The Epiphany of the Lord

The Epiphany of the Lord

Three wise men from the east follow a star to find the baby Jesus, the

Saviour. These three men were foreigners, or ‘outsiders’ from a far-away country who had trouble in coming to Bethlehem. They bring gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. The star that led them to Bethlehem will be given pride of place.

Lord, let the light of your love shine in every heart, starting with me. Amen.


The opening days of January may be cold and nature bleak, but the church still glows warm with the peace and joy of Christmas. We dedicate the New Year to Mary on the January 1st Solemnity honoring her as Mother of God; and on January 6, the Solemnity of Epiphany, we rejoice with her, as her Son is adored by the three Wise Men. In this liturgical season the Church eagerly follows Our Lord as he gathers his apostles and announces his mission. At Cana’s wedding feast he performs his first public miracle at the request of his Mother, and his disciples saw his glory and believed in him.

O good Jesus, according to Thy great mercy, have mercy on me. O most merciful Jesus, by that Precious Blood which Thou didst will to shed for sinners, I beseech Thee to wash away all my iniquities and to look graciously upon me, a poor and unworthy sinner, as I call upon Thy holy Name. Therefore, O Jesus, do Thou save me for Thy holy Name's sake. Amen

The Holy name of Jesus

The month of January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus. Jesus' name is chosen in heaven, and the Angel Gabriel announces it when he informs the Blessed Virgin of the incarnation: "Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus". It is a name that has marvelous implications, for it means "saviour." The very name bespeaks the magnitude of His mission, His infinite love, a love that will cause Him to offer Himself up for us.

The name of Jesus is the sweetest of all names, and He who bears it is most worthy of all love. He who calls Jesus his friend can be assured that this friend is the most devoted and unselfish of all friends. Jesus is our all. In His name we may pray to the Father with assurance of being heard. In His name the Church administers all her sacraments. In His name she offers all her prayers and blesses homes, the fields, and the sick. In the name of Jesus she casts out evil spirits, and at the hour of our death bids us, "Go forth, Christian soul." She assures us that whoever shall call upon this name will be saved. When our soul has departed this life to seek its eternal home, the Church asks in the name of Jesus, "Eternal rest give unto him/her, O Lord."

In times of sickness
The last months of Pope John Paul II’s life were in some way painful to watch. It was distressing to see someone who was once so strong and vigorous now struggle to utter even a single word. It was distressing to see him no longer able to walk or even stand unassisted or to control the terrible tremble in his hands. And yet John Paul II was not embarrassed to be seen in his frailty and his infirmity. He was determined to keep on exercising his ministry in public, even if his strength was ebbing away, even if it was obvious that he was a sick man. John Paul wanted to bring sickness and death into the middle of life again. He wanted to show people how to live with and accept the reality of suffering. He wanted people not to shy away from it or deny it. He wanted to rehabilitate it in the eyes of the world.
It was a lesson our western world needed to learn because our society today is one that is uncomfortable with having to deal with pain. It is a society that celebrates youth and worships the body beautiful. It wants to hide away the reality of sickness, suffering, old age, mortality. It doesn’t want to have to accept them.
Our Christian faith helps us to face pain and the reality of suffering. It is about trusting in Jesus and his healing presence on our lives.

Soul of Christ, sanctify me,
Body of Christ save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me,
Water from the side of Christ wash me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds hide me
Permit me not to be separated from you.
From malignant enemy defend me
In the hour of my death call me
And bid me come to you,
That with your saints I may praise you
For ever and ever. Amen.


25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

St Vincent de Paul (27 September)
St. Vincent de Paul (1576 - 1660) was born in Gascony, France, and died in Paris. He studied theology at
Toulouse and was ordained a priest in 1600. As a young priest he fell into the hands of Mohammedan pirates who carried him off to Africa. After his return to France he became successively parish priest, grand almoner of the galley slaves, and spiritual director of the Visitation nuns. He founded the Congregation of the Priests of the
Mission or Lazarists to preach especially to country people. With the help of Louise de Marillac he established the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity to care for young girls, for the needy, sick, and orphans.
His motto: "God sees you."
He died at St. Lazarus's which was the centre of his Congregation. Leo XIII proclaimed him special patron of charitable institutions.
Patron: charitable societies; horses; hospitals; leprosy; lost articles; prisoners; volunteers; spiritual help; Saint Vincent de Paul Societies; Vincentian Service Corps; Madagascar; diocese of Richmond, Virginia.
In Ireland the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is the largest, voluntary, charitable
organisation. Its membership of 10,500 volunteers throughout the country are supported by professional staff, working for social justice and the creation of a more just, caring nation. This unique network of social concern also gives practical support to those experiencing
poverty and social exclusion, by providing a wide range of services to people in need.
Dublin's first Youth Conference of the Holy Ghost was established in Blackrock College in 1900. It was not for secondary school students but for those preparing for university examinations. During a coal strike in Britain in 1926 which affected the supply of coal to Ireland and because of coal being essential to what were regarded as "poor families" by the civic authorities of the time, the SVP was asked to undertake the sale of coal at fixed prices.
The Society then organised all its members in Dublin in dealing with the coal emergency and paid for 1,500 bags of coal which it organised to be distributed free to those in great need. SVP members then visited the houses of the working people in their localities and distributed 8,000 vouchers that enabled families to buy a bag of coal for 3s.6d. Electricity and gas were unknown in the tenements of the time in Dublin. The Society also set up a 'coal fund' through which people could pay a few pence a week towards the cost of fuel for Christmas.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVP) is a direct service non-profit organisation whose work primarily
involves person-to-person contact with people who have a variety of needs. In addition to direct assistance, they try to promote self-sufficiency, enabling people to help themselves. Any assistance offered by the Society is given in a non-judgemental spirit of compassion, based on the need of the individual or family.
St. Vincent de Paul act as a short-term safety net for those who fall outside the care of the Welfare State or need emergency financial support. They try to embrace those who are marginalised by helping them to rekindle their self-respect and sense of worth. The Charity's Mission is also to rectify the causes of poverty which perpetuate the problems faced by those they work with. Since the beginning of the recession the calls SVP have doubled.
The Local SVP office is:
SVP North East Regional Office, 53/54 Trinity Street, Drogheda, Co Louth
Telephone 041 9873331/ 1800677777
"Let us love God; but at the price of our hands and sweat of our face."

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Growing in prayer
We connect to each other at different levels. How we do that through words is one thing, but that isn’t the only way or often even the most important way. We talk and have conversations, but what’s really important is mostly growing under the surface. We have ordinary conversations about trivialities and then one day we realise that we love or hate each other, that we’re fast friends or have nothing in common.
Ordinary chit-chat is not the stuff of intimacy but regular contact is because, as the chit-chat is going on, something deeper is happening under the surface.
This is also true of our prayer-lives and our relationship with God. If we make a commitment to sit in private prayer every day we will feel a deep movement towards God. A bond and an intimacy with God is taking place and it grows through regular contact.
Jesus said;
Make your home in me, As I make mine in You”              
John 15.4

When Words Fail
Some time ago in an interview in ‘The Irish Catholic’ singer and composer Fr Liam Lawton says;
“When people come into a sacred space they want to be touched with something that is beautiful. The world is so busy and noisy. I think we need silence and out of this silence comes music, which leads to prayer which leads to silence and back to music again. In the modern world there is a great search for beauty because there is so much banality around and cheapening of life as well. We need to rediscover that beauty and indeed, Divine Beauty. Channelling resources into art helps enhance peoples’ lives. As liturgical music is important for the worship of God, so too is sacred music which helps the soul to be quiet and that is the type of music that I am now moving into”. “It is also important,” he says, “to reach out to the people who are not churchgoers and we are searching. There is huge interest out there and we need to do something for people like this and soon. Consciously being able to touch people when words have failed is very important”.

The following was found on an old woman’s side table after she died:
I would rather have one little rose
From the garden of a friend,
Than to have the choicest flowers
When my day on earth must end.
I would rather have one pleasant word
In kindness said to me,
Than flattery when my heart is still
And life has ceased to be.
I would rather have a loving smile
From friends I know are true,
Than tears shed round my casket
When this world I’ve bid adieu.
Bring me all your flowers today,
Whether pink or white or red:
I’d rather have one blossom now
Than a truck-load when I’m dead.
The Gate of Heaven
Over the massive front doors of a church, these words were inscribed: “The Gate of Heaven”. Below that was a small cardboard sign which read: “Please use other entrance.

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

A weekend to remember.
The Harvest Festival in Sheelin Park comprising of Country Market, tea and refreshments, demonstrations, competitions, auction of items handed in, Family Fun on the pitch etc.etc. Harvest Mass of Thanksgiving. Barn Dance, BBQ, spot prizes in Buddy’s. Four County Vintage Tractor Run supported by Honda Run, food and refreshments for participants, spot prizes, BBQ, Live Music etc., at Fitzsimons.
It was a weekend of friendship and togetherness, gentleness and goodness.
We were put in touch with that great spirit of warmth and cooperation and generosity which is so much part of our parish and wider community. It is good to see it preserved and nurtured and, please God, it will continue to flourish for generations to come. It was good too to see the children enjoying themselves. We mutually enrich each other.
The returns for all the events of Saturday and Sunday amounted to € 10,160. It is a very substantial contribution towards paying off what is owed for the renovation of Carrick and Ballynarry Churches. It is the collective achievement of many many people who tirelessly gave of their time, expertise and generosity. We are grateful to the G.A.A. for making Sheelin Park available and to all who worked so hard to make the weekend so memorable and so successful. The members of the Parish Pastoral Council and Fr Frank would like to say a sincere ‘THANK YOU’ to everyone.
Go mbeirimid beo ag an am seo arís
Our Lady of Sorrows (Sept 15)
As Mary stood at the foot of the Cross on which Jesus hung, the sword of sorrow Simeon had foretold pierced her soul. Below are the seven sorrows of Mary:
1. The prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35)
2. The flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15)
3. Loss of the Child Jesus for three days (Luke 2:41-50)
4. Mary meets Jesus on his way to Calvary (Luke 23:27-31; John 19:17)
5. Crucifixion and Death of Jesus (John 19:25-30)
6. The body of Jesus being taken from the Cross (Psalm 130; Luke 23:50-54; John 19:31-37) 
7. The burial of Jesus (Isaiah 53:8; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42; Mark 15:40-47)
Ember Days
The September Ember Days were particularly focused on the end of the harvest season and thanksgiving to God for the season. Ember Days were three days (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) set aside by the Church for prayer, fasting and almsgiving at the beginning of each of the four seasons of the year. The ember days fell after December 13, the feast of St. Lucy (winter), after the First Sunday of Lent (spring), after Pentecost Sunday (summer), and after September 14 , the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (fall). These weeks were known as the quattor tempora, the "four seasons."
Remember that God is never “too busy” to hear from you. Don’t be “too busy” for him! There are some daily prayers such as the Our Father and the Rosary that take only minutes to say, yet their benefits can last a lifetime!
Prayers can do wonders for your soul. God gives us joy and strength though prayer. You can get a great sense of peace in good times and consolation in bad from them. Our Lord wants to give us the good things we ask for in accordance with His will. The more we pray the more we can grow in His grace.
All we need to know
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The child is father of the man.
(William Wordsworth)
It is in the world of childhood that the secret of life lies. We recall what we were told:
Share everything.
Play fair.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Say your prayers.
Its about simple truth and everyday living. Everything we need to know is in there somewhere.
In times of doubt and uncertainty
Be patient to all that is unsolved in your heart...
Try to love the questions themselves...
Do not now seek the answers,
Which cannot be given because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is to live everything.
Live the question now.
Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it,
Live along some distant day into the answers.
(Rainer Maria Rilke)