Pastor's Desk: 1st Sunday of Lent

Posted 20th February 2010 in Pastor's Desk

Welcome everyone. We gather for the first time since we began the season of Lent on Wednesday with the marking of blessed ashes on our foreheads. Those ashes are a powerful symbol as they say to each of us who wore them, and everyone who saw us that day, we are on a journey of rediscovery. What are we rediscovering? Well firstly, our relationship with Jesus Christ. You might say you never lost it but the truth of it all is that we can have so much to deal with in our lives that the person of Jesus Christ gets pushed out. It’s a bit like my experience since moving house; I know that there are important things to me somewhere in my house but I just haven’t been able to put my hand on them since the upheaval of the move! Likewise, Jesus is part of my life but he can sometimes get pushed back while I deal with immediate concerns. Lent is about repositioning Jesus to a more central position in my daily life. Our Gospel today shows us how Jesus suffered temptation in the desert but did not succumb. He understands our nature and wants us to learn from him and lean on him. Let us not waste these next 40 days.

Vatican Meeting

The meeting in Rome of the Irish bishops with Pope Benedict was something we prayed about at our Masses last Sunday. I must admit, I was disappointed on Tuesday evening with what was coming out from the deliberations and, in particular, that the survivors of abuse were left feeling let down again by the authorities in the Church. I felt much better when Archbishop Martin related his understanding of the meeting and what had been achieved when he met the media on Wednesday: you can read a note from the Archbishop in the panel below. We are on a long and difficult road of renewal for our church and it requires all our prayers to see it through.


The above letters stand for the “Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults” which is about welcoming into the Catholic Church and preparing for sacraments, adults who have been members of other churches/faiths and none, or those Catholics who never received the sacraments of Communion or Confirmation. Over the past three years, our parish has had the great joy of welcoming a new adult member each year and this year is no exception. I ask your prayers for Mary Noonan who is being prepared by our RCIA Group for membership of our faith community. Mary will receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Communion as a member of our parish at the Easter Vigil Mass on April 3rd. Our thanks go the RCIA group who are preparing Mary for this great step in her life.

Have a great week
Fr. Eoin

Note on Rome Meeting

On Monday and Tuesday last (15th and 16th February) Pope Benedict XVI met with the Diocesan bishops of Ireland. Ten senior Vatican Officials also attended the meeting.

The idea of such a meeting was broached by Pope Benedict when he met with Cardinal Brady and me in December last. On that occasion the Pope expressed his regret, outrage, betrayal and shame on what had been chronicled in the Murphy Report. He also announced that he intended to write a pastoral letter to the Church in Ireland.

The aim of this week’s meeting was to listen to the Irish Bishops and to the reactions they had garnered from survivors and from Catholic faithful to the tragic events of abuse which were chronicled in the Murphy Report and to the “failure of the Irish Church authorities for many years to act effectively in dealing with such abuse”. It was recognised that in addition to the terrible harm done to survivors, this failure had damaged “the Church’s spiritual and moral credibility”.

Pope Benedict challenged the bishops to address the problems of the past with determination and resolve.

Texts which had been given to various bishops from survivors’ groups and individual survivors were given to Pope Benedict. Before going to Rome I met with various survivors and I had also read carefully the reactions sent to me by Parish Pastoral Councils and by thousands of individuals.

Pope Benedict is now working on his promised Pastoral Letter. This Letter will not be a systematic examination of events, but a pastoral reflection of the Pope, whose office in the Church is to confirm and strengthen the local Churches. The Letter will be one of many steps to be taken in the months and years to come especially within the Irish Church.

+Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin

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