31 Jan 2013

Don Bosco is coming to visit Limerick!

No! Not that Bosco!
This one!
St John Bosco more affectionately known as Don Bosco

Well to be precise, Don Bosco's relics are visiting Ireland and will be stopping in four different stops in county Limerick and city! Which is great news to share as of course today Jan 31st is the feast day of this great saint. St John Bosco is the founder of the Salesian family of religious orders including the FMA sisters which Sr Dympna Clancy - a regular contributor of SS102fm - is a member of. It also seems fortuitous that Don Bosco who was so concerned with the education and care of young people is visiting Ireland at a time when the Catholic ethos of schools and education is under threat.
John Bosco was born in 1815 in the village of Becchi in the Piedmont district of northern Italy and grew up on his parents’ small farm. On the death of his father when John was only two years old, his mother Margaret and her three boys found it increasingly difficult to support themselves. Even as a small boy, John had to help his brothers on the farm. In spite of this he was remembered as a happy and imaginative child. He liked to entertain his friends with juggling and walking on a tightrope but would insist on beginning and ending these sessions with a prayer. As he grew older, he began to think of becoming a priest, although poverty and lack of education seemed to rule this out. A kind priest, recognising the boy’s intelligence, taught him to read and write. By taking odd jobs in the village and through the help of his mother and some kind neighbours, John managed to finish his schooling and then was able to enter the diocesan seminary in Turin.

As a seminarian he devoted his spare time to looking after the poor boys who roamed through the slums of the city. Every Sunday he taught them catechism, supervised their games and amused them with stories and tricks. His kindness soon won their confidence and they became regulars at his Sunday School. Upon becoming a priest, Don Bosco knew very clearly in what direction his vocation was to be lived. The Industrial Revolution was spreading into Northern Italy resulting in a great deal of poverty, turmoil and revolution on the streets of the city. Young people lived their awful lives, whatever the cost to themselves or others. He was shocked at the conditions they endured and the things they did to enable them to eat, and to survive. This was the cost of the industrial ‘improvement’ that would eventually produce the high standards people would later enjoy. The young priest, Don Bosco, clearly saw his vocation when he visited the prisons. He wrote: “To see so many children, from 12 to 18 years of age, all healthy, strong, intelligent, lacking spiritual and material food, was something that horrified me.” In the face of such a situation he made his decision: “I must, by any available means, prevent children ending up here.” He knew that a new approach was required. He needed to show there were better ways for these healthy intelligent young people to lead their lives.

Following his ordination to the priesthood in 1841 at the age of 26, he became assistant to the chaplain of an orphanage at Valocco, on the outskirts of Turin. However, he did not stay there very long. When he was refused permission to allow his Sunday School boys to play on the orphanage grounds, he resigned. He began looking for a permanent home for them but no “respectable” neighbourhood would accept the rowdy youngsters. Finally, in a rather rundown part of the city, where no one was likely to protest, the first oratory was established and named after Saint Francis de Sales. At first the boys got their schooling elsewhere but, as more volunteer teachers came forward, it was possible to hold classes at the oratory. Enrolment increased so rapidly that by 1849 there were three oratories in various places in the city. By now Don Bosco had been considering founding a religious congregation to carry on and expand the work. Surprisingly, this proposal was supported by a notoriously anti-clerical cabinet minister named Rattazzi. He had seen the results of John’s apostolate and, even though an Italian law forbade the founding of religious communities at that time, Rattazzi promised government support. Don Bosco went to Rome in 1858 and, at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, drew up a rule for his new community, the Society of Saint Francis de Sales (more popularly known as the Salesians). Four years later he founded a congregation for women, the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians, to take care of abandoned girls. Finally, to supplement the work of both congregations, he organized an association of lay people interested in supporting their work.

When others talked to him of his great achievements, he would always interrupt and say “I have done nothing by myself. It is Our Lady who has done everything.’ Exhausted from touring Europe to raise funds for a new church in Rome, Don Bosco died on January 31, 1888 at the age of 73. He was canonised in 1934 by Pope Pius XI. The work of John Bosco continues today in over 1,000 Salesian oratories throughout the world. He is remembered for his warmth of manner and in his belief that to give complete trust and love is the most effective way to nourish virtue in others. His success can be summed up in the words spoken of his chosen patron, St Francis de Sales: “The measure of his love was that he loved without measure.

You can find out more about Don Bosco and the Salesians in Ireland here and here.

UPDATE: Joanne McPortland over at Patheos has a lovely but challenging piece on Showing the Beauty of Virtue: Don Bosco’s Legacy of Care

The Pilgrimage of the relics of Don Bosco

A casket with the relic of Don Bosco has been on pilgrimage throughout the world since the 5th of April 2009 to prepare to celebrate the bi-centenary of Don Bosco’s birth (1815-2015).
The casket will arrive in Ireland on Saturday 23rd February 2013 and will travel throughout the island until the 7th of March 2013. The relics will leave Ireland on 8th March, travelling on to Croatia.

More information about the pilgrimage is available at www.donboscorelics.ie

Below is a video from catholicireland.net about the pilgrimage. 


1. Dublin, Crumlin, St Agnes Church – Sat 23rd & Sun 24th Feb 2013.
2. Celbridge, Co. Kildare, Salesian College – Mon 25th Feb 2013.
3. Ballinakill, Co. Laois, St Brigid’s Church – Tue 26th Feb 2013.
4. Portlaoise, Co. Laois, SS Peter and Paul Church – Tue 26th Feb 2013.
5. Limerick, Milford, Our Lady Help of Christians Church – Wed 27th Feb 2013.
6. Limerick, Southill, Holy Family Church – Thu 28th Feb 2013.
7. Pallaskenry, Co. Limerick, Salesian College – Fri 1st March 2013.
8. Knock, Co. Mayo, Basilica – Sat 2nd & Sun 3rd March 2013. - RTE TV Mass on Sun 3rd at 11am.
9. Navan, Co. Meath, St Mary’s Church – Sun 3rd & Mon 4th March 2013.
10. Belfast, St Peter’s Cathedral – Mon 4th & tue 5th March 2013.
11. Dublin, S. McDermott St, Our Lady of Lourdes – Tue 5th & Wed 6th March 2013.
12. Limerick, Fernbank, Our Lady of the Rosary – Thu 7th March 2013.

International pilgrimage

The casket has already visited Italy, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Perù and Ecuador. It then travelled to Columbia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Porto Rico, Haiti, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States and Canada. In 2011 it visited Japan, Indonesia, Australia, China, Taiwan, India, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sri Lanka. In 2012 it has visited Uganda, Rwanda, (South?)Sudan, Togo, Mozambique, Ghana and Spain.

Everywhere the arrival of the casket has aroused great interest, participation and involvement and has brought together children, young people and adults to welcome Don Bosco, and to learn more about the Piedmontese saint, his Preventive System and his commitment to working with the young.


For our international readers we should clarify that the puppet you see at the top of the post is known as Bosco and any Irish person over the age of 18 and under 40 will generally associate the name Bosco with a very popular children's television character on RTE in the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's.

30 Jan 2013

February 2nd - Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas Day)

Simeon the Just
Andre Durand
Lord, now you let your servant go in peace,

your word has been fulfilled:

My own eyes have seen the salvation,

which you have prepared in the sight of every people:

a light to reveal you to the nations

and the glory of your people Israel
Febuary 2nd is the feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, forty days after his birth when Mary and Joseph went up to Jerusalem to ransom him according to the Law of Moses. The feast used to be known as the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is more often known as Candlemas Day as tradition holds that all the candles to be used in the church for the coming year are blessed on this day.
You can read up on the history of the feast and other reflections on previous blog posts here and here.
Over at Blue Eyed Ennis, Phil has a wonderful round up of her own previous reflections on this feast and also some excellent links as well.
The feast day is also set aside as the Day for Consecrated Life celebrating all the men and women who faithfully live out their vowed lives consecrated to the Lord. Given the bad press that Irish religious have had over the last twenty years, perhaps days like this are a reminder to us how much we in Ireland owe to the many silent and now increasingly forgotten contributors who ran our hospitals, schools and social institutions where the State was unable or unwilling to do the same.

A documentary about three Irish Missionaries will be screened on RTE at 10.15pm on Thursday, 31st January. Film-maker Ruan Magan travels to some of the world's remotest regions to meet three missionaries who carry out their duties in some of the toughest circumstances on the planet. John Glynn, who carries out his work for We Care Foundation in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Pat Murray, a Loreto sister who was employed in education in Ireland and is now in charge of Solidarity with South Sudan, and Pat Brennan, a Divine Word Missionary living in the Amazonian rain forest in Brazil, all tell their stories of endurance and faith in the face of extreme adversity

28 Jan 2013

February 1st - St Bridget of Ireland - UPDATED

St Brigid of Ireland by Richard King
Rather than reposting the same thing (after all there are only so many ways we can relate Bridget's story) please have a look at our previous posts on this great Irish festival of faith:
Other links:

This old litany is of unknown origin.

Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, 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, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Queen of virgins, Pray for us.
Saint Brigid, Pray for us.
Mary of the Gael, Pray for us.
St. Brigid, Patroness of Ireland, Pray for us.
St. Brigid, shining light of virtue and sanctity, Pray for us.
St. Brigid, consecrated spouse of Jesus Christ, Pray for us.
St. Brigid, foundress of Kildare, Pray for us.
St. Brigid, cornerstone of the monastic institute in the Isle of Saints, Pray for us. 
St. Brigid, great model of Irish virgins, Pray for us.
St. Brigid, mother of religious, Pray for us.
St. Brigid, pattern of religious perfection, Pray for us.
St. Brigid, intercessor for the Irish Church, Pray for us.
St. Brigid, mediatrix for the Irish race, Pray for us.
St. Brigid, protectress of the holy faith planted by Saint Padrig, Pray for us.
St. Brigid, enjoying with him the clear vision of God, Pray for us. 
St. Brigid, whose one desire was to satisfy the poor, drive out hardship, and spare every miserable man, Pray for 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, O Lord.Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

V. Pray for us, O glorious Saint Brigid  
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

O God, Who dost rejoice with the memory of the blessed Saint Brigid, Thy virgin and abbess, mercifully grant that we may be assisted by her merits, by whose chastity we are illumined.
Through Jesus Christ Thy Son Our Lord.

R. Amen.


Ever wondered how to make a St Bridget's Cross?

Details of Feile Bride available HERE

26 Jan 2013

27th January - Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) is commemorated on 27th January each year throughout the world.

The 27th of January was chosen as it is the anniversary of the day in 1945 on which the Soviet Army liberated the largest Nazi concentration camp - Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland
Further info from Yad Vasham and the Council of Christian and Jews. Other links and resources HERE.

25 Jan 2013

27th January 2013 - 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) - Interview with David Quinn Iona Institute

On this weeks programme, John and Lorraine are joined by David Quinn, director of the Iona Institute to discuss his own faith journey and challenges facing Christians in Ireland today. We have our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel and other odds and ends.

This weeks programmes podcast is available HERE.

Interview with David Quinn

David Quinn is the director of the Iona Institute which is a think-tank which promotes the place of marriage and religion in society.  David is a well known journalist who specialises in religious and social affairs. Currently he has columns in both The Irish Independent and The Irish Catholic. He frequently appears on radio and television programmes and also contributes to numerous magazines overseas.

David tells us of his journey in faith including his lapse from the faith and how the witness of his wife's faith community encouraged him to actually go and discover the basics of his catholic faith which in turn led him to be a more out spoken on many issues.

He explores such challenges as the place of religion in the public square, the state support of denominational schools and the understanding of marriage and family in society and how it lead to the formation of the Iona Institute.

The interview with David is excerpted from the programme and is available HERE.

Gospel - Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21

And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
We pick up with Luke's gospel this week as in this liturgical year, it is Luke's account which we will listen and reflect on through out the year. Luke's gospel is the longest of the four gospels and is written in a very structured way. Tradition holds that Luke was a gentile convert and a second generation christian in the sense that he wasn't one of the eye witnesses to Jesus' ministry on earth. He is regarded as being a highly educated man and pious tradition tells us he was a physician. It is a very Marian gospel with many details and accounts such as the infancy narratives at the beginning but also inspired by St Paul as Luke was believed to have been Paul's missionary companion.

There are two parts to this weeks gospel reading. The first is an introduction to the whole gospel and is addressed to each person who reads it seeking God, rather than a specific person; a reminder to each one of us individually that the Good News is addressed to us individually.

The second part of the reading occurs after the baptism in the Jordan where Jesus returns to his native Galilee region and in particular returns to Nazareth. As was his normal practise, he attends sabbath at the local synagogue and in turn stands up to read from the prophet Isaiah and then sits to teach (a symbol of teaching authority). The reading from the prophet reminds us always to have hope; for at the time of Isaiah it was a reminder to the people of Israel to take care of the weak and vulnerable in their society; a call which Jesus echoed and demonstrated through out his public ministry and a call which still echos down to us today. It is also a gospel of hope to those who are on the margins, the outcasts of our society, who feel abandoned and alone that even today these words are being fulfilled as God draws ever closer to them even in the midst of their suffering and despair.

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
Irish Domincans
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections

Liturgical odds and ends

Divine Office - Week 3

Saints of the Week

January 28th - St Thomas Aquinas (doctor of the Church)
January 29th - St Blath of Kildare
January 30th - St Aidan (bishop) and also Bl Margaret Ball and Francis Taylor (martyrs)
January 31st - St John Bosco
February 1st - St Brigid co-patroness of Ireland (First Friday)
February 2nd - Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (aka Candlemass or the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary) - World Day for Consecrated Life

Popes Intentions for February 2013

General Intention - That migrant families - in particular mothers - may be sustained and accompanied in their difficulties.

Missionary Intention - The peoples experiencing war and conflicts may lead the way in building a future of peace.

24 Jan 2013

Quotes of the Day

There are two kinds of deserts. The desolute wastelands, with their silences and overwhelming night skies, their hidden dangers, and the demands put on those who would enter them......we have also know another kind of desert - one that is constructed either by human malevolence (the gulags and camps..) or by human indifference and neglect (the slums and innter cities of our urban landscape)....

It was Thomas Merton who taught us that solitude is not simply a matter of geography. All Christians need to find their desert if they wish to imitate the Christ who opened his ministry in one.....

The flight to the desert is not an effort to spurn the "world" and its secular inhabitants. Instead the desert is a school of love, a school of prayer, where we can learn to enter more deeply into the mystery of God who, out of love, entered so intimately into our humanity........

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had been a poor man and a worker. As a carpenter in Nazareth he had, in those lowly circumstances, embodied the Gospel message in its entirety, before ever announcing it in words....

.....Every circumstance no matter how unforeseen and every person no matter how poor, harbors an invitation to communion with God......

Nothing is to be gained from the search for God in the desert if it does not make it easier to find God in the midst of one's fellow human beings.....

A Life of prayer need not relieve one of a passion for social justice and a spirit of solidarity. At the same time....social activists ...in the midst of their good works...must preserve a place of stillness, a place where they can listen to the word of God and find renewal......

....The heart of the Gospel is to make of ourselves an oasis of love in whatever desert we might find ourselves....

- "Letters from the Desert" - Carlo Caretto (Anniversary Edition, Orbis Books, 2002)

23 Jan 2013

Year of Faith - Papal General Audiences

In his weekly catechesis, the Pope talked about the Creed and the power it holds in its first words: 'I believe in God.' The Pope explained what it actually means to say 'I believe.' He reflected on this by saying “At the beginning of the Creed, we say 'I believe in God'.

Faith is our response to the God who first speaks to us, makes himself known and
calls us to enter into communion with Him.

He went on to say that in the Bible, Christians can read and understand concrete ways in which faith helps people in their daily lives. As an example, Benedict XVI talked about Abraham, who allowed his faith to lead him into the unknown.

“Like Abraham, we too are called to let faith shape our thoughts and actions in accordance with God’saving word, even when this runs contrary to the thinking and ways of this world.”

Full text of the general audience available HERE and HERE.


Reasons to consider religious life.....

Over at Irish Dominican Vocations, Fr Gerard Dunne OP notes that in the USA "the Catholic church in America has just concluded it's annual 'Vocation Awareness Week'. The 'week' originated in 1976. It is a week-long celebration of the Catholic Church in the United States dedicated to promote vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life through prayer and education, and to renew their prayers and support for those who are considering one of these particular vocations. As part of the education segment about religious vocations, the video above was produced to demonstrate the many reasons that men and women have joined religious life. It's interesting to note how many are drawn to the life by the witness of some of the members of the congregation.

There seems to me to be no reason whatever why we can't hold a similar yearly vocations awareness week in Ireland. Anyone interested?"

22 Jan 2013

On this weeks programme.........

....John and Lorraine are going to be joined by David Quinn of the Iona Institute to discuss his own faith journey and his views on some of the challenges facing christians in Ireland today.

David Quinn is the director of the Iona Institute which is a think-tank which promotes the place of marriage and religion in society.  David is a well known journalist who specialises in religious and social affairs. Currently he has columns in both The Irish Independent and The Irish Catholic. He frequently appears on radio and television programmes and also contributes to numerous magazines overseas.

Habemus episcopum IV - Prayer for the Bishop Elect (and the date is set for the episcopal consecration)

With the official date set as April 14th (3rd Sunday of Easter) for the rites to consecrate and install the successor to the See of St Munchin on the cathedra in St John's Cathedral in Limerick; the following prayer has been suggested for the new bishop-elect Msgr Brendan Leahy.

Fr Tony Mullins (Diocesan Administrator) and
Msgr Brendan Leahy (Bishop-elect, Limeric)

Prayer for Bishop Designate Fr. Brendan Leahy
Heavenly Father, you sent Jesus to shepherd your people and the Holy Spirit to make your people one.
Send your Holy Spirit to anoint our new Bishop-designate Brendan Leahy, that he may continue the work of renewal in the Church and unite our parishes, priests and people in love, truth and wisdom.
Give him a true shepherd's heart like that of Jesus, that he may give strength to the weak, heal the broken-hearted, console the lonely, bring back the wandering and be a power against the evil of our day,
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

21 Jan 2013

One of Il Papa's more unusual tasks during the year......

.....the blessing of the lambs on the Feast of St Agnes

Marking the feast of St. Agnes Pope Benedict blessed the two lambs from whose wool the pallium will be woven in the monastery of Saint Cecilia in Trastevere. The pallium are narrow white bands worn by metropolitan archbishops around their necks as a symbol of their authority and unity with the Pope. The Holy Father presents them to newly-appointed metropolitan archbishops each year on June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. Agnes means "lamb" in Latin. The saint of the same name was a martyr of the early 4th century, known for her consecrated virginity, who was killed for refusing to worship pagan gods.

18 Jan 2013

January 20th 2013 - 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) - SS102fm's Year in Review

On this weeks programme the team take a review of 2012, which we had originally planned for a few weeks back. We have our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel as well as some other liturgical odds and ends.

This weeks podcast is available HERE.

2012 - A Recap of Sacred Space 102fm's year

John and Lorraine have a look back over the last twelve months at the programmes we have made and shared with you, we realised that we hadn't realised ourselves the amount of varied programmes which we had during the year. If you want to listen back to any of these programmes, please click on the Podcast pages above.
Some of the highlights picked out during the programme:
  • 8th January - Sr Margaret O'Sullivan reflection on the Sacrament of Baptism
  • 22nd January - Interview with Dean Maurice Sirr formerly dean of CoI St Mary's Cathedral in Limerick.
  • 5th February - Shane gave us a reflection on the Sacrament of the Sick
  • 19th February - Fr Michael Liston gave us a reflection for the beginning of Lent and was a very particular favourite of our listeners during the year.
  • 11th March - A programme on the Stations of the Cross
  • 26th March - We were introduced to the Emmanuel Community by Geraldine Creaton
  • 1st April – Fr Noel Kirwin from Limerick Diocesan Pastoral Centre led us in a very moving reflection for Palm Sunday & Holy Week
  • 15th April - Fr John Walsh from Limerick prison gave us a reflection on Divine Mercy Sunday.
  • 6th May - A introduction to the Ardagh-Carraigkerry Parish Mission
  • 27th May - A very special and popular programme where we were joined by Dom Patrick Hederman OSB, abbot of Glenstal Abbey who joined us to speak about the Holy Spirit.
  • 10th June - Given it was the beginning of the International Eucharistic Congress our own local parish priest Fr Frank Duhig led us in a reflection for Corpus Christi.
  • 24th June - Another friend from Glenstal, Bro Martin Browne OSB (headmaster of Glenstal School) who came on to speak to us about the permenant diaconate which was restored to the diocesan church in Ireland during 2012.
  • 1st July - Reena Curtain and Fr Michael Liston joined us to share their experiences of IEC2012.
  • 15th July - Sr Elizabeth Ryan came on to share with us the story of the Presentation Sisters 175 years in Ireland.
  • 22nd July - Fr Chris O'Donnell gave us a very human and down to earth talk about vocation and the sacrament of Ordination.
  • 5th August - Bishop Michael Lenihan OFM came onto share with us his journey from west Limerick to Honduras.
  • 12 August - Interview with Monica Brown
  • 19th August - Sr Lousie O'Rourke PDDM came on to share with us her vocation journey and about her congregation the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master.
  • 2nd September - Lectio Divina is a particular focus of the programme and we were joined by Fr Brendan Clifford OP from the Dominican Institute in Limerick.
  • 16th September - Presentation of the results of the audit of Limerick Diocese by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church with Ger Crowley (designated person in the diocese for Child protection) and Fr Tony Mullins (Diocesan administrator)
  • 23rd September - The Poor Clares of Nun's Island in Galway joined us for an interview on their particular charism and vocation and their new book published during the year.
  • 30th September - Interview with Fr John Ambrose celebrating 50 years of service as a priest in the Philippines.
  • 21st October - Fr John Guiney SJ (Director Irish Jesuit Mission Office) comes on to share with us on Mission Sunday.
  • 28th October - Loran Geary and Niamh McMahon joined us to speak about the NCW Parish Mission and to share their views on God, faith and the church.
  • 4th November - A very special programme where Dr Donal Murray (bishop emeritus of Limerick) joined us to speak about his new book "Keeping open the doors of faith" in what was one of the most popular, thought provoking and interesting programmes we did during the year.
  • 25th November - Fr Eamonn Conway, theological advisor and lecturer joined us on the programme after returning from the Synod of Bishops in Rome where he was an advisor to the bishops.
  • 9th December - Maura Garrihy joined us to introduce the Youth 2000 Mission Team. Maura will be returning to visit us again on the programme in the next few weeks.

As of this weekend we have 910 blog posts with 176,853 visitors from 161 countries who have joined with us on the blog.

The SS102fm team just wanted to say a big thank you to all our listeners, readers and visitors and to ask for your continued prayers, support and if you have any ideas or suggestions please drop us a line.

Gospel - John 2:1-11

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Sunday Reflections
English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy

Liturgical Odds and Ends

Divine Office - Week 2

Saints of the Week

January 21st - St Agnes (virgin and martyr)
January 22nd - St Vincent of Saragossa (deacon and martyr)
January 23rd - St Colman of Lismore
January 24th - St Francis de Sales (bishop and doctor of the Church)
January 25th - Feast of the Conversion of St Paul
January 26th - Ss Timothy and Titus (bishops)

Hail Glorious St Patrick! A new successor to Ireland's patronal see

Ireland's recently arrived papal nuncio is certainly getting through the work load on his desk with the announcement this morning of the appointment of a new coadjutor for the See of Armagh.

St Patrick's Cathedral (RCC) Armagh
Msgr Eamonn Martin has been selected to succeed Cardinal Sean Brady as the holder of the See of St Patrick which brings with it the role of metropolitan of the Armagh province, primate of All Ireland, president of the Irish Episcopal Conference and generally a red hat as well although given Cardinal Brady is only 73, he can retain his voting rights in any papal Conclave until 2019 when he turns 80.

A coadjutor bishop is a man appointed as assistant-bishop who generally will automatically become bishop of a diocese upon the retirement or death of the incumbant.
  • As Rocco notes over at Whispers in the Loggia, it means that our top two archbishops will both be Archbishop Martin!!
  • The Irish Catholic has the story here including a short biography of the Derry native.
  • Vatican Radio here
  • Statements from the various bishops on the website of the Irish bishops conference
  • The Irish Times

"......We live in a time of great change, challenge and opportunity. It is a time, as the psalms say, to ‘sing a new song to the Lord’. There is need for renewal in the church, so that the message of Christ, in all its richness, is presented in ways which engage a new generation. There is a need for a mature relationship between church and society, in both parts of this island, and people of faith have a vital role to play. It would hugely impoverish our faith if we were expected to ‘leave it at home’ or ‘keep it for Sundays’, excluding it from our conversations and actions in daily life. I believe it would equally impoverish society if the fundamental convictions of faith were unable to be heard in public debate; it would diminish our understanding of the human person and dilute the concept of the common good. In these days of recession and financial crisis, many people are struggling to find work, pay the bills and keep food on the table. And there are other kinds of poverty around us – a poverty of meaning in life, a poverty of purpose, a poverty of hope. Today, more than ever, people of faith are called to present to the world ‘a coherent ethic of life’ – one which knits together a conviction about the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the person, with a commitment to solidarity and the family, to the fair distribution of goods and environmentally sustainable development, to justice and peace.

As Christians, we are not there to impose, but to invite; we are not there simply to oppose, but to convince others of the truth of Christ’s teaching and to offer them the gift and message of salvation. We say to everyone in our society, as Blessed Pope John Paul II did: ‘Do not be afraid, the Gospel is not against you, but for you’, or as Pope Benedict XVI put it: ‘if we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great’......"

Read the full statement by Msgr Martin here

16 Jan 2013

Year of Faith - Papal General Audiences

During this week's general audience, the Pope recalled the Incarnation of Jesus. He said, “Jesus does not simply speak to us about God; he shows us the very face of God and enables us to call him our Father.”

Full text and report available from Vatican Radio.

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

Our first web browsing of 2013, pull up the chair, put on the kettle for a cuppa and take a few minutes............

Of course this week is Week of Prayer for Christian Unity so we encourage you to have a browse through the blog post we did on it during the week.

At the same time we would also like to let you know that we have added a number of new resources and links on our Lectio Divina resource page at the top of the blog page and also put up a new page with links and resources for the Year of Faith.

Spirituality: The Broken Branches of the Family Tree - Believe it or not, not even Jesus Christ himself was spared the tangled dynamics of a less-than-perfect family. It sort of makes our own little familial eccentricities a little easier to handle, doesn't it? Ellyn von Huben looks back at the Christmas season with her own wonderfully human brood, and gets us thinking about what it means to be blessed, rotten fruit and all.

John L Allen's annual review of the top under reported stories from the Vatican in 2012.

"Often, it is not the fear of failure that holds us back but the fear of success. We cling to the comfortable rather than step out into the possible. So we sit at home with a container of Cookies and Cream rather than take a chance on getting our heart broken again, or we down an entire bag of chocolate- covered pretzels rather than work on that resume that might get us out of a dead-end job. Or we eat cold pasta right from the refrigerator rather than sit down in silence and listen for the whisper of the Spirit speaking to our hearts.” - Continue reading here

Where’s Francis?! Three-Ton Underwater Statue Goes Missing! - an interesting take on favourite saints!

We posted a few links and reflections from the Taize pilgrimage to Rome that was held over New Years; once they visit to Rome was finished Br Alois and some young pilgrims continued to Istanbul-Constantinople to celebrate Christmas with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and Christians in that city. Br Alois gave some thought provoking meditations here.

L'Observatore Romano has a piece on the Silence in St Peter's Square.

The relics of St John Bosco are coming to Ireland in February 2013, here is a reflection on the visit currently happening in the UK.

Sealed Under Turkish Mud, a Well-Preserved Byzantine Chapel

A beautiful photo display of wooden orthodox chapels

It is National Vocations week in the USA at the moment and over at the USCCB blog a newly ordained priest reflects on his vocation - Pursuing a vocation and living a dream.

We often hear of buildings getting a "new lease of life", well in California, monks reconstruct a monastery from Spain!

Yad Vashem has published the documents of a closed-door meeting held in 2009, which led to the controversial caption underneath Pacelli’s picture being changed - The truth and the black legends against the figure of Pius XII

Pope Benedict XVI has taken to Twitter, why don't you take a quick visit over to see what he has been twitting in 140 letters or less @pontifex!

If friendship needs to be seen afresh in our time as an intimate love in its own right, distinct from the love of spouses or romantic partners, then we need stories of friendship that show us how its rediscovery is possible. I’m always on the lookout for such stories, and I just finished reading one of the best I’ve encountered in some time, Gail Caldwell’s Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship. - Continue reading the article here.

The Body of Christ: The Portal between Heaven and Earth - Were the Host a door I could open, I'd almost swear I could peer straight through it into heaven.

"When my friend Robin was dying, she asked me if I knew a priest she could talk to who would not be, as she put it, “too judgmental.” I knew the perfect man, a friend of our family, a priest conjured up out of an old black-and-white movie, the type who seemed not to exist anymore in a Catholic Church roiled by scandal. Like Father Chuck O’Malley, the New York inner-city priest played by Bing Crosby, Father Kevin O’Neil sings like an angel and plays the piano; he’s handsome, kind and funny. Most important, he has a gift. He can lighten the darkness around the dying and those close to them. When he held my unconscious brother’s hand in the hospital, the doctors were amazed that Michael’s blood pressure would noticeably drop. The only problem was Father Kevin’s reluctance to minister to the dying. It tears at him too much. He did it, though, and he and Robin became quite close. Years later, he still keeps a picture of her in his office. As we’ve seen during this tear-soaked Christmas, death takes no holiday. I asked Father Kevin, who feels the subject so deeply, if he could offer a meditation. This is what he wrote...." - Why God

Reflecting on prayer and spiritual conversation from an unusual location - Antarctica

The students of the Irish Dominican Province are currently in the process of recording a series which explains the Nicene Creed, as recited during Mass on Sundays. The Creed expounds the fundamentals of our faith. This series is aimed to give an easy to understand explanation of the different articles of our faith. Keep an eye out for it!