O ANTIPHON - O Oriens....
Come, and shine on those seated in darkness, and in the shadow of death.
O Dawn, splendour of eternal light, and sun of justice, come, and shine on those seated in darkness, and in the shadow of death.
O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
Just as the natural sun gives light and life to all upon whom its rays fall, so Christ, the Rising Dawn, dispels darkness and brings eternal life and light.
* * *
December 21 Advent Weekday Prayer
Hear in kindness, O Lord, the prayers of your people, that those who rejoice at the coming of your Only Begotten Son in our flesh, may, when at last he comes in glory, gain the reward of eternal life. Through our Lord.
* * * * * *
APOSTOLIC VISITATION IN TUAM, IRELAND
|Christmas greetings in Irish on main street of Tuam|
Some time ago, I had reserved December 13-18 for the start of the Apostolic Visitation to the Archdiocese of Tuam. Thus on December 12, I flew from Ottawa to Philadelphia for a direct flight to Dublin, arriving at 9am on December 13. [As it turned out, this Ottawa-Philadelphia-Dublin routing was providential as I thus avoided Heathrow and the weather- related travel difficulties on my return this Sunday.]
Until the evening of December 16, I was accompanied by Father James Conn, who had arrived a day earlier to collect and sort written requests to meet with us. He spent Saturday and Sunday arranging for interviews or a hearings with laity, religious and clergy, including individuals and groups who had suffered abuse at the hands of clergy.
Our first stop was Maynooth College on the outskirts of Dublin to meet with the official responsible for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland. Mr Ian Elliott is a non-Catholic with extensive experience in the protection of children; his office is funded by Catholic entities (dioceses, religious orders of Ireland).
At the Nunciature afterwards, I was briefed by Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza on the climate in the country and received the requests that had come in the morning mail (those wanting to engage the Apostolic Visitators are to address their communiqués to the specific visitator, care of the Nunciature, 183 Navan Road, Dublin 7).
|Archbishop Leanza was a gracious host at the Nunciature my last day in Ireland|
Following lunch, Father Conn and I headed west to Galway County, guided by Father Stephen Farragher, Administrator (equivalent to our Rector) of Assumption Cathedral, Tuam, our driver.
Our base for the first few days was the Ard Ri Hotel in Tuam, where we conducted our meetings with those who had requested to be seen or persons whom we thought it wise to see.
That evening, after Mass in the Presentation Convent and supper with the Sisters, we travelled some 30km to Claremorris, where we met with the Diocesan Pastoral Council, a vibrant, thoughtful and articulate body established some two years ago as a vehicle for fostering collaboration between the Council of the Laity and the Presbyteral (Priests’) Council.
On Tuesday, we began with Mass in the Tuam Cathedral at 10 o’clock, followed by meetings throughout the day, closing with a Penitential Service in the cathedral that evening.
The liturgy took the form of a Penitential Prayer Vigil, comprised of three parts: a) one decade from each of the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries of the rosary, interspersed with brief reflections and/or hymns (some in Irish); b) a liturgy of the Word with reflections by Archbishop Neary and a homily by me; c) Eucharistic adoration and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. (The homily has been posted online at http://www.archdiocesetuam.org/).
On Wednesday, we left early for Knock, where, after a brief visit to the Shrine of the Apparition, we began with Mass in the Carmelite Monastery, breakfast and a meeting with the nuns.
Then we repaired to the Knock Guest Hotel for a series of meetings with the Vicars Forane (akin to our regional vicars, priests who coordinate priestly ministry in the regions of the archdiocese), the Diocesan Safeguarding Committee, the Executive of the Presbyteral Council and several suffragan bishops.
Thursday was filled with meetings back at the hotel in Tuam and, in the evening I travelled to Westport for meetings the next day in the town.
On Friday, there was a heavy snowfall and it was determined that the climb of Croagh Patrick would be too treacherous and that, with dangerous road conditions, it would be risky to have the youth representatives come to the evening meeting we had planned.
Both the meeting with young people and the penitential ascent of the holy mountain have been rescheduled for the next phase of the Apostolic Visitation (Part 2) next March.
So, after Mass at St. Mary’s Church and several interviews, I boarded the Westport to Dublin train, arriving there at 9:30pm and staying overnight at the Nunciature. As requests for meetings had come in during the week, I got in touch with the interested parties, recommending a session with them between March 6th and 11th next year.
Some of the photos taken:
|Ottawa airport departure lounge to the USA|
|Philadelphia to Dublin boarding area|
|Maynooth College: very impressive|
|A warm welcome in the Presentation Convent, Tuam, for Fr. James Conn, left, and Fr. Stephen Farragher|
|Some members of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council meeting in Claremorris|
|At the end of the session, a future meeting date is sought|
|Posing for a photo in the sacristy of Assumption Cathedral, Tuam|
|Tuam Archbishop Michael Neary (left) and Father James Conn before the cathedral|
|At the Carmelite monastery, Knock|
|The Vicars Forane (Regional Vicars) at Knock House Hotel|
|Tuam archdiocesan Child Safeguarding Committee|
|Another visit to the Presentation Convent|
|The strikingly beautiful St. Mary's Church, Westport, Co. Mayo|
|Catherine Wiley, inspirational leader of the Catholic Grandparents' Association|
|The Westport Hotel in snow|
|Ireland's intercity trains are sleek: I rode the Irish rail Westport-Dublin Heuston Stn train|
|My stay in Dublin allowed a dinner meeting with Jesuit friends, Fathers Peter Sexton (left), Trinity College chaplain, and Tom Layden, Jesuit Provincial|
|Shopping area, Dublin Terminal 1|