Apr 18, 2014

Who stands at the foot of the Cross?

Who stands with you at the foot of the Cross? Are you willing to stand with others in their darkest moment?

 “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

― Henri J.M. Nouwen, Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life

Way of the Cross at the Colosseum led by Pope Francis

Rome, 18 April 2014 

“The Face of Christ,
the Face of Man”

MEDITATIONS by H.E. Msgr. Giancarlo Maria Bregantini,Archbishop of Campobasso-Boiano
He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth. These things occurred so that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “None of his bones shall be broken”. And again another passage of Scripture says: “They will look on the one whom they have pierced” (Jn 19:35-37).
Loving Jesus,
you went up to Golgotha without hesitation, in utter love,
and let yourself be crucified without complaint.
Lowly Son of Mary,
you shouldered the burden of our night
to show us the immense light
with which you wanted to fill our hearts.
In your suffering is our redemption;
in your tears we see “the hour”
when God’s gracious love is revealed.
In your final breath, as a man among men,
you lead us back, seven times forgiven,
to the heart of the Father,
and you show us, in your last words,
the path to the redemption of all our sorrows.
You, the Incarnate All, empty yourself on the cross,
understood only by her, your Mother,
who stood faithfully beneath that gibbet.
Your thirst is a wellspring of hope,
a hand extended even to the repentant thief,
who this day, thanks to you, enters paradise.
To all of us, crucified Lord Jesus,
grant your infinite mercy,
a fragrance of Bethany upon the world,
a cry of life for all humanity.
And at last, as we commend ourselves into the hands of your Father,
open unto us the doors of undying Life! Amen.

Jesus is condemned to death
Fingers pointed in accusation
Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again; but they kept shouting: “Crucify him, crucify him!” A third time he said to them: “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him”. But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts that he should be crucified; and their voices prevailed. So Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. He released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished (Lk 23:21-25).
Pilate, timid and afraid of the truth, fingers pointed in accusation, and the growing clamour of the raging crowd: these are the first stages in Jesus’ death. Innocent, like a lamb, whose blood saves his people. Jesus, who walked among us bringing healing and blessing, is now sentenced to capital punishment. Not a word of gratitude from the crowd, which instead chooses Barabbas. For Pilate, the case is an embarrassment. He hands it over to the crowd and washes his hands of it, concerned only for his own power. He delivers Jesus to be crucified. He wants to know nothing more of him. For Pilate, the case is closed.
Jesus’ hasty condemnation thus embraces the easy accusations, the superficial judgements of the crowd, the insinuations and the prejudices which harden hearts and create a culture of racism and exclusion, a throw-away culture of anonymous letters and vicious slanders. Once we are accused, our name is immediately splayed across the front page; once acquitted, it ends up on the last!
And what about us? Will we have a clear, upright and responsible conscience, one which never forsakes the innocent but courageously takes the side of the weak, resisting injustice and defending truth whenever it is violated?
Lord Jesus,
there are hands which give support and hands which sign wrongful sentences.
Grant that, sustained by your grace, we may cast no one aside.
Save us from slanders and lies.
Help us always to seek your truth,
to take the side of the weak,
and to accompany them on their journey.
Grant your light to all those appointed as judges in our courts,
that they may always render sentences that are just and true. Amen.

Jesus takes up his cross
The heavy wood of the cross
Jesus himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls (1 Pet 2:24-25).
The wood of the cross is heavy, for on it Jesus bears the sins of us all. He staggers under that burden, too great for one man alone (Jn 19:17).
It is also the burden of all those wrongs which created the economic crisis and its grave social consequences: job insecurity, unemployment, dismissals, an economy that rules rather than serves, financial speculation, suicide among business owners, corruption and usury, the loss of local industry.
This is the cross which weighs upon the world of labour, the injustice shouldered by workers. Jesus shoulders it himself and teaches us to reject injustice and to learn, with his help, to build bridges of solidarity and of hope, lest we be like sheep who have lost our way amid this crisis.
Let us return, then, to Christ, the shepherd and guardian of our souls. Let us strive, side by side, to provide work, to overcome our fears and our isolation, to recover a respect for political life and to work to resolve our problems together.
The cross will become lighter if carried with Jesus, and if all of us lift it together, for “by his wounds – which are now windows opening to his heart – we have been healed” (cf. 1 Pet 2:24).
Lord Jesus,
our night grows ever darker!
Poverty increases and becomes destitution.
We have no bread to give our children and our nets are empty.
Our future is uncertain. Provide the work we need.
Awaken in us a burning thirst for justice,
that our lives may not be a constant burden,
but lived in dignity! Amen.
Continue Reading the Reflections HERE.

Good Friday - Commemoration of the Lord's Passion - Rome


Pope Francis presided the celebration of the Passion of Our Lord in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome on Friday evening. The celebration of the Passion of Our Lord, also known as the Good Friday service, is the liturgy that recalls the crucifixion and death of Jesus.

By traditon, Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the papal household, preached the homily.

‘Judas was Standing with Them’ (Jn 18:5)
In the divine-human history of the passion of Jesus, there are many minor stories about men and women who entered into the ray of its light or its shadow. The most tragic one is that of Judas Iscariot. It is one of the few events attested with equal emphasis by each of the four Gospels and the rest of the New Testament. The early Christian community reflected a great deal on this incident and we would be remiss to do otherwise. It has much to tell us.
Judas was chosen from the very beginning to be one of the Twelve. In inserting his name in the list of apostles, the gospel-writer Luke says, “Judas Iscariot, who became (egeneto) a traitor” (Lk 6:16). Judas was thus not born a traitor and was not a traitor at the time Jesus chose him; he became a traitor! We are before one of the darkest dramas of human freedom.

Why did he become a traitor? Not so long ago, when the thesis of a “revolutionary Jesus” was in fashion, people tried to ascribe idealistic motivations to Judas’ action. Someone saw in his name “Iscariot” a corruption of sicariot, meaning that he belonged to a group of extremist zealots who used a kind of dagger (sica) against the Romans; others thought that Judas was disappointed in the way that Jesus was putting forward his concept of “the kingdom of God” and wanted to force his hand to act against the pagans on the political level as well. This is the Judas of the famous musical Jesus Christ Superstar and of other recent films and novels — a Judas who resembles another famous traitor to his benefactor, Brutus, who killed Julius Caesar to save the Roman Republic!

These are reconstructions to be respected when they have some literary or artistic value, but they have no historical basis whatsoever. The Gospels — the only reliable sources that we have about Judas’ character — speak of a more down-to-earth motive: money. Judas was entrusted with the group’s common purse; on the occasion of Jesus’ anointing in Bethany, Judas had protested against the waste of the precious perfumed ointment that Mary poured on Jesus’ feet, not because he was interested in the poor but, as John notes, “because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it” (Jn 12:6). His proposal to the chief priests is explicit: “‘What will you give me if I deliver him to you?’ And they paid him thirty pieces of silver” (Mt 26:15).

But why are people surprised at this explanation, finding it too banal? Has it not always been this way in history and is still this way today? Mammon, money, is not just one idol among many: it is the idol par excellence, literally “a molten god” (see Ex 34:17). And we know why that is the case. Who is objectively, if not subjectively (in fact, not in intentions), the true enemy, the rival to God, in this world? Satan? But no one decides to serve Satan without a motive. Whoever does it does so because they believe they will obtain some kind of power or temporal benefit from him. Jesus tells us clearly who the other master, the anti-God, is: “No one can serve two masters. . . . You cannot serve God and mammon” (Mt 6:24). Money is the “visible god” in contrast to the true God who is invisible.

Mammon is the anti-God because it creates an alternative spiritual universe; it shifts the purpose of the theological virtues. Faith, hope, and charity are no longer placed in God but in money. A sinister inversion of all values occurs. Scripture says, “All things are possible to him who believes” (Mk 9:23), but the world says, “All things are possible to him who has money.” And on a certain level, all the facts seem to bear that out.

“The love of money,” Scripture says, “is the root of all evil” (1 Tim 6:10). Behind every evil in our society is money, or at least money is also included there. It is the Molech we recall from the Bible to whom young boys and girls were sacrificed (see Jer 32:35) or the Aztec god for whom the daily sacrifice of a certain number of human hearts was required. What lies behind the drug enterprise that destroys so many human lives, behind the phenomenon of the mafia, behind political corruption, behind the manufacturing and sale of weapons, and even behind — what a horrible thing to mention — the sale of human organs removed from children? And the financial crisis that the world has gone through and that this country is still going through, is it not in large part due to the “cursed hunger for gold,” the auri sacra fames, on the part of some people? Judas began with taking money out of the common purse. Does this say anything to certain administrators of public funds?

But apart from these criminal ways of acquiring money, is it not also a scandal that some people earn salaries and collect pensions that are sometimes 100 times higher than those of the people who work for them and that they raise their voices to object when a proposal is put forward to reduce their salary for the sake of greater social justice?

In the 1970s and 1980s in Italy, in order to explain unexpected political reversals, hidden exercises of power, terrorism, and all kinds of mysteries that were troubling civilian life, people began to point to the quasi-mythical idea of the existence of “a big Old Man,” a shrewd and powerful figure who was pulling all the strings behind the curtain for goals known only to himself. This powerful “Old Man” really exists and is not a myth; his name is Money!

Like all idols, money is deceitful and lying: it promises security and instead takes it away; it promises freedom and instead destroys it. St. Francis of Assisi, with a severity that is untypical for him, describes the end of life of a person who has lived only to increase his “capital.” Death draws near, and the priest is summoned. He asks the dying man, “Do you want forgiveness for all your sins?” and he answers, “Yes.” The priest then asks, “Are you ready to make right the wrongs you did, restoring things you have defrauded others of?” The dying man responds, “I can’t.” “Why can’t you?” “Because I have already left everything in the hands of my relatives and friends.” And so he dies without repentance, and his body is barely cold when his relatives and friends say, “Damn him! He could have earned more money to leave us, but he didn’t.”

How many times these days have we had to think back again to the cry Jesus addressed to the rich man in the parable who had stored up endless riches and thought he was secure for the rest of his life: “Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” (Lk 12:20)

Continue reading HERE.

Good Friday - Bishop Brendan Leahy homily for the Commemoration of the Lord's Passion

The Crucified Christ RUBENS (1610-11) 
Commemoration of the Lord's Passion
Homily - Good Friday
Bishop Brendan Leahy
St John's Cathedral, Limerick
Jesus was harshly dealt with physically, but even more he experienced the collapse and loss of so many relationships. Judas betrayed him, Peter denied him, Pilate condemned him; the soldiers derided him.
In the end he had to let go even of those closest to him – Mary, his mother and John the Beloved Disciple. So many wounded relationships…

As the Limerick poet, Tadhg Gaelach Ó Suilleabháin put it, Jesus was “astray…from heaven, tormented in our midst in a way that cannot be estimated”. [“Ar fán… ó neamh…cráite trínne, i slí nach léir a mheas”.]

Yet he was wounded so that we might be healed.

He went through betrayal that we might discover fidelity.

He felt abandoned that we might have unity with God and one another.

He experienced darkness that we might have light.

Yes, he has entered into every sorrow and suffering, every wound, every sense of being astray. No matter what we go through he is there with us and in us, living our Cross with us and for us. 

To those who are despairing, he is hope.

To those who are lonely, he is company.

To those who experience violence, he is sanctuary.

To those who are divided and not reconciled, he is the source of unity.

Miserere Mei


Miserere, (full title: Miserere mei, Deus, Latin for "Have mercy on me, O God") by Italian composer Gregorio Allegri, is a setting of Psalm 51 (50) composed during the reign of Pope Urban VIII, probably during the 1630s, for use in the Sistine Chapel during matins, as part of the exclusive Tenebrae service on Holy Wednesday and Good Friday of Holy Week.

Have mercy upon me, O God, after Thy great goodness

According to the multitude of Thy mercies do away mine offences.

Wash me throughly from my wickedness: and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my faults: and my sin is ever before me.

Against Thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified in Thy saying, and clear when Thou art judged.

Behold, I was shapen in wickedness: and in sin hath my mother conceived me.

But lo, Thou requirest truth in the inward parts: and shalt make me to understand wisdom secretly.

Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Thou shalt make me hear of joy and gladness: that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice.

Turn Thy face from my sins: and put out all my misdeeds.

Make me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from Thy presence: and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

O give me the comfort of Thy help again: and stablish me with Thy free Spirit.

Then shall I teach Thy ways unto the wicked: and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.

Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, Thou that art the God of my health: and my tongue shall sing of Thy righteousness.

Thou shalt open my lips, O Lord: and my mouth shall shew Thy praise.

For Thou desirest no sacrifice, else would I give it Thee: but Thou delightest not in burnt-offerings.

The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, shalt Thou not despise.

O be favourable and gracious unto Sion: build Thou the walls of Jerusalem.

Then shalt Thou be pleased with the sacrifice of righteousness, with the burnt-offerings and oblations: then shall they offer young bullocks upon Thine altar.

Good Friday - Christus factus est - Christ was obedient unto death, even death on a cross

Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis. Propter quod et Deus exaltavit illum et dedit illi nomen, quod est super omne nomen.

Christ became obedient for our sakes unto death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name.

“See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted…Though harshly treated, he submitted and did not open his mouth; Like a lamb led to slaughter or a sheep silent before shearers, he did not open his mouth…But it was the Lord’s will to crush him with pain. By making his life as a reparation offering, he shall see his offspring, shall lengthen his days, and the Lord’s will shall be accomplished through him,” (Isaiah 52:13, 53:7,10).

“Holy Week challenges us to step outside ourselves so as to attend to the needs of others: those who long for a sympathetic ear, those in need of comfort or help. We should not simply remain in our own secure world, that of the ninety-nine sheep who never strayed from the fold, but we should go out, with Christ, in search of the one lost sheep, however far it may have wandered. Holy Week is not so much a time of sorrow, but rather a time to enter into Christ’s way of thinking and acting. It is a time of grace given us by the Lord so that we can move beyond a dull or mechanical way of living our faith, and instead open the doors of our hearts, our lives, our parishes, our movements or associations, going out in search of others so as to bring them the light and the joy of our faith in Christ.” - Pope Francis (General Audience March 27th 2013)

White Crucifixtion by Chagall - Source and further information HERE
"The imagery of the Crucifixion has become so familiar it no longer shocks. We look at our crucifixes and see the twisted body, hanging bloodied and bowed, pierced through with nails, crowned with thorns, and barely register the suffering. The historically-minded will tell you that the crown of thorns was added only in the thirteenth century, that the poignant twist of the body is not found before the ninth-century cross of Lothair, but these are mere details. It takes a Julian of Norwich, with her account of the drying of Christ’s flesh on Calvary, or his drops of blood the size of herring-scales, to make us connect our theology and our feelings. It was not always so." - iBenedictines - continue reading here.

You can view various depictions and reflections on the Crucifixion HERE.

Christ of St. John of the Cross (View of the crucified Christ from above) DALI (1951)

It was on the Friday that they ended it all.
Of course, they didn't do it one by one.
They weren't brave enough.
All the stones at the one time or no stones thrown at all.
They did it in crowds.... in crowds where you can feel safe
and lose yourself and shout things you would never shout
on your own, and do things you would never do if you felt
the camera was watching you.
It was a crowd in the church that did it,
and a crowd in the civil service that did it,
and a crowd in the street that did it,
and a crowd on the hill that did it.
And he said nothing.
He took the insults, the bruises, the spit on the face,
the thongs on the back, the curses in the ears.
He took the sight of his friends turning away,
running away.
And he said nothing.
He let them do their worst until their worst was done,
as on Friday they ended it all....
and would have finished themselves had he not cried,
"Father, forgive them all."
And the revolution began.

You can read our series of reflections on the Stations of the Cross below:

We adore you O Christ and we bless you
Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Good Friday is the mirror held up by Jesus so that we can see ourselves in all our stark reality, and then it turns us to that cross and to his eyes and we hear these words, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." That is us! And so we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. We see in that cross a love so amazing so divine that it loves us even when we turn away from it, or spurn it, or crucify it. There is no faith in Jesus without understanding that on the cross we see into the heart of God and find it filled with mercy for the sinner whoever he or she may be.

- Sr Louise PDDM

What shall I give you, Lord, in return for all Your kindness?
Glory to You for Your love.
Glory to You for Your mercy.
Glory to You for Your patience.
Glory to You for forgiving us all our sins.
Glory to You for coming to save our souls.
Glory to You for Your incarnation in the virgin's womb.
Glory to You for Your bonds.
Glory to You for receiving the cut of the lash.
Glory to You for accepting mockery.
Glory to You for Your crucifixion.
Glory to You for Your burial.
Glory to You for Your resurrection.
Glory to You who were preached to men and women.
Glory to You in whom they believed.
Glory to You who were taken up into heaven.
Glory to You who sit in great glory at the Father's right hand.
Glory to You whose will it is that the sinner should be saved through Your great mercy and compassion.

Ephraem of Syria (ca. 306-373


Stabat Mater dolorosa
Iuxta crucem lacrimosa
Dum pendebat Filius

Cuius animam gementem
Contristatam et dolentem
Pertransivit gladius

O quam tristis et afflicta
Fuit illa benedicta
Mater unigeniti!

Quae moerebat et dolebat,
Et tremebat cum videbat
Nati poenas incliti

Reflections from Phil at Blue Eyed Ennis for the Triduum

Homily of Bishop Brendan Leahy - Chrism Mass 2014

Chrism Mass,
St. Joseph’s Church, Limerick,
In a few moments, the priests who are present will be renewing their priestly promises. In doing so, they will recall their ordination day. In the past year I have enjoyed discovering on various occasions aspects of the life and ministry of the priests of this diocese. It has been like a game of placing tiles in a mosaic as I realise such and such a priest was in this or that parish years ago, or had established such and such an initiative, or has had this or that story in common with others. It has brought home to me again how each priest’s life is a world that would be difficult to capture in all its variety and depth of experience.

It is touching to see the affection people have for priests. How often I have been told that I am not to move Fr….  “You’re going to be leaving him here with us, won’t you…?”. The “won’t you” has various degrees of tone to it…  It is indeed a tribute to the priests of the diocese that there is such affection. I have been very impressed by how close people feel to them. Any public event I attend I meet people who very easily talk to me of priests they know and esteem.

Priests live as people “sent” by the Lord, as the First Reading and the Gospel put it. They have brought good news to the poor, they have bound up hearts that are broken. They have proclaimed the message of liberty. How many who are mourning have been comforted by priests! How much new sight has been communicated through Jesus’ teachings proclaimed week in, week out around the diocese! I want to express my profound gratitude to the priests of the diocese of Limerick.

This evening, in the context of renewing priestly promises, let’s take it as an occasion to savour those moments in the life and ministry of priests when we felt a particular closeness to God, those moments when the zeal of mission was especially alive for us. Spiritual teachers recommend that we re-visit those moments in order to rekindle the fire in our hearts.

But the renewal of promises is also about starting out again with renewed vigour and zeal. In doing so, let’s heed the words of Pope Francis in his letter, The Joy of the Gospel when he says, ‘Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the “peripheries” in need of the light of the Gospel’. For each of us, it’s a question and a stimulus – what are the peripheries to which I can reach out more?

Because we are called to be instruments of joy in the world. So many of our contemporaries are searching for happiness and joy and don’t know where to find it. I was at a youth gathering some weeks ago when someone quoted John Lennon: ‘When I was five years old my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy” and they told me I didn’t understand the assignment. I told them they didn’t understand life.’

Yes, people want happiness. And Pope Francis invites us to hear again the Gospel of Joy in our own lives and to communicate it generously. As he puts it, we have joy the more we stop trying to be in charge of ourselves and let ourselves be taken into the adventure of leaving security on the shore and becoming excited by the mission of communicating life and joy to others.

No one can deny that in the rapidly changing circumstances of today’s world, priests can find themselves buffeted by the various storms that arise in their ministry. We know only too well of how many innocent people have suffered terrible darkness because of clerical abuse. As I said on the day of my ordination and since then, at Masses celebrated for them, I want to make their pain my own and seek forgiveness seventy times seven. It is a deep wound for all of us.

And yet, despite the storms, research shows that most priests are profoundly fulfilled in their ministry. It’s a message we need to shout from the rooftops. Every life has its challenges but there is a joy that persists in following God also along the road of priesthood.

Our priestly vocation is, yes, to be without a specific family because of celibacy, but it is in order to be builders together of the bigger family of God and in that there is deep satisfaction and happiness. We need to let others know that in offering our humanity as a gift to the Risen Christ, he has extended our heart to a new fatherhood, a new spiritual paternity, a new universal love that the Second Reading points to. And that’s why we need not be afraid to appeal to young men who may feel this calling, to follow the vocation to be a priest. It is an adventure of life that can bring deep joy, a joy the world does not know.

So this evening, as we renew our priestly promises, let’s give witness to the hope that is within us. We have been called and anointed with a mission. Jesus Christ “loves us and washes away our sins” as the Second Reading tells us. It is in the Crucified, pierced Christ that we find our deepest inspiration. He reached all the peripheries of existence and from there generated the Church.

The Risen Christ, the Alpha and Omega of history, invites us too in this moment of history to renew the gift of our humanity to him so that today too he may reach the peripheries through our reaching out and our closeness to others as well as our compassion and perseverance.

Let’s be thankful for our vocation, and in a spirit of gratitude, renew our priestly promises, knowing that we have a mother, Mary, who will pray that our promises may be ratified in heaven.

Holy Thursday - Mass of the Lord's Supper

Holy Thursday night; the Church recalls the Last Supper and the institution of the priesthood and the Eucharist. It is the first night of the Sacred Triduum as we enter into the hourly recollection of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Vatican Radio:
In a gesture of humility and service, and in imitation of Christ, Pope Francis put on an apron and knelt down to wash the feet of 12 patients at a long-term care facility, during the Missa In Coena Domini, or the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, on Thursday evening.

Visibly fatigued and requiring assistance to kneel and stand up again as he came close to the end of the rite, Pope Francis conveyed tenderness and concern for each person, pouring water on each person’s foot, then drying it and kissing it, before offering a loving gaze, sometimes reciprocated, depending on each person’s state of health. The patients ranged in age from 16 to 86, and all suffer from a variety disabilities. All of them are Italian (though three were of a different ethnic origin), including one Muslim man.  
The Mass was celebrated in Italian in the chapel of the Santa Maria della Provvidenza Centre, one of more than two dozen healthcare facilities, run by the Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation. It reflected the character of the healthcare centre and of the local Christian community, with the centre’s usual Sunday choir, consisting of patients, volunteers and staff, singing popular Italian hymns. Many of the centre’s patients sat in their wheelchairs in the front rows of the assembly.

The Mass, which recalls Christ’s last Passover meal with this Apostles, his washing of their feet in a gesture of service, and the institution of the Eucharist, begins the Easter Triduum.

The Pope’s selection of the location and his gesture of washing the feet of 12 people with disability was intended to underline the forms of fragility, in which the Christian community is called to recognize the suffering Christ and to which it must devote attention, solidarity and charity.

In his brief homily, the Pope recalled that God made himself a servant in Christ and that this is the inheritance of all believers. Christ came to love and his followers, in turn, “need to be servants in love”.

Speaking extemporaneously, he said to wash the feet of another was, in Jesus’ time, the task of the slave or the servant of the house. In executing this gesture, Jesus tells his followers that they are called to be servants to each other.

“Everyone here must think of others… and how we can serve others better,” he said.

At the end of the Mass, the Pope carried the Blessed Sacrament to an Altar of Repose. He remained there in prayer until the end of the Pange Lingue hymn, after which he processed out of the chapel in the usual silence with which the Holy Thursday evening liturgy concludes.

This is the second year the Pope celebrates the Mass of the Lord’s Last Supper among a group of people usually marginalized by society. Last year, the Pope celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Last Supper at a youth detention centre.
Rome Reports:

Vatican Radio

Pope Francis preached an extemporaneous homily during the celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which was held at S. Maria della Provvidenza, a rehabilitation and long-term care facility in the suburbs of Rome. The following is an English translation of Pope Francis’ reflections on the Lord’s loving act of service, an act which the Pope himself imitated later in the Mass, kneeling down to wash the feet of twelve patients of the centre.
We have heard what Jesus did at the Last Supper: It is a gesture of farewell. He is God and He makes Himself a servant, our servant. It is like an inheritance. You also must be servants of one another. He crossed this path by love. Also you must love each other and be servants in Love. This is the inheritance that Jesus leaves us. And He makes this gesture of washing feet, which is a symbolic act. The slaves performed this, the servants at the meals for the people who came to dine because at that time the streets were made of dirt, and when they entered in a house it was necessary to wash one’s feet. And Jesus made performed this action, a work, a service of a slave, of a servant. And this He leaves like an inheritance amongst us. We must be servants of each other.  
And for this reason, the Church, today, commemorates the Last Supper when Jesus instituted the Eucharist, also—in the ceremony—performs the action of the washing of the feet, which reminds us that we must be servants of one another. Now I will perform this act, but all of us, in our hearts, let us think of others and think in the love that Jesus tells us that we have to have for the others and let us consider also how we can serve better, other people. Because Jesus wanted it this way amongst us

Apr 17, 2014

Holy Thursday - Chrism Mass - UPDATED

Vatican Radio

In a series of reflections, the Secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, Archbishop Arthur Roche, walks Vatican Radio through the Holy Week liturgies, explaining their significance, symbolism and place within the history of Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection.

He begins with the Chrism Mass, the first of the liturgies Holy Thursday morning, that leads us towards Easter.

You can listen to the report from Vatican Radio HERE.


Limerick's diocesan Chrism Mass was held on Wednesday night in St Joseph's Church in Limerick which was + Brendan's first Chrism Mass as bishop of the diocese.

The Chrism Mass for the diocese of Rome presided over by Pope Francis is being held in St Peter's Basilica this morning and you can watch a live stream HERE.

You can learn more about the Chrism Mass here, here and here


On Holy Thursday, Pope Francis celebrated the Chrism Mass, where he blessed the Holy Oils used in the several Sacraments, including the ordination of priests. This particular moment was the theme of his homily. The Pope said that, upon their ordination, all priests are anointed with the "oil of joy.”

"Priestly joy is a priceless treasure, not only for the priest himself but for the entire people of God: those faithful for which the priest is called to be anointed, and which he, in turn, is sent to anoint.”

In defining what priestly joy is, the Pope listed three main points. The first is that it comes from deep within, from the moment priests are ordained and anointed with holy oil. The second is that joy is never-ending, and can also be renewed. The third point, he said, is that priestly joy is missionary at heart.

"Our anointing is done to anoint God’s holy and faithful people: for baptizing and confirming them, healing and sanctifying them, blessing, comforting and evangelizing them.”

Pope Francis said this connection between a priest and his flock is essential. And that in times of boredom or sadness, a priest can find joy within his congregation. He referred to it as a "protected joy,” guarded by the congregation, and by its "sisters”: poverty, loyalty and obedience.

A priest is materially poor, the Pope explained, so instead he seeks joy in God, and his people. But in order to do so, he asked them to "go out” from themselves, and among the people of God, who gives the priests purpose and identity.

"If you don't go out from yourself, the holy oil grows rancid and the anointing cannot be fruitful. Going out from ourselves presupposes self-denial; it means poverty.”

The Pope added that priests must also be loyal to the "living Church,” made up of his "spiritual children,” which include the children he's baptized, the sick he's tended to, and the people he helps.

He also stressed the obedience all priests must have to the Church, but especially the Church's mission to be there, with arms open, for all.

"Wherever God’s people have desires or needs, there is the priest, who knows how to listen and feels a loving mandate from Christ, who sends him to relieve that need with mercy or to encourage those good desires with resourceful charity.”

To conclude his homily, Pope Francis called on Christ to preserve the joy of newly ordained priest, to confirm the joy of experienced priests, and make better known the joy of elderly priests.

You can read the full text of Pope Francis homily HERE.

Apr 16, 2014

A Reminder about that Trocaire Box (and how much the people of Limerick diocese have contributed to Trocaire (2010-2013))

SS102fm is always happy to support the great work that Trocaire does and help promote the Trocaire Lenten campaign. We had a programme about the 2014 Lenten campaign on 23rd March 2014 where Noirin Lynch came on the programme to tell us about it and you can listen to it HERE.

Just a reminder for you to take your Trocaire box to your local parish and ensure you contribute to their great work. All donations through parishes in Limerick are remitted directly to Trocaire.

From 2010 to 2013, the Limerick Diocesan Central Office remitted the following amounts collected from parishes around the diocese to Trocaire. This doesn't include any amounts that may have been donated directly by parishes, organisations, religious communities or individuals.
  • Trocaire Lenten campaign 2010 - 2013 €885,000
  • Trocaire Disaster Appeals 2010 - 2013 €516,000
That makes a total of €1,401,000 donated by the people of Limerick diocese!!

If you wish to make a donation to Trocaire directly please go HERE.

Apr 14, 2014

Ad multos annos + Brendán Leahy

Today is the annivesary of the episcopal consecration of Bishop Brendán Leahy of Limerick in St John's Cathedral in 2013.


You can read back on SS102fm's coverage of the event HERE and HERE.

You can check out the diocese's photo album of the event HERE.

And to + Brendán, every blessing and best wish as you continue in your ministry as Bishop of Limerick.

Good Friday Collection in solidarity with Church in Holy Land

(Vatican Radio)

Parishes around the world this week will be taking up the traditional annual Good Friday Collection for the Church in the Holy Land.The proceeds from the Good Friday Collection go to the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. The Franciscans have been caring for the holy sites there since 1209. They also assist the poor, run schools, provide scholarships, and conduct pastoral ministries to keep Christianity alive in the land where it originated.

In his appeal to Catholics to donate generously this Good Friday, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, said “The Collection is still today the principal source which sustains the life and works of the region’s Christians.”

Cardinal Sandri described the current situation in the region, particularly the conflict in Syria, tensions in Egypt and between Israel and Palestine as “truly precarious.”

“Every day the Christians in various regions of the Middle East ask themselves whether they should remain or emigrate,” he noted. “They live in danger and often suffer violence only for the fact of professing the faith common to them and us.” The Collection helps Christians of many different denominations remain in the region as living witnesses to Christ.

A quick look at these Franciscan websites gives an idea about the kinds of services the Good Friday Collection helps provide: www.myfranciscan.org or www.custodia.org.

Social & Charitable Activities
In order to assist Christians to remain in the Holy Land, including the poor and young couples, the Franciscan Custody has built more than a thousand residential units in multiple locations – Bethlehem, Bethphage and Nazareth. In the Old City of Jerusalem about 80 homes have been rehabilitated for Christian families. Senior Care facilities have been built in Bethlehem and Nazareth. Medical assistance is provided for the needy.

Educational & Scientific Activities

To help over 10,000 pre-K through grade 12 students, the Franciscans operate and support schools open to all, regardless of religion or nationality. Muslim and Christian students, teachers and families get to know each other and live in harmony. University scholarships for 360 students prepare them to get jobs and remain in the Holy Land as part of living Catholic communities. Some 120 young men are preparing to be priests or brothers. Still others are pursuing advanced degrees in Biblical Studies and Archaeology and Theology. Franciscan archaeologists pursue ongoing research at the Holy Places including the new projects at Magdala, the home of St. Mary Magdalene.

Pastoral Activities

The Franciscans provide pastoral care in 29 parishes in the Holy Land offering Worship, Christian Formation, youth and family programs and new parish centers in Jericho and Cana.

Liturgical, Ecumenical and Communications Programs

The Franciscan Media Center tells the story of the Holy Land through multimedia distributed throughout the world in more than seven languages. The friars organize Liturgical Celebrations for the local Christians and Pilgrims and share with other Christian communities in the Holy Land in ongoing Ecumenical cooperation.