20 May 2017

21 May 2017 - Camp Creideamh in Knockadoon

On this weeks programme John is joined by Fr Eamonn Roche and Lisa Blackwell to discuss an upcoming faith summer camp in Knockadoon in Co Cork. We have our regular reflection on this weeks gospel as well as notices and other liturgical odds and ends.

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

Camp Creideamh

On this weeks programme we are joined by Fr Eamon Roche and Lisa Blackwell to tell us about Camp Creideamh. The summer camp is a one week (6 nights), stay-on-site, full-board camp in the picturesque sea-side village of Knockadoon in East Cork for teenagers age 12 – 17. The camp will be a week of fun, friendship and growing in faith: activities include catechesis and prayer, various sports, canoeing, swimming, hillwalking, music, Catholic movies, arts and crafts, and many other activities.

Camp Creideamh began in 2016 as an all-boys faith camp. Now, in 2017, there is both an all-boys camp (June 4-10) and an all-girls camp (June 11 – 17). Camp Creideamh seeks to foster Catholic identity and is fully committed to the teachings of the Catholic Church. The camp will feature daily Mass and daily recitation of the Most Holy Rosary. The camp has a beautiful chapel on site.

To find out more about the camp you can look at their website HERE.

You can listen to the interview with Fr Eamon and Lisa excerpted from the main programme HERE.

Gospel - John 14:15-21

”If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
”I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 2; 6th week of Easter

Saints of the Week

May 22nd - St Rita of Cascia
May 23rd - St William of Rochester
May 24th - Our Lady Help of Christians
May 25th - St Bede
May 26th - St Philip Neri
May 27th - St Augustine of Canterbury

Apologies from your Blog Editor

Afternoon folks

Just a quick note of apology from your blog editor. It has been a rather hectic few weeks on the domestic and work front (which included a rather busy visit to the Emerald Isle) and unfortunately somethings had to give which included keeping the blog up to date. However, things should be back on a more even keel this week so we will (hopefully!) resume normal service 😊!

To catch up we have this weeks normal programme blog post about Camp Creideamh in Knockadoon in Co Cork in June. On next weeks programme Michael Keating will return (at popular request!) to tell us more about the newest saints of the church - Francisco and Jacinta, the little Shepherds of Fatima. As soon as I get a chance I will also post last weeks programme so you can listen back to the interview about Youth2000.

Online we will do a round up of coverage of the beautification of Fr John O'Sullivan on May 13th, the new papal nuncio, what Pope Francis has been up to, the visit of the Coptic Pope to Ireland and other positive bits and pieces from around the web in one or two of our  "Some web browsing......" slots.

Meanwhile the SS102fm team is busy trying to line up some more of our regular interesting guests and visitors to the programme and as always if you have any suggestions please feel free to get in touch with us.

Thanks for visiting!


6 May 2017

7th May 2017 - Fatima: Reflecting on the 100th anniversary

To our regular readers - apologies from your Blog Editor. Currently I am home in Ireland on leave so time to post and keep the blog updated has been a bit limited. Usual service should resume after May 14th.




On this weeks programme John and Shane are joined by Michael Keating to reflect on the special place of Fatima as we approach the centenary of the first apparition there on May 13th. We have our regular reflection on this weeks gospel as well as notices and other liturgical odds & ends.

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

Vocation Sunday and new prayer initiative for vocations 2017

This Sunday is the 4th Sunday of Easter and is often called Good Shepherd or Vocation Sunday as there is a special emphasis on praying for vocations to the priesthood and the religious life.

Vocations Sunday will be marked in Ireland this year with the launch of a new vocations prayer initiative. 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. To coincide with this event the Bishops’ Council for Vocations in collaboration with Saint Joseph’s Young Priests Society, the Knights of Saint Columbanus and Vocations Ireland are asking that on the opening day of the centenary celebrations on 13 May, a time of prayer will be held for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life in Ireland.

Pope Francis will be in Fatima for the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima on 13 May where he will canonise two of the visionaries of the Marian apparitions there – the young shepherds Jacinta and Francisco Marto. Here in Ireland on the same day people are invited to pray the Angelus or a decade of the Rosary for vocations to the priesthood and religious life at 12noon. It is also encouraged that on the 13th of each month, from May – October 2017, that a decade of the rosary be prayed for vocations in Ireland.

Commenting on the prayer initiative Father Willie Purcell, National Coordinator for Diocesan Vocations said, “This is an invitation to prayer we are extending to parishes, schools and families. Pope Francis said that ‘vocations are born in prayer, and only in prayer can they persevere and bear fruit’”.

Welcoming the new prayer initiative, Margaret Cartwright, Director of Vocations Ireland, said, “Vocations Ireland are delighted to be part of the joint prayer initiative because praying for vocations is the most important aspect of vocation promotion and working together to create a culture of vocation is so important in our world today. Pope Francis has called for a fresh and courageous perspective when helping youth discern and discover their vocation, prayer is key to that discernment process.”

Kieran Hickey, the Dublin Diocesan President of Saint Joseph’s Young Priests Society, said that they are fully supportive of this prayer initiative, as prayer is the source of priestly vocation.

Commenting on this new prayer initiative Barney Mac Mahon, Supreme Knight with the Knights of Saint Columbanus said, “We can’t understand our calling and our vocation until we listen to the Lord, until we look upon the Lord and until we realise who it is we’re really serving.”

The prayer initiative will be launched this Sunday to coincide with the broadcast of the annual Vocations Sunday Mass on RTÉ One Television. Father Purcell said that the prayer initiative ties in with the sentiments expressed by Pope Francis in his message for Vocations Sunday in which he says, “I ask parish communities, associations and the many prayer groups present in the Church, not to yield to discouragement but to continue praying that the Lord will send workers to his harvest.”

Reflecting on the 100th anniversary of Fatima

On this weeks programme Michael Keating joins with us to reflect on the events at Fatima in Portugal 100 years ago this year with the apparition of Our Lady to the three Seers of Fatima.  

The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, appeared six times to three shepherd children near the town of Fatima, Portugal between May 13 and October 13, 1917. Appearing to the children, the Blessed Virgin told them that She had been sent by God with a message for every man, woman and child living in our century. 

Summary of the Key Words of the message of Fatima
Source - official website of the Shrine of Fatima
which has the links to each word
The message of Our Lady, though reported in much detail and still the object of much discussion, was very simple. She asked the children to be faithful to the rosary and to the devotion to her Immaculate Heart, and she asked for the consecration of Russia and the world to herself, warning of the dangers to the world of continued wars. She emphasised the need for penance. She taught the children several prayers and the one which is most remembered is the so-called Decade Prayer often added to the end of each decade of the rosary:

"O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven especially those in most need of  thy mercy"

You can listen to Michael's reflection on Fatima extracted from the main programme podcast HERE.

You can find out more from:

Official website of the Shrine of Fatima

- Narrative of the Apparitions
- Message of Fatima
EWTN - The True Story of Fatima

Gospel - John 10:1-10

Ancient icon of Christ the Good Shepherd
from the Catacomb of Saint Priscilla, Rome
Jesus said:"Amen, amen, I say to you,whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gatebut climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.When he has driven out all his own,he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,because they recognize his voice.But they will not follow a stranger;they will run away from him,because they do not recognize the voice of strangers."Although Jesus used this figure of speech,the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.
So Jesus said again, "Amen, amen, I say to you,I am the gate for the sheep.All who came before me are thieves and robbers,but the sheep did not listen to them.I am the gate.Whoever enters through me will be saved,and will come in and go out and find pasture.A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly."
Reflections on this weeks gospel

Word on Fire

English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy
Sunday Reflections

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 4; 4th week of Easter

Saints of the Week

May 8th - St Victor

May 9th - St Thomas Pickering
May 10th - St Comgall also St Damien of Molokai
May 11th - St Francis di Girolamo
May 12th - St Pancras of Rome
May 13th  - Our Lady of Fatima


Opening a Door on the Bible

A series of workshops that set the Bible in the context of our lives have been taking place since the start of the year and are about to conclude with final workshop on the Gospel according to John presented by Mike Culloty. The workshops take place in the Terence Albert O’Brien hall on Dominic Street close to the Tait Clock on Baker Place on Saturday mornings from 10 to 12.30. All are welcome.

Enquiries: Jordan O’Brien op; email: oplimerick@gmail.com; Mobile: 086 4096207

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.