Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's Advent!

We seem to have a problem with waiting. People have already started to wish one another "Happy Christmas". But it's not Christmas yet. This is the season of Advent - a time of waiting and preparation.

Take a look at this 2 minute clip which explains what Advent is all about...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Vocations Weekend

We're holding another of our Vocations Weekends this weekend!
It starts at 11am on Saturday (30th November) and finishes after lunch (at 2pm on Sunday 1st December).
Over the last few years several men have attended these weekends and they find them very useful.
It's a chance to pause and reflect. It's an opportunity to pray. We always have good speakers who can give information and answer questions about vocation.
Even though it's a busy weekend, it's also a relaxed time. It's informal and there is absolutely no obligation on anyone.
The weekend is free of charge with accommodation and meals provided.
If you're interested, send me an e-mail at vocation@PresentationBrothers.org

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Vocations Weekend!


Our vocations team has decided on the dates for our next Vocations Weekend. It will run from 11am on Saturday 30th November to 2pm Sunday 1st December.

If you are interested in attending this weekend of information and reflection, please send me an email at vocation@PresentationBrothers.org

The weekend is free of charge and it's a great chance to get some information on vocation, discernment, religious life and our vocation as Presentation Brothers.

Guys who have attended these weekends in the past have always found them to be helpful. As I often say to discerners, "there's nothing to lose and everything to gain!". Think about coming along!

Check out the Vocations section of our website for more information about religious brotherhood, and click here for more details on our Vocations Weekend. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

No to a 'culture of the temporary'!


Listen to Pope Francis' words about vocation from his visit to Assisi...

I recently returned from Rome where I had been attending several meetings. I made use of the opportunity to travel to Assisi, birthplace of St Francis, with four other Presentation Brothers. Born in 1182, he is the founder of the Order of Franciscans. Despite the millions of tourists and pilgrims Assisi attracts every year, it remains a beautiful and tranquil refuge. The spirit of Francis hovers over every aspect of the city’s life.

Pope Francis visited Assisi recently for the feast of the Saint. I also took the opportunity to attend the Holy Father's Wednesday Papal audience which takes place weekly in St. Peter’s Basilica. I admired the energy and enthusiasm of Pope Francis as he tried to meet with and greet the thousands of people who came to see him. His simple life style is inspiring.

In a recent reflection, it was encouraging to hear him say that religious men and women are prophets for today. They have chosen to follow Jesus and imitate his life in obedience, poverty, community living and chastity. It is a life of fruitfulness, he said. Any young men who feel challenged and called to this way of life, don’t hesitate to get in touch! E-mail me at vocation@PresentationBrothers.org

Monday, September 16, 2013

To London

With some of the participants at the Benedict XVI community Reflection Day in London.
I had a very encouraging experience in London last week. I was in Strawberry Hill near Twickenham. Strawberry Hill is home to St Mary's University College, a Catholic third level institue which traditionally has served as a teacher training college but now offers many degress and postgraduate courses. I was there to help lead a reflection day for a group of students from "Benedict XVI House".

Benedict XVI House is a lay community just across the road from the College. It was established in September 2010. The goal of the House is to provide a space for about seven students and a member of staff to follow a life of prayer, study, community and service to the wider St Mary's community.

The house being used by the community previously served as a Presentation Brothers community so we've built up a link with the community.

I was there to facilitate a day of reflection as the academic year approaches. We went to the House of Prayer run by the Sisters of the Christian Retreat in East Molesey. It was a chance for some prayer, discussion, input and an opportunity to come together before the hustle and bustle of term time kicks in.

It was great to witness the faith of the students. It reminded me of the importance of coming together to form faith groups where one can be supported in trying to live out the Christian life. It ain't easy. We need to support one another.

PS Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI visited the College in 2010 during his successful tour of Britain. Take a look at the Big Assembly held at the College....

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rio in Dublin success!

Dawn  prayer at 4am on the Fr Matthew Bridge in Dublin during Rio in Dublin.

Rio in Dublin was a great weekend. It was a powerful event with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement among the 500 or so hundred young Catholics who came and I really felt I was participating in the WYD programme.

It was a volunteer at the festival. It was held to coincide with the World Youth Day taking place in Brazil. I was there with several young men from the Presentation Brothers. We were an international group! Our first year novices Raj and Thieva (both from Sri Lanka), were joined by Tommy (from Liverpool), and our second year novices: Leonard and Sebastian from Ghana and McSimon from Nigeria. Br. Barry Noel (Grenada) was also a volunteer. 

They reflected the richness, diversity and multi-cultural dimension of the larger group gathered from different communities around Ireland for the week end. The festival began with a social immersion programme by Magis Ireland which dealt with issues like homelessness, the plight of refugees and asylum seekers.

Our home for the Saturday night vigil was the Capuchin church at St Mary of the Angels in Dublin' city centre. Music and dance led by the Brazilian community in Dublin made it a very lively affair.

A programme of prayer, reflections, music and live links to Rio continued though out the week end until Mass on Sunday afternoon and a link up to Rio in Brazil for the homily of Pope Francis and the
announcement of the next Gathering of WYD in Krakow, Poland.

There were catechesis sessions, workshops on prayer, music, adoration, Taize and a dawn outdoor candlelight prayer. Music was provided by Teen Spirit, Elation Ministries, the Dublin Gospel Choir and the Brazilian community.

Next stop, Krakow, 2016!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rio...in Dublin!



A great event is taking place this weekend in Dublin for those who have not travelled to Rio de Janeiro for the World Youth Day. It's called "Rio in Dublin". I will be a volunteer at the event with Brother Barry, our Novice Master from Killarney. We have five novices attending the event and a sixth young man who is discerning his vocation.

Best wishes to everyone involved in the organisation of the event. You can read more about the event at www.Evangelisation.ie

Don't forget to keep up to date with all the WYD events in Rio - you can follow events on the Vatican Player, on the Vatican YouTube Channel, on EWTN, on Salt and Light TV .


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

World Youth Day theme song



Here's the theme song of the World Youth Day in Rio. It is called "Hope of the Dawn"...What do you think?

You can read the words and download the music here.

The scenes from the streets of Rio were remarkable last night. Huge, enthusiastic crowds welcoming our first Latin American Pope to Brazil.

Pope Francis greets the hundreds of thousands of young people in the first hours of his visit to Rio.

Monday, July 22, 2013

And he's off...




Pope Francis arrives in Rio in Brazil for the World Youth Day today, Monday! Let's keep the Holy Father and the hundreds of thousands of young people in our prayers this week.

You can follow the events of the week on the official website of the World Youth Day, via the WYD Facebook page ("World Youth Day") and the official Twitter feed (@wyd_en).

You can watch all of the events on the Vatican Player too.

Many young people discover their vocation in life at the World Youth Day. Let's pray for all the people who are discernign their vocation this week in Rio.

Here is the official prayer of the World Youth Day...

World Youth Day 2013 - Official Prayer

Oh Father, You sent Your Eternal Son to save the world, and You chose men and women, so that through Him, with Him and in Him, they might proclaim the Good News of the Gospel to all nations. Grant us the necessary graces, so that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the joy of being the evangelists that the Church needs in the Third Millennium may shine in the faces of all young people.

Oh Christ, Redeemer of humanity, the image of Your open arms on the top of Corcovado, welcomes all people. In Your paschal offering, You led us, by the Holy Spirit, to encounter the Father as His children. Young people, who are nourished by Eucharist, who hear You in Your Word and meet You as their brother, need your infinite mercy to walk along the paths of this world as disciples and missionaries of the New Evangelization.

Oh Holy Spirit, Love of the Father and of the Son, with the splendor of Your Truth and the fire of Your Love, shed Your Light upon all young people so that, inspired by their experience at World Youth Day, they may bring faith, hope and charity to the four corners of the earth, becoming great builders of a culture of life and peace and catalysts of a new world.

Amen !

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Some food for thought...





Pope Francis met with thousands of novices and seminarians (women and men training to become priests and members of religious orders) as part of the Year of Faith activities in Rome last week.

His address to the seminarians and novices was very challenging. You can see a video of the event (above). I will return to some of his comments in the coming days as they are very helpful for people who are discerning their vocation in life.

For now, I want to focus on what he said in his homily at a Mass for the novices and seminarians the following day in St Peter's Basilica. The Pope points out that we do not choose our vocation - we are called in freedom to it.

"Religious is not primarily our choice. I don’t trust the seminarian, the novice who says: “I have chosen this path.” I don’t like this. It’s not right! But it is the response to a call and to a call of love. I hear something within me, which makes me restless, and I answer yes. The Lord makes us feel this love in prayer, but also through so many signs that we can read in our life, so many persons that He puts on our path. And the joy of the encounter with Him and of His call leads not to closing ourselves but to opening ourselves; it leads to service in the Church."

Discerning our vocation in life is not about us deciding or choosing what we want to do but rather it is a slow process, often conducted in the silence of prayer, of listening to what the Lord might be saying to us.

If life as a religious brother is something which you'd like to know more about, feel free to contact me at vocation@PresentationBrothers.org

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Light of Faith...


Pope Francis has published the first encyclical of his pontificate.
You can read it on the Vatican website.
The encyclical finishes with a prayer for faith. I think this will be very helpful to anyone discerning their  vocation...

Mother, help our faith!
Open our ears to hear God’s word and to recognize his voice and call.
Awaken in us a desire to follow in his footsteps, to go forth from our own land and to receive his promise.
Help us to be touched by his love, that we may touch him in faith.
Help us to entrust ourselves fully to him and to believe in his love, especially at times of trial, beneath the shadow of the cross, when our faith is called to mature.
Sow in our faith the joy of the Risen One.
Remind us that those who believe are never alone.
Teach us to see all things with the eyes of Jesus, that he may be light for our path. And may this light of faith always increase in us, until the dawn of that undying day which is Christ himself, your Son, our Lord!
Amen.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A happy day in Killarney

Bishop Bill Murphy (Diocese of Kerry) with Br Andrew Hickey (left), Mr Colm Ó'Súilleabháin (Principal of 'The Mon' primary school and Br Martin Kenneally (right).
Friday was a special day in Killarney as the staff, students, parents, former pupils of 'The Mon' primary school joined several Brothers to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the Presentation Brothers in the town.

Bishop Bill Murphy celebrated Mass in the beautiful St Mary's Cathedral. Afterwards there was a ceremony on the school grounds during which a monument was unveiled. The monument reflects the great Christian and monastic tradition of our country. As you can see it takes the shape of the bee hive huts which are to be found on the Skelligs, off the coast of Kerry. There is also the theme of the round tower.

Mr Colm Ó'Súilleabháin speaks to the large crowd gathered at 'The Mon'. On the right is the new monument to mark the 175th anniversary.

Well done to everyone involved in a great day!

The day was not just about history. Today, Killarney is the home of the International Novitiate of the Presentation Brothers. There are six Brothers in the community there and three men from Africa are arriving this weekend.

When a man from Ireland or England joins the Presentation Brothers he spends two years of novitiate formation (training). This takes place in Killarney.

If you'd like further information about the Presentation Brothers please e-mail me at vocation@PresentationBrothers.org

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Killarney's Anniversary


This year marks the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the Presentation Brothers in Killarney. The Brothers established 'The Mon' primary school in the town.

The anniversary will be marked with a special Mass on Friday 31st May at 12 noon celebrated by the Bishop of Kerry, Dr Bill Murphy. Brother Andrew Hickey will address the congregation.

You can watch the Mass LIVE on a video stream from the cathedral. Take a look at our congregation website for details.

Congratulations to the staff and students of the school for the efforts they are putting into the preparations for the big day!

Killarney is the home of our International Novitiate where young men come in order to prepare to become Presentation Brothers. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Prayer for exams...


Lord, today I am just really stressed. You know, Lord, that I am having some trouble with the test I am about to take. I know it's probably not the biggest world problem, with people starving, people turning away from you, people in wars, and more. But, Lord, it's what I'm facing right now, and I need you in this time. I know that no problem is too big or too small for you to handle, and I need to turn this stress over to you to help me with.
Lord, I just need to be able to focus. I need your help to look at this information so I can remember and apply it well on my exam. I need you to help me feel more confident going into the test and relax a bit so I can concentrate. Lord, please help the people around me to understand that I need to focus and study.
Also, Lord, help me when I walk into the exam. Give me the peace, when it is all said and done, to know that I walked in and did my best. I pray, Lord, for your guiding hand as I take the exam, and I ask for your welcome calm when I walk out of the classroom after.
Lord, thank you for all the blessings you have placed in my life. Thank you for being here in this time when I feel a bit overwhelmed. Thank you for always being there and allowing me to rely on you. Praise your name. Amen.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

What is Pentecost?



Great 2 minute video on the meaning of today's great feast, the Feast of Pentecost...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mondays at the Monastery


The Presentation Brothers in Glasthule, Co. Dublin


The Presentation Brothers are hosting a new series of talks to mark the Year of Faith beginning with...

“Renewing the Church in Ireland”
Michael Kelly, Editor The Irish Catholic

Michael will speak from his unique perspective as editor of The Irish Catholic newspaper and regular media commentator.

7.30pm, Monday 13th May
Presentation Brothers, Glasthule, Co. Dublin
                  (directly across the road from St Joseph’s Parish Church, Glasthule)



Admission free. Refreshments served.  
ww.PresentationBrothers.org

 



Thursday, May 2, 2013

Be patient...



I love the readings at Mass during this Easter season. Aside from the beautiful Gospel readings on Sundays there are other very interesting passages. They are very relevant to those of us who live in the Western World where the Church faces many pressures.

The Acts of the Apostles reminds us that times were difficult also for the first Christians. The early Church faced challenges from within and without. Challenges from within were of hypocrisy (Acts 5: 1–3); murmuring (Acts 6 – 1) and doctrinal questions (Acts 15: 1). The major external challenge was one of persecution (Acts: 4: 1-3; 5: 17–18). The challenges that face us as we follow Christ are both internal and external.

In reflecting on the readings of these weeks I also think of the question,“Who will roll away the stone?” posed by the women on their way to the tomb. I find an answer from St. Paul when he reflects on the struggle that is part of human life in Romans 7, telling us, “It is the Lord!”

The stone is rolled away and we are opened up to new possibilities, new life and seeing things radically differently. This is accomplished by God. Our task is to allow it to be done.

The strange thing is that on entering the tomb the women learn that Jesus is risen, but at this stage they don’t see or experience the risen Lord. They must wait awhile. For each of us Jesus may be risen but we may have to wait awhile before we come to experience this as a lived reality.

Patience is an important virtue for men and women who are discerning religious life. Maybe, when discerning our future, we too must be patient until we see and experience where the risen Lord may be leading us.

vocation@PresentationBrothers.org

Monday, April 29, 2013

Job Vacancy


The Presentation Brothers are seeking to hire a Coordinator of Youth Ministry based in Cork.

Take a look at our Congregation homepage - www.PresentationBrothers.org - for the Job Advert and Job Description.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Last calls...

Presentation Brothers, Glasthule

The sun is shining in Glasthule in south County Dublin today!

This is where our Vocations Weekend takes place on Saturday and Sunday, 27th and 28th  April.

If you'd like to contact me about coming along, please send an e-mail to vocation@presentationbrothers.org

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Newsy Newsletters...



I was in a church this morning and came across this past weekend's parish newsletter. It carried a little advert for our Vocations Weekend in Dublin this coming weekend. Many thanks to all the parishes that have been helping us to advertise it.

If you'd like more information take a look here.

Shoot me an email at vocation@presentationbrothers.org or call me at 021-4304975.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Around town...

 
I was in Dublin city centre today and popped into a church to spend some time in prayer. I noticed this poster in the porch! Look familiar?

If you want more information about our Vocations Weekend or if you'd like to book a place give me a call at 01-2300824 or e-mail me at vocation@presentationbrothers.org

These weekends are free, fun and intended to be of assistance to men who are thinking about their life journey. We spend the time listening to good talks, spending time in prayer and sharing meals together. It's relaxed and obligation free!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Postering...

Posters about to be dispatched for our next Vocations Weekend in Dublin...

Over the last several days posters for our next Vocations Weekend have been popping up in churches and notice boards around Dublin and further afield. It takes place here at our house in Dublin on Saturday and Sunday, 27th and 28th April.

Please keep our vocations weekend in your prayers and, in particular, the men who will be attending.

If you are interested in finding out more take a look here and feel free to send me an e-mail at vocation@PresentationBrothers.org

Monday, April 8, 2013

Our Vocations Weekend Poster...





Our next Vocations Weekend is on Saturday and Sunday, 27th and 28th April 2013.

Our poster for the weekend is popping up in churches and chaplaincies around Dublin and other parts of the country.

You can see a pdf version of it here on the Vocations Weekend page of our Congregation website.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Announcing "Time Out"


Our next Vocations Weekend will take place on the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, 27th and 28th of April 2013. It will take place at the Presentation Brothers house in Glasthule, just south of Dun Laoghaire in Dublin.

These weekends have been running over the past few years and they are aimed at men who are thinking of religious life. The weekend gives guys the space for reflection and also provides plenty of information on our way of life, what's involved in the training, etc.

The programme for the weekend has an 11am start on Saturday morning and finishes after lunch on the Sunday. It's very relaxed and there are no awkward rituals or anything like that. There are a few talks, a few testimonies by Brothers, meals, a movie (on the Saturday night) and Mass together. It's really aimed at helping the participants to figure out more clearly what the Lord is calling them to in life. It also provides a chance to look at the life of a religious community.

If you are interested take a look at the full details on our Congregation website

If you know anyone who might be interested please pass on a link to the page above or to the blog. In the past people have found about "Time Out" weekends in all sorts of ways.

You can reach me at vocation@PresentationBrothers.org 

Please pray for the success of the Time Out and for the men who are coming.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

"He is Risen"



Happy Easter to everyone.

I hope you are filling the joy and the happiness that the Easter message brings.

The Regina Coeli - in the clip above - includes the words, "He is risen - as he said he would", reminding us of the faithfulness of our God. Let us be faithful in return.

Waiting...



"The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep..."

Take a look at this YouTube meditation from the Apostleship of Prayer...

If you can, visit a church today. Notice how empty it is without the Blessed Sacrament. Also, make an effort to attend the Easter Vigil tonight. It is a stunningly beautiful and meaningful liturgy.

In the meantime, let's wait...

Friday, March 29, 2013

VII - "...into your hands..."



VII - "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."
Luke 23:46

"It is now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, when the sun's light failed, and the curtain of the Temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice said, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit".

It's night time. For those who enter into the mystery of Good Friday this is a  beautiful and demanding day.

Good Friday is coming to an end. Now, we wait...

As we retire for the night we commend our souls to our loving Father too.

VI - "It is finished"


VI - "It is finished"
John 19:30

"A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, "it's finished", and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."

When Christ says it is finished, he is not saying that it is all over.

No. Instead, he is saying it is accomplished. It is completed.

A meditation for those discerning their vocation in life: When you reach old age and you lie back in your bed, what will you be thinking of when you say "it is finished, it is accomplished." What will you have accomplished? What work will you have finished?

V - "I thirst"

 
"I thirst"
John 19:28
 
Most of us know what a mild thirst is like and, fortunately, we can quench our thirst readily. However, a lasting thirst is, apparently, a terrible way to suffer.
 
In hearing Christ cry out, "I thirst", we sense the agony he is enduring.
 
How ironic - here is a man who gave water to the Samaritan woman at the well and who spoke of himself as the "living water".
 
For now, let us dwell for a moment on the human experience of thirsting and suffering, endured by Christ on Good Friday.
 


IV - "...why...?"



"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Mark 15:34

"At midday a darkness fell over the whole land, which lasted until three in the afternoon; and at three Jesus cried aloud, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Are these the starkest words in the Gospels? Jesus feels abandoned. What a consolation to all of us who feel alone during a rough period of our lives. Even though we believe, the consolations of God may seem far off.

In a Good Friday reflection, Timothy Radcliffe, OP, says that "even the experience of the absence of God is somehow brought within God's own life" by  these words.

Jesus makes these words, heard also in Psalm 22, his own, and they are there for us too when we feel anguish...

III - "Behold your son..."


"Woman, behold your son!...Behold your mother."
John 19: 26-27

Our attention shifts to those gathered at the foot of the cross. We know that Mary, Jesus' mother is there, as is the disciple John. Also present are Mary Magdalene and Mary of Cleopas. It's nothing like the huge crowds that followed Jesus in the years before this!

Perhaps this is a moment to reflect on our families - our mothers, our fathers, our sons, our daughters, our brothers and sisters...

When we pray to Mary we are praying to a woman, a mother who knows what pain is...

II - "..in Paradise"




"Today you will be with me in Paradise."
Luke 23:43

These words of the crucified Christ are uttered to the "Good Thief" who asks "Jesus, remember me when you come in to your Kingdom."

This is the great promise of our faith. What we see around us in this world is not all that there is. There is more. There is also the promise of an eternal, heavenly paradise.

We can anticipate Christ's response...."you will be with me in Paradise". Let's focus for a while now on our request, "Remember me when you come in  to your Kingdom."

I - "Forgive them...

 
 
"Forgive them, for they know not what they do"
 
Luke 23:34

Christ's response on the cross is not anger. It is to forgive.

How often in our lives do we forgive? How often do we pray for our enemies? The easier option is to hate, to bear a grudge, to foster resentment.

Christ on the cross is an icon of forgiveness.

The Seven Last Words



The devotion to the Seven Last Words can be traced back to the 12th century. They have been a rich source of deep reflection and meditation for Christians.

The Seven Last Words refer not to individual words but seven phrases uttered by Our Lord on the cross.

Seven, in the Bible, is always associated with perfection and completion. Genesis tells us that God created the world and rested on the seventh day when all was complete. The Seven Last Words are associated with a new completion...

Today, I invite you to use the Seven Last Words as part of your Good Friday retreat...I will post them here throughout the day...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

In the Garden of Gethsemane




Tonight, we watch and pray...

Let's remember the anguish of Our Lord. Let us remember the anguish of those who are suffering tonight...

This is a special night....


Holy Thursday 2013



Our Paschal Triduum begins. The word "triduum" indicates three. We begin our three days of commemorations - Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night.

It is a deeply meaningful day in which we focus our attention on the gift of the Eucharist and the gift of the priesthood. For those discerning a religious vocation, I strongly encourage you to attend tonight's Mass of the Lord's Supper in your parish.

Tonight we will witness the washing of the feet, reminding us that service is at the heart of our vocation.

After the Mass the Blessed Sacrament will be taken to the altar of repose. Many will linger and "watch with the Lord".
 
These are blessed and grace-filled days.
 
Make the most of them.
 
 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"I have no time!"



The Wednesday of Holy Week is known as "Spy Wednesday". Tradition holds that it is the day when Judas conspired with the authorities to betray Christ. Take a look at this video for a quick explanation...

Today, during his first General Audience, Pope Francis spoke about Holy Week. His comments about following Christ are very appropriate for anyone discerning a religious vocation. I've included some of his address below. Note how he mentions the excuses we all give "I have no time" but the challenge for us all as disciples of Christ is to "step outside" of ourself.

For those who are discerning a religious vocation, I invite you to read his comments (see below) closely and reflect on them...

"Following, accompanying Christ, remaining with Him requires a "stepping outside," a stepping beyond. Stepping outside of ourselves, of a tired and routine way of living the faith, of the temptation to withdraw into pre-established patterns that end up closing our horizon to the creative action of God. God stepped outside of Himself to come among us, He pitched His tent among us to bring the mercy of God that saves and gives hope. Even if we want to follow Him and stay with Him, we must not be content to remain in the enclosure of the ninety-nine sheep, we have to "step outside", to search for the lost sheep together with Him, the one furthest away. Remember well: stepping outside of ourselves, like Jesus, like God has stepped outside of Himself in Jesus and Jesus stepped outside of Himself for all of us.

Some might say to me, "But, Father, I have no time", "I have so many things to do", "it is difficult", "what can I do with my little strength?", with my sin, with so many things? Often we settle for a few prayers, a distracted and inconsistent presence at Sunday Mass, a random act of charity, but we lack this courage to "step outside" to bring Christ. We are a bit like St. Peter. As soon as Jesus speaks of the Passion, Death and Resurrection, of self-giving, of love for all, the Apostle takes him aside and rebukes him. What Jesus says upsets his plans, seems unacceptable, undermines the sense of security that he had built up, his idea of ​​the Messiah. And Jesus looks at the disciples and addresses Peter with perhaps one of the strongest words of the Gospel: "Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do"(Mk 8:33).

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pope Francis' motto


Our new Pope's crest and motto have been released. The shield (above) contains symbols representing the Jesuits (top), Mary (the star) and St Joseph (the buds of a spikenard flower, bottom right).

The Pope's motto is very interesting - "having mercy, he called him". It's taken from a commentary on Christ's calling of St Matthew. The relevance of this to those who are discerning a religious vocation is striking. It's also very encouraging and is providing much food for thought for those of us working in the world of vocations promotion and direction...

I'm really looking forward to learning more about, and hearing more from, our new Pope.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Viva il Papa!


There is nothing like the election of a new Pope for drama and excitement!

This is already a Pope of "firsts" - the first Latin American Pope, the first Jesuit Pope, the first Pope Francis...

Already our new Holy Father is the focus of our prayer, affection and, indeed, curiosity.

Let us pray for him earnestly as he faces his daunting mission.

As a young man, Pope Francis said yes to the call of the Lord to follow Him as a member of a religious order. I encourage you too to answer the Lord's call with confidence.

vocation@PresentationBrothers.org

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Respect for Nature...



Since I blogged yesterday I noticed that the Pope's General Prayer Intention for March 2013 concerns respect for nature.

The Apostleship of Prayer has produced the video (above) to help us reflect on the Holy Father's chosen theme.

Take a look!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Farewell to a Green Pope...



Among the many tributes paid to our retired Pope, Benedict XVI, have been those that highlighted his interest in ecological issues.

The Vatican made headlines a few years ago by installing photo-voltaic cells to power the running of several buildings with solar energy (see above). Benedict also mentioned that need to respect God's creation on several occasions. Some commentators suggested that he was the closest we have had to a "Green Pope".

All of this came to mind at the weekend as I attended a very informative and challenging workshop on eco-spirituality with twenty other Presentation Brothers. At an international gathering of our Brothers in 2011 we were called to live a lifestyle that is relevant and meaningful to the needs of people and the planet in the 21st century. Our attention was also focused on a spirituality of being in communion with God and his Creation.

At the weekend we explored what this means. We learned that this week is ‘Tree Week’ from March 3rd to March 9th. Trees are a beautiful and essential part of life on our planet. They are an important part of life on the planet.

The experience at the weekend reminded me again of the diversity that exists in religious life today. One week I'm at a prolife vigil defending the dignity of every human life, another week I'm at a conference on canon law and then I find myself at a seminar on ecology. Balance in our spirituality is important. On that note, if anyone wants to chat with me about a religious vocation, I'm always available at vocation@PresentationBrothers.org