28 Jul 2012

Reek Sunday 2012

Source: Irish Catholic Bishops Conference

Psalm 121: God the Help of Those Who Seek Him

A Song of Ascents.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

Tomorrow, being the last Sunday in the month of July is "Reek Sunday", the day traditionally associated with the climbing of one of Ireland's holy mountains, Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo.

The tradition of pilgrimage to this holy mountain stretches back over 5,000 years from the Stone Age to the present day without interruption. Its religious significance dates back to the time of the pagans, when people are thought to have gathered here to celebrate the beginning of harvest season.

Croagh Patrick is renowned for its Patrician Pilgrimage in honour of Saint Patrick, Ireland's patron saint. It was on the summit of the mountain that Saint Patrick fasted for forty days in 441 AD and the custom has been faithfully handed down from generation to generation.

From CatholicIreland.net:

Close to 30,000 pilgrims are expected to take part in the annual Reek Sunday pilgrimage this weekend on Ireland's holy mountain, Croagh Patrick, which is in the Archdiocese of Tuam.
The pilgrimage has been carried out uninterrupted on Reek Sunday, the last Sunday in July for over 1,500 years.
The Croagh Patrick pilgrimage is associated with St Patrick who, in 441, spent 40 days and nights fasting on the summit, following the example of Christ and Moses. The name 'Reek Sunday' comes from Patrick's ability to Christianise many pagan customs including the festival of Lughnasa, which previously had heralded the start of the harvest festival honouring the ancient pagan god Lugh, whose name is encompassed in the Irish word for August - Lughnasa.
The festival's tradition became absorbed into the new Christian beliefs and locally became known as Domhnach na Cruaiche (Reek Sunday).
As in previous years, the climb of Croagh Patrick will be led by the Archbishop of Tuam Most Rev Michael Neary. This year he will be accompanied by the newly appointed Papal Nuncio to Ireland Cardinal Charles Browne. Cardinal Browne (52) stated when he was appointed in January of this year that he, “wished to get to know more about Ireland,” and it is believed that his decision to make the climb is in keeping with that promise.
According to the diocese of Tuam, Mass will be celebrated at the summit at 8:00am and every half-hour thereafter until the last Mass at 2:00pm.
The Papal Nuncio will celebrate the 9:30pm at Saint Patrick's Oratory at the summit of the mountain while the 10:00am Mass will be celebrated in Irish by Fr Jim Walsh.
Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass at 10:30am.
Pilgrims may avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation on the summit from 7:30am to 2:30pm.  
Mayo Mountain rescue service are asking all those who intend to climb to come prepared for the current weather conditions, to bring suitable warm and waterproof clothing, good footwear, a walking stick or staff, and water, and to be mindful of the safety of themselves and other pilgrims.
Meanwhile ahead of the climb, the parish priest of Westport Fr Charlie McDonnell has revealed that a Conservation Plan on the future use of Croagh Patrick has started.
“We are the custodians of Croagh Patrick for future generations and I must say that there is an element of recklessness in its present use. But this is not about apportioning blame. The various partners need to sit down, and this has already started, and make a future plan for its conservation and sustainability.”
He added, “I think everyone who uses the mountain needs to respect its Christian and pre-Christian heritage. If you look back at old photographs to the 1950's there is one clear path going up the mountain. Now it looks like a hodgepodge of many different paths.”
Further information about climbing Croagh Patrick and Reek Sunday:

29th July 2012 - 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) - Emmanuel Community

On this weeks programme, we are joined once again by Geraldine Creaton from the Emmanuel Community who tells us about what the community is doing internationally, nationally but also locally here in Limerick. We have our regular reflection on this weeks gospel as well as saints of the week and some local notices.

This weeks podcast is available HERE.
The Emmanuel Community
On this morning’s programme we are re-introduced to the Emmanuel Community by Geraldine Creaton. The Emmanuel Community is present in Ireland, and in fifty six countries around the world, and on every continent. The Emmanuel Community was founded in France in 1972 by the Servant of God Pierre Goursat and Martine Lafitte-Catta.

The mission of the Community is to reveal to every man and woman the presence of the God of Love in our lives, Jesus Christ, who is “Emmanuel”, ”God With Us”, and wants to be close to us.
The Community consists of members with different states of life (families, singles, priests and celibate brothers and sisters) having the most different professions and trying to live a fraternal life in the world. It sees its aim as to respond to God's call to holiness addressed to each person, mainly through intense personal prayer, Eucharistic adoration, compassion for the spiritually and materially poor and evangelization. Members are helped to grow spiritually in various ways: "household meetings" (small groups of members, meeting regularly for prayer and reflection on God's action in their lives), "spiritual companionship" (personal meeting with a more experienced member), monthly meetings of all the members in a country or region.

Geraldine talks to us about the work of the community and how people become involved and members of the community especially their work during the International Eucharistic Congress 2012 and also in Limerick Diocese.
Geraldine's interview is extracted from this mornings podcast HERE.

Gospel - John 6:1-15

We return to the gospel of John this week and it is the first in a series of readings from chapter 6 in John's gospel which will be reading and reflecting over the next five weeks. The chapter is a Eucharistic centred section of John's gospel with the focus being on Jesus declaration of self identity "I am the Bread of Life".

We met Jesus sitting on the mountain - once again John presents Jesus in the teaching role, seated with the people drawing close to him looking for guidance and truth. It echos last weeks reading from Mark where Jesus looked on the crowd and had compassion and began teaching them. Looking to our own lives, it is a reminder that God is always there waiting for us; waiting to welcome us back no matter what. Like the father of the prodigal son, he is never going to cut us off; it is us who cut ourselves from God. Are we feeling lost, alone, looking for direction? Do we make time and space to encounter Jesus and hear what he wants to say to us.

The miracle of the feeding of the multitude with five barley loaves and two fish is a reminder of the generosity of God and the need for us to gather and support each other in community. Those that are prepared to put their trust in God no matter how little, will receive it back a thousand fold. Like the miracle of Cana, the miracle expresses the exuberant generosity of God. Are we open to the working out of that grace in our lives? But also are we open to the small things in life like God is; or do we focus too much on the "important" things?

The use of the barley loaves - which were the bread of the poor - reminds us that no matter how "lowly" the world sees and categorises things; God sees and loves them for their intrinsic work and that God's grace can transform every and any situation f we are open to allowing God's grace to work in us.

Other reflections on this weeks gospel:

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

Liturgical odds and ends

Popes Intentions for the month of August:

General Intention - Prisoners: That prisoners may be treated with justice and respect for their human dignity.

Mission Intention - Youth witness to Christ: That young people, called to follow Christ, may be willing to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

Divine Office: Psalter Week 1

Saints of the Week

July 30th - St Peter Chrysologus
July 31st - St Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuits)
August 1st - St Alphonsus Ligouri (founder of the Redemptorists)
August 2nd - St Peter Julian Eymard
August 3rd - Bl Philip Powell - (First Friday of the month)
August 4th - St John Vianney

25 Jul 2012

Feast of St James the Great - July 25th


Lord God,
you accepted the sacrifice of Saint James,
the first of your apostles to give his life for your sake.
May your Church find strength in his martyrdom
and support in his constant prayer.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Today is the liturgical feast day of St James know as James the Greater and this year Sacred Space 102fm has a greater than particular attention to this feast day as of course St James is the blog patron for 2012. St James is also the patron of Spain and at this difficult time, we remember the people of Spain and ask for the intercession of their great patron.

From CatholicCulture:

St. James, known as the Greater, in order to distinguish him from the other Apostle St. James, our Lord's cousin, was St. John's brother. With Peter and John he was one of the witnesses of the Transfiguration, as later he was also of the agony in the garden. He was beheaded in Jerusalem in 42 or 43 on the orders of Herod Agrippa. Since the ninth century Spain has claimed the honour of possessing his relics, though it must be said that actual proof is far less in evidence than the devotion of the faithful.

Of course on this programme, some of our regular listeners will know of our interest in the Camino de Santiago - The Way of St James.

From Catholic Culture:

The pilgrimage to St. James of Compostella in the Middle Ages attracted immense crowds; after the pilgrimage to Rome or the Holy Land, it was the most famous and the most frequented pilgrimage in Christendom. The pilgrim paths to Compostella form a network over Europe; they are dotted with pilgrims' hospices and chapels, some of which still exist.

We did a programme on the Camino which you can check out HERE.

Over at Blue Eyed Ennis, Phil has a round up of reflections and a few other pieces on St James including some nifty video links.


The second reading from the Office of Readings today:

From a homily on Matthew by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop
Sharers in the suffering of Christ

The sons of Zebedee press Christ: Promise that one may sit at your right side and the other at your left. What does he do? He wants to show them that it is not a spiritual gift for which they are asking, and that if they knew what their request involved, they would never dare make it. So he says: You do not know what you are asking, that is, what a great and splendid thing it is and how much beyond the reach even of the heavenly powers. Then he continues: Can you drink the cup which I must drink and be baptized with the baptism which I must undergo? He is saying: “You talk of sharing honors and rewards with me, but I must talk of struggle and toil. Now is not the time for rewards or the time for my glory to be revealed. Earthly life is the time for bloodshed, war and danger.”

Consider how by his manner of questioning he exhorts and draws them. He does not say: “Can you face being slaughtered? Can you shed your blood?” How does he put his question? Can you drink the cup? Then he makes it attractive by adding: which I must drink, so that the prospect of sharing it with him may make them more eager. He also calls his suffering a baptism, to show that it will effect a great cleansing of the entire world. The disciples answer him: We can! Fervor makes them answer promptly, though they really do not know what they are saying but still think they will receive what they ask for.

How does Christ reply? You will indeed drink my cup and be baptized with my baptism. He is really prophesying a great blessing for them, since he is telling them: “You will be found worthy of martyrdom; you will suffer what I suffer and end your life with a violent death, thus sharing all with me. But seats at my right and left are not mine to give; they belong to those for whom the Father has prepared them.” Thus, after lifting their minds to higher goals and preparing them to meet and overcome all that will make them desolate, he sets them straight on their request.

Then the other ten became angry at the two brothers. See how imperfect they all are: the two who tried to get ahead of the other ten, and the ten who were jealous of the two! But, as I said before, show them to me at a later date in their lives, and you will see that all these impulses and feelings have disappeared. Read how John, the very man who here asks for the first place, will always yield to Peter when it comes to preaching and performing miracles in the Acts of the Apostles. James, for his part, was not to live very much longer; for from the beginning he was inspired by great fervor and, setting aside all purely human goals, rose to such splendid heights that he straightway suffered martyrdom.


Other interesting links about today's feast day and associations with St James - in particular the Camino de Santiago:

Martin Sheen and his son, The Way writer/director Emilio Estevez, were on campus at Georgetown University for a special screening of the movie about the journey of a man making a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago or Way of St. James. The event was co-sponsored by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at Georgetown University and The College of William and Mary.



24 Jul 2012

The Future of the Catholic Church in Ireland - Turning the corner of renewal

MacGill Summer School 2012

Turning the Corner of Renewal

Speaking Notes of
Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin

Glenties, 24thJuly 2012

Some months ago a commentator on radio – in all good faith - said that he could not understand the Archbishop of Dublin. I seemed, he said, to be constantly speaking from both sides of my mouth and he felt he did not really know where I stood. On the one hand I had said that the Catholic Church in Ireland was at a crisis point and on the other hand I was saying that it had begun to “turn the corner” of renewal.

I do not see these as opposing comments. I believe that both reflect different aspects of the life of the Catholic Church in Ireland today. The problem is that those who see the Church in Ireland as being in crisis fail to see - or perhaps in some cases do not want to see - the Church already turning the corner to a renewed phase in its history. And those who feel we have turned the corner often feel that the Church has already definitively moved forward - perhaps much more than I would hold - and that it is time now to look forward with confidence and definitively archive the past.

Some years ago I spoke here in Glenties about the situation of the Church in Ireland. I can honestly say that I have found my task today in trying to analyse the situation of the Church in Ireland without a doubt much more difficult than it was then. There is no way I which I can make definitive statements. There is no way in which humanly I can unquestionably say that my vision for the Church in Ireland, at least in the short term, is optimistic or pessimistic. It is only the faith I have that Jesus will be with his Church always which gives me encouragement and light. On the human level there are perhaps more unknowns and challenges and dysfunctionalities than there were a few years ago.

I am by no means a born pessimist. I see the many and remarkable positive changes that have taken place in the Church in Ireland since Vatican II and indeed in recent years and in recent months. There are however many contradictions and levels of ambivalence in the way believers and non-believers look at and evaluate the Church and its role in Ireland today.

Let me give a first example. Priests in Ireland have experienced a very difficult time in recent years, not just because of the trauma of the scandals regarding the sexual abuse of children by priests, but also because of the changing culture in which the role of the priest in Irish society has become very different. Priests are challenged to live their ministry in a culture in which their self-understanding today is radically different to that of the time in which they entered into the seminary. Priests are being challenged in their work and feel that they are not receiving the formation and support they need to face the cultural and organizational aspects of the challenges of change.

On the other hand I believe that if surveys were only to ask the right questions, they might well find that trust and confidence and appreciation for the good, hard-working local priests in Ireland has if anything increased in recent years, as has the affection and the support which priests receive from their congregations.

Priests need to have that fact recognised and affirmed. They hear it and experience it every day from those with whom they work. They need to hear it in public comment. They need to hear it from their Bishops and their superiors. Being a priest today is following a lonely and unsettling furrow, but the vast majority of priests know that they have the human and spiritual resources to face those realities. If any group has faced and existentially lived through the crisis that the Church is experiencing in Ireland and have led the path to “turning the corner of renewal” it is priests.

One of the first great challenges that the Church in Ireland has to face is the challenge of vocations to the priesthood. Why is it that the numbers entering the seminaries are so low? Is the Church reaching out in the right direction? It is not my intention to enter into discussions here about the ordination of women or the introduction of married clergy. I am talking about the challenges that we face in the realities of the real life of the Church as it is today. We have now married deacons; we have committed, qualified and dedicated lay men and women in various pastoral and administrative services. In new structures of parish groupings, teams of priests, deacons and lay men and women will be working together to provide pastoral care within a wider area, each in accordance with their own calling. But we need priests.

It is not just that the number of candidates is low; it is also that many of those who present are fragile and some are much more traditional than those who went before them. I have no problem with priests or seminarians who come from a solid theologically-based traditional faith background. If anything, I would have greater anxieties regarding priests or candidates who simply go with the trends of the day and who lack a real spiritual and theological anchor. There is however a danger that superficial attachment to the externals of tradition may well be a sign of fearfulness and flight from changed realities: and that is not exactly what we need.

We came in Ireland from a very traditional Church and indeed there are many signs that the traditional rigid Church of more recent times that some look back to with approval may not have been what it appeared.

The seminary I entered in 1962, just days before the beginning of the Vatican Council, differed very little as regards the seminary rule and order of the day from that into which my professors had entered twenty or thirty years earlier. Indeed more than one of my professors had no difficulty in using for their lectures the theological notes which they had prepared ten or twenty years earlier.

Yet at that time theology was changing. The changes of Vatican II came to an Ireland which was perhaps too little conversant with the theological and liturgical developments that had been taking place in Europe and which were at the basis of the theology of Vatican II. It was clear, however, that our very static Latin textbooks were no longer the ones needed to respond to the current of change taking place in the world. My moral theology lectures on justice dealt in the abstract with questions that could have been asked one hundred years earlier. Its responses to the realities of the changing world were defined almost in simplistic and static question-and-answer formulae. The seminarian was to be given safe guidelines and clear-cut answers to the challenges of the changing world: and that no longer responded to the changing times.

There was a real desire within the Irish Church to adopt and apply the changes expressed by the Vatican Council. Sometimes, however, we tend to evaluate the results of Vatican II excessively in terms of what changes had taken place and where we feel there is more to be done. Vatican II was not simply a Council which fostered change and things new. It did not set out to create a new Church. If anything it was a Council which brought us backwards; it brought us back beyond what we had experienced in our youth and education to a deeper understanding of the faith of the Church, which was rooted in the scriptures themselves and in the constant tradition of the Church.

Change did take place. The pace of change in Church and in society was such as to challenge fundamental assumptions. Change is difficult to live with and to manage and the rigid culture of Catholic Ireland in pre-Conciliar days had not provided us with adequate norms of discernment adapted to the new situation.

One of the challenges we face when we talk of “turning the corner” is that one might be tempted to think that “turning the corner” meant either returning to the safe and well-known environment of the past, or opening out the pathway to a new modern, safe and well-lit motorway. In today’s rapid cultural change “turning the corner” is unlikely to be the end-product of renewal. The life of the believer, and life in the Church, is about a faith journey on which we encounter never ending corners to challenge us. We are called to adapt and respond to new situations through a profound insight into the teaching of Jesus Christ which the enables the Church to rediscover ever deeper its own true identity and mediate meaning in a world of change and uncertainty. “Turning the corner” of renewal in the Church means taking the risk of a faith which always entails elements of the unknown.

“Turning the corner” and moving forward does not mean turning one’s back on the past. There is no way in which the Church in Ireland can put definitively behind it the scandals of the sexual abuse of vulnerable children by priests and religious. This does not mean that the Church becomes pathologically fixated on a dark moment of its history. Neither does it mean that the Church overlooks the realities of the past and the suffering, past and present, of the victims and survivors.

Despite many investigations I believe that – as a Church and as a society - we still have to reflect adequately on the deeper roots of the abuse crisis and the response to it by the Church. I do not accept that is enough to say that it happened in different times and people reacted as best they could in the context of the day. I am not attempting here to criticize the decisions of individuals or to challenge their good faith. That is not my task and I am not the one to judge. It has been said to me even by fellow bishops that I would have acted in the same way as they did at the time. I cannot say that I would not have done so. This does not however mean that we abandon the search to deepen our understanding of what happened.

In the Archdiocese of Dublin we have published figures which showed that 84% of the allegations the diocese received over a fifty year period referred to events which took place in a twenty-five-year period from the late 1960’s to the 1980’s. The number of allegations relating to the successive years is greatly reduced. We have to try to understand better what happened to produce such an explosion of abuse at a particular point of time and how such a horrendous situation was not recognised for what it was. This attempt at understanding obviously must look at the responsibilities of all in society at the time, but there is a special responsibility to ask deep and uncomfortable questions as to why this happened in the Church of Jesus Christ.

The truth can be painful, but I believe that we still have a long journey to travel to fathom fully the truth and to accept that truth and to internalise that truth, about what happened within the Church in Ireland at a particular moment in time.

In today’s economic climate there is understandably no great interest in establishing new and costly investigations into the further aspects of the abuse scandal, even though – as is well known – I believe that there are some instances where the public interest would be served by public investigation. The answers to some questions are not to be found just in the archives of the Church.

Even if no further Commissions are likely, this does not mean that men and women of courage and conviction should not continue to seek other ways to shed the light of discernment on how the presence of the Church in serving the most deprived went wrong, and allow the truth to emerge. The fact that thousands of children were abused within the Church of Jesus Christ in Ireland is a scar that the Church will bear within it for generations to come. There is no way that it can be put aside.

21 Jul 2012

22nd July 2012 - Sacrament of Ordination (16th Sunday of Ordinary time Year B)

On this weeks programme we resume our series on the Sacraments of the church and this week we are joined by Fr Chris O'Donnell to discuss the Sacrament of Ordination.

This weeks podcast is available HERE.

Sacrament of Ordination

This week we are continuing our series on the Sacraments and we are joined by Fr Chris O'Donnell to discuss the Sacrament of Ordination. Fr Chris takes us through a reflection/discussion on one of the Sacrament at the Service of Communion - sacraments that can only be once.
He looks at what is a sacrament? We all have a different take on this and so it might be good to establish a working definition as such. What are the steps along the way? – Just to remind ourselves that it is not a ‘one day’ thing, there were certain ‘orders’ (as they use to be called) involved along the way.

We look at what is involved in the actual ordination rite and Fr Chris leads us through the symbolism and signs of the ordination rite and what are the meanings and understandings behind each step -
  • The Calling and presentation of the candidate
  • The election by the bishop and consent of the people
  • Homily
  • Veni Creator hymn 
  • Examination of the Candidate
  • Making of vows of obedience
  • Litany of the Saints and the prostration by the candidate
  • Prayer of Consecration and Laying on of hands
  • Investiture with the priestly stole and chasuble
  • Annointing of the hands with chrism
  • Presentation of the chalice and paten (gifts from the people of God to be offered to God)
  • Kiss of Peace
Fr Chris' talk about the sacrament is excerpted from the main programme podcast and can be listened to HERE.

Fr Chris's talk on the programme on Vocation Sunday is available HERE.
Further links and information on the Sacrament are available at the following:
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catholic Encyclopedia (1911)
Ask.com - Sacrament of Ordination (a lot of good links at this link giving further information)
American Catholic.org - The Sacraments (links to a couple of short articles looking at various points concerning the sacrament)
Gospel - Mark 6: 30-34

We didn't get time to reflect on this weeks gospel on this weeks programme. However, if you are looking for some resources/reflections for lectio on this weeks gospel, some reflections are available from:

Word on Fire
Sunday Reflections
English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy

Saints of the Week
Divine Office - Psalter Week 4

July 23rd - St Bridget of Sweden (co-patron of Europe)
July 24th - St Declan of Ardmore
July 25th - St James the Greater (the saint associated with the Camino de Santiago and Patron Saint of the Sacred Space 102fm blog for 2012) 
July 26th - St Joachim and St Anne (parents of BV Mary, grandparents of Jesus and patron saint of grandparents)
July 27th - Bl Mary Magdalene Martinengo
July 28th - Bl John Soreth

17 Jul 2012

Poor Clares - The Soul of the City (UPDATED!)

The Poor Clare Sisters of Nuns' Island, Galway

Last night's Creedon's Cities on RTE1 featured the Poor Clare sisters from Nuns' Island, Galway.  The Poor Clares are an enclosed contemplative religious community, which means that as well as the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, they take a fourth vow of enclosure.  This means that the Poor Clare sisters rarely leave the monastery.  Does this mean that they are cut off from the world??  On the contrary, by withdrawing from the world, they have the time and vocation to carry the whole world in their hearts to God in prayer.

Sr. Bonaventure speaking with John Creedon on Creedon's Cities

The Poor Clares rely on God's providence to take care of them, but because it is good to work, they also make, pack and distribute altar breads for the Diocese.  This is particularly appropriate because their day is structured around the Mass, Eucharistic adoration and the Liturgy of the Hours, in other words, around prayer, which is their most important 'work'.  The Poor Clares are women who have dedicated their lives to God by following the Rule of St. Clare.  Yet, in doing so they have not lost their own individual personalities. Each vocation story is different as each person is unique.  Some of the sisters' vocation stories are available here.

It may seem strange to see the Poor Clares on television, but did you know that St. Clare is the patron saint of television?  One Christmas Eve, St. Clare was so sick that she could not leave her bed to attend Mass.  The Lord granted her a miraculous vision to participate in and see the Mass from her sick bed.  Pope Pius XII declared St. Clare the patron saint of television in 1958 because he recognised her interior, penetrating vision.  The full  interview with John Creedon is available here.  More images from the programme are available on the Franciscan website here.

This year the Poor Clares are celebrating the 800th anniversary of the foundation of their order.  In 1212, St. Clare, then called Clare Offreduccio, left her home on Palm Sunday to join St. Francis and his followers.  The Feast of St. Clare is August 11th 2012.  To read more about St. Clare, click here.  

St. Clare

To visit the Poor Clares' website in Galway: www.poorclares.ie or to visit their facebook page click here.  The facebook page is managed externally for the sisters.

Lorraine will be visiting the Poor Clare sisters in August, so watch this space and our podcast page for an interview with the sisters!

16 Jul 2012

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

July 16th is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid 13th centuries. They built a chapel in the midst of their hermitages which they dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, whom they conceived of in chivalric terms as the "Lady of the place"

Since the 15th century, popular devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel has centered on the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel also known as the Brown Scapular, a sacramental associated with promises of Mary's special aid for the salvation of the devoted wearer. Traditionally, Mary is said to have given the Scapular to an early Carmelite named Saint Simon Stock. The liturgical feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is celebrated on 16 July.

A hymn associated with the feast is the Flos Carmeli (Flower of Carmel). Flos Carmeli was used by the Carmelites as the sequence for the Feast of St. Simon Stock, and, since 1663, for the Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel. It also appears in an ancient metrical office of Carmel as an antiphon and responsory. Its composition is ascribed to St. Simon Stock himself (ca 1165 - 1265).

FLOS Carmeli,
vitis florigera,
splendor caeli,
virgo puerpera
FLOWER of Carmel,
Tall vine blossom laden;
Splendor of heaven,
Childbearing yet maiden.
None equals thee.
Mater mitis
sed viri nescia
esto propitia
stella maris.
Mother so tender,
Who no man didst know,
On Carmel's children
Thy favors bestow.
Star of the Sea.
Radix Iesse
germinans flosculum
nos ad esse
tecum in saeculum
Strong stem of Jesse,
Who bore one bright flower,
Be ever near us
And guard us each hour,
who serve thee here.
Inter spinas
quae crescis lilium
serva puras
mentes fragilium
Purest of lilies,
That flowers among thorns,
Bring help to the true heart
That in weakness turns
and trusts in thee.
fortis pugnantium
furunt bella
tende praesidium
Strongest of armor,
We trust in thy might:
Under thy mantle,
Hard press'd in the fight,
we call to thee.
Per incerta
prudens consilium
per adversa
iuge solatium
Our way uncertain,
Surrounded by foes,
Unfailing counsel
You give to those
who turn to thee.
Mater dulcis
Carmeli domina,
plebem tuam
reple laetitia
qua bearis.
O gentle Mother
Who in Carmel reigns,
Share with your servants
That gladness you gained
and now enjoy.
clavis et ianua,
fac nos duci
quo, Mater, gloria
coronaris. Amen
Hail, Gate of Heaven,
With glory now crowned,
Bring us to safety
Where thy Son is found,
true joy to see.

The second reading from the Office of Readings today is from a beautiful sermon by St. Leo the Great, pope:

A royal virgin of the house of David is chosen. She is to bear a holy child, one who is both God and man. She is to conceive him in her soul before she conceives him in her body. In the face of so unheard of an event she is to know no fear through ignorance of the divine plan; the angel tells her what is to be accomplished in her by the Holy Spirit. She believes that there will be no loss of virginity, she who is soon to be the mother of God. Why should she lose heart at this new form of conceiving when she has been promised that it will be effected through the power of the Most High? She believes, and her faith is confirmed by the witness of a previous wonder: against all expectation Elizabeth is made fruitful. God has enabled a barren woman to be with child; he must be believed when he makes the same promise to a virgin.

The Son of God who was in the beginning with God, through whom all things were made, without whom nothing was made, became man to free him from eternal death. He stooped down to take up our lowliness without loss to his own glory. He remained what he was; he took up what he was not. He wanted to join the very nature of a servant to that nature in which he is equal to God the Father. He wanted to unite both natures in an alliance so wonderful that the glory of the greater would not annihilate the lesser, nor the taking up of the lower diminish the greatness of the higher.

What belongs to each nature is preserved intact and meets the other in one person: lowliness is taken up by greatness, weakness by power, mortality by eternity. To pay the debt of our human condition, a nature incapable of suffering is united to a nature capable of suffering, and true God and true man are forged into the unity that is the Lord. This was done to make possible the kind of remedy that fitted our human need: one and the same mediator between God and men able to die because of one nature, able to rise again because of the other. It was fitting, therefore, that the birth which brings salvation brought no corruption to virginal integrity; the bringing forth of Truth was at the same time the safeguarding of virginity.

Dearly beloved, this kind of birth was fitting for Christ, the power and the wisdom of God: a birth in which he was one with us in our human nature but far above us in his divinity. If he were not true God, he would not be able to bring us healing; if he were not true man, he would not be able to give us an example.

And so at the birth of our Lord, the angels sing in joy: Glory to God in the highest, and they proclaim peace to his people on earth as they see the heavenly Jerusalem being built from all the nations of the world. If the angels on high are so exultant at this marvelous work of God’s goodness, what joy should it not bring to the lowly hearts of men?

14 Jul 2012

14th July 2012 - 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) - The Presentation Sisters

On this weeks programme, we are joined by Sr Elizabeth Ryan PBVM who introduces us to the Presentation Sisters founded by Nano Nagle. We have our regular sharing on the gospel reading for the Sunday and some other odds and ends.
This weeks podcast is available HERE.

Presentation Sisters - celebrating 175 years in Limerick

John interviews Sr Elizabeth Ryan from the Presentation sisters who were celebrating 175 years in Limerick. The Presentation Sisters were formed in Cork city by Nano Nagle - the Woman of the Lantern - in 1775. Nano Nagle founded the Institute of the Charitable Instruction of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, on Christmas Eve, 1775, in Cork, Ireland in response to the need to provide basic education to Catholic children in the city who due to the Penal Laws had no access to education. This foundation was the fruit of more than twenty years of loving service to the poor of that city where she had founded her first school as a lay woman, in 1754. Sr Elizabeth tell us the story of this great pioneer of education.

To-day, Nano Nagle is regarded as one of the great pioneers of Catholic education. Her work laid the foundation for a voluntary school system in Ireland and for the wide range of ministries to which Presentation Sisters around the world remain committed to this day. Her spirit and tradition continue to inspire Presentation Sisters and Friends of Nano everywhere.
The sisters came to Sexton Street and opened a small school assisted by Maria King in 1837 who invited them from Cork to work in Limerick City. Currently there are 52 Presentation houses in the province, 272 sisters and a large number of Associate members and Colleagues.

Resource websites:
Prayers through Intercession of Nano Nagle

O God, You filled the heart of Nano Nagle with loving care and compassion for the needy. Through her intercession, help us in our need… Grant that, like her, we may do Your Will, and that we may grow in Your Love and in the love of neighbour. Through Christ our Lord.
O God, Who enkindled in Nano Nagle, the fire of Your love and a consuming desire to serve You in any part of the world, grant that we also may love You, and make You much loved. And if it be for the salvation of souls, grant that soon she may be raised to the altars of Your Church. Through Christ our Lord.

Gospel - Mark 6: 7-13

We continue with Mark's gospel again this week where we continue the reading of chapter 6. Jesus is sending out the Twelve, commissioned to preach the Good News. It is almost as if we are listening to the reconfiguration of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Twelve are sent out in pairs to share the Good News, a sending which still applies to us today.

"Go, you are sent" - these are the words at the end of Mass with which we are sent out into the community into the world and by our lives and witness we are asked to proclaim the Good News. It is a command, an imperative that applies to us all. We are called to share our relationship with Jesus with those with whom we meet; christianity is not a set of rules and regulations, it is a relationship of love with Jesus Christ.

The apostles are sent out, told to live and rely on the community, to live in the now. We are asked to live in the now, even though it may be the almost impossible thing to do. We are asked to live and rest in the Lord in the now. God is not present in the past, he is not out there in the future. Rather as he described himself, I AM; present here and now with us.

Other reflections on this weeks gospel:

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

Liturgical odds and ends

Divine Office - Week 3

Saints of the Week

July 16th - Our Lady of Mount Carmel
July 17th - Sixteen Blessed Teresian Martyrs of Compiègne
July 18th - St Frederick of Utrecht
July 19th - St Macrina the Younger
July 20th - St Apollinaris of Ravenna
July 21st - St Lawrence of Brindisi

13 Jul 2012

St Swithin's Day - 15th July - Rain, rain and more rain

"St. Swithin's Day, if it does rain,
Full forty days, it will remain,
St. Swithin's Day, if it be fair,
For forty days, t'will rain no more".

Considering the spate of rain that has hit the Emerald Isle over the last few months, the thoughts of a further 40 days of it would bring you to your knees. But tradition has it that if it rains on St Swithin's Day, we are promised another 40 days of it. But who was St Swithin and why is he associated with such a dire weather prediction?

From Catholic Encyclopedia:

Source: Wikipedia

"ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hast made this day honourable for us by the translation of blessed Swithun, thy Confessor and Bishop: Grant thy Church joy in this feast, that we who reverently celebrate his memory on earth may by his prayers be lifted up to heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Bishop of Winchester; died 2 July, 862

Very little is known of this saint's life, for his biographers constructed their "Lives" long after his death and there is hardly any mention of him in contemporary documents. Swithin was one of the two trusted counsellors of Egbert, King of the West Saxons (d. 839), helping him in ecclesiastical matters, while Ealstan of Sherborne was his chief advisor He probably entrusted Swithin with the education of his son Ethelwulf and caused the saint to be elected to the Bishopric of Winchester in succession to Helmstan. His consecration by Ceolnoth, Archbishop of Canterbury, seems to have taken place on 30 October, 852. On his deathbed Swithin begged that he should be buried outside the north wall of his cathedral where passers-by should pass over his grave and raindrops from the eaves drop upon it.

More than a century later (931) his body was translated with great pomp to a shrine within the new church erected by Bishop Ethelwulf (d. 984). A number of miraculous cures took place and Swithin was canonized by popular acclamation. In 1093 his remains were again translated to the new church built by Bishop Walkelin. The shrine was destroyed and the relics scattered in 1538.

It has often been said that the saint was a Benedictine monk and even Prior of Winchester but there is no evidence for this statement. From the first translation of his relics in 984 till the destruction of the shrine St. Swithin was the patron of Winchester Cathedral. He is best known from the popular superstition attached to his name and expressed in the following rhyme:  
St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.

There have been many attempts to explain the origin of this belief, but none have proved generally satisfactory. A similar belief attaches in France to 8 June, the feast of Sts. Gervasius and Protasius, and to other feasts in different countries (see Notes and Queries, 1885, XII, 137, 253). St. Swithin's feast is kept on 15 July, the date of his first translation, and is retained in the Anglican Calendar.

Not a very satisfactory explanation for the rain connection; so having another look around the Internet for an explanation, we came across this:

A legend says that as the Bishop lay on his deathbed, he asked to be buried out of doors, where he would be trodden on and rained on. For nine years, his wishes were followed, but then, the monks of Winchester attempted to remove his remains to a splendid shrine inside the cathedral on 15 July 971. According to legend there was a heavy rain storm either during the ceremony or on its anniversary.
This led to the old wives' tale (folklore) that if it rains on St Swithin's Day (July 15th), it will rain for the next 40 days in succession, and a fine 15th July will be followed by 40 days of fine weather.

More information on St Swithin:

Catholic Online
Catholic Saints Info

But all joking aside, the weather is starting to have a serious impact on the farming community across the country and Bishop Dennis Brennan from the diocese of Ferns has called for prayers to be said seeking an end to the rain and some fine weather before we face into serious difficulties saving the harvest this year.

Irish Catholic
The Catholic Herald
Irish Independent - "Let's all pray for an end to rain, urges bishop"

 Graciously hear us, O Lord, when we call upon You,
and grant unto our supplications a calm atmosphere,
that we, who are justly afflicted for our sins,
may, by Your protecting mercy, experience pardon.
Christ our Lord.