Tired of all the bad news

While we can't deny the difficulites for so many people at home and overseas, it's important to take account of the positives, and to spread the Good News. I don't know who said this but; "No-one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side." Blessings..

Friday, 25 May 2012

The Dublin Camino

The organisers of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress to be held very shortly here in Dublin have asked that a 'Pilgrim Walk' or 'Camino' be included as part of the Congress activities. Years ago in Dublin there was a tradition of 'Doing the Seven Churches' Simply put, people would visit seven city churches to pray for  a special intention. The congress organisers felt that this would be a good idea to resurrect this old practice.

During the week before the congress takes place, and during the week of the congress, pilgrims will be invited to visit the seven designated churches and to pray the congress prayer in each church.
Each pilgrim will be issued with a specially designed 'Pilgrim Passport' and each church has its own unique stamp in which to stamp the passports. The pilgrims will recieve a certificate on their completion of the pilgrimage.

Each church will be open from 8.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. (08.00 hrs to 20.00 hrs) beginning on June 2nd and continuing until June 17th, the last day of the congress. Each church will be staffed by Volunteer 'Pilgrim Ambassadors' who will give the pilgrims some information about the history of the church they are visiting and stamp their pilgrim passports. This is a little like the practice during the Camino of Santiago Di Compostella. The pilgrims don't have to visit all the churches in the one day but can visit them over a few days. Importantly though, they must finish their pilgrimage with a visit to St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral, the Dublin Diocesan Cathedral, the last church on the route. There they will get their final stamp and also a certificate of completion.  The pilgrimage route is not a long one as Dublin city centre is not very large and the weather, even in summer time will be pleasant. Hopefully it doesn't rain!

The Seven Churches;
St. Ann's Church, Dawson Street in Dublin 2. It is part of the Church of Ireland (Anglican Communion) and it is included to recognise our ecumenical relationship with our Church of Ireland sisters and brothers. One of St. Ann's many claims to fame is that Bram Stoker, Dubliner and Author of Dracula married Florence Balcombe here in December 1878.

The Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Whitefriar St, Dublin 2. A Carmelite (OCarm) Church, it is famous for containing the relics of the martyr St. Valentine. Couples from all over the world visit his shrine regularly and especially on February 14th (Valentine's Day)

The Church of St. Augustine and St. John (OSA) on St. Thomas' St, in Dublin 8. (Affectionately known to Dubliners as 'John's Lane Church) It boasts one of the tallest spires in Dublin.  The celebrated Stained glass artist Harry Clarke made some of the windows in John's Lane Church.

The Church of St. James, James's Street, Dublin 8. This church is directly connected with the Camino of Santiago. It is also famous as it is located right beside the famous Guinness's Brewery.

The Church of St. Mary of the Angels on Church St (ofm.cap.) Completed in 1881, although the Capuchins have been in the area for over 400 years, the church boasts a marble altar carved by James Pearse, the father of Padraig and Willie, two of the famous patriots of 1916. One of the notable ministeries of the Capuchins in Church St is Br. Kevin's Day Centre for Homeless which provides hot food (breakfast and dinner) for over 500 people per day. Also take away groceries for up to 1000 people on Wednesdays. There is a doctor/nurse/chiropodist/ counselling and soon a dental service at the centre

The Church of St. Michan on Halston St, Dublin 7 Situated in the famous 'Market's Area of north Dublin City centre, it is the oldest Catholic Church in the north city centre (built in 1817) The stained glass windows were made in the famous Harry Clarke studios. The pastoral care of the parish has been in the care of the Capuchin Order since 1984.

St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral, Marlborough St, Dublin 1 is the Mother Church of the Archdiocese and the seat of the Archbishop of Dublin.

Each of these Churches are perhaps some of the seven oldest churches in Dublin and have a special place in the hearts of all Dubliners and people beyond.  The International Eucharistic Congress begins on Sunday June 10th and concludes with the final Mass or the Statio Orbis in Croke Park stadium on Sunday, June 17th. The Pilgrims are invited to visit the seven churches from the week before (June 2nd to 17th) See www.iec2012.ie for more.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Bob Marley - Redemption Song Live In Dortmund, Germany

Light up the Darkness

'Bob Marley had this idea. It was kind of a virologist idea. He believed that you could cure racism and hate... literally cure it, by injecting music and love into people's lives. When he was scheduled to perform at a peace rally, a gunman came to his house and shot him down. Two days later he walked out on that stage and sang. When they asked him why - He said, "The people, who were trying to make this world worse... are not taking a day off. How can I? Light up the darkness."

(Paraphrasing a conversation taken from the Film 'I am Legend')

Saturday, 19 May 2012

"Preach the Gospel, if necessary, use words."

I've just been on Twitter and I see someone complaining about attending a catholic First Holy Communion ceremony. I thought it was a free country? Why do these people feel forced to go to these church events when they would clearly rather be elsewhere. Maybe its because they've a child making First Communion perhaps?

I wonder what it might be like to have a conversation in Ireland about what could happen if we take First Communion and Confirmation out of the schools system.  If parents want their children to make First Communion they come to the parish and there, along with the support of the parish, there is catechesis and the children are prepared to receive the Body of Christ.  One of the benefits of this is it could end the frenetic pressure on parents already hard-pressed to spend money on suits and dresses.  The ceremonies (which are very well prepared by great and hard-working teachers by the way) would be down-sized and their would be perhaps better attention on the Mass and the preparation of the children in receiving their First Eucharist.

Continually we are seeing in Ireland a critique of how power in society; politics, the banks, the church, etc. was misused over a long period of time. The church in Ireland is geting smaller in size. Small is beautiful. I remain spellbound by St. Francis as he knelt before the cross of San Damiano in the little ruined church down in the valley near Assisi. He was confused and afraid and praying for direction and he heard a voice inside; "Francis, go, repair my Church which, as you can see, is falling complectely into ruin." The message was clear. Initially, he begged for stones and mortar to literally rebuild the broken little church building. But as others came to see what he was doing, they were captivated by his freedom and joy. They too wanted to be part of the solution and not the problem. Still others came along. This was the beginning of the Franciscan movement. Soon, it would become apparent that the church was not so much to be repaired stone by stone with bricks and mortar, but with living stones. People.

Francis of Assisi was never interested in disobedience or publicly criticizing those in authority. He was too conscious of his own sinfulness. He preferred to humbly lead by example. "Preach the Gospel," he said, "if necessary use words." He was never interested in self-promotion or cynicism. He wanted to be always a 'lesser brother;' a frate minore. And that is why to this day in the Franciscan Order, we move from place to place and if we're called to serve in positions of responsibility it is only for the time being. 

I believe the life of St.Francis of Assisi has much to say to today's society. He was happy and joyful because he had nothing. His life was clutter-free so as he could have a direct and unimpeded line to God through Jesus Christ. His life was a prayer.  His life is a counter-witness to a society which raises up beauty on the outside which graces the pages of magazines and where inner moral beauty seldom gets a headline. His life is a counter-witness to those who seek power and control. His life is a counter-witness to the pursuit of fame and the limelight. He preferred to stay in the background and collaborate. His life is a counter-witness to a society that holds the most important word in the alphabet is 'I'

"Preach the Gospel, if necessary, use words."

Friday, 18 May 2012

John Paul II - Habemus Papam

Remembering Blessed Pope John Paul II on his birthday today (May 18th 1920)
(This Video uploaded to Youtube in 2006 by Disc0v3ry)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Donna Summer Mac Athur Park

Donna Summer sang this in her kitchen during the wash-up after dinner in N.Y. in the early 80's. One of our Capuchin Friars was there. She was related to a Friar who was with him in St. Bonaventure's University in upstate N.Y at the time. Rest in Peace Donna Summer.