Posts by Joe McDonald

Of Spooks and Ghouls and the Holy Ghost!

It seems this year more than ever Halloween has really taken off! I don’t think I ever saw such an array of scary masks and even houses decked out with witches, skeletons and lanterns. I was reminded of Halloween at home. I remember my Mum scooping out the insides of the turnip and the little butts of candles placed in them. I remember my Dad fixing the spinning wheels to our front railing, spinning the sparklers in my tiny hand,…

The God I don’t Believe In

NO I SHALL NEVER BELIEVE IN : the God who sneaks up on us to catch us out the God who enjoys, or sends pain the God who is a spoilsport, or a killjoy  the God who sends sickness the God who wants us to live in fear the God who is like Harry Potter waving a wand at whim the God who wants us to always be formal with him  the God who we can only find by chance…

Crossroads Ahead!

I don’t think it’s too dramatic to suggest that the Church is at a crossroads!  In recent days debate is growing around the submission of the Irish Church to Pope Francis with regard to the Synod. Some people are delighted that the thirty or so pages did not suffer heavy editing or dilution whilst others struggle to accept, or own, much of the substance of it. If you haven’t read it I would encourage you to do so. It is…

HOLY BREAD OR JESUS?

Recently I was a little alarmed to hear someone,  whom I thought would know better,  display a huge ignorance with what happens at Mass. Of course there are many things that happen at this beautiful and most extraordinary of experiences that we call The Mass or The Eucharist, including sorrow for sin, the communal expression of what we believe in the Creed and a missioning back into the world to spread, and indeed live, the Gospel. However at the core…

MARY – THE SECRET WEAPON!

Bring flow’rs of the rarest,From garden and woodlandAnd hillside and vale…………How truly we love thee,How dark without MaryLife’s journey would be.(Bring Flowers of the Rarest, Mary E. Walsh ) Even on some of the more secular of radio stations the first day of May saw the playing of this beautiful old song, ‘Queen of the May’ or more accurately ‘Bring Flowers of the Rarest’. It is a well established annual ritual with one particular program playing various versions of this…

PACKING UP BUT NOT PACKING IT IN!!

According to those who know about these things it is one of the most stressful things you can do. Moving house. There’s no doubt there is something about it. It’s not just the physical effort of packing and lugging stuff downstairs and off to the new place and then when you get there up more stairs. Undoubtedly some of it is about the emotion of it. There is the sadness of endings. There is the challenge of letting go of…

THE FACE

After a period of confusion or uncertainty the disciples reached a point of clarity. It is at the moment when he breaks the bread that they know for sure it is Jesus. They recognise the Lord in the profound and sacred moment in which they have become accustomed to meeting him. This, for me, is one of the most moving stories in the Gospels. The disciples are so low, so disappointed, so downhearted. It is into this darkness that the…

BART’S LETTER

TO: PARISHIONERS OF ST PATRICK’S & ST BRIGID’S, CELBRIDGE & STRAFFAN FROM: BART, ( A LESSER KNOWN!! ) it is so hard to find words for this the two greatest extremes in my life the cruellest and most crushing of disappointments and within a few days a boundless joy that really defies words these few years have been exciting, frightening and beautiful and so much more long periods away from home out on the road watching him in action and…

THE TIDE CAN TURN QUICKLY

What a fall!  That was a real fall from grace.  He used to be flavour of the month.  She could do no wrong.  Everything she touched turned to gold. Local boy makes good. These, and many more we could add,  are all examples of statements we use to describe or evaluate each other. However,  more than this,  far be it a harmless neutral summing up of the other, such statements tend to be somewhat dismissive of the other. Worse still, …

DESERT DAYS… a little Lenten project

The notion of prayer and fasting is far from new. In fact, even though I am very interested in the role of both, prayer and fasting, in the life of Jesus, the reality is that both were being practiced by others for many years before that. My initial idea of the ‘desert day’ was for myself and a few priests that I shared it with. It then expanded to something that might be beneficial to anyone in ministry. I am…

GUESS WHO IS COMING TO DINNER

I was brought up on movies. Actually the movies are in my genes. I have the world of films in my blood. Now before you go wondering what great acting dynasty do I belong to, let me explain. My mother went from school to work in the ticket office in the old cinema near us at home. This is back before omniplex and multi screen and 3D. It was when they were called picture houses. At this stage my Dad,…
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