Thursday, 24 March 2011

Towards Healing and Renewal

The first anniversary of the publication of the Pastoral Letter of Pope Benedict XVI to the Catholics of Ireland occurs on 19 March 2010. To mark this anniversary Irish bishops wish to bring the following three important initiatives to the attention of the faithful: the publication of their pastoral response Towards Healing and Renewal; the new Catholic counselling and support service for survivors of abuse; and, the progress of listening and consultation exercises which have been taking place.

To read the letter please click here

To mark this first anniversary bishops have published the pastoral response Towards Healing and Renewal. This outlines different undertakings that the bishops are making on the journey emphasised by the survivors of abuse. These steps include: Prayer for the Survivors of Abuse, including a commitment on the part of bishops to dedicate each First Friday to prayer and fasting in reparation for abuse and the failure to address it adequately; a commitment to listening with sensitivity and care to the experiences of those who suffered abuse; spiritual support to survivors of abuse who wish to avail themselves of it, including the opportunity for spiritual direction; ongoing commitment to creating a safer future for children in the Church in accordance with Safeguarding Children; a review of Dioceses, Religious Congregations and Societies by the National Board for Safeguarding Children; and ongoing financial support for the work of safeguarding and care. Towards Healing and Renewal also includes ways in which parish communities can play their part in assisting the process of healing for survivors of abuse.
In February 2011 bishops, the Conference of Religious of Ireland and the Irish Missionary Union have launched a new Catholic counselling and support service. This counselling service, which continues the important work of Faoiseamh, supports survivors of abuse in a professional and caring environment by providing a wide range of services, including Helpline and face-to-face Counselling. Healing Meetings, Group Work, Practical Workshops and a Social Worker/Bridging service designed to link survivors of abuse to other services relevant to their needs, such as the health, local authority, educational and social welfare services.
Over the last year, and prompted by Pope Benedict’s Pastoral Letter, listening and consultation exercises have been taking place in dioceses. These are continuing and are an important step on the journey of healing and renewal for the Church in Ireland.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Beannachtai na Feile

I'm sure you sent a few St Patrick's Day cards to your family and friends overseas. If you did, then the stamp you used is one that depicts the likeness of the saint located near the entrance to the chapel of St Patrick's College, Maynooth. Dominic McNamara, a member of staff, took the photo which was used as the design for this year's stamp from An Post. A card was also produced, which is shown here (with permission).

What would your 'Thought for the Day' be? Mine would be to try to conjure up in imagination those far-distant times, the times of the bringing of Christianity to these islands. God, he tells us in his 'Confession', picked him up like a pebble off the road and placed him high on the wall. St Patrick looks down on us all at Mass every Sunday, flanked by St Brigid and St Columcille. Thoughts of being Irish, then, of our forebears who lived out a life of faith for us, our forebears the glorious saints, and our forebears the good people all who have gone before us.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Launch of The International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland in 2012

  • Call for volunteers and to prayer for the success of the Congress in Ireland
  • Congress Bell to visit all 26 dioceses of Ireland
  • 3,000 volunteers needed to help organise the Eucharistic Congress in Ireland
In the RDS in Dublin today Cardinal Seán Brady and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin launched two major initiatives as part of the preparations for the 50th International Congress which takes place in Ireland in 2012: a major volunteer drive and the Congress Bell.

The theme of next year's Congress is "The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and one another". The Eucharistic Congress is one of the largest liturgical events and opportunities for pilgrimage throughout the universal Catholic Church. It is hosted by a different country every four years.

The main events of the Congress next year will take place in the RDS, Dublin, beginning with the opening ceremony on 10 June 2012. Over the week 10 - 17 June a programme of liturgical and cultural events, workshops and daily celebration of the Eucharist will culminate in an open air Mass and closing ceremony in Croke Park.

Congress organisers have been developing partnerships with tourism representatives in Dublin as it is hoped the international visitors will give a significant boost to the city's tourism industry.

Organisers are also keen to encourage volunteers to take part not only in the Eucharistic Congress itself but also in the lead up to the main events. Volunteers are needed in a wide variety of roles including administration, hospitality, translation services and stewarding. Details are available in seven different languages on

Further information:
The Parish Office -01-4589209
Fr Kevin Doran, Secretary General of the Congress 00353 (0) 87 244 7358
Ms Anne Griffin, General Manager of the Congress 00 353 (0) 87 244 9985

Next week, on Saint Patrick's Day, a pilgrimage of the Congress Bell will begin from St Mary's Pro Cathedral, Dublin, going to St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh and it will visit all 26 dioceses of Ireland. The bell is a symbolic invite to Irish Catholics, and for Christians of other traditions, to join in the call to faith, prayer, reconciliation and mission that is at the heart of the Church's preparation for the Congress over the next year and a half.

The Secretary General for the Eucharistic Congress Fr Kevin Doran said at today's launch "Core to the mission of the Congress is the view that it is a pilgrim journey involving spiritual and pastoral preparation. Each diocese in Ireland has its own organising committee to promote a deepening of understanding for Catholics of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Church, a richer celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy and an awareness of the social responsibility that comes with the communion and self-gift of Jesus which we celebrate."

Did you know?
• The Congress Bell has its origins in the Dominican Convent in Portstewart in Co Antrim and will be brought on foot from diocese to diocese by teams of volunteers. It is hoped that the Congress Bell will be a focal point for the prayer in parishes and at places of pilgrimage all over Ireland between now and June 2012.

• The first International Eucharistic Congress, held in France in 1881,gathered 300 people at the head of Eucharistic movements in European countries. During the following 125 years, the format of Congresses strongly evolved and they now attract some 12,000 to 15,000 participants for a full week of celebrations, adoration, catechesis, cultural events, fraternal gatherings, and commitments to aid the poor. Ireland last hosted the International Eucharistic Congress in 1932.

• Since 1881, the Pope had always been represented by a special Delegate at the celebration of Eucharistic Congresses. In 1964, Pope Paul VI took part in the last two days of the Congress held in Bombay, an initiative followed by his successor, John Paul II.

On the Eucharistic Congress Dublin 2012

From Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

Why a Eucharistic Congress in Ireland in 2012? The Catholic Church in Ireland is undergoing a process of renewal. In Ireland, as in many Western societies, that renewal must spring from a new evangelization, a vibrant re-presentation of the essentials of the Christian message to men and women who, though baptized and who were perhaps at one time active participants in the life of the Church, have in various ways drifted away from full sharing in that life.

Evangelization and renewal in the Church take place at various levels. A Eucharistic Congress is a particular instrument of renewal in the Church. Eucharistic Congresses are in fact very common in the life of the Church. In Italy this year one of the central events of the programme of evangelization is a National Eucharistic Congress to be held in Ancona in September. National Eucharistic Congresses have been held in recent times in many other countries, including in the United States, Spain, Brazil and even in Cuba. An Irish National Eucharistic Congress is planned for this year.

The Eucharist is central to the Christian life. The Eucharist is the real presence in history of the self-giving love of Jesus on the Cross. The self-giving love of Jesus even unto death is the source of the new life brought by Christ with his death and resurrection and with the sending of the Spirit.

It is the Eucharist which shapes the Church. The descriptions we find in the Acts of the Apostles indicate the essential dimensions of the life of the Church. When the early Christians gathered “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). The Church is a community of prayer, inspired by the word of God and by the Eucharist. The Church is a communion, a special form of fellowship and sharing which is shaped by the Eucharist.

The 50th International Eucharistic Congress is not a societal event. It is an ecclesial event, celebrated in faith. It is not an assembly about structures. Pope Benedict spoke of Eucharistic Congresses as a way of promoting evangelization which “is carried out at the school of the Church in prayer, on the basis of the Liturgy and in the Liturgy”.

The 50th International Eucharistic Congress is not backward-looking event, re-evoking celebrations of the past and of a different time. Neither is the Eucharistic Congress a sterile inward-looking discussion just about Church structures. A Eucharistic Congress is a missionary event. The Acts of the Apostles note that the fruit of the gathering and sharing of the early Christians was that “the Lord added to the numbers” and that they then enjoyed “the goodwill of all” (Acts 2:47,48).

The hope of the Eucharistic Congress is that through renewal in prayer and its liturgical life, the Church will be purified, cleansed and renewed so that its true mission in the world will be more evident.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Ash Wednesday

You are welcome to join us to celebrate the beginning of Lent

Morning Mass Times
Rathcoole 9.30
Saggart 9.30
Newcastle 10.00

Evening Mass Times
Rathcoole 7.00
Saggart 7.30
Newcastle 8.00

From Pope Benedict - for a the full text click here.
In synthesis, the Lenten journey, in which we are invited to contemplate the Mystery of the Cross, is meant to reproduce within us "the pattern of his death" (Ph 3: 10), so as to effect a deepconversion in our lives; that we may be transformed by the action of the Holy Spirit, like St. Paul on the road to Damascus; that we may firmly orient our existence according to the will of God; that we may be freed of our egoism, overcoming the instinct to dominate others and opening us to the love of Christ. The Lenten period is a favorable time to recognize our weakness and to accept, through a sincere inventory of our life, the renewing Grace of the Sacrament of Penance, and walk resolutely towards Christ.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, through the personal encounter with our Redeemer and through fasting, almsgiving and prayer, the journey of conversion towards Easter leads us to rediscover our Baptism. This Lent, let us renew our acceptance of the Grace that God bestowed upon us at that moment, so that it may illuminate and guide all of our actions. What the Sacrament signifies and realizes, we are called to experience every day by following Christ in an ever more generous and authentic manner. In this our itinerary, let us entrust ourselves to the Virgin Mary, who generated the Word of God in faith and in the flesh, so that we may immerse ourselves - just as she did - in the death and resurrection of her Son Jesus, and possess eternal life.