30 Jun 2018

1 July 2018 - Lough Derg: A sanctuary of extreme relevance in today's world

Lough Derg - the sanctuary of St Patrick has been hosting pilgrims since the 7th century and on this weeks programme Fr Eamonn Conway joins us from Ireland's holy isle to discuss and share how Lough Derg is a sanctuary of extreme relevance in our modern world today.

We have our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel as well as a run through the liturgical odds and ends for the week.

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

Lough Derg - One of Ireland's greatest sanctuaries

“No telephones to distract or wireless programmes to assail the nerves. There is a complete absence of the fuss, clatter and compulsory absorption in petty trifles that make up the confusion of everyday life. All that bustle so frequently mistaken for achievement, all that hugger-mugger, is left behind on the mainland and the pilgrim steps into a new air” 

So wrote Alice Curtayne in praise of @lough_derg in 1944 when she attended the three day retreat on Ireland's Holy Isle and she could just as easily be writing about the experience of pilgrims of 2018 and their encounter with St Patrick's Sanctuary.

Fr Eamonn Conway joins the SS102fm team from Lough Derg and takes us through the tradition and the relevance of such a place for those of faith and none.

Saint Patrick’s Sanctuary is located on Station Island in Lough Derg which is four miles north of the village of Pettigo, Co Donegal.  For anyone not familiar with it, it is often referred to as Saint Patrick’s Purgatory or simply Lough Derg.  

The Diocese of Clogher has been the sole custodian of Lough Derg since 1780.  Historical records date the practice of pilgrimage on Lough Derg to the 7th century. Legend also presents the cave on the island (where the basilica now stands) as the place where Saint Patrick had his vision of Purgatory.  Saint Patrick is said to have left a disciple in the area and the foundation of one of the earliest monastic Christian settlements followed. The remnants of the monastic prayer cells remain central to the pilgrimage tradition.  

Today, the Lough Derg Three Day Pilgrimage follows a pattern prayer from the Celtic monastic time and shows remarkable continuity with the earliest systematic account of the pilgrimage, which dates to the 1600s.

That tradition of pilgrimage from the 5th century is alive today with the focus on the basics, going back to being more mindful about the simple things in life with fasting and physical & strenuous activity. But it is not about the hardship it is very much a place of pilgrimage on a holy place where you are called to take off your shoes - you are walking on holy ground linking back over centuries to the time of St Patrick himself. It can be seen as a a spiritual boot camp to help us have the resilience to deal with the Lough Derg's of our daily lives once we come off the island and back into the daily grind of life. Pilgrimage to Lough Derg is not about changing God's attitude to us but rather about us changing our attitude to God.

The Three Day Pilgrimage begins on Lough Derg on 1 June and continues until 15 August 2016. Pilgrims can begin their pilgrimage on any day up to and including 13 August.  During the Three Day Pilgrimage, pilgrims make ‘Stations’: they walk barefoot, kneel on the hallowed beds, fast, pray and keep vigil. 

Once the main pilgrimage seasons finishes there are one day retreats available on the island - check out the website for information.

"Through the centuries it has been a privileged place of encounter with God, a place of healing, a place where people have battled with and defeated their demons, whatever these might be, anything that diminishes us as human beings."

You can listen to Fr Eamonn's interview excerpted from the main programme HERE.

Lough Derg's online presence:


For pilgrims from Limerick who would like to participate in the three day pilgrimage they can contact Fitzpatrick's of Listowel, Co Kerry who run buses up to Lough Derg. Their three Day Pilgrimage dates 2018:

Tuesday 10th – Thursday 12th July
Friday 10th – Sunday 12th August 

For further information and bookings contact 087 3966399 (9am – 6pm)

Gospel - Mark 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boatto the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,"My daughter is at the point of death.Please, come lay your hands on herthat she may get well and live."He went off with him,and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.
There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctorsand had spent all that she had.Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowdand touched his cloak.She said, "If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured."Immediately her flow of blood dried up.She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who has touched my clothes?"But his disciples said to Jesus,"You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,and yet you ask, 'Who touched me?'"And he looked around to see who had done it.The woman, realizing what had happened to her,approached in fear and trembling.She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has saved you.Go in peace and be cured of your affliction."
While he was still speaking,people from the synagogue official's house arrived and said,"Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?" Disregarding the message that was reported,Jesus said to the synagogue official,"Do not be afraid; just have faith."He did not allow anyone to accompany him insideexcept Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,he caught sight of a commotion,people weeping and wailing loudly.So he went in and said to them,"Why this commotion and weeping?The child is not dead but asleep."And they ridiculed him.Then he put them all out.He took along the child's father and motherand those who were with himand entered the room where the child was.He took the child by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum,"which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise!"The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.At that they were utterly astounded.He gave strict orders that no one should know thisand said that she should be given something to eat.
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 1

Saints of the Week

July 2nd - St Swithun
July 3rd - St Thomas (Apostle)
July 4th - St Elizabeth of Portugal
July 5th - St Anthony Zaccaria
July 6th - St Monnine of Killeavy (First Friday)
July 7th - St Maelruain (First Saturday)

Pope Francis to new cardinals: None of us should feel superior to anyone - RomeReports

24 Jun 2018

24 June 2018 - World Meeting of Families 2018 - Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist

On this weeks programme John and Shane are joined by Emer Williams to give an update on all things WMoF2018 related including information in relation to the papal visit as part of the WMoF2018 in August. In addition we have our regular run through the saints of the week, local notices and a brief reflection on the Sunday gospel which is the gospel of the solemnity.

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

World Meeting of Families 2018

We are into the final count down to the WMoF2018 and it has started to generate a lot of public interest following on the confirmation of the attendance of Pope Francis at two of the main events of the WMoF2018 but on this mornings programme we remind listeners that the reason Pope Francis is coming to Ireland is for the World Meeting of Families rather than specifically for anything else. 

The WMoF2018 programme is set out in detail on their website but Emer takes us through the highlights:

1. Opening ceremonies which will take place on will take place simultaneously across all 26 Dioceses of Ireland on the evening of Tuesday 21 August, with the lead ceremony taking place in Dublin. The Opening Liturgy will be a full celebration of Evening Prayer. Entitled ‘Le chéile le Críost’ (together with Christ), it will gather the Church as the family of families, and set us on the path of celebration for the entire World Meeting of Families that will culminate with the closing Papal Mass on Sunday 26th August. It will take place in every diocese in the country, typically in the Cathedral Church.

2. Pastoral Congress August 22 - 24 at the RDS in Dublin

The Congress will offer a daily programme of workshops, discussions as well as fun and prayerful activities for individuals and families, including a tailored programme for children (4-12 yrs) and young people (13-17 yrs). The highlight of each day will be the celebration of the Eucharist in the main arena. Fun activities for all the family will run throughout the day in the Conference venue, except during the celebration of Mass in the Main Arena. 

Each day has a particular theme:

In addition there are Family Arenas, Youcat, Teens programme, Children's programme, Youcat for Kids

The Congress is ticket only and at this stage there are only 3 day tickets left. There are 30,000 registered to attend. You will need to obtain your ticket to attend through the website.

3. Festival of Families at Croke Park - evening of 24th August

First thing to say is at this stage there are no further available tickets for this event. All seats have been allocated. This concert-type event will take place in Croke Park Stadium in Dublin on the evening of the 25th August 2018. It is a celebration of family life around the world that will feature musical and dance performances, as well as five selected families from around the world giving witness to their family’s faith.

This will be the first event of WMoF2018 attended by Pope Francis.

4. Papal visit to Knock

On the morning of 25th August Pope Francis will visit Knock. We covered the papal visit to Knock and the logistics around it on last weeks programme here.

5. Final Mass at Phoenix Park 25th August celebrated by Pope Francis

The World Meeting of Families concludes with a Solemn Eucharistic Celebration that will gather individuals and families from all around the world in thanksgiving and communion. The Mass will mark the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families 2018 in Dublin and the next diocese to host the event in conjunction with the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life will be announced.

The main celebrant for the Final Mass will be Pope Francis. Attendance to this event will be free and ticketed. Though there will be no charge for the tickets, every person in attendance will require a ticket to access the venue. Tickets will be available online on the website from June 25th.

There will be hundreds of thousands of people from across Ireland and abroad attending this event. For your safety and comfort, it is essential that you are aware of the following before committing to attending this Mass.

You can listen to the WMoF2018 segment of the programme excerpted from the main programme podcast HERE.

Gospel - Luke 1:57-66,80

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
"No. He will be called John."
But they answered her,
"There is no one among your relatives who has this name."
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, "John is his name,"
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
"What, then, will this child be?"
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.
The child grew and became strong in spirit,
and he was in the desert until the day
of his manifestation to Israel.
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 4

Saints of the week

June 28th - St Irenaeus
June 29th - Solemnity of the Apostles St Peter and St Paul

20 Jun 2018

Discovering monastic oblates

PBS USA - While the number of monks and nuns has declined dramatically in recent years, there has been a large increase in the number of lay people who want to associate with religious communities.  Correspondent Kate Olson visited New Camaldoli Hermitage, a Benedictine community in Big Sur, California, where people who live in the world affiliate with a monastic community.

16 Jun 2018

17th June 2018 - Knock's Summer Programme 2018

On this weeks programme John and Shane take a look at upcoming events at Knock Shrine over the next few months including of course that important visit its going to have in August! We have our regular look at the liturgical odds & ends for the next week and Fr Frank Duhig joins us for this weeks reflection on the Sunday gospel.

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

Knock Shrine Summer Programme

The shrine at Knock in county Mayo is Ireland's National Marian Shrine and is also our Eucharistic Shrine. Each year over 1.5 million people visit the shrine whose story began on the 21st August, 1879 when, at approximately 8 o’clock in the evening, fifteen people from the village of Knock in Co. Mayo, witnessed an Apparition of Our Lady, St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, a Lamb and cross on an altar at the gable wall of the Parish Church.The witnesses watched the Apparition in the pouring rain for two hours, reciting the Rosary. Although they themselves were saturated not a single drop of rain fell on the gable or vision. There were fifteen official witnesses to the Apparition, most of whom were from the village of Knock and surrounding areas and ranged in age from just 5 years old to 74 years old. Each of the witnesses gave testimonies to a Commission of  Enquiry in October 1879. The findings of the Commission were that the testimonies were both trustworthy and satisfactory.

Each year the shrine hosts its pilgrimage season and on this weeks programme we wanted to highlight some of the up coming events including of course that special visitor which the shrine is going to have in August 2018.

All information presented is taken from the Knock Shrine website and readers/listeners are encouraged to check the website, Facebook and/or Twitter feed of the shrine for the most up to date information. 

The poster above gives the main regular events at the Shrine but in addition:

  • Candlelight Rosary Procession every Thursday night in June July and August 9pm – 9.30pm. In the event of inclement weather, the Rosary will be in the Basilica.
  • Public Mini-Vigils take place on the first Friday of the month from May – December
Following the completion of renovation works at the Parish Church & Shrine, there will be a Rededication Mass held on Saturday 23 June at 7.30pm. The Parish Church is 190 years old, built in 1828 by Reverend P. Grady. All are welcome to attend. The Mass will be celebrated by the Archbishop of Tuam, Michael Neary and the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Okolo

Jesuit Week / Week of Ignatian Spirituality 23-31 July ‘Your Life, Your Story, Your Pathway to God’ - Facilitated by Eddie Cosgrove SJ, Terry Howard SJ and Dermot Mansfield SJ.  God takes an interest in each one of us, in every life – a personal interest in the ordinary daily realities and in our deepest longings. Each of us has a story to tell and in that story God is present, calling us to listen and learn. Prayer is about listening as well as speaking. It doesn’t do away with the struggles of life, but it helps us to see that the One who created us wants to guide us and to give us courage and a sense of peace. This is what the Jesuit way of prayer is all about. There will be two 20-minute sessions daily at 11.05am and 7.05pm in the Prayer Guidance Centre and Mass at 3pm in the Basilica. Each day will focus on a different theme. No booking necessary, all welcome.

National Novena 14th - 22nd August 2018 - once we have any further information we will publish it on the blog but make sure to check the Knock Shrine website.

Pope Francis visit to Knock - 26th August 2018

Pope Francis will visit Knock Shrine on Sunday 26 August to pray for families as part of his pastoral visit to Dublin. During his time in Knock Pope Francis will visit the Apparition Chapel and give the Angelus address in front of the Apparition Chapel in the grounds of Knock Shrine. 

The visit of Pope Francis to Knock Shrine will be a ticketed-event and tickets will be free. Those interested in registering for this event in Knock Shrine will be able to do so from Monday 25 June.

Those who would like to attend must register on the World Meeting of Families website.  Tickets may only be obtained by registering online via the WMOF2018 website

Knock Itinerary Sunday 26 August
08:40    Departure by plane for Knock    
09:20    Arrival at the Airport in Knock - Immediate transfer to the Shrine    
09:45    Arrival at Knock Shrine    
Visit to the Apparition Chapel at Knock Shrine    
Angelus on the square in front of the Shrine 
10:45    Transfer to the airport in Knock    
11:10    Arrival at the airport in Knock    
11:15    Departure by plane for Dublin    
11:50    Arrival at Dublin International Airport  

The number of tickets which are going to be made available for the visit of Pope Francis to Knock will be 45,000 as requested by the authorities on health and safety grounds and like all the public papal events, will be strictly ticket only. The tickets will be free but you must have a ticket to attend - it is not just a case of turning up on the day.

For those planning to attend the event at Knock you need to consider a few things from a practicality point of view including, the early timetable bearing in mind with the crowd you will need to be there well before the Pope arrives in Mayo. It will require a lot of standing and walking so something else to bear in mind.

On next weeks programme we will be discussing the events in Dublin for the WMoF2018 and also reminding people that there is still time to volunteer up to June 30th 2018.

Gospel - Mark 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and through it all the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”
He said,
“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.
You can listen to Fr Frank's reflection on this weeks gospel extracted from the main programme podcast HERE.

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 3; 11th week in Ordinary time

Saints of the Week

June 18th - St Marcus
June 19th - St Romuald
June 20th - The Irish Martyrs
June 21st - St Aloysius Gonzaga
June 22nd - St John Fisher and St Thomas Moore
June 23rd - St John's Eve

4th National Church Collection for WMOF2018

10 Jun 2018

Reflecting on the Sacred Heart

From PrayTell:

Cosmic Christ by Sr. Annett Hanrahan
(Source - with explanatory note)
If you desire proof of the power of Christ’s blood, remember where it came from, how it ran down from the cross, flowing from the Master’s side. The gospel records that when Christ was dead, but still hung on the cross, a soldier came and pierced his side with a lance and immediately there poured out water and blood. Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy Eucharist.…

From these two sacraments the church is born: from baptism, the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit, and from the holy Eucharist. Since the symbols of baptism and the Eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the church.

(from the Catecheses of Saint John Chrysostom)

10 June 2018 - Limerick's 2018 Solemn Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help

On this weeks programme, John and Shane are joined by Fr Seamus Enright from Mt St Alphonsus in Limerick to talk about the 2018 Limerick Solemn Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help which runs from from June 15th to 23rd 2018 and marks 150 years of veneration of Our Lady under this title in Limerick. We have our regular run through the celestial guides for the week, other liturgical odds and ends plus notices and up coming events.

For many of the events highlighted on this weeks programme you can get further information from the weekly diocesan newsletter HERE.

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

Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Fr Seamus Enright talks to us this week about Limerick’s Novena in honour of Our Mother of Perpetual Help which takes place from June 15th to 23rd with 10 sessions each day. The theme of this year’s Novena is “Celebrating Family”. The focus will be on Family Life.

Through out the novena the times of the various sessions are 7am, 8am, 10am, 11.30pm, 1.10pm, 4.30pm, 6pm, 7.30pm, 9pm and 10.30pm. On Saturday June 23rd, to allow for the Mass for the Elderly, Sick and Infirm, there will be no 10am or 1.10pm Novena; instead we will have a 9.30am and 1.30pm Novena.

There will also be a number of special celebrations during the Novena:
  • On Sunday June 17th at 4.30pm we will have a special Children’s Novena, a short session without Mass, where each child will receive an individual blessing.
  • On Monday June 18th at 11.30am we welcome children who have made their First Communion this year. Schools from the city and counties of Limerick, Clare and Tipperary are welcome to attend. It is also an opportunity to give thanks for teachers and those who help to educate children today.
  • On Tuesday June 19th we celebrate God’s mercy for us with a Day of Reconciliation. Masses will be celebrated at 7am, 10am, 1.10pm, 6pm and 10.30pm. Reconciliation Liturgies will take place at 8am, 11.30am, 4.30pm, 7.30pm and 9pm.
  • On Saturday June 23rd at 11.30 am we will have a Mass including the Sacrament of the Anointing, for the Elderly, Sick and Infirm.
You can follow the novena online HERE including pdf booklet of the scripture and reflections for the nine days.
You can listen to the interview with Fr Seamus excerpted from the main programme HERE.

Gospel - Mark 3: 20-35
Jesus came home with his disciples.
Again the crowd gathered,
making it impossible for them even to eat.
When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him,
for they said, "He is out of his mind."
The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said,
"He is possessed by Beelzebul,"
and "By the prince of demons he drives out demons."
Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables,
"How can Satan drive out Satan?
If a kingdom is divided against itself,
that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house is divided against itself,
that house will not be able to stand.
And if Satan has risen up against himself
and is divided, he cannot stand;
that is the end of him.
But no one can enter a strong man's house to plunder his property
unless he first ties up the strong man.
Then he can plunder the house.
Amen, I say to you,
all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be
forgiven them.
But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
will never have forgiveness,
but is guilty of an everlasting sin."
For they had said, "He has an unclean spirit."
His mother and his brothers arrived.
Standing outside they sent word to him and called him.
A crowd seated around him told him,
"Your mother and your brothers and your sisters
are outside asking for you."
But he said to them in reply,
"Who are my mother and my brothers?"
And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
"Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother."
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy
Sunday Reflections

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 2

Saints of the Week

June 11 - St Barnabas (Apostle)
June 12 - St Lochinia of Ireland
June 13 - St Anthony of Padua (or St Anthony of Lisbon) - the "finder" of lost things
June 14 - St Davnet
June 15 - St Bernard of Menthon
June 16 - St Colman McRhoi

9 Jun 2018

Pope's Prayer Intention June 2018

June 2018. The Pope Video: Internet and social networks open many possibilities to us. However, it is necessary to use them well, and to do good; not to isolate ourselves, but to communicate better; not to spread lies, but to speak the truth.

“The Internet is a gift of God, but it is also a great responsibility. Communication technology, its places, its instruments have brought with it a lengthening of horizons, a widening, for so many people. It can offer immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. May the digital network not be a place of alienation. May it be a concrete place, a place rich in humanity. Let us pray together that social networks may work towards that inclusiveness which respects others for their differences.”

WMoF2018 - Closing date for applications extended to 30 June 2018

8 Jun 2018

Heart speaks to heart

Crosspost from Pilgrims Progress

Heart speaks to Heart- Cor ad cor loquitur!

This motto of Blessed Cardinal John Newman is what comes to my mind and heart for the feast day today.

Today and tomorrow we will celebrate the hearts of Jesus and of Mary. Today, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart -one of my favourites and tomorrow the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Nowadays it seems that the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has been archived back to the time of our grandparents or our parents. I remember in school learning to sing 'Sweet heart of Jesus' with great fervour as taught to us by the Sisters of Mercy. Even now when I hear it, I am still somewhat nostalgic. I doubt somehow that these are the songs which my nieces learnt for their school choir for Mass. also remembered how often we prayed the short prayers to the Sacred Heart in class, in assembly, when we were in trouble or anxious: "Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you" or "Sweet heart of Jesus, make me love you more and more". In primary school, some of us used to deliver the Sacred Heart Magazine (also known as the Messenger, a Jesuit Publication) to elderly people in our town. My Nana was subscribed to it and part of my childhood summer holidays was spent reading the collection of magazines from the year. Is it any wonder I ended up in the convent!

Pioneer Pin
Later on, after taking the Pledge, a promise not to drink alcohol until eighteen, we were given a pin of the Sacred Heart of Jesus after becoming a 'pioneer'. Roman Catholic children in Ireland who make their Confirmation (typically at age eleven or twelve) are encouraged to promise, or "take the pledge", not to drink alcohol until they are at least 18 (the legal drinking age in Ireland).The Pioneer Total Abstinence Association of the Sacred Heart (or PTAA) is an Irish organisation for Roman Catholic teetotallers who also choose not to drink alcohol for their entire lives. While the PTAA does not advocate prohibition, it does require complete abstinence from alcoholic drink from its members. It also encourages devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus as an aid to resisting the temptation of alcohol. Pioneers wear a lapel pin called a Pioneer pin with an image of the Sacred Heart, both to advertise the organisation and to alert others not to offer them alcohol. It is a little sacrifice which we can offer to the Lord by not drinking alcohol or making some other sacrifice, big or small.

Fr. William Byrne reminds us that the "devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a human heart that is inflamed with divine love, is a powerful meditation and an important theological bridge that helps us understand who Jesus is and how much he loves us." 

I am reposting his five reasons to adore the Sacred Heart as I think they are very insightful: 

1. A Sacred Sonogram - Imagine if sonograms had existed at the time of Jesus. Just a little more than a week after the Annunciation when Mary says yes to being the mother of God, we would have seen something amazing on that screen, a little beating heart. That tiny pulse, undetectable to the human ear but resounding in heaven, meant that our God has a heart.

2. What John didn't hear, but the angels did. - At the Last Supper, John the beloved laid his head on Jesus' chest. Jesus knew that Judas, one of his chosen Apostles, was going to betray him. What John did not hear but what echoed in heaven was the sound of a breaking heart. The Sacred Heart is as human as yours and mine, it is a sign of the true humanity of Jesus. Its beat quickened when Jesus laughed with a loved one, and it ached with sorrow when he experienced betrayal. Think how truly his heart feels your joys and sorrows.

3. Blessing not bitterness. - "But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out." (John 19: 33-34) The Sacred Heart of Jesus was wounded and from that wound came blood and water. From his suffering, blessings flowed - the water of Baptism and the blood of the Eucharist. From our pains and hurts, what flows? Grudges, blame and anger or mercy, compassion and forgiveness? Don't wait for suffering to come to turn to Christ on the cross, but begin to pray now that when we are put to the test, blessings and not bitterness will flow from our wounded side.

4. Certain wounds never heal. - When the soldier thrust the lance into Jesus' side, he was already dead. As Thomas learned, those wounds never healed. He was able to feel the marks of the crucifixion and put his hand into Jesus' side. The water and blood, Baptism and Eucharist, have never ceased to flow from the Heart of Christ. His mercy is without end. After you receive Communion at Mass, stay after a few minutes and recall his overwhelming, never-ending generosity. Pray that just as his love flows from the cross into you and me that they may flow from you and me into the world.

5. Like unto Thine. - The Sacred Heart of Jesus, a human heart, opened the gates of heaven for each of us. In Jesus, humanity entered into union with God that could only happen when God became a man. As he took a human heart, he invites us into his divinity.

"To Jesus through Mary" has been an often repeated phrase of devotional writers and preachers. St Louis Marie De Montfort has formulated perhaps the most clear devotion and adoration of Jesus Christ, that is, to love him and gift ourselves to him through Mary, with her spirit, with her Immaculate Heart. In his book, True Devotion to Mary, he shows that proper devotion to the Mother of God only makes one more Christ centred. She always leads us to her Son so we can discover the immensity of His love. St. Augustine also reminds us that to “fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances; to seek Him, the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement.”

When I am feeling miserable or having a bad day, there is nothing like having a heart-to-heart conversation with someone who just listens, understands and is able to be with you in that moment. Words don't necessarily have to follow. It is simply a feeling of presence. This is the promise of Jesus to us, He is always waiting to welcome us, to listen, to let us rest our head on His heart. A heart is like a mirror, it reflects who you are, it's to be handled with care! The one person you can give your heart to without the fear of being broken is God. May you keep seeking the greatest romance ever written!

4 Jun 2018

Pope Francis homily for Corpus Christi

This year Pope Francis participated in the Corpus Christi procession held for the first time since John Paul II was elected Pope outside the heart of Rome to the ancient port city of Ostia. Rocco over at Whispers notes 
Whether this year's departure from the customary site at St John Lateran is a one-off remains to be seen. But in a reinforcement of Papa Bergoglio's intent in moving the event to the "peripheries" of Rome's eldest suffragan church, his homily tonight offered a potent reflection on what the reception and veneration of Christ's Body and Blood entails....

From Whispers in the Loggia:

"In This Way, We Live 'Eucharistically'" – On Corpus Christi, Today's "Abandoned Tabernacles"

The Gospel we just heard speaks of the Last Supper, but surprisingly, pays more attention to the preparations than to the dinner itself. We keep hearing the word “prepare”. For example, the disciples ask: “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” (Mk 14:12). Jesus sends them off with clear instructions to make the necessary preparations and they find “a large room… furnished and ready” (v. 15). The disciples went off to prepare, but the Lord had already made his own preparations.
Something similar occurs after the resurrection when Jesus appears to the disciples for the third time. While they are fishing, he waits for them on the shore, where he has already prepared bread and fish for them. Even so, he tells the disciples to bring some of the fish that they have just caught, which he himself had shown them how to catch (cf. Jn 21:6.9-10). Jesus has already made preparations and he asks his disciples to cooperate. Once again, just before the Passover meal, Jesus tells the disciples: “I go to prepare a place for you… so that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn 14:2.3). Jesus is the one who prepares, yet before his own Passover, he also asks us urgently, with exhortations and parables, to be prepared, to remain ever ready (cf. Mt 24:44; Lk 12:40).
Jesus, then, prepares for us and asks us to be prepared. What does he prepare for us? A place and a meal. A place much more worthy than the “large furnished room” of the Gospel. It is our spacious and vast home here below, the Church, where there is, and must be, room for everyone. But he has also reserved a place for us on high, in heaven, so that we can be with him and with one another forever. In addition to a place, he prepares a meal, the Bread in which he gives himself: “Take; this is my body” (Mk 14:22). These two gifts, a place, and a meal are what we need to live. They are our ultimate “room and board”. Both are bestowed upon us in the Eucharist.
Jesus prepares a place for us here below because the Eucharist is the beating heart of the Church. It gives her birth and rebirth; it gathers her together and gives her strength. But the Eucharist also prepares for us a place on high, in eternity, for it is the Bread of heaven. It comes down from heaven – it is the only matter on earth that savors of eternity. It is the bread of things to come; even now, it grants us a foretaste of a future infinitely greater than all we can hope for or imagine. It is the bread that sates our greatest expectations and feeds our finest dreams. It is, in a word, the pledge of eternal life – not simply a promise but a pledge, a concrete anticipation of what awaits us there. The Eucharist is our “reservation” for the heavenly banquet; it is Jesus himself, as food for our journey towards eternal life and happiness.
In the consecrated host, together with a place, Jesus prepares for us a meal, food for our nourishment. In life, we constantly need to be fed: nourished not only with food but also with plans and affection, hopes and desires. We hunger to be loved. But the most pleasing compliments, the finest gifts, and the most advanced technologies are not enough; they never completely satisfy us. The Eucharist is simple food, like bread, yet it is the only food that satisfies, for there is no greater love. There we encounter Jesus really; we share his life and we feel his love. There you can realize that his death and resurrection are for you. And when you worship Jesus in the Eucharist, you receive from him the Holy Spirit and you find peace and joy. Dear brothers and sisters, let us choose this food of life! Let us make Mass our priority! Let us rediscover Eucharistic adoration in our communities! Let us implore the grace to hunger for God, with an insatiable desire to receive what he has prepared for us.
As he did with his disciples, so too today Jesus asks us, today, to prepare. Like the disciples, let us ask him: “Lord, where do you want us to go to prepare?” Where: Jesus does not prefer exclusive, selective places. He looks for places untouched by love, untouched by hope. Those uncomfortable places are where he wants to go and he asks us to prepare his way. How many persons lack dignified housing or food to eat! All of us know people who are lonely, troubled and in need: they are abandoned tabernacles. We, who receive from Jesus our own room and board, are here to prepare a place and a meal for these, our brothers and sisters in need. Jesus became bread broken for our sake; in turn, he asks us to give ourselves to others, to live no longer for ourselves but for one another. In this way, we live “eucharistically”, pouring out upon the world the love we draw from the Lord’s flesh. The Eucharist is translated into life when we pass beyond ourselves to those all around us.
The Gospel tells us that the disciples made their preparations once they “set out and went to the city” (v. 16). The Lord calls us also today to prepare for his coming not by keeping our distance but by entering our cities. That includes this city, whose very name – Ostia – means entrance, doorway. Lord, how many doors do you want us to open for you here? How many gates do you call us to unbar, how many walls must we tear down? Jesus wants the walls of indifference and silent collusion to be breached, iron bars of oppression and arrogance torn asunder, and paths cleared for justice, civility and legality. The vast beachfront of this city speaks to us of how beautiful it is to open our hearts and to set out in new directions in life. But this requires loosening the knots that keep us bound to the moorings of fear and depression. The Eucharist invites to let ourselves be carried along by the wave of Jesus, to not remain grounded on the beach in the hope that something may come along, but to cast into the deep, free, courageous and united.
The Gospel ends by telling us that the disciples, “after singing a hymn, went out” (v. 26). At the end of Mass, we too will go out; we will go forth with Jesus, who will pass through the streets of this city. Jesus wants to dwell among you. He wants to be part of your lives, to enter your houses and to offer his liberating mercy, his blessing and his consolation. You have experienced painful situations; the Lord wants to be close to you. Let us open our doors to him and say:
Come, Lord, and visit us.We welcome you into our hearts,our families and our city.We thank you because you have prepared for usthe food of life and a place in your Kingdom.Make us active in preparing your way,joyous in bringing you, who are the Way, to others,and thus to bring fraternity, justice, and peaceto our streets. Amen.

3 Jun 2018

3rd June 2018 - Why do we go to Mass with Fr Pat Seaver - Solemnity of Corpus Christi

On this weeks programme John has a chat with Fr Pat Seaver about why we go to Mass reflecting on the nature of the Sacrifice of the Mass which Fr Pat has worked on explaining to children in a new graphic novel. We have our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel as well as other liturgical odds & ends.

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

Why do we go to Mass? - Fr Pat Seaver

On this weeks programme we are joined by Fr Pat Seaver to reflect on Why we go to Mass? and the publication of his graphic book for children explaining what Mass is about which is a timely interview given the feast which we celebrate today.

Peter Costello reviews Fr Pat's book in this weeks Irish Catholic also:
Having to sit on so many Sundays to sit beside families with their small children, even some of communion age, are running around the aisles, inattentive and uninterested in the service they are attending, this is a book many will have longed for.
Once upon a time small children were never taken to Mass – they had not reached the age of reason after all. They stayed at home with Granny or an elder sister. But when the extended family seems to have vanished, along with a series of Sunday morning masses, things are different.
There is nothing comic about the mass. Fr Seaver should perhaps have not used the Americanism “comic book” for his little pamphlet- the correct European term is “graphic book” might have been better. But he has written a book many parents will want to have. In the simplest but clearest terms he can mange he explains to a young readership what the mass and the Eucharist are about.
Observation suggests that some may have been schooled in the right movement and actions, such as going up to receive, but their minds are not engaged with the Mass as a kind of feast, a source of nourishment. Their parents hush them, but are so intent on their own devotions that they neglect their children. Whether this is a sort of mild “child abuse” is something to think about.
Fr Seaver wrote an earlier book with a similar intent but found it was just too academic. This book is a further effort to reach out to what seems to be a neglected cohort of Catholics, the Catholics of the future. What surprises one is that the Catholic publishers that exist have not taken up his idea. Maybe with a bit of promotion now they will, and so reach even more families.
Why We Go to Mass, a comic book by Fr. Pat Seaver & Hugh McMahon (€5.99 postage included; for copies contact Paul Flynn at Kyle House, Henry St, Limerick, tel: 061-313377).

You can listen to the interview with Fr Pat excerpted from the main programme podcast HERE.

Gospel - Mark 14:12-16, 22:26

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
Jesus’ disciples said to him,
"Where do you want us to go
and prepare for you to eat the Passover?"
He sent two of his disciples and said to them,
"Go into the city and a man will meet you,
carrying a jar of water.
Follow him.
Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,
'The Teacher says, "Where is my guest room
where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"'
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.
Make the preparations for us there."
The disciples then went off, entered the city,
and found it just as he had told them;
and they prepared the Passover.
While they were eating,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, gave it to them, and said,
"Take it; this is my body."
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
"This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you,
I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Reflections on this weeks gospel

Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections

Vatican News - Reflections for the Feast of Corpus Christi

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 4, 8th week of Ordinary Time

Saints of the Week

June 4th - The Ugandan Martyrs, also St Kevin
June 5th - St Boniface
June 6th - St Jarlath of Tuam
June 7th - St Colman of Dromore
June 8th -  Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
June 9th -  St Columcille also Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Pope's Intention
That social networks may work towards that inclusiveness which respects other for their differences.