31 Aug 2013

1st September 2013 - 22nd Sunday in Ordinary time (Year C) - Year of Faith: Exploring Our Church's understanding of Divine Revelation (Part 3 of 4)

On this week's programme we continue our Year of Faith reflection on the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, as well as our usual reflection on the Gospel and outlining our celestial guides for the week ahead.  This week's full programme is available HERE.

The book we are using as the basis for our programmes on Dei Verbum is a wonderfully accessible and insightful book by Canon John Redford called Treasures of Dei Verbum.  It has the text of Dei Verbum on the left hand side of the page and an explanation of the text on the right hand side of the page.  It is available from Alive Publishing (
On our first programme we outlined what Dei Verbum was all about i.e. the bishops of the Second Vatican Council saw the need to place more emphasis on the goal of divine revelation.  The whole point of divine revelation is to give us all a share in the divine life, fellowship, communion with God the Father through Jesus the Son in the Holy Spirit.  This is the good news we have to give to the world.

In our second programme we looked at how Divine Revelation was handed on by the bishops as successors of the Apostles.  The teaching office of the Church (Magisterium) is the authentic interpreter of the Word of God in Scripture and Tradition.  The Holy Spirit gives special assistance to the Bishops of the Church united with the Pope to serve, teach, listen to, guard and explain the Word of God.  We also looked at Sacred Scripture, its inspiration and divine interpretation.  This week we continue looking at Dei Verbum’s treatment of Scripture in Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 on the Old and New Testaments.

You can listen to the Dei Verbum section of the programme HERE.

Resources which may be of use to you on reading and understanding Dei Verbum:

Gospel - Luke 14:1, 7-14

Reflections on this weeks gospel:
HumblepietyWord on Fire
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy

Liturgical odds and ends

Liturgy of Hours - Psalter Week 2, 22nd week in ordinary time

Saints of the Week

2nd September - The Martyrs of September (aka the Martyrs of Paris)

3rd September - St Gregory the Great (Pope)
4th September - St Mac Nissi (Bishop)
5th September - Bl Mother Teresa of Calcutta
6th September - Bl Thomas Tsuji SJ (Martyr) (First Friday)
7th September - St Regina

Popes Intentions for month of September

General – Silence: That the men and women of our time, often overwhelmed by noise, may rediscover the value of silence and learn to listen to the voice of God and their brothers and sisters.

Mission – Persecuted Christians: That Christians who suffer persecution in many parts of the world may be prophets of the love of Christ by their testimony

30 Aug 2013

Anima Christi

A beautiful choral setting of the Anima Christi, the prayer that St Ignatius placed at the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises. This is a translation of the Latin:

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds hide me.
Do not allow me to be separated from you.
From the malevolent enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me,
and bid me come to you,
that with your saints I may praise you
forever and ever.

25 Aug 2013

25th August 2013 - 21st Sunday in Ordinary time (Year C) - Year of Faith: Exploring Our Church's understanding of Divine Revelation (Part 2 of 4)

On this week's programme we continue our Year of Faith reflection on the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, as well as our usual reflection on the Gospel and outlining our celestial guides for the week ahead.  This week's full programme is available HERE.

The book we are using as the basis for our programmes on Dei Verbum is a wonderfully accessible and insightful book by Canon John Redford called Treasures of Dei Verbum.  It has the text of Dei Verbum on the left hand side of the page and an explanation of the text on the right hand side of the page.  It is available from Alive Publishing (www.alivepublishing.co.uk)

On our first programme we outlined what Dei Verbum was all about i.e. the bishops of the Second Vatican Council saw the need to place more emphasis on the goal of divine revelation.  The whole point of divine revelation is to give us all a share in the divine life, fellowship, communion with God the Father through Jesus the Son in the Holy Spirit.  This is the good news we have to give to the world.

In this week's programme, our attention turns to chapter 2 and chapter 3 of Dei Verbum.

Chapter 2 looks at 'Handing on Divine Revelation'.  Dei Verbum refers us to the teaching of the Council of Trent (1546) because it wants to reiterate Trent's teaching that Jesus Christ himself is the fullness of revelation and that Jesus gave his revelation, not in the form of a book, but to twelve men who were to preach the Gospel.  The word 'Gospel' is not restricted to those preaching from the bible alone, but means the whole package of revelation.  The apostles transmitted faithfully this whole teaching of Christ before any of it was written down. 

The Church is an apostolic church in that the bishops continue to represent the apostles as the guardians of living Tradition and of Scripture.  Dei Verbum makes it clear that the Magisterium (Teaching Office of the Church) "is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit" (DV 10)

Chapter 3 examines 'Sacred Scripture, its inspiration and divine interpretation'.  The Second Vatican Council in clear in stating that Scripture "must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation" (DV 11).  In other words, the Scriptures contain no error in that they say exactly and no more what God wanted to say for our salvation.

The bible is not so much a book as a library of books, and, as such, contain many different types of 'literary forms' e.g. poetry, historical narratives, epistles (letters), farewell discourses, statements of belief etc.  The interpreter of Scripture must look at Scripture in the light of the contemporary literary forms of the writers of Scripture in accordance with the situations of their own time and cultures, way of speaking, styles of writing etc.  However, the Church's understanding of what God is saying to us is not limited to the historical method.  There is also a spiritual sense of Scripture, that meaning which God wants to convey to us through the Holy Spirit. 

The last paragraph of chapter 3 speaks of God's marvellous 'condescension'.  Sometimes when we think of the word condescending, we think of it is an insult, but in this context it shows God's fatherly love for us in sending his Son to us to reveal his great love for us.

You can listen to the Dei Verbum section of this programme HERE.

Resources which may be of use to you on reading and understanding Dei Verbum:
Gospel - Luke 13:22-30

It has often been said that the Gospel comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable.  This Gospel is certainly one that should disturb us if we have grown complacent in our relationship with God!  Some of us may have a tendency to skip over the harder readings from scripture, to find something that sits better with us, but it is better for us to sit with these scriptures.

All of the readings for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time tell us that salvation is for everyone.  God desires to give every single human being a share in divine life, however, the Gospel warns us against taking God for granted and becoming complacent in our relationship with him.

We know from our human relationships, that they take time and effort.  How easy it is to grow apart from friends when we don't make the effort to keep in touch.

Yes, today's Gospel is not an easy one, but the Second Reading reminds us that God is treating us like his children and sometimes children need a little reminder when they are going astray (cf. Heb 12:5-7).  Let us take this opportunity to reflect on our relationship with God.  Do we take God for granted?  Do we work on our relationship with God, or do we sometimes think that just because I'm a Catholic, I'm automatically going to heaven?  Do we seek to deepen our love for God and our charity towards others, or have we become complacent, letting other worries and cares distract us?  As Jesus said, let us strive to enter through the narrow door.  If we have become distant from God, treating him almost like a penpal or someone we only run to when we are in trouble, let us get in contact with him again today.  He cannot wait to hear from us.

Reflections on this week's Gospel:
Word on Fire
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy
Blue Eyed Ennis
English Dominicans

Liturgical Odds and Ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter Week 1  - 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saints of the Week
August 27th - St. Monica
August 28th - St. Augustine of Hippo (Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
August 29th - The Passion of St. John the Baptist
August 30th - St. Fiacre (Monk)
August 31st -  St. Aidan of Lindisfarne (Bishop and Missionary)

17 Aug 2013

The Monks of Moyross on EWTN

We have gotten a lot of unexpected traffic recently looking for the Monks of Moyross to the extent if you google "Monks of Moyross", SS102fm is third or fourth on the list! So we were curious as to what had triggered this interest and discovered that EWTN recently did a show about the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal who have a community in Moyross in Limerick City.

Also looking around the web we came across a couple of other articles and videos of interest on the friars and their work in Moyross:

18th August 2013 - 20th Sunday in Ordinary time (Year C) - Year of Faith: Exploring Our Church's understanding of Divine Revelation (Part 1 of 4)

On this weeks programme as part of its coverage of the Year of Faith, SS102fm begins a short series on exploring the Catholic Church's understanding of Divine Revelation as set out during the second Vatican Council in 1965.
We have our regular reflection on the gospel and liturgical odds and ends including our celestial guides of the week.
This weeks programme can be heard in full on podcast HERE.
You can listen to the Dei Verbum element of the programme excerpted from the programme HERE and it will also be linked on our Year of Faith page which we encourage you to visit which you can click to here or use the links at the top of the page.
The Church's understanding of Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum, Part 1)
Pope Benedict XVI announced that the universal Church would celebrate a Year of Faith beginning on October 11th 2012 and ending on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King on November 24th 2013. This is a special year in which we are asked as to reflect on the gift of faith as the universal Church, diocesan level, parish, community and individually. The Year of Faith has a three-fold focus: knowing our Catholic faith, living it out sacramentally within the church and in the world, and sharing the faith through evangelization and catechesis.
October 11th 2012 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Both of these occassions mark important moments in the history of the church in the last fifty years; moments of history to which we are only now beginning to see bear fruit.
As part of SS102fm's contribution to the Year of Faith and given our focus on scripture and lectio divina on the programme we decided to do a short introductory series on the Church's understanding of Divine Revelation with a particular focus on a document called "Dei Verbum".

The book that we are using as the basis for our programmes on Dei Verbum is a wonderfully accessible and insightful book by Canon John Redford called Treasures of Dei Verbum. It has the text of Dei Verbum on the left hand side of the page and an explanation of the text on the right hand side of the page. It is available from Alive Publishing (

Dei Verbum (the Word of God) is the short name used for the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation. A dogmatic constitution is a “document of the highest authority, issued by the Pope, or by a Church Council with the Pope's approval… When used to proclaim a Church dogma, [it is] called a Dogmatic Constitution”. The constitution went through 5 drafts before finally being approved unanimously by the whole Council in 1965.

This was a controversial document. Pope John XXIII disbanded the preparatory commission because it was not working satisfactorily and formed another which turned out more successful. Pope Paul VI promulgated the document on November 18th 1965, but it was a document issued by the whole body of bishops of the Catholic Church. As Church documents go, it is a very short document – only 26 paragraphs – but it deals with a very important topic, Divine Revelation.
The structure of the document:
Preface (Paragraph 1)
Chapter 1 – Revelation Itself (Paragraphs 2 – 6)
Chapter 2 – Handing on Divine Revelation (Paragraphs 7 – 10)
Chapter 3 – Sacred Scripture, Its Inspiration and Divine Interpretation (Paragraphs 11 – 13
Chapter 4 – The Old Testament (Paragraphs 14 – 16)
Chapter 5 – The New Testament (Paragraphs 17 – 20)
Chapter 6 – Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church (Paragraphs 21 – 26)

This programme will look at the Preface and Chapter 1. Programme 2 in the series will look at Chapter 2 and 3; Programme 3: Chapter 4 and 5 and Programme 4: Chapter 6
In accordance with a long tradition of the Church, Popes and Councils name an important document from the first two or three words of the document. These words indicate what the document was about. Dei Verbum (the Word of God) names the subject of this document, the word which God addressed to us through four thousand years (2,000 years before the coming of Christ – the Old Testament) and 2,000 years since.
It is important for us Catholics to realise that the Word of God does not refer to the Bible alone, but also to the living Tradition of the Church. In the Preface, the document refers to the Council of Trent which was convoked in 1545 and the First Vatican Council which met in 1870. These were two defining Councils in the Church’s history – the Council of Trent defined that the revelation of God is contained in the Sacred Scripture and also in the living Tradition of the Church (e.g. the Sacraments). Trent declared that the Word of God is “contained in written books (i.e. the Bible) and in unwritten traditions”.
Revelation means ‘to uncover’, ‘to remove a veil’. The First Vatican Council affirmed that that some truths about God can be known by human reason (e.g. that God exists), but some truths about God can only be known if God reveals that truth explicitly. For example, we could never have known by reason alone that God was Trinity unless He revealed that to us.
So this document, Dei Verbum, builds on the teachings of previous Church Councils and teachings. It is important to remember that the Church’s knowledge about God through scripture and tradition is not static, but grows and develops throughout the centuries. The bishops of the Second Vatican Council saw the need to place more emphasis on the goal of divine revelation. The whole point of divine revelation is to give us all a share in the divine life, fellowship, communion with God the Father through Jesus the Son and in the Holy Spirit. That is the good news we have to give the world.
You can listen to the Dei Verbum section of this programme HERE.
Resources which may be of use to you on reading and understanding Dei Verbum:
Gospel - Luke 12:49-53

We are presented with a tough little passage from Luke this weekend. People think Luke is all nice and cuddly, highlighting the mercy of God, but He can really pack a punch too!

From Sean Goan's "Let the Reader understand":

The idea that the kingdom of God is both a gift and a challenge is very present in the extract from the gospel that is put before us today. The encouraging opening words inspire confidence in the hearers as Jesus reminds his ‘little flock’ that there is no need for fear because the kingdom has been given. So if the disciples are not to fear, what should they do? Jesus answers this question in a most challenging way by telling them to think differently about the world and their place in it. They should not be concerned about wealth or the exercise of power; rather they should busy themselves doing what the Lord asks of them as any good servant would do. Jesus puts it to his disciples very sternly — much has been given you, so much will be expected from you. This is not to inspire fear but to inspire reflection on how gifted we truly are.

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

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

Liturgical Odds and Ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter Week 4 - 20th Week in Ordinary time

Saints of the Week

August 19th - St John Eudes (priest)
August 20th - St Bernard of Clairvaux (Abbot and Doctor of the Church)
August 21st - St Pius X (pope)
August 22nd - The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
August 23rd - St Rose of Lima
August 24th - St Bartholomew (Apostle)

15 Aug 2013

Muintearas Iosa - Limerick dioceses own Youth Ministry - going strong since 1978

The Irish Catholic has a piece this week on Limerick's Muintearas Iosa and their annual pilgrimage/visit to Brú na Gráige in Co Kerry near Slea Head. To define Muintearas is almost impossible as it means so many things to so many different people but is summed up in Craic, Credimh, Ceol agus Cultúir (fun, faith, music and culture) more often expressed as the Three Fires of Muintearas Iosa - Fáilte, Foghlaim agus Guí (welcome, learning and prayer).

Fáilte means welcome and involves welcoming everyone to the weekend irrespective of background. It means having a welcome for their abilities and talents, as well as a welcome for yourself and what you can bring to the weekend. Fáilte above all means having a welcome for God who welcomed us first.

Foghlaim means Learning. This can range from learning about yourself, to learning with and through others. It can also happen through formal workshops, which in the past have covered areas like the scripture, sacraments, environment, justice, spirituality and dance. Workshops often generate lively debate and increased awareness.

Guí. Participants in the weekend also learn about God, through "Guí" or prayer. This involves recognising and honouring God within yourself and others and in all aspects of life. This can come about by taking the time to sense life all around us, by silent prayer, by singing or by taking part in Mass. The Mass very is special and it is the personal involvement of the people on the weekend that makes it so. Everyone has an invaluable part to play and this helps to bring the Mass alive in a way which most would not have thought possible. Many discover for the first time that there is a God that relates to them.

Check out the article from the Irish Catholic HERE including some great photos.

You can follow some of the "antics" of Muintearas Iosa or Eaglais Og on the Limerick Diocesan website HERE and on their Facebook page HERE.

14 Aug 2013

Year of Faith: Pope to consecrate world to Immaculate Heart of Mary

Tomorrow August 15th the Irish bishops will gather at Knock for the solemnity of the Assumption and will consecrate Ireland to the Immaculate heart of Mary (click on links to see previous blogs posts).

At the same time, the Holy See has announced that Pope Francis will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary this Oct. 13 as part of the Marian Day celebration and that the consecration will be done in the presence of the statue of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.

“The Holy Father strongly desires that the Marian Day may have present, as a special sign, one of the most significant Marian icons for Christians throughout the world and, for that reason, we thought of the beloved original Statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” wrote Cardinal Rino Fisichella.

You can read more from CNS here

13 Aug 2013

August 15th - Solemnity of the Assumption (Dormition) of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give You thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.
For today the Virgin Mother of God
was assumed into heaven
as the beginning and image
of Your Church’s coming to perfection
and a sign of sure hope and comfort to Your pilgrim people;
rightly You would not allow her
to see the corruption of the tomb
since from her own body she marvelously brought forth
Your incarnate Son, the Author of all life.
(The 1973 version of the Preface for the Mass of the Solemnity)
August 15th is the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commemorated by the Orthodox churches as the Dormition (of Falling asleep) of the Virgin Mary. The dogma was officially declared by Pope Pius XII in 1950 in the apostolic constitution  Munificentissimus Deus. The apostolic constitution traces out the ancient understanding of the dogma going back through the centuries and emphasises that its official declaration by Pope Pius XII was seen as only the official confirmation of a belief long held in the Tradition of the church rather than as something new. Rather than something imposed by Pius XII, consultation was made with the bishops and on May 1, 1946, a letter "Deiparae Virginis Mariae," was issued which asked "Do you, venerable brethren, in your outstanding wisdom and prudence, judge that the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin can be proposed and defined as a dogma of faith? Do you, with your clergy and people, desire it?" with a response very much in the affirmative.
So, Pius XII declared that:
"Hence the revered Mother of God, from all eternity joined in a hidden way with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination,(47) immaculate in her conception, a most perfect virgin in her divine motherhood, the noble associate of the divine Redeemer who has won a complete triumph over sin and its consequences, finally obtained, as the supreme culmination of her privileges, that she should be preserved free from the corruption of the tomb and that, like her own Son, having overcome death, she might be taken up body and soul to the glory of heaven where, as Queen, she sits in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages.......after we have poured forth prayers of supplication again and again to God, and have invoked the light of the Spirit of Truth, for the glory of Almighty God who has lavished his special affection upon the Virgin Mary, for the honor of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages and the Victor over sin and death, for the increase of the glory of that same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the entire Church; by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory......

The following reading on the Assumption (known by eastern Christians as the Dormition) of Mary is taken from the first homily of St. John Damascene on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“But even though, according to nature, your most holy and happy soul is separated from your most blessed and stainless body and the body as usual is delivered to the tomb, it will not remain in the power of death and is not subject to decay. For just as her virginity remained inviolate while giving birth, when she departed her body was preserved from destruction and only taken to a better and more divine tabernacle, which is not subject to any death . . . Hence I will call her holy passing not death, but falling asleep or departure, or better still, arrival. . . . 

 "Your stainless and wholly immaculate body has not been left on earth; the Queen, the Mistress, the Mother of God who has truly given birth to God has been translated to the royal palaces of heaven. .

 "Angels and archangels have borne you upwards, the impure spirits of the air have trembled at your ascension. The air is purified, the ether sanctified by your passing through them. . . the powers meet you with sacred hymns and much solemnity, saying something like this: Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, elect like the sun? [cf. Cant 6:9] How you have blossomed forth, how sweet you have become! You are the flower of the field, a lily among the thorns [Cant 2.1] . . . Not like Elijah have you entered heaven, not like Paul have you been rapt to the third heaven; no, you have penetrated even to the royal throne of your Son himself . . . a blessing for the world, a sanctification of the universe, refreshment for those who are tired, comfort for the sorrowing, healing for the sick, a port for those in danger, pardon for sinners, soothing balm for the oppressed, quick help for all who pray to you. . .
“Good Mistress, graciously look down on us; direct and guide our destinies wheresoever you will. Pacify the storm of our wicked passions, guide us into the quiet port of the divine will and grant us the blessedness to come.”

The gospel reading for the Mass of the day is taken from Luke 1:39-56
Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’ 
And Mary said: 
‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit exults in God my saviour;
because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.
Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,
for the Almighty has done great things for me.
Holy is his name,
and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.
He has shown the power of his arm,
he has routed the proud of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.
He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy
– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –
of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home
Reflections on the readings of the feast

Sunday Reflections
Word on Fire

From Fisheaters:

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the date of Mary's Assumption is placed from anywhere between 3 and 15 years after Our Lord's Ascension, and the place from which she was assumed is listed as Jerusalem, where her tomb has been placed since around the 6th century, though some claim Ephesus as the proper place. At any rate, St. John Damascene (John of Damascus, A.D. 676 - 754/787) writes:

St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened, upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.
According to tradition, however, Our Lady's tomb was not exactly found empty; lilies and roses were found where her body "should" have been. This Feast is associated with herbs and fruits, and the Roman Ritual includes a blessing for such. In some parishes and chapels, congregants will bring fresh flowers to adorn the church in Mary's honor, and will bring the same along with fruit and herbs -- especially healing herbs -- to be blessed and take home.
The location of the "tomb of the virgin" is open to discussion!

Today of course is the patronal feast day of the Abbey of the Dormition of Our Lady on Mount Zion in Jerusalem which is in the custody of the Benedictines. According to local tradition, it was on this spot, near the site of the Last Supper, that the Blessed Virgin Mary died. In Orthodoxy and Catholicism, as in the language of scripture, death is often called a "sleeping" or "falling asleep", and this gave the original monastery its name, the church itself is called Basilica of the Assumption (or Dormition).

The Russian Orthodox Church have the care of a church in the Kedron Valley at the foot of the Mount of Olives (just around the corner from the Garden of Gethsemene) which they believe holds the empty tomb of the Virgin. While Catholic teaching is silent as to whether Mary actually died and was buried, Orthodox teaching is the Virgin Mary died a natural death (the Dormition of the Theotokos, the falling asleep), like any human being; that her soul was received by Christ upon death; and that her body was resurrected on the third day after her repose, at which time she was taken up, soul and body, into heaven in anticipation of the general resurrection. Her tomb, according to this teaching, was found empty on the third day.

Watchmen of the Night

H/t Communio

An interesting video on the life of the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Saint Mary Magdalene of Barroux, in short they are referred to as the monks of Le Barroux. It is a young community in history and in membership.

The documentary, “Watchmen of the Night” (2008), covers all the aspects and then some of Benedictine life, or may merely say, a life of truly living the New Testament. A viewer is intensely engaged in an hour long video that’ss in French with English subtitles.

Their work is “to pray in silence, and to pray to God in heaven.” With a clear ultimacy, monks serve no purpose; monks serve a someone. This is a difficult concept to accept for many people in this era: 5-6 hours of prayer, study, and work all for God. It’s a life totally and unconditionally oriented to the Eschaton.

The monastic life is one of many facets in Christian discipleship; it’s a vocation not given to all; and yet it’s an essential vocation in the life of the Church because of a definitive focus on the contemplative life. While all Christians are called to a life of contemplation, not all are called to a seriously focused life as a monk or a nun; all are called to be in relationship with the Lord though liturgical prayer, study, sacraments, mental prayer, and work, but not all are called to live this way in a community.

As the founder of Le Barroux, Dom Gerard (1927-2008) once said, “The monks unintentionally built Europe. It is an adventure that is primarily if not exclusively interior. They are moved by a thirst for the absolute, a thirst for another world. These monasteries, pointing to heaven, an obstinate reminder that there is another world of which this world is but an image, the herald, and the prefiguration.” So we follow the path given to us Christ.

10 Aug 2013

11th August 2013 - 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) - A reflection on the apparition at Knock

On this weeks programme John is joined by Fr Frank Duhig and Michael Keating. Michal makes a welcome return and leads a discussion about the apparition at Knock as we head into the national novena, the feast day and the consecration of Ireland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on August 15th. We have our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel as well as some other bits and pieces including the saints of the week.

This weeks podcast is available to listen to HERE.

Our Lady of Knock

Michael Keating tells us of the story of the Apparitions of Knock this morning and reminds us that while the shrine at Knock is mainly viewed as a Marian shrine, the focus of this silent apparition was actually on the Lamb of God on the Altar before the Victorious Cross and how Mary once more is pointing the way to her Son and not to herself.

While people can be overly familar with the story of Knock it is always good to go back again and look at its history in detail.
On the wet Thursday evening of the 21st August, 1879, at about 8 o'clock, Our Lady, St. Joseph, and St. John the Evangelist appeared in a blaze of Heavenly light at the south gable of Knock Parish Church. Behind them and a little to the left of St. John was a plain altar. On the altar was a cross and a lamb with adoring angels. The Apparition was seen by fifteen people whose ages ranged from six years to seventy-five and included men, women and children. The witnesses described the Blessed Virgin Mary as being clothed in white robes with a brilliant crown on her head. Over the forehead where the crown fitted the brow, she wore a beautiful full-bloom golden rose. She was in an attitude of prayer with her eyes and hands raised towards Heaven. St. Joseph stood on Our Lady's right. He was turned towards her in an attitude of respect. His robes were also white. St. John was on Our Lady's left. He was dressed in white vestments and resembled a bishop, with a small mitre. He appeared to be preaching and he held an open book in his left hand. The witnesses watched the Apparition in pouring rain for two hours, reciting the Rosary. Although they themselves were saturated not a single drop of rain fell on the gable or vision.
You can read the accounts of the 15 witnesses here, with the most compelling one being that of Mary Byrne especially at the second Commision of Inquiry in 1936.
At that stage Mary was eighty-six. She was interviewed by the commissioners in her bedroom, as she was too ill to leave. She gave her final testimony and concluded with the words:

'I am clear about everything I have said and I make this statement knowing I am going before my God'

Mary died six weeks later.

Liturgical notes:
Memoria of Our Lady of Knock is a new celebration in the Irish church calendar and is celebrated on August 17th. At Knock, the feast is still marked on August 21st which was the actual date of the apparition and is the last date of the novena.

You can listen to the Knock section of the programme excerpted HERE.

Gospel - Luke 12:32-48

""Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Fr Frank leads us in a beautiful reflection on this weeks gospel reflecting on how we are called to not be afraid, to being open and ready to trust in God.

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
English Dominicans
The Social Shape of Divine Generosity
Blue Eyed Ennis

Liturgical odds and ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter - Week 3

Saints of the Week

August 12th - St Lelia (Virgin)
also St Jane Frances de Chantal (religious)
also St Attracta (virgin)
also St Muredach (bishop)
August 13th - St Fachtna (bishop)
August 14th - St Maximilian Kolbe (priest & martyr)
August 15th - Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
August 16th - St Stephen of Hungary
August 17th - Our Lady of Knock

9 Aug 2013

And now here with some good news..........

Speaking of religious life in Ireland.....a round up of some good news over the last few months some of which we have previously covered on the blog:

A young Sister from Tralee, Co. Kerry made her first profession with the Little Sisters of the Poor in America last week

Sr Monica’s Solemn Profession and photos…

Sarah, a new Postulant for the Redemptoristines entered the Monastery of St Alphonsus Easter Sunday

A third new Postulant this year joins St. Mary's community, Glencairn, the only Cistercian monastery for women in Ireland

Congratulations to the three newly ordained deacons, Brs Matthew Martinez OP, Luuk Jansen OP and Colm Mannion OP

Two New Novices for the Dominican Sisters 

The Carmelites in Ireland also had great reason to celebrate 

Br. Ultan is a member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and was ordained to the Diaconate by Bishop Ray Field, Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin. 

Dominican Sister makes First Profession 

You are asked to remember all these young religious in your prayers as they continue to discern the life to which they have been called.

Of course it has also been a busy year for the diocesan Irish church (and our papal nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown) with the appointments of  6 new bishops - so far! We still have a one vacant diocese (Derry) and two retirements due - Bishop Christopher Jones (Elphin) and Bishop John Kirby (Clonfert). 

Between 2014 and 2015 we will also see the retirements of a further number of bishops including two of our archbishops upon reaching the relevant retirement age of 75 (not taking account of sudden deaths or illness among the bishops). The canon law requirement is for a bishop to submit a letter of resignation to the Holy Father upon reaching the age of 75 (which is ironic as Pope Francis is currently 76) and the resignation may or may not be accepted! The Irish bishops due to submit such letters in the next while include:
  • Archbishop Dermot Clifford - Cashel & Emly (74 years old)
  • Cardinal Sean Brady - Armagh (73 years old)
  • Bishop John Buckley - Cork & Ross (73 years old)
  • Bishop Philip Boyce OCD - Raphoe (73 years old). Bishop Boyce is one of the few religious who is currently a bishop in Ireland along with Bishop Kieran Reilly SMA (Killaloe) and the retired bishops John Magee SPS (Cloyne) and Brendan Comiskey SSCC (Ferns).
  • Bishop Michael Smith - Meath (73 years old)
  • Bishop William Lee - Waterford and Lismore (although he is only 71)
However we celebrate the appointments of our "Newbie Bishops". As they take up the their roles of leadership in the church; let us also remember them in our prayers especially in these challenging times.
  • Bishop Brendan Leahy - Bishop of Limerick
  • Bishop Ray Browne - Bishop of Kerry
  • Archbishop Eamon Martin - co-adjutor archbishop of Armagh
  • Bishop Denis Nulty - Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin
  • Bishop William Crean - Diocese of Cloyne
  • Bishop Francis Duffy - Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois
  • And of course west Limerick also remembers our other Limerick bishop - Bishop Michael Lenihan OFM - bishop of La Ceiba, Honduras.
On 29th May at Maynooth, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin ordained the following to the transistional diaconate as they continue in their studies to priesthood:
  • Sean Flynn - archdiocese of Tuam
  • Stephen Gorman - diocese of Raphoe
  • Ben Hodnett - diocese of Cork & Ross
  • Sean McGuigan - archdiocese of Armagh
  • Dominic Meehan - archdiocese of Cashel & Emily
  • Colum Murphy - diocese of Dromore
In April, four seminiarins from the Pontifical Irish College in Rome were ordained deacons by Archbishop Dermot Clifford in Rome
  • Liam Boyle - Diocese of Raphoe
  • Brian Fitzpatrick - Diocese of Dromore 
  • Dominic McGrattan - Diocese of Down and Connor
  • Pat O’Donoghue - Diocese of Cloyne
We continue to hold them in our prayers and to pray for further vocations to the priesthood and religious life.