30 Apr 2017

TED - Pope Francis speaks on TED

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

Find out more about Pope Francis TED talk HERE

1st May 2017 - "Bring flowers of the fairest...O Mary we crown thee Queen of the May"

Bring flowers of the rarest
Bring blossoms the fairest,
From garden and woodland and hillside and dale;
Our full hearts are swelling,
Our glad voices telling...

The praise of the loveliest flower of the vale!

O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today!
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.

There are many and varied hymns and songs to Mary and two years we posted a short series of some of your favourites. You will find them under the tag Songs for Mary

By tradition, May is the month dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary - Theotokas. The month of May is the "month which the piety of the faithful has especially dedicated to Our Blessed Lady," and it is the occasion for a "moving tribute of faith and love which Catholics in every part of the world [pay] to the Queen of Heaven. During this month Christians, both in church and in the privacy of the home, offer up to Mary from their hearts an especially fervent and loving homage of prayer and veneration. In this month, too, the benefits of God's mercy come down to us from her throne in greater abundance" (Paul VI: Encyclical on the Month of May, no. 1).

Read more about the devotion from Catholic Culture here including traditional prayers, litanies and devotions.

A previous programme on devotion to Mary in the Catholic tradition was broadcast on 24th May 2014.

29 Apr 2017

30 April 2017 - Catch-up with the Emmanuel Community in Ireland

On this weeks programme John is joined by an old visitor Geraldine Creaton from the Emmanuel Community who updates on what the community has been up to and up coming events. We have our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel as well as other odds and ends.

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

Emmanuel Community Catch-up

This week Geraldine Creaton from the Emmanuel Community joins us to talk about the Community and up coming events. 

The Community is now present in 67 countries with 10,000 members in every continent. Based on Eucharistic Adoration, Compassion and Evangelisation the community reaches out to support people where they are in life. 

A typical outreach in Ireland involves members of Emmanuel inviting shoppers at the Tallaght shopping centre in Dublin to visit the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel in the centre to light a candle, leave a petition and say a quiet prayer. Geraldine told us that people often want to chat at these times and this listening ear is just what people appreciate.

Geraldine also shares with us the story of Cyprien Rugamba and Daphrose Mukasanga - the founders of the Emmanuel Community in Rwanda over 25 years who were martyred for speaking up for Justice on the 1st day of the Genocide on 7th April 1994, and whose cause for Canonization has been opened. 

  • The music played today is from the new album of the Community - Mercy
  • 25th -30th July 2017 - special week for English speaking pilgrims in Paray-Le-Moniel with the Emmanuel Community.
  • You can contact Emmanuel Ireland at info@emmanuelcommunity.ie 
You can listen to Geraldine's interview excerpted from the main programme podcast HERE.

Gospel - Luke 24:13-35

That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus' disciples were goingto a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.He asked them, "What are you discussing as you walk along?"They stopped, looking downcast.One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,"Are you the only visitor to Jerusalemwho does not know of the thingsthat have taken place there in these days?"And he replied to them, "What sort of things?"They said to him, "The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,who was a prophet mighty in deed and wordbefore God and all the people,how our chief priests and rulers both handed him overto a sentence of death and crucified him.But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;and besides all this,it is now the third day since this took place.Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body;they came back and reportedthat they had indeed seen a vision of angelswho announced that he was alive.Then some of those with us went to the tomband found things just as the women had described,but him they did not see."And he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are!How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these thingsand enter into his glory?"Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,he interpreted to them what referred to himin all the Scriptures.As they approached the village to which they were going,he gave the impression that he was going on farther.But they urged him, "Stay with us,for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over."So he went in to stay with them.And it happened that, while he was with them at table,he took bread, said the blessing,broke it, and gave it to them.With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,but he vanished from their sight.Then they said to each other,"Were not our hearts burning within uswhile he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?"So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalemwhere they found gathered togetherthe eleven and those with them who were saying,"The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!"Then the two recounted what had taken place on the wayand how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 3; 3rd week of Easter

Saints of the Week

May 3rd - Ss Philip and James
May 5th - Bl Edmund Rice (First Friday)
May 6th - St Edberto of Lindisfarne (First Saturday)

22 Apr 2017

23 April 2017 - Beginning to Explore the Ministry of Public Prayer (2) - Updated

On this weeks programme we have a very timely second discussion with Noirin Lynch about the new step being taken in Limerick diocese this week with lay led liturgies in parishes on 25th April. We have our regular reflection on this weeks Sunday gospel as well as our usual review of the the saints of the week, local notices and other odds and ends.

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

Limerick Diocese and Lay Led Ministry of Public Prayer

Limerick hit the headlines this weekend about the journey we are undertaking to rediscover ways of praying as church and being church for each other following on from our diocesan synod in 2016. But headlines can be misleading and sometimes the spin put on things especially by RTE may only increase confusion - generating more heat rather than light! 

A few weeks ago Noirin Lynch joined us on SS102fm to speak about the Synod 2016 led request to develop the skills and confidence for lay led liturgies and public prayer in our parishes for the times when the need may arise. And she graciously rejoins us again this week to answer a few more questions.

On next Tuesday morning April 25th, in Limerick diocese, every parish will offer a lay led Liturgy of the Word. There will also be at three public evening Masses and several parishes will celebrate the Morning Prayer of the Divine Office. 

All the liturgies of the Church are complimentary, nourishing and beautiful. In offering local communities the resources to explore the full breath of what is available to us as a praying community on weekdays, the diocese is not taking attention from one sacrament, but rather enriching all our prayer.

You can listen to the interview with Noirin excerpted from the main programme HERE.

You can listen to the first programme about this new journey for the diocese HERE.

Other resources and articles on this issue:


Letter from Bishop Brendan Leahy at all Masses the diocese of Limerick this morning available HERE.

Gospel - John 20:19-31

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Sunday Reflections
Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
English Dominicans

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 2; 2nd week of Easter

Saints of the Week

April 24th - St Fidelis of Sigmaringen
April 25th - St Mark the Evangelist
April 26th - St Marcellinus
April 27th - Saint Asicus of Elphin
April 28th - St Louise de Montfort
April 29th - St Catherine of Siena

17 Apr 2017

Tired of all the Bad News - "Jesus Christ is Risen - A message of hope for all the world..."

Fr Brian Shortall is a member of the Capuchin Franciscan Order in Dublin and his face may be familiar to readers as he represented the Capuchins during the Easter 1916 Centenary celebrations last year. He has recently written a new book called "Tired of all the Bad News" and over on his blog of the same name he posted a blog post which we thought well worth sharing:


When the senior pupils of both schools come to Mass, I usually take some questions at the end of the session after Mass. They like to ask questions perhaps because it inevitably delays their having to go back to class. One of the pupils who recently made their confirmation in last month asked me a very difficult question; “why did the nuns kill all the babies in Tuam?”

Before I tell you how I answered this, let me tell you that in Ireland, the church has been really under the cosh these last few months. It’s been hard to be a minister of the gospel today. I’ve felt it, the other friars have felt it, and my colleagues in ministry - religious and laity have felt it. It’s as if once again, the institutional church is making a success of scoring spectacular own goals. I’m not looking for sympathy either because most people in the real world have – you people -  have their own struggles; family, relationships, financial, illness, and bereavement.

I saw a post on social media yesterday to do with the proposed relaxation of the licensing laws on Good Friday from next year. It read something like ‘the pointy hat brigade are slowly losing their grip’ accompanied by a picture of a pint of Guinness. I met a neighbour on Jervis Street who showed me a picture of himself drinking a pint in one of the train stations yesterday too. Do we seriously believe that the bishops are the reason why the pubs are closed on Good Friday? ‘Oh, I can’t have a jar on Good Friday because the Catholic Church won’t let me.’ That’s one less excuse now then. I await the fanfare next year on Good Friday when the media descends on pubs all over the city to celebrate the people’s liberation from the Pioneers and Father Theobald Mathew so.  I further imagine we will shortly see the end of the Angelus on RTE at noon and 6.00 p.m. And I wonder will there eventually be a call to ban Christmas and Easter since they are Christian feasts. After all, there are non-Christians and non-believers in Ireland now. Bye-Bye St. Patrick’s Day. Is there a minority out there shouting above the silent majority? Is the tail wagging the dog? For fear I am beginning to sound cynical I better move on.

There are intelligent secular commentators in the media today calling for a total separation of church and state in Ireland. They resent the policies of some schools in asking for baptismal certificates as a means of entry into primary schools. There is a call by the many of our legislators to stop this practice as it is discriminatory. Mind you, it doesn’t happen in our schools in this parish. There are children from Catholic families, Muslim families, Orthodox families, and Christian families attending and we call on families of prospective pupils to contact the schools ahead of the September enrolments. And I have baptized children from the schools in order to fulfil a parent’s desire for their child to make their First Holy Communion. We don’t refuse anyone.

Across the world, we are seeing the dreadful scenes of children gassed in Syria and in Sept 2015, we gazed in horror at the lifeless body of little Aylan Kurdi washed up on the beaches of Bodram, Turkey. Last week, many Coptic Christians were killed in an attack in Egypt by IS and we remember the lines of Christian martyrs being killed on beaches by militant Islam. We also hear that the cause for the Beatification Fr. Jacques Hamel, martyred last year in Rouen, will soon begin in France. All over the place, in great and small ways, ordinary people are suffering dreadfully and it’s impossible to make sense of it all. We are hearing of people suffering day after day because of their faith in Jesus Christ.

Still, its ordinary people who are making a difference all the time. Ordinary people’s kindness to us here in the parish. Ordinary good people who don’t take a blind bit of notice of what the minority in the papers say. People who still come to Mass here. People who will cross the world to bring their new baby living in a new country back to have it baptized. People who come in numbers to the Novena of Grace. People who always return to remember a loved one on their anniversary or their month’s mind. People who kindly invite me to bless a house or a Garden of Remembrance, or to say a prayer over the mortal remains of a deceased nana or mammy laid out in their home. This is how we know Jesus Christ is alive. This is how we know Good Friday gives way to Easter Sunday. And while I guess it is inevitable that we will probably lose the Angelus bells on RTE sooner or later. We will still ring our church bell here and many other church bells will ring out too. We will doubtless see the end of the prayer said at the start of the daily Dáil session.  I suppose the minority will get their way in secularizing the public square too because we are at the end of Christendom here in Ireland. Christendom is the political, economic, and social order of our nation inspired by the gospel ethic, and this is at an end. It is not the end of Christianity. Too many people have a deep faith in and love for Jesus Christ and this is thanks to the parents and grandparents we love who gave us the best years of their lives. We believe in Jesus Christ because of their faith.

Finally, I answered that lad’s question; - a powerful question by saying the nuns didn’t kill the babies in Tuam. There were indeed bad priests and brothers and nuns. But there were and are far more good and kind and generous ones. Sr. Consillio, Sr. Stan, Fr. Peter McVerry, Br. Kevin, Merchant’s Quay, and the list goes on. These people, members of religious congregations, have a track record of beginning what we now know as the homeless services, the social housing services, and addiction services today. And they are not the only ones. They are assisted by generous volunteers, many of them young people, who roll up their sleeves day and night to help those who are homeless. In forty years’ time, in a different Ireland, when another government calls the very few religious congregations to account then about how they tried to help homeless families in the second decade of the 21st century this will be our answer.

Jesus Christ is risen and the message of the gospel is and always will be a message of hope for all the world. Amen.

WoF - Easter Sunday is concluded.......now what?

From Word on Fire:

It is now the quiet time... The Triduum services are completed. The Easter Vigil (the "mother" of all vigils) has been concluded for another year — to varying degrees of liturgical success in each individual parish, I am sure. The crowds that seem to magically appear and arrive for Easter Sunday Mass have come and gone. Candidates and catechumens have been received into the Church. Easter egg hunts are wrapped up as well as family Easter gatherings. Now what?

Is Easter Sunday 201[7] to now be shelved away as a nice memory testified to by photos posted on Facebook? An opportunity for people to dress up and have good family time? Does the message of Easter end with the last Easter Sunday Mass? Liturgically, the Church says "no." We have the Easter Season — a needed time to reflect on the truth of the resurrection and to look to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. "Liturgical" here is important and it does certainly influence who we are but here I am specifically wondering about our day-to-day life outside the parish walls. Does Easter affect and shape who we are or does it remain a beautiful annual ritual that is left behind in the crowded Easter Sunday church parking lot? Do we take Easter with us into the streets of our lives and of our world or do we keep it hidden away behind locked doors — doors of a private faith, spirituality and morality, doors of our resignations and sense of hopelessness in the face of the pain of our world, doors of our fear to offend the accepted norm? 

Easter cannot stay hidden away. Easter demands that we go into the streets - no matter how uncomfortable it makes us or others. 

In Matthew's account of the resurrection there is an interesting instruction that is given to the women who came to the tomb early that morning by the angel sitting on top of the rolled-away, heavy stone that had been used to seal the tomb. "...go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him." (Mt. 28:7) 

The resurrected Lord does not fear the world and its violence and sad resignation because he has overcome all the sin of the world through the love of the Father. The resurrected Lord goes before you to Galilee. He goes into the streets of the world and the expectation and instruction given by the angel of the resurrection is that the followers of Christ do the same! 

Easter, if it is to be authentic and be more than a nice memory, cannot stay hidden behind any locked door and neither will it allow us to remain hidden.

There is a culture of fear that continually whispers to us that nothing can change, that we cannot really do anything in the face of the injustice of our world, that we should look upon ourselves and our world with hopeless eyes. The culture of fear is arrogant in its pride and thinks that it alone has words to speak. The culture of fear lies. The culture of fear would convince us that we are its children. 

We are not children of the culture of fear. We are children of the resurrection! We are sons and daughters of God! We have nothing to fear and we have words, new words to speak to our world and to one another! The angel announces that the risen Lord is going to Galilee and that there the disciples will see him. The implication is more than apparent, the disciples are meant to go and meet the Lord who goes ahead of them. (The Lord always goes ahead of us.) They are meant to go out into the street and carry the truth of the resurrection into the world! 

It is not enough to stay behind locked doors, no matter how pretty and gilded those doors may be and no matter how many other people may also be content to remain there also. If we do so then the culture of fear wins and our lives become exceedingly small, constrained and life-denying. Joy is found only in following the risen Lord to wherever he might lead.

One further thought: there is no time to waste. The angel instructs the women: go quickly. We are each allotted only a certain number of Easters in our lives here on earth. There is no time to lose, both for the work needing to be done in our own hearts as well as the work needing to be done in our world. In the light of the resurrection we must make use of every moment given to us. When all is said and done, we will each have to give an accounting of how we have lived the Easters we have been given in our lifetime. 

We are sons and daughters of the resurrection of our Lord! The Easter mystery is placed in our hearts and entrusted to us and it cannot remain behind locked doors, it demands to be taken out to the streets of our world!

Christ is Risen

The Big April Ask

Hello everyone!! 

The Limerick Diocese Youth Ministry Team recently put up a survey with questions from Pope Francis for young people. Well now it's gone to the next level and every Diocese in Ireland wants in on the action. So they have got a new survey for you - it will take you 2 minutes to complete and the answers will be seen by Pope Francis himself because he wants to know what you think. 

If you are aged between 16 and 29 then please please please take two minutes to complete the survey by clicking the link here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/bigaprilask

16 Apr 2017

Pope delivers his Urbi et Orbi message - Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Easter Sunday gave his tradition Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) message from the central loggia of St Peter's Basilica. In it he prayed that Risen Lord would walk beside those who are marginalized who are victimized by old and new forms of slavery. The Holy Father also prayed the Lord would bring peace to the Middle East, come to the aid of Ukraine, shed his blessing upon the continent of Europe and  build bridges of dialogue in Latin America. 

The English language translation of the Pope's Urbi et Orbi message is available HERE

Easter 'Urbi et Orbi' Message of Pope Francis - full text and video

Because He Lives!

Pope Francis venerates the 'Resurrexit' in Rome

Christus resurrexit! Alleluia
Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia
Et apparuit Simoni, Alleluia

In Rome this morning, during the papal Mass to celebrate Easter Sunday from St Peter's Square Pope Francis participated in an ancient rite of honouring the icon of the Holy Saviour - the Resurrexit. 

As successor to St Peter - one of the first witnesses to the Resurrection after the Apostle to the Apostle Mary of Magdala - the rite commemorates the witness to the Resurrection by Peter's successors instituted over 1,000 years ago which fell into disuse when the Popes went to Avignon in 1309 which was restored during the Great Jubilee in 2000. Details of the ceremony are below from the Office of Papal Liturgies.


From Vatican.va:

In the twelfth century, the Bishop of Rome, following an ancient tradition, would pause in prayer at the Oratory of Saint Lawrence in the Lateran, nowadays the Shrine of the Holy Stairs, before setting out in procession from Saint John Lateran to Saint Mary Major, where he would chant the Solemn Mass of Easter Morning. The Oratory, still known as the Sancta Sanctorum, was considered one of the most sacred places in Rome. A celebrated relic of the Holy Cross was venerated there and then, as now, the Shrine housed the Acheiropita (not painted by human hands) icon of the Saviour.

Icon of the Holy Saviour commissioned for the Resurrexit rite
for the Great Jubilee 2000. The original sits in the chapel
of the Scala Sancta in Rome
The [original] icon, probably brought to Rome from the East, was already mentioned in the Liber Pontificalis under the entry for Pope Stephen III (752-757). A full representation of the enthroned Saviour, it was painted on cloth applied to a wooden tablet measuring approximately 1.52 m. by 70 cm. The icon has been frequently restored, most recently in 1995-1996. The only part presently visible is the Face of the Lord painted on a silken cloth superimposed upon the original. The rest of the icon is covered by a sheet of silver.

The cult of the icon of the Most Holy Saviour, unlike that of the Veronica veil kept in the Vatican Basilica or other ancient Roman icons, was the only one to become part of the official celebrations of the Roman Liturgy. This is evident from the Liber Politicus (Ordo Romanus XI), a ceremonial book written between 1143-1144, and the Liber Censuum Romanae Ecclesiae (Ordo Romanus XII), compiled about 1192 by Cencius Camerarius, the future Pope Honorius III. These ceremonial books not only show that a procession with the Acheiropita took place on the night of the Assumption, but also that the icon was venerated during Holy Week.

The original Acheiropita icon in the Sancta Sanctorum
On Easter morning, the Pope, vested in pontificals, entered the Sancta Sanctorum, opened the small silver doors covering the feet of the icon (the doors are still sealed) and kissed the feet three times. He then chanted the versicle: Surrexit Dominus de sepulchro, alleluia, to which the assembly responded: Qui pro nobis pependit in ligno, alleluia. The Cross, which had bee removed on Good Friday, was then placed on the altar for the Pope’s veneration.

After the Pope, the members of the papal entourage venerated the icon and the Cross and then approached the Supreme Pontiff for the kiss of peace. The Pope gave the sign of peace reciting the versicle: Surrexit Dominus vere, to which each person responded: Et apparuit Simoni. Meanwhile the choir chanted a series of antiphons. Following these rites the papal procession was formed along the Via Merulana while the Pope was informed by a notary of the Baptisms which had been celebrated the previous night.

When the Apostolic See moved to Avignon, the rite of the Resurrexit fell into disuse. With the return of the Popes to Rome, the Easter statio was transferred to the Basilica of Saint Peter.

The basis and the authentic significance of these ritual sequences can be found in the words of the Gospel of Luke which describe Peter’s amazement at seeing the empty tomb and the testimony of the Eleven that the Lord was truly risen and had appeared to Simon (cf. Lk 24:12,34; Jn 20:3-10). The appearance of the Risen Lord to Peter and to the other witnesses is the theological foundation of the Church’s Easter faith (cf. Acts 1:21-22; 1 Cor 15:3-6).

The Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, likewise meets the Risen Lord in the icon of the Most Holy Saviour and, after the solemn Easter proclamation of the previous night’s Vigil, he becomes on Easter Day the «first» witness to all the Church of the Gospel of the Lord’s Resurrection.

The rite of papal veneration the icon of the Resurrexit was restored for Easter of the Great Jubilee in 2000.

Paschal Message of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow And All Russia

Paschal Message of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow And All Russia
to the Archpastors, Pastors, Deacons, Monks and Nuns
and All the Faithful Children of the Russian Orthodox Church

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God (1 Jn 3:1)

Your Graces the archpastors, all-honourable priests,
God-loving monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters:


With these joyous and life-affirming words I greet you, my beloved, from the depths of my heart and congratulate you all on the great and saving feast of Pascha.

The Church calls this day ‘the feast of feasts and the festival of festivals’ through the lips of one of her great ecumenical teachers, St. Gregory the Theologian. Herein is contained a profound spiritual meaning, for ‘Pascha is as far exalted above all – not only those which are merely human and crawl on the ground but also those which are of Christ himself and are celebrated in for him – as the sun is exalted above the stars’ (Oration 45: On Holy Pascha). The glorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus, which has become the most important event in the history of the salvation of the human race, contains the very meaning and profound essence of our faith, the heart and mighty power of the Christian message to the world. In these days what we preach may be encapsulated in these three words: Christ is risen! ‘In saying this, what more can I say? All has been said!’ proclaims St. Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow (Homily for Holy Pascha, 18 April 1826).

Patriarchal Encyclical For Holy Pascha 2017 - Bartholomew I Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch

+ B A R T H O L O M E W

By God’s Mercy
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
To the Plenitude of the Church: May the Grace, Peace and Mercy
of the Christ Risen in Glory be with you All

Beloved brothers and sisters, children in the risen Lord,

"In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16.33) is the reassurance of the Lord, who alone trampled upon death by death, to generations of men and women. "Christ is Risen!" is the cry that we, too, pronounce to all people far and wide from this Sacred See, which has experienced worldly crucifixion and tribulation; but it is also the See of resurrection inasmuch as it is from this corner of the planet, the City of Constantine, that we proclaim "the victory of life" that dispels every form of corruption and death itself.

During his earthly presence, the Lord frequently warned His disciples about the tribulation that would result from his sacrifice on the cross at Golgotha but also because of their ministry and life in this world – both their own as well as all those who believe in Christ. However, he also added a very significant detail: "You will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy . . . So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you." (John 16.20-22)

This paschal and spiritual joy was first experienced by the Myrrh-bearing women, who came to the tomb of the life-giving Christ, with the Lord’s greeting in a single word: "Rejoice!" (Matt. 28.9) The same paschal joy is emphatically professed by the Mother Church of Constantinople today: "This is the day of the Lord; let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 117.24) The final enemy, death, sorrow, our problems, corruption, tribulation, and trials: all of these are crushed and abolished by the victorious divine-human Lord.

However, we live in a world where the mass media of communication constantly transmit misfortunate news about terrorist attacks, local wars, destructive natural phenomena, problems of religious fanaticism, hunger, the refugee crisis, incurable diseases, poverty, psychological pressure, feelings of insecurity and other similarly undesirable conditions.

Easter Message of the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem 2017

We, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, join together in proclaiming the triumphant victory of our risen Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ from the dead. The message of Easter, which was first announced in Jerusalem, and has echoed down the centuries, now resounds again in Jerusalem, the city of the Resurrection.

This year we have witnessed the restoration of the Holy Aedicule in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, two centuries after the last renovation, and almost one hundred years after steel girders were installed to support it. The completion of this challenging work is testament to the support from around the globe involved in the project, and to thank them for their prayers and support.

The service to celebrate the unveiling of the restored Holy Aedicule was a testimony to our spirit of Ecumenism and a celebration of our unity in Christ. We stood together, as one body, one voice, around the empty tomb. We stood as Christians united in offering hope, perseverance and determination to transform this world under the banner of Christ who conquered all evil through his Resurrection. The sacred history of Jerusalem, and particularly of the Holy Sepulchre, is a constant reminder for the whole world that in this place and at a certain time, the Resurrection was proclaimed for all people and for all time. The Resurrection inspires a resolute steadfastness in the living stones (local Christians) as living witnesses in the Holy Land.

It is our prayer that the hope established through our risen Lord will enlighten the leaders and nations of the whole world to see this light, and to perceive new opportunities to work and strive for the common good and recognize all as created equal before God. This light of Christ draws the whole human family towards justice, reconciliation and peace, and to pursue it diligently. It draws us all to be unified and to be at harmony with one another. The power and resonance of the Resurrection permeates all suffering, injustice and alienation, bringing forth hope, light and life to all.

Through the Resurrection and the empty tomb, we need to remember that pain, suffering, and death do not have the final word, it is God – who has the first word, and the last. This was the message of the Easter angel, who challenged the first disciples – both women and men – “Why do you look for the living among the dead? [Jesus] is not here, but has risen” (Luke 24.5).

Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!                                  

(Easter 2017)

+Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate

+Patriarch Nourhan Manougian, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate

+Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator, Latin Patriarchate

+Fr. Francesco Patton, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land

+Archbishop Anba Antonious, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem

+Archbishop Swerios Malki Murad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate

+Archbishop Aba Embakob, Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate

+Archbishop Joseph-Jules Zerey, Greek-Melkite-Catholic Patriarchate

+Archbishop Mosa El-Hage, Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate

+Archbishop Suheil Dawani, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

+Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land

+Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate

+Msgr. Georges Dankaye’, Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate

Easter Vigil in Rome - Pope Francis at Easter vigil: the Lord is alive!

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday evening in St. Peter’s Basilica, beginning with the lighting of the Paschal Candle and the singing of the exultet, then the readings recalling the great moments in salvation history, and then the proclamation of the Good News: Christ is risen from the dead.

In his homily, the Holy Father said, “Let us go back to proclaim, to share, to reveal that it is true: the Lord is alive! He is living and he wants to rise again in all those faces that have buried hope, buried dreams, buried dignity.”

“If we cannot let the Spirit lead us on this road,” he said, “then we are not Christians.”

Let us go, then,” he went on to say. “Let us allow ourselves to be surprised by this new dawn and by the newness that Christ alone can give.  May we allow his tenderness and his love to guide our steps.
May we allow the beating of his heart to quicken our faintness,” of our own.

Full text of Pope Francis homily available HERE.

15 Apr 2017

16th April 2017 - Easter Sunday


Christians, to the Paschal Victim Offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeems: Christ, who only is sinless, Reconciles sinners to the Father.
Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous: The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.
Speak, Mary, declaring What you saw, wayfaring. "The tomb of Christ, who is living, The glory of Jesus' resurrection;
Bright angels attesting, The shroud and napkin resting. Yes, my Christ my hope is arisen:
To Galilee he goes before you." Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining. Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!
Amen. Alleluia

(Sequence from Mass on Easter Sunday)

 Let everyone share this feast of faith; let everyone enjoy the riches of goodness. Let none lament their poverty; for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let none mourn their sins; for forgiveness has dawned from the grave. Let none fear death; for the Saviour's death has set us free

- St John Chrysostom

On this joyous Easter morn, the SS102fm team wish you every joy and blessing of this Easter Day to you and yours! On this weeks programme, we mark Resurrection Day with an extended gospel reflection.

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

Gospel Reflection - Matthew 28: 1 -10

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning,Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.His appearance was like lightningand his clothing was white as snow.The guards were shaken with fear of himand became like dead men.Then the angel said to the women in reply,"Do not be afraid!I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.Come and see the place where he lay.Then go quickly and tell his disciples,'He has been raised from the dead, and he is going before you to Galilee;there you will see him.'Behold, I have told you."Then they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed,and ran to announce this to his disciples.And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid.Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee,and there they will see me."
Reflections on the gospel:

Word on Fire

English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy

Christos anesti! Christ is Risen! The Greek proclamation of the Resurrection speaks of Christ's victory, 'trampling on death by means of his death'.

The first thing that stuck in the minds of the disciples was not the empty tomb, but rather the empty grave clothes - undisturbed in form and position."Josh McDowell - Christian Apologist and Writer (b. 1939)

"The great gift of Easter is hope - Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake."Basil C Hume, (1923-1999) - Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster

“I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren't true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn't keep a lie for three weeks. You're telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.” 
― Charles W. Colson