31 Dec 2017

New Years Eve 2017

The LORD bless you and keep you!   
The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! 
The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!
The evening draws in on the last day of 2017 and we celebrate first vespers for the Solemnity of the Mother of God on January 1st. The civil year draws to a close as we reflect on the year just past with all "joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted" reminding ourselves that these "are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well"

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year
'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'
And he replied, 'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!'
So I went forth and finding the Hand of God
Trod gladly into the night
He led me towards the hills

And the breaking of day in the lone east.....

We look forward to 2018 and what may come.

The particular mind of the ocean
Filling the coastline’s longing
With such brief harvest
Of elegant, vanishing waves
Is like the mind of time
Opening us shapes of days.
As this year draws to its end,
We give thanks for the gifts it brought
And how they became inlaid within
Where neither time nor tide can touch them.
The days when the veil lifted
And the soul could see delight;
When a quiver caressed the heart
In the sheer exuberance of being here.
Surprises that came awake
In forgotten corners of old fields
Where expectation seemed to have quenched.
The slow, brooding times
When all was awkward
And the wave in the mind
Pierced every sore with salt.
The darkened days that stopped
The confidence of the dawn.
Days when beloved faces shone brighter
With light from beyond themselves;
And from the granite of some secret sorrow
A stream of buried tears loosened.
We bless this year for all we learned,
For all we loved and lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination.
John O’Donohue 
(To Bless The Space Between Us/Benedictus)

Tradition has the singing of the Te Deum to mark the closing of the civil year. The Te Deum is a hymn of praise that dates from early Christian times. In Latin, the hymn’s words: “Te Deum laudamus” can be translated "Thee, O God, we praise". The Te Deum (also known as Ambrosian Hymn or A Song of the Church) is an early Christian hymn of praise. The title is taken from its opening Latin words, Te Deum laudamus, rendered literally as "Thee, O God, we praise".

WMoF2018 - Official Prayer for Families on the Feast of the Holy Family

On the Feast of the Holy Family, 
we pray the official prayer of WMoF2018:

God, our Father,
We are brothers and sisters in Jesus your Son,
One family, in the Spirit of your love.

Bless us with the joy of love.
Make us patient and kind,
gentle and generous,
welcoming to those in need.
Help us to live your forgiveness and peace.

Protect all families with your loving care,
Especially those for whom we now pray:

[We pause and remember family members and others by name].
Increase our faith,
Strengthen our hope,
Keep us safe in your love,
Make us always grateful for the gift of life that we share.

This we ask, through Christ our Lord,
Mary, mother and guide, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, father and protector, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Louis and Zélie Martin, pray for us.

30 Dec 2017

31 December 2017 - Feast of the Holy Family

This New Year's Eve is the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas and so is the feast of the Holy Family and is such an appropriate way to end the year in the season so associated with family. As we end 2017, our final programme is a review of some of the podcasts from WMoF2018 as well as our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel plus liturgical odds and ends.

You can listen to the full programme podcast HERE

Feast of the Holy Family

"Think about it. The creator of the universe spent most of his human life as a craftsman, working with dad in the family business and ultimately taking it over. Mary, the holiest of all creatures, spent most of her time changing diapers, cooking, and cleaning. The secret to holiness is not to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love and gratitude...."

"Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ’s life was like and even to understand his Gospel . . . How I would like to return to my childhood and attend the simple yet profound school that is Nazareth! How wonderful to be close to Mary, learning again the lesson of the true meaning of life, learning again God’s truth. . . May Nazareth serve as a model of what the family should be. May it show us the family’s holy and enduring character and exemplify its basic function in society: a community of love and sharing, beautiful for the problems it poses and the rewards it brings, in sum, the perfect setting for rearing children – and for this there is no substitute."  

- From an address given by Blessed Paul VI in Nazareth, January 5 1964

WMoF2018 Podcasts

On this weeks programme we bring together a number of the WMoF2018 podcasts which are produced by Brenda Drumm for WMoF 2018 and are available on their Soundcloud account page HERE.

To listen to the most recent podcasts and to keep up to date with WMoF2018 make sure you check out the link above.

WMoF2018 podcasts excerpted from the main programme HERE

Gospel - John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word,and the Word was with God,and the Word was God.He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him,and without him nothing came to be.What came to be through him was life,and this life was the light of the human race;the light shines in the darkness,and the darkness has not overcome it.A man named John was sent from God.He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.He was not the light,but came to testify to the light.The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.He was in the world,and the world came to be through him,but the world did not know him.He came to what was his own,but his own people did not accept him.
But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision but of God.And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us,and we saw his glory,the glory as of the Father's only Son,full of grace and truth.John testified to him and cried out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.'"From his fullness we have all received,grace in place of grace,because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.No one has ever seen God.The only Son, God, who is at the Father's side, has revealed him.
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Sunday Reflection
Centre for Liturgy

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 1

Saints of the Week 

January 1st - Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God
January 2nd - St Basil and St Gregory of Nazianzen
January 3rd - St Munchin -Patron of the diocese of Limerick
January 4th - St Elizabeth Ann Seton
January 5th - St Charles of Mt Argus (First Friday)
January 6th - Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (First Saturday)
January 7th - The Baptism of the Lord (and the close of Christmastide)

Word on Fire - Testimony

Bishop Robert (Bob) Barron is a model of how the Church ought to communicate today: with keen intelligence, gentle humour, and an eye for unexpected connections between faith and contemporary culture. These three testimonies to the fruit borne by such preaching and teaching are well worth listening to in full

29 Dec 2017

Some web browsing.........

Glenstal Abbey - Abbot Brendan’s Homily at Christmas Midnight Mass
Glenstal Abbey - Prior Senan’s Homily at Christmas Midday Mass 

Without Jesus there is no Christmas, Pope tells pilgrims 

Pope Notes ‘Strong Link’ Between Jesus’ Birth and St. Stephen’s Death - Both events call us to conversion, the Holy Father said in his Angelus address today.

Why are there three different Masses on Christmas?

The flight into Egypt—now with ISIS nearby

Don’t put that Christmas tree away! The Christmas season has just begun

There would have been a midwife at the stable

Facing the Brokenness of the Manger

At least 23 missionaries killed in 2017, says Vatican

Pope Francis’ Social Media Guru: An Interview 

Topless woman tries to steal baby Jesus from Vatican nativity scene

5 Quotes from the Church Fathers on the beauty of Christmas 

Asia Bibi has spent more than 3,000 days in prison for blasphemy 

Tomb Door Engraved with Menorah Discovered in Israel - The artifact tells the story of the three major religious groups that have occupied Tiberias over the centuries 

How the Sun Illuminates Spanish Missions On the Winter Solstice - Today, the rising sun shines on altars and other religious objects at many Spanish churches in the U.S. and Latin America

30,000 Shards of Historic Stained Glass Found in Westminster Abbey’s Attic - The glass and other trash was excavated from depressions in the vaulted ceiling and are being made into new windows for the church

Helping refugees means converting hearts hardened against them, Pope says

Taize Letter 2018 - Inexhaustible Joy

A young woman who was very ill said to me last year, “I love life.” I remain deeply moved by the inner joy that filled her, in spite of the narrow limits imposed by her illness. I was touched not only by her words, but by the beautiful expression on her face.

And what can we say about the joy of children? Recently I saw some children in Africa whose presence, even in refugee camps where so many tragic stories are concentrated, makes life burst forth. Their energy transforms a mass of broken lives into a nursery full of promise. If they knew how much they help us to remain hopeful! Their happiness at being alive is a ray of light.

We would like to be enlightened by such examples as we undertake, throughout the year 2018, a reflection on joy, one of the three realities—with simplicity and mercy—that Brother Roger set at the heart of the life of our community at Taizé.

With one of my brothers I went to Juba and Rumbek, in SOUTH SUDAN, then to Khartoum, the capital of SUDAN, to better understand the situation of those two countries and to pray alongside women and men who are among the most afflicted people of our time.

We visited various churches and saw their work of teaching, of solidarity, of caring for the ill and the excluded. We were received in a camp for displaced persons, where many children stay who were lost by their parents in the course of tragic events.

I was particularly impressed by the women. The mothers, often very young, bear a large part of the suffering caused by violence. Many had to flee their homes in haste. And yet they remain at the service of life. Their courage and their hope are exceptional.

That visit has brought us still closer to the young refugees from Sudan whom we have been welcoming in Taizé over the last two years.

Before this, two other brothers and I were in EGYPT for a five-day young adult gathering at the Anafora Community, founded in 1999 by a Coptic Orthodox bishop. We spent time praying, getting to know one another and discovering the long and rich tradition of the Egyptian Church. One hundred young adults came from Europe, North America, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Algeria and Iraq; they were welcomed by a hundred young Copts from Cairo, Alexandria and Upper Egypt.

Our attention was drawn in particular to the heritage of the martyrs of the Coptic Church as well as to its monastic roots, which are a constant call to simplicity of life. My brothers and I were warmly welcomed by Pope Tawadros II, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

On our return from Africa, we said to ourselves: people pay so little attention to the voice of those undergoing such grievous trials—whether they are far from us or nearby. It is as if their cry gets lost in the void. Hearing it through the media is not enough. How can we respond to it by our lives?

The following proposals, for the year 2018, are inspired in part by this question.

Frère Alois

Read the 2018 Four Proposals from Taize HERE

  • First proposal: Dig deeper into the wellsprings of joy
  • Second proposal: Hear the cry of the most vulnerable
  • Third proposal: Share trials and joys
  • Fourth proposal: Among Christians, rejoice in the gifts of others

SacredSpace102fm Podcast Technical Difficulties

Hi folks
As some of you will have noticed over the last few months SS102fm has had a little technical challenge with our podcasts and in particular our podcast archive going back to 2010. 

Up until this year we have used the Dropbox facilities to host our podcast which listeners have then been able to listen to which (a) we have discovered is a bit against the rules of Dropbox (mea cupla, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa) and (b) in addition Dropbox have changed the way that we can access the files.

As such in 2018 we are going to be moving to a new podcast host so you will see changes on the blog as to how you will be able to play the podcasts. Obviously it is going to take us a bit of time to convert our archive across so please bear with us.

If you want a particular programme from the archive, drop a line to John at sacredspace102@gmail.com and we will get in touch to see what we can do.

Thank you for listening and we hope that you will stay with us on this journey into the future.

SS102fm Team

28 Dec 2017

How Christmas puts in front of us the need to say yes to life

On our Christmas Day programme, Mary Keating joined with the team on SS102fm and gave us a very simple but profound reflection on the choices for life which people make in their lives. 

2018 is going to be a year where Ireland very much has to reflect on family and life with two particular foci as we head into the World Meeting of Families in 2018 and the political maelstrom to repeal the 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution.

It seems fitting somewhat that this reflection is re-posted by request of a number of our listeners on 28th December, which is the feast of the Holy Innocents, the commemoration of the massacre of all male children under the age of two on the orders of Herod the Tyrant and the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt as refugees.

The question we face in 2018 will be are we an economy or a society?  How do we value the most vulnerable members of our communities? Do we hold a consistent ethic of life from conception to natural death or do we discard those who are deemed to be non-productive for society? Will we uphold the seamless garment of life? The seamless garment of life is a metaphor for the reality that all of us share one life in God. It is not a tenet but an understanding that all of life is sacred, from womb to tomb, in the unborn and the dying, in the murderer on death row and the mother in a coma, in the soldier in Afghanistan and the family in Iraq, in the undernourished child and the pensioner who can't afford a doctor. "When human life is considered 'cheap' or easily expendable in one area," Cardinal Joseph Bernardin said, "eventually nothing is held as sacred and all lives are in jeopardy."

You can listen to Mary's reflection excerpted from our main Christmas Day programme HERE.

December 28th - Feast of the Holy Innocents

Homily for the Feast of the Holy Innocents 2017
Fr Martin Browne OSB
Glenstal Abbey

Several times during the week after Christmas, we put away our bright white and golden vestments, and replace them with the blood-red colour of martyrs. As a medieval poet put it: ‘In the midst of life, behold Death has girt us round.’ The martyrdoms of St Stephen and St Thomas Beckett are both shocking in their way, but the massacre of the Holy Innocents whom we commemorate today is even more grotesque and monstrous: they were baby boys whose only ‘crime’ was to be born around the same time and in the same locality as the child Jesus.
When our community gathered here for Vespers on Christmas Eve, the very first antiphon we sang, ushering in the Christmas season, said: ‘The King of peace is magnified whose face all the world has desired’. The King of Peace…. Yet today, we are commemorating the murderous deeds of a ruler who was anything but peaceful. Fearful and jealous of the infant King of Peace, Herod ordered the extermination of all the male infants in Bethlehem. ‘In the midst of life, behold Death has girt us round.’

Today could be a good day….
- to pray for children and other non-combatants caught up in situations of war and conflict
- to pray for those whose lives are made to take second place to other people’s political agendas, sometimes even from the moment of conception
- to pray for those whose health, happiness, safety or welfare are made to take second place to the pride or whims of political rulers

‘In the midst of life, behold Death has girt us round.’ This is the stark reminder given to us by having such a gruesome commemoration in the middle of the Christmas Octave. Later in the poem, the poet asks a question: ‘Whom for help then shall we pray, Where shall grace be found?’ St John answers that question for us in today’s First Reading: ‘We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.’

Today’s feast reminds us of why we need a Saviour. It invites us not just to come and adore him, but to trust and believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour of the world. Our medieval poet concludes: ‘In the midst of hell would Sin drive us to despair; Whither shall we flee away? Where is refuge, where? With Thee, Lord Christ, alone! For Thou hast shed Thy precious blood, all our sins Thou makest good. Holy God! Holy and Strong! Holy and Immortal One, have mercy on us!

26 Dec 2017

Being Sad at Christmastime

America Magazine - Jim McDermott

It was probably about six or seven years ago that I began to notice a strong undercurrent of sadness in myself around the holidays. I can’t say that I could pinpoint its origin; in fact, it had probably been there quite a while longer. 

The stranger thing was, I liked it.  It seemed right. 

As I started to pay more attention to that wellspring in subsequent holidays I noticed most of the Christmas songs or movies that I loved, if they were indeed “happy”, were only so in a wistful kind of way. (A notable exception: “Love Actually”, which I watch every year – though come to think of it the moment I relish most is probably Emma Thompson standing next to her bed listening to Joni Mitchell and fighting off tears as she realizes her marriage is not what she thought it was. I really am all in on a good Christmas sad, aren't I...)

Rather than the big and flashy candy colored productions I wanted as a kid, Christmas seems to me now more a time for solitude, a chance to acknowledge the losses or burdens of the year, the place and people that were now absent.

Now everything around us says that’s wrongheaded. Christmas is family. Christmas is light. Christmas is joy. And that’s true even, maybe especially, in the Church; what kind of maudlin sad sack of a priest preaches “Merry Christmas; might be time for a good cry, or a little time alone”?

But maybe the sadness that some of us feel at the holidays is not self-pity but invitation. There was a great Maryland province Jesuit named Horace McKenna who spent a good part of his life working with the poor and homeless in Washington, D.C. He once had this to say:

“When God lets me into Heaven, I think I’ll ask to go off in a corner somewhere for half an hour and sit down and cry because the strain is off, the work is done, and I haven’t been unfaithful or disloyal. All these needs that I have known are in the hands of Providence and I won’t have to worry any longer who’s at the door, whose breadbox is empty, whose baby is sick, whose house is shaken and discouraged, and whose children can’t read.”

At Christmas we celebrate the Incarnation, the presence of God in our midst. And while one impulse in that situation is to bring gifts, another I think is that of McKenna – we have the sense that we can lay our burdens down for a bit. We don’t have to be strong or put on a happy face. We can go off in a corner with the Lord somewhere, share our losses, our pain or our exhaustion, and just have a good cry.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened," says Jesus, "and I will give you rest.”

December 26th - St Stephen the Proto-Martyr

Today is the second day in the octave of Christmas. The Church celebrates the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Stoned outside Jerusalem, he died praying for his executioners. He was one of the seven deacons who helped the apostles; he was "filled with faith and with the Holy Spirit," and was "full of fortitude." The Church draws a comparison between the disciple and his Master, emphasizing the imitation of Christ even unto the complete gift of self. 

Catholic Culture - St Stephen
American Catholic - St Stephen
Fisheaters - St Stephen 
Catholic Culture - Catholic Activity: Day Two ~ Activities for the Feast of St. Stephen
St. Stephen, first martyr, pray for us in this age of blood and martyrdom - 2016 saw new martyrs being created worldwide. Perhaps include petitions to the first Christian martyr throughout the new year.

Pope Francis Angelus address of 26 December 2017

Dear brothers and sisters, buongiorno!

After celebrating the birth of Jesus on earth, today we celebrate the birth of Saint Stephen into heaven. Even if at first sight it could seem that there is no link between the two events, there is one, in fact, and it is very strong.

Yesterday, in the liturgy of Christmas, we heard proclaimed, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (Jn 1,14). Saint Stephen created a crisis for the leaders of his people because “filled with faith and the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6,5), he believed firmly and professed the new presence of God among men; he knew that the true temple of God was now Jesus, the eternal Word come to dwell among us, made like unto us in all things but sin. But Stephen was accused of preaching the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem. The accusation they make against him is of having said that “Jesus, this Nazorean, will destroy this place and subvert the customs that Moses handed down to us” (Acts 6,14).

In effect, the message of Jesus is discomforting, and discomforts us, because it challenges the worldly religious power and provokes consciences. After His coming, it is necessary for us to convert, to change our mentality, to reject thinking like before. Stephen remained anchored to the message of Jesus even to death. His final prayers — “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” and “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7,59-69) — are the faithful echo of those pronounced by Jesus on the Cross: “Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit” (Lk 23,46), and “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (v.34). Those words of Stephen were possible only because the Son of God had come upon the earth, and died, and rose for us; before these events, they were humanly unthinkable expressions.

Stephen prayed Jesus to receive his spirit. The risen Christ, in fact, is the Lord, and is the sole mediator between God and men, not only in the hour of our death, but also in every moment of life: without Him we can do nothing (cf. Jn 15,5). So we too, before the Baby Jesus in the manger, can say to Him, “Lord Jesus, we entrust our spirit to You; receive it,” so that our existence should truly be a good life according to the Gospel.

Jesus is our mediator, and He reconciles us not only with the Father, but also with one another. He is the fount of love, Who opens us to communion with our brothers, removing every conflict and resentment. Let us ask Jesus, born for us, to help us to take up this double attitude of confidence in the Father and of love for our neighbour; it is this attitude that transforms life and makes it more beautiful and fruitful.

To Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer and Queen of Martyrs, let us lift up our prayer with confidence, that she might help us to welcome Jesus as Lord of our life, and to become His courageous witnesses, ready to pay in person the price of fidelity to the Gospel.

Anuna: The Coventry Carol

25 Dec 2017

"Urbi et Orbi" Christmas 2017

Vatican City, Dec 25, 2017 / 09:16 am (CNA/EWTN News)

Pope Francis on Christmas Day said the commemoration of Christ's birth is an occasion to remember and pray for every child who suffers due to war, poverty and inequality, each of whom bears the face of Jesus.

“Today, as the winds of war are blowing in our world and an outdated model of development continues to produce human, societal and environmental decline, Christmas invites us to focus on the sign of the Child and to recognize him in the faces of little children, especially those for whom, like Jesus, there is no place in the inn,” the Pope said Dec. 25.

Jesus, he said, was not born as a result of man's will, “but by the gift of the love of God our Father.”

“The faith of the Christian people relives in the Christmas liturgy the mystery of the God who comes, who assumes our mortal human flesh, and who becomes lowly and poor in order to save us,” he said, adding that “this moves us deeply, for great is the tenderness of our Father.”

Speaking to the 50,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square for his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” blessing, the Pope noted that this tenderness is expressed in a special way to children who suffer from all the various conflicts in the world.

From the Holy Land to Venezuela, from the Middle East to Africa and Ukraine, he pointed to various conflicts happening around the world and offered prayers for peace in each region marred by war, violence and poverty.

He prayed that peaceful dialogue would be taken up again in Israel and Palestine so that the two parties can negotiate a solution to their conflict “that would allow the peaceful coexistence of two States within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders.”

Francis also prayed for children with unemployed parents and for those forced to migrate alone to other countries, leaving them vulnerable to traffickers.

“Through their eyes we see the drama of all those forced to emigrate and risk their lives to face exhausting journeys that end at times in tragedy,” he said, adding that “Jesus knows well the pain of not being welcomed and how hard it is not to have a place to lay one’s head. May our hearts not be closed as they were in the homes of Bethlehem.”

Pope Francis closed his address praying that like Mary, Joseph and the Shepherds, we would also “welcome in the Baby Jesus the love of God made man for us. And may we commit ourselves, with the help of his grace, to making our world more human and more worthy for the children of today and of the future.”

Full text of the Pope's message below:

2017 Christmas Eve Homily - Pope Francis

‘Let us enter into the real Nativity … Then, in Jesus we will enjoy the flavor of the true spirit of Christmas: the beauty of being loved by God’

Here is a Vatican translation of the text of the homily Pope Francis gave this evening when he celebrated Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.


Mary “gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” (Lk 2:7).
In these plain and clear words, Luke brings us to the heart of that holy night: Mary gave birth; she gave us Jesus, the Light of the world. A simple story that plunges us into the event that changes our history forever. Everything, that night, became a source of hope.

Let us go back a few verses. By decree of the Emperor, Mary and Joseph found themselves forced to set out. They had to leave their people, their home, and their land, and to undertake a journey in order to be registered in the census. This was no comfortable or easy journey for a young couple about to have a child: they had to leave their land. At heart, they were full of hope and expectation because of the child about to be born; yet their steps were weighed down by the uncertainties and dangers that attend those who have to leave their home behind. Then they found themselves having to face perhaps the most difficult thing of all. They arrived in Bethlehem and experienced that it was a land that was not expecting them. A land where there was no place for them.

And there, where everything was a challenge, Mary gave us Emmanuel. The Son of God had to be born in a stable because his own had no room for him. “He came to what was his own and his own people did not accept him” (Jn 1:11). And there, amid the gloom of a city that had no room or place for the stranger from afar, amid the darkness of a bustling city which in this case seemed to want to build itself up by turning its back on others… it was precisely there that the revolutionary spark of God’s love was kindled. In Bethlehem, a small chink opens up for those who have lost their land, their country, their dreams; even for those overcome by the asphyxia produced by a life of isolation.

So many other footsteps are hidden in the footsteps of Joseph and Mary. We see the tracks of entire families forced to set out in our own day. We see the tracks of millions of persons who do not choose to go away but, driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones. In many cases, this departure is filled with hope, hope for the future; yet for many others, this departure can only have one name: survival. Surviving the Herod's of today, who, to impose their power and increase their wealth, see no problem in shedding innocent blood.

Mary and Joseph, for whom there was no room, are the first to embrace the One who comes to give all of us our document of citizenship. The One who in his poverty and humility proclaims and shows that true power and authentic freedom are shown in honoring and assisting the weak and the frail.

That night, the One who had no place to be born is proclaimed to those who had no place at the table or in the streets of the city. The shepherds are the first to hear this Good News. By reason of their work, they were men and women forced to live on the edges of society. Their state of life, and the places they had to stay prevented them from observing all the ritual prescriptions of religious purification; as a result, they were considered unclean. Their skin, their clothing, their smell, their way of speaking, their origin, all betrayed them. Everything about them generated mistrust. They were men and women to be kept at a distance, to be feared. They were considered pagans among the believers, sinners among the just, foreigners among the citizens. Yet to them – pagans, sinners and foreigners – the angel says: “Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Lk 2:10-11).
This is the joy that we tonight are called to share, to celebrate and to proclaim. The joy with which God, in his infinite mercy, has embraced us pagans, sinners and foreigners, and demands that we do the same.

The faith we proclaim tonight makes us see God present in all those situations where we think he is absent. He is present in the unwelcomed visitor, often unrecognizable, who walks through our cities and our neighborhoods, who travels on our buses and knocks on our doors. This same faith impels us to make space for a new social imagination, and not to be afraid of experiencing new forms of relationship, in which none have to feel that there is no room for them on this earth. Christmas is a time for turning the power of fear into the power of charity, into power for a new imagination of charity. The charity that does not grow accustomed to injustice, as if it were something natural, but that has the courage, amid tensions and conflicts, to make itself a “house of bread”, a land of hospitality. That is what Saint John Paul II told us: “Do not be afraid!

Open wide the doors for Christ” (Homily for the Inauguration of the Pontificate, 22 October 1978). In the Child of Bethlehem, God comes to meet us and make us active sharers in the life around us. He offers himself to us so that we can take him into our arms, lift him and embrace him. So that in him we will not be afraid to take into our arms, raise up and embrace the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned (cf. Mt 25:35-36). “Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ”. In this Child, God invites us to be messengers of hope. He invites us to become sentinels for all those bowed down by the despair born of encountering so many closed doors. In this child, God makes us agents of his hospitality.

Moved by the joy of the gift, little Child of Bethlehem, we ask that your crying may shake us from our indifference and open our eyes to those who are suffering. May your tenderness awaken our sensitivity and recognize our call to see you in all those who arrive in our cities, in our histories, in our lives. May your revolutionary tenderness persuade us to feel our call to be agents of the hope and tenderness of our people.


Pope Francis on Christmas Eve: Bethlehem trek of Holy Family is like today’s migrations 
Pope Francis pleads for refugees at Christmas Eve mass 
Pope Francis pleads for migrants at Christmas Eve Mass 
Pope Francis Puts Focus on Refugees in Christmas Eve Mass

24 Dec 2017

A SacredSpace102fm Christmas Day Programme - 2017

From all the Sacred Space102fm team, wishing you and yours every best wish and blessing of this Holy & Festive Season and into the New Year 2018
May the Peace of the Babe of Bethlehem be the gift you receive this Christmastide.

John, Ann, Shane, & Lorraine


You can listen to the podcast of the full two hour special Christmas Day programme HERE.

Our Christmas Day programme goes out on WL102fm from 9am to 11 am and is repeated from 11pm to 1am Christmas night.


On this special two hour programme we celebrate this special day with reflections, favourite Christmas carols and hymns, readings, poetry and our regular reflection on the Gospel of the day. We are joined on the programme with a reflection by Bishop Brendan Leahy and other special guests.

"In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the LordThis will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child;and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them."  

(Luke 2: 1-20)

Reflections on the gospel of the day:

Mary the Chalice

WMoF2018 - Icon of the Holy Family – Mihai Cucu

Last week the WMoF2018 Icon was in Limerick and in Newcastle West - the home parish of SS102fm.

Over on the WMoF2018 channel on iCatholic, iconographer Mihai Cucu discusses the creation of the Holy Family Icon for WMOF2018 and how icons offer an unique perspective for contemplating the divine.

23 Dec 2017

24th December 2017 - 4th Sunday of Advent

On this the fourth and final Sunday of Advent, we take a final deep breath to prepare ourselves for the celebration of the mystery of the Nativity of the Lord. On this weeks programme we share the reflection of Sr Dympna Clancy and well as our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel. We have a quick visit through the saints that mark out the day of the Octave of Christmas as well as other odds & ends.

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

Advent Reflection 

Sr Dympna Clancy leads us in an Advent reflection this week and reminds us that instead of viewing the tasks of Christmas preparation such as writing cards or wrapping presents how they can be moments of pray for the person for whom we are writing; a time to pause and pray for the person we are thinking of.

Christmas is certainly a time for children but it is also a time for anyone - child or adult - who seeks hope. It centres around the birth of a Child. Hope has to be centred on a person, and the crib reminds us who that person of hope is - the Babe of Bethlehem, a child full of promise, a child full of peace. When we look at the crib perhaps a couple of questions might be:

  • Is this the Person I need right now in my life?
  • Is this the Companion I need now who can help me get through the cares and the worries that I have now?
  • Is this the Person who can make a difference in my life each day?

It is important to keep the "Christ" in Christmas, the best gift that we have been given. It is important to recall the many blessings that we have, the gifts that we have been given in our lives. We think of many suffering around the world, we should reach out to them in prayer.

Christmas is a celebration of a historic event but how much time do we give to speaking to the person whose birth we are celebrating?

The reflection from Sr Dympna Clancy is excerpted from the main programme podcast HERE. It was originally broadcast in 2012.

Gospel - Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin's name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
"Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 
Then the angel said to her,
"Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God. 
"Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his kingdom there will be no end."
But Mary said to the angel,
"How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?"
And the angel said to her in reply,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God."
Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."
Then the angel departed from her.
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy

Advent Reflections 2015 - Annunciation - Kathleen Norris 

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Octave of Christmas

Saints of the Week

December 25th - Nativity of the Lord
December 26th - St Stephen
December 27th - St John the Apostle
December 28th - The Holy Innocents
December 29th - St Thomas a Becket
December 30th - Blessed Margaret Colonna
December 31st - Feast of the Holy Family