron of Ireland; and, as a token of joy and peace in the Lord, I willingly impart my Apostolic Blessing.


Following the Closing Mass of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, S+L’s Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB spoke with Fr. Patrick Jones, the director of the National Centre for Liturgy in Ireland. Fr. Jones shared his thoughts on the Pope’s video message, which reflected upon active participation in the liturgy

IEC2012 - Archbishop Martin's closing comments at Congress 2012

One week ago we set out on a journey of prayer and reflection, of song and silence, of renewal of our hearts and renewal of our Church. In these eight days the Eucharist has awakened in our hearts something which went way beyond our plans and expectations.

The Eucharist has been the nourishment of the extraordinary sense of our communion with one another which those of us who have been in the RDS and are here today have experienced. We have experienced the communion of the Church. We have been enriched by our sharing with those who have joined us from over 120 countries. We have been joined by individuals, parish groups, and diocesan pilgrimages from all over Ireland. We have come as bishops and priests, deacons, religious men and women, families, lay people who animate much of our parish life, young people and children. Catholic communities right across Ireland, and with them many communities of other Christian denominations, have been praying with and for this event.

We are grateful for his presence here today of the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, along with public figures from North and South.

We thank God for the experience of these days. We experienced the presence of Jesus with us in the Eucharist and the power of the Eucharist spread through every aspect of our assembly. We thank all those who contributed to this great event. We thank Father Kevin Doran, the General Secretary and his team for the extraordinary organization; we thank Father Damian McNiece who prepared all the liturgies and his team who coordinated them. We thank the various choirs from all over Ireland. We thank the volunteers who made us welcome and assisted us and kept us in good cheer. We thank those who spoke at the various events. We thank those who celebrated our liturgies and those who ensured vital moments of silent prayer and adoration.

We thank Cardinal Marc Ouellet most sincerely for his tireless work during these days in Dublin, at Lough Derg and in Knock. We express through you our affection and loyalty and gratitude to Pope Benedict XVI and you can assure him of the prayers of all of us.

Our prayers and support go to the city and the diocese which will host the 51st International Eucharist Congress: Cebu City in the Philippines. We pray that the Congress will bring the same special blessing to that city and diocese and nation as this Congress has brought to Dublin and Ireland. I am told that in the monsoon season you can produce rain storms which equal or even surpass the ones we experienced in these last days.

The 50th International Eucharistic Congress was not just a seven-day event. Over the past year a great deal of catechesis has been carried out across Ireland in preparation for this week. Tomorrow we must start our catechesis anew to prolong the fruits of this Eucharistic Congress through a dynamic of New Evangelization. The extraordinary interest that was shown in these days for the workshops and catecheses of the Congress tells us just how much thirst there is in our Catholic community to deepen the understanding of our faith.

In my service at the Holy See I was privileged to work alongside two extraordinary superiors. One was a Polish Bishop, who in the early days of the Second World War, then a young Deacon, was arrested and interned for the entire period of the War in Dachau where he was the object of horrendous medical experiments. The other was a Vietnamese cardinal who was held in prison camps, often in total isolation, or under house arrest for over eleven years. Both had remarkable stories to tell of their ordeal, but the most striking thing that both spoke about was the Eucharist. Both told of the extraordinary lengths they went to in order to be able to celebrate or participate in the Eucharist in secret and how it was the Eucharist which gave them gave them courage and hope in the darkest of days. They spoke of the sadness they experienced on the days and months when it was not possible to experience the nourishment of the Eucharist.

We must go away from here with a renewed passion for the Eucharist. We must go away with a renewed love the Church. We must go away from here wanting to tell others not just about the Congress, but about Jesus Christ himself who in giving himself in sacrifice revealed to us that God is love. In the Eucharist we are captured into that self-giving love and are empowered to be loving people.

We go away deepened in our faith. In October next, Pope Benedict will inaugurate the Year of Faith. His words about that year can be a programme for us as we move forward from this Eucharistic Congress: “We want the Year of Faith to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope…; to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist…; to ensure that believers’ witness of life may grow in credibility; to rediscover the content of the faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed.

In our prayers in these days we have kept in our prayers and in our hearts all those who suffered criminal abuse within the community of Christ’s Church and all those who feel in any way alienated from the Church and who have not experienced in our Church the love of Jesus Christ. We go away from here committed to build a Church of communion and service after the model of Jesus Christ. It is Jesus himself who will renew his Church. It is Jesus present in the Eucharist who will be food for the journey of purification and renewal to which we commit ourselves as we leave this Fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress strengthened in our desire to deepen our Communion with Christ and communion with one another.

The Journey to IEC2012 (iCatholic.ie)

IEC2012 - Cardinal Ouellet homily: Let us rejoice in the Lord

Cardinal Mark Ouellet
Papal Legate to IEC2012
Picture - RTE
Dear brothers and sisters,

The fiftieth occurrence of the International Eucharistic Congress is now coming to a close. We are deeply grateful to God for the light of His Word and for the gift of the Holy Eucharist, which strengthen our communion with Christ and with one another.
At the end of this celebration we will listen to the message of Pope Benedict XVI. His speaking to us reminds us that this International Eucharistic Congress bears witness to the Catholic Church as the universal communion of many particular Churches. The Bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful here represent the Catholic Church which is found throughout the world in thousands of communities, but which is one in faith and love of Jesus Christ. I greet the ecumenical representatives and I thank you all for being part of this grace-filled event.

I greet the President of Ireland, and all the civil authorities, fondly aware of the noble tradition of this courageous nation. I thank wholeheartedly Archbishop Martin, Cardinal Brady and all the collaborators of this event for the gift of their warm hospitality and for the example of their strong dedication to Christian renewal in this country.

In order to prepare ourselves to listen to the Holy Father’s message, let us briefly reflect on today’s readings, which bring us a message of great hope and confidence.

Through the prophet Ezekiel the Lord says, “From the top of the cedar, from the highest branch I will take a shoot and plant it myself on a very high mountain. I will plant it on the high mountain of Israel. It will sprout branches and bear fruit, and become a noble cedar” (Ez. 17:22-23).

In the Gospel, Jesus uses a similar image to speak about the Kingdom of God: “[The kingdom] is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade” (Mk. 4:31-32).

We understand the prophecy of Ezekiel in the light of Christ. Jesus Christ is the shoot taken from the highest branch, he is God from God, and planted by God himself on a very high mountain, which is Calvary.

God the Father has planted on Calvary the seed of the Cross out of love for his creation and for all sinners. The seed of the Cross is the Sacred Heart of His only begotten Son, pierced to death by our sins, but raised up from death by the power of divine mercy. Therefore Christ Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He is the Holy Redeemer in whom we trust and find salvation. The seed of Christ’s love, buried in the ground of Calvary, produced an unimaginable fruit: a tree, the Tree of Life, a noble cedar which is the Holy Church of God, the dawn of the Kingdom. We believe in the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church, because we believe in Christ who wills the Church to be His body, born from the self-gift of His Eucharistic Body.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us rejoice and be full of confidence. “We are full of confidence” (2 Cor. 5:6), as St. Paul says to the Corinthians. We are so because the risen Lord is our home and our safety. We do experience limitations and failures in the Church, but the Lord sustains us, healing our wounds and strengthening our love. Let us rejoice in Him and be glad!

We can rely on the Lord for a new beginning. St. Paul gives us the key for any personal or ecclesial renewal: “We are intent on pleasing Him” (2 Cor. 5:6). This key to renewal in our lives is a decision to recommit ourselves to love the Lord and to live and to die for Him, knowing that His grace will never fail. May the upcoming Year of Faith strengthen in us this decision!

Jesus is the seed sowed by God Himself in the depths of the earth, a seed that fell to the earth, died and was raised to eternal life. From this smallest seed of salvation comes the Tree of Life, the Church, in which all of humanity is called to find a home and safety in the company of the risen Lord.

For this very reason, the Church is called, and we are called, to bear witness to the Lord by pleasing Him, that is, preaching the Gospel, living in fraternity and praising God for the gift of salvation. 

After this week of Eucharistic reflection, celebration and adoration, we are certainly more aware of God’s call to communion with Him and with one another.

Let us bear witness to this grace by calling others to faith in this communion. The Irish bell, which resounds from Lough Derg, from Knock and Dublin, must resound in the whole world. Let’s ring the bell further through our personal testimony of renewed faith in the Holy Eucharist.

Faith is the most precious gift we have received with Baptism. Let’s not keep it private and fearful! Let it grow as a splendid tree through sharing everywhere!

Even if we are sometimes tested in our faith, do not be afraid, and remember who we are: the body of Christ intent on loving God over and above all things, intent on living in the Spirit of the new and eternal covenant.

We are not alone; the Spirit of Pentecost dwells in us. The communion of saints, with Mary at its heart, comes to our assistance as soon as we have rung the bell of prayer in total confidence. Keep hope and be glad, for the kingdom of God is near!

Dear brothers and sisters, at the end of this Mass we will listen to the Holy Father’s message for the conclusion of this Congress. Let us listen to him with great respect and gratitude since he is our spiritual father, a father who is holy and worthy of our trust and sincere obedience.

May our communion with the Body of Christ be a new bond of love; a small seed perhaps, but, by God’s grace and divine mercy, a fruitful one.

Together we pray the words of Saint Ephrem, deacon and doctor of the Church: “Lord … we have had your treasure hidden within us ever since we received baptismal grace; it grows ever richer at your sacramental table. Teach us to find our joy in your favour! Lord, we have within us your memorial, received at your spiritual table; let us possess it in its full reality when all things shall be made new” (Sermo 3, De fine et admonitione 2. 4-5). Amen!

And the 51st International Eucharistic Congress goes to.......

.............the Archdiocese of Cebu in the Philippines!

Created diocese: August 14, 1595. 
Erected: May 1, 1596. 
Elevated to Archdiocese: April 28, 1934. 

Archbishop Palma and Cardinal Vidal -
archbishop and archbishop emeritus of Cebu archdiocese
As of Dec. 2007, Cebu archdiocese had 3,733,822 baptized Catholics, representing 90.08 percent of all 4,144,610 people in the territory. The archdiocese had 140 parishes with resident priests. During 2007, the archdiocese recorded 131,826 baptisms.
In a land area of 5,088.4 square kilometers, the Archdiocese of Cebu covers the whole civil province of Cebu. This province island lies at the heart of the Central Philippines called the Visayas region. In the history of Christian evangelization, it prides itself as the Cradle of Christianity in the Far East because it is here that the first European explorers, headed by the Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan, sailing under the auspices of the kingdom of Spain in 1521, established their first settlement and introduced Christianity.

It is located to the east of Negros island; to the west of Leyte, and Bohol islands. It is situated on both sides by the straits of Bohol (between Cebu, and Bohol), and Tañon (between Cebu, and Negros). Cebu is located between 9°25'N and 11°15'N latitude, and between 123°13'E, and 124°5'E longitude in the center of the Philippine Islands.

Cebu is a long narrow island stretching 225 kilometers (140 miles) from north to south, surrounded by 167 neighboring smaller islands, that includes Mactan Island, Bantayan, Malapascua, Olango, and the Camotes Islands.

Read more about the archdiocese here and here.

16 Jun 2012

17th June 2012 - 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B) - Review of IEC2012 and Upcoming Summer Events

On this weeks programme we have a panel discussion and reflections on the 50th International Eucharistic Congress which was held in Dublin from 10th to 17th June 2012 and which concludes with the Statio Orbis (final Mass) in Croke Park on 17th June. We are joined by Noirin Lynch to discuss the Congress and also to give us a run down of events coming up over the summer as well as our celestial guides of the upcoming weeks and some other local notices.

This weeks programme podcast is available HERE.

Gospel - Mark 4: 26-34

As we were spending the entire programme discussing IEC2012, we didn't do a gospel reflection on this weeks programme, but for those that are interested, here are some links to reflections on this weeks reading from the gospel of Mark:

Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy

50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012

On this weeks programme, we give our reflections and thoughts on the Congress which was held in Dublin. Generally a very positive, joy filled experience where the experience of being in community with pilgrims from around Ireland and around the world which for many may have been more beneficial than all the workshops and talks put together.

"When tirelessly the Church listens, heals and reconciles, it becomes what it is at its most luminous - a communion of love, of compassion, of consolation, a transparent reflection of the Risen Christ. Never distant, never on the defensive, freed from all harshness, it can radiate the humbles trusting of love right into our human hearts" - Br Alois, Taize Community
"Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament… There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man’s heart desires.” - JRR Tolkein quoted by Fr Paul Murray OP
While it was a great week of sharing and a refreshing experience, the important thing to remember coming out of the Congress is not that it was a once off event, but rather that it is the beginning of something which we are asked to join in with.
For those who may not be computer-literate but want to find out further information and resources arising from the Congress, you are invited to contact the Limerick Diocesan Website on 061 400133.

Upcoming Summer Events

Choir Workshops

Any of these workshops or schools would be an excellent gift for a parish to offer a dedicated choir leader, or a great resource for a teacher, parishioner or choir leader who wants to grow their choir skills. Lets support those who lead us in music at our liturgies by offering them access to great support and resources.

Irish Church Music Assoc - 43rd Annual Summer School - 'Become what you receive' - Mon 2nd - Fri 6th July

For all choir leaders & choirs. Guest director: Marty Haugen. Workshops: Cantor training, Organ, Special Choir, Liturgical composition, Parish & contemporary music, Schools/youth choir, conducting, Vivaldi's Gloria from scratch, Irish in the liturgy. For more see

 Lets Get Singing workshop - 23rd & 24th July. UL, Castletroy.

Led by Choral Music Education Practitioner Anne Barry along with a specialist faculty, this practical two-day course is open to anyone currently working, or interested in working, with children’s and youth choirs in a range of teaching and learning environments. Come along to this ‘hands-on’ participatory course which will provide a practical toolkit of supports and resources. Click
HERE for more

Organ workshops - August 7-9 and 10-12th. Glenstal, Murroe, Co Limerick.

Ansgar Wallenhorst. Tuesday 7th August to Thursday 9th August. Group sessions in the mornings and individual lessons in the afternoons. Evening sessions will include a short recital and an exploration of Gregorian Chant.

Douglas Hollick. August 10-12th. Individual lessons in a group context. Private lessons are available for an extra charge.Recital with works from 17th century Hamburg illustrating something of the music J S Bach would have experienced during his visits to that city, together with music by Buxtehude, Tomkins and Guilain. Bach’s lovely chorale prelude on ‘An Wasserflüssen Babylon’, possibly inspired by his famous improvisation on this chorale in Hamburg in 1720, and his ‘Dorian’ Toccata and Fugue, complete the programme. Full details

Some Youth Events this summer

We often say that we'd like more youth ministry in our parishes. Well summer is a great opportunity to create or build on parish youth ministry. Consider sending young people to these positive events happening in Ireland and beyond. Don't wait for someone else to organise youth ministry in Limerick - here's your opportunity!

Lourdes diocesan pilgrimage
- The youth section of the pilgrimage has been booked out since November - 90 young people will participate. Details HERE.

Muinteareas Iosa - Brú na Graige
27 July - 5 August. Brú na Gráige (Between Ballyferri​ter & Dunquin), Co Kerry.
Muintearas Íosa hosts ten days of “Creideamh, Cairdeas, Cultúr agus Craic” for young people in the beautiful and rugged Gaeltacht of Corca Dhuibhne in West Kerry. More details, including booking forms are available HERE

'One'. The Knock Summer festival. For info click HERE
- Saturday 28th July. 18-30yr olds. Over 600 young people gathered last year for this event. Many groups will opt to continue onto Croagh Patrick on Sunday for the annual 'Reek Sunday' climb.

Knockadoon Music & Liturgy Camp, Cork. Click HERE
- Every August for one week, teens and young adults gather in Knockadoon in east Cork for a joyful, relaxing summer school. Participants learn new music, have small tutorials in their chosen musical instrument, and participate in a fun concert at the end of the week. The website is down for maintenance, but will soon be available HERE

European Youth Forum - Keep the faith. Altötting, Germany. 3rd -8th August 2012
For over 1250 years the city of Altötting is the spiritual heart of Bavaria, Germany, and for more than 500 years, the most important Marian pilgrimage place. Altötting is also one of the six most important Marian shrines in Europe. The Forum, a word taken from latin and meaning something like ‘marketplace’ takes place the heart of the town, in the central square, in the open air.

Come with us, and celebrate in Altötting. The European Youth Forum is a Catholic summer meeting for young people! The Forum will be in English and German with translation to several other languages.

Do you like celebrating, people and other cultures, good music, sharing with others who also seek real truth.

Do you want to be happy, be really free, to love and be loved, to have more respect, more tolerance, a future for yourself, your ideas and ambitions.

Are you looking for a sense of meaning for your life, yourself, your questions, fears, troubles and failures. Click HERE for full details and click HERE for a poster

Other Events and Suggestions for the Summer

  • Limerick Solemn Novena - Friday 15th - Saturday 23rd June @ 7am, 8am, 10am, 11.30am, 1.10pm, 4.30pm, 6pm, 7.30pm, 9pm & 10.30pm Redemptorist Church, Mount Saint Alphonsus, Limerick
  • The Irish College in Rome is offering a number of retreats in Rome this summer including A retreat for Music Ministers (details HERE) and A time for priests (details HERE).
  • Glenstal Abbey has a number of summer schools, day retreats and workshops happening: Summer Schools (details HEREGlenstal Ecumenical Conference, June 26-28th (details HERE) the final of three Saturday workshops on 'Women of Spirit and Faith' will take place on June 23rd (details HERE)
  • Manresa, Dublin offer a variety of retreat opportunities from Oasis Days HERE to 3 day retreats for lay people HERE to 30 day Ignatian Retreats HERE
  • Moyross Woods in West Cork offer a full programme of week long retreats in a very beautiful rural location. HERE
  • Lough Derg has long been a traditional Irish pilgrimage site. Now one day pilgrimages are also possible. Click HERE for more
  • All Hallows College has a number of summer schools. Fr Donal O'Leary will lead a weekend in September - details HERE
  • Holy Hill Hermitage in Co Sligo
  • Mt St Joseph Abbey, Roscrea
Further information and links are available from the Limerick Diocesan website upcoming events and newsletters. A list of Retreat Centres in Ireland is available here.

Liturgical Odds and Ends

Psalter - Week 3

Saints of the Week:

June 18th - St Juliana Falconieri
June 19th - St Romuald (in Limerick diocese it is also the anniversary of the Dedication of St John's Cathedral)
June 20th - The Irish Martyrs
June 21st - St Aloysius Gonzaga SJ
June 22nd - St John Fisher and St Thomas Moore
June 23rd - Eve of the Nativity of St John the Baptist (John's Eve)