Archive for March, 2012

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, 1 April 2012

1st Reading

Isaiah 50:4-7

This is one of the ‘suffering servant’ motifs from the Prophet Isaiah. “… For my part, I made no resistance, neither did I turn away. …” Suffering becomes those who are authentic followers of God, real disciples of the Lord. Here the profound listening to the Lord that the disciple does, sits cheek by jowl with beating, taunting and insult. Listening to God’s Word is a dangerous business that brings us into conflict with those who unjustly hold power.

2nd Reading

Phil 2:6-11

The great ‘Christ-Hymn’. Scholars tell us that Paul may have adopted this text from some other source, possibly in aramaic. Like all hymns, it has a catechetical and credal quality that few other mediums have. Our contemporary hymns tell us a lot about what we really believe. As Christians we are to know Christ intimately. This ‘Christ-Hymn’ offers us an intimate insight into who Christ is. His self-emptying is the means of his exaltation. It is also the means of ours.


Mark 14:1 – 15:47

There is a profound association between Passover, trickery, anointing with costly nard and betrayal for money. This Passover will be the Passion and the ‘preparations’ spoken about in the passage signify the preparation for the Passion that has been going on right throughout the gospel of Mark. This Passover, this Passion, is a New Covenant. Jesus’ blood is the sign of the New Covenant. Here he prefigures his own death by inviting his followers to do what he does: to take, to thank (eucharistēsas) and to give. There is a task to be carried out to recall what Jesus has done. The New Covenant must be remembered and lived out.


Homily Notes

 We look for Christ everywhere. We are taught that Christ is present in four ways during the liturgy: in the gathered assembly; in the proclaimed Word; in the Priest presiding; and in the Eucharist celebrated. Here, Christ is present in Sacrament, Word, action and in people.

For us Catholics, the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is a core doctrine of our faith that we defend highly. We are less vigorous in our defence of the other ‘presences’ of Christ. Still less so are we defensive of the presence of Christ in the poor, in the voiceless and in the marginalised.

Christ is present in Daniel, in Joel and in Betty, most especially because of the violence, suffering, separation and aloneness that they have experienced. Their suffering, like all human suffering, unites them to Christ on the cross in a profound way.

Perhaps this is a good time to remember that much of the Church’s social teaching has the status of doctrine. This places it on an a similar footing to all the great doctrines of the Church.


Fr John Coughlan, CC

Parish of the Sacred Heart, Roscommon Town.



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Liturgy notes for the 5th Sunday of Lent, Year B

1st Reading:  Jeremiah 31:31-34

A new covenant – the sign of this covenant will be that the Law will be written not on tablets of stone but on the hearts of the House of Israel and the House of Judah. There will be no gap between God and his chosen people.

2nd Reading:  Hebrews 5:7-9

This short passage from the letter to the Hebrews is quite similar in style to Phil 2:6-11, which we will encounter in next Sunday’s second reading. They both have a hymnal quality about them, although Phil 2:6-11 is much more clearly in hymn form. There are subtle references both to the garden of Gethsemane: “… prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears, …”, to the resurrection: “… his prayer was heard. …”, and finally to the cross: “… he learnt to obey through suffering; …”.

Gospel:  John 12:20-30

The kairos time of God for the Son “to be glorified” is at hand. This time appears to be instigated by the request of the Greeks to meet Jesus. The imagery is of a wheat grain falling to the earth. Jesus appears to be emotionally torn by the prospect of this ‘glorification’: “Now my soul is troubled.” The new covenant will come about through the crucifixion/resurrection/glorification/exaltation of Jesus.

Homily Notes

The story of Jesus is the story of his life, death and resurrection. All three are linked together closely. When we ponder gospel stories in prayer, we may focus on one part of this trio. Recently in the liturgy, we have been journeying with stories about Jesus’ life on earth. Now we are approaching Jesus’ death, and after that we will celebrate his resurrection. We split up these three, and yet, the trio are always present and always celebrated. There is not one without the other.

In the story of the transfiguration from three weeks ago we realised that even while Jesus was on this earth his resurrection and glorification was already in place. Today, we realise that Jesus’ journey to the cross is shot through with experiences of pain, suffering, deep emotion and prayer to the Father. At the same time, God is being glorified: “A voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

We do not seek suffering. We do not condone the suffering of others. And more, we seek to alleviate the suffering of people we encounter on the road of life, just as they might seek to alleviate and assist us in coping with our suffering. In our own suffering and in the suffering of others we encounter Christ today.


Fr. John Coughlan, CC

Roscommon Town, Roscommon

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 John 3:16 “God so loved the world that he gave his only son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

When growing up, sport played a big part for me. It was an interest, a hobby, a pass time. I would collect the football stickers for the various albums, and swap doubles in the playground to get the album finished. I played football most days; kicking a ball around seemed to hold a great fascination for me as it does for many. When I was in the seminary football was a release valve for diffusing the tension of community living. I would go to the football field more times than I did the library! Nowadays I settle for watching sport mostly on television. I often spot a sign in the crowd that says John 3:16, more so in the past and more often on American sporting events. At first I was unaware of what it meant until it was pointed out that it was a verse from the bible. It is a verse that contains the whole meaning of the bible and of faith too! Some big statement indeed!

God so loved the world that he gave his only son so that whoever believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life! This is a wonderful expression of the love of God for his people. It truly warms the heart to hear these words. It sends a shiver down the spine for it introduces hope into our thinking. It injects this hope into the purpose of our living, inspiring us to strive for life and embrace that life with gusto! We may be feeling wretched, lonely, unloved, dull, unhappy but if we hear these words and take them to heart then we have hope.

The sign in the crowd at sporting arenas jolts people who see it to find out more about the meaning, that is why it is held up. There is an important aspect here for us. That sign is to be held up by us too, not in the form of words but in the form of love. Held up in the way we live, in the example we choose to give. The imprint we make on our world comes from the words that underpin our hearts. Taking these words to heart will enable us to live in such a way that we show belief, we reveal truth, we demonstrate hope. It is what our faith in God is all about.

St Paul cements this understanding that we are to “live” the sign, to be living signs of faith, when he says that; we are God’s handiwork, created for good works!

Lent begins with a sign, we are signed on the foreheads with ashes. This sign reminds us that we are sinners in need of God’s grace to help us be the living signs of faith to others. May this Lent enable us to reveal by the way we live our lives the signs of God’s loving, creating handiwork in and through us.

By:  Fr. Patrick Brennan

Source:  http://humblepiety.blogspot.com/

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Saturday, 10 o’clock in the morning of March 10, 2012 was the day set for the Perpetual Profession of two of our sisters, Sr. M. Geraldine Bucog and Sr. Christine Aroa at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish. Our community in Cebu, hosted the event and took care of the preparations including the accommodations of the sisters and guests.

The event was made more remarkable by the presence of Sr. M. Regina Cesarato, Superior General, Sr. M. Leticia Bantolinao, General Councillor and Sr. M. Agar Coreno, General Bursar. The Most Rev. Julito Cortes, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cebu was the presiding prelate. The Eucharistic celebration started with the sound of the gong and sacred music to set a solemn and prayerful mood. The entrance procession was led by the sisters about to profess the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience for life, bearing the lighted candles which they placed near the altar.

The Rite of Profession was highlighted by the Litany which was solemnly and prayerfully sung while the sisters lay prostrate at the foot of the altar. To receive and witness the vows were the Superior General, General Councillor and the Provincial Superior, respectively. In his homily, the bishop made a very meaningful and profound connection of the Gospel to the essence of religious life. He expressed the hope that by their consecration, Srs. M. Christine and M. Geraldine may be able to lead others who might have wandered to the far away “country of sin” (like the prodigal son in the gospel), back to the forgiving Father who readily welcomes them back to the fold.

To cap the celebration was the simple meal shared by all those present at the Divine Master convent of the PDDM community in Alo Private Road, to the delight of the parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends of the neo perpetually professed sisters and the community. In the evening meal of the same day, members of the family of the two professed sisters were present. After the meal a short program was organized by the community of sisters to welcome them and introduce them to the congregation, signifying the growth of the family. This was also the time to thank and acknowledge the participation of each member in the community.


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St Patrick’s Day, 17 March 2012, Mark 16:15-20

The Google Doodle for St Patrick’s Day, 2012

How do we know that there is a God?
This was the question posed to me by a young girl of twelve years of age in a small rural school near Castlerea a few years ago. I was still training for the priesthood, and out getting experience in parish and school. I asked the class could they tell me the proper name of the parish. One young fella put up his hand: ‘Kilkeevan’, he said. I said, ‘Thats right.’ I then showed them how that name actually meant Church of Kevin. I mused with them that there must have been someone called Kevin who had founded a Church here at some stage. How do we know there is a God? Because other people share God’s story with us. They preach it to us, they teach it to us, and they are instrumental in allowing us to mysteriously, or rather, sacramentally enter and maintain a relationship with God.

Patrick was sent to preach
Not only did he leave his homeland of Britain, but he went back to a place that had enslaved him. This was not only a crossing of a national boundary – it was a profound crossing of a personal boundary on Patrick’s behalf. We can only imagine what this was like for Patrick. The link between him and Christ through his prayer seems to have been the force that enabled Patrick to set out on his mission to preach the gospel of freedom to the very people who had taken his freedom away.

There is a radicalness to Patrick’s preaching
because he did not identify himself as being a narrow-minded, parochial person. As a Roman, Patrick had a truly global worldview, and because of that worldview, Patrick was able to go beyond his own family, his own country and homeplace to share the story of freedom with a people not his own. And that is a core expression of the universalism that is at the heart of Catholicism. It is a global, international, universal expression of Christ’s instruction to: ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.’

Before Patrick left his homeland for our homeland, Christ left his Father
Christ emptied himself of his divine inheritance for a time in order to become one of us, that Christ might be God for us and that we might become part of the great relationship that God is, the Trinitarian relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that Patrick illustrated with the Shamrock.

Christ went on mission from heaven to earth and back again
Patrick was taken from freedom into slavery and back again. Strengthened by his experience, Patrick copied Christ once more, this time voluntarily and returned to Ireland, this time bearing the mission of Christ and the commission of the Church.

St Patrick

The greatness of Patrick is shared by all of us who cross great personal boundaries to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others
The greatness of Patrick is shared by all who cross great personal journies from addiction to recovery, from slavery to freedom, from sin to redemption, from death to life. The greatness of Patrick is shared by all those who have historically left these shores to make a new life for themselves and their families – and not just historically but also those who are emigrating in the hundreds and thousands right now to eek out a new life for themselves.


Sunday Homilies by Fr John Coughlan, a Roman Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Elphin, Ireland.


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An INVITATION to interested Young Ladies!
(18-35 years)

When: 1st April 2012, Sunday

Where: Divine Master Convent, Circumferential Road
Time: 8:30am – 4:30pm
Contact: Sr. M. Martha, PDDM CP no: 09204878307

Where: Divine Master Convent, Alo Private Road (beside Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish)
Time: 10:00am – 4:30pm
Contact: Sr. M. Sonia, PDDM CP no: 09298480182


Spend the day in prayer, sharing of life and friendship…

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1st Reading – Exodus 20:1-17

The Ten Commandments are given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. They are the substance, the ‘stuff’, of the Mosaic Covenant. Two weeks ago we recalled the first Covenant, between God and Noah. Last week we heard again the second Covenant between God and Abraham. And now we remember the Covenant that God made with Moses in the desert between Egypt and the Promised Land. This covenant is the most specific covenant that God makes. Noah’s covenant had been with all creation; Abraham’s covenant was with him and all his descendents, while Moses’ Covenant is with a particular people whom God has called to be his own. From the Mosaic covenant forward there is a people called the ‘People of God’.


2nd Reading – 1 Corinthians 1:22-25

“… the Crucified Christ…” is the basic building block of the New Covenant that God makes with the new ‘People of God’ that the Church is. There is a new covenant, a new Moses, a new people. Now there are four covenants, and four signs: Noah’s rainbow, Abraham’s ram, Moses’ tablets of stone, and Christ crucified. This sign of the new covenant that forms the new people of God is the most radical sign because it is not just a symbol like the others. Rather the sign of the new covenant is a man, sent among us, “to the Jews an obstacle” and “to the pagans madness”.

Gospel – John 2:13-25

The Temple cleansing or purification juxtaposes the concepts of “my Father’s house” and “market”. The market is something that we are very familiar with in contemporary living. The collapse of the market a few years ago showed us just how unreliable it is in meeting the demands of justice. Jesus does not have a problem with ‘the market’, but he does have a problem when it takes over “my Father’s house”. The market can be contaminated with human greed and individual self-interest. For that reason it has no place in the Temple, and the Temple here can be interpreted in three ways – as the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, the setting for the gospel story; as the Sanctuary that is Jesus’ body; and Jesus’ body, the Church, in all times and places, including our own time and place. Money and the market are good things, it is what the human heart does with them that contaminates them and makes them contemptible.


Homily Notes

 ‘Covenant’ is a term that we can study for many years and still not come to understand fully. It is a promise of an agreed future, a contract for generations to come. A ‘Covenant’ is a sign of hope. Marriage is often explored as a covenantal relationship because it is by sticking together that a husband and wife can carve out a future that they and their children can rely on. Very often we find ourselves focusing on the ‘how’ of that covenant relationship, forgetting that the answer to that ‘how’ is not found in either person, but in the partners together. As a team, as a partnership, as a covenantal duo, they can take on any challenge. They are greater than the sum of their parts. It is in the midst of the partnership, the togetherness of the people involved, that God’s grace enters and bears fruit. Daniel’s parents, Betty and Joel, have been through many traumatic events in their thirty years of married life. By sticking together, even after they were forceably separated, Joel and Betty are creating a future for Daniel. Their covenant to each other, before God, is bearing rich fruit. In the tough and testing times that we are living through here in Ireland, it is by sticking together, and living out our covenants that we will create a future filled with hope for the generations to come.

By:  Fr. John Coughlan, C.C. (Parish of the Sacred Heart, Roscommon Town)


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