29 Apr 2015

Schools of Prayer - Pray As You Go Padcast

Monks, nuns and priests in Catholic religious communities often have deeply prayerful lives that bring them closer to the Lord. So what can we learn from those with a devotion to great saints like St Thérèse of Lisieux, St Dominic, St Benedict, St Francis of Assisi, St Clare, St Bernard and St Ignatius? What do each of these 'teachers' offer us as a tool for prayer?

Pray as You Go has a series of podcasts about Schools of Prayer available HERE.

Introductory podcast is below:

27 Apr 2015

I will follow - Vocation Sunday

(Vatican Radio) On Sunday, Pope Francis presided over the ordinations of priests for the diocese of Rome in Saint Peter’s Basilica, reminding them they are ministers of unity in the Church. Most of the 19 men ordained 26 April were part of Roman seminaries, including the Pontifical Roman Seminary, the Redemptoris Mater diocesan college, and the Madonna del Divino Amore seminary.

In off-the-cuff remarks during his homily for morning Mass, Pope Francis had advice for those about to be ordained.

He told them that the homilies they deliver should come from the heart, in order that they might reach the hearts of the people.

Speaking to them about the responsibility of distributing the sacraments, he told them to never refuse anyone who asks for Baptism

Pope Francis also reminded the soon to be ordained priests that in the confessional they are to forgive, never to condemn.

“You are ministers of unity in the Church, in the family,” Pope Francis said.

Full text of homily from Zenit available HERE

25 Apr 2015

26 April 2015 - Interview with Aidan O'Rourke - Good Shepherd Sunday (Day of Prayer for Vocations)

On this weeks programme John has an interview with Aidan O'Rourke who is the current seminarian in Maynooth for the diocese of Limerick and Fr Leslie McNamara, the Vocations Director for Limerick diocese. We have a reflection on this weeks gospel as well as some liturgical odds and ends.

Just to remind people next Friday is May Day, so the tradition of sprinkling the garden and farm with Easter water on May Eve should be done on Thursday evening around sunset.

You can listen to the full podcast of this weeks programme HERE.

Vocation Sunday

The World Day of Prayer for Vocations is celebrated on Sunday 26th May this year, the Fourth Sunday of Easter. The World Day of Prayer for Vocations is also known as Vocations Sunday or Good Shepherd Sunday and will be celebrated this year on the theme ‘Exodus: a fundamental experience of vocation’. 

In his message for Vocations Sunday Pope Francis reflects that "The exodus experience is paradigmatic of the Christian life, particularly in the case of those who have embraced a vocation of special dedication to the Gospel,” the Pope said in his message, which was dated March 29 and released April 14.

“This calls for a constantly renewed attitude of conversion and transformation, an incessant moving forward, a passage from death to life like that celebrated in every liturgy, an experience of Passover,” he added. “From the call of Abraham to that of Moses, from Israel’s pilgrim journey through the desert to the conversion preached by the prophets, up to the missionary journey of Jesus which culminates in his death and resurrection, vocation is always a work of God.”

You can read Pope Francis full message for Vocation Sunday HERE.


Aidan and Fr Leslie reflect on the meaning of vocation and in particular the vocation to priesthood and Aidan shares his faith journey to date which has led him to discern his vocation at the national seminary at Maynooth.

You can listen to Aidan's interview excerpted from the main programme podcast HERE.

Gospel - John 10:11-18

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 4, 4th week of Easter

Saints of the Week 

April 27th - St Asicus of Elphin, bishop
April 28th - St Louis de Montfort
April 29th - St Catherine of Siena OP (patron of Europe)
April 30th - St Pius V (May Eve, blessing of lands and gardens with Easter water)
May 1st - St Joseph the Worker (First Friday)(May the month of Mary)
May 2nd - St Athanasius of Alexandria

24 Apr 2015

Who would dare to love ISIS? - A Letter from the People of the Cross

As the world responds to the Islamic State with hatred and vengeance, there is one group that is responding differently. They are not allies with ISIS but enemies. And they have been slain by the thousands in the hands of ISIS. ISIS calls them The Nation of the Cross - The ones they have killed are bringing a message of forgiveness and hope. Declaring a love that they do not know - A love that reconciles even the worst of us and can make enemies into brothers.
A Letter from the People of the Cross to ISIS 

The world is talking about you
Your apocalyptic dreams and spectacular sins
Are now awakening the middle east
In your holy war, come to holy ground
Come children of Abraham come
The people of the cross gathers at your gates with a message
Love is coming after you.
Like a rush of wind grazing over the pacific
From hills of the mount of olives to the desert winds of Jordan
From the cedars of lebanon to the silk roads of the East
An army comes. With no tanks or soldiers
But an army of martyrs faithful unto death
Carrying a message of life
The people of the cross
Comes to die at your gates.
If you wont hear our message with words
Then we will show you with our lives
Laid down.
For every throat you slit and every woman you rape
For every man you burn and every child you turn to dust
There is blood on your hands brother
But Come Brothers Come
Come with your bloodstained hands,
Come with your eyes full of murder for the people of the Cross,
Come lay your guns and your knives at the foot of the cross
A love that is overdue and overwhelming
Breathes through your cities
Though your sins are like scarlet
They can be washed white as snow
Though you call yourselves servants
He will make you into Sons
Where can you run from His love?
Even the darkness cannot hide you
Come Brothers Come
There is the sound of a rushing rain
To remove your sins and bind your wounds
You die for your god but our God died for us
The King of Kings comes to be the sacrificial lamb
Slain on the altar where we should have been
Jesus Christ, Isa Al Masih
Walks through the Middle East
There is forgiveness tonight oh brother
There is healing for your sins oh brother
We are no different.
Apart from Christ, we are no better than the worst jihadist
Christ has been crucified once. and for All.
To make sinners like you and me into brothers
Even you.
Even now
Interview with the man behind the video message here.
Prior to our video, ISIS released a video titled “A Message Signed by Blood to the Nation of the Cross.” They beheaded 21 of our people and issued a warning to all Christians. Someone had to respond, so I took that opportunity. Do I love ISIS? No, not at first. But as I was working on the script, my heart broke for them. God always teaches me a lesson before there is a breakthrough. I remember one morning I was so depressed because I had committed a certain sin. (Christians aren’t perfect, so don’t expect us to be!) I wanted to quit and felt so unworthy to be making this video. But I got a message from a friend at the perfect timing. It just read, “Hey Mike, God loves you.” Those simple words brought healing to my flesh. And it clicked. ISIS continues to murder people because they’ve never experienced a love like this. If I had committed such a sin and it drove me to despair, how much guilt must hang over the hearts of ISIS members, who behead people? They might never admit it, but I know the guilt and shame is there. Hurt people hurt people, and loved people love. I just broke down and prayed: Lord, I want them to experience this kind of love.

Further information here, here and here 

NURSES - The Limerick Lourdes Diocesan pilgrimage needs you!

Are you a nurse or do you have friends who are? If so then maybe you/they would consider joining the Limerick Diocesan Pilgrimage this year in Lourdes (June 21-26).

This pilgrimage is a really unique, happy and satisfying event to be part of, and while we have a great group of volunteers travelling to Lourdes this year in many capacities; they are a little low on nurses. So if you are curious and would like more details, please contact the Lourdes Office at 061 - 314111.

23 Apr 2015

25-year high for women’s religious vocations in England, Wales - UPDATED

The number of women entering religious life in England and Wales rose from seven in 2004 to 45 in 2014, the highest number in 25 years. Eighteen of the 45 entered cloistered communities, according to The Independent, while the rest entered active orders.

Catholic Herald - Why women are flocking to religious orders in England and Wales
Catholic Herald - Women entering religious life in England and Wales at 25-year high
BBC -  Women becoming nuns hits 25-year high
The Independent - Dissatisfaction with modern life prompts surge in number of women entering convents
Catholic Ireland.net - Women entering UK convents hits 25 year high
"Entering religious life as a nun, sister, brother or priest is ultimately a decision of love. Like any love, on one level it’s a bit mysterious, and hard to explain to someone who doesn’t share it. If you asked a married couple: “So what made you decide to get married?”, they might be able to list one another’s qualities, shared interests, and so on, but all that would not be enough to explain the simple fact that stands at the heart of their relationship: that they love one another. On another level, though, it’s quite straightforward. If you spend all your time with someone and rearrange your life around them, if you start to share friends and interests, then you might – eventually – think about marrying them. Entering religious life was, for me, an acknowledgement that I had met this kind of life-shaping love."
 Continue reading - Why I'm giving up my academic career to become a nun

A couple of weeks back we did an interview with Br Conor OP on the programme. In this weeks Irish Catholic he reflects on how "A vocation brings real joy and adventure"

Your Call - KandLe

Tomorrows Priests - CNS

Busted Halo - Sacraments 101 - Holy Orders (what ordination means)

21 Apr 2015

Trocaire - Drop in the Ocean: Ireland and Climate Change

Today is Earth Day. Do you think Ireland is still the Emerald Isle? Find out how green we really are...


Climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity today and yet our political systems refuse to move quickly enough to do anything about it. It threatens to undo all the gains that have been made against poverty in recent decades.

But how does it affect Ireland and where do we fit in the global picture? ‘Drop in the Ocean?’ talks to some of Ireland’s leading environmental scientists, writers and activists to find out.

Find out more about Trócaire's Climate Justice work.

Pope expresses sorrow over execution of 30 Christians by the Islamic State

Pursued by Truth (a Patheos blog) - What Is Life Like in the Seminary? A Video Vignette…

From Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP over at the Patheos blog Pursued by Truth:

"With ordinations up 25% this year you might be interested in what life is like these days for a young man considering the priesthood in the Catholic Church.

Dan Rogers is one of these talented young men who is currently in seminary.

He is also a techie designer extraordinaire and  “digital evangelist.” Dan specializes in “web-based ministry through social media, interactive site design, and creative film / multimedia platforms.”

You may know Dan as the co-founder of the wildly popular movement promoting women’s vocations to the religious life, Imagine Sisters. He is also the writer and lead director of “Light of Love”, a documentary film available free online about women’s religious life. In addition to all of the other projects he is involved in right now, including helping to promote the new film Media Apostle, Dan has put together a short vignette on life in the seminary.

Check out Dan’s video and be inspired:

20 Apr 2015

28 Ethiopians reportedly killed in new Islamic State massacre

Islamic State terrorists in Libya apparently killed 28 Ethiopian Christians, describing them as representatives of the “enemy Ethiopian Church,” in a new massacre.

A video that showed the beheading of 12 men and the shooting of 16 others was released on April 19. The beheadings occurred on a beach, while the 16 men were shot in the head in what appeared to be a desert location. The killings were grotesquely similar to the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in another video made public in February.

In the new video, a spokesman for the Islamic State said that the victims were “followers of the cross,” representing “the nation of the cross.” The video also showed images of the destruction of Christian churches and cemeteries, and included a warning for Christians to convert to Islam or face a similar fate.

A spokesman for the Coptic Catholic Church, Bishop Antonios Aziz Mina of Guizeh, told the Fides news service that the timing of the video’s release suggests that Islamic State leaders are very conscious of relations among the Christian churches in the Middle East. Patriarch Mathias I, the leaders of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, had been scheduled to meet with the Coptic Orthodox leader, Pope Tawadros II. (That meeting was cancelled in the wake of the killings, as the Ethiopian prelate chose to remain with his grieving people.) In the February video, the Islamic State had identified the Coptic Church as its enemy in Libya.

In both massacres, the victims were migrant workers—first from Egypt, then from Ethiopia—who had been living in Libya. Christians living in Libya have been in danger since the Islamic State established a powerful presence there, after the collapse of the Qaddafi regime.

“The chain of martyrs has not finished,” Bishop Mina observed. The Church has never complained of martyrdom, but has always celebrated martyrs as those in whom, while they are being killed, the great and consoling victory of Christ shines.”

Ethiopian Christians shot, beheaded and filmed by Islamic State 

Coptic Bishop Antonios Aziz Mina on Ethiopian Christians massacred: the martyrs are those in whom the great and consoling victory of Christ shines

ISIS slaughters 30 Christians on beach in Libya 

The Christian tragedy in the Middle East did not begin with Isis


Pope's Message to His Holiness Abuna Matthias Patriarch of 
the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church
With great distress and sadness I learn of the further shocking violence perpetrated against innocent Christians in Lybia. I know that Your Holiness is suffering deeply in heart and mind at the sight of your faithful children being killed for the sole reason that they are followers of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I reach out to you in heartfelt spiritual solidarity to assure you of my closeness in prayer at the continuing martyrdom being so cruelly inflicted on Christians in Africa, the Middle East and some parts of Asia. 
It makes no difference whether the victims are Catholic, Copt, Orthodox or Protestant. Their blood is one and the same in their confession of Christ! The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard by everyone who can still distinguish between good and evil. All the more this cry must be heard by those who have the destiny of peoples in their hands. 
At this time we are filled with the Easter joy of the disciples to whom the women had brought the news that “Christ has risen from the dead”. This year, that joy – which never fades – is tinged with profound sorrow. Yet we know that the life we live in God’s merciful love is stronger than the pain all Christians feel, a pain shared by men and women of good will in all religious traditions. 
With heartfelt condolences I exchange with Your Holiness the embrace of peace in Christ Our Lord. 
From the Vatican, 20 April 2015

iCatholic - What is the current situation for Vocations in Ireland?

18 Apr 2015

19th April 2015 - Charismatic Renewal Conference Limerick - 3rd Sunday of Easter (Year B)

On this weeks programme John is joined by Martina O'Sullivan and Emer Williams to discuss the up coming Charismatic Renewal conference to be held in Limerick on April 25th and 26th 2015. We have our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel as well as some other liturgical odds and ends.

You can listen to the podcast of this weeks full programme HERE.

You can listen to the interview with Emer Williams about the conference excerpted from the main programme HERE.

Charismatic Renewal Conference - Limerick 

The Limerick Diocesan Charismatic Renewal Service Committee invites people to a conference on April 25th - 26th in the Radisson Blu Hotel Limerick. On this weeks programme Emer Williams speaks to John and Martina about the conference. The theme of this years conference is "The Word is made flesh".

Speakers include Bishop Brendan Leahy, Bishop-emeritus Donal Murray and Bishop Kenneth Kearon Also speaking will be Marie Beirne, James Armitage, Sr Mary Bridget Dunlea, Ed and Fiona Collins. 

The committee is not charging an entrance fee for this conference as they wish all to feel welcome regardless of their financial status at this time. A collection will be taken up each day to meet the expenses of the gathering. Further information is available from 

Gospel - Luke 24:35-48

"While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Sunday Reflections
English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy

Liturgical odds and ends

Liturgy of the Hours: Psalter Week 3; 3rd week of Easter

Saints of the Week

April 20th - St Conrad of Parzham
April 21st - St Anselm of Canturbury
April 22nd - St Abel McAedh
April 23rd - St George (name day of Pope Francis!)
April 24th - St Fidelis of Sigmaringen
April 25th - St Mark the Evangelist

16 Apr 2015

Healing of silent memories: for the naming of babies ...

Healing of Silent Memories:
- for the naming of babies/children who have died as a result of miscarriage, still birth or sudden infant death
takes place in Newcastle West Church
on Wednesday, April 22nd at 8.00pm.
All parents, siblings, grandparents and others affected by the loss of a baby/child are very welcome to attend regardless of whether the loss was recent or long ago.
If anyone would like to remember a baby/child, please write their name in the Book of Remembrance at the display in the church and they will be remembered at the service.

14 Apr 2015

Christ is our hope, he is alive - Easter Reflection from Br Alois of Taize

All this Holy Week, the prayers have brought us closer to Jesus. We have watched him take the path of suffering and death.

Holy Saturday—today—has placed us in the silence of God that Jesus knew and shared with so many men and women who feel they are abandoned by God.

And here we are tonight on the eve of the resurrection of Jesus. He conquered death. How? By his love, which was stronger.

This is hard to believe for some people. We see so much violence in the world; recently it has been unleashed even more. The day before yesterday there was a terrible attack at a university in Kenya that killed 150 young people. I have spoken on the phone to our brothers who live in Kenya; they feel the shock which this event has caused throughout the country. And we are all shocked to see situations where human life no longer seems to have any value.

I was recently in Rome. I had a personal meeting with Pope Francis. We all know how much he is committed to defending the poor, those who suffer injustice. He told me he is praying with us in Taizé in this year when we remember Brother Roger. I would like to ask you all to pray for him. Entrust him to God every day, even just for a brief moment.

In Rome one image remains etched in my memory. In a church, there was a poster showing photos, just before their execution, of the 21 Coptic Christians who were killed. They were kneeling, and behind them each executioner had a knife. They died because of their faith. And how many Muslims die too because they are not on the right side!

Let us not just remain shocked or accusers. Seeing all this sets all of us in front of these questions: Do you want to review the priorities in your life? Do not we often remain caught up in questions and discussions that in the final analysis are not so important? Do you want to be a peacemaker? If so, begin where you live!

Armed conflicts are ravaging the Middle East, but also many other parts of the world. Last year many Ukrainian young people came to Taizé; here they met Russian young people. It was impressive to see the efforts that these young people made to listen to one another.

So we asked ourselves what we could do to show our solidarity. The project was born to make a pilgrimage in three stages. Next week with four brothers and one hundred young people from all over Europe, we will go to Moscow to celebrate Holy Week with Orthodox Christians. Their date of Easter is set a week after our Western feast.

Then we brothers will go to Minsk, Belarus, for two days. And the third step will be in Ukraine, where other young Europeans will join us in Kiev and Lviv.

We will go empty-handed, with no project other than to join Christians in those countries in their celebration of the paschal mystery. Christ is our hope. He is alive. He brings us together. Did he not say these words: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself.”? So we want to come together, so that Christ can draw us together in his love.

I will be very glad to experience the Easter celebrations with the Christians of those three countries. The singing, the words, the icons, the candles, all express the mystery of Christ who loves every human being.

Putting our trust in Christ is not always a feeling that tranquilizes us. But let us remember that he always gives us his peace, and with it the courage to make tough decisions that shape our lives. If receiving Christ’s peace could become the priority in our lives, the world would change a great deal.

Tonight we brothers are happy to have welcomed a new brother into our community—Roland from the Netherlands. And a week ago, Claudio from Chile also joined our community.

They are now preparing to commit their entire lives for Christ. They will always be trying, again and again, to let themselves be led by the Holy Spirit. Walking on this road means learning to open our hands, not holding on to our own dreams and plans but heading into the unknown and believing like a child that God takes care of us.

Yes we want to surrender ourselves to God, to live each day on the peace of Christ as nourishment. In this we brothers support one another. Communion among Christians is an invaluable support. You too, wherever you are: look for support in communion with other Christians.

This communion between all who love Christ is an incomparable source of joy. This week we have been able to experience it together here. And we also find support in the believers who went before us. One of them who lived in Russia, Seraphim of Sarov, said. “Find peace and a multitude of others will find it around you.”

13 Apr 2015

14th April - Anniversary of episcopal ordination of Bishop Brendan Leahy

A SS102fm congratulations and ad multos annos to Bishop Brendan Leahy on the anniversary of his episcopal ordination as bishop of Limerick on 14th April 2013.

And also this week we congratulate Bishop-emeritus Donal Murray on the anniversary of his episcopal ordination on 18th April 1982.

Ordination of new bishop for Waterford & Lismore

SS102fm joins in the congratulations to Bishop Phoncie Cullinan on his episcopal ordination yesterday. A friend of the programme who has contributed on a number of occasions to discussion and reflections we wish him every blessing and best wish as he takes up this new role serving the people of Waterford & Lismore. What is Limerick's loss is their gain.


From Catholic Ireland.net:
“We put ourselves at the service of others especially those most in need in our society: the poor, the sick, the vulnerable, those who feel alienated from God”. 
On Sunday, the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore saw the torch of leadership “passed from one fine man to another” as Bishop William Lee presided at the ordination of his successor Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan. 
In his words of welcome as chief ordaining prelate, Bishop Lee told the incoming bishop that the ceremony was “a historic day” for all in the diocese.
 “We are privileged, Fr Phoncie, to have you as our bishop and you are certainly privileged to be entrusted with the care of the diocese of Waterford & Lismore,” he said.
 Noting that the ordination was taking place on Divine Mercy Sunday, Bishop Lee said mercy and love have been central to Pope Francis’ message since his election.
 Bishop Lee was assisted by Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly of Cashel & Emily, and the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown. 
The Apostolic Mandate from Pope Francis was read by Mgr Nicholas O’Mahony, the Administrator of the diocese.
The Mass was concelebrated by 29 bishops including Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, and Archbishop Michael Neary, as well as priests of the diocese of Waterford & Lismore and Limerick.
Other Christian denominations in the Waterford area included representatives from the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church, the Russian Orthodox and the Coptic Churches. 
President Michael D Higgins was represented by Lieutenant Colonel Michael Kiernan and the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny was represented by Commandant Kieran Carey.
In his homily, Mgr Michael Olden explained that Bishop Cullinan is the 26th Bishop of Waterford and Lismore since the Reformation and the second Limerick priest to ‘take possession’ of the See.
Through his new role in Waterford & Lismore, Bishop Alphonsus would enter into a Christian legacy that stretches back even to pre-Christian times and to long before dioceses or parishes came into existence in the 12th century.
Continue reading HERE
Other links about the ordination of the new bishop:

12 Apr 2015

12th April 2015 - Divine Mercy Sunday

Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia! 
Et apparuit Simoni, alleluia!
The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia! 
And hath appeared unto Simon, alleluia!

Welcome to Sacred Space 102fm on the second Sunday of Easter where we continue to celebrate Easter Sunday within the Octave of Easter. At the same time we also wish our Orthodox brethren who celebrate according to the Julian calendar a Happy Easter as their Easter falls this weekend!!!

On this weeks programme John is joined by Martina and Michael to reflect on the devotion to the Divine Mercy as promoted through the visions of St Faustina which is celebrated each year on the second Sunday of Easter. We have our reflection on the gospel of Low Sunday - the gospel of Doubting Thomas - as well as some liturgical odds and ends.

You can listen to the podcast of this weeks progamme HERE.

You can listen to the discussion on Divine Mercy Sunday excerpted from the programme HERE.

Divine Mercy Sunday

Martina, Michael and John share their thoughts and reflections about Divine Mercy Sunday. Pope John Paul II introduced Divine Mercy Sunday following on the private revelation to the Polish nun St Faustina. Many Catholics gather in churches throughout the world today at 3pm to partake in the Divine Mercy Chaplet, veneration of the image of Divine Mercy, confessions, Mass etc.

Michael reminded us that God's Mercy can be traced back through Scripture and both he and Martina stressed that God's Mercy is for all. Both Martina and Michael shared experiences and Miracles attached to Divine Mercy as well as some details of the Divine Mercy conference held in Dublin earlier in the year.

The Feast of Divine Mercy, celebrated on the Octave of Easter (the Sunday after Easter Sunday), is a relatively new addition to the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar. Celebrating the Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ, as revealed by Christ himself to Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, this feast was extended to the entire Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II on April 30, 2000, the day that he canonized Saint Faustina.

From EWTN:
From the diary of a young Polish nun, a special devotion began spreading throughout the world in the 1930s. The message is nothing new, but is a reminder of what the Church has always taught through scripture and tradition: that God is merciful and forgiving and that we, too, must show mercy and forgiveness. But in the Divine Mercy devotion, the message takes on a powerful new focus, calling people to a deeper understanding that God’s love is unlimited and available to everyone — especially the greatest sinners. 
The message and devotion to Jesus as The Divine Mercy is based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, an uneducated Polish nun who, in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received about God’s mercy. Even before her death in 1938, the devotion to The Divine Mercy had begun to spread.
The message of mercy is that God loves us — all of us — no matter how great our sins. He wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. 
During the course of Jesus' revelations to Saint Faustina on the Divine Mercy He asked on numerous occasions that a feast day be dedicated to the Divine Mercy and that this feast be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. The liturgical texts of that day, the 2nd Sunday of Easter, concern the institution of the Sacrament of Penance, the Tribunal of the Divine Mercy, and are thus already suited to the request of Our Lord. This Feast, which had already been granted to the nation of Poland and been celebrated within Vatican City, was granted to the Universal Church by Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the canonization of Sr. Faustina on 30 April 2000. In a decree dated 23 May 2000, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments stated that "throughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind will experience in the years to come." These papal acts represent the highest endorsement that the Church can give to a private revelation, an act of papal infallibility proclaiming the certain sanctity of the mystic, and the granting of a universal feast, as requested by Our Lord to St. Faustina.
A plenary indulgence (the forgiveness of all temporal punishment resulting from sins that have already been confessed) is granted on the Feast of Divine Mercy if to all the faithful who go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, and "in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honour of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. 'Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!')."

A partial indulgence (the remission of some temporal punishment from sin) is granted to the faithful "who, at least with a contrite heart, pray to the merciful Lord Jesus a legitimately approved invocation."

9 things you need to know about Divine Mercy Sunday

Gospel - John 20: 19-31

We are continuing this week with the gospel of St John which continues on from the account read on Easter Sunday. We read the various appearances which are spread over a couple of Sundays but when you read the passage you see that they all happened within a very short space of time of each other on that Easter Sunday.

We are presented with the disciples gathered, huddled, in the Upper Room behind locked doors, silent and afraid. A group of men gathered around trying to work out what has happened and what are they going to do next. They are probably trying to work out what actually happened that morning, discussing what Peter and John had said, what Mary Magdala said and suddenly Jesus appears in front of them. Putting ourselves in their position can you imagine the reaction? No wonder that Jesus' expresses and seeks to calm them with "Peace be with you". Peace be with you, the peace that the world cannot give, it is offered freely to us as a gift which has to be received. One of the gifts of Easter, one of the joys is that great gift of peace but like any gift we have to be prepared to receive it! The doors were closed and locked - when do we close off our lives, we know it all, we don't want to hear an alternative view of things? When do we close out the call of God to us? But Jesus appearance in the Upper Room reminds us that no matter how we seek to close God out of our lives, he is always waiting and willing to come in and extend to us his prayer "Peace be with you".

The second part of the gospel reading is the story of Doubting Thomas. But Thomas sometimes gets a very bad press.  His scepticism is to our benefit and his demands for proof demonstrate to us that the appearance of Jesus wasn't just a group hallucination, the apostles experienced something on that Easter day! Thomas also provides a model to us demonstrating the relationship between faith and reason. Too often in the world people try to tell us that to have faith requires the suspension of reason and our critical faculties. Pope John Paul II writing in his encyclical Fides et Ratio (Faith & Reason) reminds us that "There is thus no reason for competition of any kind between reason and faith: each contains the other, and each has its own scope for action (n. 17)". 

"Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves".

Thomas makes his profession of faith after seeing the resurrected Lord - "My Lord and my God". For us who journey in faith our prayer would probably be more accurately "Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief"! But the witness of Thomas gives us food for the journey of faith as a pilgrim people. We may hit potholes, take detours, go off the road, and get flat tyres enroute but like Thomas we keep going.

Other reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections

Liturgical Odds & Ends

Liturgy of the Hours: Psalter week 2, 2nd week of Easter

Saints of the Week
13th April - St Martin I
14th April - Saint Benezet the Bridge Builder
15th April - Saint Maximus of Persia
16th April - St Bernedette Soubirous - Seer of Lourdes
17th April - Saint Kateri Tekakwitha 
18th April - Saint Laserian of Leighlin

Pope's Intentions

Join us in prayer for the intentions entrusted to us by Pope Francis. For April 2015, we join the Holy Father in praying for:

  • Creation: That people may learn to respect creation and care for it as a gift of God.
  • Persecuted Christians: That persecuted Christians may feel the consoling presence of the Risen Lord and the solidarity of all the Church.

Daily Offering Prayer

God, our Father, I offer You my day. I offer You my prayers, thoughts, words, actions, joys, and sufferings in union with the Heart of Jesus, who continues to offer Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit, Who guided Jesus, be my guide and my strength today so that I may witness to your love. With Mary, the mother of our Lord and the Church, I pray for all Apostles of Prayer and for the prayer intentions proposed by the Holy Father this month. Amen. 

Traditional Daily Offering of the Apostleship of Prayer

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, and the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and of all Apostles of Prayer, and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month. The Apostles of Prayer offer themselves to God each day for the good of the world, the Church, one another, and the Holy Father’s intentions.

Misericordiae Vultus - Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy by His Holiness Pope Francis

[To print out a copy click here or to download a PDF version click here]



1. Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy. These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian faith. Mercy has become living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching its culmination in him. The Father, “rich in mercy” (Eph 2:4), after having revealed his name to Moses as “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex 34:6), has never ceased to show, in various ways throughout history, his divine nature. In the “fullness of time” (Gal 4:4), when everything had been arranged according to his plan of salvation, he sent his only Son into the world, born of the Virgin Mary, to reveal his love for us in a definitive way. Whoever sees Jesus sees the Father (cf. Jn 14:9). Jesus of Nazareth, by his words, his actions, and his entire person[1] reveals the mercy of God.

2. We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to a hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.

3. At times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives. For this reason I have proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as a special time for the Church; a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective.

The Holy Year will open on 8 December 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. This liturgical feast day recalls God’s action from the very beginning of the history of mankind. After the sin of Adam and Eve, God did not wish to leave humanity alone in the throes of evil. So he turned his gaze to Mary, holy and immaculate in love (cf. Eph 1:4), choosing her to be the Mother of man’s Redeemer. When faced with the gravity of sin, God responds with the fullness of mercy. Mercy will always be greater than any sin, and no one can place limits on the love of God who is ever ready to forgive. I will have the joy of opening the Holy Door on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. On that day, the Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instils hope.

On the following Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent, the Holy Door of the Cathedral of Rome – that is, the Basilica of Saint John Lateran – will be opened. In the following weeks, the Holy Doors of the other Papal Basilicas will be opened. On the same Sunday, I will announce that in every local Church, at the cathedral – the mother church of the faithful in any particular area – or, alternatively, at the co-cathedral or another church of special significance, a Door of Mercy will be opened for the duration of the Holy Year. At the discretion of the local ordinary, a similar door may be opened at any Shrine frequented by large groups of pilgrims, since visits to these holy sites are so often grace-filled moments, as people discover a path to conversion. Every Particular Church, therefore, will be directly involved in living out this Holy Year as an extraordinary moment of grace and spiritual renewal. Thus the Jubilee will be celebrated both in Rome and in the Particular Churches as a visible sign of the Church’s universal communion.

4. I have chosen the date of 8 December because of its rich meaning in the recent history of the Church. In fact, I will open the Holy Door on the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. The Church feels a great need to keep this event alive. With the Council, the Church entered a new phase of her history. The Council Fathers strongly perceived, as a true breath of the Holy Spirit, a need to talk about God to men and women of their time in a more accessible way. The walls which too long had made the Church a kind of fortress were torn down and the time had come to proclaim the Gospel in a new way. It was a new phase of the same evangelization that had existed from the beginning. It was a fresh undertaking for all Christians to bear witness to their faith with greater enthusiasm and conviction. The Church sensed a responsibility to be a living sign of the Father’s love in the world.

Pope Francis presents Bull of Indiction of Jubilee of Mercy

In a ceremony in the nathrax (porch area) of St Peter's Basilica this evening, before First Vespers for the Feast of Divine Mercy, Pope Francis officially convoked the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy with the publication of the Bull of Indiction, “Misericordiae vultus”. 

The Jubilee Bull, aside from indicating the duration, opening and closing dates, and the main ways in which the Holy Year will unfold, constitutes the basic document for understanding the spirit in which it was convoked, as well as Pope Francis' intentions and the fruit he hopes the Year will bear.


(Vatican Radio) - Pope Francis on Saturday afternoon proceeded with the presentation of the official Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, set to begin December 8.

The bull is the fundamental document for the Holy Year that outlines the overall spirit and intentions for the Jubilee, as well as the spiritual fruits that are hoped for.

In the document, Pope Francis says the Holy Year is “dedicated to living out in our daily lives the mercy” which God “constantly extends to all of us.”

He explains the year will begin on December 8 to commemorate both the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, which called the Church to proclaim the Gospel to the world in new ways, bringing God’s mercy to everyone.

After the Holy Door of St Peter’s is open on December 8, the Holy Doors of the other papal basilicas will be opened in subsequent days. As well, as a sign of communion of the whole Church, the pope has requested that every diocese in the world open a similar “Door of Mercy” for the local celebrations of the Jubilee.

The document develops three main themes.

First, Pope Francis elaborates the theological understanding of God’s mercy, explaining the role of mercy in the life of people and of the Church, who are both the beneficiaries and the witnesses to God’s mercy in the world.

“The mercy of God is not an abstract idea, but a concrete reality through which he reveals his love as that of a father or a mother, moved to the very depths out of love for their child,” the Pope writes.

“Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life,” he continues. “The Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love.”

He recalls that the motto of the Holy Year is “Merciful like the Father.”

“Wherever the Church is present, the mercy of the Father must be evident,” he writes. “Wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy.”

As  a second theme, the Pope offers practical ways to live well the Holy Year: go on pilgrimage as an “impetus to conversion”; do not judge or condemn but forgive and give, avoiding gossip, envy and jealousy; have a heart open to the fringes of society and bring consolation, mercy and solidarity to people who live in precarious situations; take up the corporal and spiritual acts of mercy with joy; and observe the “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative, which encourages prayer and the sacrament of reconciliation, in every diocese during Lent.

He also addresses confessors, encouraging them to be “authentic signs of the Father’s mercy.” And, during Lent of the Holy Year, the Pope says he will send out “Missionaries of Mercy”–priests to whom he will grant “the authority to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See.” They will be “living signs of the Father’s readiness to welcome those in search of his pardon,” he writes.

As a third theme, the Pope issues particular calls for justice and conversion. He asks members of criminal organizations and those involved in corruption to change their lives and to embrace God’s mercy.

He also notes that both Judaism and Islam “consider mercy to be one of God’s most important attributes.” And he expresses “trust that this Jubilee… will foster an encounter” with these and other religions that will “open us to even more fervent dialogue” toward greater knowledge and understanding, “eliminate every form of closed-mindedness and disrespect and drive out every form of violence and discrimination.”

He also recalls the relationship between justice and mercy as “two dimensions of a single reality that…culminates in the fullness of love.”

“God does not deny justice,” he continues. “He rather envelopes it and surpasses it with an even greater event (mercy) in which we experience love as the foundation of true justice.”

The pope concludes the bull with an invocation to Mary, witness to God’s mercy and recalls saint who dedicated their lives to making God’s mercy known, namely the Polish St Faustina Kowalska.

After excerpts from the document were read on Saturday evening, Pope Francis gave a copy of the bull to the cardinal archpriests of each of the four papal basilicas in Rome, as well as to cardinals from the different continents, representing the Church throughout the world. 

As with all Jubilees, a plenary indulgence is granted during the Holy Year of Mercy for those who fulfill all of the usual requirements.

The Holy Year will conclude on November 20, 2016, on the feast of Christ the King.