23 June 2021

'The child is not dead but sleeping.' Sunday Reflections. 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B


Raising of the Daughter of Jairus
Paolo Veronese [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland)

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Gospel Mark 5:21-43 [or 5:21-24, 35b-43] (English Standard Version, Anglicised)

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” And he went with him.

[And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’ And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”]

While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.


Léachtaí i nGaeilge

The Garden of Saint-Paul Hospital, May 1889
Vincent van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]

Lyn was someone I met when she was about 15. Three years later, when she was only halfway through her four-year college course, she quit to marry Roberto. (I’m not using their real names). Lyn was madly in love with Roberto, who had a good job and came from a relatively wealthy family.  Lyn’s family could not be described as poor either. I celebrated the wedding Mass and attended the reception in a classy hotel. In the Philippines traditionally it’s the groom’s father who pays for the reception. The young couple went to live in Manila, where Roberto was from. About a year later a daughter, whom I’ll call Gloria, was born. She had a learning disability. Another daughter, ‘Gabriela’, arrived a year or two later.

Then tragedy struck. Roberto discovered that his kidneys weren’t working properly and that he needed dialysis. Over the next couple of years Roberto and Lyn spent practically all they had on this and it ended in Roberto’s death. Meanwhile, Lyn’s parents both had serious illnesses and had to spend most of their resources on treatment.

Lyn returned to her own city with her two young daughters. She couldn’t find a job and had no qualifications since she hadn’t finished in college. With much embarrassment she came to see me and asked if I could give her a monthly ‘allowance’. She was able to survive the next few years with help from her siblings and friends and eventually remarried.

I’ve met so many ‘Lyns’ in the Philippines who are like the woman in today’s gospel, who have spent all their resources on doctors and medicine and are still sick. I’ve met families who have pawned their little bit of land in order to enable an aged parent to have surgery that ultimately leaves the whole family impoverished and the person on whom  they had spent the money, out of a perhaps misplaced love, ending up in the cemetery.

Most Filipinos have little access to good health care. Even those who have government health insurance have to come up with ready cash if they go to hospital, unlike in Ireland or the United Kingdom. They are eventually reimbursed but have to pay interest on money they have borrowed in the meantime. I’ve heard people in Ireland and in the UK complain about poor health services. Sometimes complaints may be justified but my own family’s experiences during the last six months has shown me how outstanding medical and social services in Ireland are. I have also heard many unsolicited words of praise for nurses from the Philippines working in hospitals in the UK and Ireland.

But the sad reality is that most of these nurses, if they were still in the Philippines, would not have access to the kind of care they provide in Ireland and the UK. They would be like the woman in the gospel.

I met a Filipina in Reykjavík in 2000 who told me that she had had a kidney transplant in Denmark, paid for by the taxpayers of Iceland, a country of only 350,000 people or so. Had she been at home she would probably have ended up like Roberto.

Twenty-eight years ago in a parish in Mindanao I buried Eileen, like the daughter of Jairus,  a 12-year-old. Again, poverty was a significant factor in her illness and death, despite the efforts of the doctors and nurses in the small government hospital where she died.

So the two stories interwoven by St Mark are stories that many have lived or are living, and not only in the Philippines.

But sometimes persons do experience healing. I once gave a recollection day to a group of 11- and 12-year old children in a Catholic school in Cebu City. We reflected on the story of Jesus staying behind in the Temple when he was 12 and that of the daughter of Jairus, also 12. Before the afternoon session a group of the boys and girls came to tell me that Maria, one of their classmates, had a bad toothache and asked if we could pray with her. Maybe Jesus would heal her as he had healed ‘Talitha’, which they thought was the name of the daughter of Jairus. We prayed with Maria – and her toothache disappeared. The children were delighted.

St Mark gives us illustrations of the humanity of Jesus more than do St Matthew and St Luke when they recount the same stories. Scholars tell us that St Mark’s was the first gospel to be written and that the other two drew on his in writing theirs. St Matthew omits the detail of Jesus perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him. This shows us that Jesus wasn’t a ‘magician’. When he healed a sick person he gave of himself.

St Matthew leaves out another beautiful detail about the humanity of our Saviour. Jesus says to the people in the house, Give her something to eat. I can imagine the joy of everyone, including Jesus. I picture him with a smile on his face, a smile that reflects his joy – and his awareness that the girl’s family had forgotten the very practical detail that she was starving, as is anyone who has come through a serious illness. This detail of St Mark brings home to me the great reality that St John expressed in his gospel and that we pray in the Angelus, The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).


Elizabeth A. Mitchell has a fine commentary on today's gospel in the context of the current pandemic: She is Only Asleep.

Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen)
Sung by Stellenbosch University Choir
Composer: Franco Prisloo
Conductor: André van der Merwe
The choir, conductor and composer are South African. Such a choir could not have existed before 17 June 1991 when apartheid was abolished.

Salve Regina is traditionally sung at the end of Compline (Night Prayer) from after Pentecost Sunday until the end of Ordinary Time / Time after Pentecost. Among us Columbans, and other groups, it is sung at the end of the burial service.

Extraordinary Form of the Mass

Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) 

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost 

The Complete Mass in Latin and English is here. (Adjust the date at the top of that page to 6-27-2021 if necessary).

Epistle: 1 Peter 3:8-15.  Gospel: Matthew 5:20-24.


Authentic Beauty

Authentic beauty, however, unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond.

Pope Benedict XVI meeting with artists in the Sistine Chapel, 21 November 2009.

Lippen Schweigen (from The Merry Widow)

Sung in the original German by Sumi Jo, soprano, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, baritone.

Composed by Franz Lehár.

Franz Lehár, an Austro-Hungarian, composed The Merry Widow in Vienna in 1905. Sumi Jo is Korean and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who died in 2017 aged 55, was Russian.

17 June 2021

'The love of Christ overwhelms us.' Sunday Reflections, 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B


Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee
Rembrandt [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland)

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Gospel Mark 4:35-41 (English Standard Version, Anglicised)

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”  And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Léachtaí i nGaeilge

The very first pastoral visit outside of Rome of Pope Francis was to the small island of Lampedusa, the most southerly part of Italy. He went there on 8 July 2013 because of his concern about the plight of many migrants and refugees trying to get from North Africa to Europe through Lampedusa and the many who died in trying to do so. The vast majority of these were exploited 'boat people' who had spent all they had, handing over their money to unscrupulous persons who were becoming rich by living off the poor and not caring whether they lived or died.

In his homily that day Pope Francis asked, Has any one of us grieved for the death of these brothers and sisters? Has any one of us wept for these persons who were on the boat? For the young mothers carrying their babies? For these men who were looking for a means of supporting their families? 

The question the Pope asked in a way echoes that of the Apostles in the boat to Jesus: Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? 

 Eithne, Mediterranean, 2015

In May 2015 LÉ Eithne, the flagship of the Irish Naval Service with a crew of 55, engaged in Operation Sophia in the Mediterranean along with ships of navies of other European Union countries, in an effort to rescue 'boat people' trying to cross from Libya to Europe. Between May and November that year this small vessel rescued 8,592 men women and children. By the time Operation Sophia ended in 2017 Irish naval vessels had rescued more than 10,000 refugees. At the moment the Irish Naval Service has a total personnel of fewer than 1,100, with only five of its nine ships in service due to a lack of recruits.

It is estimated that between 2014 and the present around 21,000 undocumented immigrants have died trying to reach Italy from North Africa, 2016 being the worst year

So this Sunday's gospel speaks to us of a situation that is all too common in the contemporary world.

The Apostles discovered that Jesus did care: he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, 'Peace! Be still!' And he shows that same care to the refugees in the Mediterranean and in other parts of the world through the authorities, agencies and individuals who are trying to alleviate their immediate dangerous situations while others try to deal with the roots and causes of those situations.

There is an expression in the English language, 'We're all in the same boat', meaning especially in a difficult or dangerous situation that all are equal and all are responsible in some way for changing that situation. In his encyclical, Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis echoes this (No 13): The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. 

We can and should pray for all those caught up in the human tragedy of refugees and asylum seekers desperately seeking a better life as they flee from areas of conflict and hopelessness, being exploited ruthlessly by others in their plight - surely an expression of the reality of evil, of sin and of the Devil that Pope Francis frequently speaks about - and often losing their lives in the process. And we can and should pray for those working with refugees, whether in emergency situations or at the level of administration where important decisions are made about the future of individuals and families.

And the Second Reading, though it's not thematically related to the First Reading and the Gospel which are related, gives us some points to consider. The Jerusalem Bible translation reads, The love of Christ overwhelms us. Other versions give, The love of Christ controls us / urges us on / compels us / impels us / presseth us / is a compelling motive . . . But the Jerusalem Bible evokes for me, in the context of the other two readings, a great wave of God's love as distinct from a wave of destruction.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa
Katsushika Hokusai [WikipediaSource of illustration]

The Second Reading also speaks of creation: From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. By virtue of our baptism each of us is a new creation. And by virtue of the mission that Jesus gave all of us who are baptised to Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation (Mark 16:15) we are called to let every human being know that God wants each of them to be in Christ so as to be a new creation

We are called not just to rescue people in danger of drowning but rather to invite people to join us on the Barque of Peter - the ship that is the Church - so that they may come to know the Lord Jesus who, through his Holy Spirit, wants to lead us to our eternal home. We must never lose sight of our central mission as Church.

To mix metaphors, I conclude with a quotation from the Eighth Sermon of St Columban that I use at the top of the homepage of this blog: Since we are travellers and pilgrims in the world, let us ever ponder on the end of the road, that is of our life, for the end of our roadway is our home.

Responsorial Psalm [NAB - Philippines, USA]

Fr John Moran
(22 June 1926 - 11 June 2021)

Please pray for Columban Father John Moran who died last week in Bristol, Rhode Island. We were together in the Columban college formation program in Cebu City in the early 1990s. He was a delightful person to live with, a true Christian gentleman and a great example to our seminarians.

Father John loved sailing and had a small boat in Bristol, where the Columban retirement home, formerly a seminary, is by the sea. The name of the boat is Santo Niño (Holy Child). May the Lord who rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!" welcome Father John into a safe harbour.

Sailing By
Composed by Ronald Binge
Played by The Perry-Gardner Orchestra

Extraordinary Form of the Mass

Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) 

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost 

The Complete Mass in Latin and English is here. (Adjust the date at the top of that page to 6-20-2021 if necessary).

Epistle: Romans 8:18-23.  Gospel: Luke 5:1-1i.


Authentic Beauty

Authentic beauty, however, unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond.

Pope Benedict XVI meeting with artists in the Sistine Chapel, 21 November 2009.

The Padstow Lifeboat
Composed by Sir Malcolm Arnold
Played by the St Dennis Band

The village of St Dennis, where the band is from, is 25 minutes by car from Padstow and 45 minutes from Carbis Bay, where the recent G7 summit meeting was held. These places are all in Cornwall in south-west England. The Volunteers of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) have saved countless lives off the coasts of Britain and Ireland down the years.

09 June 2021

'To Christ the seed, to Christ the crop.' Sunday Reflections, 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B


The Sower 
November 1888, Arles
Vincent van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]

The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland)

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Gospel Mark 4:26-34 (English Standard Version, Anglicised)

Jesus said to the crowds: “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.


Léachtaí i nGaeilge

Reaper with Sickle (after Millet)
Vincent van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]

But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle.

Below is what I posted six years ago and part of what I posted nine years ago for this Sunday.  It is now (2021) 79 years since my parents married and 'the youngest born last month' is now aged nine. His father came through the medical procedure successfully, thank God. 

The parables in this Sunday's gospel remind us that the faith has had many small beginnings. Perhaps the greatest is the Twelve Apostles. 

As a Columban priest I'm very conscious of our history. Fr Edward Galvin from Ireland went off to China with Canadian Fr John Fraser in 1912. Fr Fraser went on to found the Scarboro Missionary Society in Canada and Fr Galvin, with Fr John Blowick, was to set up the Missionary Society of St Columban within a few years, both societies working to bring the Gospel to the people of China.

The Columbans, along with all other Christian missionaries, were eventually driven out of China after 1949 but have a presence there again, in a different way. And a year ago, as I wrote for last Sunday, the first two Chinese students came to Manila to prepare to be Columban missionary priests. Another small beginning in the service of the mission that Jesus gave to the Church. [Update: Those two students have since left but another, Peter Dong Lichun, was ordained to the priesthood in 2019 and is now serving in Korea. He is the first Chinese Columban priest.]

70 years ago my parents were married. Another small beginning in faith, a faith nourished, at least in part, by the Eucharistic Congress ten years earlier in their native Dublin. Without that beginning I would not be here. 

Today, Friday, I visited a friend in Cebu City whom I hadn't seen in more than twelve years. When we last met she was single. Today I met her husband and their seven children, the youngest born last month. She and her husband have both lost their mothers in the last couple of months. Her husband will be going into hospital on Saturday for a procedure on one of his kidneys.The house they were living in before was burned down and they are now in a very small temporary house from which they will have to move soon. Yet I saw a house filled with love, the older children when they came home from school giving the mano po, the hand to the forehead, a sign of respect in the Philippines and in Timor Leste (East Timor), to their parents and to me - and then going to kiss their two youngest brothers. And we shared bread together, pandesal, small pieces of bread that are very popular for breakfast and for snacks.

The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 

We just don't know where the seed will be scattered and where it will bear fruit. I once met a young woman from Japan in Manila. She was moving towards the Catholic faith and the seed was being nourished in the predominantly Catholic Philippines. But the seed of her faith came to fruition in Thailand where she was baptised during an Easter Vigil. Thailand, like Japan, is a country where only about one person in two hundred is a Catholic. 

May we be aware of the many 'seeds' that the Lord has scattered in our lives, that he nourishes through the Eucharist and that he brings to fruition in the most unexpected ways.

Sheaves of Wheat
Vincent van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]

. . . because the harvest has come.

Ag Críost an Síol

Words written in 1916 by Fr Micheál Ó Síocháin (later Coadjutor Archbishop of Sydney), music by Seán Ó Riada in 1968. This hymn in the Irish language is often sung at weddings and at funerals. Though intended by Ó Riada as an Offertory hymn it is more often sung during or after Holy Communion. 

Ag Críost an síol, ag Críost an fómhar;
i n-iothlainn Dé go dtugtar sinn.

Ag Críost an mhuir, ag Críost an t-iasc;
i líonta Dé go gcastar sinn.

Ó fhás go h-aois, is ó aois go bás,
do dhá láimh, a Chríost, anall tharainn.

Ó bhás go críoch, ní críoch ach athfhás,
i bParthas na ngrást go rabhaimid.

To Christ the Seed

Translation by Thomas Kinsella.

To Christ the seed, to Christ the crop,
in barn of Christ may we be brought.

To Christ the sea, to Christ the fish,
in nets of Christ may we be caught.

From growth to age, from age to death,
Thy two arms here, O Christ, about us.

From death to end, not end but growth,
in blessed Paradise may we be.

Extraordinary Form of the Mass

Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) 

Third Sunday after Pentecost 

The Complete Mass in Latin and English is here. (Adjust the date at the top of that page to 6-13-2021 if necessary).

Epistle: 1 Peter 5:6-11.  Gospel: Luke 15:1-10.


Authentic Beauty

Authentic beauty, however, unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond.

Pope Benedict XVI meeting with artists in the Sistine Chapel, 21 November 2009.

Music: Dmitri Tiomkin; lyrics: Paul Francis Webster
Sung by The Brothers Four

And to stand by your wife

At the moment of birth.

03 June 2021

'The men simply stood silently and reverently round the little improvised altar of ammunition boxes.' Sunday Reflections, Corpus Christi, Year B


Supper at Emmaus
Caravaggio [Web Gallery of Art]

Corpus Christi, Year B

The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Year B 

In most countries, including the Vatican, this solemnity, formerly celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, is now celebrated on the Sunday after Trinity Sunday, this year replacing the Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland)

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Gospel Mark 14:12-16, 22-26 (English Standard Version, Anglicised)

And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to Jesus, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him,  and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Léachtaí i nGaeilge

British Army Trench, First World War
The Somme, France, July 1916

Alfred O'Rahilly in his Father William Doyle SJ, a biography of an Irish Jesuit who served as a chaplain in the British army in the First World War and who was killed on 16-17 August 1917, writes on page 474 about a Mass celebrated in the trenches. Normally he was not allowed to have Mass with the men there because of the danger. 

On February 2nd [1917], however, he was able to offer the Holy Sacrifice in the trenches , his chapel being a dug-out capable of holding ten or a dozen. 'But my congregation numbered forty-six,' he says, 'the vacant space was small. How they all managed to squeeze in I cannot say. There was no question of kneeling down; the men simply stood silently and reverently round the little improvised altar of ammunition boxes, "glad," as one of them quaintly expressed it, "to have a say in it." Surely our Lord must have been glad also, for every one of the forty-six received Holy Communion, and went back to his post happy at heart and strengthened to face the hardships of these days and nights of cold.' What a difference the Real Presence made in the ministrations of a Catholic chaplain!

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, No 1374 states: The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as "the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend." In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained." "This presence is called 'real' - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be 'real' too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present."

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, popularly known by the Latin name Corpus Christi, celebrates this reality, the same reality that Fr Willie Doyle and the 46 soldiers celebrated in the trenches in Flanders, Belgium, on that cold Candlemas Day in 1917.

Sancti venite (Come all ye holy)

This is said to be the Church's oldest eucharistic hymn, composed in the seventh century in Bangor Abbey in what is now Northern Ireland, from which St Columban had left for mainland Europe in the previous century. It later found its way to the abbey in Bobbio in northern Italy, founded by St Columban and where he died in 615.

A legend from An Leabhar Breac, a mediaeval Irish document, says that the hymn was first sung by angels in St Seachnaill's Church (Domhnach Seachnaill), anglicised as 'Dunshaughlin', a town that is a twelve-minute drive from where I live in St Columban's, Dalgan Park, on the way into Dublin.

Here is the first stanza sung in the original Latin and then in English. Both videos are from Corpus Christi Watershed.

Extraordinary Form of the Mass

Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) 

Second Sunday after Pentecost 

The Complete Mass in Latin and English is here. (Adjust the date at the top of that page to 6-6-2021 if necessary).

Epistle: 1 John 3:13-18.  Gospel: Luke 14:16-24.


Authentic Beauty

Authentic beauty, however, unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond.

Pope Benedict XVI meeting with artists in the Sistine Chapel, 21 November 2009.

Music by Haydn Wood, lyrics by Fred E. Weatherly
Singer: Thomas Hampson, pianist: Armen Guzelimian

This song was written in 1916, in the middle of the Great War, later to be known as World War One. The lyricist, Fred E. Weatherly, also wrote the words to Danny Boy. Picardy is a region in France that includes the battlegrounds of the Somme Offensive that began on 1 July 1916 and ended in November. A million men were killed or wounded.

Countless young wives of every social background lost their husbands, many young children lost their fathers, countless young women lost their fiancés and sweethearts in this awful conflict. Fr Willie Doyle wrote in letters to his father about two newly-wed soldiers killed in the war.

13 January 1917. I found the dying lad, he was not much more, so tightly jammed into a corner of the trench it was almost impossible to get him out. Both legs were smashed, one in two or three places, so his chances of life were small as there were other injuries as well. What a harrowing picture that scene would have made. A splendid young soldier, married only a month they told me, lying there pale and motionless in the mud and water with the life crushed out of him by a cruel shell.

10 August 2017. In the afternoon, while going my rounds, I was forced to take shelter in the dug-out of a young officer belonging to another regiment. He was a Catholic from Dublin, and had been married just a month. Was this a chance visit, or did God send me there to prepare him for death, for I had not long left the spot when a shell burst and killed him? I carried his body out next day and buried him in a shell hole, nad once again blessed that protecting hand which had shielded me from his fate.

Father Doyle himself was killed by a shell a week later on the night of 16-17 August.

Those extracts from his letters, originally published in Alfred O'Rahilly's biography, appear in To Raise the Fallen, published for the centennial of Fr Willie Doyle's death in 2017. Compiler-editor Patrick Kenny blogs about Father Doyle at Remembering Fr Willie Doyle SJ.