Wednesday, December 21, 2011


A few good things happened yesterday.  Obviously there were more but these were the ones I noticed:

Money (destined for charity) that I had thought I'd lost turned up in my office in the school.  I had last seen it on the refectory table in the friary and do not recall bringing it back to the school.  I had given up on St. Anthony and having searched our bins, my room and anywhere else I thought it might be said a prayer to my Dad that it would turn up.  I further prepared myself to explain to the donor (a member of staff) that I had lost the donation and would like to know the amount so that the friary could make good the loss.  When I arrived at my office there it was on the chair.

Then I was given a Nintendo Wii plus games and extras to give away.  It came via another member of staff, unused but without its box, and we had agreed to donate it to Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin.  I dropped it over to them today.

The third good thing was that my Mac, whose DVD drive has stopped working, will not have to be left in for repair but will be fixed while I wait as soon as they have the parts (I'm waiting for the call).

I was also given a Christmas present by a Sixth year: three handmade sweets.  I am saving them for Christmas day!

Small things that put an extra shine on the day.


Dr Peter Kreeft gave a talk in Steubenville about a month ago and it's worth listening too.  He has a clever, 'Chestertonesque' use of language and has something to say.  It complements the message of Michael Voris over at Real Catholic TV that we are called to be saints and to make a difference.  Only if we are really and truly trying to do God's will can Christianity survive in the modern world.

Monday, December 19, 2011


The Dutch Catholic child sex abuse has been out since Friday but the Catholic blogosphere is strangely quiet. Again we must face the draining of a cesspool of corruption going back to the forties. What went wrong that such evil should spread through the Church? How did it happen that Bishops and religious superiors should fail to deal effectively with this horror? How are to undo the hurt and the damage? At least had a post about it:

Serious questions need to be asked by both liberal and conservative, 'progressive' and traditionalist Catholics about how our Church allowed this to occur. Partly it was the industrialisation of care: the attempt to answer the social problem of large numbers of parentless or homeless children on an industrial scale. This attempt was also an attempt at social engineering treating children as mere parts of a machine that could be trained and disciplined to fit in. Typically it was underfunded and became a dumping ground for the less successful religious and teaching staff. This model created a 'killing ground' for pedophiles and other disturbed individuals. The damage could've been lessened if those in authority had listened and acted with greater integrity and effectiveness. Instead disastrous decisions were made to ignore, to hide and to deny what was going on. That is not just immoral it is criminal. 

Why then the silence from the Catholic blogosphere when there was so much comment when the Irish reports were published? Was Ireland worse? I don't think so. The Norwegians have a scandalous history in their handling of the Lebensborn: children of German and Norwegian parents who were also ill-treated and abused.  Why the silence on these cases?

Perhaps there still remain blindspots that need correction, biased positions that need to be confronted. Perhaps there are those who wish to see these issues in simplistic terms as belonging only to one class, e.g. 'homosexual pedophiles', or one people, e.g.'Irish Clerical sexual abuse', rather than a worldwide evil, a cancer that is eating away at mankind and corroding civilisation and especially the Church, from within.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Protect the Pope have a short article on some comments by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin drawing on reports in the Irish papers. Broadcast last night as part of RTE's 'Would you Believe?' series the Archbishop was interviewed by Mick Peelo.
“It requires maturity on those people who want their children to become members of the church community and maturity on those people who say ‘I don’t believe in God and I really shouldn’t be hanging on to the vestiges of faith when I don’t really believe in it’.” The Irish Times reports: ‘ The Archbishop of Dublin,Diarmuid Martin,has urged the country’s lapsed Catholics to have the maturity to leave the church. Over the past two decades,rising numbers of ‘a la carte’Catholics simply turn up at the altar for the sacraments like baptism,communion and marriage.
Of course the Archbishop's position that non-believers should not pretend to be believers and abuse the Sacraments becomes in the Irish Times an urging of "lapsed Catholics to have the maturity to leave the church". I agree with Fr. Hassett, a parish moderator, who believes the situation is more complex than a mere 'social Catholicism'. We have generations of poorly catechised and evangelised Catholics who are rejecting what they do not understand. Some have been badly hurt by clergy, religious or over-enthusiastic laity. For many it may be simply that it's easier to live in the halfway house of being culturally Catholic without committing to the faith in a real way. These people believe at some level but not enough to make a deeper, more public commitment. But what do we expect after all these years of liberalism and neglect? What do we expect when Confession is not promoted or when the Church's teaching is so often questioned evenly her own clergy? What we have are theists not Christians. There is belief in God 'somewhere way up there' but He is no longer so judgmental or authoritarian. Instead He has become rather soft. He has become a sort of Santa writ large but not much more real. The long road back from such a state will be long and hard indeed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Last week our Community Care group ran a non-uniform day (actually three class periods: 9.00-11.00am) in aid of our Barnardo's Christmas party. Community Care are a group of fifth and transition year students who volunteer to do fund-raise for charities etc. The party goes back to before my time but when I took over I switched from asking the students to donate toys to raising money (begging) instead. This year I eventually got tired of that. A few years ago one frustrated fifth year student referred to a class as a "shower of stingy b******s". I guess she was a little over enthusiastic. So this year we ran cake sales. The group is divided into four teams named after the seasons and each team does a Friday cake sale which involves making the cakes and selling them during little and big break. All though this was going very well we also ran the non-uniform day and raised over €1640. Now we can run our Christmas party and give a sizeable donation to Barnardo's as well. The cake sales will now be in aid of the Capuchin Day Centre for the homeless instead. The cake sales are fun. I get a kick our of advertising the produce and trying to do it in a humourous way. It adds to the 'buzz' of a Friday and the kids get to do something pleasurable (e.g. eating chocolate muffins) and help those less well off. It gives my Community Care group an experience of fund-raising and self-sacrifice. One group seemed to have had more fun making a mess of their cakes than anything else. I didn't think it was possible to make chocolate Rice Krispy cakes that had no chocolate in them and didn't even stick together. I had never heard of 'Rocky Road' before - apparently the ingredients include chocolate, of course, as well as marshmallow, biscuit and Crunchy. Some have a real knack for baking unless, of course, it's their mother's cooking they're passing off as their own. As soon as we have a date settled for the party I will give each group their allotment of cash and the names and ages of the kids and let them go but presents. The party only lasts about an hour and a half to two hours but it's great fun. Watch this space.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


While surfing the net, catching up with news, I came across, via New Advent, this article from George Weigel . I know Mr. Weigel is respected in some Church circles but what gets my blood boiling is that an American writer or pundit thinks that he can comment on the state of the Irish Church while not actually living here. The Irish Church has problems. These are deep and fundamentally theological and spiritual problems. They also have administrative dimensions but I am not convinced that his root and branch pruning would work. We Irish in Ireland are a people deeply aware of our roots and our place in the world. We have our own spirituality within the Catholic tradition and it is from within that tradition that the healing of Ireland will come. Only a return to the penitential way of our ancestors (most visible in Croagh Patrick and Lough Derg) will reawaken our hearts. We need to become a people that weeps for and with the abused, for and with the abusers, for those who failed and for the renewal of our Church and our land. I am not sure even those outside Ireland of Irish descent would properly grasp that kind of Irishness. As for his suggestion that an American bishop be sent well that beggars belief. The Irish clergy who went to America went to serve the Irish Catholics in America and built up the American Church as a consequence. An American bishop sent to Ireland, even one of Irish descent, would be coming to a different culture and from the start would be seen as an imposition and an insult. It would be interpreted as a punishment. Neither am I convinced that resizing would help. That might make it easier for the Holy Father and his advisers to find bishops for Irish Sees but it would not necessarily mean a boon to Ireland. Ireland really is a parochial country where there can be 'micro-cultures' to parallel our micro-climates. Just spending a year in a parish in Cork as a deacon taught me that. Some reorganization is needed. Some rationalization could help. But unless there is a fundamental shift at a theological and spiritual level (and changing structures will not do this) all that change will be cosmetic. For Ireland to change it must come from within. It must be a return to our roots. That insight came to me on retreat while reading Irene Hausherr's Penthos. Only if we turn to Christ and plead for His help will there be real change.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


So the Irish Government, having made itself a laughing stock for closing the embassy in the Vatican while keeping embassies in places like Lesotho, will not be extending an invitation to the Holy Father to visit our country next year. So? He should come anyway. The hierarchy should invite him. Stuff the Government. Separation of Church and State works both ways. The Holy Father should come, he should meet victims of CSA and he should get the opportunity to address the Irish people directly. The secularists fear that. They fear that he would make a serious impact on Ireland and against their cause. They think they have the Irish Church on the back foot, that she is in terminal decline and that its only a matter of time before she is finished. They should read history. The Holy Spirit has again and again fulfilled our Lord's promises. He will look after everything if only we are faithful. It is up to us who love the Church and want to see her flourishing to fast, pray and sacrifice for her renewal. That renewal begins with each of us, in the heart, in our lives. Governments come and go. The Irish Government doesn't speak for the Irish people in everything. Let the Holy Father come and stuff the begrudgers!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Our brothers and sisters in Egypt are being persecuted anew. They have long suffered under the yoke of Islamic intolerance. Under this new government whatever protection they had is now gone. Protesting an attack on a church they were themselves attacked by the Army. The Army claimed that they were fired on. Peaceful unarmed protesters encounter armed soldiers who, claiming they are fired on, open fire on the protesters and kill a number of them. The Government backs the soldiers. Now where have we heard that before? Oh yes! January 30 1972: Bloody Sunday, Derry, Northern Ireland. At least the Brits didn't tear up and down in armoured cars. While the North is slowly finding it's way to peace how is the Islamic world going to change, how are they going to show tolerance towards minorities? Are Christians, Jews and others always going to be second-class citizens living in fear?

Monday, September 26, 2011

My father died of cancer Friday week (16th September 2011) and so I have been rather distracted.  I celebrated his funeral Mass and have offered Mass each day for him in fulfillment of a promise.   I know it comes to us all that we lose the ones we love (at least in this world).  This is an undeniable fact.  Watching my father's painful decline was not easy.  He is pictured above with my niece on the day last August that she started Secondary school. Gone was the physical strength I remember from my youth.  He grew more and more helpless.  His mischievous sense of humour was more visible for a time but that too was smothered by his medication and his pain.  He came alive for the Mass on the Sunday before he died and later again he responded to the evening Angelus but the rest of the time he hung between sleep and quiet suffering.  His appetite was negligible.

He was alert on the Tuesday for his sister's visit but after that he declined.  The last time I exchanged any words with him was on the Thursday morning - I had spent the night at home - and even then they were few.  I looked at his poor emaciated body and thought of Christ on the Cross.  I  knew I would use that text from the Gospel for his funeral Mass.

My Mother has lost her friend of 66 years and husband of 48.  I don't  know how to describe how she is.  Watching her loneliness and quiet sorrow is another grief for us to carry.  

 My cousin, who has been a tower of strength and support as well as practical intervention, asked me how I could not doubt there was a God in heaven seeing my Dad suffer.  I could only reply that the suffering in the world is the fault of human choices.  People suffer because of their own or other people's wrong-doing.  The people who died on 9/11 died because of the warped minds of their attackers.  The many others from that day who now suffer ill-health do so because those buildings, in their collapse, released so much dangerous dust all because of the attack.  Those who mourn the dead suffer as well.  The consequences of the attack ripple out and may never be fully mapped.  So people suffer.  All we can do is unite our suffering with that of our Lord and trust that He will use it in some way to undo the evil that men do.

When our Lord told us to take up our cross and follow Him He meant He would lead us to Calvary.  The narrow way leads through the cross but we believe it leads to the Kingdom.  That does not mean it is any easier to watch helplessly as someone mounts the cross, as a loved one endures pain and the loss of much that they had come to accept as part and parcel of themselves and eventually embraces death.  All any of us can do is walk with them, support them (like Simon of Cyrene) and trust that somehow this fits with God's plan.

I could no more doubt the existence of God than I could that of the Sun.  My father was not a wealthy man but he bequeathed this precious gift to me: my faith.  Perhaps faith is like the opposite of bereavement.  When one loses someone there is an absence and great suffering.  The one who was so alive is gone.  When one begins to believe there is now a presence where once there had been a presence.  The absence of a loved one does not depend on oneself and neither does the presence of God.  But God remains invisible to the material eye.  He reveals Himself only to the spiritual 'eye' of faith.  Once  that eye is opened one cannot deny the light.

Still that does not change one's feelings.  Bereavement is like having one's heart dipped in acid - it changes everything.  I have wept in bursts, sometimes unexpectedly, often as the climax of buildup of sorrow.  At times it is a physically tangible pressure, a tightening of the throat, a filling up of the body with weariness.  This will not end soon.  I will with time grow adjusted to it and to my loss as generations of generations have done.  I have become one of the many who grieve today.  All I can do is greet each day as it comes, offer this suffering as a prayer of sorts, a sacrifice, embracing this cross for myself and others, especially my Dad and keep going.  How must those who have lost a spouse or a child feel?  It is incomprehensible.

Friday, September 16, 2011


My father, Paddy Forde, is dying of cancer.  We discovered his condition during the Summer and the time of his passing away is close.  Please pray for him and for our family at this difficult time.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Government proposal to break the seal of confession is without precedent

The Taoiseach, the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Children are all indicating that a proposed new law will require priests to break the seal of confession if someone confesses to them the crime of paedophilia.
This would make us the one and only country in the Western world to have such a law. Even Revolutionary France in the days of its worst violence against the Church did not pass a law requiring the breaking of the seal of confession.
The justification for the law is that the crime of paedophilia is so heinous that no one who hears about it, under whatever circumstances, can be allowed to keep it to themselves.
But our Government is clearing missing something that every other Government can see, which is that at a minimum such a law is very unlikely to lead to a single conviction and at a maximum will be counter-productive and will make society less safe, rather than more safe.

Read the rest at the Irish Catholic.

I, for one, will not break the seal. I would encourage a victim or a perpetrator to tell the police or some other responsible person but I would not break the seal. Send me to prison, I don't care. I will not break the seal. Make Ireland a byword for intolerance and persecution.

Will this proposed law also oblige lawyers, doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors? Should we not also report incest, rape, murder, and other serious crimes. If priests and others are obliged to report who will tell them anything? To tell them would be to tell the police.

What a stupid proposal.

I have alternative proposals.

BAN PORNOGRAPHY! Pornography has been linked repeatedly to prostitution and to violence against women and children. It degrades people. It leads people on a road that only ends in ever more depraved behaviour. Protect our children by banning it.

Strengthen families: real families, as in one man married to one woman with their children. recognize them as the building block of society and protect them with tax breaks and benefits.

I'm so annoyed at this that I emailed the Taoiseach.
Pleas do the same:

Sunday, July 10, 2011


This is interesting. Very worth while watching. Dr. Tom O'Loughlin (who is or was a priest of an English Diocese though he's Irish) taught me logic in Milltown Institute many years ago. He was very good teacher but he had us terrified. A very intelligent and learned man.

Friday, July 1, 2011



When I went looking for an image of the Annunciation (25 March)   I saw this and thought ‘how apt’.  Sr. Lucia of Fatima to whom the Blessed Mother of God appeared in 1917 wanted the Holy Father to declare the Rosary a liturgical prayer.  This image of the Annunciation is from the Royal Doors of an Orthodox Church (I don’t know where) and with this image I want you to see the Rosary as a liturgical prayer, a prayer that not only links us to Mary Dei Genetrix, the Theotokos, the Mother of God but through, and with her with her Son and the work He has done for us.  The Rosary is partly a meditation on the life our Saviour in the company of His greatest disciple, His mother.  Yet because it is this it is also a meditation on what is done to us and for us in the Church’s worship, her Liturgy.

As the feast of the Annunciation is March 25th it is right in the middle of Lent that we are given a moment to celebrate and rejoice! The sombre joy of Lent gives way to the glorious joy of the moment of Mary's 'fiat' and the Incarnation of the Word. Gabriel tells her she is 'full of grace'. Literally he says Chaire kecharitomene 'Grace to you who are full of grace' or 'blessed are you who are full of blessings'. 'Rejoice' the Church cries out at Easter and here in the midst of Lent the Church causes Gabriel's voice to speak to us from the Gospel, 'Rejoice!' Rejoice? Rejoice because Mary is to be the New Eve who brings forth from her pure flesh the New Adam, the Revelation of the Father and the Salvation of Man. Rejoice because the Spirit hovers over her as over a New Creation and descends on her so that the Word and Image of the Father can take flesh, so that the Eternal Pentecost of Man's union with God can come. Rejoice that the King of Heaven and Earth, of the whole Universe, is taking flesh in the womb of a country girl from lowly Nazareth.

Does God gamble I wonder? What if Mary had said 'no'? Such a Luciferian response would have doomed and damned mankind. She did not, of course, but her humble 'yes' was a 'yes' not just to the Word and Image of the Father but to all that would be through Him. Her 'yes' was a 'yes' to the Passion and the Cross, the 'sword that would pierce her heart', to the Resurrection, and to us. The Annunciation is a celebration our conception too, our conception in Christ. We celebrate the moment when a country girl was asked by the Father, through the agency of the Archangel Gabriel, to be the Mother of God, to be a key part of His astounding plan.

No wonder Gabriel seems to hold slightly back in the icon above by a Constantinopolitan master. His right hand is extended but the fingers which form the monogram of the name Jesus Christ are hidden – for although He has told Mary the NAME of the Saviour the world does not yet know. His staff shows his authority; this comes from the Father. Mary looks out at us. In her hands she holds the wool from which, tradition says, she wove the seamless garment of Christ. It symbolizes her weaving a body for the Word from her own flesh. She looks at us. 'Well?' she seems to ask 'What should I say?' Say 'yes' O Mother! Say 'yes' and save us. Say 'Yes' and set us free. Say 'YES' to us so that we who are dead in sin might live forever in the Light. "Behold! I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word". "And the WORD was made flesh".

Our Father...
God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. Hail Mary
The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you." Hail Mary
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. Hail Mary
But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. Hail Mary
You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. Hail Mary
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." Hail Mary
"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" Hail Mary
The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Hail Mary
So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God." Hail Mary
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. Hail Mary
Glory be to the Father

Text of Gospel is from the New International Version


On this feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus I offer you this photo of a picture in our house. It's a print framed behind glass and dedicated to the memory of Edward J. Balfe of Hartford, Conn(Connecticut?).

The Heart of our Lord is not actually shining like that in the pciture but is painted a pale pink. The flash just happened to catch the image there and it seemed so apt that I used this shot.  It's a powerful image and better than most of the Sacred Heart images one sees around.  Most of them are insipid or effeminate.  This, like the best Greek icons of the Pantocrator, speaks not just of love and mercy but of power and conscious intent.  He is not going to give up on His plan for our salvation.  He will not turn back or be cheated of His beloved.  This is the face of God Incarnate not by accident but for the salvation of Man.

It reminds me of the story my mother tells of her father Barney Clarke who would pray to no one but the Sacred Heart.  "If I want anything," he would say, "I ask the man Himself."  He died on a Friday while a votive Mass to the Sacred Heart was being offered for him.  A sign, I take it, that our Lord answered him.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


The zealous and impressive Mr. Voris of RealCatholicTV is in Ireland these days and he had this video on YouTube:

Working in a secondary school I was not surprised except by the number who actually admitted to going to Mass.  What was surprising were the reactions on the net.  People referred to Ireland's faithful past and missionary efforts, to her contribution to the Church.  We Irish tend to forget that.  Still there seemed more than a little romanticism about Ireland.  Ireland has no Leprechauns.  It is a modern country embedded in Western Civilization with all the problems that go along with that. 

There are two major temptations that face Irish Catholics trying to live their faith and contribute to our society.  First there is the temptation to embrace all that the secular world proposes as good, to abandon or modify our faith and our tradition so as to fit in and not stand out.  The second is to retreat into an idealized past where we all believed the same and the country was full of 'saints and scholars'  (a complement paid to the nation as it was over 1000 years ago).  There are real dangers to us: the pressure to legalize abortion, gay marriage and adoptions, the decline of the Liturgy and the widening gap between the spirituality (or 'spiritualities') of the average Christian and their experience, knowledge and understanding of the teaching of the Church. 

Someone asked me on Fr. Z's comment's box what I thought role moralism played in modern Ireland.  I don't know.  Moralism, I think, is the reduction of faith to action and of action to the following and implementation of rules.  When one's worldview is of 'rules' to be implemented, balanced and 'dodged' at times and one believes these to be of Divine origin it is world shaking to have that dismantled practically over night.  For Centuries the Church seemed to tell the people 'these are the rules - follow them and you'll be alright'.  Then after Vatican II they simply seemed to dump the whole lot.  That's the impression the people (and much of the Clergy) got.  "All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born." (Yeats, Easter 1916) and indeed it was presented as revolutionary to and by  some even as the majority were told that nothing had really changed at all.   

I remember my surprise at hearing from my Father how he liked the old Mass and that it's removal had left him without a sense of encountering God.  What is amazing is not that the Irish are abandoning their faith but that they held onto it for so long after the Council.  This was not the Council's fault but those who implemented it, who interpreted it, who sold one version of the Council that has no roots in the actual Council itself.

Quite simply, as has been done it seems throughout the Western Church, those who dissented from the Faith, teaching and Tradition of the Church have been allowed to do so with impunity.  Programs for the faith-formation of the young that are woefully ineffective and probably harmful were implemented and continue to this day without effective Episcopal oversight.  The clergy and people of the Church are largely ignorant of the Faith and its discipline.   We have allowed belief in the Real Presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament to wane (surely communion in the hand while standing has had a part to play in this?) until He is received as if He were only a biscuit.  I have heard from lay people of the Blessed Sacrament picked up from the ground outside the Church where it has dropped or spat.  This should have alarm bells ringing throughout the Church in Ireland but it seems not. 

Perhaps the International Eucharistic Conference will stimulate something but I am not hopeful.  I have no faith in big meetings.  I can misquote St. Gregory Nazianzen himself that nothing good every came from a meeting of bishops and he was talking of an Ecumenical Council (Constantinople II. see his Epistle 130 - To Procopium).  I am being cynical.  The real change will be made on the ground, in the hearts of individuals through adoration of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to the Blessed Virgin.  as Our Lady said at Fatima: "In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Since we decided to build a new friary (and refurbish the original 1820 house) rather than bring up the old building to modern standards the library has had to be stored and now moved to its new location in what was our refectory (dining room).

As librarian that job is mine. All 67 boxes of books plus a few others that now destined for the new library. There is a problem though. We do not have enough shelf space. Yes the builders put in book cases but not enough. So we have contracted a local guy to put them in where there used to be a store room off the 'ref'. While awaiting that the library sits in stasis. Over half of the books are on shelves but the reset remain in their boxes. Even what is on the shelves is only loosely sorted. All that awaits the completion of the shelves when I can decide what goes where.  Of course then there is the problem of how to catalogue a friary library.

Below are the photos to illustrate my point:
The 'ref' in the old house
The library undergoing a clean out.

One library stored.

The Library was stored in one of the rooms of the old, now demolished, wing.

The new library, in the old 'ref'', under reassembly.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Capuchins organize Flash Mob Adoration

I've been busy with school but I've also gotten lazy. I think too I let myself get dragged down by events around me. A fellow friar quoted the Blessed Virgin's assurance at Fatima "In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph." For me as for him this gives me hope and perspective.

To start there's this:

It was at Catherine of Sienna Institute website. According to the website:

The Capuchin Friars, Brs Mark, Prins & John, return to Preston after 467 years, following the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, to take responsibility for the Catholic Chaplaincy at the University of central Lancashire. The new Chaplaincy is on the site of the Leper Hospital of St. Mary Magdalen, founded c.1177. In about 1525 the hospital was transferred to the Franciscan Friars who left at the Dissolution in 1539.

I know I've met Prins but I'm not sure if I've met the others. They are our neighbouring province and perhaps one day we may have to be one province unless vocations seriously pick up on both sides of 'the water'.

Fair play to them for this innovative way of evangelization. I'm not sure about the method of transporting the Blessed Sacrament but it seemed to make an impact. Well done.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


What a week of highs and lows. Wednesday our under-19's basketball team won the national final 51-39. They came back 'like kings', as one of our staff put it, full of justifiable pride. Classrooms emptied to welcome them back with cheers and applause.
That was the high.

Friday was the anniversary of Nicole Kelly's death. She was knocked down crossing the road last year. From Thursday afternoon her friends were obviously upset (though, of course, it had been building up unseen). Friday some of them were unable to even sit for long in a class. Nicole is dearly and bitterly missed. At 1.00 pm the family had organized a Mass in the Blanchardstown Oratory. I was unable to go but a huge number of students were. It was as if she had just died. As if it were only the day before. That was the low.

In addition my Dell laptop crashed, black screen no response, nothing. A search on the internet, from a school computer, suggested that the problem was irreversible. Worse the photos of much of the Sixth year from when they were entering were on the laptop in preparation for their graduation. So a double disaster.

The laptop is now in a shop to see what can be recovered. Thanks to the generosity of my guardian I was able to go and buy a new machine. Under advice I have therefore converted to Mac. No more blue screens and crashes I hope! so I guess that's a high to end the week.

Monday, March 14, 2011


This is an excellent and enlightening talk by David Quinn of the Iona Institute (and, alas, ex-editor of the Irish Catholic). Looks like we have a rough ride ahead of us.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Well so the media is suggesting. Let's hope he does come. It could be a moment of great grace for our country. Pray too for the soul of that poor woman in India who will now die by passive euthanasia.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


So, last night I began a series of talks on 'To Christ throught the Sacraments'. I have never done anything like this before so it was nerve wracking. Still it went ok. The opening talk was quite abstract but next week I'll be dealing with Baptism and hopefully it will be more accessible to the congregation. My objective is to help deepen people's faith and nurture their relationship with Christ and His Church. I also hope to make these talks available as a podcast but that's for the future.

Today of course is Ash Wednesday. There was a time when I would race around the school trying to distribute the ashes in the first forty minutes of the day before the classes moved. Now we have 1100 students distributed between 42 or so classes. Time consuming, frustrating and ultimately futile so instead I distribute them as they request them. So far this morning it has been encouraging even if they recieve out of the 'novelty value'. People like the tangible reminders of the Divine. Words are easy, actions speak louder to the soul.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spiritual Bouquet for Pope Benedict for St. Joseph’s Day (19 March)

Fr. Z over at the  inestimable blog 'What Does the Prayer Really Say?' has initiated a

Spiritual Bouquet for Pope Benedict for St. Joseph’s Day (19 March)

and you can participate there.  In particular we are requested to pray that the Holy Father not weaken the provisions of Summorum Pontificum.

Friday, February 18, 2011


According to the Catholic Herald, as repeated by RealCatholicTV and Gloria.TV News, Cardinal O'Malley will convey to the Holy Father the message that the Irish Church has ten years before it "falls over the edge".  Where does this assessment come from but the ACP, the Association of Catholic Priests.  I am in the middle of drafting my own assessment of this association based on its published objectives.  To me they are dissidents.  I know some of its members and some of them I like and admire for their compassion and care even as I deeply oppose their beliefs and objectives.  They do not represent me.  I hope the Cardinal, whether he is sympathetic to them or not, is savvy enough to recognize their agenda and weighs his report accordingly.  I hope to the bishops have, as the Spanish Americans say, 'cojones' (please forgive the crudity), and tell this bunch to 'shove it'.  If they want women clergy and gay unions let them become Anglicans.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Said Musa, a father of six young children, is in prison in Afghanistan simply because he has become a Chritian. He is being tortured and abused for his faith. He faces the death penalty. We need to pray for him and then do something.

“To the international church of world and to the President Brother Barak Obama President of the United States and to the head of ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] in Afghanistan!

“My name is Said Musa 45 years old. I have been working since 15 years as a Physiotherapist in I-C-R-C [International Committee of the Red Cross] orthopaedic centre in Kabul, Afghanistan. About four and a half months before by security force of Afghanistan I [was] captured, due to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world.

...Since that time I am in jail. The authority and prisoners in jail did many bad behaviour with me about my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. For example, they did sexual things with me, beat me by wood, by hands, by legs, put some things on my head, mocked me ‘He’s Jesus Christ’, spat on me, nobody let me for sleep night and day. Every person spat on me and beat me. Also the prosecutor wrote something wrong against me. He told from himself something wrong against me on my file.

“He is stimulating every day the prisoners against me, ‘He is also in jail due to spy for Iran country’, to reveal the church in Kabul. I’m in a very and very bad condition in the jail.

“I agree with long imprisonment about my faith even for long life. Because I’m the sinnest person in the world. Because sometimes they treated for died I refuse my faith due to died. Sometimes I tolerate the persecution but immediately I acknowledge my sin before Lord Jesus Christ: ‘Don’t refuse me before your holy angels and before your Father.’ Because I am very very weak and sinful man…

I am alone between 400 handlers of terrible values in the jail like a sheep. Please, please, for the sake of Lord Jesus Christ help me. Please send a person who should supervise my document and my file, what I said in it. My prosecutor has told something wrong to the judge because he asked [for] money but I refused his request. Please, please you should transfer me from this jail to a jail that supervises the believers. I also agree with died on cross of my pride. I also agree with the sacrifice [of] my life in public, I will tell the faith in Lord Jesus Christ son of God and other believers will take courage and be strong in their faith. Hundred percent I am stable to my word. I have family of seven - one wife, three daughters and three sons. My big son [is] about eight years old. One of my daughters can’t speak, she has some mental problems.

“This is a request from me to all over the world, people please help me. I could not have any person to help. For [the] sake [of] Lord Jesus Christ please pray and immediately help me and rescue me from this jail. Otherwise, they will kill me, because I know they’re very very very cruel and hard hearted!

“Your destitute brother in the world.

“Please my English writing is not enough good. If I did some mistake please forgive me! From Kabul Provincial jail.”

Thanks to the Creative Minority Report and National Catholic Register for this.

See also here


Saturday, February 5, 2011


That Ireland blocked reference to Christianity in the proposed European condemnation of religious persecution comes as no surprise. Our government representatives (it seems formerly Dick Roche T.D. and now the Taoiseach Michael Martin) have been consistently voting in a manner at odds with the values and ethos of our nation for some time most notably on the matter of embryo exerimentation. This of course will be widely reported in the press.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fourth Fota International Liturgy Conference

I know this has been well flagged by others but no harm in putting it out there again. I missed the last one and still hope to make this year's. Glad to see too that the lectures from the Conference on Art and Architecture is due out this year from Four Courts Press.

St. Colman’s Society for Catholic Liturgy
Fourth Fota International Liturgy Conference
Benedict XVI and the Roman Missal
To be held in Cork, Ireland,
9 - 11 July 2011

Provisional Programme

The first session of the Fota IV international Liturgy Conference will be held in Cork, Ireland, on 9 - 11 July 2011. The Conference will be opened by His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, who will also give the key-note address.
The Conference will be chaired by Prof. D. Vincent Twomey, SVD, Professor Emeritus of Moral Theology, St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co. Kildare.
The speakers will include:

1. Prof. Dr. Dieter Bohler, SJ, St. Georgen, Frankfurt
The Eucharist of the Church, the Lord’s Supper and Israel’s Sacrifice: Reflections on Pope Benedict’s axiom “The Christian liturgy cannot be understood in isolation from the Old Testament Inheritance”.
2. Fr. Sven Leo Conrad FSSP, Augsburg
Liturgy as “a transcending movement” (J. Ratzinger) – Reflections on the Form and Theology of the Opening Rites in the Roman Missal.
3. Dom Cassian Folsom, OSB, Sant’Anselmo, Rome
The Roman Missal in "Summorum Pontificum”
4. Dom Paul Gunter, OSB, Sant’Anselmo, Rome
The History and Development of the Roman Missal
5. Prof. Dr. Helmut Hoping, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg
The Ordo Missae of 1965 and the Latin-German Altar Missal
6. Prof. Dr. Manfred Hauke, Lugano, Switzerland
The "basic structure" (Grundgestalt) of the Eucharistic celebration according to Joseph Ratzinger
7. Fr. Uwe Michael Lang, CO
The Church’s Voice of Prayer: Benedict XVI and the language of the liturgy
8. Prof. William Mahrt, Stanford University, U.S.A.
9. Prof. Lauren Pristas, Ph.D., Professor of Theology, Caldwell College, Caldwell, New Jersey, U.S.A.
The Post-Vatican II Revision of the Collects of the Roman Missal.
10. Dr. Janet Rutherford, Maynooth Patristic Symposium
The Anglican Patrimony: What is it, and what to do with it?


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