Sacred Heart Messenger - September 2020

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The Sacred Heart


September 2020 €2.00/£1.85

A modern message in a much-loved tradition

Working from Home I Kevin Hargaden In the Garden I Helen Dillon Breath: The Gift of Life I Peter McVerry SJ Jesuit Tea I Deirdre Powell RE:LINK: With Bishop Denis Nulty

contents 04 From the Editor


The Lovely Dandelion

The Season of Creation

Dermot A Lane

07 Letters of St Paul

Michael Collins

14 Parish of

the Future Unlit Lights and Parish Identity

Gerard Condon

16 Masterpieces

of Christian Art The Apotheosis of St Charles Borromeo

Eileen Kane

20 Jesuit Tea



Christopher Moriarty


In conversation with Bishop Denis Nulty

Source of Life

Brian Grogan SJ

46 Young People

of Faith Carlo Acutis John Murray

Faith Quille

31 Working from Home

Kevin Hargaden

34 World Day of

Migrants and Refugees Understanding IDPs

Alan Hilliard

36 Forming Priests

for the Future Tomás Surlis

38 Cookery

Places of Worship Church of the Three Patrons, Rathgar Deirdre Powell

Margaret Naughton


The Body of Christ

12 Beethoven at 250

25 Praying When Ill

Wilfrid Harrington OP

44 Water: The

Donal Neary SJ

05 Pope’s Intention

42 Young Readers’

Chicken and Pear Salad/Blackberry & Apple Crumble Seamus Buckley

40 Crosswords

38 49 Gardening

In the Garden Helen Dillon

51 The Joy of

Grandparenting Aideen Madden

52 Breath: The

Gift of Life

Peter McVerry SJ

54 Subscription 55 Calendar 56 Reflection Cover:










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ship of Pr


Pope’s Intention (universal): We pray that the planet’s resources will not be plundered, but shared in a just and respectful manner. With Jesus in the Morning Father of Goodness, I know you’re with me. Here I am on this new day. Place my heart once more next to the Heart of your Son Jesus, who is giving himself for me and who comes to me in the Eucharist. May your Holy Spirit make me your friend and apostle, available for your mission of compassion. I put in your hands my joys and hopes, my works and sufferings, everything that I am and have, in communion with my brothers and sisters of this worldwide prayer network. With Mary I offer you my journey for the mission of the Church and for the intentions of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network for this month. Amen. With Jesus in the Night God, good night. Thank you for the day. The good bits were good. The tough bits are over for another day. Help me to sleep well tonight. Help me to face into another day tomorrow. Bless and protect all my loved ones this night. Bless and protect all those, too, with whom I disagree or with whom I don’t get on – they’re you’re children too, I know. May tomorrow bring about your will for the world – peace, love, joy and mercy. May I play my part. For now, good night, God. I love you and know you love me, warts and all.

THE SACRED HEART MESSENGER incorporating the Pope’s Worldwide Network of Prayer (Apostleship of Prayer).

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From the Editor

LeManna ©

The Lovely Dandelion

I noticed one of the community replanting dandelions in the garden. As dandelions were always called a weed, I wondered why they were being replanted. I wondered too as to why they are called a weed when their colour is lovely and they feed the bees. I remembered that when I was a child we would be sent out to cut the heads off the dandelions! I’m told that ‘weed’ isn’t really a scientific term. People use it for something growing in the wrong place, and for a flower that multiplies in grass. They have a long root which makes them difficult to destroy, and they show up in a place we don’t want them. So, we name them a weed! There may be other reasons I am unaware of. I now look at a dandelion with kinder eyes. I know why we would replant it. It gave me a few lessons. We can very often write people off as ignorant, unreliable, a nuisance and so on, without seeing that we are all loved by God, and probably by many others. To look at others with the eyes of God is to see in each human being 4

the image of God: We are all a flower of God. We can listen with the ears of God to what people experience and what they say, because we have something to learn from everyone, from the smallest child, the poorest person and the oldest person. The very ill can teach us lessons of life, and the worldwide virus can teach us similarly. Each of us, like every flower of God, shares a message, a lesson and the love of God. Can we actively live like this so that our words are encouraging, our resources are generously shared and our judgements are kind? This will help the other but also make for a happy life. Look at the poorly thought-of dandelion and notice what we have learned from it in addition to enjoying its beauty. Paddy Kavanagh, the Irish poet got it right. Describing a dandelion, he wrote of it as ‘something to wear as a buttonhole in heaven’. Jesus did the same – the lilies of the field, the dandelion of the garden, are never unnoticed, and always enjoyed in the eyes and mind of God. Donal Neary SJ

Pope’s Intention

The Season of Creation Dermot A Lane, a priest of the archdiocese of Dublin serving as chaplain in the parish of Balally, writes about the Pope’s Intention for September and the influence of Laudato Si’ five years on. He is the author of Theology and Ecology in Dialogue (Messenger Publications, 2020).

Creation is God’s gift to humanity and its resources are intended for all. Just dance ©

Pope’s Intention (universal): We pray that the planet’s resources will not be plundered, but shared in a just and respectful manner. There are a number of reasons why this particular theme has been chosen for September. It complements the Season of Creation which takes place in parishes from 1 September–4 October 2020. Another reason why this particular theme was chosen is that it reflects an underlying concern of Pope Francis put forward in his encyclical

entitled Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home (LS), namely a call for all Christians to hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. Last May, Pope Francis celebrated the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’ and announced that May 2020–May 2021 be set aside as a special year for reflection and action on the encyclical. After five years the encyclical is as important today as it was in 2015. Pope Francis is very concerned that 5

Pope’s Intention

multinational corporations have been exploiting the planet’s resources by drilling for fossil fuels, forgetting that these resources of the earth are finite and limited (LS,106). This exploitation of the earth’s resources, according to the best science, is contributing to global warming. Global warming, in turn, is causing forest fires, melting ice caps, flooding lands, drought, storms, and the pollution of the oceans. There is a danger that the natural world is being used as a ‘dump’ for waste (LS, 173). Pope Francis points out that ‘For human beings … to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation … to degrade the integrity of the earth … to contaminate the earth’s water, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins’ (LS, 8).

intended for all. There is a justice issue at stake when discussing the resources of the planet. Pope Francis talks about the importance of social justice, climate justice and intergenerational justice. When social justice is ignored it is the poor who suffer. When climate justice is neglected it is again the poor who suffer most. Intergenerational justice is also important. Pope Francis asks the telling question: ‘What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us?’ (LS, 160). In answer to his own question he points out: ‘We may well be leaving to the coming generations debris, desolation and filth’ (LS, 161). Every generation has a duty in justice to hand on to the next generation a world that is habitable and healthy.

Disfiguring the Face of God in Creation Why does the Pope use such strong language here? When we trample aggressively on the earth, we disfigure the face of the Creator within creation. For Francis ‘nature as a whole not only manifests God but is also a locus of his presence’ (LS, 88). During the COVID-19 crisis, many people turned to nature to rediscover the presence of God all around them in a flower, in a sunset, or in a starry sky.

Some Suggestions What then can you do to promote respect for the planet’s resources? Here are a few suggestions: (1) find out about the resources for the Season of Creation in your parish for the month of September, (2) watch out for ‘the little miracles of creation’ in the changing of the seasons and the autumn colours of September, (3) set up a Laudato Si’ reflection and action group in your parish, (4) cut back on the use of plastics which are choking marine life.

A Matter of Justice There is another reason why we should respect the resources of the planet. Creation is God’s gift to humanity and its resources are


Helpful resources for the Season of Creation are available on the website of the Irish Episcopal Conference:

Pope’s Intentions Letters of St Paul Feature

The Body of Christ Believers are the means by which the Risen Lord continues to act in our world. They are his ears, eyes and hands. Fr Wilfrid Harrington OP explores the meaning of being a member of the Body of Christ.

Renata Sedmakova ©

In Romans and 1 Corinthians Paul refers to the Christian community as the Body of Christ. The image of body was already widely in use in the ancient world to express the unity of a community despite the diversity of its members. But, for Paul, the image is far deeper: this image of the body is reality and not metaphor. How real the incorporation of the Christian into Christ’s body is for Paul can be seen in the passage 1 Corinthians 10:16–17 – ‘The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are

The image of the ‘body’ throws light on Paul’s understanding of community. one body, for we all partake of the one bread’. Through the eucharistic experience of sharing in the body and blood of Christ, believers are united with him and with one another. In using this terminology of body, Paul means to imply that our union with Christ is real and total, a union of the whole person, not something only ‘spiritual’. Paul understands this union with Christ in a very realistic sense. In 1 Corinthians 6:15 Paul asks, ‘Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?’ What God had achieved through Jesus Christ was brought about through his physical 7

Pope’s Letters Intentions of St Paul presence in the world. In his life he showed that authentic humanity could be a real option. Then, by his resurrection, Christ was removed from the sphere of the visible and tangible. An imperative need for a visible representation of authentic humanity in our world remained. In God’s plan this demonstration was to be given by the Christian community which Paul here calls ‘Christ’. Believers are the means by which the Risen Lord continues to act in our world. They are his ears, eyes and hands. What he had done when physically present, we now do in his name and with his power. In I Corinthians 12:12–13 ‘Christ’ stands for the Christian community: ‘For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.’ Here being baptised into one Body refers to the community into which a Christian has been initiated by baptism. This is particularly clear in 12:27: ‘Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it’. The community is not an aggregate of believers but a ‘body’ with mutually independent members. It is an organic unity and therefore, necessarily, has a diversity of parts (Rom 2:4–8; 1 Cor 12:12–31). We have tended to equate the Body of Christ with the Church. In Paul’s writings, the theme of the Body developed independently of that of the Church. True, in Colossians and Ephesians, the themes of ‘body’, 8

‘head’ and ‘church’ are linked and the Church is identified with the ‘Body of Christ’. But this was a later development and does not necessarily reflect Paul’s thought. The image of the ‘body’ throws light on Paul’s understanding of community. The new mode of existence that women and men achieve in Christ is not wholly their own. It is a participation, a sharing, in which others are essential. Paradoxically, Paul’s understanding of sin is a help to understanding his idea of community. Humans are not only born into a disoriented society

Illustrations: Brendan McCarthy

– made so by the sins of preceding generations – but contribute to that disorder by their own sins. As a Christian one belongs to a community that is, in principle, rightly oriented to God. In fact, through the failure of individuals, sin gains an entry to this sphere which ought to be immune to its influence. The personal sins of Christians provide a bridgehead for Sin (sin personified) and make it that much more difficult for the other members of the community to be their true selves. In short, my freedom to realise my potentialities and become

truly human is conditioned by the authenticity of the other members of the community. Christian freedom highlights in a concrete way the interdependence of Christians. The great danger of a Christian community is that it see itself as, in some way, distinct from its members. This danger is all the more real because as a human, visible reality, the Christian community must, of necessity, be institutionally organised. Too easily the community is assumed to have a value in itself, which the members are ordained to serve. Uniformity in thought and action becomes a virtue, and the individual is cast in a mould inhibiting authentic development. In truth, the Christian community exists for the sake of the individual. The individual always conscious of the community must never be lost in it. What Paul demands of his converts is, paradoxically, a completely altruistic individualism. Their commitment to Christ is achieved in isolation, through the loneliest decision a person can make, the act of faith. Their growth in that commitment is to be an intensely personal development of each one’s unique personality. Yet, their attention, never to focus on themselves only, must be alert to minister to the needs of others. All this is possible only to the extent that the community is a loving community. Otherwise, there will be selfishness on the one hand and the individual will be hampered by the institution on the other. The Body of Christ is constantly challenged to be like Christ. 9

Places of Worship

Church of St Thérèse, Mount Merrion The ‘Places of Worship’ article included in the June Messenger featured images of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Foxrock. The article should have featured images of the Church of St Thérèse, Mount Merrion. We apologise for this error to the priests and parishioners of both churches, and assure our readers that the images included in the August article on the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Foxrock were the correct images. To complete the article on the Church of St Thérèse, Mount Merrion, we publish here the correct images for the article that appeared in June.



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Beethoven at 250 It is 250 years since Beethoven’s birth. We know many of his best works but often don’t know their history. Michael Collins, a priest of the Archdiocese of Dublin, fills in the gaps. He is the author of Newman and Raphael’s World, both from Messenger Publications.

In 1972, the Council of Europe adopted Beethovan’s ‘Ode to Joy’ as its anthem. As the world observes the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, we look at the faith behind some of his great works. His best known work, apart from ‘Moonlight Sonata’, is a melody that comes from his Ninth Symphony. This music was set to the 1785 lyrics ‘Ode to Joy’ composed by the German poet, Friedrich von Schiller. Ludwig von Beethoven was born on 16 December, 1770. As a young child, Ludwig showed exceptional talent and his father forced him to practise for hours on end. Johann hoped vainly that Ludwig would emulate the success of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose father had organised a series of lucrative concerts for his gifted son some years earlier. When Beethoven was seventeen, his mother died. He undertook the responsibility of caring for his two younger brothers. His father had become an alcoholic. Beethoven began to compose, and was greatly inspired by a meeting with Joseph Haydn in 1790. Two years later he went to Vienna where although still in the employment of the Archbishop12

Elector of Cologne, he was lured by the aristocracy to remain in the Austrian capital and teach a number of private pupils. Publishers printed his works which spread his fame further afield and provided him with a small income. While Beethoven’s reputation grew, the composer began to experience hearing loss. In 1802, he confided in a letter to his brothers that he considered committing suicide. His hearing continued to fail and by 1814 he was totally deaf and was obliged to communicate in writing. Beethoven continued to enjoy success, although his personal life was less than tranquil. On the death of a brother, he adopted a nephew who caused him continual worry and conflict. Though he never married he had several passionate romances with various women in Vienna. Beethoven died at the age of fiftysix. By that time he was entirely deaf and suffered enormous frustration as he continued to compose. He had gradually become a recluse in his later years, meeting only a few close friends. Following Requiem Mass in the Church of the Holy Trinity, a crowd of

John Wollwerth ©

some 20,000 mourners accompanied the coffin to the main cemetery of the city, where he was buried. Although he was baptised a Catholic and worked for two archbishops, Beethoven’s personal faith has remained a mystery. In his writings, he rarely referred to his beliefs. Some in the ‘Age of Enlightenment’ regarded religion as little more than a collection of superstitions that failed to address the fundamental needs of humanity. This led to a rupture between religion and the emerging sciences. Rather than believe in a personal, creative God, many eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century Europeans professed a belief in an unknowable creative force, or ‘deity’. Beethoven was particularly interested in the

religious traditions of the ‘East’ which came to public attention through European colonisation of India and Africa, and trade between them. While the bulk of Beethoven’s output was instrumental, he produced some religious vocal works. His oratorio ‘Christ on the Mount of Olives’, composed in 1803, revolves around the arrest of Jesus, although he never completed his second oratorio ‘The Triumph of the Cross’. Beethoven composed the vast ‘Missa Solemnis’, in 1824, to celebrate the installation of Cardinal Archduke Rudolf of Austria as archbishop of Olomouc. The vast scale precluded its use in the liturgy and it was performed in a hall. Beethoven was pleased with his efforts and referred to the great mass as ‘the crown of my works’. 13

Parish Featureof the Future

Unlit Lights and Parish Identity What will the parish look like in the future? Fr Gerard Condon of the Cloyne Diocese gives an up-todate view on an issue that involves clergy and laity. His article in the October Messenger will look at the advantages and disadvantages of the webcam mass. ‘Wouldn’t you miss the priest all the same?’, one villager was heard to say to another. The pair had stepped outside the pub for a smoke. Sometimes on a Saturday night they would greet Fr Quinn as he walked home from the Vigil Mass, but now the parochial house was unlit, a lonesome sentinel. The local church had been reduced to a single Sunday morning Mass, celebrated by a visiting priest. Fr Quinn was transferred to a busier parish last September and no one was sent to replace him. There will be many more ‘priest-less’ parishes in years to come. The Irish Church is returning to the number of priests it had before Catholic Emancipation (1829), when unions of parishes were commonplace. Our current ratio of about one priest for every 2,000 Catholics compares well with other Catholic countries such as France (1:2,800), Brazil (1:8,500) and the Philippines (1:10,000). Our agedemographic disguises the true state of affairs. In my diocese just six of the 14

seventy-five priests in active ministry are younger than forty-five. Twenty years from now we can expect no more than thirty or forty priests in parish ministry. Organisations as deeply rooted as the Catholic Church rarely adapt easily to change. Like a patient taking in bad news, we can deny the new reality and attempt to carry on as before, or we might get angry with a society that has turned its back on religion. The most pragmatic response is to accept the new reality and try to discern where God’s Spirit leads. Among the responses to the dawning reality of fewer priests is the creation of pastoral areas, also known as ‘parish groupings’. These allow parishes to pool their resources. Their main purpose is to coordinate the Sunday Mass schedule between neighbouring priests. Grouping means that priests can cover for each other in

wideonet ©

the event of sickness or vacation. Parish groupings come with their own problems. The priest who is responsible for a few parishes may feel that he belongs to none. Being rotated between parishes may fuel the perception of the priest as a sacramental functionary, a visitor, rather than a familiar faith-friend who is rooted in a particular community. One of the standards of Catholic social teaching is subsidiarity. It states that central authorities should only perform those tasks that cannot be done by a smaller local unit. The principle suggests that parishes should continue to do as much as they can, even in the absence of a resident priest. I think this autonomy should include leadership roles in the parish, taken up by suitably qualified and duly appointed lay people. Pastoral assistants, as they are sometimes called, could take on many

of the functions presently carried out by priests. They could be the ‘go to’ leader within the Christian community, as well as the point of contact for the diocese. The pastoral assistant could liaise with the local clergy or a semiretired priest for the supply of Sunday Mass and the sacraments. However, as things stand, there are too few opportunities for laypeople to prepare for these roles in Ireland and there is no coordinated system for their accreditation. Among the natural candidates for the role of pastoral assistant are recently retired post-primary Religious Education teachers and chaplains. They already hold degrees in theology and know how to lead groups. They possess the kind of pastoral skills that can be usefully transferred to a parish setting. Teachers know what it means to be accountable to a school’s board of management or governors. This equates with the pastoral council in the case of a parish. While our regular Sunday congregations have diminished (in line with the reduced numbers of priests), those who still attend Mass are motivated by a personal commitment to their faith. They have taken up the invitation of Pope Francis ‘to a renewed personal encounter with Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 4). Some have leadership qualities. Even as the once bustling parochial houses are being dimmed, there are other unlit lights waiting to replace them. 15

Masterpieces of Christian Art

The Apotheosis of St Charles Borromeo by Giulio Cesare Procaccini (1574–1625). With her insightful commentary on The Apotheosis of St Charles Borromeo, also known as St Charles Borromeo in Glory, Eileen Kane turns our thoughts to Milan, and one of Italy’s best known saints. It can be viewed in the National Gallery of Ireland. Two figures, each of them about life-size, fill the entire height of the painting. In the upper half, St Charles Borromeo (1538–1584), archbishop of Milan, canonised in 1610, is carried heavenwards by angels. In the lower half, St Michael the Archangel, leader of the heavenly hosts against the forces of evil, pins Satan to the ground. Attracted by the bright golden yellow of his vestments, our attention is drawn first to Charles Borromeo, at the top centre of the painting. He is dressed in the liturgical vestments of an archbishop, wearing the white pallium, marked with black crosses, around his neck. His crosier, symbol of his pastoral ministry, is in his left hand, and on his head is a gold-coloured mitre. On his right, a cherub raises up his red, cardinal’s hat, and on his left, another cherub displays the Borromeo family’s device, or ‘motto’, which is the Latin word Humilitas, surmounted by a coronet. Correctly, given that Charles Borromeo died aged only forty-six, he is shown as a young man, and slight of build, though his facial features are somewhat blurred by the heavenly light above him. In the foreground, the Archangel 16

Michael is dressed, from his plumed helmet down to his feet, in deep, rich shades of red and green. He too is portrayed as young, ideally young. Dressed as a soldier, he is replacing in its scabbard the sword with which he has felled the giant figure of Satan, emblematic of evil, who lies, still gripping his trident, under the archangel’s feet. In his right hand, Michael holds aloft the scales in which, according to tradition, he weighs souls as they come to judgment, and in the trays of the scales, two, tiny, ghostly figures can be seen. One of them, kneeling, is Charles Borromeo. The painting is large and tall, about 12½ feet high (386.5 centimetres), and about 8¼ feet (253 centimetres) wide. It is an altarpiece, and it is best to view it from a certain distance, in order to appreciate it fully. Then, two elements of Procaccini’s masterful composition come into focus. First, there is no suggestion of spatial depth in the painting. The picture-space is entirely filled with figures, with the Archangel’s massive, outstretched wings, with clouds and a host of angels and cherubs, all against a dark and shadowy background.

Image Š National Gallery of Ireland

The other element is the zig-zag upward movement, provided by the positioning of the two main figures on opposite diagonals, the Archangel Michael from left to right, and Charles Borromeo from right to left. Combined, these elements place the painting in that fascinating art-historical moment around 1620, when artists were using both light-and-shade and dynamic compositional elements, creating the early Baroque style in Italy. Both the Archangel Michael

and Charles Borromeo are invoked against outbreaks of the plague. In Rome, in the year 590, Pope Gregory the Great led a procession of the people through the streets, praying for a cessation of the plague of that year. Towards the close of the procession, Pope Gregory saw in a vision, above what is now the Castel Sant’Angelo, the Archangel Michael sheathing his sword, and understood that the plague had ceased, that prayers had been answered. Charles Borromeo, too, as archbishop of Milan, prayed and worked for an end to an outbreak of the plague. In 1576–77, coming on the heels of a famine, an outbreak of the bubonic plague caused immense hardship to the people of Milan. When it struck, in August 1576, many people fled the city, but Charles remained. He closed the churches, but constructed altars outside them, so that the people 17

Masterpieces of Christian Art could hear Mass in the open air. He organised the distribution of food and other aid, and actively took part in the distribution himself. At evident danger to himself, he visited the sick and the dying. In fact, the part he played in those months, earned for that particular outbreak the title of the ‘St Charles plague’, to distinguish it from the ‘Great Plague of Milan’, which devastated the city between 1629 and 31, and was an important element of the famous novel The Betrothed (I Promessi Sposi) by Alessandro Manzoni (1785–1873). Charles Borromeo belonged to one of the noblest families in Lombardy. The younger of two sons, he was steered by his family towards an ecclesiastical career, and, though not

yet a priest, was appointed archbishop of Milan, made a cardinal by his uncle, Pope Pius IV, and went to reside in Rome. In 1562, when his brother died, leaving no heir, pressure was put upon Charles to quit his ecclesiastical career, to marry and continue the Borromeo line. He refused. He had undergone a profound inner conversion, and was about to become one of the great reformers of the Church in those important years after the Council of Trent (1547–1564). In 1565, having been ordained both priest and bishop, he took up residence in Milan and immediately put into effect the reforms decreed by the Council. He lived an austere life and died in Milan in November 1584. His tomb is in Milan Cathedral.

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Jesuit Tea Deirdre Powell, an experienced writer and previous contributor to The Messenger, explores a little known Jesuit contribution to the world: Jesuit Tea, which comes from Jesuit involvement in the cultivation of maté in South America. Many problems of the world have been solved over a cup of tea, whatever the brand, but have you ever heard of ‘Jesuit Tea’ and its history? In South America, before the arrival of the Europeans, the indigenous people called the Guarani used to consume a plant known as maté. The word maté means ‘gourd’ in the Quechua language, and gourds include the fruit of some flowering plant species in the family Cucurbitaceae; the Quechua language is spoken by Native American people in Central and South America. The Guarani chewed the leaves of maté or utilised a cane to drink an infusion of the herb from a container. Around the year 1500, Europeans became familiar with the plant, but it was not domesticated until the seventeenth century by the Jesuits. The priests began to cultivate the herb on a larger scale, although initially they rejected the indigenous people’s habit of constantly drinking maté. The priests produced a beverage known as ‘the elixir of the Jesuits’ or ‘Jesuit Tea’, and were probably trying to save the native population from the scourge of alcoholism. The Jesuits eventually 20

adopted the habit of drinking ‘Jesuit Tea’ and became the greatest popularisers of the Guarani plant. The priests intensified the cultivation of maté by using irrigation and cultivation techniques, together with organising the work of indigenous peoples at Jesuit missions. The herb earned the nickname ‘green gold’ during the seventeenth and first half of the eighteenth centuries as the cultivation and exportation of the herb attained its greatest level. There was a decrease in the production of maté following the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Spanish colonies in 1767. However, the people’s passion for maté did not decrease, and, in order to meet domestic demand, Argentina once again domesticated the plant at the beginning of the twentieth century. Currently, Argentina is the largest producer of maté globally, followed by Brazil and Paraguay. After Argentina, Uruguay and Chile are the main consumers of maté in South America. In addition, the drink is consumed on a daily basis in Syria and Lebanon – the practice was introduced by emigrants to South America who subsequently returned to their home countries, bringing the

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custom with them. Tradition states that the various ways that Jesuit Tea is served have different meanings: if the drink is served very hot, it suggests hatred; if it is served cold, it suggests contempt, whereas sweetened maté suggests friendship. Our Lady of Caacupé in Paraguay is associated with maté, which is an association that originates from a Guarani sculptor named José, who had converted to Christianity through the Jesuits. Once, he was being pursued by the native Mbaya people, who had not abandoned their native religion. José vowed that if Mary would protect him from being caught by the Mbaya, he would carve and venerate an image of her.

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Indigenous people at Aty Guasu Assembly, a GuaraniKaiowá woman encounter, Brazil

Our Lady subsequently appeared to José and told him ‘ka’aguý cupepe’, which is Guarani for ‘behind the yerba mate shrubs’. He hid behind a thick tree trunk, and his pursuers ran past him. True to his word, José carved the statue, and today Our Lady of Caacupé is the patroness of Paraguay. But many of us are partial to a cup of regular tea, as opposed to maté, and Jesuits including Matteo Ricci, Alvaro Semedo, Martino Martini, Louis LeComte and Jean-Baptiste Du Halde also provided descriptions about tea. Father Ricci was very impressed by the uses made of the leaves from the tea bush, describing it at length and using one of the Chinese words for what we now call ‘tea’ in English.


Places of Worship

September finds Christopher Moriarty in Rathgar, where he visits the Church of the Three Patrons. The church has been the source of some controversy – an editor of The Irish Times was inclined to call the Dublin Metropolitan Police over the blessing of its foundation stone in 1860. The triumvirate of Saints Patrick, Brigid and Colmcille are invoked in the dedication of the church that serves the people of Rathgar. Built on a small corner site in the suburbs of Dublin, it has a rather severe appearance resulting from its strict classical style. Perhaps the only noticeable feature on its façade is the Latin dedication in large letters of gold, so large that nearly all of the words are abbreviated or reduced to their initials. It was one of the last of the many fine churches designed by Patrick Byrne. An employee of the Wide Streets Commissioners from the 1820s, he had been the architect of some of the best medium-sized buildings of Dublin and also of much of the planning of Glasnevin 22

Image: Brendan McCarthy

Church of the Three Patrons, Rathgar

Cemetery. His great moment as a creator of churches came in the 1830s when his brilliant St Paul’s, by the Liffeyside on Arran Quay, was built. Among the many commissions that Byrne received in the following years was for a new church in the parish of Rathmines, to replace the previous one which was too small for the growing population. Begun in 1850, it was dedicated in 1856. Less than ten years after Rathmines Church had been built, problems arose. New houses and estates were continuing to be developed for affluent commuters. In those times, every householder in the district

would have had one or two domestic servants. Their duties included making and serving breakfast and lunch, and the only time free for them to go to Mass on Sundays was seven in the morning or even earlier. The parish priest, Fr William Meagher, decided that a chapel-of-ease in Rathgar was needed. For a second time he chose Patrick Byrne who, in the meantime, had changed his style from Classical austerity to the more flamboyant and fashionable Gothic Revival. Fr Meagher brought him back to Classical principles and the exterior of the resulting church was austere in the

extreme. Happily, the richly decorated and elaborate interior contrasts with the unprepossessing outside. The first feature to catch the eye on entering the church is the sanctuary. Three storeys in height, it is dominated by statues of the three patron saints, each in a separate niche on the third. They stand level with the Corinthian capitals of four massive pilasters. These pilasters, which extend from the floor to just below the ceiling, are continued on both sides of the nave. They alternate with round-headed arches, forming arcades which separate the side aisles from the central portion. The three patrons, in turn, are flanked by two others. St Laurence O’Toole, one of the twelfth-century archbishops of Dublin, scarcely needs an introduction. His companion figure, St Rumold, is another matter. An Irish missionary who preached Christianity on the continent in the eighth century, he was murdered in Echelen in present-day Belgium where the great gothic cathedral is dedicated to him. Fr Meagher, it is said, was very much in command of the building of Rathgar Church. Funding began with a very generous gift from a parishioner who kept his name secret. Householders, Catholic and Protestant, contributed but the most substantial offering came from their servants. Sufficient funds were raised to allow the blessing of the foundation stone by the Bishop of Bombay on the Sunday after St Patrick’s Day in 1860. The blessing was a memorable occasion and included a great 23

procession on the road outside – inevitable as the church occupies almost the entire site on which it stands and has no space in the open for the congregation. The Irish Times was not pleased with this show of religion and its issue of 20 March stands as a shocking memorial to an element of nineteenth-century intolerance. A lengthy editorial makes the point that processions of this kind were contrary to the law and expresses outrage that the Dublin Metropolitan Police, far from suppressing it, actually took part. Building had progressed sufficiently for the church to be dedicated on a summer’s day two years later, but it was far from finished. Patrick Byrne had lived long enough to see the building thus far, but died in 1864. The next stage came twenty years later. The high altar was installed in 1882 and is surmounted by a baldacchino, the work of the sculptor Joseph Farrell. Baldacchini, domed canopies supported on columns, are rare decorations in Irish churches. Another unusual feature of the sanctuary is the ambulatory, a passage 24

Image: Brendan McCarthy

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Places of Worship

behind the high altar. Three chapels are set in the wall of the ambulatory. These are richly decorated, the work of the architectural partnership O’Neill and Byrne. William Byrne came from Belfast and seems to have been no relation of Patrick’s. Perhaps most important of all from the view of the passer-by was the partnership’s addition of the façade which is exceptional for its time in having no windows. The church, incidentally, faces east because the conventional arrangement with the sanctuary at the east end would have prevented the entrance from facing on to the road. Further developments of the interior took place in the 1920s and the church was closed for two years for major restoration work at the end of the twentieth century. Relationships between Christians had improved by this time. The Presbyterian community, whose church nearby was built about the same time, welcomed their Catholic neighbours to use their building and an ecumenical service was held to celebrate the return to normality in 1997.


Praying When Ill

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In stressful situations it can be hard to find the focus for prayer. Healthcare chaplain Margaret Naughton recalls her experience of the difficulties people often face connecting with Jesus when in hospital.

On my ward rounds a few weeks ago I walked into a hospital room, a single room, to be greeted on entry by Mary, a smiling and engaging lady whom I have met once or twice before. Mary is a kind-hearted lady, full of positivity and always has a smile for those who pass by. She speaks proudly of her children and grandchildren, and while widowed for some time, would always tell of a life which is packed full of God’s blessings. On the locker beside her hospital

bed, you couldn’t help but notice the array of religious items. On the day of my recent visit, I saw a set of rosary beads, a small bible and a well-worn prayer book. I wasn’t surprised to see these as Mary brings them with her every time she comes to the hospital. Moreover, we have spoken about the centrality of faith in her life so I know that prayer is important to her. I smiled and greeted Mary who beckoned to me to sit in the empty chair beside her bed. I asked her how she was and after some initial 25

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It can be so difficult to pray in an environment that is clinical, fast-paced and stressful. There is tension all around us even when we are recovering well. small talk, she turned to me, with a despondency in her eyes I haven’t seen before, and said “Margaret I don’t know why but I just can’t say my prayers while I am here in the hospital. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t do it.” Mary’s dilemma is not a new one or indeed unique to her. Many times on my travels from patient to patient similar sentiments are expressed. People find it challenging to pray while in hospital, and are often taken by surprise that during such a time of need words, thoughts and focus can all fail them. Even for those who pray daily, the invocations can and often do fall silent. It can be so difficult to pray in an environment that is clinical, fastpaced and stressful. There is tension all around us even when we are recovering well. Our anxiety and fear becomes heightened and uncertainty can envelop us. People who are strangers to us now care for our basic needs and everything that gave us meaning is stripped away bit by bit. Illness challenges us, disempowers us and scares us. Words, prayers and thoughts can fail in such a space. I know from personal experience of being in hospital that prayers can be the last thing on our mind, wanting to pray but not being able to pray, we can simply give up, frustrated and 26

annoyed that even the familiar is no longer ours. To Mary I gave a simple piece of advice. Upset and annoyed with herself that she could not pray, I told her what I do when I find myself in this position. Let the hand of Jesus move closer to take your hand in his. Tell him that even though my words and prayers fail me today that I am here, your beloved child and I ask you to continue to be my friend and my guide. I place all my thoughts and prayers in your hand and I know you will help me this day. As I looked at Mary, a single tear ran gently down her cheek. “Thank you”, she said, “I felt God holding my hand today”, A simple prayer for you and me. We recall also the words of Pope Francis: ‘Every day we witness the testimony of courage and sacrifice of healthcare workers, and nurses in particular, who, with professionalism, self-sacrifice, and a sense of responsibility and love for neighbour, assist people affected by the virus, even to the point of putting their own health at risk’ (12 May 2020). A Note from the Editor Donal Neary SJ On behalf of our readers and staff, we salute the healthcare chaplains and workers for their courageous ministry and labours during COVID-19.

re:link September 202


Resource for Religion Studies

In Conversation with Bishop Denis Nulty RE:LINK returns after the Summer with an interview with Bishop Denis Nulty. Bishop Nulty is in charge of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, which includes many of the midland counties and Topical Articles | Celebrity Profiles | Free Online Content Competitions and Prizes | Interviews & more... 27

re : link F: Can you tell our readers a little bit about your background?

D: I grew up in County Meath, born in 1963, in Slane parish, on a farm, the youngest of a family of five. I went to school in St Patrick’s National School in Slane, before going to St Patrick’s Classical College in Navan. F: What was your favourite subject when you were in school? D: I loved Geography, I also liked English and Civics. F: When did you first feel the calling towards joining the priesthood?

F: Before you became bishop, what steps were involved in your education? D: I went from St Pat’s College in Navan, to the seminary in St Patrick’s College in Maynooth where I studied from 1981 to 1988. I was ordained a priest in 1988. I served as curate in Mullingar from 1988 to 1998. I was parish priest in St Mary’s, Drogheda from 1998 to 2013, before being appointed by Pope Francis as bishop of Kildare and Leighlin in 2013. F: What is a typical day in your role as a bishop? D: There is no such thing as a typical day in my life as a bishop, or in anyone’s life. Every day is a new day and a new beginning, and I think if you are to go to bed with that, tomorrow we start afresh, and we try our best to live the call to serving. The motto I picked as bishop is ‘Serve the Lord with Gladness’, and I endeavour to do that every day I get out of bed. F: What are the most rewarding elements of your role as bishop?

St.Patrick’s College, Maynooth

D: Perhaps the calling was always with me but more pronounced at different stages in my life … I had an uncle who was a Columban priest, who worked for a time in Japan, and I had a granduncle who was a priest in Drummoyne Parish in the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia. I had an aunt who was a nun … but also we had a good relationship with the priests in our parish, and I think that knowing the priest is an important part of formation. 28

D: Being present with people, being present with my priests, being present with my brother bishops. Being present with people is so important to me, and I suppose that’s why I found last few months such a nightmare for me because you’re basically semi-isolated in many ways, so it teaches us the importance of being present and being with people. F: You are regarded as a very actively involved bishop in your diocese, why is that important to you? D: I don’t think that it is just important to me, I think that it is important to everybody. People need

F: What is your favourite piece of Scripture? D: My favourite piece of scripture is the wonderful story of ‘The Road to Emmaus’, Luke chapter 24, verses 13 to 35. It tells of the two on the road to Emmaus and how we are all on a journey of life and we all find that the Lord in some ways comes to us … ‘That’s exactly what happened to Cleopas and his pal in Luke’s account, they met Jesus through Eucharist. That’s why the celebration of Sunday Mass, and weekday Mass is so important because we meet the Lord in those moments.

development of the kingdom. F: What part does prayer play in your life? D: A huge part. I start my morning with prayer, and I pray for a good while then and I also pray at nighttime before I go to bed. I also tend to punctuate my day, such as before meetings I will spend a bit of time at prayer. Prayer is the oil that keeps my life going. F: We have learned in a previous article that Pope Francis follows football and enjoys dancing. What is your favourite hobby? River Barrow, Carlow

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to see a bishop, they need to be visible in their community, they need to be present with people. Back to that word presence. They also need to speak into the cultural questions that are important today and be a voice, sometimes ‘a sign of contradiction’, that lovely phrase of Pope St John Paul II.

F: Do you have a favourite hymn? D: I like ‘Holy Ground’, it’s a hymn by Fr Liam Lawton, one of the priests in my diocese, because he composed it especially for my ordination as a bishop here in 2013 … I also like ‘Be Still for the Presence of the Lord’, I love that one. F: Who inspires you and why? D: I am very inspired by Pope Francis … he is a powerful symbol and sign for us, at this time. I also think at a more local level, Brother Kevin of the Capuchin Day Centre and the team up there do super work. I have great respect for the many lay people who I see coming to the fore, taking on huge roles in their own parishes, working alongside priests for the

D: I love Gaelic football. I also love walking. I particularly enjoy walking along the river Barrow which is splendid here in Carlow. F: What advice would you have for young adults studying religious education? D: I’d encourage them from the bottom of my heart; we need articulate lay people who understand their faith, and the only way we can do that is for more and more young adults to study religious education. F: What guidance do you have for a young person who wants to get more involved in their local church? 29

re : link D: Roll up your sleeves, get involved, it’s an open door! The door of the church opens out, it also opens in, please come and help.

F: As you know the environment is on people’s radar at the moment, with Laudato Si’ in mind, what role do you feel young people have in protecting the planet? D: I was at a conference organised by Trócaire in the Dolmen Hotel here in Carlow … and I was so impressed and inspired by the young people present and the projects they’re undertaking to spread that key message of the environment and ‘Care for our Common Home’. I think of a school called Queen of the Universe school in Bagenalstown and the work that they are doing with an outdoor classroom … I also have a great concern about plastic in our oceans, a huge issue, we need to address that. F: Confirmation candidates in Kildare and Leighlin diocese each write you letters leading up to their confirmation day, what have you

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re : link 30

learned about the young people in these parishes? D: I read every single letter to understand more deeply what young people are saying and what kind of life they’re leading, and how I can engage with them better in the ceremony of Confirmation. That’s why the letters are there. I use the letters in a sensible, clear way, and it works very well at every ceremony. F: Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers? D: I enjoy reading The Messenger magazine myself and its great to see a religious journal out there. Also I want to encourage people to reflect on vocation. If they know a young man and they think that ‘he’d make a good priest’ encourage him, and parents encourage sons and grandsons, don’t be afraid; and daughters and granddaughters to religious life. But equally to the wider spectrum of young people, you are the present of our Church, get involved!



Write a short essay of around 300 words on my three hopes for the coming school year. Send your entry to ER SEPTEMBER RE:LINK COMPETITION, WINN A IVES The Sacred Heart Messenger, RECE HER C 37 Leeson Place, Dublin. VOU C30 D02 E5V0 H ORT Please include your name, age & school. W Closing date: 24th of the month.


Working from Home

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Working from home took on a new significance due to COVID-19, with many people discovering its benefits. Kevin Hargaden, of the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice (JCFJ), discusses his experiences of the pros and cons.

I write this article on a fold-out table and picnic chair beside my bed. The government-mandated lockdown to limit the spread of COVID-19 has meant that since the middle of March, my work as a theologian has been conducted alongside my work as a stay-at-home father. My wife is an essential frontline worker, so every morning she departs, and my son and I try to align our agendas. He has my full support for his priorities of learning to count to ten, drawing many buses, and watching videos

of cartoon animals singing nursery rhymes. He does not share a similar interest in my work on housing policy, how to implement the teaching of Papal encyclicals, or the moral theology of developing world debt! One of the most difficult aspects of the lockdown was the rapid adaptation many had to make to working from home, often with parenting and home-schooling duties as well. As we optimistically look to the era that follows this pandemic, it might be wise to consider whether


Feature ‘remote working’ is a development we want to sustain. Pro: Commuting Studies show that one of the most common frustrations in modern life is commuting. Certainly, for those who have to battle the traffic in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway or Kilkenny, the lockdown would have provided a surprising relief from the usual drudgery. The first benefit to working from home is that you don’t have to commute and when so many of us were forced to work remotely, those who still had to travel found their journeys were much easier and faster. This has real environmental benefits as well. In the long run, a reduction in commuting frustration has to be a good thing. Con: Working Hour ‘Flexibility’ The American journalist Ira Glass tells a joke about how the French novelist Guy de Maupassant hated the Eiffel Tower but had lunch in the restaurant there most days. ‘It’s the only place in the city where I don’t have to look at it’, de Maupassant explained. Glass explained his long hours in the office in largely the same way. He overworked in part because when he wasn’t at work, he was haunted by all the things he wasn’t getting done. While flexibility over working hours sounds like a good thing, many of us have recent experience of how hard it is to stop working when work is always on hand. My desk is now the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night. I struggle 32

Rush hour, Cork City

to maintain my output when I am sharing my time between working and parenting, and one simple remedy was to spend more and more time at work. It turns out that it can be really important to have a place of work to which you have to go, because without it, the idea of ‘home’ dissolves in professional obligations. We can go back and forth on pros and cons. On the one hand, I don’t get caught up in time-consuming conversations with my colleagues. On the other hand, many of my best ideas come from those conversations! On the one hand, I get to spend more time with my son. On the other hand, my son cannot understand why I need to do work in the first place. On the one hand, I can keep on top of household errands and

chores during the day. On the other hand, I can be easily distracted by a hundred different things that always need doing. On the one hand, with modern technology like Zoom, we can stay connected with colleagues without being in the same place. On the other hand, anyone who has sat through half-a-dozen Zoom meetings in a day knows that this is no improvement over the traditional working day! The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, where I work, was established forty years ago to help solve what seemed to be an impossible unemployment crisis. We face a similar problem today, because of COVID-19, where many are without work or haven’t got enough to make ends meet. We need to get people

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Lourdes had a special meaning for Ferrero, who died at the age of 89 on St. Valentine’s Day in 2015.

back in meaningful employment. And if working from home helps that, who can oppose it? It seems that remote working will definitely play more of a role in our future, even after (we hope) COVID-19 becomes as distant a memory as previous pandemics. The pro-list can easily outweigh the cons if employers and employees work together to ensure that there are boundaries to protect against the job swamping all leisure time or domestic concerns swamping all working time. Perhaps it need not be an either/or and we will evolve into an arrangement where we both commute to a workplace and work from home, depending on circumstances and personal demands. This is a flexibility we can all welcome. 33

World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Understanding IDPs

While the focus in Ireland for centuries was on those who emigrated, less is told of those who had to leave their native county and head to Dublin. Country people who lived in the city founds ways of staying in touch with the home place. They had their own pubs, dance halls, and churches. I remember the shelves full of ‘provincial newspapers’ in newsagents and observing the hurried way in which people opened up the deaths, the parish notes and the local GAA reports as they made their way to the till in Easons. Dublin was still Ireland but it wasn’t home. Wherever in the world this happens, where people migrate within their country, they are technically known as ‘internally displaced people’ (IDPs). There is no technical term for country people living in Dublin, many made their home there and were happy, but many others fell into lonely states and the carried the cross and 34

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27 September will mark the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees. Fr Alan Hilliard, author of Dipping into Advent and Happy to Be Holy? reflects on the situation of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Ireland and around the world.

sadness of displacement. This year, for the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees on the 27 September, Pope Francis has asked us to remember those who are displaced in their own country. When COVID-19 hit we heard stories from countries like India and China where large numbers of people living in the cities found it near impossible to return to their families and the security of their rural homes. In China there are two classes of internal migrants. There are hukou migrants and non-hukou migrants. The former are urban and privileged and can live where they want. Every society has its elites! Non–hukou

migrants are, for the large part, domiciled in rural areas. Though they live and work in urban centres in low-skilled and low-paid jobs they do not have access to urban welfare benefits as they are registered to their rural address. Research in 2010 China recorded between 17–20 million hukou migrants and over 150 million non-hukou migrants. Not all displacements are for economic reasons. People are regularly forced to take refuge in other parts of their country due to violence. Between the 17–20 of February this year over 37,000 people were displaced in the Kabkabiya

locality of North Darfur as a result of frictions between farmers and herders. In the year ending 2018 there were close to 26 million refugees worldwide (UNHCR and UNRWA) and up to 41 million IDPs (IDMC) due to violence in their countries. We hear a lot about refugees but little about IDPs even though they are a significantly higher number. This year Pope Francis heightens our awareness of this often-forgotten group in our discussions on migration. He is pleading for those who can’t be at home even though they are in their own country. His letter for World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2020 appeals to us • to know in order to understand, • to be close in order to serve, • to be reconciled, we need to listen, • to grow, it is necessary to share, • to be involved in order to promote, • to cooperate in order to build. He concludes his letter by exhorting us that ‘Building the Kingdom of God is a duty common to all Christians, and for this reason it is necessary that we learn to cooperate, without yielding to the temptation to jealousy, discord and division … To preserve our common home and make it conform more and more to God’s original plan, we must commit ourselves to ensuring international cooperation, global solidarity and local commitment, leaving no one excluded.’ This short piece has hopefully allowed us to know a little more about the plight of IDPs so we can take that first step toward understanding. 35


Forming Priests for the Future

Since the publication of John Paul II’s transformative document on priestly formation, Pastores Dabo Vobis (I will give you shepherds) in 1992, the focus in terms of priestly formation has been on the interplay between the four key dimensions of human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation. The foundation for all aspects of formation is the humanity of the seminarian. The seminarian is growing all the time into a deeper appreciation of who he is as a person, what strengths he has been gifted with, what weaknesses he struggles with, how he relates to others and where he has come from in terms of his own life-story. Open, honest, prayerful dialogue with God and with those who are privileged to work with him in formation (known as formators) is fundamentally important. How he brings this self-knowledge and dialogue with others to prayer, to study and to pastoral outreach helps the seminarian to take personal 36

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Fr Tomás Surlis is a priest of the diocese of Achonry and serves as Rector of St Patrick’s Seminary, Maynooth. He looks at the challenges and opportunities that face priests entering formation in a rapidly-changing culture.

ownership of and responsibility for his own formation. His freedom to engage and willingness to listen and share is at the heart of what it means to be formed as a priest for the future. We are still in the midst of a profound change in the relationship between priest and people in the Church in Ireland. Priests are no longer among the few in a town or village to have gone on to third level education, and the shaky pedestal upon which they were placed up to thirty years ago has been removed. Yet, people repeatedly express

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their gratitude for the presence of their local priest at key moments of celebration and suffering in their lives, and there is an outcry from the local community when the reality of the diminishing number of priests visits their parish. Faith in Jesus Christ and in the mission of the Church has not disappeared and people continue to value and look to their priests, albeit in ways that are different from the manner in which their parents or grandparents may have done. It is into this reality that the priests of the future are called to minister.

We are still in the midst of a profound change in the relationship between priest and people in the Church in Ireland. Placements during the seven years of seminary formation give them both an understanding of the needs of our people, and what they hope for from their priests, and take place with the supervision of an experienced priest and laypeople in a parish or other ministry. The priest of the future is being called to walk with the People of God, to offer words of comfort, consolation and challenge which are based on the Gospel and never on their own prejudices or pet hates. They are asked to reach out and meet people where they are at and not to confine themselves to the presbytery or to the sacristy, waiting for the flock to gather. In these desert days of challenge and opportunity, perhaps the Lord is calling upon us as the Community of his Disciples to recall his words and actions in a new way. We are called to reimagine our hope according to his vision and to re-commit ourselves with new energy to cooperate with him in building up the kingdom of God in our time and place ‘as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ’. 37


Chicken and Pear Salad For September, trained chef Seamus Buckley, seeks to hold on to as much of summer as he can! He offers recipes for a delicious chicken and pear salad and a one hundred per cent curseless blackberry and apple crumble. As we move into September I always try to cling on to a sliver of summertime. I find food can help bring back memories of enjoying warm evenings and eating with family and friends.

vinegar, red wine or white wine vinegar) • 1 tsp of Mustard • 1 tsp honey or maple syrup • Salt and pepper for seasoning



• 2 large chicken breasts, cut into strips • 1 tbsp of wholegrain mustard • 1 tbsp of honey • 1 medium ripe pear, cored and sliced • 150g / 5oz bag mixed salad leaves • 120 / 4oz goat’s cheese or feta cheese • 80g / 3oz of roughly chopped walnuts • Salt and pepper for seasoning


• 6 tbsp Olive oil or Sunflower Oil • 2 tbsp vinegar of choice (balsamic


n Pre heat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. n In a bowl season the chicken strips with salt and pepper, add 1 tbsp of wholegrain mustard and 1 tbsp of honey. n Place the chicken on a baking tray and cook in the preheated oven for 10- 12 minutes or until it is cooked. n In a jar or plastic container place the oil, vinegar, mustard, honey and seasoning and shake well. n To serve, lay the salad leaves in a bowl, add the cooked warm chicken, top with the pears and cheese, pour over the dressing and sprinkle the walnuts on top. o

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Blackberry and Apple Crumble I think we all have memories of picking blackberries as we returned to school, but folklore tells us not to pick them after the 29 September (The Feast of St Michael the Archangel) as they are poisonous. Legend says this is the day Michael cast the devil out of heaven. He fell from the skies, straight onto a blackberry bush, whereupon he cursed the fruit, stamped on them and then spat on them making them unfit to eat.


• I kg / 2lb of cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced • 200g / 7oz blackberries • 50g / 2oz castor sugar • 3 cloves (optional)

For the Crumble

• I00g / 4oz chilled butter cut into small cubes • 220g / 8oz self-raising flour • 1 tsp of cinnamon (optional) • 100g / 4oz light brown sugar or demerara sugar • 100g / 4oz chopped almonds


n Place the sliced apples, sugar and a tablespoon of water in a pot, cover and gently stew until soft. For the Crumb Wash your hands. n Tip the flour and sugar and cinnamon into a large bowl add the cold butter and using your finger tips rub the butter into the flour until you get a breadcrumb texture. Do not over work. n Mix in the chopped almonds. Assembling n Put the stewed apples into a baking dish and place the blackberries evenly on top. n Now spoon the crumble mix over the fruit right up to the edges and press down quite firmly to help form a crispier crumble. o n Cook in the oven 175 C / Gas Mark 4 for 45 minutes. Serving Suggestions: Vanilla ice cream, custard, cream or crème fraiche all go admirably well with a crumble. To impress family or friends you could be a little chef-y and make individual crumbles.


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ACROSS 1 First light music (4,6) 6 Move illuminated part of cover (4) 9 Confused struggle during the game (5) 10 Thank you again, goodbye (2-2) 11 Question Liz not starting test (4) 13 Imprisoned at the eleventh hour? (2,3,4,2,4) 14 Better having fiddled gas meter (8) 16 Warning flier about fighting (6) 18 Indicate there’s no time to be in river (6) 19 Lock for leading defence (8) 22 Parasol couldn’t disguise ten twins (6,3,6) 24 But this common food should not be found in hamburger brought back (4) 25 Commander’s right to enter Indian city (4) 26 Tropical fruit in Nicaragua valley (5) 27 One wants to be in it (4) 28 Amount saved in clerical wear (10)

DOWN 1 Spirited rushing (7) 2 Best or just the opposite (5) 3 Companies not arranging reimbursement (12) 4 One who rides out terribly has no real chance of winning (8) 5 Understanding Kate could be at university first (6) 7 Explain while performing duet with Celia (9) 8 Idle viewer? (4,3) 12 Then considered PS (12) 15 New dressing for lamb (4,5) 17 Type forward on the front (4,4) 18 Go and dance round figure (7) 20 Started selling surviving nautical instrument (7) 21 Juliet translated groan in pidgin (6) 23 Take it and go (5)



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ACROSS 1 The best policy (7) 7 Baby’s bed (3) 8 A play (5) 9 A planet or a bar (4) 10 Bold child (4) 13 Large bird (5) 15 Prohibit (3) 16 Unhealthy habit (7)

DOWN 2 Small freshwater animal (5) 3 Whirlpool (4) 4 Popular drink (3) 5 Run hurriedly (7) 6 Girl’s name (7) 11 Small bird (5) 12 Mountain top (4) 14 Precious stone (3)


ADULT CROSSWORD MAY: ACROSS: 1 Skeleton 6 Public 9 Bronco 10 Winnipeg 11 Jigsaw puzzle 13 Cushy 14 Penny-wise 17 Ecosphere 19 Anvil 21 Smallholding 24 Triangle 25 Loaded 26 Chance 27 Exposure. DOWN: 2 Kerb 3 Long johns 4 Trough 5 New Wave 6 Ping-Pong 7 Blitz 8 Idealistic 12 Quick march 15 Wineglass 16 The Hague 18 Relieve 20 Fillip 22 Learn 23 Peer. CHILDREN’S CROSSWORD MAY: ACROSS: 1 Coca 5 Derry 6 Eire 7 Yeats 10 Shed 13 Trap 14 Eerie 15 Liar 16 Felix 17 Stat DOWN: 1 Cheese 2 Career 3 Beret 4 Greta 8 Artist 9 Spirit 11 Helen 12 Digit CHILDREN’S CROSSWORD WINNER MAY: ROISIN WARD, CO. KILDARE ADULT’S CROSSWORD WINNER MAY: MARY LAWLOR, CO. OFFALY; DAVID CONNOLLY, CO. MAYO YOUNG READER’S PAGES WINNER MAY: ANNE WALSH, CO. DUBLIN RE:LINK MAY: SEAN COLL, CO. KILDARE



Jesus in Capernaum When Jesus was in a village known as Capernaum, many people came to seek his help. So many, that it was almost impossible for someone to get to meet Jesus. There was a man who was paralysed. He could not walk. His friends wanted to bring him to meet Jesus. They had about as much of a chance of getting in to see Jesus, as they did of meeting Korean popstars BTS – very, very little. Being clever and determined, they decided to try an alternative way of getting into Jesus’ home, the door of


which was fully blocked with people who had come to see him. They made an opening in the roof of the house where Jesus was staying, and they lowered their friend in that way! When Jesus saw their faith, he forgave the man his sins. This made some people angry. They believed that God alone could forgive sins. Jesus wanted them to understand that he had the authority to forgive sins, so he said to the man ‘take up your mat and go home’. Up the man got, and out he walked!

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ADULT CROSSWORD JUNE: ACROSS: 8 Signboard 9 Heart 10 Indolence 11 Lhasa 12 Number-cruncher 15 Used 17 Thief 19 Maze 21 Posting a letter 23 Track 24 Ploughman 26 Reign 27 Corn dolly. DOWN: 1 Mignon 2 Informed 3 Movement 4 Eric 5 Whaling 6 Barathea 7 Stranraer 13 China 14 Jump-start 16 Ecstatic 18 Frequent 19 Matchbox 20 Winking 22 Really 25 Loop. CHILDREN’S CROSSWORD JUNE: ACROSS: 1 Funfair 7 Cod 8 Folly 9 Lord 10 Idol 13 Navan 15 Len 16 Etching. DOWN: 2 Under 3 FIFA 4 Ill 5 Iceland 6 Cycling 11 Dylan 12 Inch 14 Vet CHILDREN’S CROSSWORD WINNER JUNE: GRAINNE BRANNIGAN, CO. MONAGHAN ADULT’S CROSSWORD WINNER JUNE: MARY CARROLL, CO. CORK; CATHAL FAUGHNAN, CO. MAYO YOUNG READER’S PAGES WINNER JUNE: MARY BURKE, CO. TIPPERARY RE:LINK JUNE: KAREN COLE, CO. KILDARE



Water: The Source of Life Brian Grogan SJ, author of Creation Walk (Messenger Publications), reflects on ‘Aqua Fons Vitae’, a document from the Vatican Office for Promoting Integral Human Development that re-emphasises Pope Francis’s commitment to the equal access to water throughout the world.

When scientists first examined rocks from the Moon and Mars, they searched, not for precious metals or oil, but for water, because water is the source of life. Even to have discovered one living plant on either planet would have caused huge excitement and hope. Our Earth is known as the ‘blue planet’ because it is blessed with water. Saltwater represents 97.5% of the water on Earth and fresh water 2.5%, of which 1.2% is accessible, but its quality is constantly diminishing. Nothing, nothing, is more precious than water and only when we value it will we protect it and play our part in promoting its sharing. Even a single drop of water is full of wonder and mystery. The Bible has 1500 verses on water, making plain that it is a divine gift over which no human being has absolute rights. The abundant uses of water across the great religions include healing, blessing and baptism. But today only 38% of the world’s poorest homes have basic handwashing facilities. This means that three billion people are denied them. Lack of drinking water causes ‘water stress’ for billions. One third of primary schools across the globe 44

lack drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services. This affects the health of millions of school children: shortage of toilets keeps many girls from school. People need fifty litres of good water daily – for drinking, cooking and washing – and it needs to be accessible less than 100 metres from home. Two million deaths occur annually among children due to bad water. Pope Francis says: ‘When parents say to me that a child has a rare illness, I know it is due to the sickness we inflict on the environment’. Scientifically this is true: if we create an open sore on a living thing, it will fester: likewise when we misuse nature it reacts in viral or other forms. Last March the Vatican issued a landmark document in defence of water. Its message supports Pope Francis, who never misses an occasion to emphasise the significance of water for civilisation and to promote its fair distribution across the globe. How we respect and share water is a key indicator of how we are carrying out God’s mission to us of caring for our earthly garden, as in Genesis 2:15. This document calls first on the Church to put its own house in order:

Attila Barsan ©

every Church facility across the globe must have an adequate supply of good water. Next, the Christian community cannot be a neutral mediator but must side with those who suffer most from lack of water. We must defend the ‘unreachable’, the ‘discarded’ and those caught into new forms of slavery because they lack water. Water, which is God’s gift to all living things, must be enabled to play its part in maintaining right relations and reconciliation between God, ourselves, our neighbours and creation. While water connects communities it can also inspire fierce conflict. Hence ‘water diplomacy’ is required so that it works for peace. Water must never be understood as just a market

commodity: its privatisation would be disastrous for the poor because only profit-making water schemes would be maintained. Yet ‘pricegouging’ already goes on, with sexual exploitation of women common as payment for water. ‘Ocean-grabbing’ is addressed in the document, as is piracy and corruption. We must defend the oceans as the common heritage of everyone, and support those who depend on the sea for a livelihood. The document asks that the young be educated to appreciate the gift of water as reflecting a ray of the infinite wisdom and goodness of God: in this way water can be for them an unending source of inspiration for right living. 45

Young People of Faith

Carlo Acutis Fr John Murray continues his series on young people of faith. This month he turns to the extraordinary example of Carlo Acutis. A young computer programmer who died in 2006 at just fifteen years of age but whose life was full of things that pleased God. I am penning these thoughts in the thirteenth week of the COVID-19 lockdown. I would imagine the ‘young saint’ I wish to remember this month would have been in his element during these ‘strange times’, for Carlo Acutis excelled in the online world – this online world – in which we all have had to engage. Currently I – like many of my colleagues – am running a ‘virtual parish’, reaching by webcam and livestream parishioners and others who are at home and unable to get out to Mass. I could imagine Carlo sourcing all sorts of prayers and novenas and stories and uploading them for people to help them through the pandemic. Just last February the Vatican announced that Carlo would be beatified as a ‘Blessed’ of the Church sometime in 2021. This young man who died of leukaemia when he was just fifteen years of age in 2006 had a wonderful proficiency on the computer, and had used it to document digitally all the more than 150 miracles of the Eucharist throughout the world. Carlo’s Italian parents had met while they were students in England and married at the age of twenty-four. Carlo arrived within that first year. His 46

mother Antonia recalled, ‘Carlo was always a very good boy, even from a young age. His death, his illness, his very short life – all was by the design of God. God had chosen Carlo as an example for the young people of this period in history. I wasn’t particularly devout, but Carlo – from the time he was a young child – always wanted to go into the churches. He always wanted to go inside and visit Jesus, to say “hello” to Jesus. After making his First Communion he was at Mass every day. Every day he took a few minutes to pray before the tabernacle. In later years he lamented: “people will stand for hours in line for a concert but won’t stay even a moment before the tabernacle”.’ Yet he was also a child of his time. He loved to chat with his friends – and he loved to eat! He also understood, however, that the computer or game console could claim a sort of ‘tyranny’ over the soul. While he was skilled in the digital world he also saw its dangers. So he imposed on himself that he could only play on his PlayStation a certain length of time each week. ‘I don’t actually believe he would have been too much on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram,’ Antonia said, ‘for basically Carlo was a programmer.

At the age of nine Carlo had taught himself how to code from a university level textbook! He would have used the internet to create websites, but he always saw this as a tool for evangelisation – a way to reach people.’ Over and above his ability with the computer was his love for Jesus and especially in the Eucharist. Again Antonia related, ‘Yes, I believe he did receive special graces. He didn’t speak much about this, but he did tell me that when he was in front of the Holy Eucharist, he felt his soul “elevated”. He said that it was like being transported. Christ in the Eucharist captured him.’ ‘Carlo brought me closer to God’

Antonia explained. ‘He would ask questions to which I would not know the answer. So I turned to learning more about my faith. Many other people would witness to this, as well: people who converted because of his example, or his conversations. ‘It is how he approached his suffering too. He believed that the sacraments were the mercy of God, to enable our ability to carry our sufferings. Before he died, he said to me, “Mama, I would like to leave this hospital, but I know I will not do so alive. I will give you signs, though, that I am with God”. Carlo was aware that his life was lived fully. He said, “I die happy, because I did not spend my life wasting my time on things not 47

Young People of Faith

He also understood, however, that the computer or game console could claim a sort of ‘tyranny’ over the soul. pleasing to God.” ‘He was always trying to smile, trying to not complain. When his doctor would ask him if he was suffering, he would say, “I know there are others who are suffering more”. Toward the end of his life, he was unable to move himself, he was so weak. He would worry for the nurses who would have to lift him, that he was too heavy for them. ‘For me, as a mother watching her son die, I recall what Carlo would say: “Golgotha is for everyone. No one escapes the cross.” He convinced

me of this – if I am a good Catholic, how can I be afraid of this? … If I only looked at the death of my son in an earthly way, I would have been unable to be consoled. Carlo taught me how to look at it through the eyes of faith. He was loved, and he loved – really – genuinely. It was the way he accepted the will of God, with a smile, never complaining. He was really centred on God, and I think this was his secret: not becoming sad at his own state, but looking at God. The way Carlo died, it was the death of a saint, a saint for our time.’

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In the Garden We look back on some of Helen Dillon’s outstanding articles for The Messenger. Helen will be retiring her column on gardening at the end of 2020. We are very lucky to have had her guidance for almost ten years! This article is taken from the September 2011 issue of The Messenger. Miss Willmott’s ghost (Eryngium giganteum) Mariusz S. Jurgielewicz©

Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Purity’

I love the first day of September. The air seems cool and clean, the heaviness of August has disappeared and for me this is the beginning of the gardening year. New beds to be made, new plants to be considered, mistakes will be put right, winter will be mild, next summer will be all blue skies and the garden will be better than ever. One of the wonderful things about gardening is that you have to believe in the future. Early September is all about planning ahead and saving plants for next year. I shall be taking

cuttings this week of frost tender plants – pelargoniums (geraniums), fuchsias, verbenas and many silverleaved plants, such as Senecio cineraria, which is the silver leaf traditionally in the company of blue lobelia, red geranium and white alyssum. By the end of the month I will have washed begonia tubers and looked carefully in the crevices to make sure they aren’t the winter quarters of vine weevil grubs. After drying the tubers for a week or two in the shed they’ll be individually wrapped in newspaper and stored in 49


You may have heard of the sea holly ‘Miss Willmott’s Ghost’, correctly known these days as Eryngium giganteum. boxes in a cool but frost-free place. Lilies will have gone dormant so their pots will be turned on their sides to prevent the bulbs getting too wet. I must go and get more of Allium ‘Globemaster’ a terrific large decorative onion, with superb purple heads in May lasting for six weeks or so. This bulb is expensive, but good value, as the seedheads remain showy until August. I’ll also be making sure I’ve got plenty of broad bean ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ – the best for sowing late next month – and cornflower and sweet pea seed for sowing in November. I’ll also be checking over all the beds and making a note of which perennials, such as phlox, heleniums, astilbes, hardy geraniums, catmints and geums and so on which need division. For the best effect, try not to plant one of this, one of that, and one of the other – plant a group of 5–7 plants instead. Whenever I see hydrangeas I think of front gardens, and how difficult it is to make a good one. Hydrangeas would be the first plants I’d choose for people who don’t like gardening, or are short of time. They make happy mounds of long-lasting flowers and are fine in shade, but need plenty of water wherever they are. Hydrangea ‘Limelight’ is particularly nice, as the first flowers are neat and lime-green in early summer before slowly turning to cream later. (You 50

can prune this one however you like – a light trim or 15cm from the ground.) Mix with sarcococca for evergreen leaves and winter scent, pink Japanese anemone for autumn, Alchemilla mollis (lady’s mantle) for more lime-green, lily-of-the valley for fragrance and spring bulbs including small daffodils such as ‘Minnow’, ‘Jack Snipe’, ‘Jenny’, ‘Little Gem’ and the much loved old Pheasant Eye (lateblooming scented Narcissus poeticus var. recurvus). We all think of roses and June in the same breath, but in fact many roses flower again – in September. One of my favourites is rambler ‘Phyllis Bide’. After the first flush of flowers, which are a delightful mix of apricot, cream and pink, you have a second flush in early autumn. I have it growing up a wigwam of three copper water pipes (15cm diameter roughly 3m long) – you need 60cm in the ground for anchorage. You may have heard of the sea holly ‘Miss Willmott’s Ghost’, correctly known these days as Eryngium giganteum. It was said that whenever Miss Ellen Willmott, the celebrated early twentieth-century gardener, visited other people’s gardens she would furtively drop some seed of her namesake sea holly, thus causing amazement in years to come, when a peculiar, silvery-blue thistle-like plant appeared from nowhere.


The Joy of Grandparenting Aideen Madden reflects on the love of a grandparent, which, centred on joy, resembles the love of God. 13 September is National Grandparents’ Day. ©

Being a grandparent is one of life’s truly special experiences. From the moment we hold our first grandchild in our arms a unique love flows out from us which, I think, is rarely quenched. As grandchildren grow and develop one becomes aware of how different being a grandparent is to being a parent. Being a parent involves total responsibility for a child. It means raising a child in a loving and nurturing way. This brings much joy as well as unpredictable anxiety and involves hard-working dedication. In the case of the grandparent the experience of joy is the priority. In some ways, I believe, the love of a grandparent for a grandchild resembles the love of God – called in Ancient Greek agape – which a priest once defined for me as ‘a love that does not depend on the goodness of the person who receives that love’.

I treasure memories of the early childhoods of my grandchildren. What a joy it was to be met by their welcoming smiles at their home. Certainly, I felt God’s love then, personally. What a joy it was to play games of imagination with them in which I became the wicked witch! How I loved to select books for them and give them other little treats. My grand-children have become more independent and busy as teenagers, naturally, I see less of them. I am happy, however, that they are doing well at school. I am glad to feel my grandchildrens share my own love of learning and of music. I love them now more often from afar while in my heart I carry always their gentle smiles and words. May God go with my grandchildren as they venture forth in life. May his mother Mary wrap her mantle around them – these are my prayers for my grandchildren.



Breath: The Gift of Life Peter McVerry SJ, well-known for his advocacy on the right to housing, presents a way of praying with the breath that can leads us into gratitude and confidence throughout our lives.

Focus Sit still, eyes closed and focus on your breath. Concentrate on the breath going in through your nostrils. Feel for a few moments the breath as it enters the nostrils and makes its way down into your abdomen. Focus on each breath, one after the other, as it passes through the entrance to your nostrils. Understand Your Fragility As you focus on your breath, understand your fragility. The breath that you are breathing in brings you life, it gives you your life, it is your life. Each breath is the difference between life and death. You are totally dependent on that breath that enters your nostrils. You think that you are powerful but that breath entering your nostrils is not yours to control. It comes of its own free will, and should it choose to stay away there is nothing you can do about it. You are at its mercy, your plans depend on it, your desires 52

are worthless without it. Oh, what you would give to possess that breath, to own it, to control it, as you seek to possess, to own and to control everything else! You, however, who can search the depths of the atom and the infinite horizons of the universe, do not have it in your power to possess that breath. You crave to possess the gift of life but you cannot. You want to overcome the fragility that comes with dependency but you cannot. Each breath is given to you only

Image by Lukassek ©

You, however, who can search the depths of the atom and the infinite horizons of the universe, do not have it in your power to possess that breath. given with all the love that God can give. It is a gift given not forever but for a few moments. And when those moments pass, there comes yet another gift of life, given with the same love and given for a few moments more. As time passes the gift of life keeps coming, second after second. One gift given in love is followed by another gift given in love. It is a continuous succession of gifts, a continuous flow of love.

for a moment, not to possess but to use and then give back. And you must then wait – in frustrating powerlessness – for the next breath to be given to you, offering you the gift of life for a few precious moments more. For you must learn that to be loved is to be dependent. Each Breath A Gift As you focus on your breath entering your nostrils, giving you life for a few moments more, reflect that each breath is a gift – a gift of life –

And When That Breath No Longer Comes And one day, finally, that breath will no longer arrive. When that moment comes, fear not. At that moment the unseen love that each breath bore now comes alone, revealed with a brightness the intensity of which our human fragility cannot bear. At that moment, love comes itself, with motherly arms outstretched, to welcome you home. And then, at last, you will possess what you always craved to possess but could not. The gift of life will be yours to keep, forever. 53

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St Padre Pio


He gave his only Son Jn 3:13-17

St Matthew


25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

What is your opinion? Mt 21:28-32


Who is the greatest? Lk 9:46-50

St Wenceslaus

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time


He saw Matthew and said ‘Follow me’ Mt 9:9-13


The last will be first Mt 20:1-16


You will see the angels of God Jn 1:47-51


Ss Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, archangels


Those who practice the word are my mother Lk 8:19-21

Behold your mother Jn 19:25-27 or Lk 2:33-35



The kingdom comes before all else Lk 9:57-62

St Jerome

Take nothing for the journey Lk 9:1-6 St Eunan

This generation are like squabbling children Lk 7:31-35


Ss Cornelius & Cyprian

Forgive countless times Mt 18:21-35


Our Lady of Sorrows

Exaltation of the Holy Cross


Alas for you who are rich Lk 6:20-26 St Ciaran

They brought him their friends who were sick Lk 4:38-44



24th Sunday in Ordinary Time


God is with us Mt 1:1-16. 18-23

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Astonishment seized them Lk 4:31-37



He healed on the sabbath Lk 6:6-11



Different ways to be reconciled Mt 18:15-20


23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time



Who is this Jesus? Lk 9:7-9

She covered his feet with kisses Lk 7:36-50


St Robert Bellarmine


Bless those who curse you Lk 6:27-38

St Peter Claver


Leave me, I am a sinful man Lk 5:1-11

St Gregory the Great



Who do they say that I am? Lk 9:18-22 St Finbarr


Jesus went with certain women preaching Lk 8:1-3


Be aware of your own blindness Lk 6:39-42


They will fast when I am gone. Lk 5:33-39 St MacNissi



They did not understand Lk 9:43-45

Ss Cosmas and Damian


Rich soil, fruitful yield Lk 8:4-15

St Januarius


Act on my words Lk 6:43-49 St Ailbe

Holy Name of Mary


You misunderstand the sabbath Lk 6:1-5


Growing, ripening, each at its own pace. Soon to nourish and feed. ‘For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.’ (Mt 18:20)

Text: Donal Neary SJ. Photograph by Liam O’Connell SJ ISSN 1649-4450