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Priests of the Diocese of Meath One-Hundred-Nineteen Years Ago

I came across Canon P. A. Sheehan's fascinating account of the once widespread Association of Priest Adorers (founded by Saint Peter Julian Eymard) in the July 1984 issue of the Irish Ecclesiastical Record. It is especially noteworthy that the article affirms that "this great work of the priesthood is established in Ireland, notably in the diocese of Meath." I rather suspect that Meath's priest adorers of over a century ago are interceding today for Silverstream Priory and, from their place in eternity, supporting our recently established Confraternity of Priest Adorers of the Eucharistic Face of Jesus.

The Daily Hour of Adoration

The principle difference between the Association of Priest-Adorers and the Confraternity of Priest Adorers of the Eucharistic Face of Jesus is that while the former obliges its members to a single continuous hour of adoration each week, the latter engages priests to a single continuous hour of adoration daily. The compelling example and preaching of the Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen has, without any doubt, contributed to the willingness of many priests today to imitate him in spending one hour each day before Our Lord's Eucharistic Face.

The Remedy

This article was written 119 year ago; I have added only the subtitles in boldface. It is as relevant now as when it first appeared. It has much to say about the priesthood in Ireland yesterday and today, about its challenges, and about a remedy to the crisis in priestly life that is, at once, divinely efficacious and within the reach of every priest.

THE IRISH ECCLESIASTICAL RECORD, JULY, 1894


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Sacrileges in 19th Century France

Readers of French newspapers are occasionally, indeed all too frequently, horrified by such items of news as these : At Notre-Dame de Paris, on Holy Saturday, several hundred consecrated Hosts were sacrilegiously stolen at eight o'clock in the forenoon. A few days before a similar sacrilege was committed in the Church of St. Ferdinand des Ternes. The Church of St--Égrève, near Grenoble, was sacked during the night of Sunday, March 25th. The sacerdotal vestments, sacred vases, etc., were stolen, and a golden ciborium, the most precious possession of the church. The Sacred Hosts were found on the road of Fontenil. The Clarion des Alpes publishes with expressions of regret a series of horrible sacrileges against the Most Holy Sacrament. The Eclair of Montpellier gives an account of a sacrilege of a peculiarly atrocious kind in a local church.

An unspeakable sacrilege was committed on Monday, the 13th of March, in the Lyceum at Douai. A student approached the holy table, secreted the sacred Host, and afterwards submitted it to the most revolting outrages, mutilating and breaking it, to see "if blood would flow." And his companions, far from being shocked, applauded, and envied him.

It is now well known that all this outrage is systematized under a Satanic propaganda, which has for its direct object, the enthroning of Lucifer and the dethroning of Christ.

Within a radius of one mile around the Panthéon in Paris no less than twenty-three altars are raised to the personal worship of Satan. He has his priests and priestesses, his ritual, his ceremonies; Friday is his Sabbath; the serpent, as in the ancient occultisms, is his emblem; and the destruction of the Christian religion, and direct insults to its divine Founder, especially in the Sacrament of His love, the object of this new and infernal system. No wonder that a priest opens this list of ghastly sacrileges by the words Parce Domine! and closes it with this appeal :

Priests- Adorers, let us close in our ranks about the tabernacle ! Let us watch with jealous care over this divine treasure committed to our charge. Let us weep and mourn before the Lord Jesus, so cruelly outraged in the Sacrament of His supreme love. May our ceaseless acts of reparation appease the divine anger, and disarm the awful vengeance of God ! Let us multiply our hours of adoration, let us bring our faithful people to the foot of the altar,and on our knees repeat : Parce Domine, parce populo tuo!

A Guard of Honour

For France, France of the saintly traditions, has called upon its magnificent reserve of holy traditions and inspirations, and, alive to the awful magnitude of this latest evil, has established a guard of honour around the tabernacles of the Christian world, by banding together in one body the Christian priesthood, the bond of unity being their unceasing adoration before the Hidden Guest on our altars. In 1856, Père Eymard founded in Paris this Association of Priests- Adorers. The spirit of this work, as explained by its saintly
founder, is:

That priest-associates of the Most Holy Sacrament should live the eucharistic life of Jesus Christ, which consists, above all, in self-denial and self-sacrifice. That they should remember that it is their duty to devote themselves to propagate and defend the eucharistic reign of our Lord, they are dispersed over the world to kindle the fire of His love. They should direct their studies, zeal, and piety towards the Eucharist. They should bear in mind that their first duty is that of personal adoration, nos autem orationi instantes erimus. In one word, let them be united in all their acts, and in all their functions, to Jesus Christ, the eternal Priest, Pattern, and Glory of the Priesthood.

Such is the spirit of the work; the conditions for admission, and the gaining of the many indulgences attached to the Association, are few and simple :

1. To be a priest, or, at least, to have entered Holy Orders.
2. To have their names and Christian names inscribed in the registers of the Association.
3. To make every week one continuous hour of adoration before the Most Holy Sacrament, either exposed or shut up in the tabernacle. The day and hour are left to the choice of the associates, who can vary them each week according to the duties imposed
upon them by their sacred ministry. They must not perform, during this hour of adoration, any other duty from another cause obligatory, such as the recital of the office. Associates enjoy the liberty of opening the sacred tabernacle during their hours of adoration, provided there be six wax tapers lighted on the altar.
4. To recite on the day of their admission an act of consecration to the Most Holy Sacrament.
5. To return regularly, at the end of each month, to the seat of Association, the monthly libellum, or ticket of adoration.
6. To celebrate every year, once only, and, if possible, during the Octave of All Saints, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the associates deceased during the past year, and anteriorly.
7. The annual contribution to defray the expenses of the work, and for the publication of the Annales, consists of two shillings for each priest-adorer.

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Statistics

In March, 1892, the Association of Priests- Adorers numbered 21,000 priests, spread throughout the whole world, and taking in all ranks of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. There were then forty-eight bishops and three cardinals associated. More than one hundred bishops have approved of the work. Seventy dioceses in France have a diocesan director, nominated or accepted by the ordinary. In March of this year, 1894, the number of associates had increased to close upon 29,000 members, giving an increase of nearly 8,000 members during the past two years. In Rome, the centre of Catholicity, the Association has been approved, and canonically erected by his Eminence Cardinal Parocchi; and Pope Pius IX., and our present Sovereign Pontiff have deigned to grant the Association their pontifical sanction and blessing. In America the organization has spread so widely, that eucharistic congresses are regularly held in the large cities by priests associated in this sodality; in Australia it has taken deep root ; and even from far-away Tasmania we learn that the venerable patriarch of Australasia has established it in his diocese, and has given it the high sanction of his name and approbation. During the month of April, this year, two hundred and forty-two new associates were enrolled, thirty-six from France, seventy-six from Germany, eighty-one from Austria, four from Belgium, twelve from Canada, twelve from the United States, two from Holland, nine from Italy, three from Switzerland, three from Ireland, and one from Poland.

In Ireland

It will thus be seen that already this great work of the priesthood is established in Ireland, notably in the diocese of Meath. The Primate of Armagh, the Bishops of Cork, Meath, and Waterford, have written warm letters of approbation ; and it is with the view of introducing it more widely to the notice of the Irish priesthood, that these pages, thanks to the courtesy of the Editor, have been penned for the I. E. Record. For when, a month ago, the writer had the pleasure of an interview with the Director- General for Ireland, Father Charles Spieser, Wilton, Cork, and the vast importance and sublimity of this work were explained to him, he undertook, without reluctance, the task of being the humble apostle of this most sacred and salutary devotion ; and he felt the truth of what was so strongly urged upon him, that it only needed an introduction to the notice of the Irish priesthood to become a great and widespread devotion, and as strong a bond of union amongst them as their common faith. And it would seem that this devotion has a most special claim on the acceptance of Irish priests; for, unlike the priesthood of all other European countries, we have the inestimable privilege of being not only the custodians, but the very hosts and domestic companions, if we may so speak, of the Incarnate Word. Under our roof He dwells ; a bare partition separates His room from ours ; we pass Him by every moment of the day ; in the watches of the night, when we slumber, from our little oratories, where He keeps His sleepless vigils, He protects us ; when at midnight we are called to the bedside of the sick, we need not go to the church, but, passing from one room to another, we bid Him rise up, and come with us ; and from the hushed silence of His little chamber a divine influence goes forth every moment of the night and day, such as melted the hearts of the disciples at Emmaus, when they knew Him in the breaking of bread.

A Bishop Speaks

Apart, therefore, from the general reasons that should make this devotion so attractive to priests, there are very special reasons why we should take particular interest in
practising and propagating this devout system of adoration and reparation. And lest these feeble words of mine should detract from the importance which I should desire to attach to this great spiritual work, I shall keep silent, and let a gifted and saintly prelate, whose name is not unknown in Ireland, speak. Writing to one of the directors of this Association on Christmas Day, 1887, Mgr. Perraud, Bishop of Autun, says :

Bishops, as judges and guardians of the faith, are often asked to testify to the dogmatic and moral worth of a book by writing to the author a letter which will enable him to appear with confidence before the public. You have asked of me, Reverend Father, a like favour on behalf of the pious association of which you are the zealous director. I could very lawfully have made you answer that it is quite superfluous to recommend a work that bears on the face of it the highest titles of recommendation, and of whose excellence no one can doubt. Does not this especially hold of the Confraternity of Priest- Adorers of the Most Holy Sacrament ? And does it not suffice to make its existence known to the clergy, to be assured of finding in their ranks numerous adherents ? I cannot, however, refrain from citing some of the motives which have made it for me a labour of love to promote its propagation amongst the priests of the diocese of Autun during the ecclesiastical Retreats in the month of September. Priests, enrolled in this Association, undertake the obligation of passing every week, on a day that suits their own convenience, one continuous hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. At first sight, this practice seems, perhaps, of little account; and it may be asked if it is worth the trouble of making it the object of a special association. But after a little reflection one is not long in perceiving that the weekly visit during a continuous hour can easily become in the life of a good priest the grain of mustard-seed, which rapidly shooting up, extends its branches and fruits on every side. To begin with, is not our fidelity in discharging this hour of adoration a guarantee of the exactness with which the daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament will be made, at least within the limits of the time devoted to it by the pious customs of our ecclesiastical colleges ? For my own part, I feel firmly convinced, that many associates after having experienced 'the joys and blessings of the complete hour of adoration, shall find very short the visits of a quarter of an hour assigned to the other days of the week. If they cannot always by reason of the duties of the sacred ministry prolong the duration of those visits, they will ingeniously devise means of multiplying them ; they will feel the necessity, the habit will grow upon them, of profiting by certain spare moments to hasten and present themselves anew, were it only for a few minutes, before the Divine Guest of our Tabernacles, in order to greet Him, and to recommend to Him in a more direct way such a work, such an undertaking, or some other anxious care of our pastoral labour. It is told of St. Thomas of Aquin, that despite his mighty genius, finding himself at a loss to solve certain theological difficulties, he betook himself to the Church, and addressing our Divine Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, humbly implored of Him the light desired. A similar incident is narrated in the life of St. Vincent de Paul, that he was in the habit of treating directly with Jesus Christ, hidden under the veil of the Eucharist, about the many details of his charitable creations . . . .
Up to the present I have considered this devotional exercise only in its relations with the other practices of sacerdotal piety : it is now time to study it in itself, and weigh its intrinsic excellence. I shall endeavour to do so by setting forth some reflections suggested to me by the text from Ecclesiastes : ' It is a great depth, who shall find it out ? ' (Eccl. vii. 25.) Is it not too often true that after having read such and such a spiritual book, or heard such or such a sermon, we feel constrained to confess that the subject has not been sufficiently treated. Hence, the reason why so many writings and discourses only produce a superficial and passive impression. From their nature they are able for a moment to dazzle the intellect or move the heart ; but to-morrow these emotions will be half effaced, and totally forgotten the day after. The thoughts which they called forth did not flow from the inmost depths of the soul, into which a profound meditation alone can penetrate. Following this train of thought, I come upon the kernel of our subject ; it is quite a different thing to spend before the Blessed Sacrament four quarters of an hour, separated from one another by studies, by occupations, by pastoral cares, however legitimate in themselves, and from uniting them without a break, so as to secure an uninterrupted hour during which the thoughts, desires, affections, and resolutions can, under the action of the immediate presence of Jesus Christ, be concentrated in a single point, and penetrate the soul to its most profound depths. I confess I would be very much surprised if on the day on which he passed his entire hour before the Holy Sacrament, the priest who would be called either to ascend the pulpit, or to hear confessions, or to visit the sick or dying, did not, as if in spite of himself, betray the secret of a closer intimacy with Jesus Christ, by accents more persuasive, by a charity more abounding, by a more decisive and lasting influence upon souls. If such be the case, what priest desirous of exercising a faithful, a useful and truly regenerative and sanctifying ministry, would not desire to avail himself of a means which its facility renders universally accessible ?
But are there not some priestly lives that are consumed by a multiplicity of the most pressing cares ? During these days that are devoted almost interruptedly to the service of our neighbour, there can be no difficulty in finding one continuous hour during which priests can be sure of not, being called, and during which they can obtain the advantages of the lengthened time of recol- lection, silence, and prayer, without detriment to the duties of their state, and plunge themselves at leisure into the abysses of the Eucharistic Mystery. Moreover, is it not a matter of experience that the more one is obliged to devote himself to others, the more need he has of taking heed to himself, and to speak as our Lord, of refreshing himself and being refreshed Ego reficiam vos, that he may ever be prepared to perform the duties of his Apostolic ministry ? The more a priest devotes himself to the service of the Church and of souls, the more he has need of the graces of meditation and interior recollection attached to this hour of adoration.
But, you will show me your daily distribution of time, and you have no trouble in persuading me that from your thanksgiving after Holy Mass until evening, you are just able to secure the indispensable quarter of an hour to visit the Blessed Sacrament after midday. I am convinced : I do not mean to discuss it. But, unhesitatingly, tell you : Select some day in the week on which you will rise an hour earlier ; this hour you will spend before the Blessed Sacrament ; and you will even be able to employ it in making your meditation. I assure you, your work not only that day, but even during the rest of the week, will betray the influence of this blessed hour. Because of it you shall do more, and you shall do better.
I wish to all my brethren in the priesthood, as well as to myself, that fulness of faith, of conviction, of charity, and zeal, which will be for us the blessed fruit of our visits during the hour with Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament ; a fulness, which, in its turn, will overflow on the souls of those with whom our ministry will put us in contact, and in all the undertakings confided to our care.

Such is the language of this great prelate concerning this sacred priestly work language which anticipates and answers every possible objection that may be launched
against it.

Priesthood Ordered to the Eucharist

But I hear someone say : Why multiply devotions ? Already they are almost innumerable, and we are bewildered in the choice we ought to make, and weary in the undertaking of responsibilities which were almost forced upon us. That objection might hold for the laity ; but we think it hardly applies to priests. And even if it did, the one simple answer is, that for every reason devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament must be the great, central, all-absorbing interest of the priest's life, to which every other exercise of piety must be regarded as complemental and ancillary. The whole sacerdotal ministry converges directly or indirectly towards the Holy Eucharist : Ordo, says St. Thomas, prout est sacramentum imprimens characterem, ordinatur specialiter ad Sacramentum Eucharistiae, in quo ipse Christus continetur, quia per characterem ipsi Christo configuramur. And again: Ordinis Sacramentum ad Sacramentum Eucharistiae ordinatur quod est Sacramentum Sacramentorum . . . Quia potestas ordinis aut est ad consecration em ipsius Eucharistiae aut ad aliquod ministerium ordinatum ad hoc Sacramentum Eucharistiae.

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Priests Adoring With the Faithful

The question is hardly debatable, and so we leave it, with the remark, that long before modern confraternities and sodalities were introduced for the edification and spiritual succour of the faithful, the Confraternity of the Most Blessed Sacrament was, fifty years back, well known to the Irish hierarchy, and strongly recommended to the faithful, and even its erection in each parish ordered and enforced, as a glance at our statutes will testify. It is quite possible that even in our day, we may have the privilege of witnessing a grand revival of devotion to the great hidden mystery of our faith. Already, in some dioceses in Ireland, priests- adorers have gathered around them in their weekly adoration large numbers of the faithful who can also be associated. And we feel confident that this great work will go on from day to day, animating the fervour of our Catholic people, and calling down from the throne of grace incalculable blessings on the Irish Church. Behind the daily labour of our priests, a secret power will be working for their success, and the hearts of all will be turned towards the silent tabernacle where dwells that God-Man whose presence constitutes our strength here and our hope hereafter.

P. A. SHEEHAN.

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Archbishop Charles J. Brown, Papal Nuncio to Ireland delivered a message of hope last week at the closing Mass of the National Novena to Our Lady of Knock. His Excellency gives a personal witness of the vitality of the Church as he has experienced it at the International Eucharistic Congress, at the ordination of Father Damien Lynch in Balleyvourney, Co Cork, at Croagh Patrick on Reek Sunday, and at the 2012 Youth Festival at Clonmacnois. Here is the text of Archbishop Brown's homily. The subtitles in boldface are my own.

At Our Lady's Shrine

[Your Excellencies... Father Richard Gibbons, Parish Priest of Knock], my fellow priests, dear men and women religious, beloved brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. It is truly an honour and a joy for me to be here with you today on the final day of the National Novena at Our Lady's Shrine in Knock.

Our Lady, Consolatrix Afflictorum

When Blessed John Paul II came here on September 30, 1979, to celebrate Holy Mass, he began with the words: "Here I am at the goal of my journey to Ireland: the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock" and, in a certain sense, his words are true for all of us here today, as we celebrate the conclusion of the National Novena; we too have come to the goal of our journey. We come as pilgrims to pray at the feet of Mary, the humble girl of Nazareth, the glorious Mother of God, the "Woman clothed with the sun" who appeared here in 1879 to comfort and console the Catholic people of Ireland.

Ireland in 1879

The passage of time tends to make us forget what things were like in Ireland when Mary appeared. Ireland was not yet a free and independent nation; close to a million people had suffered and died during the Great Famine thirty years previously, and in the year 1879 when Mary appeared, hunger had returned to the West of Ireland. Huge numbers of Irish people had been forced to leave as emigrants, never to return, so much so that the population of Ireland plummeted by something like 25 per cent.

The Lamb of God

And so it was that, in those very bad times, Mary appeared, to comfort and to console and - although she never spoke a word - to lead her people, to direct her children to the Lamb on the altar, the Lamb who was slain but who now is alive, the "Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world". Yes, the times in which Mary appeared here in Knock were very bad, and yet it bears noting that the century which followed the apparition would be marked by an extraordinary flourishing of the Catholic Church in Ireland, with huge numbers of vocations to the priesthood and religious life and a deep Christianisation of all aspects of society. Such a flourishing would have seemed impossible in 1879. But the night is often darkest before the dawn.

The Dimming of the Faith

When we reflect on Our Lady's apparition at Knock and the historical circumstances in which it occurred, we cannot help thinking about our times and our own future. Certainly, there are reasons for discouragement. It seems as if every few months, a new survey is released showing, or purporting to show, that the Catholic faith is disappearing in Ireland. We have had two decades of scandals, crimes and failures. 'The Church is finished!' seems to be the cry heard everywhere.

The Radiance of the Faith

But, my brothers and sisters, let me tell you what I have seen and heard (cf. 1 John 1:3). Two months ago, I saw the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin exceed everyone's expectations, with tens of thousands of people coming to learn more about the central mystery of our faith - the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

An Ordination

One month ago today, I was in Ballyvourney in County Cork, where I had the joy of ordaining a young man to the priesthood. The small country church was filled with people young and old; the liturgy was celebrated in a beautiful way, with music and hymns in the Irish language. The sanctuary was packed with more than eighty good and faithful priests, many very young, some quite old, all of them there to welcome and to support their newest brother in the priesthood.

Pilgrimage

Three weeks ago, in County Mayo, I saw thousands of pilgrims climbing Croagh Patrick on Reek Sunday. Many young people. Many men. Some climbing in bare feet. I saw hundreds of people that day going to confession to the priests on the top of the mountain.

Youth at Prayer

Ten days ago, I was at Clonmacnoise and I saw literally hundreds of young people kneeling in adoration in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, praying the Rosary, confessing their sins, rejoicing in the liberating love of God, and sharing the joy and excitement of being Catholic with their peers. That, my brothers and sisters, is the future of the Church in Ireland.

Authentically Catholic

So what is this future going to be like? Before all else, I would say that the future needs to be authentically Catholic if there is to be a future. We need to propose the Catholic faith in its fullness, in its beauty and in its radicality, with compassion and with conviction. We need to be unafraid to affirm the elements of the Catholic way which secular society rejects and ridicules.

Seek Ye First the Kingdom

I believe that the Gospel for today's Mass points the way for the future of the Church in Ireland. Jesus speaks to his disciples about priorities. He tells us not to worry about things like what we are to wear and what we are to eat, or about how much money we can amass. He says put first things first: "Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well" (Mt 6:33). And what is this Kingdom of God proposed by Jesus? It cannot be identified with a worldly kingdom. As Jesus says in front of Pontius Pilate, "My Kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). It is a Kingdom which only reaches its fulfilment and fruition in the life of the world to come, as described in our first reading from the Book of the Apocalypse.

The Kingdom Here and Now

Only in the end, will the Kingdom be complete: "a new heaven and a new earth", the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem. That city - to paraphrase Pope John Paul II's words about Knock - is the goal of our journey. If we seek that city, that goal, that Kingdom, then everything else will be taken care of. But that Kingdom of light and joy is not only a future reality, it is also anticipated, made real in advance, wherever Jesus Christ is truly present in our world, in the celebration and adoration of the Holy Eucharist, in the sacraments and in the love we have for one another.

The Salvation of Souls

As the Church in Ireland moves into the future, we need to recognise that everything the Church does is somehow related to that reality: the reality of salvation.

Papal Initiatives

Pope Benedict XVI has instituted a number of initiatives designed to help the Church move into the future. He has established an office for the New Evangelisation, which means finding new ways of presenting and communicating the ancient faith, especially in those countries like Ireland which were first given the gift of Catholic faith many centuries ago. The Holy Father has called a Synod of Bishops, that is, a meeting of Bishops in Rome, which will take place in October of this year, in order to have Bishops from all over the world reflect on this most critical question. And thirdly, Pope Benedict has established a "Year of Faith", which will also begin this October, on the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.

Transmission of the Faith

Pope Benedict writes: "We want to celebrate this Year in a worthy and fruitful manner. Reflection on the faith will have to be intensified, so as to help all believers in Christ to acquire a more conscious and vigorous adherence to the Gospel, especially at a time of profound change such as humanity is currently experiencing. We will have the opportunity to profess our faith in the Risen Lord in our cathedrals and in the churches of the whole world; in our homes and among our families, so that everyone may feel a strong need to know better and to transmit to future generations the faith of all times" (Porta fidei, 8).

Open the Catechism

The Holy Father is insistent on this point. If we are indeed to "transmit to future generations the faith of all times," we need to deepen our own understanding of that faith. In calling for the Year of Faith, the Holy Father has also indicated a means for deepening our understanding of the faith. The opening day of the Year of Faith (October 11, 2012) is not only the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, it is also the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is a magnificent summary and synthesis of the Catholic faith. The Holy Father recommends that we study the Catechism of the Catholic Church as part of the Year of Faith. He describes the Catechism as a means of encountering the person of Christ. Remarkably, he writes "on page after page, we find that what is presented here is no theory, but an encounter with a Person who lives within the Church" (Porta fidei, 11). That Person is Jesus Christ, God made man.

Here in Ireland, the recently published National Directory for Catechesis of the Bishops of Ireland, entitled Share the Good News, also recommends that Catholics "consider setting up a [study] group to look at the Catechism over a period of time"... "like a book club taking a night to discuss a particular section read beforehand" (page 74). This is a great idea, which would have a very positive effect on the future life of the Church in Ireland.

Where Our Lady Is, There is Fruitfulness

Brothers and sisters, the future of the Church in Ireland begins now. We have all been revitalised in our faith by the unforgettable experience of the International Eucharistic Congress, which, pray God, has marked a turning point in the life of the Church in Ireland. Certainly, the road ahead is not an easy one, but the road ahead for Catholics in Ireland did not look very easy in 1879 when Our Lady appeared here on that rainy evening in August. And yet her appearance was followed by one of the most fruitful periods in the fifteen centuries of Catholicism on this Island. Yes, brothers and sisters: "Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well" (Matt 6:33).

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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