The Sacred Heart
August 2020 €2.00/£1.85
A modern message in a much-loved tradition
The Maritime World ISiobhán O’Keeffe SHJM Where is God? I Gerry O’Hanlon SJ In Conversation with Elena Tice I John Scally Raking the Fire I Kevin O’Rourke SJ August Garden I Helen Dillon
contents 04 From the Editor
More Than a Job Donal Neary SJ
05 Pope’s Intention
The Maritime World
Siobhán O’Keeffe SHJM
07 Letters of St Paul
Paul’s Theology of the Cross
Wilfrid Harrington OP
10 Tipling, Nepal:
Five Years Later
Samuel Simmick SJ
12 Raking the Fire
Kevin O’Rourke SJ
14 Climate Crisis
Peter McVerry SJ
of Christian Art The Coronation of the Virgin Eileen Kane
20 Soft Gaze
Gavin T Murphy
22 Places of Worship
25 Notes from
Jerusalem Conmen and Joggers
28 Our Moral Compass
31 A Wondrous Mix
32 Marian Chocolate
34 Sources of Joy
36 Dealing with Fear
Nikolaas Sintobin SJ
Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Foxrock
Seafood Chowder & Brown Scones Seamus Buckley
42 Young Readers’
44 Keeping the Faith
In Conversation with Elena Tice John Scally
46 Young People
of Faith Chiara Corbella Petrillo
August Garden Helen Dillon
51 Where is God?
Gerry O’Hanlon SJ
54 Subscription 55 Calendar 56 Reflection Cover: Bantry, Ireland Phil Darby @ Shutterstock.com
wide Netwo d l r r
ship of Pr
THE SACRED HEART MESSENGER incorporating the Pope’s Worldwide Network of Prayer (Apostleship of Prayer).
ADDRESS: Messenger Publications 37 Leeson Place, Dublin, D02 E5V0, Ireland. Phone: 00 353 1 7758524 or 00 353 1 676 7491 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.messenger.ie
Pope’s Intention (universal): We pray for all those who work and live from the sea, especially sailors, fishermen and their families.
BUSINESS LETTERS TO: The Manager
With Jesus in the Morning Heavenly Father, I begin this day immersed in your loving and merciful gaze. Help me to offer you my works, joys and sufferings this day. May the Holy Spirit open my heart to the needs of others, especially the Pope’s monthly intention. Hail Mary ...
EDITOR: Donal Neary SJ
With Jesus in the Night Dear God, Thank you for having given me this day. I call to mind the moments that I am grateful for now. Though there were failings on my part today, I did my best. Please forgive me the wrongs I committed today. As I end this day, please hold in your loving arms all my family and friends. I unite myself with the suffering of all who are ill or oppressed tonight. Entrust them into your loving arms also. If I am to have tomorrow, strengthen me so I can be a presence of your love, joy and mercy in the world.
IMPRIMI POTEST: † Diarmuid, Archbishop of Dublin
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From the Editor
At eighty-seven years of age, Fr Matt (not his real name) has been a diocesan priest for over sixty-three years. He has been living in a large, sprawling urban parish for twenty-one years, where he retired at seventy-five, and he loves it. Recently, I asked him what he was doing now. Though he is in excellent health, I would have expected him to be mostly retired, enjoying his hobbies and his memories, and maybe doing some light pastoral work in the parish. His answer still amazes me! Apart from writing a new book, his third in a few years, he says a daily Mass in the parish, at least two at the weekend and every third Sunday he preaches at five Masses, and visits the sick and housebound in his area with a ‘younger assistant’ of over seventy! As Matt says, ‘we promised to give our all!’ Indeed he does! That’s something about vocation. It’s more than a job for him, and always was. In a life where he enjoyed travel, reading, friendship and conversation, he has not lost sight of the core of his life and being. Many are like him, not only priests. 4
To enjoy the core of our life’s calling is a huge consolation, as St Ignatius would call it. It’s what gives meaning and joy to so many husbands and wives, to life-long partners, to family carers and to grandparents often of a similar age to Matt. It is the difference between vocation and a job. The commitment of healthcare workers, teachers, school and health chaplains, service providers of all sorts during the COVID-19 crisis came from a core commitment to the common good, and to love and service. Matt highlights something of the meaning of priesthood and its call, of service and love, of joy and commitment. Like all who live like that, he has a sense of humour, one of Pope Francis’s conditions for holiness. While I hope that many will follow him as priests, I take the example of his life as being wider than any one way of following one’s core calling. It is a spur and encouragement to all of us to live out our vocation. As a young seventy-five years old, I hope I can be such if I live to eighty-seven! Donal Neary SJ
mikemike10 © Shutterstock.com
More Than a Job
The Maritime World Siobhán O’Keeffe SHJM, author of I Am with You Always (Messenger Publications), reflects on the often undervalued and unrecognised work of those in the fishing and transport industry. Sr O’Keeffe currently works in community palliative care ministry.
John Wollwerth © Shutterstock.com
Pope’s Intention (Universal): We pray for all those who work and live from the sea, especially sailors, fishermen and their families. ‘God called the dry land “earth” and the mass of waters “seas” and God saw that it was good’ (Gen 1:9). The beauty of the oceans surround our world, providing livelihoods for millions of people. Seafaring is a way of life for whole communities, providing employment, friendship and a deep sense of self-worth, as seafarers recognise the invaluable
contribution that they make to all of society. A hidden workforce, who risk their lives to provide our food and essential supplies, leaving us at risk of not appreciating the challenges they face on our behalf on a daily basis. Men and women leave their homes for many months at a time to navigate the oceans to complete their mission of delivering cargo for industry, healthcare and homemaking to our shores (Mt 8:23–27). The scriptures remind us that like Simon, many 5
fishermen often work all night and catch nothing (Lk 5:4), leaving them vulnerable to reduced income or poverty. Recent Brexit negotiations reminded us that the welfare and future of the fishing industry was a key point for ratification for some member states. It was sobering to witness fishermen on the verge of tears as they threw fish back into the ocean as their quota was exceeded, while neighbouring countries were allowed higher quotas in their waters. These good men felt powerless to change this harsh reality. Many of the world’s seafarers come from poorer countries where alternative employment options may be limited. Securing a position on a ship may seem like the way out of poverty or offer the young person the opportunity to realise their dream of ‘seeing the world’. A harsh reality often awaits the person when they are at risk from cruel seas and exploitation. In some circumstances seafarers do not receive good quality food, rest breaks or adequate medical cover. The constant drone of the engine or unhealthy ship fumes can negatively impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of the person. Wages may be withheld or terms of employment changed without due consideration for the employee or family. A key challenge that many seafarers endure is a deep loneliness as they are away from their homes and families for many months at a time. 6
The stay-at-home parent is left without the supportive presence of a partner, and may struggle with the pressure of raising a family alone. The absent parent misses out on the joys of family life – they are not there to witness key milestones of their children’s lives or to support their partner through the daily challenges of parenting. Children often experience deep loneliness that their young friends may not understand or teachers recognise – relationships and academic performance may suffer. Into a sea of suffering, a wave of hope is offered as we acknowledge and give thanks for all that is being done to protect and support seafarers and their families. ‘The Maritime Labour Convention 2006 is an international labour convention adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO). It provides international standards for the world’s first genuinely global industry’. This was implemented in August 2013. The ministry of port chaplains and seafarers centres offer a place of refuge, safety and relaxation for seafarers when ships are docked in port. Here people may rest, use the internet, go shopping, seek medical advice or attend local church services while on shore. Port chaplains and ship visitors provide spiritual support, religious services and companionship. May the Lord who called fishermen (Mt 4:18-22) bless and protect all who serve on the seas. We offer them our gratitude.
Pope’s Intentions Letters of St Paul Feature
Paul’s Theology of the Cross Continuing his series on the letters of St Paul, Fr Wilfrid Harrington OP turns to the first three chapters of Romans. He explores St Paul’s ‘theology of the cross’, which shows God’s wisdom to lie in the absurdity of the cross. The opening three chapters of Romans dramatically portray a human world estranged from God. The tyrant Sin (sin personified) had got a firm grip on sarx (‘flesh’), the human condition of weakness. Paradoxically, this weakness is the fatal human illusion of independence, of being able to go it alone. That was the first human sin recorded in scripture: humankind tried to snatch at the wisdom that could only be a gift from God (Gen 3:1–7). That striving for autonomy was disastrous because humankind cannot make it without God. All very paternalistic, unless one knows the God Paul is talking about. God is the God of foolishness and scandal, the God whose wisdom is seen in the absurdity of the cross. Acceptance of humanness is acknowledgment of our creaturehood – acknowledgment that God is creator and that we are creatures. Creator and creature would seem to have overtones of master and servant except for the character of this God
of ours. He is the God who displays his power in the cross. He is the God who has called his human creatures to be his children. It is in face of this and only in face of this, that God puts in his claim. It is in face of this that a human striving for autonomy is selfdefeating. Paul was keenly aware of the difficulty of preaching the cross. ‘We proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles’ (1 Cor 1:22). How unacceptable for a Jew to see the Messiah in one whom God had abandoned to a shameful death! As for the non-Jew, it was asking too much to recognise a saviour in that same helpless figure. Paul will not compromise. He wants to know nothing ‘except Christ and him crucified’ (1 Cor 2:2) because it was just there he had come to recognise the power and the wisdom of God (see I Cor 1:24–25). Nor does Paul view the resurrection as a ‘saving operation’. He would not draw a veil over the scandal of the cross. ‘Theology of the cross’ sounds
Pope’s Letters Intentions of St Paul grim. Yet, theology of the cross, as proclaimed by Paul, is positive and full of hope. That is because the startingpoint is the graciousness of God or, as he terms it, the ‘foolishness’ of God. The foolishness of God, expressed in the cross of Jesus, shows God’s commitment to humankind. He is indeed a God bent on the salvation of humankind. The wisdom of the ‘foolish’ God was demonstrated on the cross. Where is God? The God absent to human eyes was most present at Calvary. A God of paradox, surprising us, a God displaying God’s power. The wisdom is the saving will and saving power of God. The saving power is reconciliation. The cross shows a helpless Jesus wholly turned to God – humanness wholly open to God. The cross shows Jesus as, radically, Son of God and humans as children of God. The cross shows the earnestness of a gracious God, shows that there is no limit to his desire to win humankind to himself. He is a God ‘who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us’ (Rom 8:32). In the cross he has put in his claim – his call for our surrender to his parental love. The noun ‘reconciliation’ and the verb ‘to reconcile’ are found in the New Testament only in the Pauline writings. As Paul employs the terms they, in effect, mean ‘to have been brought into friendship with God and the bringing of others into that state of friendship’. The key texts are 2 Corinthians 5:18–21 and Romans 5:10–11. Reconciliation is, strictly speaking, God’s deed, but ‘if all this is 8
from God’, it is accomplished ‘through Christ’ (2 Cor 5:18). The saving aspect is affirmed, startingly, in v. 21 – ‘For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God’. Christ takes our place and represents us sinners, and by his death – a deed of sheer love – brings us into friendship with God. The imagery presupposed a state of hostility between God and humankind (Rom 5:10). God, the injured party, actively seeks reconciliation. The achievement of this reconciliation is through the cross.
to sustain a certain cult of suffering. Assuredly, this is not what Paul is about. The cross has been used to condone injustice and oppression: suffering is privilege and marks one as more conformed to Christ. It is true that suffering can be purifying and ennobling, but it can equally well be soul-destroying. Indeed, the cross should lead to a lessening of the burden of human suffering. Salvation means that we at last become fully human, truly children of God. To the extent that true humanness becomes a reality in our world, to that extent injustice and oppression will cease. 9
Illustration: Brendan McCarthy
And God reconciles in not counting the trespasses of humans against them. God’s forgiveness is absolute. ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself’. Where Jesus is, there is God; and God is God for us. Christ Jesus was the means of reconciliation by his death. In the person of the Son God took upon God’s own self all the suffering of the world and, by absorbing it, put it out of commission. Evil can ultimately be overcome only by love. Paul’s theology of the cross is good news indeed. It should never be used to rationalise suffering, nor
Tipling, Nepal: Five Years Later In a secluded area of Nepal lies the village of Tipling, where the Jesuits of Nepal established their first mission outside of Kathmandu. In 2015, twin earthquakes devastated Nepal. Samuel Simmick SJ looks back on the Jesuit response to these disasters.
When the twin earthquakes shook Nepal, I was in the thick of them both. On 25 April 2015, when the first quake hit, it was just before midday, and I was having a hot cup of tea in a place called Tarkerabari. I was with a few faithful from the Tipling Mission, where I was working at that time. And when, on 12 May, the second quake hit, I was in Tipling, in the centre of relief and rehabilitation work, making our plans for future courses of action. After the first devastating quake, of 7.8 magnitude, it took me almost two weeks to reach the mission. The roads and the treks we had used had been destroyed in landslides. We could only reach the mission by helicopter or by risking our life walking through the falling stones. I took the first option and arranged a helicopter with the relief materials and reached the village mission. The state of the village was devastating; our rented house had collapsed. Fr 10
Norbert D’Souza, my companion at the mission, was living in a tattered tent and giving spiritual, psychological and physical support to the affected villagers. The Jesuits of Nepal made a longterm commitment to help those affected by establishing Nepal Jesuit Social Institute (NJSI) with the slogan of ‘Reaching the Unreached’. The aim of the institute was to go where no one was able to go and help. Initially, since the Nepali government adopted a ‘one-door policy’ for supporting the survivors (a policy under which all aid had to be distributed in co-ordination with Nepali authorities), it was difficult to work with the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) of Nepal. We thought
it would be better to intervene in public education, since so much damage had been done to publicschool buildings. We quickly moved to various areas where no one had reached; with support in the process, we established our presence and started our support in eleven earthquake-affected districts. First, we had to support the students and teachers with stationery, school uniforms and teaching materials. Soon we started supporting the schools with Temporary Learning Centres (TLCs), so that the children could have a proper shelter during rain, hot sun or in cold winter. The task was not easy, but a small group of dedicated staff made it possible to reach out to those places where
no one would dare to visit. The conditions of roads were so bad that very often vehicles with construction materials could not reach their destination; we needed porters or mules to transport the goods, which delayed the work and made it very expensive. However, with the support of generous donors from Jesuit networks and other agencies, the villagers, government agencies and our dedicated staff, we had intervened in almost eighty-eight public schools by the end of February 2016. We were also involved in the training of public-school teachers, in supporting women and in the construction of shelters and provision of livelihood-skills training. 11
Raking the Fire Kevin O’Rourke SJ, assistant director of novices at the Jesuit novitiate in Birmingham, reflects on his childhood experience of school, and of the comforting turf fires that for him act as a metaphor for memory. My first school had only one classroom. My father had the big boys and girls at one end, and Mrs McCormack had the little ones at the other end. Probably no more than fifty or sixty in total. A turf fire burned at each end, making the place cosy and comfortable. Then came the ‘new school’ with two classrooms, each with its own turf fire. We didn’t have to bring sods of turf to school, because a load would be delivered from the Bog of Allen in September. At the end of the day, one of us would be given the job of ‘raking the fire’. That meant putting the still burning pieces of turf into a pile in the centre of the fireplace and covering them with the ashes. The small shovel made a muffled sound as the raking and scraping progressed. Next morning the process would be reversed. The red-hot pieces of turf that survived the night would be separated from the ashes with a tongs, brought together and surrounded by twigs and small pieces of turf. When these caught fire, larger sods would be added and in no time 12
the classroom would be as snug as could be. There is a message for us here as people of faith. Sometimes we might feel lukewarm or even cool in our faith. What once burned brightly and gave comfort, security and warmth, can seem but a memory. More ashes than energy. But there is more to memory than meets the eye. Going down memory lane can be life-giving. Think about looking at old photographs or reminiscing with family members or friends. Something comes alive again. For the Jewish people, to remember is to make something present again. During the celebration of the Feast of Passover, the youngest child in the
John Wollwerth © Shutterstock.com
Image by lensmen © Shutterstock.com
The small shovel made a muffled sound as the raking and scraping progressed.
house asks, ‘Why is this night different from all other nights?’ There follows the account of the Exodus of the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt. In the recounting, what happened in the past is made present again. We do the same when we celebrate Mass. When we listen to the Word of God in the readings, He is present with us. When we follow Jesus invitation to ‘Do this in memory of me’, when we remember and re-tell the events of the Last Supper, he becomes really present with us in the Eucharist. In the same way, by rekindling buried sparks of memory, our faith can be brought to greater life again. If the fire of our faith has not burned too brightly, or if the ashes
are predominant, we can surely find precious memories beneath the ashes, even after dark nights. Taken separately, they might not give too much energy, but taken together, reflected on and re-lived, they can become a warm fire. Memories like these can become the joyful mysteries of our lives. They might be about people who have loved us, challenges we have faced, good we have done, blessings we have received. The list is endless. We just need to take time to savour them. There is a quotation I like that goes like this: ‘And if we look with honest eyes, beneath the surface of our lives, in time we’ll come to know, that all we have is gift’. How true! 13
Climate Crisis Peter McVerry SJ, noted campaigner on homelessness, reflects on how, during the COVID-19 crisis, we have rediscovered our sense of common purpose. Could this sense of a common purpose be required again, for crises to come? If only we had seen it coming, but there were no warning signs. COVID-19 hit the world like a nuclear bomb. It brought the global economy to its knees, and transformed our daily lives and restricted our movements. Towards the end of March, one third of the world’s population was on lockdown. It has, of course, hit poorer nations the hardest, where health services are inadequate – or even non-existent – and where poverty, hunger, war, overcrowding and inadequate sanitation have already ravaged peoples’ health. If only we had seen it coming. We could have produced in advance the test kits, the protective equipment, the ventilators, and built the extra hospitals that were needed. We could have introduced social isolation and safe spacing before the virus even took hold. We could have prevented the worst effects of the virus. But because the virus attacked so suddenly, there was little time to prepare, and even when it began to infect people, we had no idea of the extent of the damage and devastation that it was going to cause. Some were hit harder than others: reduced income, loss of employment, business failures, but no one was spared. It was a pandemic, the likes of which only 14
come once in a hundred years. We realised during the course of this virus that the only protection against it was to rediscover our sense of common purpose, which we had lost. We were all in this together. Everyone, without exception, had to play their part: social distancing, washing hands frequently, social isolation when necessary. Those who failed to play their part put themselves and everyone else at risk. Because we didn’t see it coming, the failure of our leaders to take precautionary actions cannot be faulted. When they took the necessary actions, all they could do was to try and mitigate the damage as best they could. But there is another crisis, even more deadly and devastating, coming down the road and we can see it coming. We have about ten years left, at most, to prepare for it. There is no excuse for not taking the actions now that can prevent its worst effects. This crisis is climate change. Like the virus, climate change, if not addressed in advance, will bring the world economy to its knees and transform our daily lives and routine. It too will hit the poorest nations the hardest. Small, low-lying, island nations will disappear. Hunger in many nations will increase as crops can no
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longer grow. The number of refugees seeking food and shelter in wealthier countries will increase. None of us will be spared. Like the wind before the storm, the world is already beginning to experience its destructive effects â&#x20AC;&#x201C; bush fires, floods, drought, storms and extreme temperatures. Climate change is like no other disaster that has ever occurred in human history. There is no precedent from which we can learn. However, we can see it coming very clearly. We can prepare. Some of our leaders, however, are in denial, others are hoping, without any evidence, that technological advances will make it go away, and many others, because they do not want to alienate some of their supporters, refuse to take the
radical actions now that can prevent it. History will rightly blame them for what is going to happen. We look to our leaders for a national and global response, but everyone, without exception, has to play their part. Reducing our carbon footprint, using public transport, cycling or walking instead of getting into the car, reducing our electricity and gas consumption, and reducing waste are the responsibility of all of us. Those who fail to play their part are putting themselves and everyone else at risk. It is coming, maybe even faster than we think. COVID-19 taught us the need for a common purpose. We now, again, need that sense of common purpose to confront the coming climate crisis. 15
Masterpieces of Christian Art
The Coronation of the Virgin by Enguerrand Quarton (c.1410–1466)
This month, Eileen Kane turns her expert eye to a Carthusian monastery in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, in the south of France. This monastery is home to the Coronation of the Virgin, a masterpiece of Christian art not well known outside of France. The Coronation of the Virgin, by Enguerrand Quarton, is not nearly as well known outside of France as it deserves to be. It is a splendid painting, a masterpiece not only of the School of Avignon, but of French painting as a whole. It is also particularly interesting, historically. First, it is one of the rare works of art from the mediaeval period in Avignon to have survived the destruction wrought during the religious wars of the sixteenth century and in the aftermath of the 1789 French Revolution. Secondly, not only does the contract for it survive, giving the names of the painter and of the patron, the place for which it was intended and the exact date by which it must be finished, but so does a detailed list, agreed between artist and patron, of all the items of subject matter it should contain. We know, therefore, that, in April 1453, the painter Enguerrand Quarton, living in Avignon, contracted with Jean de Montagnac, a priest of Saint-Agricol in Avignon, to make an altarpiece for the altar ‘of the Holy City’ in the church of the Carthusian monastery of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. He would 16
be paid 120 florins, and was to work on it for one year, beginning on the forthcoming feast day of St Michael (29 September). It was to be finished and put in place, therefore, in the autumn of 1454. ‘First of all’, the contract stipulates, ‘there must be paradise, and in that paradise there must be the Holy Trinity; and between the Father and the Son there must be no difference; and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove; and Our Lady in front, in the way that seems best to Master Enguerrand; and the Holy Trinity will place the crown on the head of the said Our Lady’. That is precisely what we see in this marvellous composition. Two majestic figures appear in the clouds of heaven, and between them, as if issuing from the very breath they breathe, a white dove with wings outspread, hovering over the head of Our Lady. With identical handgestures, they place a golden crown on her head, their own heads inclined gently, attentively towards her. Father and Son are sumptuously and identically dressed. They both wear full, white tunics, and their ample, crimson mantles, with broad, gold-
Image: © Alamy
embroidered borders, form two great folds of rich drapery on either side of Mary, framing her golden, damasked gown. Her blue mantle spills out beneath her feet onto the cloud on which she appears. All this is set against a golden background. These three major figures – or four, including the dove – create, compositionally, a half circle that occupies two thirds of the height of the entire scene. The circle is filled, behind the Father and Son, by multitudes of seraphim, in scarlet, and beside them, among the clouds, are cherubim, in blue. At either side, at the top of the scene, marking the limits of the space occupied by the Trinity and Mary, are two archangels, Gabriel on the right, and Michael on the left.
Also in heaven are many saints – those that are listed, and others ‘according to Enguerrand’s best judgement’. Some are easily recognised, especially those on the left. John the Baptist is there, and below him, the deacon martyr Stephen. Below Stephen are founders of religious orders, including Dominic and Francis, and, as listed ‘Saint Hugh, in the habit of a Carthusian’. Below these is a group of four haloed figures – a pope, an emperor, a king and a young cardinal. The latter probably represents Blessed Peter of Luxembourg, a young ascetic of saintly reputation, cardinal during papal residence in Avignon, whose own residence was in Villeneuvelès-Avignon, and whose name 17
Masterpieces of Christian Art is attached now to the museum at Villeneuve, where Quarton’s masterpiece is housed. The lower part of the altarpiece is full of astonishingly sharp detail. In the centre, a crucifix on a mountain, with a Carthusian monk kneeling in prayer beside it, links heaven with the earth and the underworld of purgatory and hell. On earth, there are two walled cities, with their important monuments. On the right is Jerusalem, the ‘Holy City’, with the sepulchre of Christ close to the crucifix, and further along, the tomb in which Mary was placed, with an angel proclaiming ‘Assumpta est Maria’. On the left, in Rome, a large church represents St Peter’s, a smaller one the Church of the Holy Cross, with the
vision of St Gregory at Mass and a congregation of monks. Near the crucifix, on the left, an angel greets souls being released from purgatory, and in the deep blue sky above them, those tiny, white souls are being carried up to heaven. In the corner, is limbo, with a group of children who have died before they could be baptized, their eyes closed, not yet opened to life, or to the light of Christ. Just above them is the scene of Moses and the Burning Bush, a symbol since the earliest church, of Mary’s perpetual virginity. In The Messenger, these details – and others – can be hard to make out fully. See them enlarged on the internet, and marvel at this masterpiece of Christian art.
PETITION Why gain everything and ruin your life? Mt 16:24-28 First Friday: 7th August 2020
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Summer Reading Treats Well of Living Water: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman Magdalen Lawler SND Using an Icon of the Samaritan Woman at the Well as a source of inspiration, author Magdalen Lawler SND has written a series of reflections based around the themes of the Icon, accompanied by gospel passages and Ignatian prayer – a beautiful book for summer reading and reflection. 56pp €10.95
Raphael’s World Michael Collins Delving into the complex and rapidly-changing world of Renaissance Europe, this visuallystunning book explores the complex era in which the artist known as ‘the divine painter’ flourished and introduces the reader to his fascinating panoply of patrons. A real summer treat! 128pp €19.95
Theology and Ecology in Dialogue: The Wisdom of Laudato Si’ Dermot A. Lane As we mark the fifth anniversary of the ground-breaking encyclical Laudato Si’, well-known Irish theologian Dermot Lane seeks to open a conversation between religion and science in the context of climate change, to develop a theology of the natural world, and to recover the lost link between creation and liturgy. 160pp €19.95
Available from all good bookshops or directly from our website, www.messenger.ie, or phone 01-7758522 19
Soft Gaze Gavin T Murphy, author of Bursting Out in Praise: Spirituality and Mental Health (Messenger Publications), and writer on www.gratitudeinallthings.com, looks to the examples of mothers and the spirituality of Thomas Merton to understand the kind of gentle love and appreciation for inner beauty that many people crave.
Psychologist John Bowlby (1907– 1990) came to realise through much research the significance of the early days of a mother–child relationship. There used to be the belief that children needed a certain toughness to develop, and so it was not unusual to leave a child cry away on their own. Bowlby understood that the first year especially is a time for attentiveness and nourishment, so that the child develops a healthy, secure attachment. He anticipated a meaningful link between the attachment experience in childhood and the attachment experience in adulthood. Studies show that attentive mothers help their children to grow into confident adults, who can then can engage in positive social and romantic relationships. They are also better able to deal with stressful and challenging situations. Attachment theory, supported by research, remains influential today. Diamonds Everywhere Thomas Merton (1915–1968), monk and best-selling author, experienced a moment in a shopping mall one 20
day that was a sort of enlightenment that changed how he perceived people in the world. He was intuitively drawn to their ‘secret beauty … only believed and understood … a point of nothingness … pure diamond’. But he still thought that what we see with our human eyes is more than enough to point us toward our inner beauty: ‘the gate of heaven is everywhere’. Merton understood that he was deeply connected with everyone at the shopping mall. He realised that he loved them even though they were total strangers. It’s was a wake up call from his dream of supposed holiness: he knew that his life as a monk was not more special than anyone else. But you might say his contemplative gaze was close to how God sees our world. Gentle Hold What Bowlby and Merton understood is not unlike the way a mother softly gazes on her child. She has a gentle hold, a close embrace and is in tune with the heart rhythm where love freely flows. She believes in her child’s innate goodness and loveliness to
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She understands her child as an immortal diamond and for the rest of her life sees the many invitations to tune into this intimate relationship again.
the point where dribble, trouble and tiredness can be endured. She understands her child as an immortal diamond and for the rest of her life sees the many invitations to tune into this intimate relationship again. Pope Francis When we arrive, God is there. When we look for him, he has already been
looking for us, always in front of us, waiting to receive us in his heart, in his love. And these two things can help us to understand the mystery of Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s love for us. In order to communicate this, he needs us to be like small children, to lower ourselves. And at the same time, he needs our astonishment when we look for him and find him there, waiting for us. 21
Places of Worship
Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Foxrock The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Foxrock, stands near one of the busiest roads in Ireland. For August, Christopher Moriarty explores the history and architecture of this well-documented, landmark church. The Italianate church which stands at the junction of Kill Avenue with the Bray Road is one of the most notable buildings on one of the busiest roads in Ireland. The later decades of the nineteenth century saw increasing numbers of houses being built within commuter reach of the city of Dublin. The farmland and big house demesnes which centred on the villages of Foxrock, Kill-O-The-Grange and Cornelscourt were part of this development. With the increase in numbers of families came the subdivisions of parishes and the need for a large church for the new parish of Foxrock, established in 1917. The first parish priest, Fr Ryan, had studied for the priesthood at the Irish College in Rome and his sojourn there may have led to his enthusiasm for the Italian style â&#x20AC;&#x201C; though it was popular elsewhere in the country at the time. His experiences in Rome, 22
where he would have been familiar with the ancient icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, may have led to the dedication of the new church to this concept. In the 1920s Fr Ryan acquired a large area of dairy pasture for his new church. Part of it was leased for grazing in the early years but, fortunately, the land remained the property of the parish and ultimately would be transformed to a car park, a requirement not envisaged in the 1920s. At the top of Kill Avenue, it commands a distant view of Dublin Bay and Howth. The firm of architects chosen to
design the church was Robinson, Keefe and Devane. Their senior partner was John Joseph Robinson who had established a name for himself as a designer and restorer of churches, and was the architect in charge of the planning for the Eucharistic Congress of 1932, which took place just a year before Archbishop Byrne cut the first sod for the building of Foxrock Church. Twenty years later Robinson would be invited to plan the nearby Mount Merrion Church of St Therese. The entrance front of the church has a massive square bell tower to the left of the round-arched doorway.
Above it a row of seven little arched windows breaks the surface. The roofs of the bell-tower and of the main church are made from red tiles from Lombardy. The walls are of concrete, but faced with granite quarried not far away in the Dublin mountains and cut and put in place by the quarrymen who travelled daily from Three Rock Mountain to Foxrock. While the greater part of the interior walls is clad with plain plaster, the sanctuary and its adjacent walls have remarkable decoration of panels of variously coloured marbles and outstanding mosaics. The highest point of the mosaic work is the domed ceiling of the apse, with its central representation of the Crowning of the Blessed Virgin. She kneels before Christ the King, with three Irish saints on each side: Patrick, Kevin, Brendan, Laurence O’Toole, Oliver Plunkett (although not yet canonised at the time of his inclusion) and Fintan. This elaborate decoration was the personal gift of Fr John Ryan. The inscription, in Latin, is of two lines from the Magnificat, recorded in the Gospel of St Luke as Mary’s own composition. The windows of the nave were originally filled with small leaded panes of clear glass. One of them has since been completely filled by a brilliantly coloured and unique design. The greater part is a life-sized image of St Brendan. He wears a green robe and stands at the prow of his curragh, which is ornamented with a design in gold. Beneath is a beautiful little scene set a long time after Brendan’s voyage. It shows the view from the 23
Places of Worship
church on a summerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s day with yachts sailing in Dublin Bay. The next window but one has a beautiful portrayal of the Virgin and Child, a work of the Harry Clarke Studios. Its history was traced recently by Liam Clare. Commissioned by a wealthy parishioner in 1927 the window was placed in an oratory which was part of his home on Newtownpark Avenue. After his death, it was transferred to its present position in the centre of the large, clear glass window. A charming element of the work is the inclusion of the very individual faces of five little angels, surrounding the head of the Virgin. A nineteenth-century copy of the icon in Rome, which shows the Virgin and child together with the Archangels Michael and Gabriel bearing the Instruments of the Passion, is the centrepiece of a triptych in the side altar of Our Lady. 24
She is flanked by Ss Alphonsus Liguori and Dominic. Close to this altar is the baptistry, with a stone font set at the corner of an open space with a white marble floor, marked at its corners with black inlays of the symbols of the four Evangelists. The high altar and its surroundings are of white marble, as is the Tabernacle which has a remarkable colourful door bearing images in high relief of the five loaves and two small fishes with which Jesus miraculously fed the five thousand. The parish and its church are exceptional in being the subject of a number of scholarly publications. The Foxrock Local History club regularly publishes booklets and no fewer than four of these treat the subject. Myles Reid covers all aspects of the district. Patrick Cronin provides a history of the parish and Liam Clare gives a history of the church and of the origins of the Harry Clarke Madonna.
Notes from Jerusalem
Conmen and Joggers
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Fr John Cullen, of the Elphin Diocese, continues his series of reflections on time spent in Jerusalem. Here Fr Cullen reflects on the multireligious significance of Jerusalem, and on two joggers who were unable to visit the Holy Sepulchre.
Share the Human Condition and be Present Jerusalem has been repeatedly razed and re-built. It has been the site of horrendous pain for thousands of years. It is the place of crucifixion. Yet, it is the city of David, shining on the hill and the place of resurrection. Jerusalem is a historical city of three religions: David, Jesus and Mohammed and countless others have left their footprints there and have invested the place with their hopes and fears.
For Jewish people, it is the subject of the Passover cry, ‘next year in Jerusalem!’ At the Wailing Wall, they unburden their hearts. Christians want to follow the Way of the Cross and pray in the Holy Sepulchre. For Muslims, with Mohammed’s ascent to heaven from the Haram al-Sharif or the Noble Sanctuary, the city is a window into the divine, second only to Mecca. For all these People of the Book, Jerusalem has held a promise of insight and encounter with God, a 25
Pope’s Feature FeatureIntentions deepening of faith and identity. Bl. Charles de Foucauld (1858–1916) went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1887 and shortly afterwards founded the Little Brothers of Jesus. He went to live in Algeria. The words of Bl. Charles de Foucauld, who was beatified in 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI, resonate for us all: ‘It is not necessary to teach others, to cure them or to improve them. It is only necessary to live among them, share the human condition and be present to them.’ The conmen in Jerusalem become one aspect of the visit and not the ruination of it! A pilgrimage helps us to see ourselves in new ways. It is the way God sees us: beautiful, frail, dependent, courageous, carrying private burdens of regret and shame as well as incalculable gifts of humour, honesty, humanity and holiness. Two Joggers at the Tomb I was determined to visit the Holy Sepulchre – the place of resurrection. People deter you because of the crowds and advise you to go at 6.00am to avoid the throngs of people. I decided that crowds were important. Their noise, impatience, the delays and tussle, the unavoidable tiredness and annoyance was God and humanity mingling, coming together, human life being made holy before our very eyes. Holiness is not just majestic liturgies or serene fourpart harmonious chanting, but the whole mess and mayhem of human life. Everything is holy and everyone is graced.
There was a large queue waiting to enter the Holy Sepulchre. One American group sang ‘Amazing Grace’. A large squadron of Orthodox pilgrims chanted Psalms in a Slavic language. A group of Filipina nuns were saying the rosary. In this multilingual Babel-like situation, it is a challenge to focus – if prayer is attentive openness to God, I was sort of, kind of praying! It was a long wait as predicted. The oil lamps trace many designs on the walls. I noticed windows high above letting in a thin light. The stone wall was worn smooth by the touch and kisses of people. The church was throbbing with the noise of people singing, praying, exclaiming, weeping as the Spirit whistled among us. A severe-looking, black-robed and bearded priest would not let two joggers into the tomb because they were wearing shorts and string vests. The two lads were dismayed and obviously hurt. I felt it was a harsh decision, given that the Apostles, Peter and John ran to the tomb on the day of resurrection! The prodigal son’s father did a bit of a marathon to shorten the distance and wide gulf between him and his returning, rehearsed son! Running gear is part of the resurrection story – far more so than brocaded cloth of gold vestments! I often wonder about these two. They may have hopefully encountered a stranger on their Emmaus road home, who would trace in their lives the presence of the risen Lord and leave their hearts burning within them.
The Quiet Revolution of Pope Francis: A Synodal Catholic Church in Ireland? Gerry O’Hanlon SJ ‘For someone searching for a map of what exactly is happening in the church today, especially in Ireland, Fr O’Hanlon’s book is a gift’ - The Furrow 168pp €12.95
Creation Walk: The Amazing Story of a Small Blue Planet Brian Grogan SJ This book interweaves the insights of contemporary science with Christian faith, and reveals the divine orchestration of the Creation Story in a dramatic, fresh and appealing way. 112pp €9.95
Did Jesus Really Exist? and 51 other questions Nikolaas Sintobin SJ A series of questions that arise in everyday faith life, with answers and food for further thought or discussion. This book gives an accessible and engaging overview of the Christian faith. 128pp €12.95
Newman: A Short Biography Michael Collins
‘…written with flair and care…Collins captures the slow drama of Newman’s conversion…’ - Intercom 94pp €9.95
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Our Moral Compass Is it true that young people today have lost their moral compass? Kevin Hargaden, of the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, reflects on his experiences with young Irish people. He argues that their moral fibre reflects well on them and on older generations of Irish people.
Many older people are convinced that the younger generations have lost their moral compass. A well-read youngster might remind us that this is almost always the case. Twenty years before Jesus was born, the Roman poet Horace wrote: ‘One father’s age was worse than our grandfathers’. We, their sons, are more worthless than they; So in our turn we shall give the world a generation yet more corrupt.’ I want to suggest that when it comes to young people, there is little reason to share Horace’s pessimism. While we can always find examples of youthful foolishness or vanity, as a whole I am deeply impressed by the young people I meet. They are informed about the world in an admirable way, and they are engaged as well. The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice is fortunate enough to sometimes play a supporting role in 28
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the ‘Fridays for Future’ movement. Every week around the country, but especially outside the Dáil, teenagers gather to protest the lack of action from the older generations around climate and biodiversity breakdown. The view you will hear from these young people is that the generations who lack a moral compass are much older than they. Their commitment ought to be a challenge to me to consider why I am not more morally exercised about the injustice in our society. I am inclined to agree. Even though I know – probably
Merrion Square, Dublin, Ireland. 20/9/2019 Thousands of children and students marching to stand up against climate change, pollution, animal extinction and for environmental justice.
better than they do – that they are exactly right and that a lack of action from people like me now is at their expense, I mostly do not inconvenience myself to protest. I bring a reusable mug – when I remember – to save on my fancy coffee being served in a disposable cup. Maybe trivial alterations suggest that the one who is lacking moral formation is the middle-aged man, not the teenager trying their best to be heard on their lunchbreak between Geography and Irish class. If we think self-critically about the
morality of youth, we quickly realise that any judgement we pass on youth implicates ourselves. If it is true that young people have a faulty moral compass, then we have to ask who gave it to them in the first place. A fifteen-year-old is primarily formed by their parents. If we look with scorn at the vanity or consumerism or triviality of adolescent culture, we look with scorn on ourselves. The old Irish proverb applies here: it wasn’t from the ground they licked it. This is why I am so encouraged when I talk to them. Their interests can 29
If we think self-critically about the morality of youth, we quickly realise that any judgement we pass on youth implicates ourselves. seem trivial to me. But my interests must seem very boring to them! When we get past the usual intergenerational divides, what I have found is that Irish young people are very welcoming of people who are different from them. They are well read and savvy about getting good information, often more so than older people who can be taken in by fake news on social media sites. They are willing to raise their voices on issues that matter to them, and when we look at what really matters to them, their moral fibre is on display: houses for everyone, care for our common home, respect and tolerance for those who are different. So, instead of repeating Horace’s mistake and imagining that each generation is worse than the one that went before, I suggest we look for the good in the young and also look for how that reflects well on the less young. They know that homelessness is a scandal because they have been taught about justice. They care about our common home because they have been shown why the environment is to be treasured. They wish to extend welcome to those who are different because their parents and grandparents have modelled hospitality all their lives. Pentecost is one of my favourite parts of the Bible. It is best to think about it as the beginning of the 30
Church. After Jesus’ ascension, the disciples are in hiding, scared for their lives. The Holy Spirit comes powerfully upon them and they are emboldened to go out on to the streets to tell everyone the good news that Jesus is King. Peter gives a speech to a crowd that assembles around him, and in Acts 2:17 we read how he quoted the Old Testament prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.’ What is Church, but the community of people brought together by the Holy Spirit! And on the first day that happened, and today, that community is full of people young and old given moral and ethical vision by God’s Spirit, and often by the elders of the family and the Church. We should expect our young people will prophesy the uncomfortable truth and see visions we have yet to see. We hope that the elderly in our society will be gripped by a similar moral seriousness. We need not worry about our young people losing their moral compass because, ultimately, the moral direction we need is a gift given by God. He has not abandoned us. He will not abandon the next generation. He still gives visions and shares dreams.
A Wondrous Mix Fr Tom Cox, parish priest of Shannonbridge, points out that the Church and earthliness can mix and do mix in the wondrous gathering that is a wedding.
Weddings are part of the life of a priest. Over the years there have been subtle changes. No longer expected to make a speech, just to ‘top’ and ‘tail’ the meal with a Grace before and after meals. It’s partly due of course to there being fewer priests; weekend weddings are harder to attend, and the attitudes of priests towards weddings vary. Priests can either love, loathe or tolerate them. One priest colleague told me of a wedding where, just after he had said his farewells, he overhead the father of the bride say (who thought my colleague was out of earshot), ‘I’m glad Father has gone – we can play some real rock music now’. He meant no harm, but the remark stung the priest as a guest – it was ok to have him adorn a top table, but best out of sight when real life begins. Have we, in many ways, developed
a weird idea that the Church and earthliness are incompatible? Strangely it’s an attitude that you find in two very different groups – the over-pious and the militantly impious – that somehow God and robust life can’t co-exist. It’s false of course. When we say ‘the Word was made flesh’ we mean that within the rawness of life, God exists in all of life. Every church gathering is a mixed bunch. A wondrous mix of the weak and the strong, the doubting and the convinced, the liar and the truthteller, the foolish and the wise, the selfish and the generous, the vain and the modest, the addicted and the temperate, the envious and the content, the cruel and the kind. All of life. ‘Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church.’ (Roman Missal) 31
Deirdre Powell, a previous contributor to The Messenger and to Catholic Ireland, explores the history of chocolate, pointing to the devotion to Mary that inspired and sustained the famous Italian chocolatier Michele Ferrero. You may be familiar with a famous advertisement for chocolates that you can partake of at ‘the ambassador’s residence’. The chocolates in question are, of course, Ferrero Rocher, but did you know that they were named after a site of Marian apparitions? Italian chocolatier Michele Ferrero introduced the treats in 1982. Each chocolate consists of a single roasted hazelnut encased in a wafer shell filled with hazelnut chocolate, which is in turn topped with chocolate laced with chopped hazelnuts. It is believed that Ferrero named the chocolates ‘Rocher’ after the Lourdes grotto, called the Rocher de Massabielle, that marks the spot where Our Lady appeared to St Bernadette in Lourdes, France. Lourdes had a special meaning for Ferrero, who died at the age of eighty-nine on St Valentine’s Day in 2015. He was a devout Catholic who was known for his strong devotion to Our Lady. It is also believed that Ferrero made an annual pilgrimage to Lourdes, bringing his top manager with him, as well as organising a visit 32
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to the shrine for his employees. In addition, in each of his company’s fourteen production facilities globally, a statue of the Virgin Mary was installed. Ferrero had a lot to be thankful for as he was the third largest chocolate producer in the world. So, what can be said about the history of chocolate? In fact, the chocolate of today is little like the chocolate of the past, as throughout much of history chocolate was a revered but bitter beverage, quite different from the sweet, edible treat of today. The fruit of cacao trees, which are native to Central and South America, is used to make chocolate. The fruit are called pods and each pod contains about forty cacao beans, which are subsequently dried and roasted to create cocoa beans.
Lourdes had a special meaning for Ferrero, who died at the age of 89 on St. Valentineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day in 2015.
From about 1500 BC, ancient Olmec pots and vessels were discovered with traces of theobromine, which is a stimulant found in chocolate and tea; the Olmecs were the earliest known major Mesoamerican civilisation. It is thought that the Olmecs passed their knowledge of cacao onto the Central American Mayans, who both consumed and revered the product. Mayan written history details the use of chocolate drinks in celebrations and in finalising important transactions. The Aztecs took the admiration of chocolate to another level, as they believed that their gods had given cacao to them. The Aztecs used cacao beans as currency for food and other goods. Conflicting reports exist regarding when chocolate arrived in Europe, but it is agreed that it first arrived in Spain.
By the late 1500s, chocolate was much-loved by the Spanish court, and Spain started to import chocolate in 1585. Other European countries such as France and Italy also visited parts of Central America, and they learned about cacao, bringing back chocolate to their respective countries. Soon, chocolate mania spread throughout continental Europe. There was a high demand for chocolate, with the result that chocolate plantations came into existence; the plantations were worked by thousands of slaves. Europeans made their own varieties of hot chocolate drink, and soon fashionable chocolate houses for the wealthy were established in London, Amsterdam and throughout other European cities. It is thought that the first American chocolate house opened in 1682 in Boston, Massachusetts, and by 1773, cocoa beans constituted a major American colonial import, with chocolate being enjoyed by people of all classes. In 1828, the Dutch chemist Coenraad Johannes van Houten used alkaline salts to treat cacao beans to produce a powdered chocolate that was easier to mix with water. The chocolate that was produced was called cacao powder or â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Dutch cocoaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, and the process became known as Dutch processing. This approach plus the invention of the cocoa press helped to make chocolate for everyone and paved the way for chocolate to be mass produced. Today, dark chocolate has earned its place as a heart-healthy, antioxidantrich treat. 33
Sources of Joy Jim Deeds, co-author of Finding God in the Mess and Deeper into the Mess (both Messenger Publications), reflects on encounters with two sources of joy in his life: the return to God, and the wisdom of the old.
Coming Home I met a man on the road the other day. He’s an older guy who I see most mornings, and I’ve known him for most of my life. As he approached me on this particular day I could see that he was excited. As I came close he exclaimed, ‘Jim, my son is coming home!’ The look of happiness on his face was immense. His eyes were smiling as much as his mouth was. He looked like a young man. It was great to be around him; I felt myself get caught up in his joy. His son has been working on the other side of the world for the last ten years, and he has seen him only once per year at most. ‘That’s fantastic’ I said, meaning it. ‘When does he come home?’ ‘In a month or so. But the wheels are in motion now. He’s definitely coming home.’ He went on to tell me about the details of his son’s journey in every detail imaginable – right down to how their dog was going to travel! I learned more about the nature of God in that one encounter than I have done in quite some time. God yearns for our ‘return’ to God. God waits for us to set our face towards God. God 34
is overjoyed when we come back to God. It may be in a quiet whispered prayer or in a petition asked for. It could be in a work of love, joy or mercy for the world and the people around us. It might be in an act of worship or liturgy in a church. Whatever the way we return and no matter how many times we wander off again, each small act of returning gives rise in God to overwhelming joy. Sometimes Older Things Sound so Sweet! My two favourite guitars have a combined age of almost 150 years. Wow! They are old. One was made in 1935 and one in 1957. The older one was made before the Second World War, in the midst of economic meltdown in its homeplace and the, let’s say, less old one was made during the years that saw the birth of Rock and Roll. If you get up close and personal with these guitars you can see that their colour is faded. The varnish is cracked and they have wrinkles in their finish. Now, you could be forgiven for thinking that these guitars might not sound so good. You might also think that they would be tired
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Holding and playing these guitars urges me to pray in thanksgiving for older people who are also the presence of our history living among us. and unreliable, given that the screws and glue that hold them together were put in place decades ago. Nothing could be further from the truth, though! They are sturdy and true. When I hold them, I can feel their history. Every note is in tune and they deliver every time I play them. Not only that but their tone is so sweet. They don’t sound like a new guitar. No, they sound much better. They have a depth that new guitars don’t have and won’t have until they are older. They are my ‘go to’ guitars when I want to hear truth. Holding and playing these guitars urges me to pray in thanksgiving for older people who are also the presence of our history living among us. They are sturdy and true, and we
do well to hold them close and to hear their wisdom. Just as these guitars are among the most valuable I own, older people should be highly valued. And we also do well to care for and protect older folk from those who do not have the vision to see their worth to us all.
RE:LINK: Due to the annual closure of schools we have decided not to include Re:Link for the July and August issues of Messenger
Dealing with Fear Nikolaas Sintobin SJ, retreat giver and internet pastor, considers how fear can affect us emotionally and spiritually and how we can best deal with it. He is author of Did Jesus Exist? and 51 Other Questions, (Messenger Publications, 2020).
Expressing Yourself It is important not to keep fear to yourself but to talk about it. Fear develops much better in secret. Talking about fear with someone you trust can help to counteract the logic of fear, which grows by itself. The necessary condition is, however, that the person who listens does not confirm the fear and reinforce it. Critical Examination of the Facts A second piece of advice is to critically examine the facts that cause fear. Often the perception of these facts is confused, incorrect or incomplete. Wrong connections are made and wrong conclusions are drawn. The conversation with a trustworthy person we have just mentioned, is perhaps the ideal opportunity to bring more objectivity. The Deception of Fear The most important thing is to remember that the strength of fear lies first and foremost in the conviction that fear is justified. Fear is able to present subtle and relevant arguments like no one else could. We honestly believe that we are right to feel anxious. After all, these arguments 36
prove that we have no choice but to be afraid. That is exactly where the deception of fear lies. Often it is true that what we are afraid of will actually happen. So, we should not be afraid. We can deal with the problems. Fear Prevents Us from Living in the Present Our fears are often linked to problems, imagined or unimagined, of an ambiguous future. The insidious consequence of this can be that the fear of that future that does not yet exist prevents one from living fully in the present that does exist. Here too, the exchange with another person can be comforting. Jade, a young teenage girl, cries in her bed. When her mother comes to say good night, she tells her what is happening. Jade is afraid that her friends will turn their backs on her one day. There is no indication of this at the moment. Yet the young girl is in the grip of this fear. The short conversation with her mother may quickly bring Jade back to peace. Fear is a bad counsellor. It is not good to follow its logic. It is wiser to consciously choose to trust. The path to a richer and more abundant life is
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The path to a richer and more abundant life is indicated by trust and hope, not by fear. It is not for nothing that Jesus keeps saying: ‘Do not be afraid.’ indicated by trust and hope, not by fear. It is not for nothing that Jesus keeps saying: ‘Do not be afraid.’ Can Choices be Made in Times of Crisis? A crisis is often accompanied by a chaotic succession of conflicting feelings. In the event of a crisis, Ignatius suggests not doing what one would do spontaneously. When one is in crisis, one usually wants to get out of it as quickly as possible. Ignatius’s advice on this subject is diametrically opposed
to this reflex. In times of crisis, it is better to refrain from making choices. He advises, as far as possible, not to change anything. It is better to stick to the decisions you have made before. You can assume that at that time you were calm and that you had your bearings. Choices made in those circumstances are more reliable than the precipitous changes that could be made now. It is therefore preferable not to question too quickly the choices made previously. Calm will return. At that time, we will be able to discern what we must do. 37
Seafood Chowder For August, trained chef Seamus Buckley recommends quality Irish favourites, Seafood Chowder and Brown Scones. One of the great advantages of holidaying in Ireland is tasting home and locally-produced foods. So for August it didn’t take much time for me to pick a recipe for Seafood Chowder and Brown Scones, always a highlight for lunchtime when holidaying at home for me. I think we all have a favourite restaurant or pub for lunch and dinner to visit on our journeys in Ireland. Ingredients
• I medium diced onion • 3 sticks of celery washed and finely chopped • 50 gms/2 oz of Butter • 500 ml/1 pint of chicken stock, (made from a stock cube is fine) • 250 ml/ 1/2 pint of full fat milk • 125 ml/ 1/4 pint of cream • 800 gms/ 1lb 8oz Potatoes, peeled
and cut into 2cm/ 3/4 inch cubes • 500 gms/ 1lb of Seafood, diced salmon, white fish and smoked haddock cut in 1 inch cubes, most supermarkets and fish mongers sell packs of mixed seafood ideal for chowder • Salt and pepper for seasoning
n Place the butter in a saucepan and gently cook the onion and celery. n When they are soft, add the chicken stock, milk and diced potatoes and simmer for 15 minutes until the potatoes are cooked. n Add the seafood mix and simmer for another 8 minutes. n Finish by adding the cream, and season with salt and pepper.
Wholemeal Brown Scones
A great benefit of Wholemeal Brown Scones is that they are a good source of fibre and provide slow-release energy.
Images © Shutterstock.com
• 225 gms/8 oz of self-raising flour • 225 gms/8 oz of coarse wholemeal flour • 100 gms/3 oz of butter • 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda • 1/2 teaspoon of salt • 2 teaspoon of light brown sugar • 300 ml/ 1/2 pint of buttermilk
n Preheat the over to 200°C/ Gas Mark 6 n Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl. n Add the wholemeal flour, butter and sugar. n Rub together until the butter is incorporated with the mixture. n Add the buttermilk, mix gently till it forms a dough. n Turn the dough onto a floured surface and with a rolling pin, roll out to a dept of 1 inch. n Cut into rounds with a medium cutter n Place on a baking tray and cook for 18 minutes.
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Send to: Adult Crossword 008, Messenger Publications, 37 Leeson Place, Dublin, D02 E5V0, Ireland, by 24th of the month.
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ACROSS 1 Swift living (5) 4 I have detected first plunge being sudden (8) 8 100% effort needed from craftsmen (3,5,2,4) 10 Equivalent given in return for one letter misprint? (3-3-3) 11 Plotted line that surprisingly could be straight (5) 12 Way leading character entered bar (4) 13 More cuts confused client (8) 17 Condemn before one in court (8) 18 Handled American newsman (4) 22 See California pub (5) 24 Check might strengthen (9) 25 Where to get one’s own back at the airport (7,7) 26 Reprimand Rex, informative speaker (8) 27 Word of impatience otherwise given by coach (5)
DOWN 1 One quadruples it (7) 2 Embarrassed allies ate stew (3,2,4) 3 Kelvin lacking firmness working car horn (6) 4 Altogether recent tune can be heard (6) 5 Bob finds means of saving time (5-3) 6 Sanctify iced concoction in time (8) 7 Minister making some civic arrangements (5) 9 We hear he left clothing (4) 14 Miser can’t reform villain (9) 15 One in France getting in very small amount of illumination during the day (8) 16 A fish repeatedly produces jelly (4-4) 17 Draw up, up to the left repeatedly (4) 19 Red mare startled one in a world of fantasy (7) 20 Part of car needs to be looked into (6) 21 Removed percentage for remnant (6) 23 Large number destroy short-lived fashion (5)
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_______________________________________________ Send to: August Children’s Crossword, Messenger Publications, 37 Leeson Place, Dublin, D02 E5V0, Ireland, by 24th of the month.
ACROSS 1 An energy that surrounds someone (4) 3 Son of Adam and Eve (4) 7 Joy (9) 8 Everything is organised in ______ (7) 12 Game bird (9) 14 Singer-songwriter and ancient queen (4) 15 Radiate (4)
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Thanksgiving Letters Due to a shortage of post over the past few months, we have had few thanksgiving letters for publication. We will be happy to continue the letters in the September issue, and always welcome your letters of thanksgiving.
Moses and the Burning Bush Once, a man named Moses was out for his daily walk. While walking, he spotted a burning bush. Moses stopped to watch it, but the bush did not burn up. It simply remained on fire! Moses decided to approach the bush, to see what was going on. As he got close, a voice came from the burning bush saying â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;hey, stay back or at least take off your shoes, this
is sacred groundâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. The voice from the burning bush was that of God, and God told Moses that he would send Moses to Egypt, to free the Jewish people who were living there. Moses was not having it, what could he, a nobody, possibly do? God asked him what he was holding in his hand, and Moses told him his walking stick. God
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directed him to throw it to the ground, and when he did it turned into a snake! Go to Egypt and tell them that you represent the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God said. And, when he got home, Moses got ready for his journey.
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Keeping the Faith
In Conversation with Elena Tice John Scally interviews Elina Tice, Ireland’s young hockey star, about the role faith has played in her life and career.
The COVID-19 crisis has deprived us of many sporting events this year. It has been a difficult period for stars like Elena Tice. She was a prodigy. By the age of five, she was out the back with her father and older brothers hitting, kicking and playing. Cricket, soccer and then hockey. At thirteen, she became the second youngest player in the history of cricket, male or female, to play in a one-day international match. Four years later, in fifth year, Elena made her senior international debut for the Ireland women’s hockey team. She has also excelled academically, winning a scholarship to study Economics in UCD. Playing in the World Cup hockey final was a joyous experience for Elena. ‘And then finally you just achieve something that is beyond everything you’ve ever dreamt of. Everything, in that moment, seems worth it. It kind of justifies it. I’ll never forget that moment. I was just hugging my Mum and Dad and crying inconsolably. It was just such a blessing and I have to be thankful to the Lord I got to experience that. So many people worked hard to make that happen and I was just fortunate to be there.’ 44
Elena’s reaction to reaching that final was not typical. She tweeted: ‘All the 5:30 alarms, all the freezing nights, all the blood, sweat and tears. All of it. And now, tomorrow, we will play in the World Cup final #GreenArmy#Philippians 4:13. (“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”)’ On the morning of each game, Elena would draw a cross on her left forearm and, for the World Cup final against Netherlands, she wore a white wristband with a black cross as a representation of her faith, a reminder of her biggest motivator and a source of reassurance in the biggest game of her young career. ‘My faith is a massive part of my life. It’s the biggest part of my life, it’s more important than hockey and it’s more important than Tokyo or World Cups. It’s lasting and it doesn’t change, God’s love for me doesn’t change if I do well or I don’t do well and that’s what’s amazing about it. ‘It gives you a different perspective, I suppose. I try and think about how I can honour God in the way I can play as opposed to just thinking about competing with people around me. It’s the biggest motivator to work hard. I feel like I’ve been given these gifts to be able to play sport and it’s a
Image © Alamy
I try and think about how I can honour God in the way I can play as opposed to just thinking about competing with people around me. blessing to have all the opportunities to play and therefore I want to work as hard as I can to use these gifts to glorify him. It’s a huge part of my life and, unlike hockey which will come and go, my faith will sustain me and is very much lasting.’ Faith provides Elena with a compass to navigate through life. ‘I spend a lot of time praying before games and not just for myself but praying for my team-mates as well. It’s a reassurance that you’re not alone out there on the field and the Lord has you in his hands and he’s guiding you too. I don’t know if I call
it an edge but it gives you a sense of peace and takes a bit of the anxiety away. I get quite nervous around games so I have to lean on my faith at those times. ‘It allows you to have joy even when it’s not going so well. My family are all really strong Christians and they give me a lot of guidance and support through everything. When I say really difficult times, it’s still enjoyable, it’s hard. We obviously love what we do, but I always have my faith and can always just lean on the Lord and turn to him and turn to my Bible when times are really difficult.’ 45
Young People of Faith
Chiara Corbella Petrillo Fr John Murray continues his series, inspired by Pope Francis’s Christus Vivit, on young people of faith. This month, he turns to Chiara Corbella Petrillo for whom the cross was ‘molto dolce’. Jes Medjugorje: ‘a place between the hills’, and a place, for nearly forty years, of apparitions and many small miracles. The Church – officially – is still hesitant to give its full imprimatur to Medjugorje. Meanwhile countless pilgrims have climbed Križevac and Podbrdo. How many vocations have flowered there? How many conversions? How many love stories? It is one such that I wish to share as I continue to look at the faith of young people inspired by the pastoral letter of Pope Francis, Christus Vivit. Chiara Corbella Petrillo met her husband Enrico Petrillo in Medjugorje at age eighteen, became the mother of three children and died at the age twenty-eight. She was a part of what some call the ‘Wojtyla generation’ – those millions of young people all over the world who had attended the great events, inspired by Pope St John Paul II, in Madrid, Toronto and Paris that became known as World Youth Days. What happened within those ten years of Corbella’s life has touched the hearts of thousands across the globe. She is already a ‘servant of God’, the first stage on the road to canonisation. Her story is told by two of her closest friends, Simone Troisi and Christiana Paccini, in the 2015 book Chiara Corbella Petrillo: A Witness to Joy. ‘In the story of the Petrillo couple, 46
many people recognise a providential consolation from heaven’, they write. Corbella married Enrico Petrillo in Italy on 21 September 2008, having met in Medjugorje in 2002. Pregnancy followed quickly but from the very first ultrasound scans, the baby-girl, Maria Grazia, was diagnosed with anencephaly. Without any doubts, they welcomed and accompanied the babygirl, first in her earthly birth and then after less than thirty minutes, to her heavenly birth. There had been early pressure from some doctors to abort but they resisted this suggestion. The birth – and death – brought sorrow but also strangely much joy. Corbella became pregnant again, but this time around the seventh month the little boy – Davide – was found to be without any lower limbs, and was not expected to live long after birth. Again the young parents celebrated his funeral with joy and praise, recognising that they now had two saints in heaven. A third pregnancy followed and this time the baby was born healthy – and lived – but sadly during this time Corbella was found to have a cancerous lesion on her tongue. Despite this the couple wanted to defend the life of their child – abortion was again out of the question. Corbella knew of the story of St Gianna
Molla and decided to put her child first and not receive cancer treatments that could harm her unborn son. During the pregnancy, operations were carried out on her tongue. She suffered greatly because she wouldn’t take very strong pain medications that would have been harmful to her son. Let me go back a little to look at the courtship of this young couple, for it is important to show that they were ordinary young people. When they met in the Bosnian town in 2002, Corbella knew that Petrillo was the one she wanted. He took longer to be convinced. They had a hard time in those early months – arguing often, breaking up sometimes, only to get back together.
Though Corbella felt that she would only be fulfilled by marrying Petrillo, she put everything in God’s hands. On one occasion – not long after a sort of final breakup – they met up. He was ready to speak his mind when she revealed how much she loved him. Petrillo knew that she challenged him – to rise to a love to which he wasn’t yet ready to commit. But once he did things started to fall into place, and they married in September 2008 in Assisi, which had become a spiritual home for them both. Corbella and Petrillo showed how ‘the purpose of our life is to love … to be married is a wonderful thing, an adventure that opens you up to heaven in the home’. At a time when 47
Young People of Faith many young people today do not want to make the commitment of marriage this young couple came to realise that their relationship was more than just the two of them – God was an essential part of it. Franscesco – their third child – was born on 30 May 2011, and two days after his birth Corbella was operated on again, and this time it was a true Gethsemane. She suffered greatly, and God seemed absent. Yet – as a friend said – ‘here suffering became a holy place because it was the place where she encountered God’. Sadly, her condition deteriorated and by 4 April 2012 the prognosis was that she was terminally ill. The couple moved to Corbella’s
parents’ house in the countryside. Petrillo stopped working to fully accompany her. It was their happiest time. Once – near the end – Petrillo asked her if the cross was easy, even sweet. Her reply requires no translation, ‘molto dolce’. By this time Corbella was wearing an eye patch and her smile was lopsided. No one noticed for Corbella was always radiant and smiling. Later Petrillo would often say ‘her smile – she was beautiful! Her beauty still distracts me now’. On 12 June 2012 she breathed her last and was buried the following day in her wedding gown surrounded by family and friends. Corbella’s earthly life was over, but she would continue to be a witness to joy.
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August Garden Helen Dillon guides us through the task of keeping the garden fresh as the summer comes to an end. She offers advice on how to protect her beloved Delphiniums as autumn approaches. Photo: orawan jumjana © Shutterstock.com Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Purity’
Once August arrives the garden needs a lot of looking after, as I am always trying to prevent it looking tired as summer advances. I don’t know how I could manage summer without that excellent plant, Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Purity’. It is a terrific good-doer – provided, that is, that you deadhead it every day right through until autumn, which is actually no bother. Even better are the much taller species of Cosmos, which make a highly decorative sight. I have had to grow these from seed this year because (my usual complaint) garden
centres much prefer stocking small plants that take up less room, are easier for old people like me to carry and take up less space in the lorries from Holland. A good collection of large containers is always useful, particularly in a small garden. The bigger the container, the longer the plants inside will last; especially on a hot day when you get back late from work. And of course you need containers for plants that are not happy in your original soil – such as Camellias, which dislike lime. Zantedeschia aethiopica ‘White Giant’ 49
When it comes to slugs, the other day I read that ‘Delphiniums are asparagus for slugs’; you can say that again.
Image by Helen Dillon
does very well in a big pot in sun here, Hobhouse, but one of the most useful which has plenty of space for heavy things she ever told me was not to wait watering during summer. Of course, until autumn to grow cuttings (when all you need large containers for salads, gardening books insist on autumn as herbs and smaller vegetables. Here the proper time). She said that plants my largest pots are home to Styrax were more vigorous and adaptable in ‘Fragrant Fountain’ which has the most August and quicker to root. How right beautiful shape ever, particularly when she was. You don’t need a greenhouse shown off in a tall pot. to grow cuttings, just a bright room An interesting plant, not so often indoors, with no direct sun, will be grown, is Arundo donax. You might suitable. Still, if you get half a chance remember about twenty to get a greenhouse do years ago gardeners so, because the comfort discovered bamboos, for you and your plants which became very will be vastly improved – popular all of a sudden. especially in winter I use Until, that is, people any excuse to visit the realised that nearly every greenhouse. bamboo is intent on When it comes to running in every direction. slugs, the other day I As you can imagine, their read that ‘Delphiniums popularity went rapidly are asparagus for slugs’; Delphinium and downhill. But I have grown you can say that again. To Allium combo Arundo donax, the giant protect my Delphiniums reed (not a bamboo) for (which I love) I’m growing the last fifty years or so, them in large pots of good and the roots haven’t soil. (They have a terrible wandered further than two feet in time in spring with the slugs – this is any direction. It may well be a terror the only way.) Then, to get a second in its natural habitats, which have flowering, the moment flowering goes warmer climates, but here I think it is over, cut each plant to the ground and a beautiful plant, around eight feet you’ll get a slightly smaller but very tall, with blue-green leaves, and which good second show in late August. never looks a mess and has perfect I sink each large pot at intervals manners (in Ireland at any rate). running up the front of a border. This I learned many things from the works remarkably well, and is a lovely wonderful gardener, Penelope refreshing sight for late summer.
Where is God? Gerry Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Hanlon SJ, author of The Quiet Revolution of Pope Francis (Messenger Publications, 2019), reflects on the comforting and inspirational role faith can play in the crisis of a pandemic.
Image by Cryptographer ÂŠ Shutterstock.com
In the case of a once-in-a-century outbreak like COVID-19, we are shocked. Apart from the enormous disruption at the macro level to industry, commerce, trade, transport, national economies and employment, there are the personal effects. We recall the reality of illness, death and bereavement for some, the surreal funerals; the courageous service of front-line staff in hospitals, at check-outs in shops or on the streets collecting and emptying our bins.
We recall not being able to come and go, and not being able to meet and greet some loved ones (as well as learning to cope with the omnipresence of other loved ones). We recall also the inability to plan, the uncertainty, the boredom, the mounting anxiety of many, the panic and the terror; we recall the eerie silence of empty streets and closed churches, and the sense of a life suspended. We all now have an experience of 51
what Pope Francis likes to call ‘the peripheries’ – what life is habitually like for so many migrants and asylum seekers, residents of direct provision, the homeless and prisoners. Nonetheless, even in our secular age, we look to find meaning in what is happening. In a number of thoughtful pieces, journalist Fintan O’Toole has noted how our prized autonomy – so characteristic of the individualism of modernity – is suddenly revealed as threadbare. Concepts like ’solidarity’ and ’the common good’ have gained new currency. Handwashing and social distancing was presented not just as a personal concern, but as a way of loving the neighbour. Fintan O’Toole goes on to note that while it is human to seek for meaning, we must not expect from science any more than an account of the kind of natural breakdowns, damageseeming absurdities that are all part of an evolving universe. For a more heart-warming source of meaning, he turns to fiction and to the thoughts of Viktor Frankl in his classic work Man’s Search for Meaning, the reflections of a survivor of the Holocaust. At this point O’Toole begins to speak of love, much as the British artist David Hockney, in introducing pieces from Normandy in France celebrating Spring at a time of Coronavirus, stated that ‘only two things really matter – food and love’. I am sure that Fintan O’Toole would be happy to concede that by turning to fiction he does not mean to suggest that what fiction has to offer 52
Concepts like ‘solidarity’ and ‘the common good’ have gained new currency. is a lie, and does not contain its own (and very important) kind of truth. Certainly, those of us of Christian faith, based on scriptural stories that are expressed in many different kinds of literary genres (including fiction and myth), cannot stop there. For us the question arises with sharpness and with longing: where is God in all this? Our God, we believe, is not the God that James Joyce referred to as ‘aloof, paring his finger-nails’. While respecting human freedom, and that of the whole of nature and the universe, this is the God who is known as Emmanuel, ‘God-with-us’, who cares for every one of us and for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, the God whom Ignatius
Image by Lukassek © Shutterstock.com
in his Spiritual Exercises called ‘the God who works and labours for me in all creatures’, a God ‘who conducts himself as one who labours’ (SE, 236). There are some basic insights that emerge from the theological search for meaning: God does not cause the bad things that are happening in the world, including COVID-19. Nor are pandemics punishment for our wickedness and sin, be it personal, social or structural; God is everlastingly compassionate and faithful, and is at work to promote, heal and liberate creation and creatures. Nonetheless, given that ‘creation groans in one great act of giving birth’ (Rom 8:22), God is also the one who, through the Law of the
Cross, suffers and dies with and for us, so that our suffering and death has meaning in being a redemptive share in his – ‘ I make up in my body for what is lacking in the suffering of Christ for his Church’ (Col 1:24). God is the one who can bring good out of evil, and because of whom Julian of Norwich could say ‘All will be well, all manner of things will be well’. In the meantime we continue, rightly, to ask like the Psalmist with insistence and longing, ‘how long Lord’ (Ps 13), to complain and lament like Job and also to contemplate with wonder the crucified Jesus of Good Friday, who loves us to bits. We know and believe that he rises again, not without his wounds, and we rejoice. We look forward to resurrection in all the pain and darkness of life; seeking it in birdsong and blooming cherry blossoms, in the embrace of friends and in convivial and celebratory meals. But also, please God, we look forward to our own conversion, so that we move into a way of living together that respects our planet, values housing and health as shared public and common goods and is less judgemental about those on the peripheries. Our faith does not just give meaning, it also gives comfort and inspiration. Karl Rahner wrote about love of God and love of neighbour being one, meaning that it is not just that love of God leads us to love our neighbour but rather that, for most of us, our main way to love God is by loving our neighbour. 53
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Who do you say that I am? Mt 16:13-20
Can anything good come from Nazareth? Jn 1:45-51
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
You hypocrites, Blind Pharisees Mt 23:23-26
St Louis of France St Joseph Calasanz
Handsome externally but inside corrupt Mt 23:27-32
Why be envious? Mt 20:1-16
It will be hard for the rich... Mt 19:23-30
If you wish to be perfect... Mt 19:16-22
Woman, you have great faith Mt 15:21-28
St John Eudes
Our Lady of Knock
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Great sadness came over them Mt 17:22-27
St Jane Frances De Chantal
He set a little child Listen to the community in from of them Mt 18:15-20 Mt 18:1-5. 10.12-14 SS Muredach, Attracta, Lelia
You have great faith Mt 15:21-28
Dedication of the Basilica Saint Mary Major, Rome
Lord save me Mt 14:22-33
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Why do you break from the tradition? Mt 15:1-2. 10-14
John Mary Vianney
It is I, do not be afraid Mt 14:22-36
To set the downtrodden free Lk 4:16-30
Breaking the loaves they fed the crowds Mt 14:13-21
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus made it clear he would suffer Mt 16:21-27
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Stay awake Mt 24:42-51
Exclude no one Mt 22:1-14
Forgive from your heart Mt 18:21 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 19:1 St Fachtna
Ss Pontian & Hippolytus
He led them up a high mountain Mt 17:1-9
Transfiguration of the Lord
The bridegroom is here, are we ready? Mt 25:1-13
Love the lord, love your neighbour Mt 22:34-40
St Pius X
Let anyone accept my teaching who can Mt 19:3-12
St Maximilian Kolbe
Why gain everything and ruin your life? Mt 16:24-28
St Sixtus II & Cajetan
Herod ordered his death Mk 6:17-29
Martyrdom of St John the Baptist
Hail favoured one Lk. 1:26-38
Queenship of the BVM
My spirit exults in God my saviour Lk 1:39-56
Assumption of the BVM
Failure due to a lack of faith Mt 17:14-20
Compromised by a foolish promise Mt 14:1-12
St Alphonsus Liguori
S August 2020
What way to go? How best to direct my steps? Lord, guide me well, When I must find my way. ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life’ (Jn 14:6) Text: Donal Neary SJ. Photograph by Liam O’Connell SJ ISSN 1649-4450