28 Sep 2016

September 29th - Feast of the Archangels - Updated

29th September in the current liturgical calendar is the feast of the three Archangels - Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. A very traditional feast day it was originally the feast of the dedication of the basilica of St Michael with St. Gabriel being observed on March 24 and St. Raphael on October 24.

The three archangels mentioned by name in Scripture, Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Michael is mentioned in Daniel and Revelation, Gabriel in Daniel and Luke, and Raphael in the book of Tobit.
  • Michael (Who is like God?) was the archangel who fought against Satan and all his evil angels, defending all the friends of God. He is the protector of all humanity from the snares of the devil.
  • Gabriel (Strength of God) announced to Zachariah the forthcoming birth of John the Baptist, and to Mary, the birth of Jesus. His greeting to the Virgin, "Hail, full of grace," is one of the most familiar and frequent prayers of the Christian people.
  • Raphael (Medicine of God) is the archangel who took care of Tobias on his journey.
You can find out more about the feast day and the traditions and scripture behind its celebration as well as the various patronages attributed to the three archangels:

Prayer to St Raphael

O Raphael, lead us towards those we are waiting for, those who are waiting for us! Raphael, Angel of Happy Meetings, lead us by the hand towards those we are looking for! May all our movements, all their movements, be guided by your Light and transfigured by your Joy.

Angel Guide of Tobias, lay the request we now address to you at the feet of Him on whose unveiled Face you are privileged to gaze. Lonely and tired, crushed by the separations and sorrows of earth, we feel the need of calling to you and of pleading for the protection of your wings, so that we may not be as strangers in the Province of Joy, all ignorant of the concerns of our country.

Remember the weak, you who are strong--you whose home lies beyond the region of thunder, in a land that is always peaceful, always serene, and bright with the resplendent glory of God. Amen.

Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
by the Divine Power of God,
cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Prayer to St Gabriel

Saint Gabriel, the Archangel, We humbly ask you to intercede for us at the throne of divine mercy. As you announced the mystery of the Incarnation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, so through your prayers may we receive strength of faith and courage of spirit, and thus find favor with God and redemption through Christ Our Lord. May we sing the praise of God our Savior with the angels and saints in heaven forever and ever.
At the conclusion of his September 28 general audience, Pope Francis called upon pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square to seek the intercession of the archangels.
“In tomorrow’s liturgy we celebrate the feast of the archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael,” he said. “They are ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation.”

“We should be aware of their invisible presence,” he added. “Let us invoke them in prayer so that in every moment they remind us of the presence of God, supporting us in the struggle against evil and leading us safely on the roads of our life.”

Reflection from iBenedictines - St Michael and the Presence of Evil

24 Sep 2016

25th September 2016 - News Round up - 26th Sunday in Ordinary time Year C

On this weeks programme John, Anne and Shane have a news round up of bits and pieces of news from around the world. We have a short reflection on this weeks Sunday gospel as well as other liturgical odds and ends including our weekly celestial guides.

You can listen to this weeks full programme podcast HERE.

Global News Round Up

This weeks programme is a news round  up from around the world. You can listen to the news segment of the programme excerpted from the main programme HERE.
Gospel - Luke 16:19-31

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.

In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Words on Fire
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - psalter week 2 - 26th week in ordinary time

Saints of the Week
September 26th - Sts Cosmas and Damien (martyrs)
September 27th - St Vincent de Paul
September 28th - St Wenceslaus (martyr)
September 29th - Feast of the Archangels - Michael, Gabriel and Raphael
September 30th - St Jerome
October 1st - St Therese of Lisieux.

21 Sep 2016

Papal Weekly General Audience - “If God has forgiven us, why can we not forgive?”

Summary of the Pope's Catechesis:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

In our Gospel passage this morning, we are reminded of our call to be merciful even as our heavenly Father is merciful (cf. Lk 6:36). When we look at salvation history, we see that God’s whole revelation is his untiring love for humanity which culminates in Jesus’ death on the Cross. So great a love can be expressed only by God. Jesus’ call to humanity to be as merciful as the Father, however, is not a question of quantity. Instead it is a summons to be signs, channels and witnesses to his mercy. This is the Church’s mission, to be God’s sacrament of mercy in every place and time.

As Christians, therefore, God asks us to be his witnesses, first by opening our own hearts to his divine mercy, and then by sharing that mercy towards all people, especially those who suffer. In this way, our works of mercy and charity will offer to the world a glimpse of the face of Christ. In the Gospel, Jesus explains that we especially show the Father’s mercy when we pardon one another, for we express the free gift of God’s love, and help one another on the way of conversion. Jesus invites us also to give freely, for all we have has been freely given to us by God, and we will receive only in the measure that we freely give to others. Merciful love is the only path, for by it we are able to make known the Father’s mercy that has no end.

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from England, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Japan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, South Africa, Australia, Canada and the United States of America. May you open your lives to the Lord’s gift of mercy, and share this gift with all whom you know. As children of our Heavenly Father, may you be missionaries of his merciful love. May God bless you all!

2016 World Day of Prayer for Peace at Assisi - "Peace Alone is Holy, Not War!"

Rocco over at Whispers in the Loggia has his usual pen picture report of Roman events:
"Peace Alone Is Holy, Not War!" – In Francis' City, Pope Gathers World Against "Paganism of Indifference"  
Thirty years since the now-canonized John Paul II infuriated his right flank (in perpetuity) by convening representatives of the world's faiths for a common prayer for peace in the city of St Francis, the first Pope to take the name of the Poverello of Assisi repeated the act today, sharing the stage with a host of ecumenical partners – led by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby – alongside delegates from each of the other major religious traditions in what was termed a "Thirst For Peace."
Capping a three-day congress organized by the Sant'Egidio community (the Rome-based Catholic movement which often takes the lead on social-justice concerns) while the different faiths separated for an afternoon hour to pray according to their own rites around the hilltop Basilica of St Francis, Papa Bergoglio's daylong swing featured a shared lunch for the attendees and twin reflections by the Pope – the first at the dedicated worship for Christians within the church, then a closing address for the entire assembly in the hillside square adjoining the saint's burial-site, with its breathtaking views of the Umbrian countryside.
Continue reading here
Vatican Radio:


17 Sep 2016

18th September 2016 - Triduum in Honour of St. Padre Pio - 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

On this week's programme Fr. John Mockler of the Servi Della Sofferenza (Servants of Suffering) chats with Lorraine about the upcoming triduum in honour of St. Padre Pio which will be held in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Newcastle West, Co. Limerick, from September 21st to 23rd 2016. You can listen to the podcast for this week's programme HERE.

Triduum in Honour of St. Padre Pio

Fr. John begins by explaining why he has organised a triduum in honour of St. Pio and why St. Pio is the saint for our times. St. Pio, who was the first priest who had the stigmata (the wounds of Christ), is the saint for our times, because in bearing the wounds of Jesus, he witnessed to the fact of the Resurrection in his wounds.

St. Pio also participated in the redemptive suffering of Jesus, as St. Paul says: "completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church" (Col 1:24). By uniting his suffering with that of Christ he was able to bring many people back to Christ in the confessional. For this reason, Pope Francis named him a 'Servant of Mercy' and one of the patrons for the Year of Mercy.

Fr. John speaks to us about the spirituality of St. Pio and what message he has both for young people and those who are not so young. 

Fr. John also shares about his own devotion to St. Pio and how he came to hear about and became a consecrated priest of the secular institute of the Servi Della Sofferenza (The Servants of Suffering) which Our Lady requested be set up to continue the work of St. Pio in the world.

The triduum in honour of St. Pio will include an opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation as St. Pio is the saint of the confessional, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the rosary and veneration of and blessing with the first class relic of St. Pio. 

A first class relic contains a part of the saint's body, in this case it is part of a bandage that contains the blood of St. Pio. Of course, as we know relics are not magic, nor are they to be used superstitiously. When we venerate the relics of a saint we are professing our belief in:

"(1) the belief in everlasting life for those who have obediently witnessed to Christ and His Holy Gospel here on earth; (2) the truth of the resurrection of the body for all persons on the last day; (3) the doctrine of the splendour of the human body and the respect which all should show toward the bodies of both the living and the deceased; (4) the belief in the special intercessory power which the saints enjoy in heaven because of their intimate relationship with Christ the King; and (5) the truth of our closeness to the saints because of our connection in the communion of saints we as members of the Church militant or pilgrim Church, they as members of the Church triumphant." (H/T to the Catholic Education Resource Center where you can read more about the Catholic understanding of relics HERE).

The following video contains rare footage of the final Mass that St. Pio celebrated on the day before he died:

Fr. John will return to the programme at a later date to speak to us more about his vocation journey and the Servants of Suffering.

Gospel - Luke 16:1-13

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘There was a rich man and he had a steward denounced to him for being wasteful with his property. He called for the man and said, “What is this I hear about you? Draw me up an account of your stewardship because you are not to be my steward any longer.” Then the steward said to himself, “Now that my master is taking the stewardship from me, what am I to do? Dig? I am not strong enough. Go begging? I should be too ashamed. Ah, I know what I will do to make sure that when I am dismissed from office there will be some to welcome me into their homes.”

Then he called his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, “How much do you owe my master?” “One hundred measures of oil” was the reply. The steward said, “Here, take your bond; sit down straight away and write fifty”. To another he said, “And you, sir, how much do you owe?” “One hundred measures of wheat” was the reply. The steward said, “Here, take your bond and write eighty”.

‘The master praised the dishonest steward for his astuteness. For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.’

‘And so I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into the tents of eternity. The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches? And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?

‘No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.’

Reflections on this week's gospel:

Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy

Liturgical Odds & Ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 1, 25th week in Ordinary Time

Saints of the Week

Sept 19th - St. Januarius
Sept 20th - St. Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang and Companion Martyrs
Sept 21st - St. Matthew
Sept 22nd - St. Maurice
Sept 23rd - St. Pius of Pietrelcina (St. Padre Pio)
Sept 24th - Our Lady of Walsingham

10 Sep 2016

11th September - Vocations Stories - Family of Mary Interview (Part 2) - 24th Sunday in Ordinary time

On this weeks programme, John continues a series of interviews with various volunteers and helpers who lead the Abbeyfeale Faith Summer Camp during the summer of 2016. It includes interviews conducted Mariah our roving reported who spoke with young volunteers from around the country who help run the faith camp. Also there are three more interviews with members of the family of Mary community, Sister Bridget, Br Gabriel and Fr Patrick Cahill.

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

Gospel - Luke 15:1-32

Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. “Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.”’ So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate. “Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. He replied, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.’ Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. But he answered his father, ‘Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!’ Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’”

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, 24th week in Ordinary time

Saints of the Week

Sept 12th - Blessed Pierre-Sulpice-Christophe Faverge
Sept 13th - Saint John Chrysostom
Sept 14th - The Exaltation of the Cross
Sept 15th - Our Lady of Sorrows
Sept 16th - Saint Cunibert of Maroilles 
Sept 17th - Robert Bellarmine SJ also Saint Hildegard von Bingen

5 Sep 2016

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions Sept 2016

Pope Francis has released his videomessage accomplanying his monthly prayer intention:

"That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the centre."
The text of the video message reads:

"Humanity is experiencing a crisis that is not only economic and financial, but is also ecological, educational, moral, and human. When we talk about crisis, we talk about dangers, but also opportunities. What is the opportunity? Being solidarity.

"Come, help me.

"That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the centre".

September 5th - Feast day of St Teresa of Calcutta

Loyola Press in the USA is a Jesuit Ministry and has a series of reflections called "Moments of Mercy" available via email and online during the Year of Mercy. You can sign up for the reflections HERE. Given the special feast day today, we decided to share the reflection today from Loyola Press and encourage you to sign up for their "Moments of Mercy"

As you reflect on the life of St. Teresa of Calcutta, in what ways do you find yourself touching the wounds of Christ?


“And I will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy.”
Hosea 2:19


The Assumption of MaryIn his meditation on July 3, 2013, Pope Francis reflected on the encounter of St. Thomas the Apostle with the risen Jesus. Jesus invited Thomas to place his hands into Jesus’ wounds. In reaction to Jesus’ invitation, Thomas fell onto his knees in devotion to Jesus, “My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28) Pope Francis went on to reflect:
How can I find the wounds of Jesus today? I cannot see them as Thomas saw them. I find them in doing works of mercy, in giving to the body—to the body and to the soul, but I stress the body—of your injured brethren, for they are hungry, thirsty, naked, humiliated, slaves, in prison, in hospital. These are the wounds of Jesus in our day.
Pope Francis says that merely giving resources to charity is not sufficient. “We must touch the wounds of Jesus, caress them. We must heal the wounds of Jesus with tenderness. We must literally kiss the wounds of Jesus.” (Daily Meditation, July 3, 2013)

Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910–1997) was one of the most visible Catholic missionaries tending to the wounds of Jesus in the twentieth century. Born in what is now Skopje, Macedonia on August 29, 1910, she was the youngest in her family. She lost her father at the age of eight, but was raised by a mother of profound faith and received her religious formation in a strong Jesuit parish of the Sacred Heart. From her earliest days she sensed a vocation to be a missionary to the world, especially to those who are poor.

At the age of 18 she joined the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, known as the Sisters of Loretto. She was sent to Calcutta, India, and for 20 years she dedicated her life to her community and students. In 1948, during a train ride to her annual retreat in Darjeeling, India, Sister Teresa received her “call within a call” from Jesus to establish a religious community dedicated to ministering to the poorest of the poor. This call was accompanied by deep experiences of consolation and inspiration. She left her community in 1948, studied with the Medical Missionary Sisters of Patna to train for her future, and moved into the streets of Calcutta.

Sister Teresa started to care for the poor one by one, helping an old man sick on the road and nursing a woman dying of hunger and tuberculosis. She began each day celebrating at Mass and meditating in communion with Jesus and the Eucharist. Her new congregation, the Missionaries of Charity, was officially established in 1950 by the Archdiocese of Calcutta.

The quiet work of Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity came to the attention of the world through Malcolm Muggeridge’s 1969 film Something Beautiful for God, which became a book in 1972. Mother Teresa became a worldwide ambassador for the poor, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Along with her personal witness, the Missionaries of Charity became a worldwide community. By 1997, the Missionaries of Charity had nearly 4,000 members and had established 610 foundations in 123 countries of the world. When Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997, she was admired and revered worldwide.

Mother Teresa lived a public life of extraordinary service as a witness of Christian love. When Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta by Mother Teresa was published in 2007, the world came to know another side of Mother Teresa: she experienced a deep, painful, and abiding sense of separation from God. She longed for a return to the time of consolation that led to her new vocation. Mother Teresa struggled with the temptation of believing that she had been rejected by God, as described in the Vatican biography:
The “painful night” of her soul, which began around the time she started her work for the poor and continued to the end of her life, led Mother Teresa to an ever more profound union with God. Through the darkness she mystically participated in the thirst of Jesus, in His painful and burning longing for love, and she shared in the interior desolation of the poor.
Today, on September 4, 2016, Mother Teresa of Calcutta is declared a saint by Pope Francis.

Image by Manfredo Ferrari under CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Pope Francis

Some people once asked Mother Teresa of Calcutta what needed to change in the Church, and which wall should they start with? They asked her, where is the starting point? And she replied, you and I are the starting point! This woman showed determination! She knew where to start. And today I make her words my own and I say to you: shall we begin? Where? With you and me! Each one of you, once again in silence, ask yourself: if I must begin with myself, where exactly do I start? Each one of you, open his or her heart, so that Jesus may tell you where to start.
Address of Pope Francis at the Waterfront of Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, 27 July 2013

Mercy in Action

► Reflect on how you can do something beautiful for God through practicing the works of mercy. 


Intercede for us, St. Teresa, that we may discover the wounds of Christ in the wounds of the world. May we act with justice and judgment, loyalty, and compassion.

4 Sep 2016

Canonisation of Mother Teresa of Calcutta

"For the honour of the Blessed Trinity, the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the increase of the Christian life, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own, after due deliberation and frequent prayer for divine assistance, and having sought the counsel of many of our brother bishops, we declare and define Blessed Teresa of Calcutta be saint and we enroll her among the saints, decreeing that she is to be venerated as such by the whole Church. In the name of the Holy Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
Capping a process that stretched on for almost 20 years, Pope Francis on Sunday formally declared Mother Teresa, the “nun of the gutters” who was a champion for the poor, the dying and the unborn, the newest saint of the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis, however, acknowledged the obvious on Sunday, saying that despite the fact she now has a formal title as St. Teresa of Calcutta, to the world she’ll always remain “Mother Teresa.”

After the declaration of canonisation by Pope Francis, the relics of the saint were brought to the altar. The reliquary containing the relic of Mother Teresa, a vile of her blood, is in the shape of a Cross framed in gold, the back of which is made from a Lebanon cedar, known as an emblem of nobility and beauty.
The back of the cross is also made of wood coming from areas marked by great suffering, as well as a piece of wood from the kneeler of a confessional as a symbol of forgiveness.
On the front..., the cross is framed by a heart consisting of two parts, blue and white to represent the sari of Mother Teresa and her sisters, as well as devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The left side of the cross, which is blue, is curved and bent to represent Mother Teresa's own curved form bent in prayer, while the right side, white, is a softer form and contains Mother Teresa's famous words "I Thirst," written in gold in her original handwriting.
The two sides of the heart are detached from each other, but are united by a circular line symbolizing the dynamic of Mother Teresa's mission, which was initiated by Christ and brought to completion in him.
The reliquary actually holding the relic of Mother Teresa is shaped like a drop of water, which is enough to quench the thirst of those who still cry out for the water of love, and for those who suffer due to the senseless pain of solitude.



We Couldn't Understand the Peace - RTE Radio 1 - Documentary on One

Refugees at Dundalk railway station - RTE archive
The sight of refugees in Europe from 2015 recalled for some people that we had a refugee crisis in Ireland within living memory.   In the first few summers of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, 1969-1972, refugees from Catholic areas came over the border to escape the tension surrounding the Orange celebrations of The Twelfth.  The numbers peaked at 10,000 in 1972.  But, by 1972, the refugees were no longer being housed by the Army in camps, instead they were being put up by local authorities and educational institutions.

One such institution was Glenstal Abbey - a Benedictine monastery in 500 acres of farmland in East Limerick.  The monastery also houses a boys’ private secondary school. On July 11th, 1972, the monks received a call telling them that 172 women and children were on the way and to get ready. The monks had the assistance of the local Civil Defence. Mostly women and children arrived because the men stayed behind to protect their homes from Protestant mobs.

While Glenstal was ideal for hosting a large group - having dormitories and refectories, this was not the kind of large group the monks were used to.  There were many babies and the monks had to get used to nappies hanging in Glenstal.  The children were also full of energy and had been traumatised having lived through three years of The Troubles.  One of their favourite pastimes was to throw stones.

The monks and the Civil Defence decided that distraction was the best way to manage the new visitors.  They organised activities for the children in the daytime and musical entertainment for everyone in the evening. There was tension. While the refugees were fleeing the fighting, they were also enjoying a holiday and some of the Civil Defence volunteers felt that they were being used - some of the women wanted to be dropped down to the local pub in the Civil Defence ambulance.

After a few weeks, all the refugees had returned home.  They left the monks to return to their ordered life but feeling bereft - they missed the liveliness and presence of women and children in Glenstal.
The refugees returned to 30 more years of tension and chaos.   One refugee, Gemma, who was 4 at the time says that Glenstal was the last time she remembers her mother being really happy.  When they returned home, Gemma’s brother was killed by the British Army and Gemma’s mother spent the rest of her life campaigning over the issue of her son’s death.

You can listen to the podcast of the Documentary on One HERE.

3 Sep 2016

Sept 4th 2016 - Interviews with Family of Mary (Part 1) - 23rd Sunday in Ordinary time

On this weeks programme John is joined by Shane for reflection on the gospel as well as our regular review of this weeks celestial guides. In part two of the programme we have a some vocations interviews with people who were involved with the Abbeyfeale Summer Youth Camp.

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

Vocations Stories (Part 1)

On this weeks programme, John begins a series of interviews with various volunteers and helpers who lead the Abbeyfeale Faith Summer Camp during the summer of 2016.

On this weeks programme John shares with Br Simon and Sr Marietta about their respective vocation journeys and how to came to answer the call being made to each of them by God

Next week's programme includes interviews conducted Mariah our roving reported who spoke with young volunteers from around the country who help run the faith camp. Also there are three more interviews with members of the family of Mary community, Sister Bridget, Br Gabriel and Fr Patrick Cahill.

You can listen to these stories extracted from the main programme podcast HERE.

Gospel - Luke 14:25-33

Now large crowds were travelling with him; and he turned and said to them, 'Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, "This fellow began to build and was not able to finish." Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
English Dominicans

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - psalter week 3, 23rd week in ordinary time

Saints of the Week

Sept 5th - St Teresa of Calcutta
Sept 6th - Blessed Bertrand of Garrigue
Sept 7th - Blessed Félix Gómez-Pinto Piñero
Sept 8th - Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary
Sept 9th - St Ciaran
Sept 10th - Saint Finnian of Moville

Padre Pio Triduum in NCW

21st - 23rd September 2016; 7-9pm each day including veneration and blessing with relic of St Pio lead by Fr John Mockler CC.