Monthly Archives: February 2014
Pope Francis’ Letter To Families
Here is the text of the letter the Holy Father has written to families, released today.
With this letter, I wish, as it were, to come into your homes to speak about an event which will take place at the Vatican this coming October. It is the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which is being convened to discuss the theme of “pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization”. Indeed, in our day the Church is called to proclaim the Gospel by confronting the new and urgent pastoral needs facing the family.
This important meeting will involve all the People of God – bishops, priests, consecrated men and women, and lay faithful of the particular Churches of the entire world – all of whom are actively participating in preparations for the meeting through practical suggestions and the crucial support of prayer. Such support on your part, dear families, is especially significant and more necessary than ever. This Synodal Assembly is dedicated in a special way to you, to your vocation and mission in the Church and in society; to the challenges of marriage, of family life, of the education of children; and the role of the family in the life of the Church. I ask you, therefore, to pray intensely to the Holy Spirit, so that the Spirit may illumine the Synodal Fathers and guide them in their important task. As you know, this Extraordinary Synodal Assembly will be followed a year later by the Ordinary Assembly, which will also have the family as its theme. In that context, there will also be the World Meeting of Families due to take place in Philadelphia in September 2015. May we all, then, pray together so that through these events the Church will undertake a true journey of discernment and adopt the necessary pastoral means to help families face their present challenges with the light and strength that comes from the Gospel.
I am writing this letter to you on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. The evangelist Luke tells us that the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph, in keeping with the Law of Moses, took the Baby Jesus to the temple to offer him to the Lord, and that an elderly man and woman, Simeon and Anna, moved by the Holy Spirit, went to meet them and acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah (cf. Lk 2:22-38). Simeon took him in his arms and thanked God that he had finally “seen” salvation. Anna, despite her advanced age, found new vigour and began to speak to everyone about the Baby. It is a beautiful image: two young parents and two elderly people, brought together by Jesus. He is the one who brings together and unites generations! He is the inexhaustible font of that love which overcomes every occasion of self-absorption, solitude, and sadness. In your journey as a family, you share so many beautiful moments: meals, rest, housework, leisure, prayer, trips and pilgrimages, and times of mutual support… Nevertheless, if there is no love then there is no joy, and authentic love comes to us from Jesus. He offers us his word, which illuminates our path; he gives us the Bread of life which sustains us on our journey.
Dear families, your prayer for the Synod of Bishops will be a precious treasure which enriches the Church. I thank you, and I ask you to pray also for me, so that I may serve the People of God in truth and in love. May the protection of the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph always accompany all of you and help you to walk united in love and in caring for one another. I willingly invoke on every family the blessing of the Lord.
From the Vatican, 2 February 2014
Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
On Thursday, February 13th, the Diocese gathered with Sherry Weddell in the Father Peyton Centre, Attymass, Co. Mayo.
Bishop Brendan began the day with a prayer and words of welcome to Sherry and the many people from around the diocese who assembled to hear her speak on the topic of “Forming Intentional Disciples” – the title of her best-selling book. She spoke with passion and conviction and from a place of deep and nurtured faith. Her message was truly inspirational and, all gathered, were impressed by the sincerity of her message.
Her words, especially around prayer and seeking the prayers of people before any re-shaping of church, parish or self can take place, sat well with the Diocesan Prayer initiative that is currently taking place throughout the diocese.
There were many strands to Sherry’s presentation but the need to bring Jesus into our conversation was centre stage. She fears that, for many, Jesus is the name that dare not be mentioned whereas, in her opinion, it is only through its mention and regular mention that the name can be fully alive for us all. She raised for us, as she has done in her book, the direct and soul-provoking question; “What is your personal relationship with Jesus Christ?”
It is in the answering of this question our direction is found. It was a day well spent and the diocese is thankful to Sherry for joining us and to Tim Nichols and his wife Cathy who have hosted Sherry in their home. We wish her well over the coming days when she presents a seminar in Maynooth and next week in Malta.
Following a brave and faith-filled encounter with Motor Neurone Disease, Fr Andrew Finan died earlier this morning, February 2nd 2014, the Feast of The Lord’s Presentation in the Temple. May he rest in peace.
Ordained in 1980, Andrew spent practically all of his priestly life as a member of the teaching staff of St Nathy’s College.
We offer our deepest sympathy to his brother, family, teaching colleagues and many friends within and beyond our diocese.
With Simeon, central to this Feast Day, we pray:
“At last, all-powerful Master,
you give leave to your servant
to go in peace, according to your promise.
For my eyes have seen your salvation
which you have prepared for all nations,
the light to enlighten the Gentiles
and give glory to Israel, your people.”
Monday: Reposing Sharkey’s Funeral Home, Ballaghaderreen from 4pm. Prayers at 6pm with removal to the Cathedral of The Annunciation and St Nathy at 7.45pm for arrival at 8pm.
Tuesday: Funeral Mass at 1pm in Cathedral of The Annunciation and St Nathy, followed by burial at Corrownagh Church, Ballisodare, Co Sligo.
MESSAGES OF SYMPATHY
If you would like to include a message of sympathy or a memory of Fr Andrew, please use the form below (Messages received will be included on this page)
Sympathy to +Brendan Kelly & Collleagues on Andrew Finan’s Death. His final “Nunc Dimittis” was on Sunday as we celebrated the Feast of the Light of the Lord’s Presence for all people.
“AT LAST” Andrew, whose Patron’s name was the Apostle who led Peter to Jesus, can now know that making sense of life and suffering also means having a meaning for death. I visited him often when he was in hospital and in the Nursing Home. His faith accepted the illness, which was borne with a calm hope. Gethsemane and Calvary merged for him.
When I was in London as an Emigrant Chaplain, Andrew stayed with me. He was intensely investigative on so many areas of life and people, but never nosey!! Andrew’s own Faith was strong…I have no doubt he led many to the Lord with all his unique interests. Sorry that I cannot make it to the Funeral Mass.
Fr John Cullen