Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advent Adventure

I had my first residential christmas tree sighting today! People, it's still November! Lets do Advent first.

For the last few years we have had an advent wreath; the kids like it. This year we are also going to do a Jesse tree. Patrick drew the tree, and today we put on our first stickers. (Stickers are easier than making ornaments, and in my mind, the less I have to do the better!) This year we are going to try to follow the Holy Heroes Advent Adventure. This is an excellent Catholic programme. It is delivered by children, articulate, catholic children. I haven't meet many of those in this part of the world! They post a video on their site each day, telling a Bible story etc., and so it involves no thought. I do not buy any of the books, cds or anything from their site. It is not necessary. The children can watch the video, draw the picture, and read the Bible verses.  Hopefully, these activities will help them to understand that for thousands of years people were waiting and preparing - just as they are waiting and preparing now - for Jesus, not Santa, for J-E-S-U-S. Holy Heros also encourages wonderful things like, "a decade a day", an advent sacrafice list, and the essential advent confession. What more could I want? 

Here is an example of how not to do Advent,  from Alive-O 7,
(National Religious Education Programme for Ireland)

Patient PeopleAdvent is like a waiting room
for those who take time to make
an appointment with the Spirit of Christmas,
the real one, that is, not the fake
that’s everywhere available, twenty-four seven
and in jingling tills rejoices;
the one you plug-in and it squawks ‘Merry Christmas’
in battery-operated voices;
the one whose lights get brighter and brasher
with every year that goes by,
as they try to outdo each other:
they’ll never outshine that star in the sky.
Those who have made an appointment
with the true spirit of Christmas know
that waiting rooms are unpopular places
in today’s world of get-up-and-go.
What can you do in a waiting room
but wait
and wait … till the time is right
and the door to Christmas swings open
and patient people gain insight
to the Christian meaning of Christmas
which sings out in true festive voice,
‘Come! Your waiting is over!
Emmanuel! God with us! Rejoice!’

A Hymn for Advent, Veni Veni Emmanuel

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Diocese of Meath: Bishop Smith's message for Advent 2010 and for the Year of St Matthew

In his letter to the Catholics of Ireland, Pope Benedict expressed the wish that all would come to a more profound appreciation of their respective vocations, so as to rediscover the roots of their faith in Jesus Christ and to drink deeply from the springs of living water that he offers through His Church. He asked that through prayer, penance and reflection, especially on scripture, the Church in Ireland might obtain the grace of healing and renewal. In addition, he personally composed a ‘Prayer for the Church in Ireland’.

In response to his invitation, it is proposed that, beginning on the first Sunday of Advent, 28 November 2010, all in the Church in Ireland be invited through their prayer, penance and reflection to seek, by God’s grace, the healing of the wounds afflicting so many and the spiritual renewal and rebirth of the Church. 

Copies of Pope Benedict’s prayer have been printed and distributed to the parishes. The faithful are asked to take one of these and regularly recite this prayer. The prayer should be recited at all public Masses on the first Sunday of each month, as well as at Masses on every Friday over the coming year.
Pope Benedict invites all to undertake acts of penance and self-denial, especially on Fridays and during Advent and Lent. Penance is an essential part of the lives of all Christ’s faithful, rooted in His call to conversion and repentance. We do penance in memory of the passion and death of Jesus, as a sharing in His sufferings, as a reparation for sin and as an expression of inner conversion. The link between Friday and penance is very ancient and is reflected in the Irish word for Friday ‘An Aoine’ (the fast). There are many traditional forms which such penance can take such as abstaining from meat, abstaining from alcoholic drink or smoking, attending Mass, prayer as a family, making the Stations of the Cross, spending time supporting the sick, the elderly or the lonely and isolated.

In his letter, Pope Benedict invites all to spend time in private and reflective prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. He writes: ‘Through the intense prayer before the Real Presence of the Lord, you can make reparation for the sins of abuse that have done so much harm, at the same time imploring the grace of renewed strength and a deeper sense of mission on the part of all bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful’. Periods of Eucharistic adoration, organised and promoted by dedicated lay faithful, are available in all our parishes and almost all our churches. Many women and men throughout the Diocese avail of this opportunity, spending at least one hour each week in quiet reflective prayer. I thank them for their witness and I encourage others to accept this invitation to spend time in prayer before the Lord, present in the Blessed Sacrament.

Pope Benedict asks that we ‘discover anew the Sacrament of Reconciliation and avail ourselves more frequently of the transforming power of its grace’. God never shows Himself so much as God as when He forgives. Jesus speaks of the depth of God’s love in the parable of the Prodigal Son and on several other occasions recounted in the Gospels. He spoke of the repentant sinner seeking forgiveness bringing about more rejoicing in Heaven than do the ninety-nine who have no need of repentance. One has to wonder why a Sacrament which stirs such joy in Heaven evokes such antipathy on earth. An answer can to be found in pride, in the constant tendency of our heart to fence itself in, to be sufficient unto itself, to isolate itself, to close in on oneself. God, with great patience, awaits us all through life, encouraging us to find the grace to be able to kneel and say ‘Lord be merciful to me a sinner’. It is a patience that we find mirrored in the father, a representation of God, awaiting the return of his prodigal son.
At Sunday Masses throughout the coming year, we will read St. Matthew’sGospel – the story of Jesus and His disciples. It is an invitation to all who seek to follow Christ. It is an invitation to share our faith and our hope. As we listen to the Gospel, we come to see the way Jesus understood the community of disciples; in other words the Church. We discover anew the demands, the responsibilities and the rewards of being part of a community of believers. Jesus’ call to us is set forth in a particularly powerful way in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7). We see not only the map for the way we are invited to follow but we hear the voice of Him who is Emmanuel – God with us (Matt.1.23). Since Jesus is our Saviour and the living bread of our lives He not only shows the way but His constant and abiding presence with us gives us the strength to hear and to follow Him – ‘our way, our truth and our life’.

Advent is a time of waiting that invites us to pause and reflect as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s intervention in human history, His intervention in all of our lives. There is a profound message of hope at the heart of the birth of Mary’s child. The hope invested in His coming should mark our journey in life, giving it meaning and purpose. In taking on our human nature, Christ affirms the dignity and sacredness of every life in the sight of God. Central to our faith is the belief that the Lord is present in each of us in the gradual unfolding of our lives. He accompanies us and will one day dry our tears. In coming among us, Christ brings us and continues to offer us the gift of His love, the gift of salvation. He invites us to speak to Him, to present our joys and sorrows, our pains and suffering, the questions and doubts that may arise in our hearts. He tells us simply ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in God still, and trust in Me’, reassuring us that His heart is ever open to us. May our acceptance of this invitation to prayer and renewal deepen and strengthen our faith, our hope and our charity.

+Michael SmithBishop of Meath

PDF of Bishop Smith's Advent Message

Pope's Homily from Vigil for all Nascent Human Life

Dear brothers and sisters,

With this evening's celebration, the Lord gives us the grace and joy of opening the new liturgical year beginning with its first stage: Advent, the period that commemorates the coming of God among us. Every beginning brings a special grace, because it is blessed by the Lord. In this Advent period we will once again experience the closeness of the One who created the world, who guides history and cared for us to the point of becoming a man. This great and fascinating mystery of God with us, moreover of God who becomes one of us, is what we celebrate in the coming weeks journeying towards holy Christmas. During the season of Advent we feel the Church that takes us by the hand and - in the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary - expresses her motherhood allowing us to experience the joyful expectation of the coming of the Lord, who embraces us all in his love that saves and consoles.

While our hearts reach out towards the annual celebration of the birth of Christ, the Church's liturgy directs our gaze to the final goal: our encounter with the Lord in the splendour of glory. This is why we, in every Eucharist, "announce his death, proclaim his resurrection until he comes again" we hold vigil in prayer. The liturgy does not cease to encourage and support us, putting on our lips, in the days of Advent, the cry with which the whole Bible concludes, the last page of the Revelation of Saint John: "Come, Lord Jesus "(22:20).
Dear brothers and sisters, our coming together this evening to begin the Advent journey is enriched by another important reason: with the entire Church, we want to solemnly celebrate a prayer vigil for unborn life. I wish to express my thanks to all who have taken up this invitation and those who are specifically dedicated to welcoming and safeguarding human life in different situations of fragility, especially in its early days and in its early stages. The beginning of the liturgical year helps us to relive the expectation of God made flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, God who makes himself small, He becomes a child, it speaks to us of the coming of a God who is near, who wanted to experience the life of man, from the very beginning, to save it completely, fully. And so the mystery of the Incarnation of the Lord and the beginning of human life are intimately connected and in harmony with each other within the one saving plan of God, the Lord of life of each and every one of us. The Incarnation reveals to us, with intense light and in an amazing way, that every human life has an incomparable, a most elevated dignity.

Man has an unmistakable originality compared to all other living beings that inhabit the earth. He presents himself as a unique and singular entity, endowed with intelligence and free will, as well as being composed of a material reality. He lives simultaneously and inseparably in the spiritual dimension and the corporal dimension. This is also suggested in the text of the First letter to the Thessalonians which was just proclaimed: "May the God of peace himself - St. Paul writes - make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ "(5:23). Therefore, we are spirit, soul and body. We are part of this world, tied to the possibilities and limits of our material condition, at the same time we are open to an infinite horizon, able to converse with God and to welcome Him in us. We operate in earthly realities and through them we can perceive the presence of God and seek Him, truth, goodness and absolute beauty. We savour fragments of life and happiness and we long for total fulfilment.

God loves us so deeply, totally, without distinction, He calls us to friendship with him, He makes us part of a reality beyond all imagination, thought and word; His own divine life. With emotion and gratitude we acknowledge the value of the incomparable dignity of every human person and the great responsibility we have toward all. " Christ, the final Adam, - says the Second Vatican Council - by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear.... by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man. "(Gaudium et Spes, 22).

Believing in Jesus Christ also means having a new outlook on man, a look of trust and hope. Moreover, experience itself and reason show that the human being is a subject capable of discernment, self-conscious and free, unique and irreplaceable, the summit of all earthly things, that must be recognized in his innate value and always accepted with respect and love. He has the right not to be treated as an object of possession or something to manipulate at will, not to be reduced to a mere instrument for the benefit of others and their interests. The human person is a good in and of himself and his integral development should always be sought. Love for all, if it is sincere, naturally tends to become a preferential attention to the weakest and poorest. In this vein we find the Church's concern for the unborn, the most fragile, the most threatened by the selfishness of adults and the darkening of consciences. The Church continually reiterates what was declared by the Second Vatican Council against abortion and all violations of unborn life: "from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care " (ibid., n. 51).

There are cultural tendencies that seek to anesthetize consciences with misleading motivations. With regard to the embryo in the womb, science itself highlights its autonomy capable of interaction with the mother, the coordination of biological processes, the continuity of development, the growing complexity of the organism. This is not an accumulation of biological material, but a new living being, dynamic and wonderfully ordered, a new unique human being. So was Jesus in Mary's womb, so it was for all of us in our mother’s womb. With the ancient Christian writer Tertullian we can say: " he who will be a man is already one" (Apologeticum IX, 8), there is no reason not to consider him a person from conception.

Unfortunately, even after birth, the lives of children continue to be exposed to abandonment, hunger, poverty, disease, abuse, violence or exploitation. The many violations of their rights that are committed in the world sorely hurt the conscience of every man of good will. Before the sad landscape of the injustices committed against human life, before and after birth, I make mine Pope John Paul II’s passionate appeal to the responsibility of each and every individual: " respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life! Only in this direction will you find justice, development, true freedom, peace and happiness!"(Encyclical Evangelium vitae, 5). I urge the protagonists of politics, economic and social communications to do everything in their power to promote a culture which respects human life, to provide favorable conditions and support networks for the reception and development of life.

To the Virgin Mary, who welcomed the Son of God made man with faith, with her maternal womb, with loving care, with nurturing support and vibrant with love, we entrust our commitment and prayer in favour of unborn life . We do in the liturgy - which is the place where we live the truth and where truth lives with us - worshiping the divine Eucharist, we contemplate Christ's body, that body who took flesh from Mary by the Holy Spirit, and from her was born in Bethlehem for our salvation. Ave, verum Corpus, natum de Maria Virgine!

Pope Benedict XVI
27th November 2010
Vigil for Life
First Sunday of Advent

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Prayer and Penance for the Church in Ireland

Christ carrying the Cross
El Greco
Prayer for the Church in Ireland

God of our fathers,
renew us in the faith which is our life and salvation,
the hope which promises forgiveness and interior renewal,
the charity which purifies and opens our hearts
to love you, and in you, each of our brothers and sisters.

Lord Jesus Christ,
may the Church in Ireland renew her age-old commitment
to the education of our young people in the way of truth and goodness, holiness and generous service to society.

Holy Spirit, comforter, advocate and guide,
inspire a new springtime of holiness and apostolic zeal
for the Church in Ireland.

May our sorrow and our tears,
our sincere effort to redress past wrongs,
and our firm purpose of amendment
bear an abundant harvest of grace
for the deepening of the faith
in our families, parishes, schools and communities,
for the spiritual progress of Irish society,
and the growth of charity, justice, joy and peace
within the whole human family.

To you, Triune God,
confident in the loving protection of Mary,
Queen of Ireland, our Mother,
and of Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid and all the saints,
do we entrust ourselves, our children,
and the needs of the Church in Ireland.


Bishops publish new resource leaflet on Friday Penance


Bishops publish new resource leaflet on Friday Penance

The link between Friday and penance is extremely ancient and is even reflected in the Irish word for Friday – An Aoine (the fast)

Friday Penance Leaflet (pdf)

    In his Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland Pope Benedict XVI suggested a number of initiatives to support renewal in the Church here.

    Pope Benedict asked us to offer our Friday Penances “for an outpouring of God’s mercy and the Holy Spirit’s gifts of holiness and strength.”   He asked us to offer our fasting, prayer, reading of Scripture and works of mercy in order to obtain the grace of healing and renewal for the Church in Ireland.

    In addition Pope Benedict encouraged us, “to discover anew the sacrament of Reconciliation and to avail yourselves more frequently of the transforming power of its grace”.

    The Bishops’ Conference has published a new resource leaflet called Friday Penance to assist of all of us in responding to the invitation of the Holy Father.

    Penance arises from the Lord’s call to conversation and repentance and this new leaflet describes why penance is an essential part of all genuine Christian living:
    • in memory of the passion and death of the Lord
    • as a sharing in Christ’s suffering
    • as an expression of inner conversion
    • as a form of reparation for sin
    Friday Penance goes on to explain the reason why penance on Fridays is important: “Declaring some days throughout the year as days of fast and abstinence (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) is meant to intensify penances of the Christian. Lent is the traditional season for renewal and penance but Catholics also observe each Friday of the year as days of penance. The link between Friday and penance is extremely ancient and is even reflected in the Irish word for Friday – An Aoine (the fast).”

    The leaflet suggests ways of fulfilling Friday penance such as abstaining from meat or alcohol, visiting the Blessed Sacrament or helping the poor, sick and lonely as well as other suggestions.

    Please download the leaflet Friday Penance from http://www.irishbishops.ie/  The leaflet also offers suggested tweets for use as reminders about Friday Penance.

    St Genesius Drama Group

    St. Genesius Drama Group

    "The Jeweller's Shop"

    A play by Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II)

    Fatima School, (PE Hall)
    Dublin Road,
    Co. Louth

    Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th November
    at 7.30pm

    Admission €5.00

    Prayer to St Genesius
    Actor and Martyr
    Holy St Genesius,
    martyr for Christ,
    by the grace of the Holy Spirit
    through your acting
    you came to discover
    the truth of the Christian faith.
    In your first profession of that faith
    you were baptized through the shedding
    of your blood,
    offering your life for the praise and glory
    of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Pray for those who dedicate their lives
    to the theatrical and cinematic arts.
    Like you may they find the presence
    of the Lord in their work
    and generously open their hearts
    to his teaching,
    living it in the midst of the challenges
    and demands of their calling.

    In this novena, I remember most especially…., commending him/her to your care.

    Let us pray:
    Eternal Father, in your love you call all men and women to come to know you and to share in your divine life. Through the intercession of your martyr, Genesius, who responded so generously to the grace of conversion, grant that the same grace may be given to those who as yet do not know you, and may be renewed in those who do. We ask this through Christ our Lord.


    Check out our website. You too can become involved in cultural reform, through daily pray. Become a member of The Fraternity of St Genesius today!

    Vigil for Life, Drogheda (Sat. 27th Nov.)

    "Vigil for Life"

    St Magdalen's, Dominican Church, Drogheda
    Saturday Nov. 27th
    starting 5.50pm

    Our Holy Father Pope Benedict, is asking Catholics worldwide to pray for the protection of human life. He has organised a "Vigil for Life" in St Peter's basilica, Rome, on Saturday, November 27th., starting at 6pm.

    A parallel ceremony is being held in Drogheda the same evening. It will take place in St Magdalen's Church (the Dominicans) at 5.50pm. The Vigil Mass of the First Sunday of Advent will be celebrated at 6.05pm, followed by a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament.

    The Holy Hour will consist of scripture readings, reflections on the mysteries of light, quiet prayer, hymn singing, and five decades of the rosary. The vigil will end with with Benediction.

    You will be most welcome.

    Express the "Pro-Lifer" inside you!

    Retired Bishop Willie Walsh makes "The Vortex"

    Link to interview in the Irish Times.

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    Saint Catherine of Alexandria, pray for us

    Saint Catherine of Alexandria by Raphael.

    On St. Catherine's Day, it is customary for unmarried women to pray for husbands. The French say that before a girl reaches 25, she prays: "Lord, give me a well-situated husband. Let him be gentle, rich, generous, and pleasant!" After 25, she prays: "Lord, one who's bearable, or who can at least pass as bearable in the world!" And when she's pushing 30: "Send whatever you want, Lord; I'll take it!". An English version goes,

    St Catherine, St Catherine, O lend me thine aid
    And grant that I never may die an old maid.


    Glorious Saint Catherine, virgin and martyr,
    help me to imitate your love of purity.
    Give me strength and courage
    in fighting off the temptations of the world and evil desires.

    Help me to love God with my whole heart
    and serve Him faithfully.

    O Saint Catherine,
    through your glorious martyrdom for the love of Christ,
    help me to be loyal to my faith and my God
    as long as I live.

    St Anthony Collects

    A  thief was stopped in his tracks as he tried to raid a donations box in a Church in Munich, Germany. How was he stopped? A life size statue of Saint Anthony fell on him! Swift justice indeed.
    Do you "owe" St Anthony?

    Prayer to Saint Anthony, Zealous for Justice
    Dear Saint Anthony, you were prompt to fulfill all justice. You gave God and His creation the service He required from you. You respected other people's rights and treated them with kindness and understanding. Saint Anthony, Zealous for Justice, teach me the beauty of this virtue. Make me prompt to fulfill all justice toward God and toward all creation. Help me also in my pressing needs. [name them]

    James Taylor - Hard times, come again no more

    A song for our beleaguered little counrty.

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Asia Bibi Free


    Asia Bibi, the first Christian woman to be sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan has been freed. Unfortunately, she has had to go in to hiding. Around 250 hard-line Muslims staged a demonstration in the central Pakistani city of Lahore this morning (Wednesday), warning the president not to pardon the Christian woman sentenced to death for insulting Islam.

    We pray for Asia Bibi, her family, and Pakistan at this time.

    Prayer to Abolish the Death Penalty
    God of compassion, You let Your rain fall on the just and the unjust. Expand and deepen our hearts so that we may love as You love, even those among us who have caused the greatest pain by taking life. For there is in our land a great cry for vengeance as we fill up death rows and kill the killers in the name of justice, in the name of peace. Jesus, our Brother, You suffered execution at the hands of the state, but You did not let hatred overcome You.

    Help us to reach out to victims of violence, so that our enduring love may help them heal. You strengthen us in the struggle for justice. Help us to work tirelessly for the abolition of state-sanctioned death and to renew our society in its very heart so that violence will be no more. Amen.

    (remember that Jesus Himself was a victim of the death penalty)

    St. Andrew Dung-Lac and his 116 companions, (d. 1745-1862)

    Martyrs of Vietnam (+1745-1862)
    - Andrea Dung-Lac, priest 
    - Tommaso Thien and Emanuele Phung, lay 
    - Girolamo Hermosilla, Valentino Berrio Ochoa, OP and 6 other bishops 
    - Theophane Venard, Priest MEP and 105 Companions, martyrs 

    These 117 saints died under persecutions of Christians that in fact lasted from 1625 to 1886 and costed about 130.000 lives. The group consists of martyrs in the three Vietnamese kingdoms of Tonkin, Annam and Cochin China. Among the 117 were 96 Vietnamese and 21 foreign missionaries. Of the Vietnamese group were 37 priests and 59 lay people, among whom were catechists and tertiaries. One of them was a woman, mother of six. Of the missionaries was 11 Spaniards; 6 bishops and 5 priests, all Dominicans, and 10 were French; 2 bishops and 8 priests from Société des Missions Etrangères in Paris. 76 were beheaded, 21 suffocated, 6 burnt alive, 5 mutilated and 9 died in prison as a result of torture.

    The Pope's New Book

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    I do enjoy Kevin Myers

    Kevin Myers: If your state is conceived in sin then sin is what your state will inevitably revert to

    Tuesday November 23 2010
    IF we are to save what remains of Irish statehood we must start by creating a discourse based on truth not on fantasy..................

    Some good news.

    The priestly ordination of brother David Barrins OP took place today in the priory church of Saint Mary's, Pope's Quay, Cork on Sunday. Fr David was once a "banker", but "It wasn’t satisfying on a deeper level. I had money, but it didn’t give me the freedom I wanted," he said.

    Fr Barrin gives a blessing to Bishop Buckley

    The Irish Dominicans

    The students in St. Saviour's Dominican Priory in Dublin discuss the address of Pope Benedict XVI during the Holy Hour held in Hyde Park on the Vigil of the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.

    Also available: Discussion on the letter of Pope Benedict XVI to seminarians

    St Columbanus, Abbot and Missionary, pray for us

    St Columbanus, Fresco in the Abbey of Brugnato

    If only this quotation from St Colombanus were true.
    "All we Irish dwelling on the edge of the world are disciples of Saints Peter and Paul and of the disciples who, under the Holy Spirit, wrote the Sacred Canon. We accept nothing outside this evangelical and apostolic teaching. There was no heretic, no Jew, no schismatic, but the Catholic Faith, as first delivered to us by you, the successor of the apostles, is kept unshaken…. We, indeed, are, as I have said, chained to the Chair of Saint Peter; for although Rome is great and known afar, it is great and honored with us only by this Chair." - Saint Columbanus

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    To Saint Cecilia: Purcell, Handel, Haydn / Marc Minkowski

    Litany of St. Cecilia

    Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
    Christ hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

    God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
    God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
    God the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us.
    Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us.

    Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us.
    Saint Cecilia, Pray for us.
    Saint Cecilia, wise virgin, Pray for us.
    Saint Cecilia, whose heart burned with the fire of Divine love, Pray for us.
    Saint Cecilia, apostle by thy zeal and charity, Pray for us.
    Saint Cecilia, who converted thy spouse and procured for him the crown of Martyrdom, Pray for us.
    Saint Cecilia, who by thy pleadings moved the hearts of pagans, and brought them into the true Church, Pray for us.
    Saint Cecilia, who didst unceasingly see thy guardian Angel by thy side, Pray for us.
    Saint Cecilia, who didst mingle thy voice with the celestial harmonies of the virgins, Pray for us.
    Saint Cecilia, who by thy melodious accents celebrated the praises of Jesus, Pray for us.
    Saint Cecilia, illustrious Martyr of Jesus Christ, Pray for us.
    Saint Cecilia, who during three days dist suffer most excruciating torments, Pray for us.
    Saint Cecilia, consolation of the afflicted, Pray for us.
    Saint Cecilia, protectress of all who invoke thee, Pray for us.
    Saint Cecilia, patroness of holy canticles, Pray for us.
    Saint Cecilia, special patroness and advocate of all singers, musicians, authors, and students, Pray for us.

    We salute thee, O Virgin, who didst give thy blood for the defense and faith of Jesus Christ.

    Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
    Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
    Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.

    God glorified Saint Cecilia,
    And He crowned her virtues.

    Let us pray: O Eternal God, Who didst give us, in the person of Saint Cecilia, a powerful protectress, grant that after having faithfully passed our days, like herself, in innocence and holiness, we may one day attain the land of beatitude, where in concert with her, we may praise Thee and bless Thee forevermore in eternity. Amen.

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Conversion, not condoms!

     The Church has not changed its stance on condoms, despite what the popular media are reporting.

    I like the analogy from from Fr. B at Rationabile Obsequium

    (If I might suggest an analogous argument - a promiscuous young man who makes a decision to be faithful to his steady girlfriend may be a first step towards a healthier and more moral sexuality. I think any sensible confessor or moral theologian would see that. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean that extra-marital sexual activity is something good or something to be approved of.)

    Another sensible quote from Dr. Janet E. Smith, over at Catholic World Report.
    Christ himself, of course, called for a turning away from sin.  That is what the Holy Father is advocating here; not a turn towards condoms. Conversion, not condoms!

    Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar

    On the Solemnity of Christ the King: Majesty

    Benedict XVI creates 24 new cardinals

    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    Bach, Toccata and Fugue in D minor, organ

    Pro-life Round Up

    Happy faces, at the Viva La Vida Conference in Griffith College
    More photos at the Youth Defence Website

    The Viva la Vida! Student Conference was held in Griffith College from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th of November. Packed to capacity, delegates heard emotional and informative talks from renowned speakers. Congratulations to all those involved.

    Read Pat Buckley's report of the conference at European Life Network blog. (Excellent blog covering all life issues).

    Make sure you attend a "Vigil for Life" somewhere next weekend. Most churches should be announcing their plans this weekend, so pay attention to any announcements, and check your parish bulletin. Family and Life have prepared a leaflet with the texts for Evening Prayer and Benediction with Biblical passages to aid meditation on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Verbum Domini: A Reminder

    I still have not managed to find the time to look at Verbum Domini, but I will read it, someday, soon.

    Capuchin Vocation Weekend

    The Capuchins are holding a weekend of reflection and prayer for those who are considering their choices in life.  If you would like to take some time out in peace and quiet, to share a weekend with like-minded people why not come along to our friary at Church St, Dublin from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th December.

    Music Ministries Workshop

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    One Solution to Ireland's Economic Crisis

    Today, over lunch, I was talking to the children about the "recession". How did it happen? Where did the money go? What is  the IMF? What is Irish sovereignty? etc. Patrick (age 8) has a  very simple solution. Everyone should ask Santa to end the recession. Everyone. If we do that, he thinks we might be in with a chance. If only life was so simple. (And if only Mary Harney hadn't...........)

    Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Mahatma Gandhi, Caroline and Christopher McCamley

    Apparently I'm a warm, cosy slightly left of centre libertarian, just like my husband, and the above mentioned dudes!
    Take the test.

    My political compass

    Economic Left/Right: -2.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.18


    Wednesday, November 17, 2010,  General Audience

    Asia Bibi sentenced to death.
    VATICAN CITY, 17 NOV 2010 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience the Holy Father, with reference to the situation of Christians in Pakistan, pronounced the following words:

      "Over these days the international community is, with great concern, following the situation of Christians in Pakistan, who are often victims of violence or discrimination. In particular, I today express my spiritual closeness to Ms Asia Bibi and her family while asking that, as soon as possible, she may be restored to complete freedom. I also pray for people who find themselves in similar situations, that their human dignity and fundamental rights may be fully respected".

      Asia Bibi is a Pakistani Christian who, following a discussion with some Muslim colleagues, was accused by the latter of having pronounced offensive words against the Prophet Mohammed and denounced to the local imam. The imam asked the police to intervene and an investigation began which, a few days later, led to the arrest of Asia Bibi on the accusation of violating code 295 of the penal code, which provides for the death penalty for blasphemy.
    More on this story from CiNews.

    How does the Vatican prove someone is a saint? Key points of the Canonization process

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    St Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for us.

    The Canonization of St. Elizabeth of Hungary

    Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, also known as Saint Elizabeth of Thuringia, was born in the early thirteenth century. Her father was the King of Hungary, and Elizabeth was known from an early age for her fidelity to prayer and her attention to the poor. Though she was married to Ludwig, a nobleman, for political reasons, she and her husband developed a sincere love for each other, one deepened by faith and the desire to do the Lord’s will.

    In her married life, Elizabeth did not compromise her faith in spite of the requirements of life at court. She preferred to feed the poor than to dine at banquets, and to clothe the naked than to dress in costly garments. Because of their deep faith in God, Elizabeth and Ludwig supported each other in their religious duties. After his early death, she dedicated herself to the service of the poor, always performing the humblest and most difficult works. She founded a religious community, and lived her vows until her death at an early age. She was canonized four years later, and is a patroness of the Third Order of Saint Francis. May her dedication to the poor and needy inspire in us the same love for Christ in our neighbour. 

    BENEDICT XVI, GENERAL AUDIENCE, Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    You helped Elizabeth of Hungary
    to recognize and honor Christ
    in the poor of this world.
    Let her prayers help us to serve our brothers and sisters
    in time of trouble and need.
    We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
    who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
    one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

    Is your parish having a pro-life vigil?

    27th November
    Vigil for All Nascent Human Life

    On Saturday, November 27th at St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate a “Vigil for All Nascent Human Life” (nascent = coming or having recently come into existence) , coinciding with first vespers of the First Sunday of Advent. The Holy Father has also requested that “all Diocesan Bishops (and their equivalent) of every particular church preside in analogous celebrations involving the faithful in their respective parishes, religious communities, associations and movements.”

    The USCCB website has provided some excellent resourses.

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    And the Winner is...

    Archbishop Tim Dolan
    outside St Mary's Church, Drogheda, with my son Patrick

    On their third ballot, the U.S. Conference of Bishops elected New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan to be their president for the next three years. Congratulations to the Archbishop. This result was a surprise, as the vice-president usually gets the job.

    The Gospel in the Gigital Age - Archbishop Dolan's Blog

     In Bishops' Shocker, TIM WINS!  Rocco Palmo

    Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn, Mother of God’s Mercy, pray for us

    Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn 
    is a prominent painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary
    venerated by the faithful in the Chapel
    of the Gate of Dawn in Vilnius, Lithuania.

    Today is a special day in Lithuania. It is the feast of the Vilnius Madonna, the Mother of God’s Mercy. The Sanctuary of the Gates of Dawn has long been well-known outside Lithuania and in recent years, it has represented Vilnius and Lithuania in the European Marian Network. The Feast of the Holy Virgin Mary of the Gates of Dawn, the Mother of God’s Mercy is usually celebrated on November 16. Vilnius residents have traditionally attended the liturgies associated with this occasion during the period of eight days: from the Sunday preceding November 16 through the following Sunday. This year, the festivities of the Mother of God’s Mercy will take place from November 14 through November 21.

    O my Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, I offer myself entirely to Thy grace and to Thy overwhelming mercy today and forever, but mostly at the hour of my death do I dedicate myself to thee. To thee do I dedicate my body and soul, all my happiness and hope, all my sorrows and sufferings! I offer my life and the end of my life to Thy holy hands so that through Thy merits all my deeds and acts go according to Thy holy will and according to the will of Thy sweetest Son! Amen.

    Meant4More | Mens Conference - November 21st 2010

    Meant4More provides an opportunity for men to look afresh at what motivates them, what gives purpose of their lives, and how their Christian faith can provides answers, in the midst of challenging times. Through thought provoking talks and seminars, the conference hopes to encourage and inspire men to be men of faith.

    Speakers include:-

    Dave Payne - Author, Catholic Faith Exploration(CAFe)

    Mickey Harte, Manager of the Tyrone GAA Football Team

    Rob Clarke – CEO. Spirit Radio

    Bishop John McAreavey – Bishop of Dromore

    Venue: Ballsbridge Inn, Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 (Nearest Dart Station – Lansdowne Road)
    Doors open at 9am. Conference finishes, no later than 6pm
    Conference will close with Mass
    Confessions will be available during the day

    This Made Me Smile

    Right. Who's next?

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Youth Defence launches billboard campaign

    Youth Defence has launched a new and exciting billboard campaign to protect the human embryo.

    "The colourful and striking billboard is part of our You Me Everybody campaign, which is just one project we're rolling our right now to protect the human embryo," said Dr Eoghan de Faoite of Youth Defence. "It focuses the attention of the public on the fact that 'we're all just grown-up embryos' and on the need to protect life right now since our government will being forward legislation on the human embryo very soon, and that legislation should defend the right to life from conception."

    Youth Defence's focus on the human embryos comes in advance of government legislation promised in the coming months which was expected to attempt to limit the legal protection of embryos outside the womb and to allow for embryonic stem cell research.

    Pope Benedict has called on all Catholics to join in a vigil of prayer which will be celebrated in local parishes and dioceses at the beginning of Advent.

    St Genesius Film Society

    St Genesius Film Society

    The Agony and the Ecstasy

    Tuesday 16th November, 7pm
    Knights of Colombanus,
    Ely Place, Dublin 2

    All Welcome
    Film, Discussion, Refreshments.

    The Agony and the Ecstasy is a 1965 film directed by Carol Reed, starring Charlton Heston as Michelangelo and Rex Harrison as Pope Julius II. The film was partly based on Irving Stone's biographical novel of the same name. This film deals with the conflicts of Michelangelo and Pope Julius II.

    Drogheda Youth 2000 Retreat

    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    The Visitation Begins...................

    Yesterday's press release from the Vatican.


    On March 19, 2010, following a meeting with the Bishops of Ireland, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI issued a Pastoral Letter to the Catholics in Ireland. The Letter expressed his deep sorrow and regret regarding abuse perpetrated by priests and religious and the way in which such cases had been responded to in the past. It also called for an Apostolic Visitation of certain dioceses in Ireland, as well as seminaries and religious congregations. "Pastoral in nature, the Visitation ‘is intended to assist the local Church on her path of renewal’ (Pastoral Letter of Pope Benedict XVI to the Catholics of Ireland) and is a sign of the Holy Father’s desire, as the Successor of Peter, to offer his pastoral solicitude to the Church in Ireland (Vatican Press Release, October 6, 2010.)

    In the months following the publication of the letter, preparatory meetings were held with the appointed Visitators, representatives from the Holy See, the Irish Episcopate and the Conference of Religious Superiors of Ireland (CORI) in order to lay out a clear plan for the Visitation.

    The Visitation will identify whether the mutual relationship of the various components of the local Church, seminaries and religious communities is now in place, in order to sustain them on the path of profound spiritual renewal already being pursued by the Church in Ireland. It also has the goal of verifying the effectiveness of the present processes used in responding to cases of abuse and of the current forms of assistance provided to the victims. It will not be an investigation into individual cases of abuse nor a trial to judge past events. The Visitators will have to identify the explicit problems which may require some assistance from the Holy See.

    The Visitation will in no way interfere with the ordinary activity of local magistrates, nor with the activity of the Commissions of Investigation established by the Irish Parliament nor with the work of any legislative authority, which has competence in the area of prevention of abuse of minors. The Visitation does not seek to replace the legitimate authority of the local Bishops or Religious Superiors, who maintain responsibility in the handling of cases of abuse.

    It is important to remember that the Visitators are not expected to receive allegations of new or old cases of abuse. If any were to arise, such allegations must be reported to the respective Ordinaries or Major Superiors who have the duty to inform the competent civil and ecclesiastical authorities, in conformity with the current civil and ecclesiastical laws.

    Regarding the Visitation of the Four Metropolitan Archdioceses
    As previously announced, the Visitators of the four Irish Metropolitan Archdioceses will be: His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor for Armagh; His Eminence Seán P. O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap. for Dublin ; the Most Reverend Thomas C. Collins for Cashel and Emly; the Most Reverend Terrence T. Prendergast, S.J. for Tuam. The Visitators may bring with them some people, approved by the Congregation for Bishops, who can serve as assistants.

    In respect of and in conformity with local civil law, the Visitators will make themselves available to meet with those who have been deeply wounded by abuse and who wish to be met and heard, beginning with the victims themselves and their families. They will be received in the same fatherly manner in which the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has on several occasions greeted and listened to those who have suffered the terrible crime of abuse.

    The Visitators will monitor how well the guidelines of Safeguarding Children, Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland, commissioned and produced in February 2009 by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, are functioning and how they may be better implemented and improved.

    The Visitators may also meet with the other Bishops of the Province, and they should listen to, besides the local Ordinary, the Vicar General, the Episcopal Vicars, the Judges of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal, the Chancellor and other officials of the Curia, members of the Presbyteral Councils, members of the College of Consultors and of Pastoral Councils and, above all, those responsible for the Office of Protection and Prevention of Abuse at the diocesan and parish level. Finally, Pastors and other priests, the lay faithful and individual men and women who wish to be received by the visiting Prelates may request this in writing. The Visitators will meet people individually or as a family.

    If possible, it is recommended that each Archdiocese, embracing the penitential sentiments expressed by the Holy Father in his Letter, organize a Penitential service or some other similar gathering in the presence of the Visitator with the approval of the local Ordinary. This will correspond with the penitential activities already promoted by the Irish Episcopal Conference, which include prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
    With the aim of ensuring confidentiality, all those who wish to write to the Visitators should address letters to them by name using the mailing address of the Apostolic Nunciature.

    In order to facilitate access for those who would like to meet with them, the address of the respective Visitator will be communicated by the Archdiocese. In coordination with each Visitator, their availability, the days they are already occupied and those still available for meetings with various people will be communicated.

    Regarding the Visitation to the Irish SeminariesThe Apostolic Visitator for the Irish Seminaries is the Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York. He will be assisted by some clerics, approved by the Congregation for Catholic Education, whose main duty will be to help to conduct the one-to-one interviews with the seminarians.

    Archbishop Dolan will visit 5 institutions: St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth; the Pontifical Irish College, Rome; Saint Malachy’s College, Belfast; All Hallows College, Dublin; Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Dublin (this will be visited only in regard to its academic programmes).

    Prior to each Visitation, the Visitator will receive copies of all necessary documentation. Moreover, each staff member and student will be granted the possibility to express to the Visitator in a signed statement his opinion about the seminary. Such letters should be addressed to the Visitator using the mailing address of the Apostolic Nuntiature.

    The Visitator will examine all aspects of priestly formation. He, or his assistants, will conduct private interviews with all staff members, all seminarians and, where applicable, other parties normally involved in the life of the seminary. It is not his task to meet with victims of abuse who, as noted above, may be instead received by the Visitators of the four Metropolitan Archdioceses. Furthermore, each priest who has graduated from the seminary in the previous three years will be given the opportunity for a private interview. In conducting his examination of each institution, the Visitator will follow the directives set out by the documents of the Holy See and of the local Church concerning priestly formation and the protection of minors.

    Regarding the Visitation to Religious Houses
    Sr. Sharon Holland, I.H.M., Fr. Robert Maloney, C.M., Sister Máirin McDonagh, R.J.M. and Fr. Gero McLoughlin, S.J. have been appointed to serve as Apostolic Visitators of those Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life with houses in Ireland.

    The first phase of this Visitation will consist in responding to a Questionnaire which seeks information regarding the involvement of Institutes in cases of abuse, the responses offered to victims, and the compliance of the Institute with the protocols contained in Safeguarding Children, Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland. The Questionnaire also seeks to ascertain how each community is dealing with the revelations and their consequences. Additionally it asks what is being done, in the light of past experiences, to assist members in their primary mission of radically witnessing to Christ's presence in the world.

    The Visitators will meet afterwards to assess the responses to the Questionnaire. They will then make recommendations to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life regarding the next steps to be taken in the Visitation process.

    When the Apostolic Visitation is complete, the Visitators will submit their findings to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. After having carefully studied the Report of the Visitators, the Congregation will determine what further steps should be taken to contribute to a revitalization of consecrated life in Ireland.

    Given the delicate nature of the subject matter and out of respect for persons involved, the Visitators will exercise great discretion and will not grant interviews during the first phase of the Visitation.

    The Congregations for Bishops, for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Catholic Education concur with the Secretariat of State that the first phase of the Visitation - the inquiry concerning the four Metropolitan Archdioceses, Religious Houses and Seminaries - should be completed if possible by next Easter 2011. At that time the Visitators should submit the results of their enquiries so that they can be studied during the month of May and a plan for moving forward can be discussed. Then the Holy See will announce, with a proper Statement, the next steps that have to be taken.

    When the Visitation is complete, the Holy See, after reviewing all the material submitted by the Visitators and offering suggestions for the spiritual renewal of the Archdioceses, Seminaries and Religious Houses, will issue a comprehensive summary of the results of the Visitation.

    Students at "Catholic" Teacher Training College Take their clothes off!!

    Students at an Irish "Catholic" Teacher Training College take their clothes off for charity!! I wish I was joking. I think they need to study modesty and prudence next week. Silly, silly girls. What were they thinking? Obviously they weren't.
    Joe.ie has the photographs.

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Friday Prayer and Penance for the Church in Ireland

    Raising the Cross, Rubens

    Prayer for the Church in Ireland

    God of our fathers,
    renew us in the faith which is our life and salvation,
    the hope which promises forgiveness and interior renewal,
    the charity which purifies and opens our hearts
    to love you, and in you, each of our brothers and sisters.

    Lord Jesus Christ,
    may the Church in Ireland renew her age-old commitment
    to the education of our young people in the way of truth and goodness,
    holiness and generous service to society.

    Holy Spirit, comforter, advocate and guide,
    inspire a new springtime of holiness and apostolic zeal
    for the Church in Ireland.

    May our sorrow and our tears,
    our sincere effort to redress past wrongs,
    and our firm purpose of amendment
    bear an abundant harvest of grace
    for the deepening of the faith
    in our families, parishes, schools and communities,
    for the spiritual progress of Irish society,
    and the growth of charity, justice, joy and peace
    within the whole human family.

    To you, Triune God,
    confident in the loving protection of Mary,
    Queen of Ireland, our Mother,
    and of Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid and all the saints,
    do we entrust ourselves, our children,
    and the needs of the Church in Ireland.


    Getting Ready for the Eucharistic Congress, Dublin 2010

    Pope Benedict meets Archbishop Martin and Eucharistic Congress Team

    Pope Benedict this morning met with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and members of the organising committee of the 50th Eucharistic Congress, which will be held in Ireland in 2012.

    During the past few days a delegation from the Congress Organising Committee, led by Archbishop Martin, has been participating in an international gathering in Rome, hosted by the Pontifical Committee for the International Eucharistic Congresses.

    The Irish delegation presented the preliminary arrangements for the Eucharistic Congress to seventy delegates nominated by Bishops’ Conferences from all five continents.

    This morning in the Sala Clementina of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.

    Addressing the delegation, His Holiness expressed the hope that the preparations in Ireland for the International Eucharistic Congress would help with the renewal of the Irish Church.

    Pope Benedict said “your Assembly has paid great attention to this event, which is also part of the modernisation programme of the Church in Ireland. The theme, recalls the centrality of the Eucharistic Mystery for the growth of the life of faith and every authentic process of Church renewal”. (http://www.irishbishops.ie/)

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Verbum Domini

    A Blog Worth Following

    Fr John Hogan, has been very busy over at Ex Umbris Et Imaginibus.  Check out his latest entries:


    Movies Rock - John Williams and Orchestra

    SONGS: Warner Brothers Theme, Casablanca, Citizen Kane, 20th Century Fox Theme, Star Wars, The Sea Hawk, Spellbound, Titanic, Psycho, Jaws, The Pink Panther, Exodus, Out of Africa, Doctor Zhivago, The Bridge on The River Kwai, Patton, Rocky, The Magnificent Seven, The Natural, Cinema Paradiso, The Godfather, E.T. and Gone With The Wind.

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