Bookish

    A list of books for holiday reading in September is ordered. Volumes 11-16 of the Montalbano series and the tale of a village in France that sheltered Jews during the Nazi occupation. Seven more books to add to biographies of Sean O’Casey, James Joyce’ s father, and John Peel, two books on Irish current affairs, and one on economics. One can never have too many books.

    In younger days, only libraries offered such an abundance. The library in Langport was a single room upstairs. Working through its entire stock of Captain W.E. …

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Sermons

Sermon for Sunday, 27th July 2014 (Trinity 6/Pentecost 7)

"The kingdom of heaven is like . . ." Matthew 13:31 Jesus' words are a great encouragement; for those of us ...

Summer Sermon Series, 2014 – The Catechism: 7. You should keep God’s Commandments

"The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul".  Psalm 19:7 "Your Sponsors did promise for you, that you should keep God's Commandments", ...

Sermon for Sunday, 20th July 2014 (Trinity 5/Pentecost 6)

"The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field" Matthew 13:24 Did you ever ...

Summer Sermon Series, 2014 – The Catechism: 6. I believe in the Holy Ghost

"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth" John 16:13 "I believe in the Holy ...

Sermon for Sunday, 13th July 2014 (Trinity 4/Pentecost 5)

". . . what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, ...

Summer Sermon Series, 2014 – The Catechism: 5. And in Jesus Christ

"Rehearse the Articles of thy Belief", says the catechism and those being taught would say the Apostles' Creed, declaring their belief ...

Sermon for Sunday, 6th July 2014 (Trinity 3/Pentecost 4)

"you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants". Matthew 11:25 To make ...

Sermon for Sunday, 29th June (Trinity 2/Pentecost 3)

A Saint Peter's Day sermon is here "you are not under law but under grace" Romans 6:14 What does that mean to us, in ...

Sermon for Saint Peter’s Day 2014

"But who do you say that I am?" Matthew 16:15 We expect the actions of those in in public life to ...

Summer Sermon Series, 2014 – The Catechism: 4. I believe in God the Father

"The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'". Psalm 14:1 Those learning the catechism, those echoing back the things ...

Sermon for Saint John the Baptist’s Day

"‘What then will this child become?’" Luke 1:66 Why did he become? It’s a question Jesus would himself ask. In Saint Matthew Chapter ...

Sermon for Sunday, 22nd June 2014 (Trinity 1/Pentecost 2)

"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, ...

Personal Columns

Bookish

A list of books for holiday reading in September is ordered. Volumes 11-16 of the Montalbano series and the tale of a village in France that sheltered Jews during the Nazi occupation. Seven more books to add to biographies of Sean O’Casey, James Joyce’ s father, and John Peel, two books on Irish current affairs, and one on economics. One can never have too many books.

In younger days, only libraries offered such an abundance. The library in Langport was a single room upstairs. Working through its entire stock of Captain W.E. …

Ireland

Cities of gulls

It must be a slow news day. Garth Brooks is finally and irrevocably cancelled; the parliamentary recess is beginning; big sports stories are still weeks away; so we have a story of seagulls. The country’s leading newspaper reports a politician’s complaint, “Dublin seagulls have lost the run of themselves completely and must be stopped.” A member of the senate claims that, among other things, children’s lollipops are being stolen by swooping seagulls in scenes worthy of Alfred Hitchcock.

Four years ago, a similar story was reported in the English city …

Spirituality

Unequal, even in death

Death has been described as the great leveller, the one thing that ensures equality between human beings. Of course, it is no such thing, even in death some people are more equal than others. Standing, yesterday, among those gathered at the village of Guillemont for a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the first day of the battle of the Somme. The moving words of Tom Kettle were read. In his thirty-six years, Kettle managed to be a barrister, a member of parliament, an academic, a journalist and a soldier. …

Ministry

Continuing silences

Sitting at a dinner table in the last light of a French summer’s evening, conversation turned to to the reluctance to talk about the past, the burial of the memories of war, the collective conspiracy to say nothing about anything that might arouse controversial discussion. Of course, the silence is not just a thing of the past, moving to the country four years ago brought an encounter with determined silence.

“Tell me about Mr xxxxx”, I asked.

“Do you know the stories about Mr xxxxx?” came the reply.

“I do”.…

Cross Channel

Fertile soil for UKIP

The success of the radical right in the European elections did not come from nowhere, nor did it come from a sudden espousal of extremist views by tens of millions of people. In England, the sort of people who voted UKIP are the sort of people you would meet in the pub on a Sunday lunchtime; they are neighbours, friends, even; they are ordinary working people. Overwhelmingly, they are neither racists nor xenophobes; they are simply people with a deep sense of alienation, people who have been ignored by the decision-makers, …

International

Multiple addresses

A loose ends day. Letters posted to the tax authorities in Ireland and the United Kingdom suggesting they might owe me money; quite a lot, according to my estimation, which will probably mean not so much when it comes to the calculations of the taxman. Letters, printed on paper and put in an envelope with a handwritten address and a postage stamp, at least bring confidence they will be received, unlike electronic mail which can disappear into nothingness, conveniently so it would seem sometimes.

Then from the carefully regulated world of the Revenue Commissioners and Her …

Church of Ireland Comment

To love those whom we dislike

The news media carried reports that the Twelfth of July parades in Northern Ireland had passed off peacefully. There was little by way of comment on why this might not have been the case. Perhaps it is because we do not understand Loyalism, nor do we wish to do so.

My late mother-in-law used to tell stories from the Belfast shipyard community in the 1940, 50s and 60s; tales of a proud people who received little reward for their loyalty to the unionist political establishment. Not that talking about the need to …

Writing

Days alone

My annual entry for RTE Radio’s Francis MacManus Short Story Competition again came nowhere, so this is the only place the story will ever appear. It is inspired by a man I knew who regarded anyone representing “officialdom” with suspicion and who regarded day centres and nursing homes as “scrapyards.” It may have been a contentious view, but it was one he held with integrity and is one I have encountered among many older men.

It was time to go back to the house. He picked up his stick and rose unsteadily …

Notice Board

Summer Sermon Series

On Wednesday, 4th June we begin our fifth annual summer series in Borris-in-Ossory. This year we have a twelve week series on “Re-learning our faith”. The series will be based on the catechism many church members will have learned in their younger days and will ask what it is we believe today

Wednesday, 4th June: Who gave you this name?
Wednesday, 11th June: What did your Godfathers and Godmothers do for you?
Wednesday, 18th June: Thou art bound to believe, and do, as they promised for thee
Wednesday, 25th June: I …

Pop thinking

Overhearing

Public transport used to be much more interesting People passed the time of day with others, had conversations about odd things, told stories. Lots of the time, only a few words might be heard, but they were enough. It was like having a few pieces of a jigsaw and imagining the full picture. Now, everyone listens to their own music or talks to friends on the phone; conversations have disappeared.

It was the fragmentation, the truncation, of conversations that endowed them with a memorable quality. Full conversations are prosaic; not even …