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!