31 Mar 2014

With Christ joy is Constantly Born Anew!

Limerick Diocesan Charismatic Renewal Service Committee
Invites you to a Conference
on the Joy of the Gospel

With Christ joy is Constantly Born Anew!
  • Our first purpose in this conference, as we envisage it, is to joyfully share our faith and to join in worship open to the surprises of the Holy Spirit.
  • Secondly, in our reflections  together, to explore some of the themes of the Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” of Pope Francis in an atmosphere of Joy and Hope. To help us in this we have we are blessed to have such wonderful speakers .
  • One of the great joys to to listen to Christians of another tradition  and learn from their experiences and reflections on the gospel.
  • We are not charging an entrance fee for the conference as we wish all to feel welcome regardless of their financial status at this time.  There will be a collection each day to meet the expenses of the gathering.
  • I am excited by what the Lord is doing in our days.   I hope to see you there, please consider bringing a few friends to share in the event.
  • Lastly but most important, please pray for this conference, pray that God’s wonderful purpose may be done in us.
Conference dates:
April 5th- 6th 2014
In The Radison Blu Hotel & Spa Limerick

Outline of Each Day:

Prayer and Praise     10.00
Talk                             11.00 (Fr. P. Collins)
Testimonies               11.45 (Sr. Bridget Dunne NSC and James Mahon (Youth 2000)
Lunch                          13.00
Prayer and Praise     14.30
Talk:                           15.00 (Rev. Des Bain)
Break                          16.00
Eucharist                    17.00 (Celebrated by Bishop Donal Murray)
Healing Service          19.30

Prayer and Praise      10.00
Talk                              11.00 (Fr. P. Collins)
Testimonies.                11.45 (Ms Nuala Fitzgerald and Mr Dermot O’Reilly)
Lunch.                           13.00
Prayer and Praise      14.30
Talk                              15.00 (Bishop Trevor Williams)
Break                            16.00
Eucharist                      17.00 (Celebrated by Bishop Brendan Leahy)

30 Mar 2014

30th March 2014 - Charismatic Renewal Conference Limerick - 4th Sunday of Lent (Year A)

We apologise for some technical issues in WL102fm HQ in NCW and also online this morning for this weeks programme. (We could blame the changing of the clocks last night! ;))

Please find link to this weeks programme podcast HERE.

Pope Francis and the Sacrament of Confession


On a day (March 28th) focused on the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) Pope Francis led the way by publicly going to confession in St Peter's Basilica.
Pope Francis surprised his aides by making his own confession.

As he was being escorted toward the confessional that had been reserved for him in the Vatican basilica, the Pope broke away from his aides and headed for an open confessional, where he knelt as a penitent. After a few minutes he then rejoined his aides, took his assigned seat in the confessional, and heard confessions of others.

Vatican journalists could not recall any previous occasion when a Roman Pontiff had made his confession in public view.

The Pope was participating in a a "festival of forgiveness" in the Rome diocese, during which priests were available for confessions all day in several churches

 - Catholic Culture
Over at Whispers, Rocco makes the point
The footage is indeed unprecedented – while John Paul II routinely heard the confessions of 12 laymen every Good Friday in St Peter's and B16 spent some time administering the sacrament in a Madrid park at World Youth Day 2011, no Pope has ever been seen as a penitent.

After his turn on the other side of the sacrament, Francis spent another 40 minutes hearing confessions.

The exercise wasn't just one for the Vatican – the penance service doubled as the global kickoff of "24 Hours for the Lord," an initiative of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization that asked the dioceses of the world to provide round-the-clock opportunity for confession in at least one church at some point over this fourth weekend of Lent.


At Mass that morning in the Chapel of the Casa Sancta Martha, Pope Francis reminded the congregation that "God always forgives and does not know how to do otherwise......The Lord always waits for us and forgives us, he said. He is “the God of forgiveness” and he celebrates every person’s return to him". (Vatican Radio)
The Pope went on to say that God longs for us when we distance ourselves from him. Drawing on the day’s first reading from Hosea, he observed that the Lord speaks to his people with tenderness.

Even when God invites us to conversion and uses stern words, God’s words always include “this loving longing” and the exhortation of the Father who says to the son: “Come back. It is time to come back home.”

“This is the heart of our Father,” he said. “God is like that: he does not tire, he does not tire. And God did this for many centuries, with so much apostasy… among the people. And he always returns because our God is a God who waits.

“Adam left paradise with a punishment but also with a promise. And … the Lord is faithful to his promise because he cannot deny himself. He is faithful. And, in this way, he waited for all of us, throughout all of history. He is the God who waits for us always,” the Pope added.

Francis then turned his thoughts to the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The Gospel of Luke, he said, tells us that the father saw the son from afar because he was waiting for him. The father, he said, “went onto the terrace every day to see if his son would return. He waited. And when he saw him, he went out in haste and ‘threw himself on his neck’. The son had prepared some words to say but the father did not let him speak; his embrace covered his mouth.”

“This is our Father, the God that waits for us. Always,” he said.

“‘But father, I have so many sins, I do not know if he will be happy’,” the Pope said, suggesting a conversation between a priest and a person fallen from God. “‘But try! If you want to know the tenderness of this Father, go to him and try. Then come and tell me.’”

The Pope insisted on the loving welcome of God: “The God who waits for us. God who waits and also God who forgives. He is the God of mercy; he does not tire of forgiving. We are the ones who tire in asking for forgiveness, but he does not tire.”

“Seventy times seven, always. Let us go forward with forgiveness. And from a business point of view, the balance is negative. He always loses: he loses in the balance of things but he wins in love,” he said.

God “is the first to fulfill the commandment of love,” he continued. “He loves and does not know how to do otherwise.”

“The miracles that Jesus did with many sick people were also a sign of the great miracle that every day the Lord does with us when we have the courage to get up and go to him,” he added. When people return to God, God celebrates “not like the banquet of the rich man, who had the poor Lazarus at his door,” he said. “He holds banquet, like the father of the prodigal son.”

Every person who has the courage to approach God “will find the joy of the feast of God,” he said. “May this word help us to think of our Father, who waits for us always and who always forgives us and celebrates our return.”

Pope Francis presided over the penitential service where he went to confession as well as heard confessions. Pope Francis delivered the homily at a penitential service over which he was presiding in St. Peter’s Basilica on Friday afternoon. The order of the celebration included Psalms, readings from Sacred Scripture, and hymns, all focused on the theme of repentance and God’s boundless mercy.

Text of the homily HERE.

26 Mar 2014

General Audience - Pope Francis reflects on the sacrament of Holy Orders (Ordination) and Vocations to the Priesthood

L’Osservatore Romano:

One enters the priesthood only through the Lord's initiative. “He calls each of those whom he wills to become priests”. The Sacrament of Holy Orders was the focus of Pope Francis' catechesis at the General Audience on Wednesday morning, 26 March, in St Peter's Square. The following is a translation of the Pope's address to the faithful, which was delivered in Italian.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We have already had occasion to point out that the three Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist together constitute the mystery of “Christian initiation”, a single great event of grace that regenerates us in Christ. This is the fundamental vocation which unites everyone in the Church as disciples of the Lord Jesus. There are then two Sacraments which correspond to two specific vocations: Holy Orders and Matrimony. They constitute two great paths by which the Christian can make his life a gift of love, after the example and in the name of Christ, and thus cooperate in the building up of the Church.

Holy Orders, in its three grades of bishop, priest and deacon, is the Sacrament that enables a man to exercise the ministry which the Lord Jesus entrusted to the Apostles, to shepherd his flock, in the power of his Spirit and according to his Heart. Tending Jesus’ flock not by the power of human strength or by one’s own power, but by the Spirit’s and according to his Heart, the Heart of Jesus which is a heart of love. The priest, the bishop, the deacon must shepherd the Lord’s flock with love. It is useless if it is not done with love. And in this sense, the ministers who are chosen and consecrated for this service extend Jesus’ presence in time, if they do so by the power of the Holy Spirit, in God’s name and with love.

1. A first aspect. Those who are ordained are placed at the head of the community. They are “at the head”, yes, but for Jesus this means placing ones authority at the service [of the community], as Jesus himself showed and taught his disciples with these words: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served by to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:25-28/Mk 10:42-45). A bishop who is not at the service of the community fails to perform his duty; a priest who is not at the service of his community fails to perform his duty, he errs.

2. Another characteristic which also derives from this sacramental union with Christ is a passionate love for the Church. Let us think of that passage from the Letter to the Ephesians in which St Paul states that Christ “loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the Church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing” (5:25-27). Through Holy Orders the minister dedicates himself entirely to his community and loves it with all his heart: it is his family. The bishop and the priest love the Church in their own community, they love it greatly. How? As Christ loves the Church. St Paul will say the same of marriage: the husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the Church. It is a great mystery of love: this of priestly ministry and that of matrimony are two Sacraments, pathways which people normally take to go to the Lord.

3. A final aspect. The Apostle Paul recommends to the disciple Timothy that he not neglect, indeed, that he always rekindle the gift that is within him. The gift that he has been given through the laying on of hands (cf. 1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6). When the ministry is not fostered — the ministry of the bishop, the ministry of the priest — through prayer, through listening to the Word of God, through the daily celebration of the Eucharist and also through regularly going to the Sacrament of Penance, he inevitably ends up losing sight of the authentic meaning of his own service and the joy which comes from a profound communion with Jesus.

4. The bishop who does not pray, the bishop who does not listen to the Word of God, who does not celebrate every day, who does not regularly confess — and the same is true for the priest who does not do these things — in the long run lose their union with Jesus and become so mediocre that they do not benefit the Church. That is why we must help bishops and priests to pray, to listen to the Word of God which is one’s daily nourishment, to celebrate the Eucharist each day and to confess regularly. This is so important precisely because it concerns the sanctification of bishops and priests.

5. I would like to conclude with something which comes to mind: how does one become a priest, where is access to the priesthood sold? No. It is not sold. This is an initiative which the Lord takes. The Lord calls. He calls each of those whom he wills to become priests. Perhaps there are some young men present here who have heard this call in their hearts, the aspiration to become a priest, the desire to serve others in the things of God, the desire to spend one’s entire life in service in order to catechize, baptize, forgive, celebrate the Eucharist, heal the sick... the whole of one’s life in this way. If some of you have heard this call in your heart, it is Jesus who has placed it there. Pay attention to this invitation and pray that it might grow and bear fruit for the whole Church.

Rome Reports:

The cold and rain weren't an obstacle for the thousands of pilgrims who filled St. Peter's Square in his weekly General Audience. Pope Francis couldn't help but notice all the umbrellas covering the square.

"I can see that you're brave...under all this rain that wants to pull you back home. Thank You."

As usual, he rode his Popemobile before the audience, blessing and waving at everybody. A music band welcomed him once he made his way across. As part of his catechesis on the Sacraments, Pope Francis talked about Holy Orders. He reminded that all bishops, priests, and deacons are called to serve, and that they should always stay in touch with Jesus through the Sacraments and the Bible.

"A bishop who doesn't pray, a bishop who doesn't listen to the Word of God, who doesn't celebrate Mass everyday, who doesn't go to Confession on a regular basis—and the same thing happens to a priest that doesn't do these things. He looses his union with Jesus and lives with a mediocrity that hurts the Church.

The Pope emphasized that Holy Orders give priests the grace to look after Jesus' flock, not just through physical strength, but also spiritually.

"The priest, the bishop and the deacon must take care of the Lord's flock. But if they do this without love, it's useless.”

He also talked about vocations, explained how someone can recognize if God is calling them.

Pope Francis asked all Christians to pray for priests, especially for those going through difficult situations. Also, he invited them to ask God for true shepherds.

24 Mar 2014

Remembering Oscar Romero

Cross-post from Sr Louise over at A Pilgrims Progress:

Throughout history, the voice of the prophet is one of the vehicles through which God speaks to the community and to the world. Today, we commemorate one of these prophets. On this day, 34 years ago, evil men in El Salvador tried to silence the voice of a prophet. I claim this date as being special to my life story because it was the month and the year that I was to grace the world. However God had another plan and I arrived a little earlier on January 24th. It continues to be a day where I remember Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero.

Knowing himself to be on the government’s “hit list,” Romero went to the hills to prepare himself for his final confrontation with evil. He telephoned his farewell message to Exclesior, Mexico’s premier newspaper, insisting that like the Good Shepherd, a pastor must give his life for those he loves. Romero was shot while celebrating an anniverary Mass of a friend’s mother at the local convent. The asassin escaped in the hubbub and has never been found. 250,000 thronged the Cathedral Square for his funeral but sadly even that was not without bloodshed. A bomb exploded. Panic-stricken people stampeded. Forty died. In the next two years 35,000 Salvadorans perished. Fifteen per cent of the population was driven into exile. Two thousand simply “disappeared.” In 1983 Pope John Paul II prayed at Romero’s grave, and then appointed as national archbishop the only Salvadoran bishop to attend Romero’s funeral. The message was plain. The pope had given his imprimatur to all that Romero had exemplified.

My personal admiration for Romero goes back to a discernment weekend which was held in our community in Dublin back in 1997. I remember it vividly because that weekend we watched the movie ‘Romero’. The story of this heroic pastor was life changing. At a certain point of his journey, Romero is shown literally at a crossroads. We see him fall to his knees and he utters a simple prayer: “I can’t, You must, I’m Yours, lead me!” It was the prayer from a heart that didn’t know what to do in the face of such injustice, death and despair. He was the pastor and the sheep continued to be slaughtered and torn from his grasp. I found myself in tears because I realised that that simple prayer echoed the sentiments of my own heart. I had been rebelling against the Lord for such a long time in responding to the call to religious life and I was tired. Romero’s prayer had become my prayer. If I was to embark upon the journey of trying consecrated life, it had to be upon fully surrendering to the guidance of the Shepherd. This simple prayer has been my lifeline on many occasions, a call back to reality and to see that I need to be guided and that I can’t do this on my own. It is a prayer which I whisper often each day when words fail me in prayer or don’t seem to carry me as they usually do.

Pope Francis when he was bishop in Argentina
washes feet on Holy Thursday
When Pope Francis stepped out onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Square over a year ago, my first thought was ‘he reminds me of Oscar Romero’, with those thick rimmed glasses and defined jawline and his South America background. In these past ten days, the Pope’s message has been very clear: our Church must remember the poor, the afflicted, the forgotten, the marginalised. Our message must be one of life. Even this morning during his homily for Palm Sunday, he called us to remember the power of the Cross: “Jesus enters Jerusalem in order to die on the Cross. And it is here that his kingship shines forth in godly fashion: his royal throne is the wood of the Cross! I think of what Benedict XVI said to the cardinals, 'You are princes, but of a crucified King.' That is Jesus' throne. Jesus takes it upon himself... Why the Cross? Because Jesus takes upon himself the evil, the filth, the sin of the world, including our own sin—all of us—and he cleanses it, he cleanses it with his blood, with the mercy and the love of God. Let us look around: how many wounds are inflicted upon humanity by evil! Wars, violence, economic conflicts that hit the weakest, greed for money, which none of us can take with us, it must be left behind.”

Again, I think of Romero: “A church that suffers no persecution but enjoys the privileges and support of the things of the earth—beware!—is not the true church of Jesus Christ.
(Homily, March 11th,1979.) 

Archbishop Romero, faced with the urgency of his historical moment in El Salvador, calls us to look at the urgency of our own. And he calls his church, including himself, to the highest standard in confronting our moment in history—to name sin, to uproot sin, to be Christ in the world, redeeming it, building up within it the reign of God. Pope Francis, through his ministry as successor of Peter, of Benedict XVI and of all the other popes before him, is a prophet for today.

Let us pray then, in the midst of our Lenten fast, our Lent of repentance and redemption, for our Church, and for ourselves who are that church. We are called to repent the failings of our Church, the sin within it. This day, we reflect especially on the failings of our church to confront the sin of injustice and its causes. We hear the voice of the prophet enjoining us to uproot this sin from our church, to uproot this sin from the hearts of those of us who make up this Church. We are also called to prophesy—for our Church, and we who are church, to be prophets, Christ's voice, Christ's hands in a world deeply mired in injustice, violence and fear.

A free ebook called ‘The Violence of Love’ by Archbishop Romero is available
here and the link to the movie 'Romero' is above. The book is really worth a read and the movie worth a viewing especially as we begin the journey with Jesus into Jerusalem, to Calvary and beyond. Buen cammino!

22 Mar 2014

23rd March 2014 - Trocaire 2014 Lenten Campaign - 3rd Sunday of Lent (Year A)

On this weeks programme John and Anne are joined by Noirin Lynch who tells us about this years Trocaire Lenten campaign which focuses on access to clean safe water. She tells us about her trip to Malawi which is the focus of the Trocaire campaign this year. We also have our regular reflection this week with Michael Keating on the Sunday gospel as well as other notices and liturgical odds and ends.

You can listen to a podcast of the full programme HERE.

Trocaire Lenten Campaign 2014

On this weeks programme we are joined by Noirin Lynch from LDPC who comes on to share with us about this years Trocaire Lenten Campaign. Noirin was lucky enough to be part of the Trocaire team which went to Malawi in January to see the reality behind this years campaign.

Trócaire works in over 20 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. In 2012-13 Trócaire’s programme work benefitted over 2.7 million people, working across areas like (i) Sustainable livelihoods, (ii) Human rights, (iii) Gender equality, (iv) HIV, (v) Climate change, amd (vi) Emergency relief.

Overseas Trócaire delivers support through local partner organisations and churches, helping communities and families to free themselves from the oppression of poverty. In Ireland, Trocaire raise awareness about the causes of poverty through outreach programmes in the education sector, through parish networks, and through public campaigns and advocacy work. 92% of all money received by Trocaire goes directly to the people that need it most. 

The Lent 2014 theme is Water, and the featured country is Malawi. As part of its preparations, Trocaire brings a number of diocesan reps each year to the featured country, so that they might speak from experience of the visiting these projects and people. Noirin Lynch, Pastoral Co-ordinator was invited to join Trocaire in Malawi for one week in January 2014
This year's Trócaire Lent Campaign is about the global water crisis. Drier climates across sub-Saharan Africa are leaving communities struggling without enough water for drinking, sanitation and growing food.

Enestina (9) is the girl on this year's Trócaire Box. She comes from a small community in rural Malawi that has relied on a polluted river for drinking and washing for many years. The community depends on the unpredictable rains to water their crops, meaning they never know what food they can produce. Trócaire is working to change this.

For children like Enestina, access to water means better health, more nutritious food and more time in school.


Your donation will help a community to install a water pump or a water irrigation system. This will free up children’s time from fetching water so they can attend school, and will help families to increase their crop harvest and grow more food to eat.
Where your money goes:
92% goes on direct charitable expenditure
7% is spent on fundraising and publicity activities
1% goes on governance costs
You can listen to Noirin's interview excerpted from the main programme HERE.

You can see photos of her trip to Malawi on the Limerick diocesan website HERE.
Trocaire's website with resources for schools and parishes and the links to donate is HERE.

Gospel - John 4:5-42

There came a woman of Samar'ia to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samar'ia?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, `Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." The woman said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?" Jesus said to her, "Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."

Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." The woman answered him, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying, `I have no husband'; for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband; this you said truly." The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ); when he comes, he will show us all things." Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he." Just then his disciples came. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but none said, "What do you wish?" or, "Why are you talking with her?" So the woman left her water jar, and went away into the city, and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?" They went out of the city and were coming to him.
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy
English Dominicans

To Be Loved, Is To Be Known
To Be Loved, Is To Be Known

written by Chris kinsley and Drew Francis

I am a woman of no distinction. Of little importance, I'm a woman of no reputation to say which is bad.

You whisper as I pass by and cast judgment until glances. Though you don't really take the time to look at me, or even get to know me. 
For to be known is to be loved.

To be loved is to be known, otherwise what is the point of doing either one of them in the first place.

I want to be known.

I want someone to look at my face and not just see two eyes, a nose, a mouth and two ears

But to see all that I am and could be, all my hopes loves and fears. But that is too much to hope for, to wish for or pray for, so I don't, not anymore.

Now I keep to myself, by that I mean the pain. Pain that keeps me in my own private jail, the pain that's brought me here at midday to this well.

To ask for a drink is no bigger quest, but to ask it of me.

A man unclean, ashamed, used, abused,an outcast,a failure, a disappointment a sinner.

No drink passing from these hands to your lips could ever be refreshing, only condemning. As I'm sure you condemn me now, but you don't

You are a man of no distinguish to the outmost importance, a man with little reputation at least so far. You whisper and tell me to my face What all those glances have been about.

You take the time to really look at me, I don't need to get to know me. For to be known is to be loved, and to be loved is to be known.

You know me, you actually know me, all of me and everything about me.

Every thought inside and hair on top of my head, every hurt stored up, every hope, every dread.

From my past to my future, all I am and could be, you tell me everything, you tell me about me.

And that what would be spoken by an other would bring hate and condemnation.

Coming from you brings love, grace, mercy, hope and salvation.

I've heard of one to come who would save a wretch like me and here in my presence you say I am he. 
To be known is to be loved, and to be loved is to be known.

I just meet you, but I love you. I don't know you, but I want to get to know you.

Let me run back to town this is way too much for just me.

There are other brothers, sisters, lovers and haters. The good and the bad sinners and saints who should hear what you've told me, who should see what you showed me, who taste what you gave me, who should feel how you forgave me.

For to be known is to be loved, and to be loved is to be known, and they all need this too, we all do, need it for our own.

Liturgical odds and ends

Saints of the Week

24th March - St Maccartan
25th March - Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
26th March - Saint Mochelloc of Kilmallock
27th March - Blessed Pellegrino of Falerone
28th March - St. Hesychius of Jerusalem
29th March - Blessed Bertold of Mount Carmel

21 Mar 2014

Conversations on John Paul II - the 'new evangelization' - Irish Dominicans


Irish Dominican student brothers along with the Regent of Studies of the Irish province Fr John Harris OP are recording conversations in memory of Blessed John Paul II. The first conversation focuses on the "New Evangelisation" - a term first coined by the late Pope.

Four of our student brothers took part - Bro Matthew Farrell, Bro Philip Mulryne, Br Michael O Dubhghaill and Bro Matthew Martinez.

This first episode is part of a three episode series on some of the
themes in the pontifical of Blessed John Paul II. The second episode will be on the 'Culture of Life' and the third on the 'World Youth Days'.

19 Mar 2014

St Joseph - March 19th

March 19th marks the feast day of St Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary and foster father to Jesus. He was proclaimed the patron of the Universal Church in 1870 by Pope Pius IX and is also patron of workers and fathers.

In the Gospels it is written that “Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife” . He is also depicted as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart is full of tenderness. 
In his Homily at his installation Mass on this date last year, Pope Francis described St Joseph as a protector, the protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church. He is, said the Pope, “constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans, and not simply to his own”. 
Lydia O’Kane spoke to the Head of Vatican Radio’s English India Programme, Jesuit Father Melvin Joseph Pinto about this great Saint.


From Catholicculture.org:

He was probably born in Bethlehem and probably died in Nazareth. His important mission in God's plan of salvation was "to legally insert Jesus Christ into the line of David from whom, according to the prophets, the Messiah would be born, and to act as his father and guardian (Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy)." Most of our information about St. Joseph comes from the opening two chapters of St. Matthew's Gospel. No words of his are recorded in the Gospels; he was the "silent" man. We find no devotion to St. Joseph in the early Church. It was the will of God that the Virgin Birth of Our Lord be first firmly impressed upon the minds of the faithful. He was later venerated by the great saints of the Middle Ages. Pius IX (1870) declared him patron and protector of the universal family of the Church.

The darkest hours of his life may well have been those when he first learned of Mary's pregnancy; but precisely in this time of trial Joseph showed himself great. His suffering, which likewise formed a part of the work of the redemption, was not without great providential import: Joseph was to be, for all times, the trustworthy witness of the Messiah's virgin birth. After this, he modestly retires into the background of holy Scripture.
Of St. Joseph's death the Bible tells us nothing. There are indications, however, that he died before the beginning of Christ's public life. His was the most beautiful death that one could have, in the arms of Jesus and Mary. Humbly and unknown, he passed his years at Nazareth, silent and almost forgotten he remained in the background through centuries of Church history. Only in more recent times has he been accorded greater honor.

Liturgical veneration of St. Joseph began in the fifteenth century, fostered by Sts. Brigid of Sweden and Bernadine of Siena. St. Teresa, too, did much to further his cult.
At present there are two major feasts in his honor. On March 19 our veneration is directed to him personally and to his part in the work of redemption, while on May 1 we honor him as the patron of workmen throughout the world and as our guide in the difficult matter of establishing equitable norms regarding obligations and rights in the social order.

Further reflections on the feast here, here, here and here.

17 Mar 2014

I, Patrick a sinner.............in his own words

"My name is Patrick. I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many. My father was Calpornius. He was a deacon; his father was Potitus, a priest, who lived at Bannavem Taburniae. His home was near there, and that is where I was taken prisoner. I was about sixteen at the time.

At that time, I did not know the true God. I was taken into captivity in Ireland,along with thousands of others. We deserved this, because we had gone away from God,and did not keep his commandments. We would not listen to our priests, who advised us about how we could be saved. We have gone aside from your commandments … we have not listened to your servants the prophets".The Lord brought his strong anger upon us, and scattered us among many nations even to the ends of the earth. It was among foreigners that it was seen how little I was."

While we have many legends about St Patrick, it is makes sense to look to see what writings the saint himself has left us which are regarded as some of the earliest literature from Ireland.

The Royal Irish Academy have published a new booklet by Padraig McCarthy which is freely available online HERE.

The other writing of St Patrick that comes down to us in the Book of Armagh is his Letter to Coroticus, appealing for the return of Irish christians who has been taken in a slave raid.

Both are written in a very easy to read style which makes sense if you consider that Patrick's education was interupted when he was taken as a slave. Have a look and a quick read through as it is not very long or difficult and as they say, hear it straight from the horses mouth.

Mass in Irish for the Solemnity of St Patrick - Newcastle West


Naomh Pádraig
Easpag, Príomhéarlamh na hÉireann
An t-aifreann as gaeilge do Lá Féile Pádraig as Caislean Nua Thiar.
Mass in Irish for the feast of St Patrick from Newcastle West.

Each year the 10.30am Mass in Newcastle West for St Patrick's Day is celebrated as gaeilge with the participation of all the primary schools in Newcastle West.This year in partnership with the parish of the Immaculate Conception Newcastle West, SS102fm has recorded the Mass for those overseas and for those who could not get to NCW today.

You can listen to the full Mass HERE.
Gospel reading and homily of Canon Frank Duhig PP can be heard HERE.

Give up yer aul sins - Story of St Patrick


This series, including the original Oscar-nominated short, from Brown Bag Films is based upon the 1960s recordings of young children telling Bible stories in a classroom to their schoolteacher. When a film crew arrives at an inner city Dublin National School to record the children, the result is a warm, funny and spontaneous animated documentary, featuring young children telling the story of John the Baptist, The birth of Jesus, the Crucifixion, Saint Patrick and others. Give Up Yer Aul Sins combines simple humour with clever animation to create films with a timeless quality and appeal to a family audience. Give Up Yer Aul Sins has screened in almost 50 film festivals, including The Galway Film Fleadh (where it won Best Animation), Cork Film Festival (Best Irish and Best International Animation), Cartoons on Bay (Special Award for Original Idea), NewYork Comedy Festival, Boston Irish Film Festival, Aspen Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival.

16 Mar 2014

St Patrick - Apostle of the Irish - March 17th

From all the team at Sacred Space 102fm
Happy St Patrick's Day!!

On dream go léir ag "Sacred Space 102fm" Lá fhéile Phadraig shona díobh go léir

St Patricks Breastplate

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.
I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.
I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.
I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.
Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.
Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

At the inauguration of Uachtárain na h-Éireann (President of Ireland) Michael D. Higgins one of the pieces of music performed by Rita Connolly was the "The Deer's Cry" which is St Patrick's Breastplate arranged by Shaun Davy:


Who was St Patrick?

Saint Patrick was a Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Known as the "Apostle of Ireland", he is the primary patron saint of the island along with Saints Brigid and Columba. Two authentic letters from him survive, from which come the only generally-accepted details of his life. When he was about 16, he was captured from his home and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. After becoming a cleric, he returned to northern and western Ireland as an ordained bishop, but little is known about the places where he worked. By the seventh century, he had already come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland.

Why is St Patrick associated with snakes?

Legends suggest that Saint Patrick drove out snakes from Ireland, although scientific evidence suggests that snakes did not exist in post-glacial Ireland. Some scholars believe that the "snakes" that Saint Patrick drove out are a metaphor for the serpent symbolism of Druids who inhabited Ireland during Patrick's time, or even heretical beliefs, e.g. Pelagianism. Saint Patrick probably did have a role in driving out Druid and Pelagian influence in Ireland.

Was St Patrick the first Irish Bishop?

No, Palladius was sent by Pope Celestine around 431 to Ireland, ‘to the Irish believers in Christ’. He is considered a saint by both the Anglican and Catholic church. Patrick worked more in the west and north of the country, principally with those who weren’t already Christian, and Patricks legacy is the one which endured. Patrick is well known because of the writings he left – they help us to feel connected with him and his faith.

Is St Patrick a Patron Saint in other countries?

Yes. In fact, Saint Patrick is a very popular patron saint. He is the patron saint of various dioceses and archdioceses, including Adelaide (Australia), Armagh (Ireland), Auckland (New Zealand), Ballarat (Australia), Boston (USA), Burlington (Vermont, USA), Cape Town (South Africa), Dromore (Ireland), Erie (Pennsylvania, USA), Fort Worth (Texas, USA), Harrisburg (Pennsylvania, USA), Kilmore (Ireland), Melbourne (Australia), Mymensingh (Bangladesh), New York (USA), Poona (India), and Sacramento (California, USA). He is also the patron of the countries of Ireland and Nigeria. He is the patron of engineers, excluded persons, and ophidiophobics (those who fear snakes). He is the patron saint against snakes, fear of snakes, and snake bites.
What is St Patricks Purgatory?
Since the 12th century, Saint Patrick's Purgatory has been a place of pilgrimage on Station Island, Lough Derg, Co. Donegal, in Ireland. This is where Christ is said to have revealed to Saint Patrick the entrance to purgatory and the earthly paradise. The earliest recorded visit to Saint Patrick's Purgatory is by an Irish knight named Owein around AD 1146. Saint Patrick's Purgatory became a popular pilgrimage site for knightly pilgrims from different countries in the 14th and 15th centuries. Pilgrims still visit the Island, which now has a modern basilica.

As part of our Celtic heritage and renowned throughout Europe since the Middle Ages, Lough Derg is a unique place of peace. In today's modern world - where everything is fast and instant - Lough Derg still manages to maintain a pace where people have to move more slowly, where the mind can be stilled. This small island offers no distractions, no artificialities, but instead a warm welcome, for there are no strangers here. If you are seeking an opportunity for calm, for renewal or growth, then this ancient Sanctuary of St. Patrick might well be the place. Everyone is welcome to become part of what has been an Irish tradition since the sixth century.Given that it has survived for over a thousand years, that it continues to attract pilgrims and give them hope, there is nothing to suggest that it will not be here in another thousand years.
For more information about visiting Saint Patrick's Purgatory, visit the Lough Derg website at http://www.loughderg.org/

You can find all previous blog posts on St Patrick and St Patrick's Day from SS102fm HERE including some wonderful reflections from Fr Michael Liston.