Monday, October 24, 2016

October, Month of Mission.

Each year the focus is put on mission during the month of October. In the past when we thought of mission we thought of the thousands of heroic Irish women and men who went all over the world giving of their time to work with people in spreading the Gospel. There are almost 1,200 Irish missionaries serving throughout the world. During the month of October, we celebrate the work of our missionaries, remembering them in our prayers and asking God's blessing on the good work that they do.

However we have a wider sense of mission today. Pope Francis gives us the theme for mission month, and for World Mission Sunday on 23 October, when he says, ‘Every Christian is a missionary’. Today every country is mission territory, every Christian, each one of us is called to witness to the joy of the Gospel in our families, in the factories and on the farm, in offices and schools and in the places where we socialise. Being a missionary in this sense can be as simple as an encouraging word, a smile, reaching out to a neighbour in need, being with people who grieve, encouraging or being patient with the young or the old. That is how the Gospel is spread. And for most of us that ‘home mission’ is the difficult challenge we face everyday.

If you would like to be a missionary or wish to find out more about the Presentation Brothers, don't hesitate to email me; 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Careers Fair!

I had two wonderful days at the Vocations Ireland stand in Rochestown Park Hotel recently. Vocations Ireland was one of many stands at the Institute of Guidance Counsellors Careers Fair in Cork. Vocations Ireland offer an information service to young adults who may be exploring the different religious congregations, priesthood, single life or married life. Vocations Ireland also offers programmes throughout the year such as Samuel groups and ExploreAway. I invite you to visit our website; www.
There was a constant footfall to the Vocations Ireland stand throughout the two days. Young people collected literature and engaged with us expressing their concerns about matters relating to them in their lives. Many of their questions were about the life of a Brother, Sister or Priest. Some said they had thought about being a brother, sister or priest or would consider the possibility among their career options in the future. They were articulate and not shy in expressing their views, they challenged us and some had very simple advice for anyone considering a call to religious life. “If you’re strong with your faith, go for it.”
The young people were respectful, very inquisitive and they were very aware of the need of an increase in vocations at this time seeing what is happening in their own schools and parishes. They are a credit to their parents, teachers and schools. It was a very positive, interesting and informative experience.
During the two-day career fair, 5,500 pupils throughout the county and further attended. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

An Autumn Psalm

O sacred season of autumn, be my teacher, for I wish to learn the virtue of contentment.

As I gaze upon your full-coloured beauty, I sense all about you an at-homeness with your amber riches.

You are the season of retirement, of full barns and harvested fields.

The cycle of growth has ceased, and the busy work of giving life is now completed.

I sense in you no regrets: you’ve lived a full life.

I live in a society that is ever-restless, always eager for more mountains to climb, seeking happiness through more and more possessions.

As a child of my culture, I am seldom truly at peace with what I have.

Teach me to take stock of what I have given and received; may I know that it’s enough, that my striving can cease in the abundance of God’s grace.

May I know that like you I am rich beyond measure.

As you, O Autumn, take pleasure in your great bounty, let me also take delight in the abundance of the simple things of life, which are the true source of joy.

With the golden glow of peaceful contentment may I truly appreciate this autumn day.

                                                                                                                              (E. Hays)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

A World We All Must Share

 Today is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, Patron of Ecology. The recent commitment by China and the US to sign the Paris agreement on climate change is a positive sign but experts say it is too little too late. Former bishop of Oxford John Pritchard in God Lost and Found suggests that our reluctance to face up to such problems has spiritual consequences: “The danger is that as a global community we may not be prepared to learn the lessons. The stuttering progress made at Kyoto, Bali and Copenhagen [climate conferences] on reducing our consumption of fossil fuels for the sake of the planet suggests that nations are not yet prepared to ease back the throttle.
What is true at a personal level appears to be echoed at the international level. The voice of God is being drowned out by the greed in our hearts and the seductive music of the shopping malls. And underneath all the noise is the sad silent fact that Christian believers also are sometimes losing touch with the sacred centre of their lives, finding that a relationship with a credit card more instantly rewarding than a personal relationship with God.”
The bishop is telling us that while the threat to the environment is a global problem and it can only be put right by individuals embracing value systems that look beyond self and who are willing to accept changes to lifestyle that will make things better. Our insatiable demands for more and more from an exhausted planet that has no more to give must go. “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it”—not ours.                                                   
                                                                                              Gordon Linney
                                                                                                                                        (The Irish Times)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Becoming Spiritually Fit!

I like to watch and follow sport. I played a lot of sport over the years but I find myself more of an armchair follower these days. Knowing what it takes, I admire the men and women who give us so much enjoyment through their commitment and skill and the great discipline they exercise in all they do. During the week ends of September for instance, no one could deny the skills and fitness levels of our women and men footballers. Both the women and their male counterparts served up some wonderful games on reaching the final stages of their respective sport. Big match days are an impressive spectacle but there are the unseen hours of practice, training and perfection. Such levels of skill, fitness, athleticism and discipline doesn’t just happen; it requires great self-sacrifice, dedication and the willpower to overcome obstacles along the way. Sport can teach us so much about life.

Hoping for the best or leaving everything to the last minute is bound to let us down at times. Even our spiritual journey can’t be left to chance. Becoming spiritually fit mirrors to a degree the challenge of becoming physically fit. Both take effort. Both processes are demanding. Both are necessary. It’s impossible to get to know God if we’re only asking for miracles. Getting through life needs discipline and in particular doing the small things to the best of our ability. It’s up to us to choose our attitude for any given day. It’s up to us to keep the bigger picture always in focus. A great discipline each day is to do what we can and to leave others to worry about what they should be doing in their own lives.

If you are discerning a vocation to religious life, I encourage you to make sure you are getting spiritually fit with the Presentation Brothers, please get in touch! I’m at

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Olympian offers her medal to God.

A medal-winning athlete at this year’s Rio Olympic Games has gifted her bronze medal to the shrine of St. Mary of Marija Bistrica in her native Croatia in thanks for answered prayers ahead of the games.

Champion high-jumper Blanka Vlasic has revealed that she nearly missed the 2016 games due to complications from surgery to a leg injury and only travelled after she prayed to God for the strength to compete. That trip, like her subsequent qualifying jump, was made through the pain of her injury.

“Not even a book would be enough to explain why this is another miracle of God,” she said of her first successful jump. “All glory to Jesus.”

Having qualified for the final, Vlasic went on to scoop the bronze and immediately decided on her course of action at the Marian shrine.

“All the medals are God’s, but this one is especially his,” she said.

(Irish Catholic, September 22, 2016)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Where Finbarr Taught, Let Munster Learn"

Today, September 25 is the Feast of St. Finbarr or Fionnbharra in Irish, very often abbreviated to Barra is patron Saint of the city and the Diocese of Cork. It is thought he lived in the seventh century; he was Bishop of Cork and Abbot of a monastery he built in the picturesque and beautiful setting of Gougane Barra in West Cork.

Tradition holds that Finbarr was one of a community of monks who had a monastic settlement near the place where the river Lee rises in Gougane Barra. St. Finbarr’s oratory was built in the early 1900s on a small island on a lake at Gougane on what has long been a place of pilgrimage.

Clearly Finbarr knew that God was very much present in this sacred place, particularly in the beauty of nature that is evident here all year around. Against a backdrop of rugged hills, lakes, rivers and streams, Finbarr found great peace. The Feast of St. Finbarr today reminds us how important it is to appreciate nature and the beauty of creation.

Whenever I visit this holy place, the lines from psalm 19 comes to mind. “The heavens tell of your glory, O God, and the firmament proclaims your handiwork. Day unto day pours forth the story and night unto night reveals its knowledge”.

St. Finbarr is said to have made the journey to the mouth of the Lee where it meets the sea and established a monastic school around which grew what developed into the city of Cork. An annual pilgrimage day at Gougane is held on the last Sunday of September.

Many people have taken the name Finbarr and there are many name places especially in Cork associated with the Saint’s name. The Church of Ireland Cathedral takes its name from Finbarr and the motto of University College, Cork is, “Where Finbarr Taught, Let Munster Learn” are just but a few.

Today is a day of pilgrimage and prayer in Gougane.  We ask the blessings of St. Finbarr on ourselves, our city, our families, our schools, our communities, and those who need a special prayer today. May St. Finbarr continue to guide and direct us each day!