Thursday, April 3, 2014


The Catholic Collegiate Chapel of St. Finn Barr, erected through the generosity of Isabella Honan, for the scholars and students of Munster was opened in 1916.  The first photo is of the sanctuary in 1916 and it's taken from Sir John O'Connell's The Honan Hostel Chapel, Cork (1916).  The second photo was taken by myself and shows the sanctuary as it is today.  

There is no tabernacle!  It had not yet been installed, nor had all the stained glass windows either - given the amount of light coming from the North side (right).  That would mean this was taken before Harry Clarke's windows were installed.  There are no candle sticks, no sanctuary lamp nor a crucifix either.  The altar railings were removed after Vatican II.

The only additions to the present sanctuary are the ambo (in bronze) and the altar (in wood) by Imogen Stuart.  There is also an Eastern Rite painted crucifixion (on wood) a gift from the Romanian Orthodox community that uses the Honan a few times a year.

Friday, March 21, 2014


Below are two posters for anyone to print off and use either for their own inspiration or to promote Lent in their family, work, parish etc.  They were made with Microsoft Publisher.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


© Photo: Voice of Russia
This is news worth paying attention to:

A council of the heads of all 15 local Orthodox churches will be held in 2016, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill said. "We believe that all issues relating to the preparation of documents and the solution of all procedural, administrative and technical issues will have been resolved in the world by 2016," the patriarch told reporters on Sunday in Istanbul, where he took part in a meeting between the heads and representatives of Orthodox churches devoted to the preparations for the Council.

Patriarch Kirill said all decisions at the Council will be made by a consensus (unanimous voting), not a majority of votes.
Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Hilarion, the head of the synodal department of external church relations, for his part, recalled that the preparations for the Council have been conducted for more than 500 years and the last such council was held in the 8th century.

You can read more here.


The Internet has no lack of advice for Lent.  My own ha'penny's worth?  Keep it simple - whatever you do do it for the love of Christ.  Whatever you give up replace with something better.  If you spend less time on the net or watching TV then spend that time with family or private prayer.  Take up some spiritual reading, the Gospels above all.  If you give up some favourite treat spend the money you save on the poor.  Replace your vices with virtues and do all for love of Christ. 

If you fall go to Confession.  Make it regular part of your spiritual discipline.  Try to find a wise and orthodox priest to confess to and try to go regularly.  Persevere in these simple things and leave the rest to God.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


A few weeks back we were approached here in Cork to facilitate part of Mr. Michael Voris' visit to Ireland. Having discussed the 'ins and outs' we quickly agreed to help but instead, with the agreement of the Capuchin guardian, to host Mr. Voris' talk in the Holy Trinity.  Anyway if you are in Cork on Saturday evening do call in to the Holy Trinity at 7.00 to listen.

Also coming up is the Honan Catholic Society retreat in Ennismore with Fr, John Harris O.P.  that promises to be a worthwhile event and it will help deepen and strengthen the foundations of our new society.  The theme will be 'Living the Catholic faith as a Young Person in Ireland today'.  Each Wednesday we are having a catechetical talk on the Sacraments in Hillside, the Honan owned building on O'Donovan's road across from the Honan.  We usually start at 6.00 pm and have a meal and socializing afterwards.  We had to cancel the talk this week because of the bad weather.  Speaking of which I looked out a window in Holy Trinity and the quay walls were under water!

Ministry here is different to that in the school.  It takes time to establish oneself anywhere but at least there is the Sacramental work and the catechetical talks to look forward too.  While I was assured that offering Mass in the Honan would  be an experience (what experience could make up for leaving Dublin?) I have to say it is a beautiful place to pray both liturgically and privately.  Having adoration there on a Wednesday afternoon and Mass every weekday is a blessing.  There are times though when I drift off into plans to finish it off with Byzantine-style mosaics or even to paint some icons for it - all those blank spaces on the walls and ceiling are just crying out for appropriate art work.  All I need is the cash.

The 'crack' in the chaplaincy is good too.  There is a welcoming atmosphere in the chaplaincy that we both want to preserve but also to promote and share.  the problem is always how to get the message out that we provide a safe, welcoming, faith-friendly place for students and staff and run events that provide an alternative to the alcohol fueled madness available elsewhere.  Tea and coffee are free!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Well it is for four months - all that UCC can grant me at the moment while the Chaplaincy is reviewed or whatever they're doing.  Still it is four months and hopefully they will see sense and extend that to a proper contract.

It's different from second level anyway!  I am working alongside a Dominican Fr. David Barrins and we get on well even though we are probably opposites in nearly everything except our love for the Catholic faith - a bit like left hand and right.   So after so many years as the only priest in a school I am the other Catholic priest in a University.  Between us we are continuing a tradition of inter-order co-operation going back to our roots in the Middle Ages.  This was re-established by my fellow Capuchin Br. Richard Hendrick and Fr. David in the previous chaplaincy team.

Work wise there are many differences from second level. There are no bells and I have no classes to teach but there are more meetings and more conversations, debates and even arguments.  There are more evening events and I get to pray and offer Mass in the Honan Chapel (whose new website will soon be up and very nice it is too).  The students are generally a little older than the eldest students I used to work with and often represent the brightest of their age group - after all they are at university. It's great to be involved not just with young adults but young adults who love the faith and want to live and understand it even if I am regularly unintentionally reminded that I am getting older!

Hopefully, with the grace of God, whatever days of ministry here in UCC are granted to me will bear fruit in the long run.  Everything is in the hand of God and all will be well.


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