“Go to the Madonna. Love her! Always say the Rosary. Say it well. Say it as often as you can! Be souls of prayer. Never tire of praying, it is what is essential. Prayer shakes the Heart of God, it obtains necessary graces!” -St. Padre Pio
Welcome to Edition 2! Our Lady has been busy spreading Totus Tuus across the nation. Thank God also for our mass of blessing and consecration (see picture). Each magazine is precious! We carefully distribute person to person, or to prayer groups. We simply can’t afford to leave them at the back of churches! We need you therefore to share your copy and to spread the word. We also need your prayers, and your financial support. Every little you give helps with printing costs. Donation details below! The Abortion Referendum is fast approaching. March is a KEY month. Please come to Dublin on March 10 th for the Rally for Life. Also…. join us on March 18th at our Mass Rocks and Monastic Sites to pray the rosary. See details of both on the back cover page. We are also now in Lent so all prayer, fasting, and acts of charity can be offered to keep abortion out of Ireland. Remember, you can also offer up all your sufferings, inconveniences etc. One great Lenten sacrifice would be to canvass. The reaction at the doors is largely positive. Phone Canvass HQ on 01-8730465 to find your local canvass team. Don’t forget Divine Mercy Sunday on April 8th. St Faustina was told that: “on that day…I pour out a whole ocean of graces.” In the year 2000 St John Paul II instituted this feast and granted a plenary indulgence to those who make a sincere contrite confession, make an act of devotion in honour of Divine Mercy, and receive Holy Communion at Mass. Finally, we’re off to pray hard in Fatima - Sept. 19-25th, for 6 nights, leaving from Cork. We have a great price including 2-3 day trips. Places are however limited. Call Damien on 087 204 9048 for more details.
God bless you all,
Fr Marius O’Reilly Please send donations to: Totus Tuus, C/O Church of the Assumption, Ballyphehane, Cork. For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Pope St John Paul II came to Ireland in 1979 on the feast of St Michael and the Archangels. He encouraged Ireland to protect life: “and so I say to all, have an absolute and holy respect for the sacredness of human life from the first moment of its conception. Abortion, as the Vatican Council stated, is one of the abominable crimes. To attack unborn life at any moment from its conception is to undermine the whole moral order, which is the true guardian of the wellbeing of man. The defence of the absolute inviolability of unborn life is part of the defence of human rights and human dignity. May Ireland never weaken in her witness, before Europe and before the whole world, to the dignity and sacredness of all human life, from conception until death.” The faithful in Ireland then began Rosary campaigns for the protection of life, and people began to mobilise to achieve constitutional protection through Referendum. It was not usual in Ireland to have a Referendum initiated by popular demand rather than by the government. Hundreds of thousands of Rosaries were
promised, and many many more prayed in multiple different Rosary campaigns over the following three years. The more Rosaries prayed the more chaotic and unstable it seemed governments became. We had four different governments from the time the Pope visited until we got a referendum on life. Getting a referendum became an election issue, so having so many elections meant that the issue was kept on the table and it grew in strength. Finally the Referendum was called and the votes were counted and victory for life resulted (67%), which was incredibly claimed on Our Lady’s birthday September 8th. It was her birthday present to Ireland. The President signed the Referendum on October 7th, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and the 8th Amendment entered the Irish Constitution. This precious amendment came through the Rosary, and it can be retained through the Rosary. Please pray the Rosary and get everyone you know to pray the Rosary these coming months. Adapted from an article from the Catholic Herald in June 2017
The Call of Lourdes There is no doubt about it. When Our Lady comes to visit us, it is always a momentous occasion – Heaven breaking Fr. Damian Polly OP into our reality. This was certainly the case on the 11th February, 1858, when Our Lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous for the first time. Bernadette was only 14 years old at the time, came from a poor family and had not received much education. But she is the one Our Lady chose to appear to on eighteen different occasions and she would teach Bernadette how to become a saint. More than five million people visit Lourdes every year. Many go to pray for a release from suffering, for healing. Some are looking for a miracle, and not without cause for hope. Lourdes has had to deal with more than 7000 cases of unexplained cures and 69 of these have been recognised as miraculous by the Church so far. However, some of the greatest miracles in Lourdes are not physical healings but rather spiritual ones, conversions, where people are reconciled with God through the sacrament of confession or they return to the practice of their faith through a particular grace they receive there. Our Lady asked for a chapel to be built in Lourdes, a clear sign that she wants to bring all of her children to her Son who is truly present in the Eucharist at Mass. Our Lady never points to herself but always to her Son and by asking for a chapel to be built, she shows that she wants Lourdes to be a place of meeting with Jesus, a place of repentance, conversion and deepening of faith. Our Lady also asked Bernadette to 'pray for sinners' and that is what she did, eventually joining the Sisters of Charity in Nevers. In a letter she wrote to Pope Pius IX, Bernadette told him that in the convent, her weapons were 'prayer and sacrifice'. Bernadette accepted all crosses, for sinners, in an act of perfect love. In the midst of her sufferings with poor
health, Bernadette said she found her strength when she fixed her eyes on the crucifix. She knew suffering wasn't meaningless because Jesus had suffered more than anyone for love of us. Christ's suffering and death brought about our salvation and Bernadette knew that all suffering offered up and united to the suffering of Jesus, would help save souls. Bernadette was praying and sacrificing so that many people would be converted and come to know and experience the love of God for them during their time in Lourdes. Our Lady of Lourdes is also asking each of us to 'pray for sinners' and to start with ourselves, praying that we may turn away from sin in our lives. The prayer that she particularly asks us to pray for conversions is the Rosary. She is asking us to unite the sufferings we have to endure in our lives with the sufferings of Jesus for the salvation of souls. The Church proclaimed Bernadette to be a saint on 8th December, 1933, not because she was chosen for the Apparitions, but for the way in which she responded to what Our Lady had asked of her. Eventually Our Lady revealed herself to Bernadette as the Immaculate Conception, immaculate because she, through a singular grace of God and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ the Saviour, was preserved from original sin; immaculate because she became a living tabernacle in which God came to dwell. Like Mary, each of us are also called to become immaculate, to become holy temples of God, free of sin, so that we can be his loving witnesses in this life and live with God forever when we die. Our Heavenly Mother wants all of us to be saints and she knows this is possible for us – just as it was for Bernadette. Our Lady appeared to Bernadette in the midst of her ordinary daily tasks. This is a reminder for us, that we can also become saints in the midst of our day to day lives, if we do 'small things with great love.' As St Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to say; “allow Mary to teach us, as she did Bernadette, and live our life with her and Jesus; a life of prayer, sacrifice, and love of our neighbour, so that she can bring us safely home to enjoy the happiness of eternal life with God.”
“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for me, a poor sinner”- Last words of Bernadette Soubirous
On Sunday 18 March 2018, tens of thousands of people are expected to gather at Mass Rocks throughout Ireland to pray for Life and Faith. This follows the Rosary on the Coast last November, when Dr. Gillian Doherty 30,000 people assembled on Ireland’s shores. The organisers chose Mass Rocks for their next national initiative because of their spiritual significance in Irish history. In the past, when Catholicism was under attack, the faithful met in isolated locations to celebrate the sacrament of the Eucharist, places now hallowed by these holy sacrifices. Saint Pope John Paul II spoke movingly about this during his visit to Ireland in 1979: “For the Irish, it was always the Mass that mattered.” During the turbulent period of the Reformation, and the turmoil of the century that followed, Irish Catholics suffered warfare, destruction and seizures of churches and monasteries, dispossessions, confiscations, plantations, and consequent impoverishment and devastation. The Cromwellian campaign of the 1650s is still remembered with horror for its genocidal atrocities. The Treaty of Limerick of 1691, which ushered in an uneasy peace, promised religious freedom to the defeated Catholic forces and population. These promises were scorned by a vengeful and fearful Protestant parliament, aware of its vulnerable position in a country where the overwhelming majority of people were Catholic. For the next 60 years, the Protestant parliament enacted a series of Penal laws intended to oppress, harass, and humiliate Catholics in all spheres of life: political, professional, social, intellectual and spiritual. The Penal Laws served to remind Catholics that they were a conquered people. Nevertheless, in spite of the violent upheavals of the 16th and 17 centuries, and the decades of persecution that followed in the 18th century, Catholics remained true to the faith of their fathers. In the 1690s and early 1700s, the Protestant parliament enacted laws that attempted to eliminate Catholicism. An act of 1691 – Declaration against Transubstantiation – required office holders to deny belief in transubstantiation and to denounce “the sacrifice of the mass [as] … th
superstitious and idolatrous”. An act of 1697 banished Bishops and regular clergy from Ireland, and decreed penalties of imprisonment, transportation, and death for those who resisted. Catholics who sheltered clergy faced severe fines, imprisonment and seizure of lands and goods. Acts of 1703 and 1709 gave financial rewards to diocesan priests who converted to the Church of Ireland, the monies to be levied on people in the county of residence. This latter act also offered huge rewards to those who ‘discovered’ clergy, the infamous ‘priest hunters’. During the first decades of the 18th century, bishops and priests were regularly tried before the law and imprisoned for their faith. Some bishops were able to function quietly, once they avoided attention, but other bishops, and many of their priests, were forced into hiding, moving discreetly among the people, wearing plain clothes to avoid drawing attention to their sacred office. Priests defied the law to administer the sacraments, travelling from parish to parish, celebrating Holy Mass in private houses or cabins known as ‘Mass Houses’, or under God’s heavens. Mass Houses in country areas, where poverty was endemic, tended to be little more than rudimentary huts to cover the altar, or stone-built, thatched cabins, often open at one end. The Parliamentary Report on the State of Popery in 1731 recorded that the majority of Masses in the countryside were outdoors. Priests used ‘portable altars’ – often rocks or flat-topped boulders. The locations chosen were, of necessity, in remote, secluded areas: fields, wooded glens, bogs, hills and mountains. These sacred sites are memorialised in Irish-language placenames, for example, Carraig an Aifrinn (Mass Rock), Áth an Aifrinn (Mass Ford), Drom an Aifrinn (Mass Ridge), Leaca na hAltóra (Flagstone of the Altar), Páirc an tSagairt (Priest’s Field). Even after the relaxation of the Penal Laws, and long after the cessation of persecution, people continued to gather intermittently at Mass Rocks. This tradition continues although many Mass Rocks are now inaccessible and threatened with destruction. Today, Mass Rocks remind us of the hardships and sacrifices faced by our ancestors in preserving the faith. May God bless and reward them, and may they pray for us, who face different but difficult challenges, that we will not fail in our duty to the coming generations.
“For Jesus Christ I am prepared to suffer still more” -Saint Maximilian Kolbe
Fr. Shane Sullivan
A priest died a few weeks ago in the United States. His name was Fr. Baer and no one- save my own dad- had as profound an influence on shaping me into the man I am as he did.
He was the rector of St. John Vianney Seminary in St. Paul, where I studied from 2004-08. I entered seminary right out of secondary school, and anyone could be forgiven for writing me off completely. I was a lazy, self-centred and immature boy. But Fr. Baer saw more in me and dedicated himself to make not only me but hundreds of young men (I estimate around 600) into the sort of men God made us to be- the kind of men the Church very much needs now. He shaped many of us profoundly. There are few areas of my personality or life God didn’t partially shape through him. My priorities and goals, my perspective and what I value, my sense of self and identity- all those were significantly moulded by Fr. Baer. There are only two words which capture a figure who dedicates themselves to you like that, and makes so profound an impact on you; those words are father and mother and the only place where that happens is a family. Fathers and Mothers This was central to our formation at St. John Vianney. Every man is called (regardless of his particular vocation) to be a father. God may invite him to marry, and have children, and to be a father to his family, or he may invite him to lay down his life for the family of God, the Church. The undeniable fact is that each man is called to fatherhood. Fr Baer taught us, and showed by example, what that means: a father provides, protects and establishes. This three-fold
mission of every man was repeated so often we internalised it. It is written on our very hearts. The same is true for every woman. God has made her to be a mother. It may manifest itself differently depending on her particular vocation and life-circumstances, but I contend that motherhood is the foundation of every woman’s call. Someone who better understands the feminine genius can change or adapt the following description, but may I suggest that central to motherhood is communion, nurturing and defending? Here we listen again to God’s call, written into our very natures as men and women. Become the father you were made to be! Become the mother you were made to be! Build families that are places where God’s children grow to Christian maturity! Challenges and Necessities Here’s the difficulty: most millennials (the current generation) have never had and will never have anyone who shapes them so profoundly, someone who could truly be called a spiritual father or mother. An insightful friend told me recently that we are a generation of spiritual orphans. This certainly sheds some light on the problems millennials typically face: an insecure sense of self, a partially-formed Christian character and struggles with worldliness, an inability to commit and restlessness. Now for the good news. Even though someone might never have had the intentional and skilled Catholic formation of a spiritual father or mother, they can still become one themselves. I return to the example of my spiritual father, Fr. Baer. He grew up in the 1960’s era of post-Vatican II confusion, hippies and Jesus-freaks. He had no spiritual father or mother and yet he became one who fathered hundreds of men in seminary and thousands in his parish. How did he become capable of fatherhood when no one was there to show him the way? He sought out formation and found it- from Christ Himself. He had to dedicate Himself to studying the scriptures intensely to make up for what he lacked. If we are to be fathers and mothers to those God has entrusted to us, to shape them in the image of Christ, we will have to be shaped by Him ourselves. Conclusion We have the opportunity to do some good in many people’s lives, and the chance to make a profound impact in the lives of those God makes us responsible for. Fatherhood and motherhood are written into our very nature as men and women. They underpin every vocation and are indispensable to the cause of Christ today and the Church. To the young Catholics who want to discover their call and to make the most substantial mark on the world I say: Be fathers! Be mothers! And build families!
“If you are what you should be, you’ll set the world on fire” - St. Catherine of Sienna
The Gospels often make reference to Jesus going away to a quiet place where “he spent the night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12). The Apostles used to watch him, fascinated, and on Fr. Brian McCarthy one occasion they asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1), from which we get the beautiful prayer the Our Father. But Jesus also taught them mental prayer or meditation, as we see them practising frequently afterwards. It was while he was meditating, for example, that Peter, on a roof-top in Joppa, received the vision which turned the Christian community from a small Jewish sect into a world religion.
Then we have prayer of petition. Here we are reminded to insist and persevere, not because God doesn’t hear our prayers, but because, as Saint Augustine explains, by praying we make ourselves worthy to receive the things we pray for. Rather than prayer getting God to “change his mind”, it causes us to change our dispositions and be more willing to accept that God’s will be done in our lives. How should we pray? The catechism reminds us that “we should pray with attention and perseverance, with confidence in God’s goodness, and in the name of Jesus Christ”. Many people say that they get tremendously distracted in prayer. This can be caused by many things, not least by the natural aging process. But it is also true that to pray well we need purification of the senses and the mind, and the best way to achieve this is by making good use of the sacrament of Penance, which not only forgives sins but also acts as a medicine of the soul and makes it more responsive to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. Confidence in God’s goodness is essential if we want to pray well. He always listens, he always grants what we ask, maybe not in accordance with our agenda or timetable, but in his own way. If we pray for good things we can be sure they will always be granted. We may not live to see them here on earth, but granted they will be.
Why does Jesus pray? Very simply, all human beings need to talk, to converse with others. Very often we may appear to be talking about trivia, but behind the conversation there is a metalanguage, “You’re important to me, I’m important to you”. If we don’t speak to a stranger on a train nobody takes it amiss, whereas if we don’t talk to our family or friends they presume there’s something the matter. If we need to talk to other human beings, most of all we need to talk to God: it’s conversation.
And finally, in the name of Jesus Christ. He tells us: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one can come to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). Methods of prayer that do not lead us to Christ are not Christian.
To avoid falling into monologue in meditation we have to be continually striving to maintain dialogue. In conversation sometimes we speak; but good conversationalists know how to listen; so in prayer too we have to listen, to re-engage when we flag, to bring the trivia of the day to our conversation with the Lord. For a lot of people prayer means to ask God for things, but that is only one of the parts of prayer, which includes adoration, thanksgiving, reparation, and petition. Many beautiful traditional vocal prayers are prayers of adoration. It was adoration which the Angel taught the children at Fatima. Thanksgiving makes us aware that what we have received from God far outweighs the things we want him to grant us. Reparation reminds us that we owe God so much, we seek his mercy and pardon for our sins. The saints have also felt called to make reparation, not only for their own sins, but also for those of the whole world. Again, at Fatima, we see how the children were inspired to pray and make reparation “for all those poor souls who have nobody to pray for them”.
Of all the examples of prayer set for us by Christ, perhaps the most powerful is that which takes place in Gethsemane, and there too, if we persevere, the Holy Spirit will lead us.
Blessed Francis Taylor Blessed Francis was born in Swords, Co. Dublin. He was elected Mayor of Dublin in 1595. He was imprisoned for his Catholic Faith for seven years and died in prison in 1621 at the age of seventy. Blessed Francis pray for Ireland.
"Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you" - St. Augustine
Will be continued in the next edition
On December 18th, 2017, Pope Francis signed the Document declaring Fr. Peyton Venerable, confirming, on Canon Michael Fitzgerald investigation, his heroic virtues. His cause will now proceed to beatification and will require a miracle through his intercession. Fr. Steve, Padraig, and all working in the Fr. Peyton Memorial Centre, Attymass, Co. Mayo, are all celebrating the great announcement, as indeed is the whole Congregation of the Holy Cross Order. Fr. Peyton was born in Carracastle, in the Parish of Attymass, on January 9th, 1909. He had three bothers and five sisters. They lived in a three roomed thatched cabin on a fourteen acre farm. His father was not in great health. He suffered from bronchitis, due to much hardship growing up and having to work periodically in England. Fr. Patrick's mother Mary and all the family had to work very hard in order to eat and live. Fr. Peyton's elder sisters Beatrice and Nellie eventually went to America, and relieved the family somewhat, by the help they sent home.
He became despondent and decided he would get married and raise a family. His teenage years were a struggle with despondent moods and a bad temper, even to one day having a contest with his father. When Fr. Peyton was 14 or 15, he went to help a young neighbouring family to pick the potatoes, and he stayed the week for an agreed wage. When they gathered around the fireplace on the 1st evening after the day’s work, Fr. Peyton expected the father of the household to announce the Rosary, as his own father did. But all the man of the house said was, it was time to go to bed. Fr. Peyton was deeply saddened; he went to bed and said the Rosary himself. This went on for the full week and Saturday evening came and it was time to walk home. The father paid Fr. Peyton his wage, and walked back the road a bit with him, and Fr. Peyton, just as they were about to part, blurted out to him, how disappointed he was that there was no Rosary recited in the home. Fr. Peyton expected the man to give him a clout but he didn't, they parted and Fr. Peyton learned later that the family started praying the Rosary together. Fr. Peyton said it was his first sermon. Fr. Peyton thought: they worked together, they talked together, they laughed together, but they didn't pray together. He said later that he couldn't remember what exactly he said to the man, but it was his first sermon. The above information is taken from Fr. Peyton's Autobiography, " All for Her" and is available at the Fr. Peyton Memorial Centre. In the next Edition of Totus Tuus I will write about his departure to the USA .
The Irish Martyrs
One inflexible rule in the Peyton household was that every one of the family had to participate in the family Rosary led by his father. It didn't matter how hard or how long the day’s work was digging potatoes, cutting turf or repairing a road: "It was the entire family praising God, asking Him through His Mother to protect it, to guide it to the destiny He had intended for it. That nightly scene constitutes my earliest memory and the most abiding, from it I derive the entire pattern and purpose of my existence"( Fr. Peyton, All for Her). From his earliest years Fr. Peyton was a reflective, devout and stubborn young boy. Serving at the Altar for Mass was the thrill of his early years. It was during those years he thought of becoming a priest. He tried a number of Religious Orders, but had no success.
Seventeen Irish men and women, cleric and lay, who were put to death for their Catholic faith, were beatified by St Pope John Paul II in 1992. We celebrate their feast day on June 20th. These include Archbishop Dermot Hurley, Bishop Conor O'Devany, Fr Patrick O'Loughlin, Fr Maurice Kenraghty, Fr Terence O'Brien OP, Fr Peter Higgins OP, Fr John Kearney OFM, Fr Patrick O'Healy OFM, Fr Conrad O'Rourke, Fr William Tirry OSM, and Jesuit Lay brother Dominic Collins. Lay people included Francis Taylor (Mayor of Dublin), Margaret Berminghan, a Wexford Baker called Matthew Lambert, and sailors Robert Myler, Edward Cheevers and Patrick Kavanagh. Irish Martyrs intercede for Ireland!
“A world at prayer is a world at peace” - Venerable Patrick Peyton
Recently in a second-hand book sale I spotted ‘The Glories of Mary’ the famous 18th century book on Marian devotion by St Alphonsus De Ligouri. How happy I was to pay a mere 50 cent for the Fr. Eamon Roche possession of this masterpiece on the life and virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In order to demonstrate the qualities of the book let me relate to you some of the saint’s reflections on the ‘Finding of Jesus in the Temple’, also known as the 5th Joyful Mystery of the Rosary, so that your meditations on this Mystery may be enriched. “Three days later, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the doctors, listening to them, and asking them questions; and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his replies. They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, ‘My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’ ‘Why were you looking for me?’ he replied. ‘Did you not know that I must so be busy with my Father's affairs?’ But they did not understand what he meant” (Lk 2:46-50). De Ligouri’s reflections on this passage of Sacred Scripture help us to enter into the depths of Mary’s heart when she lost her son; with her we can make the journey from near-despair to joy and from separation from God to union with God. Through our searching (and our suffering) Jesus draws us into the Temple of God, the Father’s House, there to find our happiness. St Alphonsus asks his readers to “imagine what anxiety this afflicted Mother must have experienced in those three days during which she was seeking everywhere for her Son.” The words on Mary’s lips were surely those words from Psalm 41 “My tears have become my bread, by night, by day, as I hear it said all the day long ‘where is your God?’” De Ligouri is convinced that Mary’s three-day loss of her Son was the greatest
of all her sorrows, even greater than the sorrow of witnessing her Son’s passion and death on the Cross. At least at Calvary Mary had the company of Jesus to console her, but when the twelve-year-old Jesus was missing “she suffered far from Jesus, not knowing where he was”. When Mary beheld Jesus on the Cross at Calvary she also had the consolation of knowing that the Redemption of the World was being accomplished before her eyes. With the absence of the twelve-year-old Jesus, however, Mary had the awful thought that she had somehow become unworthy of being his mother. Did God cancel her great mission? Had she failed? In losing her Son did she also lose salvation for the entire world? What great anxiety she was plunged into! Even Mary, who was sinless, sometimes worried that she had displeased God! This brings consolation, St Alphonsus tells us, to those souls that are desolate and no longer enjoy, as they once enjoyed, the sweet presence of their Lord: “when Our Lord withdraws Himself from the sight of a soul which loves Him, He does not therefore depart from the Heart”; rather, Our Lord often conceals Himself that the soul may “seek Him with a more ardent desire and greater love”. We learn from Mary how to seek and find Jesus with patience, endurance and diligence. When we pray the Rosary we must allow ourselves to be impacted to the very depths of our being by the Mysteries upon which we are meditating. This is what Mary did: “His mother stored up all these things in her heart” (Lk 4:52). Spending time praying the Rosary, meditating on the life of Jesus and Mary, is how great saints like St Alphonsus grew in holiness. When we partake of the Mysteries of Christ we will become children adopted into the Holy Family – Mary finds us and keeps us! We must always keep the hope alive that our searching and striving is not in vain. Take courage, St Alphonsus tells us, though we may feel lost, Jesus has merely gone ahead of us and he calls us to search for Him. “Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you” (Mt 7:7).
“Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world” – Blessed Pope Pius IX
I remember one Sunday, when I was a child at Sunday Mass with my parents, I was looking at three girls of my own age at the other side of the Church, to see which one I fancied the most, so Fr. John Keane that tells enough about how disengaged I was with the Mass. My father gave me a little tap on the shoulder to tell me to concentrate on the Mass, but I did not. For me Jesus was a distant figure in my life, so my faith was dead. I became seriously ill and was in hospital for eleven months without ever leaving. One day I was so upset, in anger I shouted at Jesus for being so cruel to me and giving me all this suffering. It turned out to be the beginning of a powerful transformation in my life, because from that moment, I began falling bit by bit more in love with Jesus, as I began chatting to Him and telling Him everything that was on my mind. It was the beginning of a very intimate personal relationship with Jesus which grows deeper every day. I am full of inner joy and precious peace because I have Jesus as my best friend and He is my everything. When I am alone with Jesus as I rest in the tenderness of His loving arms my heart
beat and the heart beat of Jesus beat as one. It is awesome beyond compare to have Jesus as my best friend and most intimate companion for the journey of life - it is genuinely so exciting. Jesus our most precious friend is living powerfully in our time through His life giving presence in the Eucharist. It is a genuine priceless gift to have Jesus truly present in the Eucharist at Eucharistic Adoration. There Jesus waits for us to come to Him. As we sit with Jesus we fall more and more in love with Him. To be alone with Jesus exposed before us in Adoration is a joy beyond compare as we let His healing rays flow from His Eucharistic Presence into the very depth of our hearts. As we sit in silence with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration we fall more and more in love with Him our greatest lover. To be alone with Jesus in Adoration is to be alone with your greatest lover and most intimate friend and that relationship grows deeper and deeper every day. As we grow closer to His Heart of love our heart beat and His Heart beat become one as we come into a very intimate personal relationship with Him. My encounter with Jesus in a very intimate personal relationship with Him changed my life forever – it will change yours too. Fr. John Keane and Maria Vadia will both be featuring at a day of Praise, Worship and Healing, on Sunday March 4th, in Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork form 9:30am to 7 pm. All are welcome.
Bible Quiz 1.
John the Baptist ate _______________________ in the desert/wilderness.
Simon Peter was a ______________________ before being called to be a disciple of Christ.
What was the name of the tax collector who climbed a tree to see Jesus?
Moses was given the Ten Commandments at _______________________
The Prophet __________________ was swallowed by a large fish.
The shortest book of Old Testament is ______________________
Luke was a _________________ by profession.
According to the Acts of the Apostles the apostle chosen by lot to replace Judas Iscariot was _____________
Which two Gospels tell the story of Jesus’ birth? ____________________
Which is the last book in the Old Testament? _______________________
Answers: 1. Locusts 6. Obadiah
2. Fisherman 7. Physician
3. Zaccheus 8. Matthias
4. Mount Sinai 9. Matthew & Luke
5. Jonah 10. Malachi
“This is real faith, when we speak to God as we converse with a man” - St. John Mary Vianney (The Cure of Ars)
As the feast of St Patrick approaches once again, we remind ourselves of what Fr. Billy Swan lies at the heart of his message. We look beyond the costumes, parades, pageantry to the real man who was Patrick – the courageous man of mercy who, along with others, brought the gift of Christian faith to our land in the fifth century. Saint Patrick (c. 385-462) was born on the west coast of Britain in the late fourth century, the son of a deacon who also acted as a Roman curial official. At the tender age of sixteen, he was captured by Irish pirates and brought to Ireland where he was forced into slavery. Separated from his family and immersed in suffering, he came to know God’s friendship, to identify with Christ’s closeness and to understand himself in a new way. After six years he escaped back to Britain and was reunited with his family who begged him never to leave them again. It was a promise Patrick could not keep, for shortly afterwards, he began to sense a powerful call to return to the land of his captivity and to bring the Gospel of Christ to the Irish. There in Ireland, Patrick testifies to one of the most remarkaHave you Heard about Blessed ble missionary sucMargaret Ball? cesses in the early Church. He bapA mighty tised thousands and woman! She witnessed to how was impristhe early Christian oned for community in Ireteaching the Catholic Faith, land was ‘increasing for harbouring beautifully’ through priests, and his preaching (Epist. for having 12). History testiMass celebratfies that Patrick’s ed at her efforts began a home. She chain of events that spent her last days in the not only led to the prison at DubChristianization of lin Castle in Ireland, but to the 1584. What a influx of Irish misgreat example sionaries into main Blessed Marland Europe, who garet is!
made an immense contribution to the whole civilisation project. At this time of opportunity for evangelization, what the story of Patrick teaches us, with renewed force and effect, is that mission matters. God in his freedom doesn’t have to involve us in the work of salvation but chooses to do so. God has given us the dignity of being partners with him in bringing his saving love to the ends of the earth. Therefore, in many ways the salvation of others depends on our response to be people of mission. Patrick had an acute awareness that this was true. Just as the Father had sent Christ into the world so he believed Christ had sent him to Ireland to bear his saving love in person to the Irish. Through God’s loving call and Patrick’s generous response, the saving message of Christ not only transformed his life but an entire nation. Through the birth of a Church that was defined by mission from the beginning, Irish men and women carried the offer of God’s saving love everywhere they went in the world, convinced that like Patrick, the kingdom of God was brought about by their presence and witness. For the Church committed to the New Evangelization, this conviction of Patrick warns us never to underestimate the personal and unique task God has committed to each of us. In the words of Cardinal Newman: ‘God has created me to do him some definitive service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission’. If I am a father, a mother, a husband, a wife, a priest, a religious, a single person, a student or a child – my gifts and my life are at the service of his kingdom. This holds true even if we are sick, feel we can’t do much or have not much to contribute. We give all we have and God grants the increase. As we remain focused on the New Evangelization and consider the task that lies ahead, let us not be discouraged or overwhelmed. It is Christ who asks us to bear him to the world so that his light, truth and Word can be seen and heard. In 1979 during his visit to Ireland, Saint John Paul II asked us to: ‘Remember Saint Patrick. Remember what the fidelity of just one man has meant for Ireland and the world’ (Address to Seminarians, Maynooth, 1st Oct.). On his feast day, we remember Saint Patrick and give thanks for what God achieved through him. For us, may we never doubt the wonders God continues to do in our own day through men and women who share Patrick’s conviction that mission matters.
“If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God”- St. Patrick
Inspiration and Background At the beginning of January 2017, I preached a homily at a Mass for young people, in the Cathedral, Cavan, during which I Fr. Sean Maguire drew many analogies from the Operation Transformation programme that was airing on television at the time. At the end of the month, many young people across Ireland took part in a challenging programme of prayer and reparation. While on a retreat in early February, I got the inspiration to inaugurate an Irish programme, based on the Operation Transformation television programme, an ‘Operation Transformation’ for the Soul! This programme caters for the spiritual fitness, indeed, the holistic fitness of the person. I will now outline the symbolism of the logo.
The Logo and its symbolism The Shamrock is a symbol of Ireland and Mary’s Immaculate Heart is at the centre of the shamrock. The Spiritual Transformation apostolate is an instrument that God can use to give Ireland a new heart, a ‘Marian heart’, a heart on fire with love for God and his people.
The green shamrock also reminds us of the lush and beautiful landscape of Ireland. Participants in the programme will come to a deeper appreciation of and respect for God’s creation, our ‘common home’, which reflects the beauty and grandeur of God. It is generally recognised that a love for nature has enormous benefits for one’s mental health and overall wellbeing.
Scriptural Theme The following is the scriptural theme for the programme: “I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you; I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead.” (Ezekiel 36:24-25). God the Father, through his Son, Jesus Christ, in the love of the Holy Spirit, that is, the Triune God, carries out the Operation Transformation on our souls. He performs the heart transplant, removing our cold, emotionless hearts of stones and infusing in us new hearts; hearts of flesh on fire with love for God, neighbour, self and his creation.
The Spiritual Transformation Plan Participants in the programme are encouraged to develop their own personal goals. Each unique plan will focus in on three areas. God, others and oneself. A daily blog will be posted on the website each day which will provide healthy spiritual nourishment for the participants. Through these readings, people's hearts will be transformed through encountering the Lord in his Word, the Eucharist and by getting to know Our Lady in a deeper way. Also, some aspect of the faith will be explored. It is also hoped that those who get involved in this Spiritual adventure will form small groups so that they can get spiritually fit together.
Spiritual Transformation - Series 1 - Lent 2018
St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and one of the patrons of this movement. St Patrick used the shamrock to explain the mystery of the Trinity which is at the core of this spiritual transformative operation. In baptism, we were immersed into the love of the Trinity. One of the spiritual aims of this apostolate is to renew our baptismal promises and to live our lives anew in the love and life of God. The logo shows the intimate relationship that Mary has to the Trinity: She is the beloved daughter of the Father, the Mother of Christ and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. She is also our Mother because Christ gave her to us as a gift from the cross, (John 19:26). Hence, her involvement in our journey to spiritual fitness is indispensable. As Queen of Ireland, Mary desires to be the Queen of Irish hearts once again. The letters S and T found on the shamrock represents Spiritual and Transformation respectively. So ST is the acronym for the name of the programme: Spiritual Transformation. ST is also commonly used as an abbreviation for the word ‘Saint.’ And in our case here, it is appropriate because the ultimate aim of the apostolate, Spiritual Transformation, is to generate new saints in our times.
The first series of Spiritual Transformation began on Ash Wednesday and will conclude on Easter Sunday. If you would like to take part in the programme, or for more information about it, please check out the website: www.spiritualtransformation.ie or the Spiritual Transformation Facebook page and start your spiritual transformation today!
The most Important Person on Earth
"The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honour of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral - a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body. The Angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God's creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than all other creatures. God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation .... What on God's Earth is more glorious than this : To be a mother?" - Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty
“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle” - St. Francis of Assisi
Fr. Marius O’Reilly
Suffering in the world today is often seen as useless. We are encouraged to avoid it at all costs. This can however make us brittle. People often say how previous generations were hardier, had a greater capacity to endure, as they just got on with things.
Nobody escapes suffering of one kind or another - not even Our Lord or the Blessed Virgin Mary. We suffer in many different
ways: physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Humans suffer more than other creatures because of our intelligence. We can torture ourselves by over thinking, over analysing and worrying. The animal doesn’t do this as it does not have the capacity to rationalise. Suffering however can be of great value and transformative. How many times have you heard someone say, “you know what, that was the best thing that ever happened to me.” Suffering helps us to gain perspective, it forms us, builds character, helps us to endure, and helps us to be empathetic towards others. The great C.S. Lewis put it beautifully when he said: "we're like blocks of stone, out of which the sculptor carves the forms of men. The blows of his chisel, which hurt us so much, are what make us perfect. The suffering in the world is not the failure of God's love for us; it is that love in action." I once heard a lady tell a story. She spoke about a time when she saw a caterpillar in a cocoon in the corner of her window. It seemed to be desperately struggling and trying to get out of the cocoon. She said she could clearly see its great distress. She felt sorry for the caterpillar, and wanted to stop its suffering, so she went into the kitchen to get a scissors to cut it free. Someone later
explained to her that she shouldn’t have done this, as this intense struggle, was a necessary part of the caterpillar’s transformation, into a beautiful butterfly. Suffering also has an immense spiritual benefit. St Faustina said that “if the angels were capable of envy, they would envy us for two things: one is the receiving of Holy Communion, and the other is suffering” (diary 1805). What does she mean by this in the case of suffering? Put simply, we don’t like to suffer. It must be the most disagreeable thing to our human nature. Therefore when we offer our suffering to God, it becomes the most beautiful prayer we could make - a great sacrifice of love. This was how Jesus showed His love for the Father, and for us. We see in the Garden, the night before He died, that Jesus’ humanity did not want to suffer, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matt 26,39). However, then in an act of incredible self-emptying love, and trust in His Father’s goodness, He accepts the Father’s will “nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” St Faustina was also told: “you will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons” (diary 1767). When we join our sufferings to Christ’s infinite merits, we help to save others. Our Lady of Fatima also explained this. As St Therese of Lisieux taught us with her little way, the smallest thing offered in union with Christ’s sufferings becomes great in the eyes of God. Remember the example given to us by the Apostles, who rejoiced in their persecutions (see Acts 5:41, 14:21, Rom 8:18, 2 Corinthians 12:10). As Christians we are called to trod the same path as Our Lord, not for suffering’s sake, as suffering isn’t good in itself, but for love’s sake. There was a great saying in Ireland: “offer it up”, but you rarely hear it nowadays. Maybe we can begin to do this again and offer up our annoyances, inconveniences and difficulties for our country, at this crucial time in our history. Suffering that comes our way, which we offer up, can become our great intercessory prayer.
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“If God sends you many sufferings, it is a sign that He has great plans for you and certainly wants to make you a saint” -St. Ignatius Loyola
We are witnessing today in western Europe a civilizational crisis reminiscent of the last days of the Fr. Tomás Walsh SMA Roman Empire brought about by the wholesale abandonment of the practice of Christianity. The most
would be enough to save the world from its present madness. Shortly before becoming Pope in 2005, he said: “Above all, what the world needs at this moment in history are men and women who, through an enlightened and lived faith, render God credible in this world. The negative testimony of Christians who speak about God and live against him, has darkened God's image and opened the door to disbelief. We need men and women who have their gaze directed to God, to understand true humanity. We need men and women whose intellects are enlightened by the light of God, and whose hearts God opens, so that their intellects can speak to the intellects of others, and so that their hearts are able to open up to the hearts of others… Only through men who have been touched by God, can God come near to men. We need men like Saint Benedict of Norcia, who at a time of dissipation and decadence, plunged into the most profound solitude, succeeding, after all the purifications he had to suffer, to ascend again to the light, to return and to found Monte Cassino, the city on the mountain, that, with so much in ruins, gathered together the forces from which a new world would emerge”
dramatic manifestation of this crisis is the high suicide rates especially of the young and the catastrophic decline of the native populations of Europe – the ultimate manifestations of despair. By the middle of the 21st century, 60% of Italians will have no personal experience of what it is to have a brother, sister, an aunt, uncle or cousin, Germany will lose the equivalent of the population of the former East Germany and Spain’s population will fall by one quarter. American intellectual, George Weigel, put it in starker terms: He wrote: “Europe is depopulating itself in numbers greater than at any time since the Black Death of the 14th Century. When an entire continent, healthier, wealthier and more secure than any previous generation fails to create the human future in the most elemental sense – by creating the next generation – something very serious is afoot”. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger comprehended fully the enormity of the crisis - and the consequences which results when man turns his face against God. He believed that only bold Christian witness
“Be saints! You weren’t made to fit in. You were born to stand out”. “We must shake off this indifference, this destructive tolerance of evil. But only our faith and the wisdom of Christ can save us. But it requires warriors, ready to risk their reputations, their names, even our very lives, to stand for the truth”. “By God, we must live, and with the Holy Spirit as your shield and Christ as your sword, may you join St. Michael and all the angels in sending Lucifer and his henchmen straight right back to Hell where they belong!” - Jim Caviezel, actor who played Jesus in the Passion of the Christ
“We cannot get to Heaven on a featherbed” - St. Thomas More
A beautiful book entitled “Mary in her Scapular Promise” tells the following story. In the year 1845, “the King of the Ocean” ship left London Docks for Australia. Amongst the Passengers were a devout English Protestant Clergyman, the Rev. James Fisher, and his wife and their two children. The weather was good until the ship arrived some five hundred miles west of Cape Agulhas, where there are fierce trade winds and under-currents in that part of the Indian Ocean. The sun had scarcely sunk beneath the western waters when a wild tornado swept the ocean from the Northwest. The waters were lashed into fury, the sails torn, and all the wooden structures on deck were only as reeds before the angry winds and waves on that memorable night.
The passengers were sent below, as the captain and crew were unable to act. Moans of despair and cries of mercy were heard mingled with desperate prayers from both crew and passengers. Wave upon wave assaulted the apparently doomed boat. The Rev. Fisher, with his family and others struggled to deck and asked all to join in prayer for mercy and forgiveness, as their doom seemed inevitable. Among the crew was a young Irish sailor, a native of County Louth, named John McAuliffe, who opened his vest, and took from his neck a pair of brown scapulars. He waved them in the form of a cross and then threw them into the ocean. Incredibly, the waters abated their fury. The howling storm calmed, and one final wave washed over the side of the boat. It cast the Brown Scapular he had thrown into the sea some moments before to his feet. The captain then proceeded to sail the ship into Botany Harour. Young McAuliffe was soon approached with the greatest reverence by the Rev. Fisher and family, who were the only people to witness his action, and the return of the Scapulars near his feet. They asked what the Scapular was, and on being told, they promised to join as soon as possible a religion that had such a powerful protectress as the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then as soon as they landed in Sydney, Australia, they went to the little chapel of St Mary’s, and were received into the Catholic Church, by Fr Polding O.S.V., who afterward became the first bishop of Australia.
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“I am so happy you are wearing the holy Scapular! It is a sure sign of predestination, and over and above that, it unites you more intimately with your Sisters in Carmel” - St. Therese of Lisieux
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Does God desire that “all” people come to know Jesus Christ? Yes! St Paul told us that God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the Truth” (1 Tim 2,4). The Truth is Jesus Christ! This is why so many thousands of Irish missionaries, over the centuries, have given their lives, to proclaim Jesus Christ, to faroff distant lands. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains: “Christ must be proclaimed to all nations and individuals, so that this revelation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (No.74). Therefore God desires that all people of all generations come to know about Jesus Christ. The Second Vatican Council affirmed this: “God graciously arranged that the things he had once revealed for the salvation of all peoples should remain in their entirety, throughout the ages, and be transmitted to all generations.”
How do we tell people about Jesus Christ? The Lord Himself commanded His apostles: “go out to the whole world, and proclaim the Good News.” (Mk 15,16) Gospel literally means “good news” in Greek, so we are asked to go out and proclaim the Gospel. The first four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are called gospels because they announce the "good news of great joy" (Lk 2:10) -the coming of a Saviour, God Himself in the flesh. We have to be first convinced ourselves, and if we are, then we will want to tell the world the good news of great joy. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us "Christ the Lord, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel (good news), which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person
and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline.” (No. 75) We preach the Gospel both in word, telling people about the Good News of God’s love for us, but also, and perhaps more importantly, by how we live, our example and witness. Our peace and joy become beacons of hope to a despairing people.
How did the apostles hand on the Gospel? The Gospel was handed on in two ways. Firstly, the Gospel was handed on orally. The apostles did this firstly of course through their courageous preaching, but also by the example they gave, and even in the institutions they established. They handed on what they themselves had received and observed from Jesus Himself, from how they saw Him live and work. The Holy Spirit of course guided and prompted them in all this. Secondly, the apostles handed on the Gospel in writing. They, together with others, who were associated with the apostles, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote the Gospels that we read today. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains how this work was to be carried on to all people of all time: "in order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church, the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority." (No. 77)
You can see that we have referenced the Catechism of the Catholic Church in answering the questions above. Every Catholic home should have a copy of this great book.
For the defence of the 8th amendment If you are interested in joining a Lenten crusade of Prayer, Penance, and Fasting to protect Ireland from abortion, please complete this form and send it to European Life Network, Glenrue, Ballinclea Road, Killiney, Co. Dublin. Name:…………………………………………………………………………….. Email ………………………………………………………………………………………………
Contact phone: ………………………………………………………………………….
Please tick (One/Multiple): I will commit to praying a daily Rosary for this intention each day during Lent. I will fast and /or abstain during all or part of Lent (fasting as per Catholic Church teaching). I will offer other prayers/penances for this intention. I will have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered for the protection of the 8th amendment.
“If there be a true way that leads to the Everlasting Kingdom, it is most certainly that of suffering, patiently endured” - St. Colette
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