31 Mar 2013

31st March 2013 - Easter Sunday - Alleluia, Christ is Risen!!!

Christians, to the Paschal Victim Offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeems: Christ, who only is sinless, Reconciles sinners to the Father.
Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous: The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.
Speak, Mary, declaring What you saw, wayfaring. "The tomb of Christ, who is living, The glory of Jesus' resurrection;
Bright angels attesting, The shroud and napkin resting. Yes, my Christ my hope is arisen:
To Galilee he goes before you." Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining. Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!
Amen. Alleluia.
(Sequence from Mass on Easter Sunday)

On this joyous Easter morn, the SS102fm team wish you every joy and blessing of this Easter Day to you and yours!

On this weeks programme, we mark Resurrection Day with our usual reflection on the gospel of the day but we also have a special interview with John Casey about the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults).

You can listen to the full programme podcast here.


John Casey joins us on the programme this week to speak about the RCIA. RCIA is the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults and is the process by which adults join or come into full communion with the Catholic church. While in Ireland we have not had a very strong occurrence of this in the past, it is a growing trend with many people completing their journeys of initiation at the Easter Vigil.

For those who join an RCIA process it is a period of reflection, prayer, instruction, discernment, and formation. There is no set timetable and those who join the process are encouraged to go at their own pace and take as much time as they need. However, on average the process takes between eight to twelve months, but it can take up to two years or more. Those who enter the process are encouraged to begin attending Mass on a Sunday, attend a weekly RCIA session, and to become increasingly more involved in the activities of their local parish. The process culminates generally during Lent and Easter with the candidates joining the church during the Easter Vigil.

John Casey, RCIA Catechist (bottom left), and 13 neophytes (new Catholics) who became full members of the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil (March 30th 2013)
After the Easter Vigil a period of Mystagogia takes place which marks the beginning of the Neophyte Year (their first year as new Catholics).  John also tells us about his Neophyte Group, explaining the support this group offers to new Catholics in their continuing journey in faith.

You can listen to John's interview here.

John's interview is immediately followed by a reflection from Martin, a new Catholic who has already journeyed through the RCIA on the joys and challenges of being a new Catholic.

Gospel - John 20:1-9

"Now on the first day of the week Mary Mag'dalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead"

The Church's Easter proclamation is the strangest message ever delivered: Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. His resurrection is not merely a symbolic statement about Christ's historical importance or the affirmation that his cause goes on. Nor is the resurrection simply about some change in the the apostle's minds in regards to Christ after his death. The resurrection is about the real body of Jesus

Other reflections on this weeks gospel:

And going back to where it all began - Easter Celebrations at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

Liturgical odds and ends

We now enter into the Octave of Easter where liturgically, time seems to stop so we can truly celebrate and continue the joy of the celebration of Easter Sunday. This means that during the week the Office and Mass of the day are the same as that of Easter Sunday. A reflection from iBenedictines - Time and Eternity: the Easter Octave and the Eighth Day

As it is the Octave, there are no saints commemorated this year. However, for some reminders:
  • April 5th - First Friday
  • April 7th - Divine Mercy Sunday

Easter Vigil Homily - Pope Francis

30 MARCH 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. In the Gospel of this radiant night of the Easter Vigil, we first meet the women who go the tomb of Jesus with spices to anoint his body (cf. Lk 24:1-3). They go to perform an act of compassion, a traditional act of affection and love for a dear departed person, just as we would. They had followed Jesus, they had listened to his words, they had felt understood by him in their dignity and they had accompanied him to the very end, to Calvary and to the moment when he was taken down from the cross. We can imagine their feelings as they make their way to the tomb: a certain sadness, sorrow that Jesus had left them, he had died, his life had come to an end. Life would now go on as before. Yet the women continued to feel love, the love for Jesus which now led them to his tomb. But at this point, something completely new and unexpected happens, something which upsets their hearts and their plans, something which will upset their whole life: they see the stone removed from before the tomb, they draw near and they do not find the Lord’s body. It is an event which leaves them perplexed, hesitant, full of questions: “What happened?”, “What is the meaning of all this?” (cf. Lk 24:4). Doesn’t the same thing also happen to us when something completely new occurs in our everyday life? We stop short, we don’t understand, we don’t know what to do. Newness often makes us fearful, including the newness which God brings us, the newness which God asks of us. We are like the Apostles in the Gospel: often we would prefer to hold on to our own security, to stand in front of a tomb, to think about someone who has died, someone who ultimately lives on only as a memory, like the great historical figures from the past. We are afraid of God’s surprises; we are afraid of God’s surprises! He always surprises us!

Dear brothers and sisters, let us not be closed to the newness that God wants to bring into our lives! Are we often weary, disheartened and sad? Do we feel weighed down by our sins? Do we think that we won’t be able to cope? Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations which God cannot change, there is no sin which he cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to him.

2. But let us return to the Gospel, to the women, and take one step further. They find the tomb empty, the body of Jesus is not there, something new has happened, but all this still doesn’t tell them anything certain: it raises questions; it leaves them confused, without offering an answer. And suddenly there are two men in dazzling clothes who say: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; but has risen” (Lk 24:5-6). What was a simple act, done surely out of love – going to the tomb – has now turned into an event, a truly life-changing event. Nothing remains as it was before, not only in the lives of those women, but also in our own lives and in the history of mankind. Jesus is not dead, he has risen, he is alive! He does not simply return to life; rather, he is life itself, because he is the Son of God, the living God (cf. Num 14:21-28; Deut 5:26; Josh 3:10). Jesus no longer belongs to the past, but lives in the present and is projected towards the future; he is the everlasting “today” of God. This is how the newness of God appears to the women, the disciples and all of us: as victory over sin, evil and death, over everything that crushes life and makes it seem less human. And this is a message meant for me and for you, dear sister, dear brother. How often does Love have to tell us: Why do you look for the living among the dead? Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness… and that is where death is. That is not the place to look for the One who is alive!

Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life! If up till now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk: you won’t be disappointed. If following him seems difficult, don’t be afraid, trust him, be confident that he is close to you, he is with you and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do.

3. There is one last little element that I would like to emphasize in the Gospel for this Easter Vigil. The women encounter the newness of God. Jesus has risen, he is alive! But faced with empty tomb and the two men in brilliant clothes, their first reaction is one of fear: “they were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground,” Saint Luke tells us – they didn’t even have courage to look. But when they hear the message of the Resurrection, they accept it in faith. And the two men in dazzling clothes tell them something of crucial importance: “Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee… And they remembered his words” (Lk 24:6,8). They are asked to remember their encounter with Jesus, to remember his words, his actions, his life; and it is precisely this loving remembrance of their experience with the Master that enables the women to master their fear and to bring the message of the Resurrection to the Apostles and all the others (cf. Lk 24:9). To remember what God has done and continues to do for me, for us, to remember the road we have travelled; this is what opens our hearts to hope for the future. May we learn to remember everything that God has done in our lives.

On this radiant night, let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary, who treasured all these events in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19,51) and ask the Lord to give us a share in his Resurrection. May he open us to the newness that transforms. May he make us men and women capable of remembering all that he has done in our own lives and in the history of our world. May he help us to feel his presence as the one who is alive and at work in our midst. And may he teach us each day not to look among the dead for the Living One. Amen.

29 Mar 2013

Good Friday - Reflections and the Stations of the Cross


Originally sourced online from Ignatian Spirituality quoting "Stages on the Way" from the Iona Community:

It was on the Friday that they ended it all.
Of course, they didn't do it one by one.
They weren't brave enough.
All the stones at the one time or no stones thrown at all.
They did it in crowds.... in crowds where you can feel safe
and lose yourself and shout things you would never shout
on your own, and do things you would never do if you felt
the camera was watching you.
It was a crowd in the church that did it,
and a crowd in the civil service that did it,
and a crowd in the street that did it,
and a crowd on the hill that did it.
And he said nothing.
He took the insults, the bruises, the spit on the face,
the thongs on the back, the curses in the ears.
He took the sight of his friends turning away,
running away.
And he said nothing.
He let them do their worst until their worst was done,
as on Friday they ended it all....
and would have finished themselves had he not cried,
"Father, forgive them all."
And the revolution began.





Last year we did a series of posts on the stations which you can find links to below. We also did a programme on Mary's Stations of the Cross which you can listen to HERE.

We adore you O Christ and we bless you
Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Good Friday is the mirror held up by Jesus so that we can see ourselves in all our stark reality, and then it turns us to that cross and to his eyes and we hear these words, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." That is us! And so we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. We see in that cross a love so amazing so divine that it loves us even when we turn away from it, or spurn it, or crucify it. There is no faith in Jesus without understanding that on the cross we see into the heart of God and find it filled with mercy for the sinner whoever he or she may be.

- Sr Louise PDDM

What shall I give you, Lord, in return for all Your kindness?
Glory to You for Your love.
Glory to You for Your mercy.
Glory to You for Your patience.
Glory to You for forgiving us all our sins.
Glory to You for coming to save our souls.
Glory to You for Your incarnation in the virgin's womb.
Glory to You for Your bonds.
Glory to You for receiving the cut of the lash.
Glory to You for accepting mockery.
Glory to You for Your crucifixion.
Glory to You for Your burial.
Glory to You for Your resurrection.
Glory to You who were preached to men and women.
Glory to You in whom they believed.
Glory to You who were taken up into heaven.
Glory to You who sit in great glory at the Father's right hand.
Glory to You whose will it is that the sinner should be saved through Your great mercy and compassion.

Ephraem of Syria (ca. 306-373


On 15 March 2008 Liverpool Cathedral saw the World Premiere of Welsh composer Karl Jenkins' Stabat Mater, with the RLPO conducted by the composer himself."
Stabat Mater dolorosa
Iuxta crucem lacrimosa
Dum pendebat Filius

Cuius animam gementem
Contristatam et dolentem
Pertransivit gladius

O quam tristis et afflicta
Fuit illa benedicta
Mater unigeniti!

Quae moerebat et dolebat,
Et tremebat cum videbat
Nati poenas incliti


28 Mar 2013

Limerick Diocese Chrism Mass - Wednesday 27th March

Last night the Diocese of Limerick gathered together in St. John's Cathedral to celebrate the Chrism Mass led by the Papal Nuncio, His Excellency Archbishop Charles Brown.  As the See had been sede vacante, this was the first Chrism Mass celebrated in the Diocese since 2009.  It was a beautiful, joyful liturgy in which the priests of the Diocese renewed their priestly promises.  During the Mass the oil of the sick and the oil of catechumens were blessed and the Chrism was consecrated.  These holy oils will be used in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and the Anointing of the Sick in our diocese for the next year.  On April 14th, the Chrism oil will be used to anoint and consecrate our Bishop Elect, Fr. Brendan Leahy, during his episcopal ordination. 

Archbishop Charles Brown gave a wonderful catechesis on the holy oils and chrism, linking them with the nature of the Church and her priorities.  The full text of his homily is as follows:

Homily for the Chrism Mass,
Cathedral of Saint John, Limerick

Archbishop Charles J Brown,
Apostolic Nuncio

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this holy liturgy, in keeping with the most ancient tradition of the Church, a Bishop blesses or consecrates three different forms of holy oil: the Oil of the Sick, the Oil of Catechumens, and Holy Chrism. The fact that the Church blesses these oils during Holy Week, the most sacred period of the liturgical year, tells us something important about the nature of the Church herself and about her priorities. Let us reflect on this fact for a moment. The first oil to be blessed tonight will be the Oil of the Sick, which is used in the sacrament of the anointing of the sick and dying. For most of us, it is the last sacrament we will receive on this earth before we go to God. The Oil of the Sick reminds us that the sick, the suffering and the dying are at the centre of the Church and are at the very heart of her service. Our final sacramental anointing with the Oil of the Sick gives us strength to pass from this world to the life of the world to come, and there is nothing more important than that.

The second oil to be blessed will be the Oil of Catechumens, which is used at the beginning of the celebration of Baptism as part of the prayers of the Church to protect us from the spirit of evil, the father of lies. In fact, the Oil of Catechumens will be used almost exclusively to anoint babies as part of the celebration of Baptism. So already with these two forms of holy oil – the Oil of the sick and the Oil of Catechumens – we understand something about the Church and her priorities. We see human life near its beginning and near its end. Who are the recipients of these anointings? Who is the focus of the Church’s care and concern? The sick, the suffering, small children. It is here that we see the Kingdom of God emerging. Not among the dominant and the powerful of this world, but among the smallest and the weakest, the ones who don’t count for much in the eyes of the world. They are the presence of Christ. Jesus is very clear in the Gospel: “Whatever you did to the least of my brothers, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to say that the Gospel – that is, the message of Jesus – is very simple. Five words, spoken by him about the least of his brothers and sisters: “You did it to me”. Pope Francis has reminded us of this truth in a powerful way in these two weeks since his election as the Successor of Peter: “Let us never forget that that authentic power is service…” (Homily, 19 March 2013). He has spoken about the duty of the Church to protect the most vulnerable, “especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew [in his Gospel] lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison (cf. Mt 25:31-46).” Yes, the Church must protect the smallest and most vulnerable. In our own time, we must surely think of expectant mothers and of the gift of life, the vulnerable child in the womb. We as Catholics must be absolutely committed to protecting and defending mothers and their unborn babies.

But in our Mass this evening we do not bless only two oils. There is a third, and its importance is reflected in the name that the Church gives to tonight’s liturgy: the Chrism Mass, because it is here at this moment that the Church consecrates the Holy Chrism, which is similar to the other two oils just mentioned, but with a difference. It contains balsam as well as olive oil, giving it a beautiful and lasting fragrance. Our word for this aromatic oil, Chrism, comes from the Greek language and simply means anointing; it is the same root in Greek that is used to translate the Hebrew word Messiah, which means the Anointed One, the one who has been anointed. This is, of course, how we refer to Jesus, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Christ. Christ and Chrism; Anointed and anointing. In Jesus of Nazareth, anointing is directed toward service: “The Spirit of the Lord…has anointed me. He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor,…to captives, [to] the downtrodden” (cf. Lk 4:18).
The Chrism that is sanctified tonight is used by the Church in the principal sacraments of consecration. Most fundamentally, Chrism is used in Baptism. After we are washed from our sins in the Baptismal water, we are immediately anointed by the priest with Chrism, signifying that we belong to Christ, that we, as baptised persons, share in Christ’s priestly, prophetic and kingly nature. To be called a Christian literally means that each of us, like him, has been chrismated, has been Christened, has been anointed with Holy Chrism. It means that each of us, by virtue of our Baptism, is called to a life of holiness by means of God’s grace. It means that we too have a special responsibility to care for the least of our brothers and sisters. In that sense, there is no distinction in the Church; “For all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ; there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:27-28). All of us share in his anointing; all of us are called to holiness. Chrism is also used in the consecration of a church, the building in which all of us as brothers and sisters in Christ worship God our Father. The walls of the church are anointed with Holy Chrism. And similarly, the altar. Every altar on which the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be celebrated is itself anointed with Holy Chrism.

Chrism is used in the celebration of the sacrament of ordination as well, the sacrament by which certain men are configured to Christ in order to serve his Church as priests and bishops. In the sacrament of priestly ordination, a young man’s hands are anointed with Chrism, so that as a priest he might “sanctify the Christian people and offer sacrifice to God” (Ritual of Ordination). This evening, we thank God for priests and, in a special way, for the priests serving in the Diocese of Limerick. In a few moments, they will renew the promises they made on the day of their ordination, the day on which their hands were anointed with Chrism so that they would bring Christ to us through their service; indeed, so that they themselves would be images of Christ for us.

If I could speak from my own personal experience of being your Nuncio for the last fourteen months, I have been tremendously edified by the example of the priests of Ireland. From Killarney to Belfast, from Limerick to Derry, I have been profoundly grateful for the opportunity to visit parishes and to meet priests, who have made a deep and lasting impression on me. Is it always easy to be a priest in Ireland today? No. It is not. But there are countless priests living their vocations with courage, generosity and joy, sometimes in the midst of difficulties and trials. To them, to our priests, this evening we say thanks. And surely there are young men listening to me tonight to whom Christ is saying: “Come, follow me” (Mt 14:9) – young men whom Christ is calling to be priests. What would I say to such a young person?: Listen to the Lord. Put you trust in Him. To serve Him and His people as a priest is an adventure of grace which corresponds to the deepest desires of your heart. Do not be afraid!

Finally, Sacred Chrism is not only used in the ordination of priests, it is also used in the ordination of bishops. The priest’s hands are anointed with Chrism so that he may serve the Church through his ministry; the bishop’s head is anointed so that he can serve the Church by his leadership. “Let us never forget that that authentic power is service” (Pope Francis).
In less than three weeks from today, the Chrism that we consecrate tonight will be used here in this beautiful Cathedral to ordain Father Brendan Leahy as Bishop of Limerick, as successor to Bishop Donal Murray. It will be a day of great rejoicing here in this Church and in this Diocese. Bishop-elect Leahy will be the first bishop ordained in Ireland in the Pontificate of Pope Francis – and (if my calculations are correct) the eighth bishop ordained in the entire world under our new Holy Father. Let us all pray for Bishop-elect Leahy as he makes his final preparations for his ordination. As we approach that day, I also want to say a word of sincere gratitude and appreciation to Father Tony Mullins, who has served you as Diocesan Administrator of Limerick for these past three years. I know that I speak for everyone in the Cathedral this evening when I say thank you to Father Mullins for his tireless and generous service to the Church in Limerick.

With the election of Pope Francis, a new and exciting chapter in the Church’s life opens up before us. The Holy Father’s humility, simplicity and transparent goodness have touched our hearts and the hearts of the entire world. Let us pray to Our Lady for Pope Francis, asking her to intercede for him. And let us all recommit ourselves tonight to live our own vocations with love and faithfulness, confident that the Lord is with us and that, with His grace, all things are possible (cf. Mt 19:26).



The Recessional Hymn for the Chrism Mass was Now Thank We All Our God.  The volume, joy and enthusiasm with which this hymn was sung in thankful praise of God filled the cathedral and indeed filled the hearts of all who were present.

Chrism Mass - Pope Francis - A challenge to his priests

From Vatican Radio -  Below please find the official text of Pope Francis’ Homily for Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday 2013:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, This morning I have the joy of celebrating my first Chrism Mass as the Bishop of Rome. I greet all of you with affection, especially you, dear priests, who, like myself, today recall the day of your ordination.

The readings of our Mass speak of God’s “anointed ones”: the suffering Servant of Isaiah, King David and Jesus our Lord. All three have this in common: the anointing that they receive is meant in turn to anoint God’s faithful people, whose servants they are; they are anointed for the poor, for prisoners, for the oppressed… A fine image of this “being for” others can be found in the Psalm: “It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down upon the collar of his robe” (Ps 133:2). The image of spreading oil, flowing down from the beard of Aaron upon the collar of his sacred robe, is an image of the priestly anointing which, through Christ, the Anointed One, reaches the ends of the earth, represented by the robe.

The sacred robes of the High Priest are rich in symbolism. One such symbol is that the names of the children of Israel were engraved on the onyx stones mounted on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod, the ancestor of our present-day chasuble: six on the stone of the right shoulder-piece and six on that of the left (cf. Ex 28:6-14). The names of the twelve tribes of Israel were also engraved on the breastplate (cf. Es 28:21). This means that the priest celebrates by carrying on his shoulders the people entrusted to his care and bearing their names written in his heart. When we put on our simple chasuble, it might well make us feel, upon our shoulders and in our hearts, the burdens and the faces of our faithful people, our saints and martyrs of whom there are many in these times…

Chrism Mass - Archbishop Diarmuid Martin - 28th March 2013

Homily Notes of Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin
Pro Cathedral, 28th March 2013

"Pope Francis continues to surprise us day after day. I spoke to a friend of mine working in the Vatican who is in close contact with the Pope and asked him how he would describe the atmosphere in the Vatican under Pope Francis and he summed it up saying: “surprises and more surprises and even more surprises to come” and my friend is one of those who is pleased with the surprises he is seeing. We thank God for a Pope who has the interior freedom to surprise us. We thank God for a Pope who shows us that simplicity and humility are not signs of weakness and concession, but signs of strength and signs of a strength that comes from faith.

Pope Francis has given us some very significant signs and gestures about how he understands his role as Bishop of Rome and successor of Saint Peter. But they are not just signs about himself; they are signs about what the Church means. He does not want us just to look at these gestures on television and feel good about them and feel good that we have a new Pope like him. There are many who have no belief who will like the new Pope. There is not much good, however, in Christians feeling good about the new Pope if we do not make our own what he is saying and teaching and doing.

The first thing that this involves is allowing Jesus to surprise us and for us to find the courage to change. We are at a critical juncture in the history of the Catholic Church in this diocese and in our country. We are at critical juncture about the place of the Catholic Church in Irish society and in the future culture of Ireland. And we are at a critical juncture about the very place of faith and the very understanding of faith within the Catholic community.

27 Mar 2013

Holy Week in Jerusalem and other resources for Holy Week

As we move towards the culmination of the liturgical year, sometimes it seems like you can drown in the amount of resources, reflections, writings and musings that are online.
But sometimes it pays to sit, turn off the computer, the radio and television and take up the text of our story as Christians - be it the account of the passion we heard on Sunday from Luke or what we will hear on Friday from John - and sit and read it there in black and white, the ultimate love story ever told. The love story of God and humanity, the love story of you and God! 
Each year we remember, we bring ourselves back to that intensely physical week, a week of signs and symbols and words in which we can wallow and swim letting them engulf all our senses. Soft bread and bitter wine, the metallic smell and taste of blood and the sweet cloying stench of sweat filled crowds in cramped streets; the bare harsh wood of a instrument of torture streaked in blood and sweat; the crack of a whip and the piercing jagged pain of a whip on battered flesh; the agony of nails through the wrist and ultimately asphyxiation and the darkness of death which in turn leads to the loneliness and heart ache of a tomb, hewn from the rock in which no one had yet been buried.......
We enter into this season of sorrow and grief, aware that all of us are hurting, aware of those around us in pain; but remembering that we are not alone. As we walk the daily struggles of life, we walk the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem with Christ again. Are we there under the cross suffering with him? Are we Simon of Cyrene to some one's Jesus? Are we Veronica? Are we the weeping women? Are we Pilate washing our hands of the stain of blood and tears? Are we Peter denying our friends and loves for the pressures of society? Who are you this Holy Week? Where do you stand in the crowd that cried "Crucify him, crucify him"?
Alone, abandoned, forsaken. No one to turn to, no one who cares. The most awful feeling for any human being is to feel completely alone, especially in the midst of suffering. Is there no one who will even try, who will walk with me this sorrowful way? His faithful disciples have abandoned him. Peter, the Rock, crumbled like wet sand and denied him three times. The others ran or simply watched as he was carried away by the soldiers. Only John and the women -his mother and the two Marys-remain. They have been stalwart and steadfast. Jesus in his dying agony cries out, "Father, O Father, why have you forsaken me?"

There are so many hanging on crosses now, needlessly hanging. Jesus dies on the cross. Children die in cross fires. Young adults die in too many ways to count. Mothers smoke crack, and fathers languish in jail. It is God who is alone, who has been abandoned, who has been forsaken. We have walked away, turned our backs. Jesus overcame his fear, forgave those who had participated in his death, and died. Jesus will not abandon us if we turn to him. If we forget, he always remembers
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Denial, sorrow, pain, death but all countered by love, service and a command to love. Christ opened his arms on the cross, not to die but to embrace all of the universe in the loving embrace of a compassionate God.
This Holy Week take the time to sit, read, reflect and ultimately pray.

Watch videos of the ceremonies in the Holy Land from Franciscan Media Centre HERE (the links to the videos can't be embedded)

Prior year resources from the SS10fm available HERE

Stations of the Cross HERE

Phil over at Blue Eyed Ennis has some great links and reflections as always

At the Limerick Diocesan Website, regular SS10fm visitor Noirin Lynch has an amazing round of up links, resources and information for Limerick Diocese about the celebrations over the next few days. She also has a round up of the ceremonies and other media resources for those elderly, housebound and sick - HERE and HERE.


Holy Week in Two Minutes - BustedHalo

23 Mar 2013

24th March 2013 - Palm Sunday

And so at last this year we begin the beginning of this most Holy of Weeks, an intense liturgical and reflective week which is the pinnacle of the Christian year; a celebration of the raison d'etre of why we are Christian - to mark the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord.

On this weeks programme John, Anne and Lorraine are joined by Geraldine Creaton to reflect on Palm Sunday and Holy Week. We have a reflection on the gospel reading of the day as well as some reflective music and pauses in a busy day.

This weeks programmes is available to listen to on podcast HERE.

H/t "Let us resolve to make this week holy"
Let us resolve to make this week holy by claiming Christ’s redemptive grace and by living holy lives.

The Word became flesh and redeemed us by his holy life and holy death. This week especially, let us accept redemption by living grateful, faithful, prayerful, generous, just and holy lives.

Let us resolve to make this week holy by reading and meditating Holy Scripture.

So often, we get caught up in the hurry of daily living. As individuals and as families, reserve prime time to be with Jesus, to hear the cries of the children waving palm branches, to see the Son of Man riding on an ass' colt, to feel the press of the crowd, to be caught up in the "Hosannas” and to realize how the cries of acclamation will yield to the garden of suffering, to be there and watch as Jesus is sentenced by Pilate to Calvary, to see him rejected, mocked, spat upon, beaten and forced to carry a heavy cross, to hear the echo of the hammer, to feel the agony of the torn flesh and strained muscles, to know Mary’s anguish as he hung three hours before he died.

We recoil before the atrocities of war, gang crime, domestic violence and catastrophic illness. Unless we personally and immediately are touched by suffering, it is easy to read Scripture and to walk away without contacting the redemptive suffering that makes us holy. The reality of the Word falls on deaf ears.

Let us take time this week to be present to someone who suffers. Sharing the pain of a fellow human will enliven Scripture and help us enter into the holy mystery of the redemptive suffering of Christ.

Let us resolve to make this week holy by participating in the Holy Week services of the church, not just by attending, but also by preparing, by studying the readings, entering into the spirit, offering our services as ministers of the Word or Eucharist, decorating the church or preparing the environment for worship.

Let us sing, "Lord, have mercy," and "Hosanna." Let us praise the Lord with our whole heart and soul and mind and strength, uniting with the suffering church throughout the world -- in Rome and Ireland, in Syria and Lebanon, in South Africa and Angola, India and China, Nicaragua and El Salvador, in Washington, D.C., and Jackson, Mississippi.

Let us break bread together; let us relive the holy and redemptive mystery. Let us do it in memory of him, acknowledging in faith his real presence upon our altars.

Let us resolve to make this week holy by sharing holy peace and joy within our families, sharing family prayer on a regular basis, making every meal a holy meal where loving conversations bond family members in unity, sharing family work without grumbling, making love not war, asking forgiveness for past hurts and forgiving one another from the heart, seeking to go all the way for love as Jesus went all the way for love.

Let us resolve to make this week holy by sharing holy peace and joy with the needy, the alienated, the lonely, the sick and afflicted, the untouchable.

Let us unite our sufferings, inconveniences and annoyances with the suffering of Jesus. Let us stretch ourselves, going beyond our comfort zones to unite ourselves with Christ's redemptive work.

We unite ourselves with Christ's redemptive work when we reconcile, when we make peace, when we share the good news that God is in our lives, when we reflect to our brothers and sisters God's healing, God's forgiveness, God's unconditional love.

Let us be practical, reaching out across the boundaries of race and class and status to help somebody, to encourage and affirm somebody, offering to the young an incentive to learn and grow, offering to the downtrodden resources to help themselves.

May our fasting be the kind that saves and shares with the poor, that actually contacts the needy, that gives heart to heart, that touches and nourishes and heals.

During this Holy Week when Jesus gave his life for love, let us truly love one another
Palm Sunday and Holy Week

Palm Sunday, or Passion Sunday as it is also called, begins Holy Week. This week is he “holy of holies” of the Christian Church Year. For today we begin our observance of the last days of our Lord’s early sojourn, “for us and for our salvation,” as He enters in the very heart of darkness, sin and death itself. The triumph of the humble King who enters Jerusalem, humble and riding on a donkey, is marked on Sunday with a triumph: shouting crowds and exuberant shouts of welcome and celebration, but in only five days, the shouts of welcome turn to shouts of anger, hate and a call for his death. “O, Dearest Jesus, what law hast Thou broken?” as the old Lutheran hymn puts it. Let us then fix our hearts and minds on prayerful watching and waiting during these days, as we again are led by the Holy Spirit to see in our hearts, and our minds, the evil sinful nature and the thoughts, words and deeds, which put our Lord on the Cross. And repenting of them, despairing of ourselves, we turn once more to Christ the Crucified One, on whom is placed the sins of the world: your sins, my sins. “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!”

Geraldine reflects on the various aspects and ceremonies of Holy Week as we walk the journey of salvation to Calvary. She reflects on the paradox of Palm Sunday where we are presented with the intensity of the events of that Holy Week. The readings of the Mass almost give us a synopsis of the week to come and then each day that follows we walk step by step with the Master as he moves towards Calvary and the Cross.

Reflection from Geraldine is available to listen to HERE.

Previous reflections about Holy Week on SS102 fm here and here

Gospel - Luke 22:14-23, 56

Today the Church proclaims the Passion of Christ. The story of the Lord's suffering and death haunted the minds of the first Christians. All the Gospels center around it and find their fulfillment in it. The special emphasis in this years account, taken from the Gospel of Luke, is Christ's struggle with the false kingdoms of the world

Lorraine's reflection on the gospel is available HERE.

Other reflections on this weeks gospel:

Blue Eyed Ennis - Phil has a great round up of reflections and links for today and make sure you check in with her during the week for further reflections.
Word on Fire - Fr Barron
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy

Liturgical odds and ends

As the days of Holy Week out rank all feasts and memoria of saints, we won't be posting any Saints of the Week this week.

Divine Office: Psalter - Week 2

The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord usually celebrated on March 25th will be celebrated on Monday 8th April 2013.
  • Chrism Mass - as the Diocese of Limerick is still technically without a bishop this Holy Week, the holy oils are being blessed by Archbishop Charles Brown (the papal nuncio) at a Chrism Mass in St John's Cathedral on Wednesday evening at 7.30pm. Something to note that the chrism oils blessed at this Mass will be used to consecrate our new bishop on April 14th.
  • Holy Thursday - Mass of the Lord's Supper - Reminder to bring back your Trocaire boxes/donations to your parish.
  • Good Friday - Passion Ceremony - Day of Fast & Abstinence (First Friday) - traditional to perform the Stations of the Cross.
  • Holy Saturday - Easter Vigil Ceremony - reminder that in the diocese of Limerick all Easter Vigil Masses will be after sunset.

Palm Sunday - A reflection

From a sermon by Saint Andrew of Crete, bishop (From the Office of Readings)

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel

Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today he returns from Bethany and proceeds of his own free will toward his holy and blessed passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation. He who came down from heaven to raise us from the depths of sin, to raise us with himself, we are told in Scripture, above every sovereignty, authority and power, and every other name that can be named, now comes of his own free will to make his journey to Jerusalem. He comes without pomp or ostentation. As the psalmist says: He will not dispute or raise his voice to make it heard in the streets. He will be meek and humble, and he will make his entry in simplicity.

Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward his passion, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before him by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish. Then we shall be able to receive the Word at his coming, and God, whom no limits can contain, will be within us.

In his humility Christ entered the dark regions of our fallen world and he is glad that he became so humble for our sake, glad that he came and lived among us and shared in our nature in order to raise us up again to himself. And even though we are told that he has now ascended above the highest heavens—the proof, surely, of his power and godhead—his love for man will never rest until he has raised our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with his own in heaven.

So let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of his victory. Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the children’s holy song:

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel.

Papa meets Papa




20 Mar 2013

Some web browsing - A Pope Francis special

Well folks, just days into the new pontificate with its many surprises and moments of incredible-ness, Pope Francis is putting is mark on the role of the bishop of Rome. The coverage on the internet is nearly at saturation point but the following are a couple of articles which stuck out of the morass of articles:

First off, check off Phil over at Blue Eyed Ennis - she has the most eclectic round up of articles and links on various aspects of the new Pope and after Rocco has been one of the first blogs this blogger has visited when the manic-ness of life has allowed at the moment.

Of course, the court scribe Rocco over at Whispers is a must read and entertaining as well and also keep an eye on his Twitter feed.

Regular readers of this blog will know we have a particular grá for Rome Reports with their short videos which sum up the main Roman stories of the day.

Vaticanista's come in many shapes and sizes but John Allen of NCR and Sandro Magister have some interesting analysis and colour pieces.

Someone over at Vatican Information Services is obviously clocking up serious over time as their blog has regular updates from the daily press conference which has some excellent information. At the same time Vatican Radio and News.va also have great stories and the new Pope's homilies and reflections (as an aside, while BXVI kept bloggers busy with reflections and homilies, Papa Francis has really kept us on our toes! Hopefully we will get you some quotes up in the next while!).

Aside from these main sources of information, the following articles caught our eye during the last few days:
Pope Francis and the Pathway to Easter - Pope Francis was just elected and we look forward to his message to the Universal Church in the coming days. He is a man of deep prayer and a man of profound concern for the poor. At the beginning of Lent, he made an impassioned plea to the clergy and religious of Argentina, “The Kingdom of God may need our hearts torn by the desire for conversion and for the love, the breaking forth of grace and the effective gesture to ease the pain of our brothers and sister who walk together with us.”

Pope Francis and the Poetry of Hope

Praying with Pope Francis
'Go and Repair My House,' Heard the Saint of Assisi -I viewed it all initially with hope, doubt and detachment. And then the white smoke, and the bells, and the people came running, and once again as many times before my eyes filled with tears, and my throat tightened. That in the end is how so many Catholics, whatever their level of engagement with the church, feel. "I was more loyal than I meant to be."

The Jesuit in the Dominican Robes, with the Franciscan Name

Pope Francis' first 24 hours: Doing it his way

A New Pope for a New Chapter in an Old Story

The Pope Francis I know - His role in Argentina stirs controversy, but now Francis can start with a new name and a clean bill of moral health
Letting go: the challenging lessons of Benedict and Francis
This Ignatian Franciscan Pope - What will a church look like that dedicates its energies to serving Christ's poor? My own hope is that this might be a moment to stop our ecclesial hand-wringing and get to work.
New Pope Puts Spotlight on Jesuits, an Influential Yet Self-Effacing Order
The Name of Francis, the Rule of St. Ignatius, and the Example of Jonah - The new pope tells how and why he chose to go by the name of the saint of Assisi. But already he has recalled the founder of the Society of Jesus as well. And like the prophet, he wants to preach to the modern Nineveh the forgiveness of God. A revealing interview
Is Pope Francis still a Jesuit?
Transitional Pope could radically transform church - Breda O'Brien
Francis "will be a great Pope": Clelia Luro de Podesta weighs in on the new pontiff
Could Óscar Arnulfo Romero be beatified soon?
Cardinal Bergoglio's Lenten Message for the archdiocese of Buenos Aires
Everything you need to know about Pope Francis and Argentina's Dirty War and Francis, the Jesuits and the Dirty War
The priests, the narcos, the threats -  The drug traffickers threatened the parish priest of a villa miseria, stirring a wave of popular sympathy. An interview with Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
A Jesuit and Pope - Among the first calls the newly elected Pope Francis made was to the person known popularly as the "black pope," the Superior General of the Jesuits, the largest order of priests in the Catholic Church. In the informal, personal style that is beginning to mark his papacy, Francis placed the call himself.
Papacy Idiocy - Among its many splendors, a papal conclave affords a refreshingly unguarded window into the media’s parochial view of the larger world.
Was This the First Time In History That the Bishop of Constantinople Attended the Installation of the Bishop of Rome?
Between Fusty and Freaky: Can Francis find the Liturgical Balance?
Curia: The Pope’s new style could mean reforms on the horizon
Living La Vida Justicia: Reconsidering Pope Francis and Liberation Theology
Leonardo Boff and Hans Küng on Pope Francis
Pope Francis I (Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio) Stands With the Poor: Quotes on Justice

The silence at the heart of Pope Francis’s Jesuit identity