Mental health issues for migrant children in Greece

Many of these children have escaped war and conflict only to end up in camps many of them call ‘hell’, where they say they are made to feel more like animals than humans.

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Cholera in Somalia

Cholera cases are increasing every day, because conditions in the camps are unhygienic, there is poor water supply, and people arrive already weak from hunger.

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Archbishop of Westminster call for prayers

The Cardinal was among religious leaders from different traditions who gathered for a vigil on Friday for the victims of Wednesday’s attack in Westminster.

Irish missionary priest appeals over scandal of child brides

“It seems the male-dominated culture and religious mores are created by paedophiles to satisfy their sexual demands and desires. Such cultural and religious practices have to be outlawed and the laws implemented.”

Historic church on Rathlin Island reopened by Bishop Treanor

“Today Rathlin is part of a world and of a society which, for all the achievements of modernity, is now searching for, indeed sometimes screaming for, ultimate meaning, purpose and hope.”

National Collection for WMF2018 takes place on 1 and 2 April

“Obviously the World Meeting of Families is going to involve a huge expenditure and an enormous investment by the Irish Church but it is an investment in our future and not just an event over five or six days in August 2018.”

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

A Prayer.


All-powerful and ever present God,

whose gentle presence has enfolded me

since the moment you created me,

draw me more and more into loving awareness of you,

so that I may always find my strength in you.

Teach me to love the beauty of your dwelling place,

and to recognise it all around me,

in majestic mountains and ocean depths,

in tiny flowers and fledgling sparrows,

and especially in the pilgrims

who accompany me on life’s journey.

This prayer I make through Jesus, your Anointed One.

Saint of the day

Mar 31 - St Stephen of Mar Saba (725-794)

Mar Saba Monatery Stephen of Mar Saba is also called Stephen the Wonderworker. Mar Saba is a famous monastery founded in the 5th century by St Sabas (see 5th December). It is located in the West Bank area about 10 km east of Bethlehem and hangs about 250 metres above the Kidron Creek as it makes its way towards the Dead Sea. Stephen was a nephew of John of Damascus (see 4th December). He spent a half-century as a monk in the convent of Mar Saba in the 8th century. Patrick Duffy tells his story.

Trained by his uncle
Although unbearded men were not admitted to the community of St Sabas, Stephen, being the nephew of St John of Damascus, one of the most learned men of his day, was received when he was only ten and trained under his uncle's guidance for the next fifteen years.

Servant of the community of Mar Saba
When John died in 749, Stephen, then 24, was ordained and began an eight-year period of service to the community. He was guest-master, cantor, dispenser and special guestmaster to those received into the igumen's quarters. Once, while celebrating the eastern rite of the Mass, as Stephen elevated the Eucharist and recited the words, “Holy things to the holy”, the monastic cell in which he was celebrating the liturgy was filled with a brilliant light that emanated from the celebrant himself. From that occasion onward, whatever he prayed for during the Eucharistic liturgy was granted. This may be the period during which he earned the title Wonderworker.

Mon-Fri: "Do not disturb" notice
However, Stephen sought permission from the igumen Martyrios to live as a complete hermit. Martyrios suggested a compromise: Stephen could lead a hermit's life, but should be available to those who needed counsel. So Stephen placed a note on the door of his cell: "Forgive me, Fathers, in the name of the Lord, but please do not disturb me, except on Saturdays and Sundays." So he prayed from Monday to Friday and was available for spiritual counselling at week-ends.

Complete solitude for fifteen
At the age of thirty-seven, Stephen went into complete solitude for fifteen years, three times going into the desert around the Dead Sea to observe Lent.

Lover of animals and people
When he was fifty-two, Stephen returned to the more relative form of the hermit's life, and admitted disciples once more. Many came to him for healing. He was a lover of animals and is portrayed, like St Francis, with his shoulders and arms covered with birds. The doves, starlings and deer fed out of his hand. His compassion for the lowly black worms that crawled through his hermitage prompted him to gather them into a spot where they would be safe from being trampled on. His biographer and disciple Leontius wrote about Stephen: "Whatever help, spiritual or material, he was asked to give, he gave. He received and honoured all with the same kindness. He possessed nothing and lacked nothing. In total poverty he possessed all things."

His poem on the coming of Islam: Art thou weary, art thou languid? 
Towards the end of his life, Stephen may have experienced persecution from the Umayyad and Abbasid Islamic dynasties, when many monks of St. Sabas met their deaths. The events of the time are recorded in Leontius's The Life of St. Stephen the Sabaite. One of Stephen's hymns, Art thou weary, art thou languid?, was sympathetically translated by John Mason Neale in his Hymns for the Eastern Church (1862). It shows the strength of heart of the monk and disciple who during the sad days when the Cross was bowing before the Crescent, accepted the way of his Lord:

Art thou weary, art thou languid,
Art thou sore distressed?
“Come to Me,” saith One, “and coming,
Be at rest.”

Hath He marks to lead me to Him,
If He be my Guide?
In His feet and hands are wound prints
And His side.

Hath He diadem, as monarch,
That His brow adorns?
Yes, a crown in very surety,
But of thorns.

If I find Him, if I follow,
What His guerdon here?
Many a sorrow, many a labor,
Many a tear.

If I still hold closely to Him,
What hath He at last?
Sorrow vanquished, labour ended,
Jordan passed.

If I ask Him to receive me,
Will He say me nay?
Not till earth and not till Heaven
Pass away.

Finding, following, keeping, struggling,
Is He sure to bless?
Saints, apostles, prophets, martyrs,
Answer, Yes!

Stephen died in 794.
Today's Readings
First Reading                      Exodus 32:7-14
Do not bring this disaster on your people.

The Lord spoke to Moses, 'Go down now, because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have apostasised. They have been quick to leave the way I marked out for them; they have made themselves a calf of molten metal and have worshipped it and offered it sacrifice. "Here is your God, Israel," they have cried "who brought you up from the land of Egypt!"' the Lord said to Moses, 'I can see how headstrong these people are! Leave me, now, my wrath shall blaze out against them and devour them; of you, however, I will make a great nation.'

But Moses pleaded with the Lord his God. ' The Lord,' he said 'why should your wrath blaze out against this people of yours whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with arm outstretched and mighty hand? Why let the Egyptians say, "Ah, it was in treachery that he brought them out, to do them to death in the mountains and wipe them off the face of the earth"? Leave your burning wrath; relent and do not bring this disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, your servants to whom by your own self you swore and made this promise: I will make your offspring as many as the stars of heaven, and all this land which I promised I will give to your descendants, and it shall be their heritage for ever.' So the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

The Word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm :          Ps 105
Response                             O Lord, remember me out of the love you have for your people.

1. They fashioned a calf at Horeb
and worshipped an image of metal,
exchanging the God who was their glory
for the image of a bull that eats grass.             Response

2. They forgot the God who was their saviour,
who had done such great things in Egypt,
such portents in the land of Ham,
such marvels at the Red Sea.                           Response

3. For this he said he would destroy them,
but Moses, the man he had chosen,
stood in the breach before him,
to turn back his anger from destruction.          Response

Gospel  Acclamation        Jn 6:63. 68
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!
Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life;
you have the message of eternal life.
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!

or                                     Jn 3:16
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!
God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son;
everyone who believes in him has eternal ife.
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!

Gospel                            John 5:31-47
You place your hopes on Moses, and Moses will be your accuser.

'Were I to testify on my own behalf,
my testimony would not be valid;
but there is another witness who can speak on my behalf,
and I know that his testimony is valid.
You sent messengers to John,
and he gave his testimony to the truth:
not that I depend on human testimony;
no, it is for your salvation that I speak of this.

'John was a lamp alight and shining
and for a time you were content to enjoy the light that he gave.
But my testimony is greater than John's:
the works my Father has given me to carry out,
these same works of mine
testify that the Father has sent me.
Besides, the Father who sent me
bears witness to me himself.
You have never heard his voice,
you have never seen his shape,
and his word finds no home in you
because you do not believe
in the one he has sent.

'You study the scriptures,
believing that in them you have eternal life;
now these same scriptures testify to me,
and yet you refuse to come to me for life!
As for human approval, this means nothing to me.
Besides, I know you too well:
you have no love of God in you.
I have come in the name of my Father
and you refuse to accept me;
if someone else comes in his own name
you will accept him.

'How can you believe,
since you look to one another for approval
and are not concerned
with the approval that comes from the one God?
Do not imagine that I am going to accuse you before the Father:
you place your hopes on Moses,
and Moses will be your accuser.
If you really believed him
you would believe me too,
since it was I that he was writing about;
but if you refuse to believe what he wrote,
how can you believe what I say?'

The Gospel of the Lord.  

Gospel Reflection                         Thursday, Fourth Week of Lent  
In the gospel reading Jesus says to those who are hostile to him, ‘you look to one another for approval and are not concerned with the approval that come from the one God’. We all look for human approval in one way or another. If we receive a lot of approval, we tend to feel good about ourselves; we feel that we must be doing something right. When it comes to leaders of political parties, approval ratings are taken very seriously. Yet in the gospel reading Jesus warns against working for human approval while neglecting the more important approval, the approval that comes from God. The opposite of human approval is human rejection. Jesus experienced the ultimate in human rejection by being crucified. Yet, at the very moment when he had lost all human approval he had the approval of God. God was faithful to him and raised him from the dead. What we call the paschal mystery, the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, shows that the absence of human approval does not necessarily mean the absence of God’s approval. Jesus suggests that it is God’s approval rather than human approval we need to strive for. We will know God’s approval if we receive his Son whom he sent into the world, if, like John the Baptist in today’s gospel reading, we bear witness to God’s Son by our lives.


The scripture readings are taken from THE JERUSALEM BIBLE, published by Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd and used with permission of the publishers.
The Gospel reflection comes from WEEKDAY REFLECTIONS: To know the love of Christ 2016/2017 by Martin Hogan published by  The Messenger c/f



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          Exodus 32:7-14
 Scoir den drochíde seo a thabhairt ar do phobal.

Dúirt an Tiarna le Maois: “Síos leat! óir an pobal sin agat a thug tú amach as tír na hÉigipte, thruaillíodar iad féin. Is luath atá siad imithe i leataobh ón mbealach a d’ordaigh mé dóibh; rinneadar lao de mhiotal leáite dóibh féin agus d’adhradar é agus rinneadar íobairt dó, agus liúdar: ‘Seo é do dhia, a Iosrael, a thug thú amach as tír na hÉigipte.’” “Is léir dom,” arsa an Tiarna le Maois, “a cheanndáine mar phobal an pobal seo! Lig dom anois más ea agus lasfaidh m’fhearg go dian ina gcoinne á ndísciú; tusa ámh, déanfaidh mé náisiún mór díot.

Ach chrom Maois ar ghuí chun an Tiarna a Dhia: “A Thiarna,” ar sé, “cén fáth go lasfadh do fhearg go dian i gcoinne do phobail féin, an pobal a thug tú amach as tír na hÉigipte le mórchumhacht agus le láimh thréan?Cén fáth é a thabhairt le rá do na hÉigiptigh: ‘I bhfeall a rug sé amach iad, d’fhonn iad a mharú sna sléibhte agus iad a scrios de chlar na cruinne’? Scaoil uait d’fhearg chuthaigh, agus scoir den drochíde seo a thabhairt ar do phobal. Cuimhnigh ar Abrahám, ar Íosác agus ar Iosrael, do shearbhóntaí, dár mhionnaigh tú dar thú féin agus dár gheall tú: ‘Déanfaidh mé bhur síol chomh líonmhar le réaltaí neimhe, agus an tír seo go léir a gheall mé, tabharfaidh mé do bhur sliocht é agus beidh sé ina oidhreacht acu go síoraí.’” Bhog an Tiarna dá bhrí sin, agus níor thug sé ar a phobal an drochíde a bhagair sé.

Salm le Freagra            Sm 137
Freagra:                          Bí ag cuimhneamh orm, a Thiarna, as ucht do ghrá do do phobal.

1. Dhealbhaigh siad lao ag Horaeb;
rinne siad íol d’ór leáite a adhradh.
Rinne siad Dia na glóire a mhalartú
ar íomhá tairbh a mhaireann ar fhéar.               Freagra

2. Rinne siad dearmad ar Dhia a shlánaigh iad,
agus a rinne éachtaí móra dóibh san Éigipt,
a rinne na hiontais dóibh i dtír Hám,
agus nithe uamhnacha le hais na Mara Rua.    Freagra

3. Agus dúirt sé go scriosfadh sé iad dá bhrí sin,
murach Maois, an té a roghnaigh sé
a dhul roimhe sa bhearna d’fhonn a fhearg
a mhaolú sula ndéanfadh sé a milleadh.           Freagra

An Soiscéal                   Eoin 5:21-47
Maois, an té a bhfuil muinín agaibh as. Dá gcreidfeadh sibh Maois.

San am sin dúirt Íosa leis na Giúdaigh

Dá dtabharfainn fianaise orm féin
ní bheadh m’fhianaise iontaofa.
Tá neach eile ann a thugann fianaise orm,
agus tá a fhios agam gur iontaofa an fhianaise
a thugann sé orm.
Chuir sibh teachtairí ag triall ar Eoin
agus thug sé fianaise ar an bhfírinne.
Ní hé go nglacaimse fianaise ó dhaoine,
ach tá na nithe seo á rá agam chun go slanófaí sibh.
Lóchrann ar lasadh agus ag taitneamh a ba ea é siúd,
agus níor mhiste libhse ar feadh tamaill
áthas a fháil ina sholas.
Ach tá fianaise agamsa is mó ná fianaise Eoin.
Óir na hoibreacha a thug m’Athair dom le cur i gcrích,
na hoibreacha sin féin a dhéanaim,
tugann siad fianaise gur chuir an tAthair uaidh mé.
An tAthair féin a chuir uaidh mé,
thug sé fianaise orm.
Níor chuala sibh riamh a ghuth
ná ní fhaca sibh a dheilbh,
agus níl a bhriathar agaibh ag lonnú ionaibh,
mar ní chreideann sibh sa té a chuir seisean uaidh.
Déanann sibh na scrioptúir a spiúnadh
mar gur dóigh libh go bhfuil
an bheatha shíoraí agaibh iontu:
agus is iadsan atá ag tabhairt fianaise i mo thaobhsa,
ach ní áil libh teacht chugam i dtreo go mbeadh beatha agaibh.
Ní ghabhaim glóir ó dhaoine.
Ach tá aithne agam oraibh,
nach bhfuil grá Dé agaibh ionaibh.
Tháinig mise in ainm m’Athar,
agus ní ghlacann sibh mé;
má thagann duine eile ina ainm féin,
glacfaidh sibh eisean.

Conas a b’fhéidir daoibh creidiúint,
agus glóir á glacadh agaibh óna chéile
gan aon lorg agaibh ar an nglóir a thagann ó Dhia amháin.
Ná measaigí go bhfuilim
chun sibh a chúisiú
i láthair an Athar;
tá duine do bhur gcuisiú –
Maois, an té a bhfuil muinín agaibh as.
Dá gcreidfeadh sibh Maois,
chreidfeadh sibh mise,
óir is i mo thaobhsa a scríobh seisean.
Mura gcreideann sibh a scríbhinní-sean,
conas a chreidfidh sibh mo bhriathar-sa?

© An Sagart