22 May 2022 – 6th Sunday of Easter
Year C for Sundays – Cycle 2 for Weekdays
This week I share with you some musings from Irish Augustinian priest Seamus Ahearne:
‘I travelled down to Clonmel for a funeral. A very special person in our family history (Mary) had died. I went across country from the Kilkenny area. The back roads were unfamiliar. It was good to get off the motorway. The forty shades of green were grinning everywhere. The variations in colour; of fields and bushes and trees and hills and flowers and hedges and houses and gardens, were quite delightful. I had almost forgotten what this ‘other world’ looked like. Those views stirred my soul when I was very young.
And then I arrived at Saints Peter and Paul’s in Clonmel. It felt good to be down in the pews. As priests, it is essential to switch places. Like the baby swans, we go back to school and learn and feel what it is like. The jumping up and down at Mass is very strange. It is as if someone wants to keep us awake. But I was happy to soak up the memories of Mary and the history of the family.’
Seamus dwells on the withdrawal of the Augustinian community from the parish at Rivermount in Dublin:
‘I have been very nostalgic for the past week plus. The date (12th June) for the Augustinians to leave Rivermount has been published. The day is rushing at us. The thirty-six years are concluding. In 1986, the Augustinians came to Rivermount. I have managed 25 years here. All of us have loved our time. Practice may not be uppermost in the minds of the community but heart and welcome, and banter and faith is rooted in the mess of life. We adapted. We have been given so much. Office hours priesthood was totally irrelevant. Everything had to be done differently. The easy formula of Ritual and Book was useless. The honesty and spontaneity of people was extraordinary. The Word became Flesh. We were blessed. The word pastoral comes to mind. This business of priesthood is forever pastoral. We can never escape into the office or hide in the sanctuary. Most of ministry is now outside the building. We are pioneers and missionaries. It is an adventure of imagination and creativity. The Spirit has to be given full rein. We have to be very humble.’
He reflects on the priesthood and the frustrations of leadership:
‘A serious reflection on being pastoral is needed. We can become absorbed with changing times and administration and forget the core of ministry: Humanity. Warmth. Welcome. We have to be immersed in the lives of everyone. Talk. Respect. Listen. God help the leaders of these times. They don’t have the time or energy to do the simple ordinary things. They have to be bureaucrats and administrators. The Governance is so tied up in details, that simple ordinary moments with chat and basic laughter aren’t available. I was a Provincial Superior some 33 years ago. It was so different then. The travel was big. From Dundee in Scotland down to Hythe in Kent with all the in-betweens thrown in. The car was the office. But there was time to talk. The bureaucracy was much less. I don’t know how anyone now can take on the office of leadership these days. They can’t do right with doing wrong. They are totally submerged with details and with covering their backsides. Oh for simple ordinary chats. Drop ins. Talk.’
And a word about Wags and lawyers…..
‘I have a last thought. Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy have slugged it out in court. There was the wonderful sting done by Coleen which was rather smart. I have done a few pale versions of that myself! But it is the utter stupidity and frivolity of it all that is striking. Why can’t people talk without rushing into Court where they are stripped naked as human beings and where they throw dung at one another? The only players in the game …. are the law folk. It is not the wags or the footballing husbands. These are only props. It is nonsense. It is sad. It is stupid. Why does it happen? Because again – people can’t talk. Or don’t talk. Why does the utterly ridiculous show with Amber Heard and Johnny Depp end up in Court? Why can’t someone bang their heads together and remind everyone that there are no winners and only losers? The legal folk are the only real players and the only ones who win. The last word then still applies to all of us in the only way to live; the only way to ‘run’ relationships; the only way to be a church; to be a priest – is to talk, to listen, to respect. We can hide away in our bunkers and adapt the mentality of the bunker or we can live a new life where talking and caring and real humanity flourishes. Let’s greet the future with bold faces and happy minds. It is still great to have the privilege to be ministers of the Gospel.’
Fr Seamus speaks for himself but his insights match many of the findings that emerged in our own Synod 2020. The Pastoral Plan highlights ‘Accompaniment’ – walking alongside people where they are and as they are.
One more thing, have any of you been watching Derry Girls?
My favourite character has to be Sister Michael. I am sad that it’s the end of the series.
TO DOWNLOAD OR READ THE LATEST NEWSLETTER IN FULL – CLICK HERE
Monsignor John Devine OBE MA VF
Saint Mary of the Isle Hill Street Douglas Isle of Man IM1 1EG
Easter Dawn by Malcolm Guite
He blesses every love which weeps and grieves;
And now he blesses hers who stood and wept
And would not be consoled, or leave her love’s
Last touching place, but watched as low light crept
Up from the east. A sound behind her stirs,
A scatter of bright birdsong through the air.
She turns, but cannot focus through her tears,
Or recognise the Gardener standing there.
She hardly hears his gentle question ‘Why,
Why are you weeping?’ or sees the play of light
That brightens as she chokes out her reply
‘They took my love away, my day is night’
And then she hears her name, she hears Love say
The Word that turns her night, and ours, to Day
This poem celebrates the Spring sunshine after the darkness of winter.
Although set in Norfolk it works just as well for the Isle of Man.
Malcolm Guite is an Anglican priest, poet and theologian.
First Steps by Malcolm Guite
This is the day to leave the dark behind you
Take the adventure, step beyond the hearth,
Shake off at last the shackles that confined you,
And find the courage for the forward path.
You yearned for freedom through the long night watches,
The day has come and you are free to choose,
Now is your time and season.
Companioned still by your familiar crutches,
And leaning on the props you hope to lose,
You step outside and widen your horizon.
After the dimly burning wick of winter
That seemed to dull and darken everything
The April sun shines clear beyond your shelter
And clean as sight itself. The reed-birds sing,
As heaven reaches down to touch the earth
And circle her, revealing everywhere
A lovely, longed-for blue.
Breathe deep and be renewed by every breath,
Kinned to the keen east wind and cleansing air,
As though the blue itself were blowing through you.
You keep the coastal path where edge meets edge,
The sea and salt marsh touching in North Norfolk,
Reed cutters cuttings, patterned in the sedge,
Open and ease the way that you will walk,
Unbroken reeds still wave their feathered fronds
Through which you glimpse the long line of the sea
And hear its healing voice.
Tentative steps begin to break your bonds,
You push on through the pain that sets you free,
Towards the day when broken bones rejoice.
ARCHDIOCESE OF LIVERPOOL – SUPPORT FOR UKRAINE
As an act of solidarity, Archbishop Malcolm is wearing a pectoral cross given to him by Bishop Hryhoriy (Gregory) Komar, the auxiliary bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy (diocese) of Sambir-Drohobych in the Lviv region of western Ukraine. The diocese has 220 parishes, with 285 priests serving 400,000 members of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Ordained a priest 20 years ago in Lviv and a graduate of the Jesuit-run Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, Bishop Komar was consecrated in 2014 at the young age of 38 by Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv, the head of the worldwide Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
Another PRAYER FOR UKRAINE has been sent to us by Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski, Eparchial Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family of London – To read and/or download the prayer CLICK HERE
Archbishop Malcolm has approved the launch of an Archdiocesan urgent appeal in support of Ukraine. A text message function has been set up allowing people to donate to the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family of London. The Ukrainian Archbishop in the UK maintains direct contact with the people of Ukraine. All donations will be used to support those suffering in Ukraine. The text numbers are:
Text HELPUKRAINE to 70085 to donate £2
Text HELPUKRAINE to 70450 to donate £3
Text HELPUKRAINE to 70460 to donate £5
Text HELPUKRAINE to 70470 to donate £10
TO DOWNLOAD OR READ A SEPARATE DOCUMENT WITH TEXT NUMBERS CLICK HERE
If you have difficulty with your mobile, cheques payable to The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool can be sent directly to: Liverpool Archdiocesan Office, Croxteth Drive, Liverpool L17 1AA.
In addition to financial support, collections of essential items are being organised across the Archdiocese.
Updated information will be available as the situation develops on the Archdiocesan website: CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS
A message from Fr Taras Khomych, a Ukrainian priest ministering within our Archdiocese:
‘If you know people who are not sure how best to express their support for Ukraine, the Ukrainian Institute in London has posted a list of suggested actions. CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS
An appeal from Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav
to the Sons and Daughters of the Ukrainian People in Ukraine and Abroad, and to all People of Good Will:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The recognition by the president of the Russian Federation of the “independence and sovereignty” of the self-proclaimed LNR and DNR creates serious challenges and threats for the entire international community and for international law, on the basis of which today people and their nations exist and cooperate. Irreparable damage has been done to the very logic of international relations, which are called to safeguard peace and the just order of societies, the supremacy of law, the accountability of state powers, the defence of the human being, human life and natural rights. Today all of humanity has been placed in danger—that the powerful have a right to impose themselves on whomever they wish, with no regard for the rule of law.
In its decision the government of the Russian Federation unilaterally withdrew from a lengthy peace process, tasked with ensuring the restoration of dignified conditions for life on the territories controlled by Russia in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, for those impacted by Russian military aggression. The war, initiated against our people in 2014, has inflicted deep wounds on many of our fellow citizens: thousands killed, wounded, left in solitude. Yesterday’s step taken by the president of the Russian Federation destroyed foundational principles for a long-term process of restoring peace in Ukraine, created the path for a new wave of military aggression against our state, opened the doors for a full-scale military operation against the Ukrainian people.
We consider the defence of our native land, our historical memory and our hope, our God-given right to exist to be the personal responsibility and sacred duty of the citizens of Ukraine. The defence of our Fatherland is our natural right and civic duty. We are strong when we are together. Now has come the time to unite our efforts in order to defend the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Ukrainian state. The duty and responsibility of all of humanity—to actively work to avert war and protect a just peace.
We are convinced that the world cannot develop and find answers for the challenges of today by resorting to might and violence, by showing disdain for shared human values and the truth of the Gospel. I call upon all people of good will to not ignore the suffering of the Ukrainian people, brought on by Russian military aggression. We are a people who love peace. And precisely for that reason we are ready to defend it and fight for it.
Today we call out in prayer to the Almighty Creator, with a special appeal for wisdom for those entrusted with making important decisions for society, in whose hands lies the fate of humanity. We ask the Heavenly Father for assistance in restoring a just peace on Ukrainian land. We pray especially for those who defend Ukraine, who in these days are for us an example of loving sacrifice and dedicated service to their people. May the merciful Lord protect them from every danger and crown their efforts with the victory of truth and good.
We call for the gracious blessing of a loving God and Creator upon Ukraine and its people!
The blessing of the Lord be upon you.
+Sviatoslav, Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Kyiv, Ukraine
• We will be including the Novena prayer to Mary Untier of Knots at each Mass for the people of Ukraine.
TO DOWNLOAD OR READ SPECIAL PRAYERS FOR UKRAINE CLICK HERE
Prayer For Racial Justice
Mighty, and everlasting God. As your people come into your presence,
We are thankful for your graciousness, your mercy, and your love.
We continue to remember all those adversely affected by the COVID pandemic;
We pray that your Holy Spirit will be present with them,
To comfort and to heal; to sustain and be reconciled, one with another.
We remember all those who are hurting, disadvantaged and impacted by racial prejudice.
We also remember all those who have suffered at the hands of injustice.
May your Holy Spirit be present with them, to comfort and to heal;
To bring justice and reconciliation, one with another.
Faithful God, we commit this service into your hands.
We pray for every participant and every listener, that you will empower them with your strength;
That they might be courageous to say and do what is right and just,
And that your good and glorious, magnificent, and righteous name might be praised,
We pray in the name of your selfless Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
7 Oct 1931 – 26 Dec 2021
The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion has said Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has died at the age of 90, was a “prophetic voice in the church and the world.”
Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has said: “The death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a huge loss to the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and to the whole of the Anglican Communion.”
Archbishop Tutu was a driving force behind the movement to end the policy of racial segregation and discrimination enforced by the white minority government against the black majority in South Africa from 1948 until 1991. He was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1984.
Archbishop Josiah said Desmond Tutu had been “a prophetic voice in the church and in the world”.
“When he spoke, people listened. He was a lively and engaging contributor to the Anglican Communion and its constituent bodies, and used his gifts to greatly enrich the Communion. His commitment to justice and peace, and particularly to racial justice and reconciliation, was and continues to be an example to us all.
“He was a great Disciple of Christ: as a priest and bishop he was a committed pastor and preacher. He will continue to inspire generations to come. We commend him into the arms of his Creator, and Saviour, and join with the whole Communion in praying for his family at this time.”
The current Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, said: “While we mourn his passing, as Christians and people of faith we must also celebrate the life of a deeply spiritual person whose alpha and omega – his starting point and his ending point – was his relationship with our Creator. He took God, God’s purpose and God’s creation deadly seriously. Prayer, the Scriptures and his ministry to the people God entrusted to his care were at the heart of his life.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a prophet and a priest, a man of words and action – one who embodied the hope and joy that were the foundations of his life. Even in our profound sorrow we give thanks for a life so well lived. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”
In January this year, Pope Francis instituted a Church-wide celebration of a World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.
This special day took place this Sunday 25 July,
close to the liturgical memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus.
The chosen theme is “I am with you always”.
You can read and/or download Pope Francis’ message for the first ever World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly
BY CLICKING HERE
PRAYER FOR THE FIRST WORLD DAY FOR GRANDPARENTS AND THE ELDERLY
I thank You, Lord, for the comfort of Your presence: even in times of loneliness,
You are my hope and my confidence; You have been my rock and my fortress since my youth!
I thank You for having given me a family and for having blessed me with a long life.
I thank You for moments of joy and difficulty,
for the dreams that have already come true in my life and for those that are still ahead of me.
I thank You for this time of renewed fruitfulness to which You call me.
Increase, O Lord, my faith, make me a channel of your peace,
teach me to embrace those who suffer more than me,
to never stop dreaming and to tell of your wonders to new generations.
Protect and guide Pope Francis and the Church,
that the light of the Gospel might reach the ends of the earth.
Send Your Spirit, O Lord, to renew the world,
that the storm of the pandemic might be calmed,
the poor consoled and wars ended.
Sustain me in weakness and help me to live life to the full
in each moment that You give me, in the certainty that you are with me every day,
even until the end of the age.