Tuesday, August 24, 2010


The funeral took place last week in Holy Trinity, our principal church in Cork, of Br Donal O'Mahony OFM Cap. He was a native of Blackrock, Cork, who joined the Capuchin order in 1958 and was best known as the founder of Threshold, the national housing organisation, that came about following his appointment as chaplain to flat-dwellers in Dublin.  He also worked in Northern Ireland during the 1980s, engaging with paramilitaries on both sides to promote and facilitate dialogue as an alternative to violence, most importantly in the Herema kidnapping case. 

Most recently, Br. O'Mahony acted as International Director of the Damietta Peace Initiative whihc he founded to promote peace and a non-violent culture through the African continent. In 2008, his contribution peacemaking was marked with a Peace Award from the Interfaith Foundation South Africa.
Described as an "unsung hero", Br. O'Mahony was membered on the day of the funeral by contributors to Joe Duffy's RTE Liveline programme. Speaking on the programme, Br. Kevin Crowley OFMCap of the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin described Fr O'Mahony as "a real and true follower of Francis, who had concern for all those in need. In all ministries, he was loved". Speaking of Br. O'Mahony legacy, Aideen Hayden Chairperson of Thresh said: "Br. O'Mahony's vision of a more inclusive and just society, where everyone has a proper home still informs our work today."  The friars remember him as a gentle optimist and a man of deep and active faith.

After leaving doing the Leaving Cert at our school in Rochestown he studied journalism in UCC before going to work for the Irish Independent as a sports writer. On his way to attend the golf tournament in St. Andrews he met a friend, now Br. Sylvester O'Flynn, who was on his way to join the Capuchins and over a coffee they had a good chat. At St. Andrews Donal got into a debate with an atheist. Something was stirred in him. He came home and a month later he joined the Capuchins.

In his early years as a Capuchin he edited a number of periodicals in Ireland, all long now defunct. In America he made some wealthy and powerful friends but never ceased to be a humble and unassuming man, gentle and truely Franciscan.  Even over the last few years as he struggled with illness he remained a man of hope. As his health declined he wanted nothing more than to return to South Africa and continue his work for peace through dialogue. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I found this talk over at Gloria.tv. A good priest who speaks from the heart.


The History blog has this report:

19th c. Irish immigrant mass grave in Pennsylvania

August 16th, 2010
In the August of 1832, a group of 57 Irish immigrants started work on a section of the Philadelphia and Columbia railroad known as a cut 20 miles west of Philadelphia. A few weeks later, they were all dead, most probably from cholera. Philip Duffy, the man who hired the Irish workers, had the shanty they slept in burned to keep disease from spreading and the dead buried in the railroad fill. Their families were never notified.

Continue reading here.

I saw a documentary about this a few years ago. It's a reminder how tough things were in the past and still are for many in our world. May they rest in peace.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Fr. Finegan over at the Hermeuntic of Continuity has posted some beautiful pieces of chant and that led me to follow the link to the above. I have about three of Ensemlbe Organum's albums and they are well worth having. The obvious musical connections between the Church's East and West really emerges in these pieces. The one above is of the Kyrie from the Mass 'Orbis Factor' and the one below is of 'Pascha Nostra' a chant from the Church of Benevento, Italy. They were posted on Gloria.tv.

This is what our Church music could sound like. Our Masses could be beautiful and full of mystery. What stands in our way is our submission to erronious ideas about what Vatican II asked of us and what is appropriate to worship. We have allowed our altars and churches, our liturgies and spirituality to be stripped away from us on the promise of something better in their stead. Like the generations of the Iconoclasm in Byzantium and the Reformation in the 16th Century we find that the replacements empty and ugly, banal and not only unable to speak of God but unfit to speak to Him.


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