17 Jan 2018

Dolores O'Riordan RIP

Statement of Bishop Brendan Leahy on the death of Dolores O'Riordan of the Cranberries:
“The death of Dolores O’Riordan is such a sad loss of a young and precious life.  Millions across the world have been shocked by this sad news but first and foremost I think of her family.   Way beyond anything else, this is the passing of a loving mother, daughter and sister. This is a family that will grieve deeply for Dolores in the same as others who lose loved ones. It starts and ends with them.
“Of course she was a superstar and an inspiration to so many people, not least from Limerick.  She grew up in Ballybricken, which is actually in the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, but Limerick city, all of Limerick, held her very dear in its heart.  Her rise to stardom gave a huge amount of belief to young people locally at the time.  She was a true child of Limerick; talented, honest, full of soul and courageous.  And she never lost sight of who she was and where she was from.
“She also often spoke about her spirituality and how important that was too her and, of course, she met Pope John Paull II.  She spoke of taking a lot of influence for her music from her spirituality. Limerick and the world has lost a kind, soft-hearted, talented soul. May she rest in peace.”

Limerick Leader - Shock and sadness greet sudden death of Limerick's Dolores O'Riordan
The Guardian - Dolores O’Riordan obituary
Crux (CNS) - Irish bishop recalls Cranberries’ musician for her faith, inspiration
Dolores O’Riordan ‘took a lot of influence from her spirituality’, bishop says

15 Jan 2018

Ordinary in an extraordinary way!

Cross post from Pilgrim Progress:

Christmas has officially finished! Until next year that is.  With the second Vespers of the Baptism of the Lord, tomorrow we return to Ordinary Time. We get back into the ordinary course of events. Through the period of Ordinary Time following Christmas, we become increasingly aware that this marvel of birth and growth will mature into something challenging.  However we need time to focus on this and we are gifted with the time of Lent which culminates in the great event of the Resurrection, the battle of life over death, light over darkness. Lent greets us somewhat earlier this year and believe it or not, but Ash Wednesday is on the 14th of February, Valentine's Day! Just 5 weeks away.

With the way the calendar fell this year, it seemed that the time after New Year's and normal time just flew. Jokingly, I said that the shops will already have the Easter eggs in soon. I wasn't too far wrong, in fact, they are already in the shops since New Year's Eve (not impressed  Tesco!). What is it with the commercial world continually projecting us into the future. Have we lost the capacity to live the present moment? Are we afraid to live the present? Are we afraid that the present is too 'ordinary.'

However, ordinary time can be misleading. It seems to suggest that life and faith carry on as usual and they do to an extent. The truth however is quite the contrary when the readings of the season are taken into account. In the Gospel which accompanies us into Ordinary Time, Jesus issues the invitation: " Follow me".  Follow him a world which is both ordinarily extraordinary and extraordinarily ordinary.

A quote reads: “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” What is the little ‘extra’ which makes the difference in your life? For me, beauty continues to speak a language of its own which does not necessarily need words or vocabulary, precisely because it belongs to the sphere of the simple. My quest for ‘extra’ continues, or translated into biblical terms, the journey towards embracing Jesus’ invitation in John 10:10 ‘I have come that you may life in abundance.'

That said, extraordinary things happen in Ordinary time too. People are born and people die. Wars begin and wars end, and wars go on and on. Tornados and earthquakes happen and end. Miracles come in silently, softly, transforming the lives of unsuspecting people. People shed the extraordinary because they have been wearied by life and settle for the ordinary. Ironically, when travel and the media have blown all horizons wide open, our own inner horizons seem to have become narrower and our vision contracted. How can we find again the seeing eye and the feeling touch? The reality of “time and eternity” is one that few people these days choose to contemplate, because we are so distracted. Technology and entertainment have become the things people chase when they are not fulfilling their obligations and taking up their responsibilities.

To follow Jesus, means to take up the Cross. Life is not easy as we all know. Taking up the cross means living at least in part in an alternative reality, one in which the freedom of love, forgiveness and grace  prevails in place of the normal arrangements of domination, retribution and exchange. With the commercial hype of Christmas having passed, it is easy to get dragged into a sense of a mundane life, void of fairy lights, candy canes and gifts under the tree. January can be somewhat of an anti-climatic month. Yes, we are all human; we don't have absolute power over everything; there will be difficult times, there will depressing times; and nothing good comes easy. We may get tossed around by the storms of life like ordinary people except for the fact that we serve God, who is able to speak to our storms and say ‘Peace, be still!’ We think of Celtic spirituality where "Celtic spirituality was a practice in which ordinary people in their daily lives took the tasks that lay to hand but treated them sacramentally, as pointing to a greater reality which lay beyond them." (Esther de Waal).  The Good News that God’s extraordinary life comes to us in seemingly ordinary ways is the ongoing lesson of Ordinary Time.

This said, no-one wants to be ‘ordinary’, we all want to feel special. We want to live exciting lives which give us interesting photos and bizarre statuses to post on Facebook or Twitter. We want people to think our lives are extraordinary.  Easily we forget that every single person on earth is completely unique and not exactly like anyone else. Every single life is special and extraordinary. We don’t have to prove ourselves to God or to anyone for that matter. It can seem that even in church circles, we have to do ‘big’ things. There is so much importance placed on having a big ministry or having that “special calling” to bigger things yet we often fail to recognize that God can do extraordinary things when we’re doing the ordinary.

Holly Gerth writes: “Ordinary is the lie we tell ourselves when we look in the mirror and say the girl looking back is no one special. It’s the false feeling that tries to overwhelm us when we’re standing in the corner at a conference and everyone else seems cooler. It’s the whisper of the enemy of our hearts when we get ready to offer what we’ve tucked away inside for so long. You are not ordinary. You are extraordinary. The God who spoke the stars into being knit together your soul. Chose the color of your eyes. Numbered the hairs on your head. Placed gifts within you like presents for the world to open with joy.”

Yes, God does call some people to go out and do new and extraordinary things but that doesn’t mean that what we do is insignificant. For the vast majority of us, He’s called us to live an ordinary life but He desires that we live it in an extraordinary way.  He wants us to give unconditionally without expecting return, to love in a way which the world doesn’t acknowledge, loving the poor, the weak, those whom the world deems ‘unlovable’. He wants us to be faithful in the little things, making the little sacrifices which no-one might even see. By giving time to someone in need of a kind word or gesture when you feel just like having your personal space. We don’t need a big “calling” to have an impact in this world.  Maybe that is why I love the lives of the saints so much, they teach us that God does miracles in the lives of ordinary people. He changes sinners into saints. All we need to do is live our ordinary lives in an extraordinary way. So don’t be afraid to be ordinary!

14 Jan 2018

Who is your patron saint for 2018?

Some  people like to seek a patron saint as part of their New Year resolutions and on the programme over the last few years we have each had a patron saint for the year and also a Blog Patron Saint.

Join us on next weeks programme to find out who our 2018 patron saints are going to be and the unveiling of the 2018 Blog Patron Saint.

In the meantime if you want to pick a patron saint for 2018 for your self head on over to the Saint's Name Generator HERE.

World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2018

On January 15, the Church observes the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, a commemoration instituted by St. Pius X. Pope Francis’s message for the day, written on August 15, is entitled “Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating migrants and refugees.”

Vatican NewsPope at Mass for Migrants and Refugees: 'Overcome fear and welcome the other' - Pope Francis celebrates the World Day of Migrants and Refugees with a Mass in St Peter’s Basilica and reminds us that in order to encounter others we must first overcome our fears.

Official English-language translation of Pope Francis’ homily at Holy Mass on Sunday in St. Peter’s Basilica on the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.


13 Jan 2018

January 14th 2018 - Who was St Ita of Kileedy?

On this weeks programme Michael Keating joins with John for our annual pilgrimage to one of diocesan patrons St Ita of Kileedy whose feast day is on January 15th. We have our regular reflection on this Sunday's gospel as well as a run through some liturgical odds and ends as well as the saints of the week.

You can listen to the podcast of this weeks programme HERE on our new podcast page or if you wish, you can access the podcast via Dropbox here.

Who was St Ita of Kileedy?

A number of years ago, the Irish bishops petitioned Rome to make a number of amendments to the national liturgical calendar which included the extension of the liturgical celebration of St Ita of Kileedy from Limerick diocese to the whole country. But who was St Ita of Kileedy?

On this weeks programme John is joined by Michael Keating who is SS120fm's resident guru on all things related to Kileedy and St Ita to reflect with us about St Ita of Kileedy. It is not an easy task as Michael has done this task for SS102fm for quite a number of years and after all there are only some many ways you can tell the same story but some how each year he manages to reflect on a different point aside from the biographical happenings of the saint as we know them.

St Ita also known as the Brigid of Munster is associated with the parish of Killeedy and is one of the co-patrons of the diocese of Limerick. 

"St Ita, the patron saint of Killeedy, was born before 484AD in County Waterford, in the Tramore area. Her father was Cennfoelad or Confhaola and her mother was Necta. Cennfoelad was descended from Felim the lawgiver. Ita's name was originally Dorothea or Deirdre. She was a member of the Déisí tribe. 

Ita refused her father's wish that she should marry a local chieftain, as she believed that she had a calling from God and wanted to become a nun. To convince her father to change his mind, she fasted for three days and three nights. On the third night, God gave out to her father in his sleep. The next morning, Cennfoelad agreed that Ita could do as she wished. At the age of sixteen, Ita set off on her journey. Bishop (St.) Declan of Ardmore conferred the veil on her. 

St Ita of Kileedy
by Richard King
Legend has it that Ita was lead to Killeedy by three heavenly lights. The first was at the top of the Galtee mountains, the second on the Mullaghareirk mountains and the third at Cluain Creadhail, which is nowadays Killeedy. 

Her sister Fiona also went to Killeedy with her and became a member of the community. Ita was welcomed to Killeedy by the local chieftain of the Ui Conaill Gabhra tribe. The chieftain wanted to give Ita a large trait of land but she only wanted a few acres as a garden for her community." 

It is said that St. Ita used to say that the Lord loves three things in a Christian most of all: faith in God with a pure heart, a spiritual Christian life with simplicity, and generous love; but the Lord especially dislikes in us the following things: a gloomy face (according to another variant: hatred in our hearts), persistence in sin and excessive reliance on money.

An Irish lullaby for the Infant Jesus is attributed to Saint Ita' - The Vision of St Ita - and hears her sing: 

Jesukin lives my little cell within;What were wealth of cleric high All is lie but Jesukin.

You can listen to the discussion with Michael excerpted from the main programme HERE on our new podcast page or if you wish, you can access it via Dropbox here.

Previous programmes and podcasts are here.

Gospel - John 1:35-42

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which translated means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter).

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire

English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy
Sunday Reflections

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 2, 2nd week of Ordinary time

Saints of the Week

January 15th - St Ita of Kileedy
January 16th - St Fursa
January 17th - St Anthony the Abbot
January 18th -  Bl Maria Teresa Fasce
January 19th - St Liberata of Como
January 20th - St Sebastian

Some web browsing.......

‘God’s Tramp’ Who Suffered Like Job Given Vatican Burial

Bishop Leahy highlights asylum seekers’ “dire circumstances”

Address by Bishop Brendan Leahy to Child Safeguarding Conference in Limerick

Pope Francis: we need to observe silence in the Mass
Pope Francis: Why is silence so important during Mass?

Bullying is the devil’s work, says Pope Francis

Pray with courage, conviction, not mindlessly like a parrot, pope says
Are You Praying or Simply Reciting Prayers?

World Meeting host still ‘astonishingly religious’ Survey shows that despite reputation, Irish remain one of the most devout populations in Europe 

Holly Butcher left this world on January 4th, 2018 and had written these words for her family to post after her death. 

Irish bishop: ‘Abortion ends the life of an unborn girl or boy,’ it shouldn’t be legal
Primate fires first shot in abortion debate 
Pastoral Message for the new year 2018 from Archbishop Eamon Martin: “To Serve Human Life is to Serve God” 

Let the call be heard - Benedictine Oblates, monastics 'must raise our voices together' - The question of the day is a simple one but potentially life-changing one: The question is, why would anyone even bother to get attached to a Benedictine monastery? What is the purpose of doing something like that?

From Christmas to Candlemas, let the light last

NYTimes to Cardinal Tobin: Prove That God is Real - “The most mind-boggling miracle is the incarnation,” said the cardinal.

Pope Francis gives joy of circus to Rome’s poor - Pope Francis offers the joy of a night at the circus to Rome's poor through the Papal Almoner, taking the opportunity to provide the services of health care professionals to those in need.

Smiles all around as Pope Francis takes the poor to the circus

Syrian archbishop avoids death by seconds after bomb lands on bed 

Liturgy and sexuality: the battle over Paul VI
WoF - Bishop Barron on Contraception and social change - "This coming July, we will mark the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s deeply controversial encyclical letter “Humanae vitae.” But I would like to draw particular attention to a remarkable passage in this encyclical, namely section 17, in which Paul VI plays the prophet and lays out, clearly and succinctly, what he foresees as consequences of turning away from the Church’s classic teaching on sex."
Catholics aren’t obsessed with sex—they are obsessed with life 
50 tumultuous years after ‘Humanae Vitae’
Cardinal Parolin: Amoris Laetitia Represents New Paradigm, Spirit and Approach - The Vatican Secretary of State’s comments come amid unease that the document is being used by some to alter Church teaching, specifically regarding the Church’s ban on artificial contraception.

Nigerian Police Rescue Six Kidnapped Nuns

Aleteia - This is why we should take our kids to the graves of loved ones  

RIP Brett Haubrich, the little boy who was ‘priest for a day’

The Bishop’s Private Chapel

The Irish Church and the ‘Benedict option’ 

Archbishop Martin and Ireland’s ‘dying breed’ of Catholics 

A bunker mentality when it comes to the media is simply self-defeating for the Church

Ireland’s oldest Catholic mission magazine celebrates 100 years

Nollaig na mBan appeal for the rights of infants and their mothers

Christmas Message of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow

7 Jan 2018

Pope baptizes 34 babies, says faith can't grow without love at home

Vatican City, Jan 7, 2018 / 02:52 am (CNA/EWTN News).

Keeping with papal tradition, Pope Francis marked the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord by celebrating Mass in the Sistine Chapel, during which he baptized 34 infants, telling parents that love at home is the first requirement of passing on the faith.

“If there is no love at home, if the language of love isn't spoken between mother and father at home, you can't do it,” the Pope said Jan. 7, telling parents to “transmit the faith, but do it with the love of the family, at home.”

He celebrated Mass in the Sistine Chapel, as he does each year on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, during which he baptizes several infants. This year he administered the Sacrament of Baptism on 34 babies, 16 boys and 18 girls.

In his brief, off-the-cuff homily, the Pope told parents that in baptizing their children, they are making the “first step” in the task of transmitting the faith.

“We need the Holy Spirit to transmit the faith, or else we can't do it,” he said, adding that to transmit the faith “is a grace of the Holy Spirit.”

However, even with the grace of the Holy Spirit, Francis stressed that truly transmitting the faith to one's children “can only be done in love; in the love of the family, of the father and mother, grandmother and grandfather.”

Catechists come later in life to help in transmitting the faith with “ideas and explanations,” he said, but told parents “don't forget this: have love.”

He also told parents to be childlike in their own prayer, saying children communicate in the only way they can, but “it's the language Jesus likes a lot.”

“Jesus advises us to be like them, to speak like them. May your prayers be simple like children,” he said, telling parents that in their own prayer, “say it in your heart like they do” when they cry, and “the Lord will teach you how to be like them, how to speak to them.”

Francis closed his homily telling mothers that if the babies cry and “start to have a concert” because they are uncomfortable or hungry, to breastfeed them without fear or hesitation if it is the latter, “because this is also a language of love.”

After celebrating Mass, the Pope will then make his way to the Apostolic Palace, where he will lead pilgrims in the traditional Angelus prayer, as he does every Sunday.


Crux - Pope says to transmit the faith, parents must speak ‘language of love’

6 Jan 2018

January 7th 2018 - Baptism of the Lord

On this weeks SS102fm programme, John and the team wish you a Happy New Year as we mark the close of the Christmas season on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. We have a repeat of a reflection on New Years and new starts from Sr Dympna Clancy (RIP) as well as our regular reflection on the gospel of the day and other liturgical odds and ends.

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

You can also access the podcast of this weeks full programme HERE via Dropbox

New Years Reflection - Sr Dympna Clancy

We repeat a reflection shared with us by Sr Dympna Clancy on New Years Day 2017 where she reflects on what New Year could mean for us as individuals, families and as the family of families in the diocese of Limerick. 

You can listen to our podcast excerpted from the main programme HERE.

You can also download or listen to the reflection from Sr Dympna excerpted from the main programme HERE via Dropbox.

Gospel - Baptism of the Lord

John the Baptist proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’
 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Receptivity to God’s Love

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 1, 1st week of ordinary time

Saints of the Week

January 8th - St Albert of Cashel
January 9th - St Marcellinus of Ancona
January 10th - St John of Jerusalem 
January 11th - St Eithne & Fedelemia
January 12th - St Aelred of Rievaulx
January 13th - St Hilary of Poitiers

Pope: Like the Magi, we must leave our comfort zone to find Jesus

Vatican News

Pope Francis on Saturday held out the Magi as models, urging Christians to dare and look up to the star and “set out”, shaking off their comforts, to “give freely” and “do good” to “the least” of the “brothers and sisters” of Jesus.  The Pope’s exhortation came in his homily at a morning Mass in Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica on the solemn feast of the Epiphany.

The Jan. 6th feast of the Epiphany, a holiday in the Vatican and Italy, commemorates the visit of the ‎Three Magi, or Wise Men from the East, who followed a star to find the Baby Jesus ‎in Bethlehem, an ‎event that symbolizes the manifestation of God, made man, to the people of the world outside the ‎chosen ‎people of Israel. ‎ ‎

Delivering his homily in Italian, Pope Francis focused on three actions of the Magi -  they see the star, they set out and they bring gifts.

The star of Jesus gently invites

The Pope explained that for the Magi everything began by raising their eyes to heaven to see the star - the star of Jesus which the Pope said, “does not dazzle or overwhelm, but gently invites.”  There are other brighter stars such as success, money, career, honours and pleasures that do not point the way.  Like meteors they blaze momentarily and fade, but the Lord’s star, the Holy Father said, “does not ‎promise material reward, but ensures peace and grants… joy”.

Shake off worldly comforts

Just as the Magi set out on their journey after seeing the star, the Pope said, the star of Jesus demands that those who seek Him “leave behind the armchair of worldly comforts and the reassuring warmth of hearth and home.”  “In other words,” he said, “if we want to find Jesus, we have to overcome our fear of taking risks, our self-satisfaction and our indolent refusal to ask anything more of life.”  

The Pope acknowledged this is not easy, just as the Magi came across Herod and the priests and scribes who were all afraid of the new things that God was bringing about.  Christians too can fall into the temptation of the priests and scribes who talk much about faith but take no personal risk or pray, complain but do no good.  On the contrary, the Pope said, the Magi “talk little and journey much.”

Giving freely

Finally, the Magi do as Jesus does: they bring costly gifts of gold, incense and myrrh.  The Pope said the Gospel becomes real when the journey of life ends in giving. “To give freely, for the Lord’s sake, without expecting anything in return” is “the sure sign that we have found Jesus,” the Pope said.  Giving freely, the Pope further explained, means “to do good without counting the cost, even when unasked, even when you gain nothing thereby, even if it is unpleasant. 

The Pope said that Jesus “asks us to offer something for the least of His brothers and sisters,” who have nothing to give in return - the needy, the hungry, the stranger, the prisoner, the poor.  He said, “We give a gift pleasing to Jesus when we care for a sick person, spend time with a difficult person, help someone for the sake of helping, or forgive someone who has hurt us.” 

If we only love those who love us, we do as the pagans, the Pope said, and concluded urging Christians to “try to think of some free gift that we can give without expecting anything in return.” 


Pope’s homily at Epiphany Mass: Full text
Vatican News - Pope’s Angelus for Epiphany: search for Jesus like the Magi

Our New Podcast Home!

Podcast Update for our Listeners

Regular listeners and readers will have noticed that we have had some technical problems with our podcasts over the last few weeks but hopefully we have come to a resolution of the issue.

So for 2018 John and Shane decided to make their lives a little more complicated when it comes to podcasts :)

As regular listeners and readers will know, the SS102fm programme is recorded at the Come & See Inspirations studio in Ardagh in west Limerick and is then broadcast on West Limerick 102fm. Each week we have posted a link to the recording of that weeks programme and generally an excerpt from the programme for our listeners.

For 2018 those podcasts will now be available on SS102fm blog as usual but also on our new podcast homepage Come & See Inspirations which is hosted on the Buzzsprout podcasting platform. The podcast page will host our weekly radio programme podcasts as usual but also provides scope for Come & See Inspirations to publish other talks, reflections and audio recordings which we would like to share with our listeners which may not necessarily get broadcast on SacredSpace102fm.

The new page will also allow us to get listed in some podcast directories including iTune, Stitcher and Google Player for those of you looking to download and listen to the programmes. 

We are still working through what it will mean for our archive of programmes and will let you know how that goes.

In the meantime thanks for listening!


The SS102fm Team

5 Jan 2018

Beatification for the martyrs of Algeria?

On the night of 26-27 March 1996, seven monks from the monastery of Tibhirine in Algeria, belonging to the Trappist Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (O.C.S.O.), were kidnapped in the Algerian Civil War. They were held for two months, and were found dead on 21 May 1996. The circumstances of their kidnapping and death remain controversial.

Now, it appears that a bishop, seven Trappist monks and 11 other religious men and women killed by extremists in Algeria in the 1990s will soon be recognized as martyrs, the postulator for their causes said.

The decree for their beatification should be published sometime in January, Trappist Father Thomas Georgeon said on January 1 in an interview with Mondo e Missione (World and Mission), a monthly magazine and website run by the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions.

Catholic Herald - Monks killed in Algeria to be recognised as martyrs
Crux - Postulator: Religious killed in Algeria will be recognized as martyrs
Alteliea - Monks of Tibhirine, depicted in ‘Of Gods and Men’, to be beatified

Archive links:

SS102fm - Of Gods and Men - A Martyrs testament
Vatican Radio - 20 years later: legacy of 7 murdered Trappists in Algeria is to build authentic community

January 6th 2018 - Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

Arise, shine out, Jerusalem; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 
For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you.  
Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you;

your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses' arms.  
Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you.  
A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.

Isaiah 60:1-6

On January 6th in Ireland - after the 12 days of Christmas - we celebrate the Solemnity of Epiphany which is the feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ to the world. 

On this feast, Western Christians commemorate principally the visitation of the Biblical Magi to the Baby Jesus, i.e., his manifestation to the Gentiles; Eastern Christians commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God. It is also called Theophany, especially by Eastern Christians.

St Matthew tells us (2:1-12) that Wise Men came from out of the east seeking the new born child as the Messiah of the whole world not just for the people of Israel. Their homage to him upon locating him in Bethlehem is representative of the whole world who adore the Holy Child and recognise his Divine Kingship, he who is the Light of the World.
"They set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh."
The feast of the Epiphany in the latin tradition focuses on the manifestation or showing of the Child Jesus to the Magi or Wise men who have come to seek the new King of the Jews. The three wisdom seekers represent the gentiles; those outside the covenanted community of Israel to whom the Messiah will also come. Where the shepherds represented the Chosen People, the three magi represent all those who truly search and seek for God in our world even if from out side our community and experiences. 
But like the shepherds, the three magi did not stay in Bethlehem, they had to go back out into the world, back to their homes and families and daily lives; just like we have to. But they took the message of what they had seen and heard with them. 

Epiphany demands that like these kings we should return to our own countries a different way, carrying to all those we meet the light of Christ. "For behold, darkness shall cover the earth," says the Epistle of the Epiphany Mass, "and a mist the people: but the Lord shall arise upon Thee, and His glory shall be seen upon Thee. And the Gentiles shall walk in Thy light..." These words may be applied to us, upon whom the light of Christ has indeed risen, and who have the responsibility to radiate that light in the darkness of our own world. It is clear how much the feast of Epiphany must mean to all who are engaged in the apostolate and are striving to extend the kingdom of Christ.

Reflections and thoughts for the feast:
Gospel - Matthew 2:1-12

Reading 1 - Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm - Psalm 72:1-13
Reading 2 - Ephesians 3:2-6
Gospel - Matthew 2:1-12

Reflections on the gospel:

English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy
Word on Fire
Monastery of Christ in the Desert

Noveritis - the Proclamation of the Date of Easter 2018 (Irish Liturgical calendar)

As traditional on SS102fm we post the the Noveritis or Proclamation of the Date of Easter on Epiphany each year with the dates as per the Irish liturgical calendar. 

The practice of the proclamation dates from a time when calendars were not too readily available. It was necessary to make known the date of Easter in advance, since many celebrations of the liturgical year depend on its date. The number of weeks that follow Epiphany, the date of Ash Wednesday and the number of Sundays that follow Pentecost are all computed in relation to Easter.

[If you would like some more detail of the history of the Proclamation head over to New Liturgical Movement.]

Although calendars now give the date of Easter and the other feasts in the liturgical year for many years in advance, the Epiphany Proclamation still has value. It is a reminder of the centrality of the resurrection of the Lord in the liturgical year and the importance of the great mysteries of faith which are celebrated each year. This beautiful proclamation puts everything into perspective. Every liturgical celebration of the Church finds its authentic meaning in the Paschal Mystery, even Christmas. The Paschal Mystery was precisely why the Eternal Son of the Father, the Eternal Word, deigned to leap down from heaven and become incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was born in time so that He could give His flesh for the life of the world.

The season of Christmas ends with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord. As the season draws to an end, the solemnity of Epiphany offers an opportunity to proclaim the centrality of Christ's paschal mystery: dying he destroyed our death and rising he restored our life.

The Easter Triduum of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ is the culmination of the entire liturgical year and the solemn proclamation should be made after the homily or after the Prayer after Communion on the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord on January 6th.

Below is the Proclamation with the dates for 2018 as per the Irish Liturgical Calendar.

Know, dear brothers & sisters,
that, as we have rejoiced at the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ,
so by leave o
f God's mercy
we announce to you also the joy of his Resurrection,
who is our Saviour.

On the fourteenth day of February will fall Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of the fast of the most sacred Lenten season.

On the first day of April you will celebrate with joy Easter Day, the Paschal feast of our Lord Jesus Christ.

On the thirteenth day of May will be the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.

On the twentieth day of June, the feast of Pentecost.

On the third day of June, the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

On the second day of December, the First Sunday of the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ,
to whom is honor and glory for ever and ever.