Bishop Brendan Leahy says papal visit to Limerick “would be magnificent”

Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland will inject new energy into the process of regenerating the Church, which will be beneficial for the faithful but will also prompt those who are disillusioned to look again and see it as the Church of mercy and caring that Pope Francis wants it to be.

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Enjoy the gift of togetherness, says President

When we light the Christmas tree in Áras an Uachtaráin, we remember the bereaved who are finding this Christmas difficult; we remember those on the edge, the marginalised in our society, our homeless people, and those who are worried about keeping a roof over their families’ heads.

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Social justice campaigner expresses delight that Limerick is freed from scourge of crime

There is a lot to celebrate – Fr Pat Hogan.

Singing priest to pay tribute to his hero at special Christmas carol service

Fr Ray Kelly, who shot to fame with a performance of his own version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’, spoke as his parish of Oldcastle prepares for its Concert of Carols.

Tipperary hurler urges people to support Trócaire this Christmas

Donations to the organisation’s Christmas appeal will fund development and humanitarian projects throughout the developing world.

Bishop of Dromore launches report on religious persecution

The report is “imbued with a love and concern for the entire human family” – Bishop John McAreavey.

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

John needed reassurance.


Faith has been described as “the loneliness of mystery” in poetry. Like John the Baptist, we need to be reassured in our faith in the person of Jesus.

We need reassurance when we struggle with faith issues. For example, St Thérèse of Lisieux was tortured with doubts against the faith for about fifteen months, and all she could say was, “I know that behind the dark clouds my sun is still shining.” If we have eyes to see, there are signs of the presence of Jesus in the lives of others and signs of faith: There is the painful suffering of a cancer patient; the brave acceptance of God’s will in bereavement; committed love when a marriage is in difficulty. There are also signs of the transcendent in literature, art, drama and music. We can see signs of God in the intricacies of a leaf, or the mottled wings of a butterfly, or the sun dancing on a placid lake. But we need reassurance, like John the Baptist.

Deirdre Powell

Source: by Fr. Martin Tierney (adapted).
Saint of the day

Dec 11 - Pope St Damasus (366-384) proponent of papal primacy

damasus3Damasus was a strong proponent of the papal primacy of Rome in sorting out controversies during the 4th century. He was also responsible for introducing Latin to replace Greek as the language of the liturgy at Rome, for building and restoring churches and for his care of the Roman catacombs. Patrick Duffy tells his story.

4th century controversies on doctrine and the papacy
Controversy had become quite common both with regard to the Arian heresy and with regard to the papacy itself by the time Damasus was named pope in 366. Having the emperors supporting the Church was not always an unmixed blessing, especially when they had their own opinions on doctrine and if there was a split in the imperial family.

Controversies during the pontificates of Julius (337-352) and Liberius (352-366)
Constantine died in 337. Of the two sons who succeeded him, Constans ruling in the West from Milan was an ardent Catholic, whereas Constantius in the East ruling from Constantinople was a declared Arian. A council was called in 343 at Sardica (modern Sofia in Bulgaria) to resolve the differences. Eighty bishops from each side attended, but when the Eastern delegation, who were mostly Arians, saw Athanasius, their great opponent from Alexandria, sitting with the Western bishops, they refused to take part and set up their own rival council, excommunicating Athanasius, Hosius of Cordoba, the leader of the Western delegation, who had presided also at Nicea and the pope himself, Pope Julius (337-352).

The Western delegation counteracted by restoring Athanasius to his bishopric at Alexandria, excommunicating his opponents and passing some canons saying that Rome had the final say in matters of dispute.

Saint Damasus domestic prayer: "turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons"

Interference in the papacy of the emperor Constantius
When Constans was killed in 350, Constantius became master of the whole empire and strengthened the Arians during the papacy of Pope Liberius (352-366). He actually exiled Liberius in 355 and installed his archdeacon Felix as pope. Although some of Roman clergy supported Felix, the Roman people rebelled. Constantius wanted both to function jointly. But in the end Felix withdrew.

Damasus as pope
When Damasus, a deacon first under both Liberius and then under Felix, was elected, his election was contested and he was confronted by a rival pope, Ursinus. A violent struggle followed in which Damasus won out with the help of the Roman police.

Danesus supports orthodoxy but snubs the East
Soon supporters of Nicea in the East, like Basil of Caesarea, wrote to Damasus asking for his support against Arianism, but the manner in which he replied to them, addressing them not as "brothers", as was the traditional formula, but as "sons", contained an unveiled claim to superiority that did not escape notice and was deeply resented.

Supported by the emperor Theodosius
However, when the Spanish general, Theodosius, a devout Catholic who hated Arianism, became co-emperor with Gratian in 379, Damasus's position was greatly strengthened. In February 380 Theodosius issued an edict requiring all the citizens of the empire to follow the Christian religion, "which Holy Peter delivered to the Romans... and as the Pontiff manifestly observes". In 381 Theodosius called the Council of Constantinople which confirmed Nicea, effectively ending Arian opposition, and formulating the Creed as it is now recited by most Christians at their Sunday liturgy.

The apostolic see
Damasus was the first pope to refer to Rome as "the apostolic see" and held a synod there in 382 to proclaim Rome's primacy, but he resented the growing strength of Constantinople which was already claiming to be the New Rome.

Latin bibleFriendship with St Jerome
St Jerome (342-420) attended this synod in Rome and subsequently became Damasus's secretary, advisor and friend. Damasus commissioned him to revise the Latin translations of the Bible. This work subsequently became known as the Vulgate.


CatacombsOther achievements
It was during Damasus's pontificate that Latin replaced Greek as the language of the Mass. Damasus was also notable for his work in discovering the tombs of martyrs, for which he wrote many verse inscriptions. He was also an active builder and restorer of major churches in Rome and took responsibility for restoring the Roman catacombs.
Today's Readings

- 11 Dec. 2013-

3rd Sunday of Advent - Gaudete Sunday

The joy of the kingdom is anticipated. The signs of the kingdom already come are given to the messengers of John the Baptist, and they are familiar with the prophecy of Isaiah. Patient waiting for the fulfilment is our Christian duty. There should be no complaining, no giving up or losing heart. Joy, prayer and thanksgiving should characterise the Christian community.

First Reading                       Isaiah 35:1-6. 10
God himself is coming to save you.

Let the wilderness and the dry-lands exult,
let the wasteland rejoice and bloom,
let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil,
let it rejoice and sing for joy.

The glory of Lebanon is bestowed on it,
the splendour of Carmel and Sharon;
they shall see the glory of the Lord,
the splendour of our God.

Strengthen all weary hands,
steady all trembling knees
and say to all faint hearts,
 'Courage! Do not be afraid.

God is coming'Look, your God is coming,
vengeance is coming,
the retribution of God;
he is coming to save you.'

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
the ears of the deaf unsealed,
then the lame shall leap like a deer
and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy;
for those Yahweh has ransomed shall return.

They will come to Zion shouting for joy,
everlasting joy on their faces;
joy and gladness will go with them
and sorrow and lament be ended.

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 145
Response:                        Come, Lord, and save us
or                                         Alleluia

1. It is the Lord who keeps faith for ever,
    who is just to those who are oppressed.
    It is he who gives bread to the hungry,
    the Lord, who sets prisoners free.          Response

2. It is the Lord who gives sight to the blind,
    who raises up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord, who protects the stranger
    and upholds the widow and orphan.      Response

3. It is the Lord who loves the just
    but thwarts the path of the wicked.
    The Lord will reign for ever,
    Zion's God, from age to age.                    Response


Second Reading          St James 5:7-10
Do not lose heart for the Lord’s coming will be soon.

waiting-the-harvest Now be patient, brothers, until the Lord's coming. Think of a farmer: how patiently he waits for the precious fruit of the ground until it has had the autumn rains and the spring rains! You too have to be patient; do not lose heart, because the Lord's coming will be soon. Do not make complaints against one another, brothers, so as not to be brought to judgement yourselves; the Judge is already to be seen waiting at the gates. For your example, brothers, in submitting with patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Gospel  Acclamation Is 61:1
Alleluia, alleluia!
The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me.
He has sent me to bring good news to the poor

GOSPEL                          Matthew 11:2-11
Are you the one who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?

John in JailJohn in his prison had heard what Christ was doing and he sent his disciples to ask him, 'Are you the one who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?' Jesus answered, 'Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind see again, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised to life and the Good and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me'.

As the messengers were leaving, Jesus began to talk to the people about John: 'What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man wearing fine clothes? Oh no, those who wear fine clothes are to be found in palaces. Then what did you go out for? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says: Look, I am going to send my messenger before you; he will prepare your way before you.

'I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is.’


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.

-11 - 12- 2016-


An Chéad Léacht:        Íseáia 35:1-6. 10
Is é Dia féin atá ag teacht do bhur slánú.

Déanadh an díthreabh agus tír an triomaigh lúcháir,
bíodh gairdeas ar an ngaineamhlach agus é faoi bhláth;
tagadh bláthanna air chomh tiubh leis an gcróch,
déanadh sé gairdeas le gártha agus le ceol.

Maise na Liobáine tugtar dó,
scéimh Chairmell agus Sheárón lena chois sin;
beidh maise an Tiarna le feiceáil acu seo
agus scéimh an Dé seo againne.

Déanaigí láidir na lámha atá faonlag
agus cuirigí téagar sna glúine atá ag lúbadh;
abraigí le lucht an chroí mhearaithe:
“Músclaígí bhur misneach; ná bíodh eagla oraibh.

God is comingBreathnaígí! Is é bhur nDia atá ann,
tá sé chugaibh leis an díoltas atá ag dul daoibh;
Dia atá ann ag agairt a chúitimh,
agus é ag teacht do bhur slánú.”

Déanfar a súile do na daill an uair sin
agus réiteofar cluasa na mbodhar;
beidh an bacach ag léimneach mar a bheadh fia ann
agus teanga an bhalbháin ag gabháil ceoil le lúcháir.
agus an dream atá saortha ag an Tiarna, leanfaidh siad abhaile é.

Tiocfaidh siad go Síón, ag liúireach le gairdeas,
agus aoibhneas síoraí ina choróin ar a gceann;
tiocfaidh áthas agus aoibhneas ag triall ina gcuideachta,
agus beidh casaoid agus crá bailithe leo ar shiúl.

Salm le Freagra           Sm 145
Freagra                           Tar, a Thiarna, dár slanú.
Malairt Freagra :        

I.  An té a sheasann lena bhriathar de shíor,
agus a dhéanann ceart don drong atá faoi chois,
is é a thugann bia don ocrach:
is é an Tiarna a scaoileann na braighdeanaigh.            Freagra

2. Osclaíonn sé súile na ndall,
tógann sé suas an dream atá crom.
Cumhdaíonn an Tiarna an coimhthfoch,
déanann tacaíocht don dílleachta is don bhaintreach.  Freagra

3. Tugann an Tiarna grá don fhíréan,
ach cuireann sé slí na bpeacach trí chéile.
Beidh an Tiarna i réim go brách,
ina Dhia, a Síón, ó ghlúin go glúin.                                   Freagra


An Dara Léacht               Séamus 5:7-10
Ná biodh drochmhisneach oraibh; is gearr go dtaga an Tiarna.

Bíodh foighne agaibh dá bhrí sin a bhráithre go dtí teacht an Tiarna. Féach an feirmeoir agus é ag feitheamh le fómhar luachmhar na hithreach, agus foighne aige leis nó go bhfaighe sé an fhearthainn luath agus dhéanach. Bíodh foighne agaibhse chomh maith. Bíodh misneach agaibh in bhur gcroí mar tá teacht an Tiarna lámh linn. Ná déanaigí casaoid ar a chéile ionas nach dtabharfar breith oraibh; féach, tá an breitheamh cheana féin i mbéal an dorais. A bhráithre, bíodh na fáithe a labhair in ainm an Tiarna mar shampla agaibh den fhulaingt agus den fhoighne.


Alleluia vérsa                  Lc 4: 18
Alleluia, alleluia!
Tá Spiorad an Tiarna orm.
Chuir sé uaidh mé
ag tabhairt an dea-scéil do na bochta.

An Soiscéal :                Matha 11:2-11
An tü an té atá le teacht no an ceart damn bheith ag súil le duine eile?
John in Jail
San am sin chuala Eoin, agus é i bpríosún, iomrá faoi oibreacha Chríost, agus chuir sé scéala chuige trína dheisceabail féin, á rá leis: “An tú an té atá le teacht nó an ceart dúinn bheith ag súil le duine eile?”

Dúirt Íosa leo á bhfreagairt: “Imígí agus insígí d’Eoin a bhfuil á chloisteáil agus a fheiceáil agaibh: tá radharc ag daill, tá siúl ag bacaigh, glantar lobhair agus tá éisteacht ag bodhráin, éiríonn na mairbh agus fógraítear an dea-scéal do bhoicht. Is méanar don té nach ceap tuisle dó mise.”

Le linn dóibh seo bheith ag imeacht, thosaigh Íosa ag caint leis na sluaite faoi Eoin: “Cad a chuaigh sibh amach faoin bhfásach a fheiceáil? Giolcach á suaitheadh ag an ngaoth? Ach cad a chuaigh sibh amach a fheiceáil? Duine a bhí cóirithe go mín? Iad seo a mbíonn éadaí míne orthu, is i dtithe na ríthe atá siad. Ach cad a thug amach sibh? Chun fáidh a fheiceáil? Sea, deirim libh, agus duine ba mhó ná fáidh. Is é seo an té a bhfuil scríofa mar gheall air: ‘Féach, cuirim mo theachtaire romhat a réiteoidh do bhóthar faoi do chomhair.’ “Deirim libh go fírinneach, níor éirigh ar shliocht na mban duine ba mhó ná Eoin Baiste; ach an té is lú i ríocht na bhflaitheas, is mó é ná eisean.


© An Sagart
Sunday's Readings

 - 18-12-2016 -

4th Sunday of Advent

Our attention is now directed fully to the coming of Christ in the Christmas mystery. The Preface calls us to wonder at this great happening, to prepare for Christmas in prayer and praise. The psalm tells us to purify our hearts as preparation. Prayer and reconciliation should be features of these days.

First Reading                     Isaiah 7:10-14
The maiden is with child.

he Lord spoke to Ahaz and said, 'Ask Yahweh your God for a sign for yourself coming either from the depths of Sheol or from the heights above'. 'No,' Ahaz answered 'I will not put the Lord to the test.'  Then Isaiah said:

Listen now, House of David:
are you not satisfied with trying the patience of men
without trying the patience of my God, too?
The Lord himself, therefore,
will give you a sign.
It is this: the maiden is with child
and will soon give birth to a son
whom she will call 'Immanuel, '
a name which means “God is with us.”

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 23
Response                        Let the Lord enter! He is the king of glory.

1. The Lord's is the earth and its fullness,
     the world and all its peoples.
     It is he who set it on the seas;
    on the waters he made it firm.             Response

2. Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord?
    Who shall stand in his holy place?
    The man with clean hands and pure heart,
    who desires not worthless things.    Response

3. He shall receive blessings from the Lord
    and reward from the God who saves him.
    Such are the men who seek him,
    seek the face of the God of Jacob.    Response

Second Reading:          Romans 1:1-7
Jesus Christ, descendant of David, Son of God.

risen JesusF
rom Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus who has been called to be an apostle, and specially chosen to preach the Good News that God promised long ago through his prophets in the scriptures.

This news is about the Son of God who, according to the human nature he took was a descendant of David: it is about Jesus Christ our Lord who, in the order of the spirit, the spirit of holiness that was in him, was proclaimed Son of God in all his power through his resurrection from the dead.

Through him we received grace and our apostolic mission to preach the obedience of faith to all pagan nations in honour of his name. You are one of these nations, and by his call belong to Jesus Christ. To you all, then, who are God's beloved in Rome, called to be saints, may God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ send grace and peace.

Gospel  Acclamation    Mt 1:23
Alleluia, alleluia!
'The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son
and they will call him Emmanuel,
a name which means 'God-is-with-us'.

Gospel:                                 Matthew 1:18-24
Jesus is born of Mary who was betrothed to Joseph, son of David.

Joe and maryT
his is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.' Now all this took place to fulfil the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

'The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son
and they will call him 'Emmanuel,'
a name which means 'God-is-with-us'.

When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home.

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.

-22-12- 2016 -


An Chéad Léach:          Íseáia 7:10-14
Ta an óghbhean ag iompar.

Labhair an Tiarna le hÁchaz arís agus dúirt: “Iarr comhartha duit féin ar an Tiarna do Dhia, as duibheagáin Sheól aníos nó thuas in arda na spéartha.” D’fhreagair Áchaz: “Ní iarrfaidh, níl mé chun dúshlán an Tiarna a thabhairt.” Ansin dúirt sé:

“Éistigí mar sin, a theaghlach Dháiví,emmanuel-god-with-us
an é nach beag daoibh sárú ar dhaoine
go gcaithfidh sibh mo Dhia a shárú ina theannta sin?
Is é an Tiarna féin mar sin a thabharfaidh comhartha daoibh.
Seo, tá an ógbhean ag iompar
agus ar tí mac a shaolú,
agus tabharfaidh sí Ímeánuéil mar ainm air.
is é sin, “tá Dia-linn.

Salm le Freagra :       Sm 23
Freagra                         Tagadh an Tiarna isteach! Is e Rí na glóire é.

I.  Leis an Tiarna an chruinne agus a bhfuil inti:
an domhan go léir agus a maireann ann.
Is é féin a bhunaigh ar an aigéan é,
agus a dhaingnigh ar an bhfarraige íochtarach é.   Freagra

2. Cé a rachaidh suas ar chnoc an Tiarna?
Cé a bheidh ina sheasamh ar a láthair naofa?
An té a bhfuil lámha gan smál agus croí glan aige,
an té ar beag air nithe gan tairbhe.                            Freagra

3.  Beidh beannacht an Tiarna ar an té sin
agus luach saothair ó Dhia a shlánaitheoir.
A leithéid siúd a bhíonn á lorg,
a bhíonn ar thóir Dhia Iácób.                                     Freagra

risen Jesus

An Dara Léacht        Rómhánaigh 1:1-7
losa Críost, de shliocht Dháivi, Mac Dé.

Mise Pól, searbhónta Íosa Críost, a bhfuil glaoite air chun bheith ina aspal agus atá dealaithe amach chun dea-scéal Dé. An dea-scéal seo, a gheall Dia roimh ré trína chuid fáithe sna scríbhinní naofa, 3 is faoina Mhac féin é, ár dTiarna Íosa Críost. Rugadh eisean sa mhéid gur duine é de shliocht Dháiví: ach sa mhéid gur spiorad na naofachta é tá sé oirnithe i gcumhacht mar Mhac do Dhia ó aiséirí dó ó mhairbh. Is trídsean a fuair mise grásta an aspail chun géillsine an chreidimh a leathadh ar son a ainm i measc na náisiún uile. Orthusan chomh maith tá sibhse a bhfuil glaoite oraibh chun bheith ina sheilbh ag Íosa Críost. Chugaibhse go léir sa Róimh, más ea, a bhfuil grá ag Dia daoibh agus a bhfuil glaoite oraibh chun bheith in bhur bpobal naofa aige, guím grásta agus síocháin ó Dhia ár nAthair agus ón Tiarna Íosa Críost.

Alleluia                          Mth 1:23
Alleluia, alleluia!
Beidh an mhaighdean torrach agus béarfaidh si mac
agus bhéarfar Emmanúél mar ainm air
-ainm a chiallaionn 'tá-Dia-linn'.

An Soiscéal :          Matha 1:18-24
Seasfaidh flaitheas Dháivi go daingean i la’thair an Tiarna.

Joe and marySeo mar a tharla Íosa Críost a shaolú. Bhí Muire, a mháthair, luaite le Iósaef, agus sula ndearnadar aontíos, fuarthas torrach í ón Spiorad Naomh. dhuine cóir a fear céile Iósaef, ach níorbh áil leis go dtabharfaí míchlú di, agus chinn sé í a scaoileadh uaidh os íseal. Ag machnamh ar an méid sin dó, áfach, thaispeáin aingeal ón Tiarna é féin do I mbrionglóid agus dúirt: “A Iósaef, a mhic Dháiví, ná bíodh eagla ort do bhean chéile Muire a thabhairt abhaile leat, óir, an leanbh atá gafa aici, is ón Spiorad Naomh é. Béarfaidh sí mac, agus tabharfaidh tú Íosa mar ainm air, óir slánóidh sé a phobal óna bpeacaí.” Thit an méid sin go léir amach chun go gcomhlíonfaí a ndúirt an Tiarna tríd an bhfáidh:

“Beidh an mhaighdean torrach agus béarfaidh sí mac
agus tabharfar Imeánuéil mar ainm air”– ainm a chiallaíonn: Tá Dia linn.

Dhúisigh Iósaef agus d’éirigh, agus rinne mar d’ordaigh aingeal an Tiarna dó: a bhean a thabhairt abhaile leis. Ach ní raibh cuid aige di nó gur rug sí mac, agus thug sé Íosa mar ainm air.

© An Sagart