Westminster Faith Debates are on topics which are current to faith and religious practice.  Here, in this link, you will find debates between scholars, people from public life and religious leaders, engaging in issues which are very pertinent:  stem cell research, assisted dying, sexualisation of society, place of women in religions, place of faith in schools, religion in public life, Christian position in relation to gay marriage, trends in religion and values in British society.  For further information to access any of these debates, click on the following link.  


Westminster Cathedral


Talks on Radical Following of Christ by Anthony Gittins CSSp

The following are a couple of very stimulating clips from Antony Gittins CSSp on the call to the radical following of Christ today.  His books are worth investigating if you get the opportunity:   Encountering Jesus: How People Come to Faith and Discover Discipleship; and Called to be Sent: Co-missioned as Disciples Today. Two of his talks are available if you click on the following links. There is plenty of food for thought and conversation there:

Anthony Gittins CSSp Talk

Second Talk by Anthony Gittins CSSp

Tyburn Martyrs Stained Glass



Bring Navan to the Congress and the Congress to Navan

At the end of June Saint Mary's Parish, Navan closed a week of ceremonies with the Stations of the Cross.  "Bring Navan to the Congress and the Congress to Navan" was the title of the weeks events;  so each evening the theme of the Congress in Dublin was reflected upon.  It included a report from the Congress and speakers addressing the theme.  On Friday 22nd June the ceremony was led by Bishop Smith and included the blessing and opening of new stations of the Cross in Saint Anne's Garden.

Over the last few months I (Fionnuala IBVM) had looked on with great interest as I saw the development of what I had known as the convent garden.  As I saw new gates being installed and the last of the beech trees being felled I wondered what shape it would take and was this the final chapter of Saint Anne's.

During the ceremony Fr. Declan Hurley informed us that a set of Stations of the Cross had been carved from the beech trees.  As we returned to the church from the blessing of the Stations, a presentation was made by Bishop Smith to the Loreto Sisters present (Srs. Maria Barry, Kathleen Cooke and myself, Fionnuala) of a wooden carving of the Assumption of Our Lady.  Both Bishop Smith and Fr. Declan Hurley paid tribute to Loreto and how much they gave to the life of the parish and beyond.  They also acknowledged how difficult it must have been to make the decision to close St. Anne's Convent.  Fr. Hurley then shared his hope that the reopening of Saint Anne's garden would be living testimony to the work of Loreto in Navan and an expression of gratitude of the many generations that had passed through the school.  He went on to say that the garden would once again be a place of prayer and solace for the people of the parish.

I found myself being transported to childhood memories of pleasant fun and games, only permitted of course after such special occasions as First Communion and Confirmation.  Of course as seniors - age 12 - we had a little more access to the garden.

After the ceremony Eric Flanagan talked to the three of us of his delight on being asked to do this work and also explained the carving that was presented to us.  He told us that he had used a branch of one of the beech trees.  He took great pride in informing Maria and Kathleen that he was a past pupil of Saint Anne's, at this stage I wondered how much more he would divulge.  My path crossed with Eric's many years ago, but that's for another day!.   

50th International Eucharistic Congress

Louise O'Sullivan IBVM has written a full Report on the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, here is a short piece of what she wrote.  There was a lot of activity at the Loreto Stand at the Congress.      eucharistic congress1-1

ethel and chris on dutyThere is something very vibrant and dynamic about engaging with people from our own and other cultures seeing the common bond which unites us all in Christ and the longing for a richer experience of Communion with Christ and with one another.  Many of us, myself included, were less than enthusiastic about the prospect of the Eucharistic Congress coming at the time when it did.  But this was an experience of the universal Church;  for example 16 of the 100 Catholics who live in Turkmenistan attended (you can now work out the percentage of the Catholic population who actually did attend!); people from Iraq and Nigeria where the persecution of Christians is a common feature of their lives.    


There were women there from Zimbabwe with the most magnificent kaleidoscopic images and colours represented on their costumes.  And there were representatives of aspects of the Church in all its diversity of perspectives, including hadited males and females of varying dimentsions, styles and colours!  Everyone was there for a reason: out of curiosity, interest or for an experience of communion in a wider panoramic view than what is on offer in the Irish Church at present.  I'm only giving my perspective here.  Everyone present would have had their own unique perspective on the event.


Loreto Spirituality Outreach

On Sunday afternoon 25th March, 20 of our Coleraine, Omagh, Belfast, Buncrana and Letterkenny Sisters gathered in Coleraine with their 24 invited guests for the first of our three regional gatherings.  Both they and the 5 of us from the "Keepers of the Vision" Group, who facilitated the afternoon, were welcomed warmly by the Coleraine community, not to mention spoiled with generous hospitality.

Some of the comments from those who attented are:  "Very interesting day.  More information on Ignatian spirituality would be helpful".

"To involve young people side by side on equal terms with older people in some form of spiritual awareness/meditation.  Separate from organised religion to facilitate firing up the imagination and encourage a more meaningful and real relationship with God".

Appreciation and thanks once again to all in Coleraine for making everyone so welcome.

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