Former hurler to be ordained to the priesthood

Four men to be ordained this weekend for the dioceses of Armagh, Cashel & Emly and Clogher.

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Boring long sermons? Tell the priest!

Homiletic directory gives guidelines for preaching but the most important thing is 'authenticity of preaching' says Director of Priory Institute, Fr John Littleton.

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Rally for Life will urge supporters: 'Abandon Amnesty'

“People are appalled at Amnesty’s stance, especially those who previously supported the organisation” - Niamh Ui Bhriain of the Rally for Life Committee.

Global sustainable lifestyle campaign launched

International alliance of 17 Catholic development organisations from Europe and North America launches three-year campaign: 'Change for the Planet - Care for the People.'

SpIRE - new Irish institute of spirituality announced

SpIRE has already negotiated to have an MA in Spiritualty on offer to students under the auspices of Waterford Institute of Technology by Autumn 2016.

Pope worried about impact of Greek debt crisis

Francis "conveys his closeness to the Greek people, with a special thought for the many families gravely beset by such a complex & keenly felt human and social crisis”.

Thought for today Saint of the day Today's Readings Sunday's Readings
Thought for today

Arrivals and Departures.

There is an exciting buzz that you can experience at an airport, particularly at the arrivals floor. There are the huge expectations of seeing Granny, Daddy or Great-Aunt Rose following an absence from the family. Or maybe you are looking forward to meeting an old friend whom you haven’t seen for a long time. Unfortunately, the opposite is often the case at the Departures floor, as people may be parting from each other for an extended period of time, and you often see people who are sad or crying because they will miss the people who have left
Interestingly, there are arrivals and departures at church too. There is a cohort of people who come to Mass faithfully every Sunday, which is great to see. But what about the departures? People have left the church in recent years and there are empty spaces in the pews. In some cases, there is a simple explanation – faith and church have stopped meaning anything to them. Some may feel anger that the church made them feel unworthy or unwanted, or others may have had questions that they feel were never answered. Still others may have been sickened by the stories of abuse and cover up.

We should try to reach out to those who have drifted or lost interest, those who felt unwelcome or rejected. A priest tells a story that he once told someone who had left one of the many groups in the parish that they were missed. “Not at all!” was the reply, “If so, why did you let us go?”

Deirdre Power
Saint of the day

Jul 3 - St Thomas (1) (1st century) apostle

tom"Doubting Thomas" has become a much-used phrase in many languages. It recalls the apostle's disbelief on hearing that Jesus was risen from the dead and his combative desire for proof. Well, he got it! Patrick Duffy explores some perspectives on this endearing apostle.

A literary "fall guy"
In John's gospel, Thomas (called the Twin) appears as a mildly combative character with a wry sense of humour. When Jesus explains that Lazarus is dead, and then goes on to say, "Let us go to him", Thomas exclaims, "Let us all go with the Teacher so that we may die with him!" (Jn 11:16).

'The place where I am going'
Again, during the discourse at the Last Supper, when Jesus says, "You know the way that leads to the place where I am going," Thomas objects, "Lord, we do not know where you are going; so how can we know the way to get there?" Jesus brings the discourse to a new level when he says: "I am the way, the truth and the light" (Jn 14:4-6). In each of these incidents Thomas is used by the evangelist as a literary "fall guy" who ironically brings about a fuller understanding of who Jesus really is.

Doubting TomDoubting Thomas
But St. Thomas is best known for this role in verifying the resurrection of his Master. His resistence to believing that the other apostles had seen their risen Lord on the first Easter Sunday merited for him the title of "doubting Thomas". Eight days later, on Christ's second apparition, Thomas was gently rebuked for his scepticism and furnished with the evidence he had demanded - seeing in Christ's hands the point of the nails and putting his fingers in the place of the nails and his hand into His side.

'My Lord and My God!'
At this, St. Thomas became convinced of the truth of the Resurrection and exclaimed: 'My Lord and My God,' thus making a public profession of faith in the divinity of Jesus. St. Thomas is also mentioned as being present at another resurrection appearance of Jesus - at Lake Tiberias when a miraculous catch of fish occurred. This is what we know about St. Thomas from the New Testament.

tom2Caravaggio's masterpiece
Caravaggio's masterly oil on canvas painting of the drama of the disbelief of St Thomas, painted in 1600, is in the Cerasi Chapel, Santa Maria del Popolo, in Rome (see image). This depiction of Thomas is physically quite shocking and the scene must have touched Caravaggio deeply. It pushes curiosity to its limits. Four heads unite in the quest for truth before Thomas can say, 'My Lord and my God.' Christ's head is largely in shadow, as He is the person who is the least knowable. He also has a serene beauty that is lacking in the frowning faces of the apostles. The shocking image of the finger exploring the depths of the lance wound is softened slightly by the guiding hand of Christ, which seems to push Thomas’ finger deep into the wound. It is the supreme proof that Jesus is God.

Thomas in indiaAssociation with India
Tradition holds that when the apostles scattered after Pentecost, Thomas went to evangelise the Parthians, Medes, and Persians (Eusebius) and that he ultimately reached India, bringing the faith to the Malabar coast, which still boasts a large native population calling themselves "Christians of St. Thomas." Marco Polo reported that both Christians and Saracens went on pilgrimage to his tomb and when the Portuguese first landed in India in 1498 they found established Christian communities there.

Three Apocrypha
Three apocryphal (that is non-canonical) gospels use the name of Thomas. The Acts of Thomas tell stories about his going to India and about his life there. The Gospel of Thomas has some saying of Jesus as well as miracles. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas tells of some miracles worked by Jesus as a child.

Thomas is patron of blind people, probably because of his own spiritual blindness. A story from the Acts of Thomas that he built a palace for a local king in India led to his being named patron of builders, of architects and quantity surveyors.

Jul 3 - The twin: St Thomas the Apostle (2)

Was he called "The Twin" because he had two sides to his personality - a bit like you and me? Fr John Murray PP gives us some insights into the personality of the one we also know as "the doubter".

It's hard to believe, sometimes. When the tsunami hit the shores of Asia on 26 December 2004, there were some who said, 'If God does exist, then he's cruel'. A mudslide in the Philippines, a ship sinking off the coast of Egypt, a tragic war in Darfur and endless suicide bombs in Iraq: the list goes on. Why do the good suffer and the bad seem to prosper? Does God care? And if he does care, is he powerless to do anything?

Those big questions are also mirrored in the personal tragedies of many people: the father and mother watching their little daughter die of leukaemia; the parents burying their teenage son who has taken his own life; the girl who went out with friends for the night and can't remember why she ended up in a field with her clothes torn.

Asking questions
Our questions can go on and on. Is there really an 'intelligent design' behind this vast universe? Is Jesus really present in that tiny host? Where is my grandmother who passed away a month ago? Everyone of us in life asks the question 'why?' many times, and sometimes we don't always have ready answers.

That is why I like Thomas, the saint who doubted and yet found Jesus at the end of his doubt. The gospels tell us that Thomas was called 'The Twin' and, since there is no record of a brother or sister, I like to think that this was a nickname given him by the other apostles when perhaps they were joking with each other.

Two sides to him
Just as James and John were nicknamed Boanerges or 'the Sons of Thunder' - probably after they had asked the Lord if they could call down fire on a village which had refused them entry and just as, later, Barnabas would be called 'The Encourager' (Acts 4:36), so Thomas was Didymus or 'The Twin', the one who, perhaps, had two sides to his personality a bit like you and me at times!

Thomas could be wild and extravagant and full of faith, as he was when he wanted to go and die with Jesus, as Jesus was setting off to help his friend, Lazarus. He was also the one who wondered where on earth they were going when Jesus spoke about his journey: 'Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?' His question evoked from the Lord this wonderful reply: 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life' (Jn.14:5-6).

Most of all, however, Thomas is associated with a certain episode after the resurrection, when Jesus returned to the Upper Room and Thomas was not there. One wonders at his absence. Why was he not there? Had he got cold feet? Was he out getting food for the others? Who knows?


[caption id="attachment_47907" align="alignright" width="277"]Jesus showing St Thomas his wounds ...Rembrandt Jesus showing St Thomas his wounds ...Rembrandt[/caption]

My Lord and My God
The impetuous disciple could not believe the others when they told him that Jesus had been with them: 'Unless I see the holes that the nails made... and can put my finger into the holes, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe' (In.20.25). Ever the pragmatic one, he demanded proof.

These things did Thomas hold for real: the warmth of blood, the chill of steel, the grain of wood, the heft of stone, the last frail twitch of blood and bone. When Jesus returned, he invited Thomas to experience for himself both passion and resurrection: 'Put your hands here... doubt no longer, but believe'. His fellow apostle wrote that Thomas could only gasp, 'My Lord and my God!' (Jn.20:27-28).
His brittle certainties denied,
That one could live when one had died,
Until his fingers read like Braille
The markings of the spear and nail.

Recognizing Christ
A writer once penned these words: 'I looked for God, and could not find him; I looked for my soul, and could not find it; I looked for my brother, and found all three'. Mother Teresa would find Christ in the 'distressing disguise of the poor'. 'During the day, we continue to see him hidden beneath the torn bodies of the poor,' she would say. Father Damien would find him in the lepers of Molokai, and they knew the Lord better the morning Damien began Mass by saying, 'We lepers'. It is in and with the suffering Christ that we often meet his risen presence.

Learning by doing
When Dominique Lapierre, the novelist and writer of the The City of God - made into a film later visited Calcutta, he entered the house where Mother Teresa was working. He approached her as she was feeding a man who was scarcely alive. He greeted her, but instead of stopping what she was doing, she gave him the bowl, and told him to continue feeding the poor man, as she moved to another person. Later, she returned to allow him to interview her. Lapierre later claimed that that one moment taught him to recognize the suffering and the risen Christ together.

Fishers of Men
There is one last reference to Thomas in the gospel of John. It is in one of the post-resurrection accounts. Jesus appears at the shore, and Thomas is with them. Now there is no doubt. He tells them to cast out into the lake: it is reminiscent of the earlier occasion when Peter is given his original mandate to become a 'fisher of men'. The result is the same in this case, too: a miraculous catch of fish. And the message is also the same: to become fishers of men. Thomas was to take up this challenge after the Lord had returned to the Father.


[caption id="attachment_47908" align="alignleft" width="404"]The Christians in south west India called Thomas Christians due to the missionary efforts of Saint Thomas. St. Thomas the Apostles Tomb Chennai Madras The Christians in south west India called Thomas Christians due to the missionary efforts of Saint Thomas. St. Thomas the Apostles Tomb Chennai Madras[/caption]

Association with India
Tradition says that, following the dispersal of the apostles after Pentecost, Thomas went to evangelize the Parthians and Persians. Ultimately, the story goes, he reached India, and carried the faith to the Malabar coast. There are still Christians there who trace their faith back to Thomas, one of the oldest Christian traditions in the history of the Church, four hundred years before Patrick came to Irish shores.

His death
Thomas would end his life speared to death for the Lord. Once, he had denied him and was full of doubts, but in his martyrdom he witnessed in the most glorious way a disciple could.
May we, O God, by grace believe
And, in believing, still receive
The Christ who held his raw palms out,
And beckoned Thomas from his doubt.
(Thomas Troeger)

This article first appeared in The Messenger (July 2006), a publication of the Irish Jesuits.
Today's Readings
ST THOMAS, APOSTLE Feast St Thomas is said to have preached the Gospel in India where he was martyred.
Scripture theme
The faith that led him to know Christ in his wounds also sent him to the farthest places to preach Christ.

[caption id="attachment_48300" align="alignright" width="235"]12 Apostlic Foundations 12 Apostlic Foundations[/caption]

FIRST READING:           Ephesians 2:19-22
You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations

So you are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God's household. You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ Jesus himself for its main cornerstone. As every structure is aligned on him, all grow into one holy temple in the Lord; and you too, in him, are being built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm:        Ps  116
Response                          Go out to the whole world;
proclaim the Good News.

1. O praise the Lord, all you nations,
acclaim him all you peoples!               Response

2. Strong is his love for us;
he is faithful for ever.                         Response

Gospel  Acclamation       Jn 20: 29

Alleluia, alleluia!
You believe, Thomas, because you can see me, says the Lord.
 Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.

Doubting TomGOSPEL:                       John 20:24-29
My Lord and my God!

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, 'We have seen the Lord', he answered, 'Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.'

Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. 'Peace be with you' he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.'Thomas replied, 'My Lord and my God!' Jesus said to them:
'You believe because you can see me.
Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.'

Taken from THE JERUSALEM BIBLE, published and copyright 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House Inc, and used by permission of the publishers.

12 Apostlic Foundations

AN CHÉAD LÉACHT:         Ephesians 2:19-22
Is foirgneamh sibh a bhfuil na haspail agus na fáithe ina mbunsraith faoi

A bhráithre, ní eachtrannaigh ná coimhthígh sibh a thuilleadh ach comhshaoránaigh leis na naoimh agus baill de líon tí Dé.

Is foirgneamh sibh a bhfuil na haspail agus na fáithe ina mbunsraith faoi agus Críost Íosa féin ina chloch chinn chúinne aige.

Is ann a nasctar an foirgneamh ar fad le céile agus éiríonn sé in airde ina theampall naofa sa Tiarna. Is ann chomh maith atá sibhse do bhur gcomhthógáil agus áit chónaithe Dé á dhéanamh díbh faoi luí an Spioraid.


Psalm le Freagra:             Sm 116  
Freagra                                 Imígí faoin domhan uile agus
fógraígí an soiscéal don chruthaíocht uile.

Molaigí an Tiarna, a chiníocha uile;
moladh na náisiúin go léir é.                                               Freagra

Óir is daingean é go deimhin, a bhuanghrá dúinn;
maireann a dhílseacht go brách.                                        Freagra

Alleluia Véarsa                   Eo 20: 29                       

 Alleluia, alleluia!
De bhrí go bhfaca tú mé, a Thomáis, chreid tú.
Is méanar dóibh seo nach bhfaca agus a chreid

AN SOISCÉAL                   Eoin 20:24-29
DOUBTING tHOMASMo Thiarna agus mo Dhia!

Tomás, duine den dáréag ar a dtugtaí an Leathchúpla, ní raibh sé leo nuair a tháinig Íosa. Dúirt na deisceabail eile leis: “Chonaiceamar an Tiarna.” Ach dúirt seisean leo: “Mura bhfeicfidh mé rian na dtairní ar a dhearnana, agus mo mhéar a chur i bpoll na dtairní, agus mo lámh ina chliathán, ní chreidfidh mé.” Ocht lá ina dhiaidh sin, bhí a dheisceabail istigh arís, agus Tomás in éineacht leo. Tháinig Íosa agus na doirse faoi ghlas, sheas sé ina measc agus dúirt: “Síocháin daoibh!” Ansin dúirt sé le Tomás: “Tabhair i leith do mhéar agus féach mo dhearnana, sín amach do lámh agus cuir i mo chliathán í, agus ná bí díchreidmheach ach creidmheach.”

D’fhreagair Tomás: “Mo Thiarna agus mo Dhia!” Dúirt Íosa leis:

“De bhrí go bhfaca tú mé, a Thomáis, chreid tú.
Is méanar dóibh seo nach bhfaca agus a chreid.”


© An Sagart
Sunday's Readings
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time St Anthony Zaccaria, priest, is not celebrated this year.
Scripture themes
Ezechiel’s mission is to people who have turned against God. They do not want to listen to what he says, but he reminds them that his words are the words of the Lord. Jesus is amazed at the lack of faith in those who would not accept him.

a new prophetFIRST READING                         Ezekiel 2:2-5
The sons are defiant and they shall know there is a prophet among them.'
The spirit came into me and made me stand up, and I heard the Lord speaking to me. He said, 'Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to the rebels who have turned against me. Till now they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me. The sons are defiant and obstinate; I am sending you to them, to say, "The Lord says this." Whether they listen or not, this set of rebels shall know there is a prophet among them.'

PSALM:         Ps 122
Response :                                     Our eyes are on the Lord
till he show us his mercy.

1. To you have I lifted up my eyes,
you who dwell in the heavens:
my eyes, like the eyes of slaves
on the hand of their lords.              Response

2. Like the eyes of a servant
on the hand of his mistress,
so our eyes are on the Lord
our God till he show us his mercy.  Response

3. Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
We are filled with contempt.
Indeed all too full is our soul
with the scorn of the rich,
with the proud man's disdain.          Response

plant in concreteSECOND READING                   2 Corinthians 12:7-1O
So I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me

In view of the extraordinary nature of these revelations, to stop me from getting too proud I was given a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan to beat me and stop me from getting too proud! About this thing, I have pleaded with the Lord three times for it to leave me, but he has said, 'My grace is enough for you: my power is at its best in weakness.' So I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me, and that is why I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ's sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.

Gospel  Acclamation                    Jn 12: 12. 14

Alleluia, alleluia!
The Word was made flesh and lived among us;
to all who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God.

or                                                 Lk 4:18                         

Alleluia, alleluia!
The Lord has sent me to bring the good news to the poor,
to proclaim liberty to captives.jesus sacrifice1

GOSPEL                                  Mark 6:1-6
A prophet is only despised- in his own country.

Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, 'Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?' And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is only despised- in his own country among his own relations and in his own house'; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Taken from THE JERUSALEM BIBLE, published and copyright 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House Inc, and used by permission of the publishers.
AN CHÉAD LÉACHT          Ezícéal 2:2-5
Is sotalach ceanndána an pobal fad; tabharfarle fios dóibh go raibh fáidh ma measc.
a new prophet
Tháinig an spiorad ionam agus chuir i mo sheasamh mé, agus chuala mé é ag caint liom. “A mhic an duine,” ar sé, “seolaim thú chuig muintir Iosrael, chuig [na ceannaircigh] a d’éirigh amach i m’aghaidh. Pheacaigh siadsan agus a n-aithreacha i m’aghaidh go dtí an lá inniu féin. Is sotalach ceanndána an pobal iad fosta; seolaim chucu thú agus déarfaidh tú leo: ‘Mar seo a labhraíonn an Tiarna Dia.’ Éistidís nó ná héistidís, tabharfar le fios don dream ceannairceach seo go raibh fáidh ina measc.


SALM LE FREAGRA.        Sm 122
Freagra :                               Faireann ár súile an Tiarna nó go ndéana sé trócaire.

1. Is chugatsa a thógaim mo shúile,
chugatsa a chónaíonn ar neamh,
mar shúile na ndaor ag faire
ar lámh a a dtiarnaí.                  Freagra

2. Mar shúile na mbanseirbhíseach ag faire
ar lámha a máistreása
faireann ár shúile an Tiarna ár nDia
nó go ndéana sé trócaire.          Freagra

3. Déan trócaire, a Thiarna, déan trócaire,
óir fuaireamar ár sáith den dímheas.
De dhímheas lucht díomais agus saibhris
is dóthanach ár nanam.            Freagra

AN DARA LÉACHT             2 Coirintigh 12:7-10
plant in concreteMaífidh mé go fonnmhar as mo laigí, ionas go lonnódh cumhacht Chríost orm.

bhráithre, sula gcuirfeadh na foilsithe iontacha sin an iomarca éirí in airde orm, cuireadh bior sa bheo ionam, teachtaire ó Shátan chun mé a ghreadadh ar shlí nach dtiocfadh aon éirí in airde orm. D’agair mé an Tiarna faoi thrí é a chur díom, ach is é a dúirt sé liom: “Is leor duit mo ghrásta, mar is tríd an laige a thagann an neart chun foirfeachta.” Is móide is fonn liom dá bhrí sin a bheith ag maíomh as mo laigí le hionchas go luífeadh cumhacht Chríost orm. Sin é fáth go bhfuilim sásta le mo laigí, leis na tarcaisní, na hangair, na géarleanúintí agus na cúngrachtaí a bhíonn le fulaingt agam ar son Chríost. Mar nuair a bhím lag, sin í an uair a bhím láidir.

Alleluia Véarsa                    Eo 1: 14. 12

Alleluia, alleluia!
Rinneadh feoil den Bhriathar
agus chónaigh sé inár measc,an uile dhuine a ghlac é,
thug sé de cheart dóibh
go ndéanfaí clann Dé díobh

jesus sacrifice1AN SOISCÉAL                       Marcas 6:1-6
Ní bhlonn fáidh faoi neamhchion ach amháin ina dhúiche féin.

San am sin tháinig Íosa ina dhúiche féin, agus lean a chuid deisceabal é. Agus ar an tsabóid thosaigh sé ag teagasc sa tsionagóg, agus ghabh iontas mórán dár chuala é; agus deiridís: “Cá bhfuair sé seo an méid sin? Agus cén eagna í seo a tugadh dó agus na míorúiltí móra seo a dhéantar trína lámha? Nach é seo an saor adhmaid, mac Mhuire agus bráthair Shéamais agus Iósaef agus Iúdáis agus Shíomóin? Agus nach bhfuil a shiúracha anseo inár measc?” Agus ghlac siad scannal ann. Ach dúirt Íosa leo: “Ní bhíonn fáidh faoi neamhchion ach amháin ina dhúiche féin agus i measc a ghaolta féin agus ina theaghlach féin.” Agus ní fhéadfadh sé míorúilt ar bith a dhéanamh ansiúd ach amháin a lámha a chur ar bheagán othar agus iad a leigheas, agus rinne sé ionadh dá ndíchreideamh.


© An Sagart