Nov 28, 2015

29th November 2015 - Reflection on Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament - 1st Sunday of Advent (Year C)

It is a wild and wet weekend in west Limerick, a night to take shelter around the fire and close the curtains against the storm of the night. Some how it seems appropriate that Advent begins in darkness and storm, a reminder to us that we live buffeted by the storms of life as we await the coming of the Lord at Christmas, the darkness of the world, of humanity in history we remember the light that broke through with the coming of Emmanuel into the world.

Advent is at our throats! Keep the season, but keep it simple.

On this weeks programme, we take a time out, a prayer moment as John and Lorraine lead us through a reflection this morning. Advent is often lost in the maelstrom that is the rush to Christmas which seems to begin earlier and earlier every year, but on the programme this morning we would like to provide a prayerful start to the holy season of Advent.

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

The podcast of this weeks programme is available HERE.

Gospel - Lk 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus said to his disciples:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”
 Reflections on this weeks gospel

Word on Fire
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy
English Dominicans

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - week 1, 1st week of Advent

Saints of the Week

November 30th - St Andrew (apostle)
December 1st - Blessed Charles de Foucauld
December 2nd - Blessed Ivan Sleziuk
December 3rd - St Francis Xavier
December 4th - Blessed Adolph Kolping (First Friday)
December 5th - Blessed Philip Rinaldi

Popes Intentions for December
  • Universal: That all may experience the mercy of God, who never tires of forgiving.
  • Evangelization: That families, especially those who suffer, may find in the birth of Jesus a sign of certain hope.

Pope Francis to Head to War Zone in Central African Republic

From WSJ:

Pope Francis will fly Sunday to the war-torn capital of the Central African Republic, making a trip that has been in doubt for security reasons until practically the last minute, the Vatican spokesman said Saturday evening.

“We will the take the plane and fly to Bangui” according to schedule, Father Federico Lombardi said. The confirmation came at the end of a day in which the pope honored Christian martyrs in Uganda, met with young people there and greeted local clergy.

The Central African Republic has been beset since 2013 by civil war that has taken on a religious profile, with armed groups divided between Muslims and Christians. Bangui’s Muslim quarter has been especially hard hit, under siege from Christian militias and effectively off-limits to non-Muslims since September.

The pope plans to visit a mosque in the Muslim neighborhood as part of his effort to promote reconciliation, which will also include a meeting with local Christian and Muslim dialogue partners.

“I want to go to Central Africa,” the pope told the pilot of his flight to Africa last Wednesday, according to the Vatican newspaper, “and if you’re not able to take me, give me a parachute.”
Barring “extraordinary surprises,” the pope’s schedule remains unchanged, including an outdoor Mass on Monday, Father Lombardi said.

Pope Francis’ stay in the country, scheduled to last little more than 24 hours, will be one of the rare cases of a pope traveling to a war zone. Pope John Paul II traveled to Nicaragua in 1983, when Sandinista government forces were battling Contra rebels there. In 1994, John Paul called off a visit to Sarajevo, Bosnia, because of fighting there; he finally made the trip in 1997. Pope Francis’ trip to the Central African Republic is the last leg of a three-country African tour, the pope’s first visit to the continent, which started Wednesday in Kenya and took in Uganda.

The Vatican sent the head of papal security on a special reconnaissance mission just before the pope traveled to Africa. Father Lombardi said the official, Domenico Giani, had been in touch with the various forces keeping order in Bangui, but the spokesman declined to comment further on security issues.

France has about 900 troops in Bangui but says primary responsibility for security there lies with a multinational force of U.N. peacekeepers. That force has reportedly been expanded in recent days to as many as 4,000.

Father Lombardi spoke to journalists after a full day of papal events in the capital of Uganda. The day started when Pope Francis honored a group of Catholic and Anglican martyrs who were burned alive after refusing to renounce their faith in the late 19th century. Earlier in the day, the fourth in a six-day trip, he visited sanctuaries honoring the Catholic and Anglican martyrs in the city of Namugongo and celebrated Mass to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their canonization.

The martyrs’ stories show that “fidelity to God, honesty and integrity of life, and genuine concern for the good of others bring us that peace that the world cannot give,” the pope said.

Continue reading HERE.

Pope Francis in Uganda

Pope arrives in Uganda, calls Africa ‘continent of hope’

In Uganda, Francis calls for Christians to build just societies, transform suffering

Pope visits poor and sick at Kampala's House of Charity

Pope to young: Jesus can transform walls into a path

Nov 26, 2015

The End Times - iBenedictine

From iBenedictine, a timely reflection:

This last week before Advent is full of sombre warnings about the end times and the coming reign of God. With the mounting tension between Russia and Turkey and the seemingly inescapable rise of Wahabist violence and religious intolerance, it would be easy to identify world events with Armageddon. Easy, but wrong. What scripture refers to as the end times is actually the beginning of something new, something infinitely better. However gloomy we may feel about the international situation, however worried we may be that we are on the brink of yet another war, we must hold fast to our hope and prepare ourselves for what is to come. This is a time for prayer, for the reformation of our lives, for hastening the coming day of the Lord by the purity and zeal with which we live. We are not helpless puppets. God has dignified us with an essential role in his plan of salvation, but it is not something we can put off to a tomorrow that never comes. It is today that we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling. He who has neither beginning nor end is also at work, and what he wills must eventually come to pass. Our deliverance is at hand!

Nov 25, 2015

Pope Francis visit to Kenya - UPDATED

From The Guardian:
Pope Francis has brushed off security concerns as he arrived in Kenya for his first visit to Africa, a whirlwind tour of three countries that will mark the first time a reigning pontiff has flown into an active armed conflict.

His Alitalia aeroplane arrived at Jomo Kenyatta airport in Nairobi on Wednesday for the first stage of the pope’s visit, which will also take in Uganda and Central African Republic (CAR).

The latter country, which has a majority Christian population, has been in the grip of violence since Muslim rebels seized power in March 2013. More than one in five people have been forced to flee their homes.

When asked if he was concerned about security risks, the pope quipped: “To tell you the truth, the only thing I’m concerned about is the mosquitoes. Did you bring your spray?”

So what will the Pope wear to celebrate Mass?

Vatican Radio - A well-researched article in the Kenyan daily press gives an accurate “dress-down” of some of the garments you would find in Pope Francis’ wardrobe.
What it doesn’t mention is that here in Kenya all of his vestments and a beautiful rosary made of beads have been prepared by a group of sisters and women who work in an income-generating facility in Kangemi slum called “Dolly Craft”.

Listen to the report from Vatican Radio HERE.

Also over at Global Sisters you can see a report from the women involved in the vestments project.


Rome Reports - Kenya, Uganda and CAR - Who are the countries the Pope will visit in Africa

Nov 24, 2015

Some web browsing....

In silence, magic can happen - If you’re looking for God but can’t find Him here, you might as well give up. “Here” is a magical place, an otherworldly, holy place. Big sky. Big mountains. Big questions. “Here” is St. Benedict’s Monastery and its Retreat House, 8,000 feet up in an as-far-as-you-can-see valley at the foot of the snow-capped Rockies, more than 3,000 acres of pasture with elk, deer, coyotes, bunnies, magpies, and, sometimes, horses and bears.

The monks of St. Benedict’s

After Paris, we rushed to pray. Why is that?

Africa awaits the Pope 

Ideology or theology? Is it time for Western journalists to start taking ISIS at its word?

First Things - A Jubilee Year of Mercy

12 Beautiful Pieces of Modern Catholic Art

What Happens to Nuns After They Retire? absolutely touching and thought provoking pictures here.

The Mass of the Very Old Men - Their whispered prayers have risen from foxholes and scaffolds; from assembly lines and car pits and miles of commuter rails

Flannery O’Connor: Finding God in human messiness

Did Pope Francis Invite Lutherans into the Communion Line?

Mary Kenny: eat your crusts! We should each do our part in reducing food waste this Christmas

France’s Catholic Revolution - While Mass-attendance rates have steeply declined over the last 30 years, today France is witnessing the rise of an increasingly self-confident—and dynamically orthodox—Catholicism.


Europe and Islam: A clash of failures

Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It

Can Muslims and Christians coexist? ‘Of Gods and Men’ offers an answer

Nov 23, 2015

November 23rd - St Columban (Colmbanus)

With apologies to our readers and a H/t to Phil over at Ennis Blue for the reminder, but November 23rd is the feast day of St Columban or St Colmbanus and this year we are celebrating the 1400th anniversary of his death. 

The bishops of Ireland have designated 2015 as a celebratory year to mark the 1400th anniversary of the death in Bobbio, Italy, of the extraordinary Saint Columban, also known as Saint Columbanus.
Born around 543AD in Leinster, Saint Columbanus studied in the monastery on Cleenish Island, Co Fermanagh, after which he then entered the monastery in Bangor, Co Down. He became a monk at Bangor and later principal teacher there. In 591, desiring to go on a pilgrimage for Christ, he set out with twelve companions and came to Burgundy. He established monasteries at Annegray, Luxeuil and Fontaine. Later he worked in Bregenz in Austria. 
His greatest foundation is at Bobbio, near Genoa, where he died in 615. He is remembered as one of the greatest of all Irish missionaries who dedicated his life to preaching the Gospel and to establishing monasteries in Europe. 
This anniversary will be celebrated in Ireland with liturgies and events on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 June 2015, in Bangor and in Armagh respectively

Phil has a fabulous round up of links and reflections here, here, here and here.

Continue reading about the national celebrations here

Check out the page of the Irish Catholic Bishops Conference for events here.

Celebrating St Columban

- Fr Seán McDonagh discusses the significance of the celebrations of the 1,400th anniversary of the death of St Columban

Nov 22, 2015

Homily for the Solemnity of Christ the King

Homily for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Fr Martin Browne OSB
Glenstal Abbey

In the days since the terrorist attacks in Paris just over a week ago, the principles on which the French Republics were built have been spoken about a lot – Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Values which imply a rejection of monarchy and royalty. Principles which the revolutionaries believed were the opposite of the values of kingly rule.

In a few months from now, Ireland will mark the centenary of the Easter Rising of 1916. There will be many solemn ceremonies, parades, exhibitions and commemorating. Members of the Defence Forces are currently visiting every school in the country, presenting copies of the 1916 Proclamation and of our national flag – the tricolour of green, white and orange – itself modelled on the French tricolour. The Easter Rising and the raising of the tricolour over the GPO in Dublin marked the proclamation of the Irish Republic. The language of the proclamation was lofty:

We hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State. … The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irish woman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities of all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally.

And yet, while public discourse this week is echoing the French revolutionary values of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, and as the Irish nation is preparing to mark the centenary of the proclamation of our Republic, here we are, celebrating a feast that honours Jesus as a King. And not just any old king either. The full title of the feast is ‘Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe’. The Church certainly wasn’t understating the case when it thought up that title. I can’t help finding it a bit ironic….

Soon and very soone, we are going to see the King

Holy is His Name

Nov 21, 2015

21st November 2015 - Solemnity of Christ the Universal King

Technical issues have bedevilled West Limerick 102fm over the last number of weeks and sadly following the effects of Storm Barney during the week,WL102fm is still off air due to damage to the transmitters of the radio station and right now it is not clear when the radio station will be back on air.

This week we had planned to repeat our interview with Alice Taylor which was originally broadcast on 8th November. On that date, due to human error, the 10am broadcast didn't go out. You can listen back to Alice's wonderful interview and reflection HERE

Solemnity of Christ the Universal King

Book of Kells - Christ Enthroned

Hail Redeemer, King Divine,
Priest and Lamb the throne is thine,
King whose reign shall never cease,
Prince of ever lasting peace
Angels Saints and Nations sing
Praise be Jesus Christ our King
Lord of life, earth, sky and sea,
King of Love on Calvary.

This weeks feast celebrates the Kingship of Christ, the feast was erected at the end of the 1925 Holy Year by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Quas Primas where he sought to give due honour to the Divine Kingship of Christ.
Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP noted,
"The Church's year ends with the Feast of Christ the King. Jesus is portrayed as a triumphant king reigning over all creation. This is the same Jesus, son of Mary and son of God, who has preached the Good News and declared the imminence of God's kingdom. The obedient Son suffered and died for us, rose from the dead, ascended into glory and sent his Spirit so that we may have another comforter and someone to speak for us. Creation has been restored, and we have been saved from our sins and foolishness. The cycle is now complete. Although the enormousness of God's saving work has yet to impress itself on most people, nevertheless we believe that there will be a moment at the end of time when the Son will come again in all his glory, and creation will reach fulfillment. That is why we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, we rejoice in what Jesus has done for us, yet at the same time we look forward to its completion........".
But for many people, the idea of Kingship of Jesus is somewhat alien. Jesus was of the royal house of David born in the royal city but he was born in a stable and laid in a manager. He was a King who entered into the Holy City - Jerusalem - through the royal gate to the acclamations of the people not in a military procession or from the back of a state coach but on the back of a humble donkey. He was enthroned not on some fancy cathedra but rather on a gibbet outside the city walls in the midst of the city dump, proclaimed mockingly as King as he died opening his arms on the cross to embrace the world and all of humanity.

He came as a Servant Leader as he explained to the disciples at the Last Supper when he washed their feet. We are all called to be servants to one another, assisting and helping in fraternal love and friendship. Where leaders lord it over us in civil or religious spheres truly then we have lost our allegiance to the true king.

He redefined what it means to be a leader amongst those that dare to call themselves his followers reminding us that the first will be last and the last first.

In our lives today, do we make the effort to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned? Be it those who are in physical need but what about those hungry for a consoling word of recognition of their humanity and dignity as people; those whose very souls and minds are ripped naked and torn from the insults and humiliation they experience, the sick of mind and spirit, those imprisoned in the expectations of society as well as those incarcerated by mental illness and stigma? Have we not only assisted them, have we gone past our comfort zone to really be present to those in need, really aware of them as the face of Christ for us in this world?

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Reflections on this weeks feast and gospel reading

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours: psalter week 2; 34th week in ordinary time

November 23rd - St Columbanus (abbot and missionary)
November 24th - St Andrew Dung Lac and Companions (martyrs)
November 25th - St Colman of Cloyne ; also St Catherine of Alexandria
November 26th - Blessed James Alberione
November 27th - St Fergal
November 28th - Saint Catherine Laboure

Nov 19, 2015

Equality starts here


While people across the country clearly disagreed on the marriage referendum, this is an interesting video from supporters of same-sex marriage objecting to the campaign for abortion in Ireland.

This video was produced by a group of college students and friends, in response to the one-sided campaigns being waged by Student Union leaders and Amnesty Ireland against the 8th Amendment – Ireland’s Life Equality Amendment. We believe in equality for all, which our constitution upholds. University life should be about real debate, not censorship.