Thursday, August 29, 2013


Over at the website of our General Curia in Rome one can download the latest edition of BICI an international internal Capuchin publication. On page three there is a report of an official visit by a number of Conventual Franciscans to Mount Athos with the blessing of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch. This was in response to an invitation from the Monastic Republic after two of its monks visited Assisi. The friars attended the Divine Liturgy, and engaged in discussions and meetings with the monks. The friars visited a number of monasteries and sketes (Monastic villages) in particular Simonospetros and Vatopediou as well as the capital Karyes. You can read the full story here.

Above are the friars with one of the monks. It brings back memories of my own visits back in 2005. Perhaps those days contributed in some way to this day?

I was taking the photo! I add here a few pics of Athos in celebration of these developments:

May these meetings flourish and the breach between East and West be healed. May our Holy Church breath again with both lungs!

Sunday, August 25, 2013


I keep promising to blog (even to myself) and then I find I don't! Tonight I start again. A lot has happened since I last put fingerS to keyboard. My Provincial and his council have decided I am of better use in Cork which is down at the bottom of Ireland. They hope I will be able to take on a post that is about to become available but I haven't got it yet so I can't say what it is. At the moment I am at something of a loose end, almost unpacked (but with quite a bit of stuff in storage in Dublin) and waiting for things to happen. This weekend I was acting as temporary chaplain to a local hospital which was interesting - school chaplains do not get to do many anointings. It will take a while to get used to the accent but at least when the Fota Liturgical conference comes around next Summer I will be nearby! It also means that I must abandon my twelve year ministry in Coolmine Community School, Blanchardstown. I will miss the staff and students. Still there is only so much one can do in a ministry before one goes stale and over the last year or two I felt that it was time to move on.

I am stationed now in Holy Trinity which is in Cork City centre and handy for almost everything. The house is old and feels like a 'real' friary. This brings its own adjustments. I've gone from a modern building where I was the first occupant of my (two) rooms to an old house that has many friars. Here there is no under floor heating but it has got atmosphere. Here the lights do not come on automatically if you walk down the corridor (for which I am thankful - I always found that annoying) but almost everything seems worn and old. Here there is need of a big injection of cash and energy to bring the house up to a standard that will serve the Province for the next fifty years. I guess there will be lots of things for us to discuss at our community meetings.Four of us are new to this house but myself and another friar came together from Raheny. So far it has proved to a community of genuine prayer and hospitality. If my job comes through though I will spend much of my time elsewhere.

One thing I failed to blog about was our visit to the new Benedictine foundaiton at Silverstream. I though know why I forgot to mention it. Perhaps I was embarassed and annoyed at myself for not taking more than one photo (my camera is on the blink anyway). Br.s Richard, Jeremy and myself took our free time out from the Chapter in Gormanstown to pop over and visit. Dom Mark and brother Benedict (if I remember correctly) gave us a warm welcome and kindly showed us around their home. Francis of Assisi would've rejoiced over their poverty and simplicity of their life. He would've said that here were monks who truely lived as the friars of his day. They have great plans though not only for their monastery but for their ministry. Apart from celebrating the Mass and Divine Office in the pre-1962 form in a devout and worthy way they hope to offer support and healing to priests struggling with various difficulties. I think Bishop Michael Smith of Meath has shown great wisdom and foresight in welcoming this foundation. With the help of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of Our Lady and the Saints great work may be done there for the healing and reform of the Irish Church. If you are passing by or are inspired to visit they are not far from the M1 - coming from Dublin you take the junction 7 turnoff for Gormanstown (Google Earth will tell you junction 6 but 7 is better). Once on the local road look out for the Huntman Inn where you turn right and just down the road turn right again to go past Gormanstown College and back over the M1 to Stamullen. On the far side of Stamullen you will come to crossroads where five roads/lanes meet where the main road splits but you will need to turn sharp right. Continue until you find a large stone wall and follow this to the end where the you will find the entrance gate to the Monastery. Dom Mark blogs here.


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