Archive for June 2018

Newsletter 24th June

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Call for lay volunteers to speak up about their faith

“As pilgrims and media from all over the world turn towards Dublin for the World Meeting of Families in August, we at Catholic Comment are preparing a team of media speakers to help throw light on the message of Christ and of the Church, before and during this momentous event.

Catholic Comment is looking for volunteers to speak about their faith in the national media during the World Meeting of Families 2018.

“As pilgrims and media from all over the world turn towards Dublin for the World Meeting of Families in August, we at Catholic Comment are preparing a team of media speakers to help throw light on the message of Christ and of the Church, before and during this momentous event,” stated the organisation.

Catholic Comment (CC) in Ireland is part of the Catholic Voices global movement, established in the UK in 2010 to offer a new way to communicate the faith – “a new apologetics for the 21st century”.

CC stated it is more important than ever after the referendum on abortion in Ireland to take note of St Paul’s words to Timothy: “preach the word: be urgent in season and out of season” (2 Tim 4:2).

“Now more than ever, we need to hear the voice of faith in the public square in Ireland, and that’s exactly what Catholic Comment (Catholic Voices Ireland) was set up to do,” they stated.

The organisation is looking for Catholics, aged 18 and over, with a genuine enthusiasm for and commitment to the Catholic faith in all its aspects. Volunteers should be willing to share the Catholic worldview in an open, confident and friendly way that values winning hearts over winning arguments.

Those interested will participate in Saturday training sessions, starting in early July, in Dublin. They should be available and willing to speak in the media, sometimes at short notice, in the weeks before and during World Meeting of Families 2018 (21 to 26 August). The deadline for applications for this panel of speakers is Friday 22 June.
As CC has limited capacity to train people, it may not be able to accept everyone who applies. CC is seeking a mix of speakers across age groups, geographical location, married and single, with a range of professional and life experience.“We don’t just engage with the media, we do so using a very particular approach,” said Petra Conroy, Project Coordinator, Catholic Voices Ireland (Catholic Comment). She explained that this approach helps speakers to “touch hearts and minds and throw the light on the ‘Good News’ of the Catholic faith”. So they do need training.

Volunteers are asked to pay some of the cost of training but those selected may also consider asking their parish, diocese or organisation to sponsor part or all of the cost. The training can be used in the future in many situations to present the faith positively and with confidence. CC also needs supporters to spread the word and to financially support the work.

“The most important support of all is your prayers. Please do keep this project, Pope Francis, World Meeting of Families, and our country, in your prayers in the months ahead,” stated Petra Conroy.

Newsletter 17th May

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Family Picnic at St Rynaghs Church Banagher

As part of the World Meeting of Families Celebrations, a family Picnic will take place in the Church Grounds straight after Mass on Sunday next 17th June.


We invite people to bake or make food which can be left on the tables outside the church on Sunday morning. There will be music and food on the day and all families are welcome to join in this community event


Newsletter 12th June

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Fr Pierre gives his blessing to Camogie Feile Team


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Give me o’Lord a hurlers skill
With strength of arm and speed of limb
Unerring eye for the flying ball
And courage to match them whatever befall
May my aim be steady – my stroke be true
My actions manly – my misses few
And no matter what way the game may go
May I part in friendship with every foe
When the final whistle for me is blown
And I stand at last at Gods Judgement Throne
May the great Referee when he calls my name
Say you hurled like a man, you played the game

Pope Francis: The Church is not just the bishops – it’s everyone

Pope Francis Wednesday said that the sacrament of Confirmation is a gift meant to be shared with other people, both inside and outside of the Church, which he stressed is not only the hierarchy, but is made up of all baptized faithful.

In his June 6 general audience speech, the pope said the sacrament of Confirmation unites candidates more closely to the Church, and gives them a stronger identity as “a living member of the mystical body of Christ.”

“The mission of the Church in the world proceeds through the contribution of those who are a part of it,” he said, noting in off-the-cuff comments that when it comes to how the Church is understood, “some think that there are only bishops, the bosses, and then there are the workers.”

“No, the Church is all of us, everyone, each person has their role in the Church, but we are all the Church,” he said, adding that “we must think of the Church as a living organism, composed of people who we know and with whom we walk, and not as an abstract and distant reality.”

“The Church is us who walk, us who are here in the square. It’s everyone,” he said.

Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly audience address, which is currently dedicated to a series of catechesis on the sacrament of Confirmation.

The gift of the Holy Spirit, he said, helps candidates mature in the faith and allows them to in turn become a gift for others.

“It is precisely the Holy Spirit who de-centers us from our ‘I’ in order to open ourselves to the ‘we’ of the Christian community, as well as to the society in which we live,” he said, adding that the soul is not a “warehouse,” and that as Christians, “we are not the center, we are an instrument to give to others.”

Confirmation is linked to the universal Church and actively involves candidates in the life of the local Churches where they come from, he said, and since the bishop is the head of the local Church, this is why he is the ordinary minister of the sacrament.

This incorporation of the candidate into the Church, he said, is signified by the sign of the peace which takes place at the end of the rite of Confirmation, when the bishop says “peace be with you.”

When a candidate receives this sign of peace from the bishop, it commits them to working for greater communion “inside and outside of the Church, with enthusiasm and without being paralyzed by resistance.”

“To receive peace means committing to work toward improving harmony in the parish, encouraging understanding with others, including, rather than discarding or marginalizing.” It also means being able to recognize and appreciate differences, because “the Holy Spirit is creative and not repetitive. His gifts arouse a symphony and not monotony!”

Pope Francis then challenged the crowd to think of their own parish community and how they act after giving and receiving the sign of peace during Mass.

While the sign of peace is symbolic of the harmony and charity that ought to guide members of the Church, the pope noted that many times when people leave Mass “we start to gossip. And gossip is war against others.”

“If we have received peace, we must give it to others,” he said, stressing that “gossip is not a work of the Holy Spirit…please don’t gossip.”

Francis closed his address reiterating that Confirmation is a gift meant not only for the recipient, but also for the spiritual good of others.

Only by “opening ourselves and going out of ourselves to encounter our brothers can we truly grow and not just fool ourselves,” he said, adding that when Catholics receive the Holy Spirit, “it must in fact be given so that it bears fruit and is not buried because of our selfish fears.”

Quoting his exhortation on holiness Gaudete et Exsultate, the pope said Catholics need to be prompted by the Holy Spirit, “lest we be paralyzed by fear and excessive caution, lest we grow used to keeping within safe bounds.”

“Let us remember that closed spaces grow musty and unhealthy,” he said, and urged Confirmation candidates not to “cage the Holy Spirit” by resisting his inspiration or suffocating “the burning fire of charity which consumes his life for God and for others.”

“May the Holy Spirit grant each of us the apostolic courage of communicating the Gospel, with words and works, to all those we meet on our path.”

Newsletter – 3rd June

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Widower to be ordained on Sunday for Killaloe diocese

“Church has always given me the beacon of light when I’ve needed it,” says Martin Shanahan.

A man who was widowed in 2011 will be ordained a priest for the Killaloe diocese this Sunday in the presence of his son, who will be playing the organ. Martin Shanahan will become the second married priest for the diocese when he is ordained in the parish church, St Mary’s, Mullagh at 3.00 p.m.

Born in 1948, Martin was one of a large family living near Quilty in West Clare. “I suppose back in the ’70s before I joined the ESB I was contemplating going down to the priesthood in St Patrick’s in Thurles,” he told CatholicIreland.

“At that time there were ten of us at home with our parents and when I came back from the college, I gave the forms to my mother.” When she saw what it was going to cost,  “she nearly passed out”. In his words, they shelved the issue and Martin got a permanent job in the ESB and met his future wife, Mary. “When we met our eyes seemed to talk for us,” he said. They were married in 1992, and had one son, Eoin. “He was our miracle. She lost six in her time. We were lucky to have one.”

For years Martin worked in the ESB and was always very involved in the Church. When he heard about the permanent diaconate, he discussed it with Mary. After 34 years with the ESB, he retired and took the unusual decision to begin studying philosophy and theology with the Dominicans in Tallaght, Dublin.

Meanwhile, his wife Mary became ill and was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had surgery and was in remission for three years when over Christmas 2010 she began to feel very tired again. Early in 2011, they brought her to the hospital to have her checked out.

“Everything was revealed to us that evening at 6.30 p.m.” An hour later, his beloved wife was dead. “For some reason, when we met, our eyes met and when we parted it was the same story. That was our goodbye,” he recalled.

After Mary’s death in 2011, Martin began to think once again about the diaconate. His bishop, Kieran O’Reilly, advised him to wait two years. At the end of that time, the vocations director for the diocese told him that he would be eligible for not just the diaconate but for priesthood.  After a period of discernment, Martin, as he likes to be called, chose priesthood.

He had been studying with the Dominicans from 2006. In 2014 he entered Maynooth. In 2016 he graduated in philosophy and theology from the Priory Institute. “They fast-tracked me out [at St Patrick’s] for the three years.” In October 2017 he came to Ennis for his pastoral experience, where he lives in the parish house adjoining the cathedral.

Meanwhile, his son Eoin, who will be playing the organ on Sunday, is studying for his Masters in Geography at NUI Maynooth. When his father broke the news to him some years ago that he was hoping to become a Catholic priest, it was “a bit of a shock”. Martin believes that his son worried about what the reaction of his aunts and uncles (Martin’s siblings) would be, but in the end “he was happy enough”.

The Rev. Mr Shanahan, whose health is “very good”,  is not phased at the thought of becoming a priest late in life and at such a difficult time for the Church in Ireland. “I think from my own experience that the Church has been very supportive of me. It has always given me the beacon of light in my life when I needed it. That’s how I found all the ingredients I needed for my life at the time in the Church,” he said.

He sees the love of God in the great second chance that is being given to him. “I’m over the  moon. With my wife, in 1991 when we were going out, I thought it was the greatest thing that ever happened me and now again, [with  priesthood] I didn’t think I’d get a second chance, but this is a great bonus to me.”

He hopes that as a married man, he’ll “have a bit of understanding of where people are coming from. I’d have compassion for them in some aspects and I’d be able to support them and live the experience.”

What he most looks forward to is “serving God and serving his people. I’ve always been a community person. I’ve worked in the diocese and worked at home in the parish with all the different committees.”

He will live wherever he is assigned as priest and says he has no idea what or if he will be paid – but he’s not worried about it.