30 Nov 2012

A quick message from our blog editor

Greetings to our listeners and readers of Sacred Space 102fm;

As some of you may have noticed over the last number of weeks, we have had a few changes on the team working on the radio programme each week. The main reason of this change is that I have taken up a position in the Republic of Sudan working for Concern Worldwide and as such will obviously not be able to take as active a part in the programme as I have for the last two years. However, my involvement with the programme is not ceasing as I intend to continue to assist the SS102fm team as blog editor and to (hopefully) maintain the blog for you our readers and listeners.

Obviously, we wont be able to update as often as a frequently as we did in the past, but at the minimum we will keep up our podcasts of our weekly programme and regular odds and ends from around the world wide web.

On a personal note, I would like to thank John, Anne and Lorraine for letting me join the team back in August 2010. Working on the programme has been an immense enjoyment, a support and encouragement in my own personal faith journey and also a chance to make some good friends! I look forward to continuing to assist in our little contribution to the New Evangelisation and to the sharing of our faith as we continue to hopefully give you that "sacred space" each Sunday.

Regards and best wishes

Shane Ambrose


Advent is upon us.............(well almost)

Something light to get you thinking of the season we are about to celebrate; have you thought about how you are going to mark Advent this year? Are you going to give time to PREPARE for Christmas and not just in the secular, materialistic way?

And a more somber reminder of the meaning of Advent:


29 Nov 2012

Year of Faith - General Audiences Benedict XVI - How do we speak of God in our times?

From Rome Reports:

During Wednesday's general audience, the Pope continued his catechesis on the Year of Faith by addressing a key question: How should Christians talk about God to their fellow friends and family?

“Dear Brothers and Sisters, In our continuing catechesis for the Year of Faith, we now consider the question of how we are to speak about God to our contemporaries, communicating the Christian faith as a response to the deepest longings of the human heart. This means bringing the God of Jesus Christ to the men and women of our time.

It means bearing quiet and humble witness each day to the core of the Gospel message. This is the Good News of the God who is Love, who has drawn near to us in Jesus Christ even to the Cross, and who in the Resurrection brings us the hope and promise of eternal life. Jesus gave us an example: by his loving concern for people’s questions, struggles and needs, he led them to the Father.

In the task of bringing God to our contemporaries, families play a privileged role, for in them the life of faith is lived daily in joy, dialogue, forgiveness and love. The God of Jesus Christ has revealed our grandeur as persons redeemed by love and called, in the Church, to renew the city of man, so that it can become the city of God."

Further coverage from Vatican Radio

26 Nov 2012

A Day in the life of a Seminarian - USA

Blessed John Paul II Seminary is a seminary founded in 2011 by Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, for the priestly formation of young men in college and pre- theology.

24 Nov 2012

25th November 2012 - Jesus Christ, Universal King

On this weeks programme we are joined by Fr Eamonn Conway, head of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick who recently attended the Synod of Bishops in Rome on the Transmission of Faith and New Evangelisation as an expert advisor and he shares with us his experience of the Synod. We also have our regular reflection on the Gospel as well as some saints of the week and local notices.

This weeks full programme is available in podcast HERE.

Rev. Professor Eamonn Conway on the Synod of Bishops and the New Evangelisation

Image source: Mary Immaculate College
Rev. Professor Eamonn Conway is a priest of the Tuam Diocese.  He studied philosophy and sociology at the National University of Ireland and theology at St. Patrick's College, Maynooth and the University of Tuebingen.  He was awarded his doctorate in theology in 1991 and taught Systematic Theology for seven years at All Hallows College, Dublin.  He was appointed Head of Theology and Religious Studies at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick in 1999 and in 2000 he also became co-director at the Centre for Culture, Technology & Values.

Fr. Eamonn speaks to us this week about his experience of attending the recent Synod of Bishops in Rome on the theme of New Evangelisation which examined ways of trying to renew and bring back people to a more active participation in their faith.  Fr. Eamonn explained in general terms what a Synod of Bishops is and what it does and shared a fascinating account of what it meant to be an expert advisor at a Synod and some of the topics that arose there.

You can listen to the interview with Fr. Conway excerpted from the programme HERE.

Gospel - John 18: 33-37 - Solemnity of Jesus Christ the Universal King


The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe was instituted by Pope Pius XI in the Encyclical Quas Primas in 1925.  This solemnity is always celebrated on the last Sunday of the Church's liturgical year.  It is fitting to reflect on the Kingship of Jesus at this time of the year.  Every time we pray the Our Father or the Creed, we are praying for the fulfilment of the Kingdom of God.  If we truly believe that Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords, then we will reflect this in our lives. Perhaps during this coming week and as we move into the new season of Advent we can reflect on the following questions:

(1) Who is the king of my heart and mind and life?  Do submit every part of my day and life to Jesus Christ?  Do I live as if Jesus is the Universal King or do I prefer to keep some parts of my life under my own control and dominion? 

(2) Do I work for the Kingdom of God or the kingdom of man?  Do I pour my energies into working for peace, love, justice, unity and harmony or do I spend most of my energies in the pursuit of status, power, wealth?

And as we say goodbye shortly to the Alleluia for the season of Advent, we take this opportunity to play one of the Sacred Space team's favourite hymns: the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah, directed here by Andre Rieu:

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
The kingdom of this world
is become the Kingdom of the Lord,
and of His Christ, and of His Christ;
and He shall reign for ever and ever,
for ever and ever, for ever and ever.
King of kings, and Lord of lords,
and Lord, of lords,
and He shall reign forever and ever!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Other reflections on this weeks gospel:

Liturgical odds and ends

Divine Office - Week 2

Saints of the Week

November 26th - Blessed Hugh Taylor
November 27th - St. Fergal, Bishop and Missionary
November 29th - St. Saturninus, Bishop
November 30th - St. Andrew, Apostle
December 1st - St. Edmund Campion, Martyr (First Saturday)

A gift from the Holy Father to the people of the diocese of Cloyne on their patronal feast day

St Colman of Cloyne

Today on the feast of St Colman, patron of the diocese of Cloyne at 12 noon in Rome and Cobh, it was announced that his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Canon William Crean to be the next Bishop of Cloyne.

The diocese has been without a bishop since Bishop John Magee stepped down on March 9, 2009 after severe criticism of his handling of clerical sexual abuse allegations.

Bishop-elect Crean (61) is a priest of the Kerry Diocese and was ordained to the priesthood on June 20, 1976. Before his appointment, he has been serving as Parish Priest of the Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church in Cahirciveen.

Ad multos annos to Bishop-elect Crean

Further information here and here


And for the diocese of Limerick, do we live in hope that on the feast of St Munchin (January 3rd) the Holy Father will also give us the people of Limerick the gift of a new shepherd for our local church?

Just an interesting point - if a priest is made the new bishop of Limerick (as opposed to another bishop being transferred into the diocese) it will be the first episcopal consecration at St John's Cathedral since 1974 for the late Bishop Jerimah Newman. Bishop Donal Murray was already consecrated bishop when he was appointed and installed as bishop of Limerick in 1996 as he had been an auxiliary bishop in Dublin.

Let us pray.

21 Nov 2012

Year of Faith - Pope Benedict XVI Wednesday General Audiences - Faith and Science are not in Conflict

From Rome Reports:

Through faith and reason we find truth. As part of his catechesis on the Year of Faith, Benedict XVI talked about faith and reason. He explained that faith and reason are not at odds. Instead, the Pope said these two factors complement each other and allow people to understand God's truth.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters, In our continuing catechesis for the Year of Faith, we now consider the reasonableness of faith as an encounter with the splendour of God’s truth. Through faith we come to true knowledge of God and ourselves, and learn to live wisely in this world as we await the fullness of life and happiness in the next.

Faith and reason are meant to work together in opening the human mind to God’s truth. By its nature, faith seeks understanding, while the mind’s search for truth finds inspiration, guidance and fulfillment in the encounter with God’s revealed word.

Far from being in conflict, faith and science go hand in hand in the service of man’s moral advancement and his wise stewardship of creation. The Gospel message of our salvation in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, offers us a true humanism, a “grammar” by which we come to understand the mystery of man and the universe. In this Year of Faith, may we open our minds more fully to the light of God’s truth, which reveals the grandeur of our human dignity and vocation."

Read full report from Vatican Radio HERE

17 Nov 2012

18th November 2012 - 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

On this weeks show, Fr Michael Liston joins us on the programme to discuss the Year of Faith and the gift of faith; we have our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel as well as some notices and our saints of the week.

Podcast of this weeks programme is available HERE.

Year of Faith and Why am I a Catholic?

Fr Michael Liston joins us on the programme this week to reflect on the Year of Faith and how it is an opportunity for us to rediscover the joy of our faith in our lives.
Why are you are Catholic?

As part of our contribution to the Year of Faith, Sacred Space 102fm wants our readers and listeners to tells us Why they are Catholic christian?

The Year of Faith is a reminder to us all that we are called to share in community and in communion with one another and to be witnesses and missionaries to the world. It doesn't call for heroic deeds and travel to far distant places but as St Therese of Lisieux said of doing the little things extraordinarily well.

In Ireland in particular being a Catholic Christian has been a challenging endeavour especially over the last number of years as we have watched in horror as our church leadership has lurched from one crisis to another like drunken sailors and at all times seeming to suffer from a serious case of "foot in mouth". But 84% of Irish citizens recently indicated on the Census that they still regard themselves as Catholic. We want to know why.

Will you share your story with us, and together we can encourage each other on the journey of faith that we are all sharing. To be Christian is to live in community, by definition almost you can't be a Christian on your own.

You can post a comment below (please be advised that all comments are moderated and it may take a day or two for one of the team to see it and publish it to the blog), you can email us at
sacredspace102@gmail.com or you can write to us at the address on the sidebar c/o West Limerick 102fm

Below we have two contributions which we have received:

From Conor:

I've been a believing, practising Catholic all my life, but that's not to say my faith has never been challenged. When I went to Cambridge to study science, I was surrounded by people who didn't share my faith, and I met many who actively opposed what the Church stood for. I was forced to question my faith, and this led to a lot of study, prayer, and conversation with non-believers and fellow believers. In the end, I was happy to conclude that only the Catholic Faith made sense of my experience of the world: only it could account for the sense of being called to greatness as well as the sense of my own frailty, the beauty in the world as well as all the ugliness and pain. Only it could give a sound foundation to my intellectual search for truth and my personal search for peace. I've been blessed to have seen the Church at its best: in my parents who taught me to pray and to love; in friends who challenged me to aim for holiness; and in great gatherings of the young faithful.

From Mary
I like being a Catholic because:
1. It offers me the wonderful peace which comes from trusting in a loving, caring God as my steadfast anchor in the stormy water's of lifes journey.
2. It allows me to be loved and loving every moment of my life in obedience to Jesus' great commandment of love; and
3. The resurrection offers me the great hope of spending eternity with a loving God and my dearly loved and missed departed family memebers and friends.

Gospel - Mark 13:24-32

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Family Rosary
Word on Fire
Blue Eyed Ennis
English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy

Liturgical Odds and Ends

Divine Office - Week 1

Saints of the Week

November 19th - St Hugh of Lincoln
November 20th - St Edmund of East Anglia
November 21st - Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
November 22nd - St Cecilia
November 23rd - St Columbanus
November 24th - St Colman of Cloyne

16 Nov 2012

Let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem

O praise the Lord, Jerusalem!
Zion, praise your God!
He has strengthened the bars of your gates,
he has blessed the children within you.
He established peace on your borders

Psalm 147
Morning Prayer, Friday Week 4

The Lord is just in all his ways
and loving in all his deeds.
He is close to all who call him,
who call on him from their hearts.

Psalm 145

WYD 2013 - Message of Pope Benedict XVI to youth

"Dear friends, open your eyes and look around you. So many young people no longer see any meaning in their lives. Go forth! Christ needs you too. Let yourselves be caught up and drawn along by his love. Be at the service of this immense love, so it can reach out to everyone, especially to those “far away”. Some people are far away geographically, but others are far away because their way of life has no place for God."

(From Vatican Radio)

On Friday the Vatican published Pope Benedict XVI's much anticipated message to young people as they begin the countdown to World Youth Day celebrations in Brazil, July 2013.

“Go and make disciples of all nations!” (cf. Mt 28:19)
Dear young friends,
I greet all of you with great joy and affection. I am sure that many of you returned from World Youth Day in Madrid all the more “planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith” (cf. Col 2:7). This year in our Dioceses we celebrated the joy of being Christians, taking as our theme: “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil 4:4). And now we are preparing for the next World Youth Day, which will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in July 2013.

 Before all else, I invite you once more to take part in this important event. The celebrated statue of Christ the Redeemer overlooking that beautiful Brazilian city will be an eloquent symbol for us. Christ’s open arms are a sign of his willingness to embrace all those who come to him, and his heart represents his immense love for everyone and for each of you. Let yourselves be drawn to Christ! Experience this encounter along with all the other young people who will converge on Rio for the next World Youth Day! Accept Christ’s love and you will be the witnesses so needed by our world. 

 I invite you to prepare for World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro by meditating even now on the theme of the meeting: “Go and make disciples of all nations!” (cf. Mt 28:19). This is the great missionary mandate that Christ gave the whole Church, and today, two thousand years later, it remains as urgent as ever. This mandate should resound powerfully in your hearts. The year of preparation for the gathering in Rio coincides with the Year of Faith, which began with the Synod of Bishops devoted to “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith”. I am happy that you too, dear young people, are involved in this missionary outreach on the part of the whole Church. To make Christ known is the most precious gift that you can give to others.
1. A pressing call
History shows how many young people, by their generous gift of self, made a great contribution to the Kingdom of God and the development of this world by proclaiming the Gospel. Filled with enthusiasm, they brought the Good News of God’s Love made manifest in Christ; they used the means and possibilities then available, which were far inferior to those we have today. One example which comes to mind is Blessed José de Anchieta. He was a young Spanish Jesuit of the sixteenth century who went as a missionary to Brazil before he was twenty years old and became a great apostle of the New World. But I also think of those among yourselves who are generously devoted to the Church’s mission. I saw a wonderful testimony of this at World Youth Day in Madrid, particularly at the meeting with volunteers.
Many young people today seriously question whether life is something good, and have a hard time finding their way. More generally, however, young people look at the difficulties of our world and ask themselves: is there anything I can do? The light of faith illumines this darkness. It helps us to understand that every human life is priceless because each of us is the fruit of God’s love. God loves everyone, even those who have fallen away from him or disregard him. God waits patiently. Indeed, God gave his Son to die and rise again in order to free us radically from evil. Christ sent his disciples forth to bring this joyful message of salvation and new life to all people everywhere.

The Church, in continuing this mission of evangelization, is also counting on you. Dear young people, you are the first missionaries among your contemporaries! At the end of the Second Vatican Council – whose fiftieth anniversary we are celebrating this year – the Servant of God Paul VI consigned a message to the youth of the world. It began: “It is to you, young men and women of the world, that the Council wishes to address its final message. For it is you who are to receive the torch from the hands of your elders and to live in the world at the period of the most massive transformations ever realized in its history. It is you who, taking up the best of the example and the teaching of your parents and your teachers, will shape the society of tomorrow. You will either be saved or perish with it”. It concluded with the words: “Build with enthusiasm a better world than what we have today!” (Message to Young People, 8 December 1965).
Dear friends, this invitation remains timely. We are passing through a very particular period of history. Technical advances have given us unprecedented possibilities for interaction between people and nations. But the globalization of these relationships will be positive and help the world to grow in humanity only if it is founded on love rather than on materialism. Love is the only thing that can fill hearts and bring people together. God is love. When we forget God, we lose hope and become unable to love others. That is why it is so necessary to testify to God’s presence so that others can experience it. The salvation of humanity depends on this, as well as the salvation of each of us. Anyone who understands this can only exclaim with Saint Paul: “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16).
2. Become Christ’s disciples
This missionary vocation comes to you for another reason as well, and that is because it is necessary for our personal journey in faith. Blessed John Paul II wrote that “faith is strengthened when it is given to others!” (Redemptoris Missio, 2). When you proclaim the Gospel, you yourselves grow as you become more deeply rooted in Christ and mature as Christians. Missionary commitment is an essential dimension of faith. We cannot be true believers if we do not evangelize. The proclamation of the Gospel can only be the result of the joy that comes from meeting Christ and finding in him the rock on which our lives can be built. When you work to help others and proclaim the Gospel to them, then your own lives, so often fragmented because of your many activities, will find their unity in the Lord. You will also build up your own selves, and you will grow and mature in humanity.
What does it mean to be a missionary? Above all, it means being a disciple of Christ. It means listening ever anew to the invitation to follow him and look to him: “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart” (Mt 11:29). A disciple is a person attentive to Jesus’ word (cf. Lk 10:39), someone who acknowledges that Jesus is the Teacher who has loved us so much that he gave his life for us. Each one of you, therefore, should let yourself be shaped by God’s word every day. This will make you friends of the Lord Jesus and enable you to lead other young people to friendship with him.

 I encourage you to think of the gifts you have received from God so that you can pass them on to others in turn. Learn to reread your personal history. Be conscious of the wonderful legacy passed down to you from previous generations. So many faith-filled people have been courageous in handing down the faith in the face of trials and incomprehension. Let us never forget that we are links in a great chain of men and women who have transmitted the truth of the faith and who depend on us to pass it on to others. Being a missionary presupposes knowledge of this legacy, which is the faith of the Church. It is necessary to know what you believe in, so that you can proclaim it. As I wrote in the introduction to the YouCat, the catechism for young people that I gave you at World Youth Day in Madrid, “you need to know your faith with that same precision with which an IT specialist knows the inner workings of a computer. You need to understand it like a good musician knows the piece he is playing. Yes, you need to be more deeply rooted in the faith than the generation of your parents so that you can engage the challenges and temptations of this time with strength and determination” (Foreward).
3. Go forth!
Jesus sent his disciples forth on mission with this command: “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk 16:15-16). To evangelize means to bring the Good News of salvation to others and to let them know that this Good News is a person: Jesus Christ. When I meet him, when I discover how much I am loved by God and saved by God, I begin to feel not only the desire, but also the need to make God known to others. At the beginning of John’s Gospel we see how Andrew, immediately after he met Jesus, ran off to fetch his brother Simon (cf. 1:40-42). Evangelization always begins with an encounter with the Lord Jesus. Those who come to Jesus and have experienced his love, immediately want to share the beauty of the meeting and the joy born of his friendship. The more we know Christ, the more we want to talk about him. The more we speak with Christ, the more we want to speak about him. The more we are won over by Christ, the more we want to draw others to him.

Through Baptism, which brings us to new life, the Holy Spirit abides in us and inflames our minds and hearts. The Spirit shows us how to know God and to enter into ever deeper friendship with Christ. It is the Spirit who encourages us to do good, to serve others and to give of ourselves. Through Confirmation we are strengthened by the gifts of the Spirit so that we can bear witness to the Gospel in an increasingly mature way. It is the Spirit of love, therefore, who is the driving force behind our mission. The Spirit impels us to go out from ourselves and to “go forth” to evangelize. Dear young people, allow yourselves to be led on by the power of God’s love. Let that love overcome the tendency to remain enclosed in your own world with your own problems and your own habits. Have the courage to “go out” from yourselves in order to “go forth” towards others and to show them the way to an encounter with God.
4. Gather all nations
The risen Christ sent his disciples forth to bear witness to his saving presence before all the nations, because God in his superabundant love wants everyone to be saved and no one to be lost. By his loving sacrifice on the cross, Jesus opened up the way for every man and woman to come to know God and enter into a communion of love with him. He formed a community of disciples to bring the saving message of the Gospel to the ends of the earth and to reach men and women in every time and place. Let us make God’s desire our own!
Dear friends, open your eyes and look around you. So many young people no longer see any meaning in their lives. Go forth! Christ needs you too. Let yourselves be caught up and drawn along by his love. Be at the service of this immense love, so it can reach out to everyone, especially to those “far away”. Some people are far away geographically, but others are far away because their way of life has no place for God. Some people have not yet personally received the Gospel, while others have been given it, but live as if God did not exist. Let us open our hearts to everyone. Let us enter into conversation in simplicity and respect. If this conversation is held in true friendship, it will bear fruit. The “nations” that we are invited to reach out to are not only other countries in the world. They are also the different areas of our lives, such as our families, communities, places of study and work, groups of friends and places where we spend our free time. The joyful proclamation of the Gospel is meant for all the areas of our lives, without exception.
I would like to emphasize two areas where your missionary commitment is all the more necessary. Dear young people, the first is the field of social communications, particularly the world of the internet. As I mentioned to you on another occasion: “I ask you to introduce into the culture of this new environment of communications and information technology the values on which you have built your lives. [...] It falls, in particular, to young people, who have an almost spontaneous affinity for the new means of communication, to take on the responsibility for the evangelization of this ‘digital continent’” (Message for the 43rd World Communications Day, 24 May 2009). Learn how to use these media wisely. Be aware of the hidden dangers they contain, especially the risk of addiction, of confusing the real world with the virtual, and of replacing direct and personal encounters and dialogue with internet contacts.
The second area is that of travel and migration. Nowadays more and more young people travel, sometimes for their studies or work, and at other times for pleasure. I am also thinking of the movements of migration which involve millions of people, very often young, who go to other regions or countries for financial or social reasons. Here too we can find providential opportunities for sharing the Gospel. Dear young people, do not be afraid to witness to your faith in these settings. It is a precious gift for those you meet when you communicate the joy of an encounter with Christ.
5. Make disciples!
I imagine that you have at times found it difficult to invite your contemporaries to an experience of faith. You have seen how many young people, especially at certain points in their life journey, desire to know Christ and to live the values of the Gospel, but also feel inadequate and incapable. What can we do? First, your closeness and your witness will themselves be a way in which God can touch their hearts. Proclaiming Christ is not only a matter of words, but something which involves one’s whole life and translates into signs of love. It is the love that Christ has poured into our hearts which makes us evangelizers. Consequently, our love must become more and more like Christ’s own love. We should always be prepared, like the Good Samaritan, to be attentive to those we meet, to listen, to be understanding and to help. In this way we can lead those who are searching for the truth and for meaning in life to God’s house, the Church, where hope and salvation abide (cf. Lk 10:29-37). Dear friends, never forget that the first act of love that you can do for others is to share the source of our hope. If we do not give them God, we give them too little! Jesus commanded his Apostles: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Mt 28:19-20). The main way that we have to “make disciples” is through Baptism and catechesis. This means leading the people we are evangelizing to encounter the living Christ above all in his word and in the sacraments. In this way they can believe in him, they can come to know God and to live in his grace. I would like each of you to ask yourself: Have I ever had the courage to propose Baptism to young people who have not received it? Have I ever invited anyone to embark on a journey of discovery of the Christian faith? Dear friends, do not be afraid to suggest an encounter with Christ to people of your own age. Ask the Holy Spirit for help. The Spirit will show you the way to know and love Christ even more fully, and to be creative in spreading the Gospel.
6. Firm in the faith
When faced with difficulties in the mission of evangelizing, perhaps you will be tempted to say, like the prophet Jeremiah: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth”. But God will say to you too: “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you you shall go” (Jer 1:6-7). Whenever you feel inadequate, incapable and weak in proclaiming and witnessing to the faith, do not be afraid. Evangelization is not our initiative, and it does not depend on our talents. It is a faithful and obedient response to God’s call and so it is not based on our power but on God’s. Saint Paul knew this from experience: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Cor 4:7).
For this reason, I encourage you to make prayer and the sacraments your foundation. Authentic evangelization is born of prayer and sustained by prayer. We must first speak with God in order to be able to speak about God. In prayer, we entrust to the Lord the people to whom we have been sent, asking him to touch their hearts. We ask the Holy Spirit to make us his instruments for their salvation. We ask Christ to put his words on our lips and to make us signs of his love. In a more general way, we pray for the mission of the whole Church, as Jesus explicitly asked us: “Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38). Find in the Eucharist the wellspring of your life of faith and Christian witness, regularly attending Mass each Sunday and whenever you can during the week. Approach the sacrament of Reconciliation frequently. It is a very special encounter with God’s mercy in which he welcomes us, forgives us and renews our hearts in charity. Make an effort to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation if you have not already done so, and prepare yourselves for it with care and commitment. Confirmation is, like the Eucharist, a sacrament of mission, for it gives us the strength and love of the Holy Spirit to profess fearlessly our faith. I also encourage you to practise Eucharistic adoration. Time spent in listening and talking with Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament becomes a source of new missionary enthusiasm.
If you follow this path, Christ himself will give you the ability to be completely faithful to his word and to bear faithful and courageous witness to him. At times you will be called to give proof of your perseverance, particularly when the word of God is met with rejection or opposition. In certain areas of the world, some of you suffer from the fact that you cannot bear public witness to your faith in Christ due to the lack of religious freedom. Some have already paid with their lives the price of belonging to the Church. I ask you to remain firm in the faith, confident that Christ is at your side in every trial. To you too he says: “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven” (Mt 5:11-12).
7. With the whole Church
Dear young people, if you are to remain firm in professing the Christian faith wherever you are sent, you need the Church. No one can bear witness to the Gospel alone. Jesus sent forth his disciples on mission together. He spoke to them in the plural when he said: “Make disciples”. Our witness is always given as members of the Christian community, and our mission is made fruitful by the communion lived in the Church. It is by our unity and love for one another that others will recognize us as Christ’s disciples (cf. Jn 13:35). I thank God for the wonderful work of evangelization being carried out by our Christian communities, our parishes and our ecclesial movements. The fruits of this evangelization belong to the whole Church. As Jesus said: “One sows and another reaps” (Jn 4:37).

 Here I cannot fail to express my gratitude for the great gift of missionaries, who devote themselves completely to proclaiming the Gospel to the ends of the earth. I also thank the Lord for priests and consecrated persons, who give themselves totally so that Jesus Christ will be proclaimed and loved. Here I would like to encourage young people who are called by God to commit themselves with enthusiasm to these vocations: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). To those who leave everything to follow him, Jesus promised a hundredfold as much and eternal life besides (cf. Mt 19:29).
I also give thanks for all those lay men and women who do their best to live their daily lives as mission wherever they find themselves, at home or at work, so that Christ will be loved and served and that the Kingdom of God will grow. I think especially of all those who work in the fields of education, health care, business, politics and finance, and in the many other areas of the lay apostolate. Christ needs your commitment and your witness. Let nothing – whether difficulties or lack of understanding – discourage you from bringing the Gospel of Christ wherever you find yourselves. Each of you is a precious piece in the great mosaic of evangelization!
8. “Here I am, Lord!”
Finally, dear young people, I would ask all of you to hear, in the depths of your heart, Jesus’ call to proclaim his Gospel. As the great statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro shows, his heart is open with love for each and every person, and his arms are open wide to reach out to everyone. Be yourselves the heart and arms of Jesus! Go forth and bear witness to his love! Be a new generation of missionaries, impelled by love and openness to all! Follow the example of the Church’s great missionaries like Saint Francis Xavier and so many others.
At the conclusion of World Youth Day in Madrid, I blessed a number of young people from the different continents who were going forth on mission. They represented all those young people who, echoing the words of the prophet Isaiah, have said to the Lord: “Here I am. Send me!” (Is 6:8). The Church has confidence in you and she thanks you for the joy and energy that you contribute. Generously put your talents to use in the service of the proclamation of the Gospel! We know that the Holy Spirit is granted to those who open their hearts to this proclamation. And do not be afraid: Jesus, the Saviour of the world, is with us every day until the end of time (cf. Mt 28:20).

 This call, which I make to the youth of the whole world, has a particular resonance for you, dear young people of Latin America! During the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American Bishops, in Aparecida in 2007, the Bishops launched a “continental mission”. Young people form a majority of the population in South America and they are an important and precious resource for the Church and society. Be in the first line of missionaries! Now that World Youth Day is coming back to Latin America, I ask you, the young people on the continent, to transmit the enthusiasm of your faith to your contemporaries from all over the world!
May Our Lady, Star of the New Evangelization, whom we also invoke under the titles of Our Lady of Aparecida and Our Lady of Guadalupe, accompany each of you in your mission as a witness to God’s love. To all of you, with particular affection, I impart my Apostolic Blessing.
From the Vatican, 18 October 2012

14 Nov 2012

Year of Faith - Pope Benedict XVI General Audiences

The Pope continued his catechesis on the Year of Faith, by explaining that in a time of 'practical atheism' and secularism, Christians need to give convincing reasons for having both faith and hope.

Benedict XVI reminded Christians that among those reasons, there is the beauty of Mother Nature and human's inner longing for an infinite connection with the Divine.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

"In our catechesis for the Year of Faith, we have seen that a mysterious desire for God lies deep with the human heart. By his grace, God inspires and accompanies our efforts to know him and to find our happiness in him. Yet today, in our secularized world, faith often seems difficult to justify; we are faced with a “practical” atheism, a tendency to think and live “as if God did not exist”.

Yet once God is removed from our lives, we become diminished, for our greatest human dignity consists in being created by God and called to live in communion with him. As believers, we need to offer convincing reasons for our faith and hope.

We can find such reasons in the order and beauty of creation itself, which speaks of its Creator; in the longing for the infinite present in the human heart, which finds satisfaction in God alone; and in faith, which illumines and transforms our lives through our daily union with the Lord. By the witness of our living faith, may we lead others to know and love the God who reveals himself in Christ.

I greet the participants in the Conference of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers. I also greet the El Shaddai European Convention. I welcome the Westminster Cathedral Choir and I thank them, and the other choirs present, for their praise of God in song. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Denmark, Gibraltar, South Africa, Hong Kong, Japan and the United States, I cordially invoke God’s abundant blessings."

A musical interlude

Non nobis, Domine, non nobis,[Not to us, Lord, not to us]
Sed nomini tuo da gloriam. [But to Thy name give the glory]

12 Nov 2012

No one is so poor that they can not give something - Benedict XVI

From Asia News:

"No one is so poor that they can not give something" is the lesson that Benedict XVI offered to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus prayer, drawing it from the readings of the Sunday Mass.

The generosity the Pope was speaking of is a consequence of faith, understood as "the inner attitude of those who base their lives on God, His Word, and trust wholly in Him.""

Continue reading HERE.

11 Nov 2012

Island of Ireland Peace Park

Peace Pledge
"From the crest of this ridge, which was the scene of terrific carnage in the First World War on which we have built a peace park and Round Tower to commemorate the thousands of young men from all parts of Ireland who fought a common enemy, defended democracy and the rights of all nations, whose graves are in shockingly uncountable numbers and those who have no graves, we condemn war and the futility of war. We repudiate and denounce violence, aggression, intimidation, threats and unfriendly behaviour.
As Protestants and Catholics, we apologise for the terrible deeds we have done to each other and ask forgiveness. From this sacred shrine of remembrance, where soldiers of all nationalities, creeds and political allegiances were united in death, we appeal to all people in Ireland to help build a peaceful and tolerant society. Let us remember the solidarity and trust that developed between Protestant and Catholic soldiers when they served together in these trenches.
As we jointly thank the armistice of 11 November 1918 – when the guns fell silent along this western front - we affirm that a fitting tribute to the principles for which men and women from the Island of Ireland died in both World Wars would be permanent peace."
This peace pledge is inscribed on a plaque at the Irish Peace Park which is at the site of the Battle in Messines, near Ypres in Flanders, Belgium. The memorial site is dedicated to the soldiers of Ireland, of all political and religious beliefs, who died, were wounded or missing in the Great War of 1914-1918. Irish men and women served with the Armies of Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.

The memorial site is also known as the “Irish Peace Park” or the “Irish Peace Tower”.

The tower was built as a symbol of reconciliation by An All-Ireland Journey of Reconciliation Trust and the support of the people of Messines (now called by its Flemish name Mesen). It was constructed using stones from a demolished workhouse in Mullinger, County Westmeath, Ireland. The design is that of a traditional Irish round tower dating back to the 8th century. It is 33.5 metres (110 feet) high. As part of the design the inside of the tower is lit up by the sun only on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. This is the time at which the Armistice was declared and the guns fell silent on the Western Front after four years of fighting.

The Island of Ireland Peace Park was officially opened at 11:00 hours on 11th November 1998 by the then President of Ireland Mary McAleese in the presence of HM Queen Elizabeth II and King Albert II of Belgium. Each year a commemorative Remembrance Day service is held at the Tower at 11.00 hours on 11th November.

Further information:

10 Nov 2012

11th November 2012 - 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) - A repeat of the interview with Bishop Donal Murray

On this weeks programme we are repeating our interview from last week with Dr Donal Murray, bishop emeritus of Limerick who came in to talk to us about his new book "Keeping open the Door of Faith: The Legacy of Vatican II". We also have our regular reflection on the gospel and a quick look at some up coming saints of the week.

John Keily, Shane Ambrose, + Donal Murray, Lorraine Buckley
This weeks podcast is available HERE.

Calm the Soul - A book of Simple Wisdom and Prayer

In Calm the Soul, Simple Meditations and Prayers for Every Day, the Poor Clares look at ways we can incorporate prayer into our lives. We have a short interview with the Poor Clares this week about their new book. They recognise that in today's busy world, we can neglect our souls focussing instead on the mind and body. Using their simple prayer ideas and meditations we can learn to speak to God in a direct way to bring him to our everyday lives. With practical advice for preparing for prayer from creating a suitable atmosphere in a quiet room with candles, to the importance of embracing moments of silence into our everyday lives so we become more aware of our surroundings and of the world God created, they look at the different ways you can incorporate prayer into your everyday lives to enrich and nourish the soul. Here, the nuns combine reflections on familiar prayers such as the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the prayer to our Guardian Angel with prayers for specific needs such as depression, self-esteem and self-worth, loneliness and in times of sickness, to bring us a powerfully spiritual book which offers faith and hope for those seeking solace in today's world.
The book is available both in hard copy and for download from all good bookshops

"Keeping open the Door of Faith: The Legacy of Vatican II"

Dr Donal Murray the bishop emeritus of Limerick joins us in studio this week to speak about his new book which was launched in the last few weeks. As the year 2000 approached, Blessed John Paul II, who had himself participated in the Second Vatican Council, referred to it as ‘this great gift of the Spirit to the Church at the end of the second millennium’. Looking towards the coming millennium he asked to what extent the fruits of the Council could be seen in the Church. This year, 2012, fifty years after the Council opened, is a good opportunity to reflect again on that question. This book looks at some of the important topics that were central in the Council's work including the understanding of the Church as a community, the role of the laity in the Church and in society, the wonder of human existence and the question of belief in a changing world. A complete examination of all the rich teaching of the Council and how it has been implemented is beyond the scope of this book – or perhaps of any book. What is written here is one person’s reflection on five themes of the Council and their implications for today’s world. And comes with a very high recommendation from the SS102fm Team!

Bishop Donal tells us what he has been up to since he stepped down in December 2009 which has included writing two new books "Let Love Speak" and "Keeping Open the Door of Faith" as well as a little pamphlet "On the Road to Emmaus". The book is available in Abbey Bookshop and O'Mahoney's in Limerick and is published by Veritas.

+ Donal tells us of his memories of the Council as a seminarian and during his studies in Rome after the Council had ended. Echoning Pope Benedict, he puts it to us that the challenge for us today is a challenge of faith in a culture where we are asked to compartmentalise our lives including our relationship with God; where as in fact God is the meaning of life and we can't just close him off into one part of our time. We discuss with him the different sections of the book looking at the role of the laity and our understanding of the human person. He discusses some of the challenges facing us as a church community in Ireland including the need to renew the communion and understanding of the church not just the structures alone. We are reminded that if we are not searching honestly for the kingdom of God we are not really living out our christian lives and vocation.

The books is published online and in Ireland can be purchased from Veritas and all good bookshops. For international readers/listeners who may be interested it is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

+ Donal has written an article on his new book for The Pastoral Review which you can read here.

You can listen to + Donal's interview excerpted from the programme HERE.

Gospel - Mark 12: 38-44

For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living.
From Limerick Diocese Weekly Newsletter:
How much did the Pharisees put in? ... What seemed so important, such a 'sign of faith' in that moment, is now long forgotten. The Widows mite however has served millions of people all over the world. Every persons contribution matters, but only God knows how God will use what we give. 
Jesus didn't see the coins people put in the basket. Jesus saw the people putting the coins in. Our Christian vision "seeks to discover the meaning of being human the context of God’s love." (Share the Good News, 44). Gods love - not human wealth or consumption - defines us. Do we live as if we are defined by the love of God!? 
If we are to be followers of Jesus, then we too are called to have new eyes when we consider what it is to be generous. For example, as we begin the pre-Christmas frenzy; can we stop and consider what we mean by generousity? Can we be a witness, a sign post to another type of sharing and caring this Christmas?
Heres a challenge for this week - look at people with Gods eyes. 
  • Look not at what they have to give, but at the love with which they give what they have.
  • Look not at their abilities, but at their generousity. 
  • Look not at your lack-of-resources, but at the opportunities God offers you to be generous, kind and loving.
Ask Jesus for the grace to believe in Gods generous love this week, that we too might freely give our 'mite' to the world.
Other reflections on this weeks gospel:
Liturgical odds and ends

Divine Office - Week 4

Saints of the Week

November 12th - St Josaphat
November 13th - St Columba of Cornwall
November 14th - St Laurence O'Toole. Also All the Carmelite Saints
November 15th - St Albert the Great
November 16th - St Margaret of Scotland. Also St Gertrude  
November 17th - St Elizabeth of Hungary

6 Nov 2012

6th November - Feast Day of All the Saints of Ireland

Icon showing some of the main saints of Ireland
Apse, Irish College main chapel, Rome
Over at Pilgrims Progress, Sr Louise reminds us that today is the feast day of All the Saints of Ireland:

"Today in Ireland, 6th of November, we celebrate the Feast of All the Saints of Ireland. Pope Benedict XV beatified Oliver Plunkett in 1920 and during his papacy also (1914-22) the Feast of All the Saints of Ireland was instituted. The same Pope also granted Ireland the honour of having a litany of its native saints approved for public recitation. Only four saints, St Malachy (1094-1148), St Lawrence O'Toole (1128-80) and St Oliver Plunkett (1625-81) and St Charles of Mount Argus (1821-93), have been officially canonised. All the other Irish saints, such as Saints Patrick, Brigid, and Colmcille, are saints, as it were, by acclamation of the local Church.

The scope of this feast, while it includes canonised saints, is wider. It also includes those who had a reputation for holiness and whose causes for canonisation have not yet been completed, such as Blessed Thaddeus MacCarthy (1455-92), the seventeen Irish martyrs of the 16th and 17th centuries, Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice (1762-1844), Blessed Columba Marmion (1858-1923) and the Servant of God Matt Talbot (1856-1925) and people like Legion of Mary envoys Edel Quinn and Alfie Lamb, whose causes have already been introduced. But it also includes those whose lives of sanctity were known only to their families, friends or members of their parish diocese or religious community."

Continue reading HERE
We would highly recommend you take a visit over to the website of the Irish College in Rome and have a look at the detail and explainations of the mosaics of the chapel with some fabulous photos which you can look at HERE.

"The Chapel of the Pontifical Irish College is dedicated to All the Saints of Ireland and has been reordered by the Slovenian Jesuit Marko Ivan Rupnik and the international ecumenical community of artists at the Centro Aletti, Rome. The new mosaic was installed in March 2010.

The seminary community gathers in this Chapel at dawn for Morning Prayer (lauds) and Eucharist. Before lunch the rosary is prayed. As evening draws in, the seminarians and priests gather once more for Evening Prayer (vespers), meditation and for Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. On Sundays, the congregation swells as pilgrims to Rome join with local families for Sunday Mass followed by catechesis for parents and children. Over the course of a year, seminarians receive the various ministries which mark the road to priesthood, children celebrate First Penance and receive First Communion and Confirmation, and almost a hundred and fifty couples celebrate their wedding in this Chapel."

Icon of all the Saints of the Ireland and the British Isles

 Prayer to the Saints of Ireland:
O God, who didst deign to people our land with innumerable saints, and to make it illustrious amongst all the nations of the world for the zeal of its apostles, the fortitude of its martyrs, the constancy of its confessors, and the shining purity of its holy women, give us the grace of devotion to all the Saints of Ireland that we may be inspired by their example to lead lives worthy of the noble traditions which they have handed down from generation unto generation.

Teach us humility in Thy service through our recognition of the sins we have committed and through the sense of our own unworthiness. Help us to realize how far short we fall of those saintly heroes and heroines of our land, who found their joy in patient suffering, who learned in the school of Christ the necessity of self-denial and the duty of reverence, and who sought in penance and mortification a safeguard against all temptation and all worldliness.

Thou hast endowed us, O God, with the priceless gift of faith and provided us in abundance with heavenly help to deepen our sanctity and intensify our love; but we have not responded to Thy generosity, as the Saints of Ireland did, and pride in our past glory has often blinded us to dangers and evils of our day. Fill us with the spirit of compunction for our sins and reverence for Thy Law. Vouchsafe to grant us, O merciful God, the grace to place our trust in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to whom our country is solemnly dedicated, that we may ever advance along that road which led St. Patrick, St. Columcille, St. Brigid, St. Laurence, St. Malachy, Blessed Oliver Plunkett and all the other saints of Ireland, amidst trials and afflictions, poverty and misery, executions and suffering, to the land of peace unending, and to the glory of life everlasting. Through the same Christ, Our Lord.

Litany of the Irish Saints
To impore their Protection in all our wants, but particularly for the existing necessities of the Church of Ireland
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

 Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy ghost, Sanctifier of the Elect, have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one only God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Queen of Ireland, pray for us!
Holy Angels, Guardians of Ireland, pray for us!
Glorious St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland, pray for us!
St. Brigid, Mother of the Churches of Ireland, pray for us!
St. Columba, Saint of the Eucharist, pray for us!
St. Odran, faithful servant of St. Patrick, pray for us!
St. Benignus, beloved disciple of St. Patrick, pray for us!
St. Laurence O'Toole, assiduous client of Our Lady, pray for us!
St. Kevin, patron of the Archdiocese of Dublin, pray for us!
St. Livinus, pray for us!
St. Rumold, pray for us!
St. Malachy, pray for us!
St. Otteran, pray for us!
St. Carthage, pray for us!
St. Declan, pray for us!
St. Columban, pray for us!
St. Albertus, pray for us!
St. Finbarr, pray for us!
St. Virgilius, pray for us!
St. Frigidianus, pray for us!
St. Kilian, pray for us!
St. Cataldus, pray for us!
St. Flannan, pray for us!
St. Brendan, pray for us!
St. Donatus, pray for us!
St. Eugene, pray for us!
St. Fiacre, pray for us!
St. Fursey, pray for us!
St. Rupert, pray for us!
St. Onchu, pray for us!
St. Caimin, pray for us!
St. Gerald, pray for us!
St. Finian, pray for us!
St. Fechin, pray for us!
St. Marianus, pray for us!
St. Peregrinus, pray for us!
St. Ibar, pray for us!
St. Ninidh, pray for us!
St. Columbanus, pray for us!
St. Gelasius, pray for us!
St. Colman, pray for us!
St. Gall, pray for us!
St. Canice, pray for us!
St. Kieran, pray for us!
St. Jarlath, pray for us!
St. Comgall, pray for us!
St. Macartin, pray for us!
St. Enda, pray for us!
St. Fintan, pray for us!
St. Aidan, pray for us!
St. Loman, pray for us!
St. Lupita, pray for us!
St. Fannie, pray for us!
St. Ita, pray for us!
St. Attracta, pray for us!
St. Gobnaita, pray for us!
St. Hya, pray for us!
St. Ethnea, pray for us!
St. Sodelbia, pray for us!
St. Blath, pray for us!
St. Syro, pray for us!
St. Dympna, pray for us!
St. Fedelmia, pray for us!
St. Maura, pray for us!
St. Mella, pray for us!
St. Darerca, pray for us!
St. Crea, pray for us!
All ye holy saints of the Irish nation, make intercession for us!

 That thou, O Lord, wouldst vouchsafe to preserve among us, pure and inviolate, the faith "once delivered by St. Patrick, we beseech Thee to hear us!
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant unanimity of sentiment and opinion to our prelates and pastors, we beseech Thee to hear us!
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to increase among us the fervour of the just, and convert the sinners, we beseech Thee to hear us!
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to alleviate our sufferings, and grant us patience in our trials, we beseech Thee to hear us!
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to bless and protect the children of St. Patrick, in life and death, we beseech Thee to hear us!
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to conduct the, in triumph to Thy heavenly Kingdom, we beseech Thee to hear us!
 Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us!

Let us pray,
O Lord God of infinite goodness and mercy, Who with the faith didst plant amongst us the true spirit of St. Patrick, and propagate it abundantly for ages, we humbly beseech that being "the children of the saints," we may never degenerate from their noble sentiments and holy example; but through their powerful intercession, may ever walk worthily in the vocation to which we have been called. Through Jesus Christ Thy Son, Our Lord. Amen.