Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christus natus est nobis, Venite Adoremus!


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!

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.


Saturday, December 5, 2015


These early days of December are marked by the beginning of our journey through Advent. It’s not a word you will find in many shopping catalogues. How many of us get excited about Advent and yet it is a season full of meaning and symbolism?

The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin “Adventus”, a name which means coming or arrival. The prayers of Advent touch on each person walking in some darkness and also awaiting and anticipating a great light. It is a time for us to hear those quiet whispers in our lives of a God gently calling us from darkness into light. Advent is a reminder of how we need this light more than ever in our own lives.

Life certainly moves fast and particularly in the run in to Christmas. Time appears to be going faster and everything takes on an air of urgency. Waiting for many of us may not be our greatest forte and we go directly to celebrating Christmas without getting in touch with that part of ourselves that is reflective, trusting and hoping.

Joseph, the husband of Mary can only wait with her, loving and supporting her and their unborn child, but unable to accelerate the process. Unless we step aside from all of this and reflect on this great event and its relevance to us, take time to see where we fit into the bigger picture, we have failed ourselves. 

The season of Advent is an opportunity to step aside. The sheer speed of life today can literally choke and block out those beautiful, simple and ordinary moments that no money can buy. Advent gives us the chance to appreciate that we are indeed on a privileged journey.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Climate Change Protest March in Cork City

 Recent terrorist atrocities in Paris, Baghdad, Beirut and Mali have shocked our world, and pose a challenge to our common humanity, and particularly to Christian hope. And so we pause…to remember the numerous refugees seeking shelter in Europe and elsewhere and we remember the victims and perpetrators who over two weeks ago carried out senseless acts of terror in Paris, Baghdad and Beirut and Mali.  

Two weeks later the world once again, focuses on the wounded city of Paris as people and political leaders from more than 190 nations across the planet are gathered for the U.N. Conference on Climate Change (COP21). Pope Francis has reminded us strongly in his encyclical of the connection between the cry of the earth, the cry of the poor, justice and right relationship. Everything is interconnected and genuine care for our own lives and our relationships with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice and faithfulness to others. (Laudato Si, #70)

I joined hundreds of environmentally conscious protesters on the streets of Cork City yesterday afternoon to add my voice to the Global call for action on climate change. The march called for action, saying that the time for procrastination has passed. Among the banners that caught my eye were, “there is no planet b”, global warming; global warning, less pollution is the best solution and It’s our only home, don’t destroy it. It is encouraging to learn that Dublin, Galway, Belfast and Cork were among many other cities, worldwide that marched in support of a safer planet now and in the future. It was gratifying to see the majority marching yesterday were young people. They know and understand the consequences for their generation and their children’s generation if we do not take action now. They need all the support they can get.   

As this important event takes place, let us keep our world leaders and policy makers in prayer as they gather in Paris for COP21. If the gathered nations can agree equitable goals on climate, on economic development, on social and environmental issues and do so in a spirit of cooperation, it will be a huge achievement. But, as the French president Francois Hollande told delegates in Paris in May that might be hoping for a “miracle”.
We know miracles are possible! Pope Francis reminded us, “The Spirit of God has filled the universe with possibilities and therefore, from the very heart of things, something new can always emerge”. (Laudato Si #80)

If you need to learn more about it all, visit the COP21 website or




Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Songs of Faith

According to William Merrill, there is nothing in the world so much like prayer as music is. It expresses feelings, thoughts and emotions; it is above and beyond all words. It is a gift from God to be enjoyed and savored. November 22nd is the feast Day of St Cecilia, who is the patroness of musicians.  

It was on her feast day that schools in the Diocese of Cork and Ross united for a Songs of Faith Concert at Our Lady Crowned Church, Mayfield. It was a music project which consisted of musicians, a combined schools choir and eighteen liturgical songs culminating in a memorable concert. It is an opportunity for teenagers and young adults who love to sing and play music to come together to enjoy contemporary sacred music and song. Cork City Net Ministry team participated in the project also. It all came together after a number of workshops on three Sunday afternoons under well-known composer and conductor, Cork man Ian Callanan.

At the introduction to the evening, the choir assembled singing, ‘Come, now is the time to worship by Brian Doerksen. This was followed by other popular hymns, ‘My Lord will come again by David Haas and ‘Show mercy to us by Joanne Boyce to mark the Jubilee Year of Mercy beginning on December 8th. Ian Callanan had the congregation singing the very popular Bambelela (Never Give Up), a traditional South African Hymn. The choir also performed, ‘Lord when you came to the seashore’ by Cesareo Gabaraim to mark the Year of Consecrated Life and the 50th Anniversary of the Cork Mission to Peru. Among other popular hymns on the evening were two of Ian’s own compositions, ‘Taste and See’ and ‘Take and Eat, This is My Body’.

Due to the increasing popularity of Songs of Praise with teenagers and young adults, it was the third occasion that such an event has taken place. Another similar event is planned for 2016. For further details contact Sr. Karen. The parents, schools and others who encouraged and supported these talented young people to participate ought to be congratulated as does Sr. Karen and Fr. Charlie who worked together on the project at the Cork and Ross Pastoral Office.  

As the old saying goes: ‘When words fail, music speaks.’ 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Happy Presentation Day!

November 21st, the feast of the Presentation of Our Lady - is the feast day of the Presentation Brothers and Presentation Sisters. It is an occasion each year when we celebrate our call and mission as religious men and women in the Presentation Congregations.     

The feast recalls a Jewish custom whereby young Jewish men and women went to the Temple of Jerusalem to dedicate their lives to God.

In this feast we remember that Mary PRESENTS her life to God. Mary in turn PRESENTS Jesus to the world. This is the ideal of the Presentation Brothers and Sisters - to do their best to present Jesus Christ in the world today by the example of our lives. The mission of the Presentation Brothers is Forming Christ in the Young.

Christmas ads are already appearing on our television screens. They remind us of a time of year that is fast approaching. Part of Christmas is the giving of gifts. The challenge for those of us as Presentation religious is to present our lives as a gift to others. Each one of us is blessed with many gifts, we may not think so but we are a gift to others.

“Never doubt the power of a small group of committed people to change the world, for indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Meade

During the week the Presentation family around the world celebrate the Feast of the Presentation. All associated with the Presentation Family, communities, friends, staffs, parents and young people are invited to join with the Presentation Brothers in celebrating this great feast. For further details of celebrations in Cork and Dublin check our website;
For those of you informing yourselves about your future careers, I encourage and challenge you to keep the option of serving others as a Presentation Brother or Sister among your list of options. Do not be afraid, have courage, be risk takers and explore this option. I believe people need the witness of Brothers and Sisters in a world where there is so much suffering, pain and division.

For those of you discerning your vocation in life - know that you on this special Feast dedicated to Mary our Mother, are held in our thoughts and prayers.


Sunday, November 8, 2015


Nightfever began in Cologne, Germany after World Youth Day, 2005. The idea was brought to Dublin in 2013. In the meantime it has been successfully held in a number of cities and towns throughout Ireland. It is at this stage an international initiative of the new evangelisation, taking place on a regular basis in cities and towns worldwide, leading many people to encounter Christ.

On Saturday night, I experienced this wonderful initiative in our own city here in Cork. Nightfever is a simple concept and the results are very encouraging. It involves opening a church at night in this case St. Augustine’s, Washington’s St. It began with Mass, during which volunteers were missioned and sent forth on to the streets. The volunteers, young and not-so-young invited passers-by to visit the appropriately lit Church: light a candle and say a prayer in an atmosphere of live music during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

Over two dozen volunteers, wearing hi-vis jackets, together in two’s, spent four hours on the nearby streets inviting and accompanying people into the Church. One volunteer confided, that there is always a level of apprehension about what sort of reaction one might receive, but young adults have a refreshing idealism and an ability to reach for the stars when given a challenge. Their commitment, generosity and creativity are truly inspirational.   

I find it encouraging that a group of teenagers would forgo their usual Saturday night entertainments to stand in a sometimes cold, wet and busy street and approach total strangers in an effort to share the joy of the Gospel with people. Many of the volunteers were happy to tell their stories of Oasis supporters deciding to light a candle for their mothers, or for a friend who was unwell. A young Muslim lad was reassured when a volunteer emphasised that all were welcome to stop and pray and a young girl who earlier accepted the invitation to light a candle returned later with her reluctant boyfriend. A young guy who lit a candle earlier in the night, returned later to spend longer time in prayer and many who had not been in a church for a long time took up the invitation, lit a candle and said a little prayer.    

Volunteers expressed a sense of joy and satisfaction in this unique experience. Our challenge is to see the goodness of our young adults shine through in the ordinary, everyday situations. Mol an Oige agus tiocfaidh se!  

Further Nightfever events in Cork are scheduled for December 5, 2015 & February 20, 2016. For further information contact Lizzie at NET Ministry; email:, (0858404827m). 

Monday, November 2, 2015

In November We Remember.

The Church devotes the month of November to prayer for our loved ones beginning with All Souls Day on November 2nd. Often overshadowed by the two days preceding it, Halloween (Oct. 31st) & All Saints Day (Nov 1st), All Souls Day is a solemn celebration commemorating all of those who have gone before us! Indeed, the Church encourages us during the month of November to take time to pause, remember and pray for all our loved ones.   

Many people pay a visit to a cemetery with a flower or a nightlight. ‘It is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be freed from their sins’. In prayer we are in God’s presence and we believe we are in some way in communion with our loved ones.

No matter how we may wish to avoid talking about death, we don’t like being reminded of our mortality. Woody Allen famously quipped, “I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” It strikes a chord because that is how many of us deal with death. We joke about it while keeping our real thoughts and fears to ourselves.

Some of our deceased relatives we got to say goodbye to, while others left us before any goodbyes could be exchanged. By remembering our deceased in prayer or by visiting their resting place is an attempt at saying we haven’t forgotten them and that they will always be a special part of our lives.  

May all our loved ones who have died rest in peace!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Meet the NET Ministry Team in Cork.

NET Ministry (National Evangelisation Team) is an international voluntary movement consisting of teams of young adults. Their mission is to share faith through personal witness of God’s love for them and invite young people with whom they engage to get to know God’s love for them in their lives. They do this by giving of their time, nine months possibly in another country as a NET Missionary. It was a privilege to meet with the local Net Team here in Cork for lunch in Mt. St. Joseph today.

The NET Ministry volunteers spend six weeks in preparation for their mission sharing their own faith journey and building team relationships. They engage with thousands of youth each year in schools and parishes throughout Ireland and elsewhere. A team of five work here in St. Mary’s, Pope’s Quay and in the Sacred Heart Parish, Western Rd. They use the Presentation Brothers Youth Centre for some of their daily and evening activities. The Team members are: Lizzy from Australia, Pierce from Ireland, Stephanie from Canada, Sarah from USA and Jacob from Canada. They are here in Cork ‘til May 2016.   

Their ministry is to Parish groups as well as visiting schools, facilitating retreats and engaging with youth. They also initiate Sunday morning Family Programmes in their associate parishes. They work with young adults from their Parish to prepare them with the necessary skills to continue the programs once the NET Team departs. They are a lovely, inspirational and happy bunch of young people and well worth getting to know.

(Should you wish to speak with the team, you can email them at 




Thursday, October 22, 2015

Happy Halloween!

We are about to move from the month of October to November and there is a sense of time slipping by very quickly. A reminder of that is in the shops and at the entrance to our houses. They are awash with ghoulish and macabre Halloween outfits and accessories.  Grinning skulls, skeleton costumes and fake tombstones can be purchased. Witches’ broomsticks and wizards’ wands are accompanied by various images and symbols marked with an RIP.  It’s all very different from the simple Halloween apples and nuts festivities of my childhood. Rightly so, time moves on and social habits change.

Halloween has its origins in Celtic times. It was at this time of the year a celebration of the transition from light to darkness was ritualised. Our Celtic ancestors also believed that the boundary between our world and that of the dead was very thin; they believed the spirits of the dead returned. I wonder if the death- themes in our Halloween celebrations are an attempt to recapture the spirit of the Feast of All Souls, on November 2, when Christians remember and pray for their deceased relatives!

We may think Halloween is silly nonsense driven by commercialism and a waste of money. Children love it and always will. Halloween has a lot to offer. It can put us in touch with the mystery of life and that some things in life are often clouded in darkness. It puts us in touch with the struggle between light and darkness and the struggle between good and evil. Halloween may have pagan origins but it embraces the Christian message too. It’s a simple Halloween message that God calms, encourages and reassures us, especially when we struggle with darkness, evil, mystery and the unknown. Enjoy a happy and safe Halloween break!       

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Laudato Si – Praise be to you, my Lord!


Pope Francis in his recent address to the UN General Assembly covered a wide range of issues including the worrying issue of our environment. The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. There is solid scientific evidence and consensus that we are witnessing a disturbing warming of the climate system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events.

Lara Marlowe, correspondent with the Irish Times, Saturday, October 10, 2015 says in her article that scientists believe after five mass extinctions that transformed the world over the past four and a half billion years, we are now rushing headlong into a sixth mass extinction, but this time it is us human beings are the culprits. She draws from, the experience of Elizabeth Kolbert’s best-selling book, The Sixth Extinction; An UnNaturnal History.

Elizabeth Kolbert uses the example of how a giant asteroid collided with Earth with the force of 100 million megatonnes of TNT 66 million years ago, plunging the planet into cold and darkness, wiping out three-quarters of all species, including the dinosaurs. That cataclysm event was not explained ‘til 1980 by Walter Alvarez, a geologist, and his father, Luis, a physicist. 

Each one of us is called to recognise the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it. If present trends continue, our country, planet earth may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems.

I may need an “ecological conversion” so that the effects of my encounter with my creator God become evident in my relationship with the world around me. Living out my call to be a protector of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of care for my common home; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of my Christian experience.

(If you wish to know more about the life and work of the Presentation Brothers, please feel free to shoot me an email at your convenience;






Monday, October 12, 2015

Inside Out

I recently watched the film Inside Out. It is a beautiful animation about Riley, an 11-year -old girl who is a happy, hockey-loving girl from the Midwest in America, but her world was turned upside down when she left home with her parents in the Midwest and settled in San Francisco. Growing up can be a bumpy road and it’s no exception for Riley.

Riley’s emotions try to guide her through this difficult time. Her emotions are characters that live in her head. After Riley left home in the Midwest, her emotions of Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness, conflict on how best to navigate a new city, home and school. These emotions inside Riley’s mind advise her through her everyday struggle.   

The stress of the move brings Sadness to the fore. When Joy and Sadness are swept into the far reaches of Riley’s mind, the only emotions left in her head are Anger, Fear and Disgust. The film is very clever and effective that it ‘gets in your head’ and you find yourself thinking about it for days later.

Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive while the other emotions conflict on how best help her navigate a new city, house and school. Joy is constantly trying to supress Sadness. But as the film plays out, Joy sees the important role Sadness has played in Riley’s life.

This got me thinking. When we share our sad moments with people who love us, it allows us to feel loved which brings joy back into our lives. Inside Out tries to teach us that Sadness is normal, even necessary in our lives. When we are vulnerable and we share our sadness with those around us, it gives them an opportunity to reach out to us in love. 

(I am vocation director for the Presentation Brothers. If you wish to find out about the life of a Brother, don’t hesitate to email me at the following address; 




Friday, October 9, 2015

Decluttering is Life Changing!

Our Province Leadership Team has recently employed Mercedes Cunningham, a Healthcare Co-ordinator in the Irish Province. Her brief is to help improve the quality of care of each Brother in the Province. It challenges us to be willing to change personal practices so that life can be better for ourselves and others and begin to see again in a different way.

I have discovered that excessive clutter, physical disarray and dis-organisation in my daily life can often be a symptom and a cause of stress and tension and it can affect every facet of my life. Clutter can distract me, weigh me down, and in general may bring chaos into my life. I tend to be a hoarder of so many unnecessary bits and pieces. I believe by getting rid of some or all of these can create a new fresh space that is both healthy and life-giving.

In the Gospel, Jesus lived and travelled light. He also encourages us to do the same. He told his disciples; “Take nothing for the journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.” (Lk. 9: 3–6). So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.

We are encouraged to make more space for calm and quietness among the clutter of our lives. It is easy to say I will do it next week or next month. If you are a hoarder like me, now is the time to take steps to begin that clean up and clean out. The best way to tackle the decluttering of your home, your work space, your room and your life is to take one step at a time. Small steps will lead to big improvements that will be easier to maintain in the long run.



Monday, October 5, 2015

A Day at the Ploughing!

‘No one who puts their hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God’ Lk. 9:62.

I always enjoy a day at the ploughing championships maybe because of the happy memories I retain from growing up on the family farm. The world and his mother beat a track to the ploughing every September. It is Europe’s largest outdoor event with in excess of 281,000 visitors to this year’s event. Local farmers provided 700 hundred acres of their land to meet the requirements for the ploughing events, parking and over 1,000 exhibits.    

It is said that people who are close to the earth are close to God and to the beauty of God’s creation.  Jesus uses many images from the land in his stories in the Gospels. He uses the image of the plough. “No one who puts their hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God”. The person who is constantly looking back will get nowhere. Too much time is wasted and lost in looking back. Nothing can change anything we have done in the past. Getting it right now gives us much more control in doing things better. God wants us to move focus on the job at hand and move forward in hope.

If you are interested in finding out about the Presentation Brothers, don’t hesitate to email me at the following address;



Monday, September 28, 2015

A Joyous Occasion for the Presentation Brothers!


  (Br. Barry Noel, Director of Novices, at the reception of four Novices to our Novitiate in Killarney)

September 16th was an occasion of joy for the Presentation Brothers as four young men were received into our International Novitiate in Killarney. Novitiate is for a period of two years. It is a time of spiritual preparation. It involves prayer, reflection and study.

The four young men requested admission to the novitiate during a celebration of the Eucharist by Fr. Jim Linehan in the presence of Brothers and friends. They begin their journey of formation as they respond to follow God’s Call to be Presentation Brothers at this time.

Three of the novices Stanislaus, Collins, Douglas are from Sri Lanka and David is from Canada. This gives a great sense of hope as the vocation of Brother in the Church continues to be relevant and significant in our world today.

Elsewhere fifteen men embark on various stages of the journey to becoming Presentation Brothers. They come from Ghana, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Canada.

We welcome and congratulate these men as they journey with us in the Presentation Family and we keep them in our prayer as they respond to God’s call in Religious Life.

If you would like to learn more about the Presentation Brothers, feel free to drop me an email;

Friday, September 4, 2015

A bolt from the blue!

I am always inspired by the number of sports people who are not afraid to express their faith openly by giving testimony through external gestures. Whether it Katie Taylor thanking God after overcoming her opponent or David Luiz of Chelsea making the sign of the cross after scoring a goal or the William sisters thanking God after a tennis victory. Spirituality has played a part in many athletes’ lives.

The fastest man on the planet has said he feels “blessed” after winning his third 100m world title. Usain Bolt gave thanks after narrowly beating his main rival Justin Gatlin to the Gold medal in the 100m final of the World Championships recently.

The Jamaican sprinter acknowledges a greater power at work in his life; he has been outspoken about his faith in the past and he is regularly seen blessing himself and praying before and after races. After his 200m victory at the Olympic Games in London in 2012 he said nothing was possible without God.

Becoming spiritually fit mirrors to a degree the challenge of becoming physically fit! Both take effort. Both processes are demanding. Both are necessary. 

If you’d like to try to become spiritually fit with the Presentation Brothers, please get in touch! I’m at

If you are discerning a vocation to religious life, I encourage you to make sure you are getting spiritually fir as you try to live the Christian life. St Paul says: “Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. (1Cor. 9:24)

Monday, August 31, 2015

Work, encourage, share…

One of the most awe-inspiring sights of autumn
is that of geese flying in formation, as they play
follow-the-leader and spread out behind that
lone first bird in a V-shape.
It is interesting to learn why they     
do this. As each bird flaps its
wings, the uplift assists the bird
following immediately behind. It is reckoned that
the flock can fly over seventy per cent farther by
helping each other along in this way.
Should one bird fall away from the rest, it quickly
discovers how much harder it is to fly alone and
re-joins the others. When it gets tired the leading
bird will drop back and another will take its place.
The following geese will honk to encourage those
up front to keep up speed. The moral of the story
is to work together more, encourage one another
and share a common purpose like the geese, just
think how much more we could achieve.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Back to School...!

 The words of St. Augustine, “If you aspire to great things, begin with little ones” reminded me the summer holidays are coming to a close thus signalling a return to school and the halls of academia for many. The return to school can be both a stressful and an enjoyable experience for many families. For the younger children and their parents it can be a very exciting time as they begin school for the first time. The older ones will negotiate the transition from primary to secondary school and begin a new phase on their journey. Much will be learned during the coming year but always in small steps. That is true of all of us in life. We are learning more about ourselves each day, about our faith, and those around us. Personally, it is good to be back to a routine again. Routine allows us to be comfortable with what we have to do and what we like to do. As we welcome the month of September we pray that all of us, no matter our age, will be open to learning new possibilities in our lives. “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference”.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Use Your Fingers...

The following 'Five Finger Prayer' is attributed to Pope Francis while he was Archbishop of Argentina.       
1)    The Thumb is the closest finger to you. Pray for those who are closest to you. To pray for our dear ones is a “sweet obligation”.

2)    The next finger is the index finger. Pray for those who teach you, instruct you and heal you.

3)    The following finger is the tallest. It reminds us of our leaders. They need God’s guidance.

4)    The fourth finger is the ring finger. It may surprise you to know it is our weakest finger. Pray for those who are ill, in pain or in trouble.

5)    Finally, we have the smallest of all our fingers. Pray for yourself, that God’s will may be done in your life.

 If you are considering a vocation to Priesthood or Religious Life, it is important to develop a culture of prayer. If you are interested in life as a Presentation Brother feel free to drop me an email to;

Friday, August 14, 2015

"Laudato Si" - Pope Francis

Pope Francis some time ago released his much anticipated encyclical "Laudato Si" on Care of the Earth our Common Home.

He make the point in the encyclical that everything is connected. Everything is interrelated, and our concern for our planet, "Our Common Home", must move us to action because we have a moral obligation to care for creation. Pope Francis makes it clear that he is speaking to each one of us when he says, "I wish to address every person living on this planet."

Pope Francis acknowledges statements from Bishop's Conferences and various scientific bodies from around the world in assembling his argument that we need to take better care of our planet. He shows a superb sense of timing in the release of this document. The nations of the world are coming to the close of negotiations at the United Nations on a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Member states and civil society partners hope that goals agreed to for the next 15 years, will move us closer to ending poverty worldwide and putting all on the path to a sustainable future where economic development links to care for creation.

The UN General Assembly will vote on this program in September at the time the Pope is visiting the USA. He is expected to address the General Assembly at that time. The UN is overseeing negotiations on a new Climate Treaty that will be decided upon in Paris this December. The Pope will certainly be encouraging leaders of nations to come to a substantive agreement to reduce the use of fossil fuels in order to stave off the worst effects on climate change already overtaking the world, especially in regions where many poor people live.

If you are interested in life as a Presentation Brother, please send an e-mail to     



Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Blessed be the Wind!

(I read an article on the environment by Lyall Watson recently. The following is an extract from it. I thought I should share it with you)

 Without wind, most of Earth would be uninhabitable. The tropics would grow so unbearably hot that nothing could live there, and the rest of the planet would freeze. Moisture, if any existed, would be confined to the oceans; and all but the fringes of the great continents … would be desert. There would be no erosion, no soil, and for any community that managed to evolve despite these rigours, no relief from suffocation by their own waste products.

 But with the wind, Earth comes truly alive. Winds provide the circulatory and nervous systems of the planet, sharing out energy and information, distributing both warmth and awareness, making something out of nothing.

 All wind’s properties are borrowed. Our knowledge of it comes at second-hand, but it comes strongly. And this combination of a force that cannot be apprehended, but nonetheless has an undeniable existence, was our first experience of the spiritual. A crack in the cosmos that widened to let the tide of consciousness flow through.

 We are the fruits of the wind—and have been seeded, irrigated, and cultivated by its craft.



Friday, August 7, 2015

Holy Communion

God of the Ordinary 

(I share with you a reflection on Holy Communion taken from Donal Neary SJ) 

The Eucharist has a central place in Christian life. It is unique to our faith that God becomes present in a real way in ordinary bread and wine—food for the journey of life in the bread, energy and joy for the journey of life in the wine. Bread and wine were very much part of the ordinary food of the people of Jesus’ time.
Each time we celebrate we recall in a real way the death and resurrection of the Lord. We take part in it, within our place and time. The sacrifice of Christ on the cross and his resurrection is ‘redone’ among us. It is a place and time of grace. The body of Christ is still in our churches and streets because we are there.
The Eucharist is not to commemorate something that happened many years ago. It is our faith and commitment to Christ in his people. All of us are tabernacles of the Lord, and our call is to allow God into our lives and share his message of love. It is sometimes easier to believe in the presence of the Lord in the tabernacle than among each other.
Jesus asks us to share the bread and cup to proclaim this ‘mystery of faith’ for all time. We proclaim that the Jesus of the tabernacle is the Jesus within all of us. Just as there is a light at the tabernacle, maybe we should carry a little red light in front of us to highlight that Jesus Christ dwells in each of us.

Friday, July 31, 2015

A Visit to Glenstal Abbey!

I visited the monks of Glenstal Abbey in Co. Limerick for a weekend recently. It is home to a community of Benedictine Monks. The beautiful ground, ancient woodland trails and lakes create an atmosphere of peace and quiet inviting one to sit, pray and ponder. I joined the community for daily Mass, as well as morning, evening and night prayer. I discovered how relevant body gestures are to prayer. The monks are at ease with such gestures. Their desire is to worship and praise God. They pray with their bodies as they stand, bow and sit, chanting the psalms. They also believe that bodily work with the intention of serving God is prayer.

We bless our bodies with the sign of the cross. We receive the host in our hands at communion. We go on pilgrimage which is a bodily prayer and forgo bodily comforts. It makes sense that we pray with our bodies because it is as human persons that we meet God. The psalmist puts it well in psalm 103: “Let all my being bless his holy name.”
My concentration of mind may lapse during my time of prayer but my body is still there!
One of the great gifts of religious brotherhood is the time and space it affords to developing good prayer habits and meaningful practices.

If you are interested in life as a Presentation Brother, please send an e-mail to     

Friday, July 10, 2015

Ordinary Time!

Next Sunday, July 12th, is the fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time in the Church’s liturgical year. Did you ever stop to wonder why it is called 'Ordinary Time'?

The English expression ‘Ordinary Time’ is based on the the Latin term tempus per annum meaning, literally, time through the year. 

In the Roman rite, Ordinary Time comprises two periods: one, beginning on the day after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (the end of the Christmas season) and ending on the day before Ash Wednesday, and the other beginning after Pentecost (the end of the Easter season) and continuing until the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent.

During Ordinary Time, the liturgical colour is green – appropriate because it is the most ordinary colour in our natural environment. So your local priest is wearing green for a reason!

Ordinary Time celebrates the mystery of Christ in all its aspects. During it we remember and celebrate the life of Jesus that was ordinary, much like our own lives!

Religious life is sometimes called a 'life less ordinary'. It's different. It's different because we immerse ourselves in the mission of Jesus Christ. 

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