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Focus Ireland reveals number of women affected by homelessness doubles

Latest figures show women now account for 42 per cent of the number of adult homeless and this has increased from 34 per cent over the last two years alone.

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Accident survivor gives testimony of faith and hope

“I believe in the kingdom to come, and I’ll go on till the end of time,” Fergus McCormack tells congregations in Kildare.

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Honour McGuinness legacy by finishing his work

Former US President calls on people of Northern Ireland to finish the work of peace “so we can all have a future together”.

Derry’s ‘Captain Fantastic’ footballer laid to rest

“These crosses come to us unbidden and unwanted as occasions for deep and anguished faith,” priest tells congregation at funeral of Ryan McBride.

Pope’s Irish visit will be landmark moment says Minister Flanagan

Ireland and the Holy See have some different perspectives and at times will have “difficult conversations”, but will also have many fruitful conversations about shared values – Minister Flanagan.

Martin McGuinness remembered

The death of Martin McGuinness had “lifted the lid” on the past and revealed “how raw, how hurt, and how traumatised many people remain”. Archbishop Eamon Martin said that there is still a lot to be done in the peace process.

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

A deeper sense of love.

 

There can be a sudden luminous moment, a dazzling epiphany that God’s own self is really right here, right now, with us and we can experience a deeper sense of God’s love. This realisation of the presence of God can come in a scene of breath-taking beauty, a miraculous escape or when something precious to us that has previously been lost is found. In such radiant moments, it is as if we can hear the love of God being spoken to us. Although we long to be able to keep that intense awareness, we find that ordinary life goes on. However, it goes on with a new light for our darkness and a greater sense of the love that is with us on our journey.

Deirdre Powell

Catholicireland.net

 

Source: Living Faith, Daily Catholic Devotions (adapted).
Saint of the day

Mar 25 - St Dismas - the Good Thief

After listing the Annunciation for this day, The Roman Martyrology, in the second paragraph says: "At Jerusalem, the commemoration of the good thief who confessed Christ on the cross, and who deserved to hear from him these words: 'This day shalt thou be with me in paradise.' March 25th is the supposed date of the Crucifixion. Patrick Duffy writes what is known about St Dismas.

DismasThe Good Thief
The Christian tradition of Saint Dismas (or, more correctly, Dysmas) is based on the story of The Good Thief, as told in Luke 23:39-43. One of the criminals crucified with Jesus abused him saying: "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself, and us as well". But the other rebuked him, saying: "Have you no fear of god at all? You got the same sentence as he did, but in our case we deserved it. but this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said: "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom".  Jesus replied, "Indeed, I promise you, today you will be with me in Paradise".


dismas


Apocryphal gospels
The name is used in the narrative of this incident in the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus (10.2). The word may be derived from a Greek word dusme meaning "sunset" or "death". An Arabic Gospel of the Infancy further embellishes the story by identifying the Good Thief with Titus, one of a band of robbers who captured the Holy Family during the flight into Egypt, but later released them.

Dismas's prayer in the liturgy
The prayer of Dismas, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom" has a prominent place in the Orthodox Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, where it is repeated three times as part of the Prayer before Communion. It is occurs in a beautiful and popular Taizé chant, often used also as a recessional in Christian funerals.

Patron of prisoners and thieves
dismas 2 In the Middle Ages Dismas came to be regarded as the patron saint of prisoners and thieves. His feast day is given in the Roman Martyrology as 25th March is the supposed date of the crucifixion. In 1959 in the USA Fr Charles Dismas Clark SJ and attorney Morris Shenker founded Dismas House, a half-way house which offers ex-convicts a temporary home, counselling and help to find a job. Fr Clark's story was dramatised in the 1961 film The Hoodlum Priest. Today there are many Dismas Houses throughout the US.

Mar 25 - The Annunciation of the Lord

To accompany Bl Fra Angelico's painting entitled Annunciation, I have chosen a poem by Denise Levertov entitled Annunciation to evoke the richness of the feast in words.




[caption id="attachment_41974" align="aligncenter" width="269"]Fra Angelico's Annunciation                 Fra Angelico's Annunciation[/caption]

Denise Levertov (1923-97) was born in Ilford, Essex, England. Her mother was Welsh; her father was a Russian Hassidic Jew, who immigrated to England from Germany and after converting to Christianity, became an Anglican parson. Denise worked as a civilian nurse during the Blitz and in 1947 married an American writer Mitchell Goodman and from then on lived in the USA where her son Nikolai was born. She was influenced by the transcendentalism of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. She taught in the University of Washington and held a professorship at Stanford University in California. Resistance to the Vietnam war, to prejudice, to injustice and support for feminism were themes of her poetry. Her conversion to Christianity in 1984 was a big influence on her religious writing. She became a Roman Catholic in the last decade of her life. Annunciation, from the collection "A Door in the Hive" (1989), is inspired by a compelling line from the 6th century Akathisthos (sung while standing reverently - akathisthos literally means "not sitting down") Hymn of the Orthodox Liturgy in praise of the Theotokos (Mother of God).



Hail, space for the uncontained God!
(from the Akathistos Hymn, Greece, VIc)


We know the scene: the room, variously furnished,
almost always a lectern, a book; always
the tall lily.
Arrived on solemn grandeur of great wings,
the angelic ambassador, standing or hovering,
whom she acknowledges, a guest.


But we are told of meek obedience. No one mentions
courage.
The engendering Spirit
did not enter her without consent.
God waited.


She was free
to accept or to refuse, choice
integral to humanness.


Aren’t there annunciations
of one sort or another
in most lives?
Some unwillingly
undertake great destinies,
enact them in sullen pride,
uncomprehending.
More often
those moments
when roads of light and storm
open from darkness in a man or woman,
are turned away from
in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair
and with relief.
Ordinary lives continue.
God does not smite them.
But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.


She had been a child who played, ate, slept
like any other child – but unlike others,
wept only for pity, laughed
in joy not triumph.
Compassion and intelligence
fused in her, indivisible.


Called to a destiny more momentous
than any in all of Time,
she did not quail,
only asked
a simple, 'How can this be?'
and gravely, courteously,
took to heart the angel’s reply,
perceiving instantly
the astounding ministry she was offered:


to bear in her womb
Infinite weight and lightness; to carry
in hidden, finite inwardness,
nine months of Eternity; to contain
in slender vase of being,
the sum of power –
in narrow flesh,
the sum of light.
Then bring to birth,
push out into air, a Man-child
needing, like any other,
milk and love –


but who was God.


This was the minute no one speaks of,
when she could still refuse.


A breath unbreathed,
Spirit,
suspended,
waiting.


She did not cry, "I cannot, I am not worthy,"
nor "I have not the strength."
She did not submit with gritted teeth,
raging, coerced.
Bravest of all humans,
consent illumined her.
The room filled with its light,
the lily glowed in it,
and the iridescent wings.
Consent,
courage unparalleled,
opened her utterly.

Today's Readings

The Annunciation of the Lord


First Reading                     Isaiah 7:10-14. 8:10
The maiden is with child and will soon give birth to a son whom she will call Immanuel.

Once again the Lord spoke to Ahaz and said, 'Ask the Lord 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.'"

The Word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm :         Ps 39
Response :                          Here I am Lord! I come to do your will.

I. You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings,
but an open ear.
You do not ask for holocaust and victim.
Instead, here am I.                                     Response

2. In the scroll of the book it stands written
that I should do your will.
My God, I delight in your law
in the depth of my heart.                           Response

3. Your justice I have proclaimed
in the great assembly.
My lips I have not sealed;
you know it, O Lord.                                Response

4. I have not hidden your justice in my heart
but declared your faithful help.
I have not hidden your love and your truth
from the great assembly.                          Response

Second Reading                 Hebrews 10:4-10
I was commanded in the scroll of the book, 'God, here I am! I am coming to