31Jan “Stem parish closures and mergers”; Association of US Catholic Priests

The National Catholic Reporter has a story of how the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests is in the final development stages of issuing an urgent "plea" to the U.S. bishops to "formulate a plan now to meet this emerging crisis" of parish closings and consolidations.
In a working draft it calls a "Proposal for Pastoral Care In & Thru Priestless Parishes," the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests exhorts the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and "dioceses nationwide" to quickly address the issue.

31Jan The Quiet Revolution

Gerry O Hanlon SJ in an opinion piece in the Irish Times maintains that Pope Francis is quietly revolutionising the Church.
"It seems to me that what is going on here is that Francis is proposing a paradigm shift in our model of church that, in effect, reverses the status quo of the past millennium and returns, with appropriate adjustments for our age, to a first millennium model. This is huge, a ‘quiet revolution’, which, strategically, has the potential to unlock many concrete issues of contention within the Church."

Gerry maintains that this model of church needs to be adopted at a local level.

31Jan 31 January. Tuesday, Week 4

Saint John Bosco, priest

1st Reading: Hebrews 12:1-4

Around us a cloud of witnesses, and above all Jesus, to encourage us

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight … Read the rest

30Jan 30 Jan., 2017. Monday, Week 4

Saint Aidan, bishop; Blessed Margaret Ball and Blessed Francis Taylor, martyrs

1st Reading: Hebrews 11:32-40

And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets … Read the rest

29Jan Sean McDonagh, Tony Flannery interviewed by Miriam O’Callaghan on RTE Radio 1

Sean McDonagh and Tony Flannery spoke today with Miriam O’Callaghan on RTE Radio 1.
Tony said that the Church in Ireland is “in a state of utter collapse”, with people “leaving the Church in droves”, and action is needed to change this. They said the Catholic Church also needs to apologise for how it has treated women and give them more power in the Church.

29Jan 29 Jan., 2017. 4th Sunday, Year A

Theme: The beatitudes are the basic Christian ideals for living, not a set of rules to avoid God’s punishment. They aim to raise our vision above the limits of self-interest and gain.

1st Reading: Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13

I will leave

Read the rest

28Jan Reflection on the US Presidential Election

A reflection by Fr Jim Bacik on the US election. Jim gave a joint diocesan retreat for Tuam and Kilalloe priests in Esker last June. His wisdom and spirituality was well received with Karl Rahner as a 'giant on his shoulder'.
"it is clear that Pope Francis offers a worldview that challenges the thrust of the Trump movement."

28Jan 28 Jan., 2017 Saturday, Week 3

Saint Thomas Aquinas, doctor of the Church

1st Reading: Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19

Divine blessing on Abraham and his descendants

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received … Read the rest

27Jan 27 Jan., 2017. Friday, Week 3

Saint Angela de Merici, virgin

1st Reading, Hebrews 10:32-39

Do not abandon hope, but trust in God’s promises

But recall those earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed … Read the rest

26Jan Reclaim the Laity before it’s too late

Interesting editorial comment in the Tablet.
"If there is a future for the Catholic Church in Ireland it will belong to the laity, and especially to Catholic women. "