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Thoughts on Pope Francis and the upcoming visit to Ireland

As we prepare to welcome pope Francis I reflect on what will be the fruits of his visit?. Millions will both see and hear him speak a message that I am sure will both comfort inspire and challenge. How will the church and by church I mean all Catholics respond.

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The more I reflect the more certain I become that nothing less that a profound conversion is called for. We must return with fresh ears to the message and mission of Jesus Christ. To be servant of all and least of all. Human nature even for a Christian desires power position respectability but read can have no place in our church. How we arrive at this place I don’t know.

I am a conservative at heart but I believe Francis has been chosen to lead by word and example to a new place where many of our certainties are challenged our position on the margins and our hope and faith tested, I pray for women and men lay and religious young and old gay and straight who will show us the way. To finish I have hope and excitement for the journey God is leading on.

Fr. Pierre Pepper

Prayer for the Unborn

Thank You Father for the little baby that is about to be born. Lord we pray that you would protect this little infant that is being knit together in his mother’s womb and we pray Lord that You would undertake for a safe delivery at the right time.

Thank You that You know every intimate detail of this little life and we pray that by Your grace You would open the best path for this little one to take. May this baby grow up to know and love the Lord Jesus, which will make him wise unto salvation.. as did the young Timothy who was taught the holy Scriptures at the knee of his mother and grandmother.

We pray Your protection and grace for this little baby who is shortly to take his place in the world and ask that he may grow in wisdom and understanding – finding grace and favor with man and God.

Guard and protect both mother and child as the day for delivery draws ever closer and keep them from all the perils and dangers of this life – looking to Jesus in Whom is life and light and help and wholeness. We ask this in Jesus name,

Amen.

CONFIRMATION PRAYER

 Spirit of God, grant me: The gift of wisdom To see the world through your eyes,

The gift of counsel To make difficult decisions,

The gifts of knowledge and understanding

To use my mind to know you and to love you,

The gift of fortitude

To have the courage to live in the faith

Despite the difficulties and disappointments,

The gift of piety To be able to express my special love And commitment to you,

And the right kind of awesome fear

That makes me pause to wonder and revere God’s Love. Amen.

Happy Easter from St Rynaghs Church

Wishing you and your family a very happy Easter. May you be blessed with home filled with harmony, joy and love. Easter brings fun, Easter brings Happiness, Easter brings God’s endless blessings, Easter brings love and the freshness of spring.

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Easter Prayer

Resurrection Prayer

 

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Dear God,
Thank you that you make all things new. Thank you for the victory and power in your Name. Thank you that you hold the keys over death, that by your might, Jesus was raised from the grave, paving the way for us to have new life with you. Thank you that you had plan, that you made a way.

We confess our need for you…fresh…new…again. We ask that you renew our hearts, minds, and lives, for the days ahead. We pray for your refreshing over us.

Keep your words of truth planted firm within us, help us to keep focused on what is pure and right, give us the power to be obedient to your word. And when the enemy reminds us where we have been, hissing his lies and attacks our way, we trust that your voice speaks louder and stronger, reminding us we are safe with you and that your purposes and plans will not fail. We ask that you will be our defense and rear guard, keeping our way clear, removing the obstacles, and covering the pitfalls. Lord, lead us on your level ground.

Catholic faith an influence for New England Patriots’ assistant coaches

For a block of time each Saturday evening before a home game, several New England Patriots’ coaches break away from the task of finalizing game plans.
They attend Mass together along with other members of the Patriots’ staff. Monsignor Mike Foley, a priest from the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts, comes to celebrate the Mass for any players, coaches and staff who want to attend.
“He’s been a fantastic friend. I’ve really grown to appreciate his willingness to be there with us,” said Patriots’ special teams coach Joe Judge regarding Foley.
Defensive line coach Brendan Daly said it’s a time in their week he looks forward to.
“It definitely is something that I like to do before we go to the (stadium) on Sundays,” Daly told The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. “It’s something that allows me to focus, take some time, be at peace and get away from the game element of it. It’s also time where I kind of reflect on the other aspects of my life, if you will, in terms of family and faith and those things, which is something I think we all need to do more of.”
Wide receivers’ coach Chad O’Shea also sees it as part of finding that balance between the demands of coaching in the NFL, living the faith and having a family.
“It’s difficult, but if you do have faith and you have a great family that believes in the same things that I do and you do have strong faith, you’re able to do it,” O’Shea said. “It’s not easy at times, but at the end of the day, I think it’s important to be able to balance those.”
O’Shea, Daly, Judge and company had plenty to balance with the demands of Super Bowl week, leading up to the Feb. 4 game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The team had a schedule full of travel, extended media sessions, team meetings and practices. Though each of the three coaches have Super Bowl experience already with the defending champion Patriots, they did not see the preparation as automatic.

“Every year, as we always say, is different just like every day is different,” O’Shea said. “You’ve got to approach that that way. The challenges, regardless of what they are, are going to be there, and it’s our job as coaches to kind of provide some answers to those challenges and put our players in the best position possible.”

Last year’s win marked the fifth Super Bowl title for the Patriots. O’Shea, Judge and Daly have been part of the past two Patriots’ championship teams.

“I’m blessed to be a part of this organization and just appreciative and grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to work with such great people and great players,” O’Shea said.

Before the coaches’ time, the Patriots won their first two Super Bowls on game-winning kicks. None of the past five Patriots’ Super Bowl appearances has come down to a special teams play like that, but Judge wants the special teams units ready for such high-pressure situations.

“My job is make sure the players are as prepared as they can be going into the end of the game, make sure they’re alert for whatever situation that may come up and know how to handle it and to make sure we practice executing all of our techniques, so they have a chance to execute them under high pressure,” Judge said.

He enjoys the role where he has contact with every player on the team as each one has a special teams role.

“It’s great because you get to know every player, you get to know how to coach every different player,” said Judge. “They all have their own individual personalities, and they have their different learning styles. It allows you to build relationships with the entire locker room and allows you to really have influence in the entire locker room.”

Faith helps Daly recognize the difference between what he can control and what he can’t whether on or off the field. That has included the Patriots facing injuries on defense this season and having other players step up.

“A couple of things that I lean on is handling the mental grind and also focusing on the things that you can control and leaving the things that are out of your control to whoever it is that can control it,” Daly said. “Having the faith and the trust that those things will work themselves out however it is that they’re meant to be.”

Judge indicated that Saturday night Mass together can really be an off-field highlight for the members of an NFL team.
“Any time you get to go to Mass or a church service with people you respect and are close with, that’s really special,” Judge said.
Davis is on the staff of The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

St Bridget’s Day – February 1st

St.Brigid, also known as “Mary of the Gael”, is an abbess and patroness of Ireland. She is furthermore the founder of the first Irish monastery in County Kildare, Ireland. Born in Dundalk in 450 AD, St Brigid is accredited with first creating the unique cross which bears her name. This cross is normally hand created from rushes however occasionally straw is also used.

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The St Bridget’s Cross among the Spring Flowers at St Rynagh’s Church 2018

The distinctive St. Brigid’s Cross design, made from woven rushes, is thought to keep evil, fire and hunger from the homes in which it is displayed, however the tale of its creation is somewhat confused, and there is not one definitive version.
The tale as we know it is as follows….
There was an old pagan Chieftain who lay delirious on his deathbed in Kildare (some believe this was her father) and his servants summoned Brigid to his beside in the hope that the saintly woman may calm his restless spirit. Brigid is said to have sat by his bed, consoling and calming him and it is here that she picked up the rushes from the floor and began weaving them into the distinctive cross pattern. Whilst she weaved, she explained the meaning of the cross to the sick Chieftain and it is thought her calming words brought peace to his soul. He was so enamoured by her words that the old Chieftain requested he be baptized as a Christian just before his passing.
Since that day, and for the centuries that followed, it has been customary on the eve of her Feast Day (1st February) for the Irish people to fashion a St. Brigid’s Cross of straw or rushes and place it inside the house over the door.
This rush cross, which became St. Brigid’s emblem, has been used in Irish designs throughout history

Prayer for a troubled World

Lord Jesus,
in the confusion
and loneliness
of this world,
You do not cease
to gather together
with Your Word,
a holy people
from every land,
city, and nation,
so that in charity
they may offer worship
that is pleasing to you.
Keep the flock that
you have gathered,
preserve us in your love,
now and forever.
Amen.

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God is gently journeying with us in all our hopes, dreams and plans

‘We will open the book, it’s pages blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. This book is called opportunity and it’s first chapter is the first week of the New Year’ – Edith Pierce

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The start of the New Year is always greeted with enthusiasm. There is a sense of beginning a new journey, leaving old and worn roads behind us, making positive changes in our lives and looking forward in hope.
We won’t be able to change the world, we won’t be able to do a complete changeover, but we can be open to trying some small positive changes in our lives. Every day presents new opportunities but especially the beginning of a New Year, We welcome these opportunities and for us to know that God is gently journeying with us in all our hopes, dreams and plans for the year ahead.

Jesus is born but have we found Him yet? – A Christmas Reflection

Jesus is born but have we found Him yet?

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Fr. Pierre Pepper celebrating Christmas Day Mass in St Rynaghs Church, Banagher

Once again we are in the season of Advent indicating that Christmas is just around the corner. Many of us may remember the once popular hymn during this season, “Oh Come Divine Messiah” whose lyrics go like this:

Oh come divine Messiah
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing of triumph
And sadness flees away

Yes, those days life was very simple as we waited in silence with full of hope that soon good will soon triumph over evil thereby ridding our lives of sadness.

Those words were so meaningful and bring back pleasant memories of Christmas of the yesteryears.

Christmas is a commemoration of God’s coming into the world. He came for all of us – believers and non-believers alike. His birth should bring us hope and triumph which will dispel the sadness from our lives. But after years of celebrating Christmas after Christmas many of us are yet to see that triumph in our lives and our hopes may be giving way to despair. Has the Messiah really come?If He has where is He?Why doesn’t He bring the triumph that dispels the saddness of man?

The real problem today is that we are waiting for God to literally come to us. We celebrate His birth just like that of any one of us – offering prayers, eating, drinking and making merry. We celebrate his coming into the world but we do not welcome Him into our hearts and lives.

Yes, He has come into the world and is very much in our midst but unfortunately we refuse to recognize Him therefore fail to welcome Him.

By being born to poor parents, in an environment of extreme poverty, Jesus is telling us where He dwells – not in places of majesty and glamor but among the poor and the down-trodden, the sick and dying, the hungry, the oppressed and in those we love and even in those we hate. In short He is among the masses.

Amidst our celebrations this Christmas, let us pause a while to look around us to recognize that Jesus who was born into the world two thousand years ago. He is among us in every person and in every trial and tribulation we encounter in our lives. Let us take a moment to look around to recognize Him in those who do not have joy and peace in their lives.

Let us do the little within our means to alleviate the pain and misery in their lives. Let us do whatever we can to give them the hope that triumph will one day wipe out the sadness in the hearts.

We too, like Jesus, must have the humility to come down from our positions of comfort and power to meet Him in the people around us. If we isolate ourselves from the masses by building a fortress around us with all our wealth and power together with greed, selfishness and pride, then we can keep waiting for Jesus all our lives but it will only be in vain.

To us then His birth into this world, that is Christmas, will be just another day to celebrate, eat, drink and make merry. It will never become the day when hope shall sing of triumph and sadness flees away.

By Dr. Chris Anthony 
Butterworth, Malaysia