Celebrating our Lady of Guadalupe

Advent is the season where God waits for the love of his children. He waits, silently, patiently for the moment of grace until the chronos of life (our time) becomes impregnated with his kairos (God’s time), the Word becomes flesh! During Advent we reflect on Jesus in the womb of Mary, growing slowly, silently and invisibly, present even though invisible. Mary is an Advent woman, a woman very dear to my heart. A woman of life, a woman for life, every fibre of her being says ‘Yes’ to carry Jesus in her womb. Today, 12th of December, we celebrate a beautiful Marian feastday which celebrates the gift of life, that of our Lady of Guadalupe.

On the 12th of December 1531, our Lady appeared to an Indian named Juan Diego and requested that a shrine be built and dedicated to her on the Hill of Tepeyac. Juan Diego, upon reporting this event to the bishop, was disappointed because the bishop didn't seem to believe him. Juan returned to the place of the apparition where Our Lady again appear…

To advent each other!

Advent, the season of light, is an invitation to advent each other,To bring the light of Christ into our own lives and into the lives of others
We can do this in simple ways:
Through the ways in which we welcome each other
And through the ways we recognise the pearl in every human heart.

There is a pearl in every season, a pearl in every heart.
Advent God bring this pearl to birth in us as we journey to Bethlehem.
Advent is a time to take God into all the ar

The hills are alive with the Sound of Music!

Happy feastday to all musicans and lovers of music!

Today the Church marks the feast of St. Cecilia, a saint whom I often invoke!  The most interesting thing about this saint is that even though she is the patroness of music, surprising as it is, she was neither a singer nor a musician. What rendered her deserving of this title is the fact that her life was a continuous song to God. Tradition has it that even whilst the musicians played at her own wedding she sang in her heart to God only. When the Academy of Music was founded at Rome (1584) she was made patroness of the institute and her veneration as patroness of church music in general became still more universal.

 It is fitting to apply the words which we find in the today’s Office of the Reading for her: “ You ask, what is singing in jubilation? It means to realize that words are not enough to express what we are singing in our hearts.”(St. Augustine). Every couple have ‘their song’, the song which reminds of the first time they…

Celebrating another All Saints Day!

In Ireland, on the 6th of November, we celebrate the Feast of All the Saints of Ireland. Pope Benedict XV beatified Oliver Plunkett in 1920 and during his papacy also (1914-22) the Feast of All the Saints of Ireland was instituted. The same Pope also granted Ireland the honour of having a litany of its native saints approved for public recitation. Only four saints, St Malachy (1094-1148), St Lawrence O'Toole (1128-80) and St Oliver Plunkett (1625-81) and St Charles of Mount Argus (1821-93), have been officially canonised. All the other Irish saints, such as Saints Patrick, Brigid, and Colmcille, are saints, as it were, by acclamation of the local Church.

The scope of this feast, while it includes canonised saints, is wider. It also includes those who had a reputation for holiness and whose causes for canonisation have not yet been completed, such as Blessed Thaddeus MacCarthy (1455-92), the seventeen Irish martyrs of the 16th and 17th centuries, Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice (1762…

I believe in the Resurrection of the Body...(Creed)

Yesterday we celebrated All Saints Day- our common call to sanctity as we acknowledge those who in their human imperfections and weaknesses gave Christ their all and now enjoy eternal life, models of holiness and wholeness for us to imitiate. They cheer us on, we who are still pilgrims on this earth, to keep our gaze fixed on Heaven. Today as we celebrate the 2nd of November, the commemoration of All Souls, of all the faithful departed we are brought to that earth grounding realisation that time does catch up with us all because time is not ours, our lives are in God’s hands. He is the sole Author of Life. His time turns our chronos into kairos, everlasting kairos, grace filled time.
Today, as pilgrim Church, we recall our responsibility to pray for those who may be still awaiting the Resurrection, who are in time of purification. For all those who have died in Christ, let this be our prayer: May the restless dead find sleep and may the light of our remembering guide them to everlasti…

Called to be a saint! Yes, you!

Happy Solemnity of All Saints Day!

You are called to be a saint of God. You – yes you! You might think, how could I be a saint? I have already messed up my life, I am beyond redemption. Before you stick to your 'excuse', you might want to look at the lives of these people who allowed themselves to be open to God and to be used by God to do mighty things. They were far from 'holy'!
Check this list out:
Noah got drunk
Abraham was too old
Sarah laughed at God’s plans
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a trickster
Joseph, well he was a show off in that fancy coat of his.
Moses stammered
Miriam gossiped
Gideon was insecure
Samson – let’s just say ‘my, my my, Delilah!’
Rahab was a prostitute
Ruth was a foreigner
David was an adulterer and murdered Bathsheba’s husband., preached naked for three years
Jeremiah struggled with depression
Jonah ran from God...
and in the New Testament:
Zaccheus was too small
the woman at the well had had five husbands
Martha was a worrier
Mary Magdalene wa…

"Sing to the Lord a new song....."- Prayer for Musicians and Liturgists

Grant unto us, O Lord, nerves of steel
that we may dare to sing a new song -
and teach others to sing it too.

Grant unto us, O Lord, iron hands
that we might grasp the nettle of new music.
yet, grant unto us, O Lord, velvet fingers
that we may touch tenderly the sensibilities of Your people.

Grant unto us, O Lord, feet light as feathers
that we may tread softly on the eggshells placed in our path
yet, grant unto us, O Lord, firm footsteps
that we might follow where You would have us go.

Grant unto us, O Lord, occasional failing memory
that we may forget the harsh criticisms of our taste in music
yet, grant unto us, O Lord, memory clear as crystal
that we may remember the joy - and comfort -
that our words and music bring.

Grant unto us, O Lord, the tongues of angels
that we may create harmony of discord.

Grant unto us, O Lord, shoulders of Teflon
that the mud that shall be cast shall not stick.

And above all else, dear Lord,
grant unto us space and time in our busy-ness
that our souls may touch your s…

Saint Oscar Romero- Love must win out!

I have to confess that I was like a little child waiting for Christmas this morning as I waited for the Mass of Canonisation on Vatican Television. A series of circumstances meant that last night we still  had no EWTN or other holy channels and no Internet (thanks to a national outage with EIR!) and it seemed that we wouldn’t be able to follow the great event either on TV or Internet. Lo and behold the Internet returned and we were able to watch the Mass live from Vatican City presided over by Pope Francis.

Today our Pope declared as saints in the Church six new models for us to follow. All very diverse, young and old, men and women, priests, religious, laity- each one of them followed Jesus totally. They are: Pope Paul VI, Oscar Romero, Francesco Spinelli, Vincenzo Romano, Maria Catherine Kasper, Nazaria Ignazia of Saint Teresa of Jesus, and Nuncio Sulprizio.

For nearly 20 years one of them in particular has been a strong presence in my life- Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Saint Oscar, as of …

Celebrating Blessed Dom. Columba Marmion

“Only the heart touches hearts. We influence people in proportion to our love for them.” (Blessed Columba Marmion). Today, 3rd of October,  in the Irish Church we remembered Blessed Columba Marmion. As an Irish diocesan priest in the Dublin Archdiocese he felt called to the monastic way of life. He served in Dundrum which is just up the road from us here in Blackrock. He entered the Benedictine Maredsous Abbey several years after being ordained a priest. In 1909 he was elected abbot of Maredsous Abbey and served in that capacity until his death on January 30th, 1923.

One of my favourite books is a composition of letters written by him, called "Union with God". He wrote to people who sought his spiritual counsel with questions about prayer, faith, temptation, suffering, and the struggles of daily life. Marmion excelled in the art of letter-writing — his advice was always simple and direct, yet profound. Last Sunday 30th of September we were privileged to be part of the solem…

Day 1 at the World Meeting of Families in the RDS

It's hard to believe the WMOF is starting. As a community and as a Delegation we have been preparing for this for a number of months and the Sisters are looking forward to participating in the programme as pilgrims as well as being present at our exhibition stand. We decided that the first group would go to early Mass at 7. 30 am in the Poor Clares in Simmonscourt so as to be able to open the stand when the RDS opened at 8 am. I was privileged to be able to give my service in a different capacity, for the clergy registration for the WMOF. Wearing my other 'hat', we had also been preparing for this for a number of months to assist in ensuring all visiting clergy had the proper paperwork from their Diocese so as to be a priest pilgrim at the event. It was an interesting week as we met priests from all over the world, spoke different languages, tried to be a welcoming presence and of assistance to ensure that they had their accreditation. This meant that I wasn't present…