31 Oct 2017

1st November - All Saints

"The glorious company of the apostles praises you, the noble fellowship of the prophets praises you, the white robed army of martyrs praises you, all the saints together sing your glory, O Holy Trinity, One God" - Magnificat Antiphon I Vespers

On November 1st the Church celebrates all the saints: canonized or beatified, and the multitude of those who are in heaven enjoying the beatific vision that are only known to God. During the early centuries the Saints venerated by the Church were all martyrs. Later on the Popes set November 1 as the day for commemorating all the Saints. We all have this "universal call to holiness." What must we to do in order to join the company of the saints in heaven? We "must follow in His footsteps and conform [our]selves to His image seeking the will of the Father in all things. [We] must devote [our]selves with all [our] being to the glory of God and the service of [our] neighbor. In this way, the holiness of the People of God will grow into an abundant harvest of good, as is admirably shown by the life of so many saints in Church history" (Lumen Gentium, 40).

Mass readings for today HERE.

Traditional hymn taken from the Liturgy of the Hours for the feast day is "For all the Saints" and Msgr Charles Pope has a reflection on the hymn here or you could just listen and sing along.......

Pope Francis reflects on the Communion of Saints at his weekly General Audience on 30 October 2013.

Pope Benedict XVI (01 Nov 2011)

"The Solemnity of All Saints is a good occasion to raise our eyes from temporal matters, which are marked by time, to the dimension of God, the dimension of eternity and sanctity",...... "Today's liturgy reminds us that sanctity is the primary vocation of all the baptised. In fact Christ, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit is alone holy, loved the Church as His bride and gave Himself for her so as to sanctify her. For this reason, all members of the People of God are called to become saints. ... We are, then, invited to look to the Church not only in her temporal and human guise, which is tainted by fragility, but as Christ wished her to be: a 'communion of saints'. ... Today we venerate this innumerable community of All Saints who, by their different lives, show us the different ways to sanctity, sharing the single common denominator of following Christ and conforming themselves to Him, which is the final goal of our human existence".

H/t Blue Eyed Ennis for image

Second reading from Office of Readings
From a sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot
Let us make haste to our brethren who are awaiting us.
Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of this feast day mean anything to the saints? What do they care about earthly honors when their heavenly Father honors them by fulfilling the faithful promise of the Son? What does our commendation mean to them? The saints have no need of honor from us; neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning.

Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. We long to share in the citizenship of heaven, to dwell with the spirits of the blessed, to join the assembly of patriarchs, the ranks of the prophets, the council of apostles, the great host of martyrs, the noble company of confessors and the choir of virgins. In short, we long to be united in happiness with all the saints. But our dispositions change. The Church of all the first followers of Christ awaits us, but we do nothing about it. The saints want us to be with them, and we are indifferent. The souls of the just await us, and we ignore them.

Come, brothers, let us at length spur ourselves on. We must rise again with Christ, we must seek the world which is above and set our mind on the things of heaven. Let us long for those who are longing for us, hasten to those who are waiting for us, and ask those who look for our coming to intercede for us. We should not only want to be with the saints, we should also hope to possess their happiness. While we desire to be in their company, we must also earnestly seek to share in their glory. Do not imagine that there is anything harmful in such an ambition as this; there is no danger in setting our hearts on such glory.
When we commemorate the saints we are inflamed with another yearning: that Christ our life may also appear to us as he appeared to them and that we may one day share in his glory. Until then we see him, not as he is, but as he became for our sake. He is our head, crowned, not with glory, but with the thorns of our sins. As members of that head, crowned with thorns, we should be ashamed to live in luxury; his purple robes are a mockery rather than an honor. When Christ comes again, his death shall no longer be proclaimed, and we shall know that we also have died, and that our life is hidden with him. The glorious head of the Church will appear and his glorified members will shine in splendor with him, when he forms this lowly body anew into such glory as belongs to himself, its head.

Therefore, we should aim at attaining this glory with a wholehearted and prudent desire. That we may rightly hope and strive for such blessedness, we must above all seek the prayers of the saints. Thus, what is beyond our own powers to obtain will be granted through their intercession.

  • Previous posts from SS102fm HERE
  • Blue Eyed Ennis 2013 post HERE
  • Quatum Theology reflection on All Saints HERE.

All Saints’ Day is a time to rejoice in all who through the ages have faithfully served the Lord. The day reminds us that we are part of one continuing, living communion of saints. It is a time to claim our kinship with the “glorious company of apostles … the noble fellowship of prophets … the white-robed army of martyrs” (Te Deum). It is a time to express our gratitude for all who in ages of darkness kept the faith, for those who have take the gospel to the ends of the earth, for prophetic voices who have called the church to be faithful in life and service, for all who have witnessed to God’s justice and peace in every nation. 
To rejoice with all the faithful of every generation expands our awareness of a great company of witnesses above and around us like a cloud (Hebrews 12:1). It lifts us out of a preoccupation with our own immediate situation and the discouragements of the present. In the knowledge that others have persevered, we are encouraged to endure against all odds (Hebrews 12:1-2). Reminded that God was with the faithful of the past, we are reassured that God is with us today, moving us and all creation toward God’s end in time. 
- Presbyterian Companion to the Book of Common Worship

A Sonnet for All Saints Day

Though Satan breaks our dark glass into shards
Each shard still shines with Christ’s reflected light,
It glances from the eyes, kindles the words
Of all his unknown saints. The dark is bright
With quiet lives and steady lights undimmed,
The witness of the ones we shunned and shamed.
Plain in our sight and far beyond our seeing
He weaves them with us in the web of being
They stand beside us even as we grieve,
The lone and left behind whom no one claimed,
Unnumbered multitudes, he lifts above
The shadow of the gibbet and the grave,
To triumph where all saints are known and named;
The gathered glories of His wounded love.


29 Oct 2017

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

Being Christian means daily battle against the devil, Pope Francis says

Pope boosts the stock of quite possibly the Vatican’s nicest guy (and he happens to be Irish) 

Bedford Row Family Project launched in Limerick - A revolutionary educational report which supports education for prisoners, former prisoners and their families, was launched at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick City this week.

Majority of young Irish people feel church attendance is optional 

The least religious generation in US History: A reflection on Jean Twenge’s ‘iGen’

Documentary captures ruin, rebirth of the Russian Orthodox Church 

What does your prayer book say about you? 

Pope Benedict has black eye in new photos

Greek Orthodox patriarch: Christians are not strangers in Middle East 

Students at university founded by John Henry Newman vote to impeach pro-life union president

Pope Francis phones International Space Station

Pope Talks God’s Creation With Astronauts on International Space Station

Pope’s Conversation with Astronauts (Transcript)

Pope on Christians' contribution to the future of Europe 

Pope's at "(Re)Thinking Europe Conference": Full text

Vatican Radio - EU Parliament VP [Mairead McGuinness] on Europe and dialogue

Civil, ecclesial leaders of Europe find common ground in their concerns

Powerful testimony: “I am a man with Down syndrome, and my life is worth living.” 

CNA - "The world needs to know that I don’t 'suffer' from Down syndrome" 

29th October 2017 - "Let us keep a festival of honour of all the Saints"

On this weeks programme John and Shane reflect on the up coming solemnity of All Saints on November 1st including a reflection from Word on Fires's Bishop Robert Barron.We have our weekly reflection on the Sunday gospel as well as other notices and liturgical odds & ends.

You can listen to this weeks full programme podcast HERE.

Reflecting on the Feast of All Saints

As the clocks change this weekend and the evenings have firmly drawn in, we head into Samhain (November) and the dark days of Winter here in Ireland. As the earth heads into hibernation and rebirth, the ancient Celts saw this time as a "thin place" between this world and the next. All Hallows Eve (Halloween) and the celebrations of All Saints and All Soul's are a reminder to us that our nearest and dearest who have died are not really that far away and that we honour and pray for and with each other in the Communion of Saints especially at this time of the year. 

On November 1st, the Church celebrates all the saints: canonized or beatified, and the multitude of those who are in heaven enjoying the beatific vision that are only known to God. During the early centuries the Saints venerated by the Church were all martyrs. Later on the Popes set November 1 as the day for commemorating all the Saints. 

We all have this "universal call to holiness." What must we to do in order to join the company of the saints in heaven? We "must follow in His footsteps and conform [our]selves to His image seeking the will of the Father in all things. [We] must devote [our]selves with all [our] being to the glory of God and the service of [our] neighbor. In this way, the holiness of the People of God will grow into an abundant harvest of good, as is admirably shown by the life of so many saints in Church history" (Lumen Gentium, 40).

"For centuries the church has confronted the human community with role models of greatness. We call them saints when what we really often mean to say is 'icon,' 'star,' 'hero,' ones so possessed by an internal vision of divine goodness that they give us a glimpse of the face of God in the center of the human. They give us a taste of the possibilities of greatness in ourselves."— Joan D. Chittister in "A Passion for Life"

"When I invite you to become saints, I am asking you not to be content with second best. I am asking you not to pursue one limited goal and ignore all the others. Having money makes it possible to be generous and to do good in the world, but on its own, it is not enough to make us happy. Being highly skilled in some activity or profession is good, but it will not satisfy us unless we aim for something greater still. It might make us famous, but it will not make us happy. Happiness is something we all want, but one of the great tragedies in this world is that so many people never find it, because they look for it in the wrong places. The key to it is very simple - true happiness is to be found in God. We need to have the courage to place our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success, or in our relationships with others, but in God. Only he can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts."
- Pope Benedict XVI (read more of the sermon here)
You can listen to the reflection excerpted from this weeks programme podcast HERE

Gospel - Matthew 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,they gathered together, and one of them,a scholar of the law tested him by asking,"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him,"You shall love the Lord, your God,with all your heart,with all your soul,and with all your mind.This is the greatest and the first commandment.The second is like it:You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Louisville University Centre for Liturgy
Sunday Reflections

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 2; 30th Sunday in Ordinary time

Saints of the Week

October 30th - St Alphonsus Rodriguez
October 31st - Bl Dominic Collins
November 1st - Solemnity of All Saints
November 2nd - Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls)
November 3rd - St Malachy also St Martin De Porres
November 4th - St Charles Borromeo

21 Oct 2017

22nd October 2017 - SS102fm has a catch up with Bishop Brendan Leahy

On this weeks programme (despite some horrendous technical difficulties!), John and Shane are joined by Bishop Brendan Leahy for a chat about various things including the Limerick Pastoral Plan, WMoF2018 and whether the Pope is coming to Ireland.

This Sunday also happens to be Mission Sunday 2017 and here on SS102fm we remember in a special way all missionaries who work in the "vineyard of the Lord".

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

Mission Sunday 2017

From World Missions Ireland:
World Mission Sunday takes place on the second last Sunday of October each year. Since 1926, the Church has traditionally remembered its universal mission during the month of October. This year Mission Sunday will be celebrated globally on the 22nd October 2017. The theme is ‘Reach Out, Spread the Joy.’ Throughout the world the faithful will reflect on the universal call to Mission of all the baptised. They will be invited to contribute what they can to support the development and growth of young churches internationally. Mission Sunday is celebrated by every Church worldwide, including the poorest. This special Sunday in October provides Catholics with the opportunity to unite with their missionary sisters and brothers overseas, and to recommit themselves to bringing the Joy of the Gospel to everyone they meet in their daily lives at home and at work. 
In October and especially on Mission Sunday Catholics are invited to be specifically conscious of the Church’s missionary activity abroad (Ad Gentes) through prayer, sacrifice and financial contributions. The funds collected are used to assist Churches who need financial support and directed towards communities in need, both spiritually and materially. 
In October 2016, Irish Catholics contributed more than €1.5 million on Mission Sunday. The Mission Sunday collection is made available to be distributed to as many as 1,100 young Churches who are supported by the generosity of Churches that have been blessed with a greater quantity of financial and material gifts. Our Mission Sunday figures for October 2016 are available to download here
Contributions will be used to build simple mission churches, to educate and nurture our future leaders of the Church including seminarians, religious novices, lay catechists and pastoral workers. The Mission Sunday gift may also be used for building health facilities for children and adults as well as for providing emergency aid in times of war or natural disaster or to assist missionaries in their efforts to care for refugees. 
On Mission Sunday, in a special way, we celebrate the work of circa 1,300 Irish born missionaries and all missionaries throughout the world. We thank God for them, for all who support them in our own country and during mission month we unite ourselves in prayer with them and with the communities with whom they work.
You can read Pope Francis message for Mission Sunday HERE.

A Catch up with Bishop Brendan Leahy

On this weeks programme, we were delighted to have an opportunity to catch up with Bishop Brendan Leahy to discuss a few things including the progress being made on the diocesan plan after Synod 2016, forthcoming WMoF2018, the possibilities of a 2018 Papal visit and how it wont be confirmed by the papal household officially until next March at the earliest, reflection on the Irish bishops Ad limina visit to Rome as well as Bishop's Brendan visit to Zimbabwe with Trocaire.

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

Gospel - Matthew 22:15-21

"The Tribute Money." Peter Rubens, 1512.
The Pharisees went offand plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech. They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying,"Teacher, we know that you are a truthful manand that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.And you are not concerned with anyone's opinion,for you do not regard a person's status.Tell us, then, what is your opinion:Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?" Knowing their malice, Jesus said,"Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin that pays the census tax." Then they handed him the Roman coin. He said to them, "Whose image is this and whose inscription?" They replied, "Caesar's."At that he said to them,"Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesarand to God what belongs to God."
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Sunday Reflections
English Dominicans
The Sunday Website of St Louis University
Vatican Radio
Religion is always political, but it can never be partisan: What’s Jesus telling us today?

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours: Psalter week 1, 29th week in ordinary time

Saints of the Week

October 23rd - St John of Capistrano
October 24th - St Anthony Mary Claret
October 25th - Bl Thaddeus McCarthy - read A saint for the persistent but discouraged
October 26th - Ss Chad & Cedd
October 27th - St Otteran
October 28th - St Simon & Jude

14 Oct 2017

15th October 2017 - The Marian call to conversion

On this weeks programme John is joined by Fr Michael King who continues our Marian reflections in this month dedicated to the Rosary. We have our regular discussion on this weeks celestial guides as well as our reflection on the Sunday gospel and other odds & ends.

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

Reflecting on Mary in this month of the Rosary

Continuing our Marian reflections in October - the month of the rosary - Fr Michael King joins us from Gort this week to reflect on the role of Mary in the Christian life and in particular the continual call to conversion of heart which has been one constant in all her apparitions over the centuries with the message to once again to turn to her Divine Son.

You can listen to Fr Michael's reflection with John excerpted from the main programme HERE

Gospel - Matthew 22: 1-14

Come to the wedding feast - 
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people
in parables, saying,
"The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who gave a wedding feast for his son.
He dispatched his servants
to summon the invited guests to the feast,
but they refused to come.
A second time he sent other servants, saying,
'Tell those invited: "Behold, I have prepared my banquet,
my calves and fattened cattle are killed,
and everything is ready; come to the feast."'
Some ignored the invitation and went away,
one to his farm, another to his business.
The rest laid hold of his servants,
mistreated them, and killed them.
The king was enraged and sent his troops,
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Then he said to his servants, 'The feast is ready,
but those who were invited were not worthy to come.
Go out, therefore, into the main roads
and invite to the feast whomever you find.'
The servants went out into the streets
and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,
and the hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to meet the guests,
he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
The king said to him, 'My friend, how is it
that you came in here without a wedding garment?'
But he was reduced to silence.
Then the king said to his attendants, 'Bind his hands and feet,
and cast him into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'
Many are invited, but few are chosen."
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week IV, 28th week in ordinary time

Saints of the Week

October 16th - St Gall 
October 17th - St Ignatius of Antioch 
October 18th - St Luke the Evangelist 
October 19th - North American Martyrs, also Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko 
October 20th - St Irene of Portugal
October 21st - Blessed Charles of Austria

8 Oct 2017

WMoF2018 - Countdown is on to the greatest show on earth (The Irish Catholic Newspaper)

Every three years the Church brings together the largest international gathering of families in the world. Ireland will have the joy of hosting the next World Meeting of Families on behalf of Pope Francis from 21-26 August 2018. 
This week The Irish Catholic newspaper is bringing you the first in a series of new monthly news columns on WMOF2018 in order to keep you up to date with important information on the event next year and on how preparations are going around Ireland and around the world. 
Registration and ticketing
Registration for the World Meeting of Families is now open. All events will require a ticket for entry. Some events are free while some are subject to a fee. 
Children and young people under the age of 18 are free but they must be registered with family/group. Concessions are available for pensioners, unwaged and students over the age of 18. 
Humans of World Meeting of Families 2018 
You might be familiar with the phenomenon that is ‘Humans of New York’ which began as a photography project in 2010.  The initial goal was to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers on the street, and to create a catalogue of the city’s inhabitants.
Somewhere along the way, the man behind the idea, Brandon Stanton, began to interview his subjects in addition to photographing them. These portraits and the captions/stories that accompany them became the subject of a vibrant blog and Facebook page which now has over 20  million followers, and provides a worldwide audience with daily glimpses into the lives of strangers on the streets of New York City.  
The ‘Humans of’ phenomenon began to spread and here in Ireland we now have ‘Humans of Dublin’ and ‘Humans of Longford’ to name just a few. In more recent months we have had Humans of New York – the Refugee Stories. This involved Brandon Stanton travelling to Jordan and Turkey to talk to 12 different Syrian refugee families from which he shared some harrowing stories. 
With next year’s World Meeting of Families being hosted in Ireland, a new Facebook page has been set up to capture and catalogue family stories. 
The Facebook page will feature stories and anecdotes about family life, past and present, from WMOF2018 staff, volunteers, diocesan and parish participants as well as those preparing to travel to WMOF2018 from other countries. These stories will be linked by the theme of faith. 
The page has gone live and can be followed on Facebook as ‘Humans of World Meeting of Families 2018’.
If you would like to be featured on the Humans of World Meeting of Families 2018 page please email Brenda.drumm@worldmeeting2018.ie
The WMOF 2018 Icon of the Holy Family 
The icon of the Holy Family was specially commissioned by WMOF2018, written by iconographer Mihai Cucu, and assisted by the Redemptoristine Sisters of the Monastery of St Alphonsus, Iona Road, Dublin, as part of their on-going prayer for families. The icon was unveiled and anointed on the 21 August 2017, during the launch of the one-year programme of preparation at the National Novena in Knock. 
This icon takes the form of a triptych which looks, from the outside, somewhat like a house with front doors. On these outside doors, we are presented with the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, who carry with them the desire of God to protect. Their heads are bowed in adoration and service of God, the Holy One. On the base is the inscription Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), the title of Pope Francis’ post-Synodal exhortation on love in the family. 
When the doors of this icon are opened we see in the centre the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph seated at table, sharing a meal and sharing their Faith. Their Faith was celebrated in their home. It is in our home that the reality of God-with-us is communicated and passed on to future generations. Their gathering around the table is reminiscent of the Three Angels in the famous 15th-Century Icon of the Holy Trinity by Andrei Rublev. Christian Marriage is sometimes compared with the Holy Trinity, as a communion of the giving and receiving of love that is life-giving. Indeed, the family is called to be the “living icon” of the Most Holy Trinity. 
Similarly to the icon above, the Holy Family have a place at their table for us. They invite us to join them. They are no strangers to the trials of family life. They themselves have been refugees, fleeing the violence of Herod. They have known great anxiety. Hence the radishes and bitter herbs of the Passover meal represent the sorrows and trials of the people of Israel in their slavery also represent for us the trials and sacrifices of patience and love experienced in every family. 
The presence of the unleavened bread and cup of wine on their table call to mind the Eucharist for us.
Flanking the Holy Family icon are those two Gospel narratives: the Raising of Jairus’ Daughter and the Wedding Feast of Cana. These are passages in the Gospels in which we see Jesus’ deep compassion and concern for marriage and for those living with burdens in their family life.
An icon is not like a photograph, nor is it a portrait. It is an image which invites us to prayer. 
The Icon has now started to travel to each diocese in Ireland to encourage reflection and prayer as part of the journey of preparations to WMOF2018. The icon is accompanied by petition boxes, where families can write their intentions and prayers. Contemplative communities around Ireland will pray for the intentions collected during the coming year.  
It is to be hoped that the Icon will invite people to prayer while we prepare our hearts for the World Meeting of Families 2018. 

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

I did not save my son…he saved me - My precious three-year-old was conceived during the darkest day of my life writes Jennifer Christie

"If God is no longer important, the criteria for establishing what is important are displaced. Humans, in putting aside God, submit themselves to the constraints that make them the slave of material forces and thus at odds with their dignity."
New words from Benedict XVI: “If God is no longer important…

The bodies of the Coptic martyrs beheaded by Isis found in Libya 

Breda O’Brien: Silencing a rape victim is never a feminist act 

“From Northern Ireland to Barcelona, we say no to separatism: reconciliation is a possible way” 

Released priests: kidnapping as a “spiritual retreat 

“Oh, No! You Want to be a Nun?”

St. Francis, the Sultan and 13th century “fake news” 

Aleteia - The most unusual churches in the world 

What a tortured prisoner of war taught me about the Rosary 

The Church – A Home Blessed and Broken 

Remains of over 300 individuals given burial in Michigan 

The surprising spiritual power of church bells 

Matt Maher: Jesuit spirituality could save the world 

Yes, millennials like brunch. But that’s not why they’re skipping Mass. 

Church urged to consecrate unbaptised burial sites 

Hoping for life after death - Time is running out for the Irish Church, Fr Joe McDonald tells Greg Daly

Brothers of Charity euthanasia controversy could have far-reaching implications