Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Christmas!

Advent has reached its end! The waiting is over! As we look at the infant in the manger we are not only reflecting on a wonderful moment in history - we are also challenged to find room in our hearts for the birth of Christ. A night of sublime comfort and extraordinary challenge!

Happy Christmas, dear friends.

Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God,  that we, who are gladdened by participation, in the feast of our Redeemer's nativity, may through an honourable way of life become worthy of union with Him.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Preparing a welcome...

Already people are wishing each other a happy Christmas, but it's important not to forget that we are still on our Advent journey. Advent is all about having the patience to wait and making the spiritual preparations for the coming of Our Lord. 

Preparing a real welcome for Christ is the goal of Advent. That welcome was expressed beautifully on Christmas Eve in my parish as a child. A big candle would be lit and placed on a window in every house in the area. It was a tradition that existed in many places throughout rural Ireland. In some houses it was a privilege given to the youngest child, but in others it was the eldest or the father of the family who lit the candles. It was to light the way of the Holy Family, Joseph, Mary & Jesus who were travelling the roads in search of shelter and to show they were welcome in an Irish home, even if they could not find a place to stay in Bethlehem. It was also lit to welcome visitors.

Former President Mary Robinson placed a candle in the window of Áras an Uachtaráin (the presidential residence) as both a symbol of the Irish diaspora and as a welcome home beacon.

Lighting candles was a particularly important tradition in my childhood. The candle is symbolic of the light which is at the heart of Christmas.

There are only a few days left in Advent - let's make the most of it!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Soul Food in Waterford

Mount Sion, Barrack St, Waterford city.
We're going to hold our next 'Soul Food' vocation discernment evening at Mount Sion, Barrack St, Waterford at 6.30pm on Thursday, 11th December 2014.

We've held several of these evenings in Dublin over the last few months and they've been very popular.

Soul Food is an opportunity for men (aged 18-40) interested in religious life to come together for some prayer, a short talk, some discussion and some food!

We meet in a relaxed, prayerful, and supportive environment. It's informal and, hopefully, helpful too!

We start with some pizza before praying the Evening Prayer of the Church. We finish with Compline (Night Prayer). We usually take a look at a good article on discernment and discuss some of the themes and challenges it raises. Discerners usually find these articles very useful and thought provoking.

Booking for our Waterford gathering is essential. RSVP before Tuesday, 9th December.

Please e-mail me at or book a spot or if you have any questions.

Here are some comments from previous participants:
"I've found this meeting to be very helpful. It's good to meet other guys who are thinking about a religious vocation."
"The articles are very good - the content helps me to move forward in my discernment process."
"I like that it's relaxed and there's no pressure. It's good to be able to stop and to pray."

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Some help with our Advent praying 

Here's another good prayer resource for you for these Advent days...It's called Sacred Space.

It was one of the first online prayer initiatives to be launched on the web.

Take a look...

Advent is also a great time to focus on the discernment of our vocation. Get in touch if you have any questions or need any help,

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Resource for Advent

One of the best resources I've come across in recent times is Fr Robert Barron's "Word on Fire" media apostolate. As Advent approaches why not take a look at his YouTube channel which has plenty of excellent material.

I also recommend downloading the 'Word on Fire' app for your smart phone.

Let's make an effort to do some deeper reflection this Advent!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A special day...

 Meeting President Higgins at the Áras

One of the most enjoyable features of my life as a Brother is the time I spend as a mentor to young people. One of the groups with which I'm associated is SHARE - a charity, run by secondary school students, which provides accommodation and friendship to the elderly of Cork city.

Last week I was with a group of students from SHARE who visited the President of Ireland, Mr Michael D. Higgins, at Áras an Uachtaráin in Dublin. The group also included trustess and Presentation Brothers who have been associated with the charity over the years.

President Higgins welcomed us in the State reception room which is used for receiving visiting dignitaries. It is instantly recognizable from TV news footage. The President addressed us before Michael, Chairman of SHARE, replied. Sorcha, from the SHARE executive, presented the president with a replica of the SHARE crib as a reminder of the birth of Christ and the Christian message of love, service and peace.

We took a group photo with the president and he spent some time with us in the beautiful State dining room which is laid out in crisp, white, Irish linen with fresh flowers (from the Áras’ own garden) mirrored under Waterford crystal chandeliers. We were also taken on a guided tour of the House including the Ambassadors’ room, the Council of State room where new government ministers receive their seals of office under the watchful eye of former Irish Presidents whose portraits line the walls. In an unscripted moment, John, a member of our group, had the privilege of giving a recital on the beautiful House piano.

After the tour, I was left in awe of the colourful history of this residence, how it has known many different lives in the past and how it has witnessed much of the history of modern Ireland in the making. We spent time in the beautifully kept gardens capturing the moment with photos & selfies. ‘Shadow’, the Aras dog insisted on being included in the photos much to the amusement of everyone.

This is one of the many events throughout the year in our ministry with young people. The work of our Brothers today is focused on passing the faith to this new generation. If this work interests and excites you, feel free to get in touch for some more information.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Praying with Brother André

I've been doing some traveling recently. I was in Toronto, Canada, with four other members of our Leadership Team. It was an opportunity to meet with the Brothers ministering in that part of our congregation. We spent a lot of time reflecting on our 2011 Chapter Vision Statement, we prayed, shared and enjoyed the gift of Brotherhood together.
We also visited Montreal city and had a guided tour of St. Joseph's Oratory on Mount Royal. This beautiful, prayerful and reflective place is associated with Frére Andre of Montreal. Our guide’s devotion to Br. André was quite evident as she narrated many anecdotes about his life with great enthusiasm. Our pilgrimage into the inner sanctuary where the "Saint of the Mountain" lies was a special and moving moment.
We also took the opportunity to visit the cemetery at Longueuil near Montreal where 44 Presentation Brothers are interred. They spent their lives working with poor emigrant children. We had a prayer service at the graveside.
We also celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving in the Chapel of the Longueuil House of Prayer with friends of the Brothers and presented a candle to each of those in attendance. This was a reminder that we are all called to carry Christ's light in our lives. It is also a sign that Christ's message continues to shine today even with the allurement of our materialistic world.  
If you are interested in finding out more about the Presentation Brothers, feel free to call me or drop a line at your convenience. Just e-mail 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Commitment and Perseverance

Yesterday, I was at a very moving celebration at our Mother House - Mount St Joseph, in Cork city.
It was our annual Celebration of Jubilees.

What's that all about I hear you say! Well, each August we remember the Brothers who, that year, are marking a significant anniversary of the day when they first made their religious vows.

This year, for example, we had one Platinum Jubilarian - that means he made his first profession as a Presentation Brother in 1944 - 70 years ago - long before I (and you too, I imagine) was even born!

Four Brothers marked their Diamond Jubilees (60 years of religious life) and two Brothers celebrated their Golden Jubilees.

We gathered to pray with them and for them. You can read an account of the Jubilee Mass on our website .

What struck me most about these men was their ability to persevere in their commitment to God. I'm sure they had difficult and challenging days and here they are; 50, 60, 70 years of fidelity later. Such a beautiful thing.

Life as a religious brother involves a vow of poverty but it is a life rich with meaning and experiences.

If it interests you, get in

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New statue of Jesus...

Last week at our Soul Food discernment evening in Dublin we discussed images of God. The most revealing image of God is, of course, Jesus Christ.

Then, I came across this...It's very thought provoking. Read the article here.

Would you like this statue of Jesus in your local parish?

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Here's a really beautiful poem I came across this week...

It's "Call" written by Michael Ruddy

You were playing games with me
My God
That you could not let me know
In simple language
That you needed me
To do your work?

Was it too much to ask
For one single sign
That would
Without a shadow of a doubt
Have kept me from worry
And from wondering if
It was right to leave my shore
That I could see
                and hear
                and fee
For other shores
That were not my own?

I called out to you
In desperation you said that
Yes I would be happy
To do whatever
You asked of me
But let me know now!
I need to know now.
Could you not see my tears?

Of course you heard
And answered me
In the tears of others
Who called for help
                a touch
                a smile.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Prayers under pressure

Exam season is about to start, and in some instances is well underway. It can be a pretty stressful time and many people feel nervous and anxious as they approach their exams.

Here is a prayer I came across that I think will help you to feel some of the calm and peace of the Lord...

Undertaking Exams

Loving God
be with me now,
as I prepare for my exams.
Thank you for the many talents and gifts you have
given me and for the opportunity of education.
Calm my nerves and anxiety, help me
to remember all that I have studied,
to express it clearly and to answer the questions
the very best that I can.
Holy Spirit, sit with me in my exam
- and always.
In Jesus' name

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Soul Food - this Friday!

Discerning a religious vocation should not be a journey on your own. Last month I started our 'Soul Food' vocation discernment evenings in Dublin. The idea is that men who are interested in a religious vocation gather together for prayer and discussion. We start our meetings with pizza and then we read an article on discernment. After that we discuss the issues raised in the article and I try my best to answer any questions the guys might have. Then we pray the Night Prayer of the Church.
Our next 'Soul Food' vocation discernment evening is on this Friday (23rd May 2014) at 6.30pm at Presentation Brothers, Glasthule in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.
If you're interested in coming, just shoot me an e-mail at

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Our two new Saints...

This Sunday two great Christians will be canonised by our Holy Father, Pope Francis.
Look what happened when Angelo Roncalli and Karol Wojtyla responded to the Lord's call!
Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II inspired and encouraged millions of others.
Let us pray to them for guidance this weekend.
Take a look at our Congregation website for details of coverage of Sunday's ceremony...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

'Where is your Galilee?'

I hope you've had a wonderful Holy Week and Easter celebration. Of course, this Easter season continues for 50 days until Pentecost!

Pope Francis' homily at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night was really interesting. He reflected on the scene in  the Gospel of St Matthew where the women encounter the risen Christ. Jesus tells them to "Go to Galilee" where he will meet them again.

The Holy Father poses this question to us:

"For each of us, too, there is a 'Galilee' at the origin of our journey with Jesus. 'To go to Galilee' means something beautiful, it means rediscovering our baptism as a living fountainhead, drawing new energy from the sources of our faith and our Christian experience."

So, during this Easter season, let's reflect on where 'Galilee' is for us.  Where did we first encounter Christ? Was it in our family, our school, our parish? Who were the people who helped us to grow in faith? Let's pray for them.

And let's thank God for the gift of our faith.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Who am I?

Holy Week began yesterday with Palm Sunday. Pope Francis gave us a fantastic reflection to carry with us for the week ahead.

He said, “We would do well to ask just one question: who am I? Who am I, before my Lord? Who am I, who enters into Jerusalem in celebration? Am I able to express my joy, to praise Him? Or do I keep distant? Who am I, before Jesus Who suffers?”

The Holy Father listed the names of the characters who appear in the Gospel.

He asked an excellent question which should strike a chord with those who are discerning their vocation in life: “Is my life asleep like that of the disciples who slept while the Lord suffered?"

He challenged us to ask, “Am I like Judas, who pretended to love, and kissed the Master to give him over, to betray him? Am I a traitor?”

Pope Francis listed the other players in the account of Christ’s Passion, calling us to ask ourselves if we are like one of these: Pilate, who washed his hands of his responsibility in condemning Jesus; the crowds who chose the criminal Barabbas over Jesus; the soldiers who struck Jesus and mocked him; the passersby who mocked Jesus as he hung on the Cross.

Then, in contrast, the Pope went on to name those in the Gospel reading who showed their fidelity to Jesus: Simon of Cyrene, who helped carry the Cross; Joseph of Arimathea, the “hidden disciple,” who offered his own newly-hewn tomb for Jesus’ Body to be laid in; the women who wept and prayed before the tomb. Am I like Mary, he said, the “Mother of Jesus, who was there, suffering silently?”

Pope Francis concluded his homily saying that this question ought to accompany us through Holy Week: “Where is my heart? To which of these people am I most alike?”

Read the Pope's words here
We're off to a good start...