March 29th 2020

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number through the
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome and shelter the homeless,
the sick, the weary.
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting,
All over the world people are looking at their
neighbours in a new way.
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality,
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul.
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake up to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
(Brother Richard OFM Cap)
Published in the Sunday Independent 15/03/2020
Jesus Christ, you travelled through towns and villages
curing every disease and illness.” At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love.
Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.
Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbours from helping one another.
Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.
Jesus Christ, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.
Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.
Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know your peace.
Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace.
Be with the leaders of all nations. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well being of the people they are meant to serve. Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks. May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.
Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare.
In place of our anxiety, give us your peace. Amen.
(Published in the local papers this week)
Remembering back to March 2001, nineteen years ago,
the country had its first confirmed case of Foot & Mouth on Thursday 21st March 2001. It was a time of crisis, a time of fear, a time of taking the necessary precautions. All events were cancelled, farmers lived in fear, but we got through it.
Restrictions were in place for several months.
We will also get through the Coronavirus, by strictly following
the advice of the HSE and looking out for each other.
We remember all our frontline medical staff, all health care workers, emergency services; supermarket staff; chemists & their staff; post office staff; delivery drivers; bakeries; butchers; farmers; local media; and every one in any walk of life who by their daily efforts help to keep the rest of us to live as normal a life as we can.
We remember Paul & his staff in our local supermarket and post office also Gerry & staff in the Pharmacy who on a daily basis, with courtesy and patience look after all the customers at this very serious time.
We thank you all so very much.
‘Calm the Soul’, based on a prayer from their best selling book, Calm the Soul, is a song released by the Poor Clare Sisters in Galway in Nov 2019. The song is a collaborative effort between the sisters and several professional musicians. Many people have been touched by the prayer ‘Calm the Soul’ and so the sisters decided to make is more accessible. They formed a tune based on an old Irish love song that they felt conveyed the right emotions; the longing of a soul praying for wholeness and peace.
The words of the prayer are:
When my boat, Lord, is storm tossed and sinking,
When fears in my heart take control,
Say ‘Be not afraid’ to my spirit,
And Your answer will calm the soul.
When I flounder around in deep waters,
When the stresses of life take their toll,
A sudden deep hush steals upon me,
Your gentleness calms the soul.
When my life seems too full of confusion,
And I have lost sight of the goal,
As I stumble about in the darkness
May Your gentle light calm the soul.
I often live life on the surface,
Sometimes I’m playing a role,
Help me cherish my own inner beauty,
May Your tender love calm the soul.
When sinfulness tugs like an anchor,
When guilt has me caught in a hole.
I turn to You Lord for forgiveness,
And Your mercy calms the soul.
When I struggle with sickness and sorrow,
And eagerly long to be whole,
I call on Your name to bring healing
And the touch of Your hand calms the soul.
The message of ‘Calm the Soul’ is important.
We have all experienced fear, stress, confusion, emptiness, guilt and sorrow. People need to know that it is natural to feel those feelings, as they are part of our journey towards God. Would we turn to God without pain? Would we have room for his love without emptiness? Would we ask for help without genuine need? A person does not need pain and sorrow to have faith but, sometimes, they help. A life lived in full self-sufficiency can be shallow and empty. God’s loving touch and purifying grace come in sorrow and joy.
Hear the song at:
(Theodore Splinter OFM – Messenger Magazine Mar 2020)
Stay in, stay safe and please God we will all come out at the end of this crisis, a stronger and a better nation.
A national anthem is a song of loyalty or patriotism adopted as an expression of national identity. Amhrán na bhFiann /
A Soldier’s Song, is the national anthem of Ireland, made up of three verses and a chorus sung in the native Irish tongue.
It was written by Peadar Kearney – the uncle of novelist and playwright Brendan Behan – and melodeon player, Patrick Heeney, who composed the music around 1910.
The original words of The Soldier’s Song were first published in John Bulmer Hobson’s Irish Freedom Newspaper in 1912. Bulmer Hobson was a member of the Irish Volunteers and Irish Republican Brotherhood before the Easter Rising of 1916. The Soldier’s Song went largely unknown until it was sung at the GPO during the Rising. It was translated into Irish by Liam Ó Rinn (Ring) later that year and published in An tÓglach in 1923, a somewhat successor-publication to the Irish Volunteer, which had ceased publication on the eve of the rising. Michael Collins was a regular contributor to An tOglach.
Amhrán na bhFiann was adopted as the official anthem by the Executive Council of the Irish Free State in 1926, replacing God Save the King, which had been, until then, the anthem of the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland.
Peadar Kearney died in 1942 at the age of fifty-nine and is buried in the Republican Plot in Glasnevin Cemetery, while Patrick Heeney succumbed to tuberculosis in 1911, having never seen his song in print, nor adopted as the Irish National Anthem.
(Pioneer Magazine – March 2020)
The Nightingale:
The Newspaper The Nightingale was printed and published by a man called Johnny Evoy who lived in a small timber house, which was only a few hundred yards from the cross of the Leap. The first paper was printed by a wooden machine made by himself. Then he procured an iron printer. The price of the paper at that time was a half penny. The paper comprised of a single sheet 12” x 17”. Both sides of the sheet were printed on. There were many poems and fables included in the paper with a moral content.
The following was published on July 20th 1918.
The Bear and the Bees
A bear, climbing over a fence, into where bees were kept, began to plunder the hives and rob their honey; but the bees to revenge the injury attacked him in a whole swarm, and although they were not able to pierce his rugged hide, yet they annoyed him so much that he tore himself with his own claws.
The Moral – He that unjustly attacks the property of another, may expect punishment. Few are so weak as not to be able at some time to punish a robber; therefore commit no offences, for the day of retribution will come.
Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.