Two Amazing Eucharistic Miracles
Pat Collins C.M.
Ten years after the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, Langdon Gilkey, a well known Protestant theologian, wrote a book entitled, Catholicism Confronts Modernity. In it he acknowledged that the Catholic Church was experiencing a transitional crisis. He said that one of the main causes was “the dissolution of the understanding of the supernatural as the central religious category.” Rather than questioning this change, Gilkey proposed that Catholics should engage in a “reinterpretation of the transcendent, the sacred, the divine – the presence of God to men – into worldly or naturalistic forms of modern experience rather than in the super-naturalistic forms of Medieval experience.” Sad to say, many Catholics have followed his advice. For example just before the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in June 2012, an Ipsos /MRBI poll found that 62% of Catholics saw the Eucharist as merely symbolizing the Body and Blood of Christ, while only 26% believed in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Recently, however, I heard of two supernatural events, which have highlighted the fact that Jesus is really and truly present in the consecrated bread and wine.
In the eighth century a monk, who was a follower of St. Basil, had doubts about the real presence of Christ while he was offering Mass in a church in the Italian town of Lanciano. When he pronounced the words of consecration, the host was miraculously changed into physical flesh and the wine into physical blood which coagulated afterwards. These relics have been preserved ever since. At the invitation of the Episcopal Conference of Italy Professor Linoni a former head of the Laboratory of Pathological Anatomy at the Hospital of Arezzo, was asked to analyze them scientifically. He extracted fragments with great care and then examined them. He presented his findings on March 4, 1971. His study confirmed that the flesh and blood were of human origin. The flesh was unequivocally cardiac tissue, and the blood was type AB. Speaking about the blood, the professor emphasized that "the blood group is the same as that of the man of the holy Shroud of Turin, and it has the characteristics of a man who was born and lived in the Middle East regions." In 1973, the Higher Council of the World Health Organization appointed a scientific commission to verify the Italian doctor's conclusions. The work was carried out over 15 months with a total of 500 examinations. The result of that research confirmed what had been stated and published by Dr. Linoni.
Now let us fast forward to the end of the 20th century. At 7 P.M. on August 18, 1996, Fr. Alejandro Pezet had said Mass in central Buenos Aires. As he was finishing distributing Holy Communion, a woman told him that she had found a discarded host at the back of the church. When Fr. Alejandro saw the soiled host he was unable to consume it, so he placed it in a container of water and put it away in the tabernacle. When it dissolved he intended pouring the contents down the sacrarium in the sacristy. When he opened the tabernacle, on Monday, August 26, he saw to his amazement that the host had turned into a bloody substance. He informed bishop Jorge Bergoglio, who was the auxiliary Bishop at that time. He gave instructions that the Host should be photographed in a professional way. Afterwards the Host was returned to the tabernacle, and nothing was said about it. When it was discovered that the Host suffered no visible decomposition, bishop Bergoglio, who was now an archbishop, decided to have it scientifically analyzed.
On October 5, 1999, Dr. Ricardo Castanon-Gomez, a Bolivian scientist, took a sample of the bloody fragment and sent it to New York for analysis. Since he did not wish to influence the investigation one way or another, he did not inform the team of scientists about its origin. One of these was Dr. Frederic Zugiba, a well-known cardiologist and forensic pathologist. He determined that the analyzed substance was real flesh and blood containing human DNA. Zugiba testified that, “the analyzed material is a fragment of the heart muscle found in the wall of the left ventricle close to the valves. This muscle is responsible for the contraction of the heart. It should be borne in mind that the left cardiac ventricle pumps blood to all parts of the body. The heart muscle is in an inflammatory condition and contains a large number of white blood cells. This indicates that the heart was alive at the time the sample was taken. It is my contention that the heart was alive, since white blood cells die outside a living organism. They require a living organism to sustain them. Thus, their presence indicates that the heart was alive when the sample was taken. What is more, these white blood cells had penetrated the tissue, which further indicates that the heart had been under severe stress, as if the owner had been beaten severely about the chest.”
Two Australians, journalist Mike Willesee and lawyer Ron Tesoriero, witnessed these tests. Knowing where the sample had come from, they were dumbfounded by Dr. Zugiba’s findings. Mike Willesee asked the scientist how long the white blood cells would have remained alive if they had come from a piece of human tissue, which had been kept in water. Dr. Zugiba responded by saying that they would have ceased to exist in a matter of minutes. Then the journalist told the doctor that the sample had first been kept in ordinary water for a month and then for another three years in a container of distilled water; only then had it been taken for analysis. Dr. Zugiba was at a loss to account for this fact. He stated that there was no way of explaining the phenomenon scientifically. Only then did Mike Willesee inform Dr. Zugiba that the analyzed sample had in fact come from a consecrated host which had mysteriously turned into bloody human flesh. Amazed by this information, Dr. Zugiba replied, “How and why a consecrated Host would change its character and become living human flesh and blood will remain an inexplicable mystery to science—a mystery totally beyond her competence.”
There is a striking similarity between the two miracles. The flesh in both instances came from a heart. The DNA in both is the same, as is the blood type. In both cases the flesh showed no evidence of preservatives of any kind. It is striking that on the very morning the Argentinean miracle occurred, Fr. Alejandro happened to base his prayer on Pope John Paul’s letter commemorating the 750th anniversary of the Feast of Corpus Christi, 28 May 1996. As a result of the miracle, Dr. Castanon-Gomez an atheist, and Mike Willesse who was unchurched, have both become devout Catholics. Furthermore, it is striking that all this happened in the very place where the future Pope Francis was living. Surely, God is demonstrating by means of these supernatural events, that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. Not only are we being called to a livelier faith in his real presence, we are also being called to show a profound reverence for that presence. As St Paul said, “A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Cor 11:28-30).
It is quite a time since I last wrote an account of what I have been doing. When I look at my diary for last year I see that I didn't do much in a public way during November. On the 16th I recorded five talks for broadcast on Spirit Radio which has moved from Ballsbridge to Bray in Co. Wicklow. A few days later I travelled to Belfast, at the invitation of my friend David Jardine, to speak in St. Anne's Cathedral on the subject, "Have You Felt Like Giving Up Lately?" I had the joy of meeting my first cousin Alice after the talk. Then a few days later I went to South London to speak at a conference on parish cells. It was an exciting and encouraging event. I felt that that parish was an example of a possible way forward, when they will be a communities of communities. At the beginning of December I went to a Benedictine monastry outside Rostrevor in Northern Ireland to do a five day retreat. There are six members three brothers and three priests. All but one, an Irishman, are French. The liturgy was really beautiful, the food excellent and the living conditions excellent. The rest of the month was made up of bits and pieces such as going to meetings and giving talks. For example, on Dec 18th I spoke in the Four Seasons hotel to Legatus. It is an organisation for Catholics who are leaders in business and the professions. I spoke about the kind of faith that moves mountains. On Christmas Eve I did an interview on Spirit Radio, visited family members and said Mass in Michael Rigney's house for about twenty two people. It turned out to be a really uplifting occasion. On Christmas day our Vincentian community members went to St Peter's Parish in Phibsborough for our Christmas dinner. It was a very enjoyable get together. Then on Dec the 27th I set off for Detroit. I won't bore you with all the sorry details, suffice it to say that everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. I need hardly mention that my case did not arrive. Thanks to Sue Daly and her husband I was able to get into the presbytery when I arrived by taxi around 2.30 A.M. I was up for the 8.00 A.M. Mass and the case arrived the following day. I need hardly say that it was great meeting the parishioners and getting back into the swing of things. Fr Suresh, the parish priest, is away on holiday in India. It struck me in the last few days that I am a Roaming Catholic! By the way here is a song I like very much.
Since I last wrote I went to Aberdeen at the beginning of October at the invitation of Jamus and Helen Smith. I spoke in the Cathedral on the subject of faith. On the sunday I preached in the Cathedral on the subject of marriage. It was a wonderful weekend. I really appreciated the warm hospitality that I experienced. The following Tuesday I spoke in Portmarnock at the fifth of the Life in the Spirit Seminars. I was amazed and thrilled to find that 160 people turned up. The organization was excellent and God's blessing was poured out. I felt that the whole event indicated that there is a strong desire in the hearts of many people for a new experience of God. Later that week I joined the members of the New Springtime Community for prayer and teaching in Glendalough. One thing we did was to critique talks five and six of our Parish Evangelisation Course. We concluded the day with a very enjoyable meal in a nearby hotel. That was followed by the provincial assembly of the British and Irish Vincentians on the subject of the New Evangelisation. The attendance in St Peter's Parish, Phibsborough was good. When that was over I went to Edinburgh to speak at the annual general meeting of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Scotland. It was held in Murryfield the home of Scottish rugby. I spoke on the topic of the new evangelisation and the SVP. When I got back I revised the talk and sent it for publication in Colloque, the Vincentian in-house magazine. On Mon the 22nd I did an interview on Spirit Radio. Afterwards I wrote two articles on different aspects of Vatican II, for Goodnews magazine. I also revised and sent off three other articles. Sadly, a few days ago I heard of the death of Fr Andy Spellman C.M.who had attended our Provincial Assembly. He was a wonderful Vincentian who was loved and admired by many people. I'm off to his funeral in the next hour. RIP.
Here is a wonderful video to look at. Paste the following URl and you will see it.
Once again time seems to have slipped by so quickly. As I usually do, I’d like to recount some of the experiences I have had in recent weeks. My fairly long Summer preaching tour continued. In early August I took a few days break. However I got an infection and had a slightly raised terperature for a few days. It was associated with aches and pains as well as tiredness and a fairly severe case of bronchitis. When I returned to Dublin I found it difficult to prepare for a conference I was due to speak at in Trent in Northern Italy. But as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. By the time I headed off to Verona I had all my talks written. I travelled from there to Trent by bus and train and stayed once again, in the beautiful home of Enzo and Giovanna. There was one big problem for us all, and that was the temperature. During the days it was around 37 degrees celcius, i.e. about 100 degrees farenheit. It was so warm at night that it was hard to sleep. Even the Italians were complaing of the heat. I never drank so much water as I did on that trip. As for the conference, it was demanding in terms of the work load, I gave two long talks each day, plus a homily, and ministered to many people. As usual the hospitality from everyone was great. We shared beautiful meals, drank good wine and chatted a lot. Once again I owe a great debt of gratitude to Paolo Pancaldi for translating my words. When the conference was over, Mario, an Italian friend, brought a number of us to the top of a mountain in his Land Rover. When we stood on a plateau at the top we had one of the most spectacular views I have ever seen. For 360 degrees we cound see mountains, valleys, streams, and forrests. If you can remember the opening scenes of The Sound of Music, you will have an idea of what it looked like. I can remember saying to my companions that the existence of God is obvious when one beholds such majestic beauty. I returned to Ireland on August 28th and was much relieved when I stepped off the plane and felt the cool Dublin air.
I was due to go to Dalmally in Scotland when I got back, but happily the weekend was cancelled. While I was recovering from my bronchitis it was not yet completely gone. That gave me time to rest and to prepare for a trip to the Czech Republic. I headed to Prague on the 5th of Sept and went to Zeliv monastry where I had been earlier in the year. I led a conference on aspects of the new evangelisation and was delighted to find that some people who had attended a healing service I had conducted in March had been healed. For example one man told me that he had been cured of brucellosis, his daughted had been healed of cystitis and his wife had been healed of a heart problem. From there I went on a three hour journey by road to a parish where I conducted a short parish mission. Each morning I was available for a few hours to meet with people for counselling and prayer. In the afternoons I gave two talks and then we had mass during which I preached. That was followed by adoration. On the final day I conducted a healing service. While the work was demanding I really enjoyed the two engagements in the Czech Republic and was impressed by the fact that the Catholic believers were so keen to win unbelievers over to the faith. I want to thank Vascek for his kindness and work as an interpreter. My return to Dublin on 13th of Sept marked the end of my Summer season which had begun on June 6th when I went to Fatima. Over a period of three and a half months I visited six countries and preached about 200 times. There were occasions when I wondered whether I would be able to do it all, but thanks be to God, things worked out well.
When I got back home I returned to my more normal rountine. I led a Word on the Word meeting in Phibsborough Parish, attended the New Springtime Community meeting on the Thursday, participated in an Alpha management meeting and spoke at a LIfe in the Spirit Seminar in Bray. Last weekend I spoke with Frances Hogan and Eddie Stones at the Waterford Charismatic Conference in the Rua Glenn Hotel. It was very well attended. The talks were recorded and are available from Eist.
Dear readers of this blog, it has been quite some time since I last wrote. If you look at the engagements section of this site you will see that I have been busy in the recent past. It has been a time of travel, going from one place to another to preach the gospel and to talk about evangelisation. Overall, it has been a period of abundant blessing. I know that the Catholic faith faces many challenges here in Ireland and in Europe. Nevertheless, I have met really outstanding men and women of faith who not only love Jesus but are committed to him, make considerable sacrifices in order to serve him, and who strive to make him known and served. I would not hesitate to say that in the course of my travels I have met truly saintly people. Needless to say, I thank the Lord for affording me such wonderful opportunities and edification.
Perhaps I could list a number of places I have been and some things that stand out in my memory. The eve of Pentecost rally in Citywest Hotel was not only attended by 1300 people, there was a great athmosphere of faith, togetherness and an ardent desire for the Spirit. My fellow speaker, Dr Ruth Patterson was as eloquent and perceptive as ever, and Mike Short gave a very uplifting testimony. During one of the breaks a woman told me how her son had been cured of autism following a prayer which had been offered for him three years previously. I have no recollection of saying such a prayer. However, it is marvellous to hear of a miracle of that kind. I cannot thank Marie Beirne enough for taking this initiative and organizing everything so well. A few days later I celebrated a healing Mass in St Attracta's Church here in Dublin. It seemed to be blessed from the first moment. After the distribution of holy communion there were prayers for healing. When Mass ended there was rejoicing when a number of people claimed that they had been healed. The sacristan was in tears saying that he had never experienced the presence of the Lord as powerfully as he had during that celebration.
During this period I received a request to run a retreat in Fatima because Fr. Rufus Pereira who was due to conduct it had died suddenly in London. As I knew Fr Rufus I decided to go and spent five days in Portugal. About a hundred people attended the conference on the subject of inner healing, many of them from the island of Medeira. I was impressed by the lay community and their foundress who were responsible for the conference. It was a nostalgic visit for me because I had visited Fatima many years before with my late mother. When I got back to Ireland the Eucharistic Congress was in full swing. I was able to attend on the Thursday and was delighted to see that among the many stalls were Alpha and Aid to the Church in Need. I met Cardinal Brady and offered him my best wishes. He had just preached a very good homily at the Mass.
On the 16th of June I headed for Galway City to speak, at Mike Short's request, at An Tobar Nua, a Christian Cafe and bookshop. The topic of the day was evangelisation and conversion. It was intended to help a number of volunteers who do street evangelisation in Galway City. Immediately after that I headed to London, on my motor scooter, via the ferry to Holyhead. The trip was difficult because of the heavy rain. Visibility was poor and there was the danger of skidding. Thank God I got to my destination, wet but safe. I conducted a short retreat for priests in the Sion community house in Brentwood on the subject of spirituality for evangelisation. From there I went to the Vincentian parish in Mill Hill, where as usual, I received great hospitality from Fr Kevin O Shea and the community. From there I went to Ealing Abbey where I conducted the Westminster day of Renewal which was attended by around 100 people. Two days later I headed back by road to Ireland via Holyhead.
The next trip was to Malta to speak to the leaders of the Cenacolo Community. I had been there a few months previously to run a kind of retreat for the whole community of nearly 300 people. Among other things we had an outdoor mass during which I offered a few prayers for healing. I had an email from one of those present who told me that his hip had been healed after many years of suffering. He stated, "I am writing to confirm that my hip has ‘remained healed’ and your word of knowledge just after Mass (You had declared “A hip is being healed”) was very true. On hearing your words I remember saying to myself “Could it be mine? If so , thank you Jesus.” I did not feel anything physical but when we got up I realised that the dull pain in my left hip, that I had learnt to live with over the years, was not there. I had told you of this when we met for dinner the next day and that I wanted to wait for some time to be sure. Well, I can now say “Praise you, Lord Jesus, and thank you for healing my hip.” It is always so encouraging to hear of answers to prayer like that. It is living proof that the Lord is active in the modern world manifesting his Kingdom of mercy and love.
When I returned to Dublin it was time to head off on my motor scooter for a second trip to London, this time to speak at a Called to Glory conference at the Cor et Lumen Christi Community in Chertsey. Eighty people attended. On the Sat night we had a healing service and many Travelling People came. Although it was a bit overcrowded and noisy, great things happened. I can remember that a word of knowledge was received that said that somebody with painful kidney stones was being healed. The following day I received a written note from a woman who had suffered from that complaint and she said that since a healing prayer was said for her all the pain had melted away. Other healings were also reported. From there I went to Woldingham School for a Harvester's retreat for over 100 men. David Armstrong was my fellow speaker. His talk describing his ecumenical work and struggles in Norther Ireland rightly received a standing ovation from the retreatants.
Once I get back from England I prepared to give a six day retreat to the Notre Dame Sisters in Churchtown, here in Dublin. I received a warm welcome, a heartfelt response from the sisters and I was deeply impressed that in spite of their advancing years they were open to growth and change. I don't know what they put in their porridge, but many of the sisters were in remarkably good shape in spite of their advancing years. The day after that retreat ended I headed to the Netherlands to speak at a Celebrate conference in the North of the country. It was attended by about 800 people. There were streams for small children, teenagers and adults. I was really impressed by the faith and committment of those attending. James Jordan, my fellow speaker from New Zealand, spoke eloquently about the father heart of God. The weather was like a yo-yo, swinging from hot to cold, dry to very wet. A big thank you to all of the Dutch people who showed me such great hospitality. Now I'm back in Dublin. Tomorrow, I hope to take a few days break. By the way. If any of the readers of this blog are in St Valentine's Parish in Redford, Michigan, you may be interested to know that Fr Suresh has asked me to return at the end of the year for a one month stay. I hope and pray it will be possible.
Since I last wrote all kinds of events have happened. I went to All Hallows College to see Fr. Eugene Curran to discuss the possibility of the New Springtime Community running a one year (26 week) diploma or certificate course on the new evangelisation in the College. There was a conditional yes to a possible start in Sept 2013. In the meantime we have to submit course outlines and seek funding and speakers. Please God it will work out O.K. That was April 12th. Later that day I attended a meeting of the bishop's task force on evangelisation in Maynooth. The following day I went to an informal meeting of people who are interested in Jewish and Christian relations. Fr. Peter Hocken was present. On the 15th I celebrated the mid day, Mercy Sunday Mass in Phibsborough when we recalled the installation of a Divine Mercy icon in a side chapel one year ago. A couple of days later I travelled to Knock to conduct a six day retreat for 25 Daughters of Charity. They are great women and I enjoyed the occasion very much. The only other highlight was the third New Springtime Summer School which was held in Marianella on the topic of faith and evangelisation. Kristina Cooper and Carole Brown were the main speakers. I gave an introductory address. Recordings of the conference talks are available. If you are interested contact the New Springtime website at http://newspringtime.ie/ Thank God the weekend was a great success. There was a good attendance in spite of the fact that there was a bank holliday on the Monday. There was a great spirit of unity and hope. A big thank you to Helen, Kevin, Joan and the members of the community for their enthusiasm, hard work, and participation in so many ways.
During this period I wrote an article on Vincentian Spirituality for Colloque which is an in house magazine of the Vincentians in Ireland, and a theological article on the fundamental option in the writings of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. It will be published in the Furrow. I also found out that an article of mine entiled, The Tassels of Jesus, has been published in the May/June edition of Spirituality magazine. (It can be read in the articles section of this website).
Dear readers of this blog. Forgive the fact that I have not written in a long time. I think laziness rather than the pressure of work was the reason. From mid January to mid February I was in Detroit, in the parish of St Valentine, in Redford. I had hoped it would be really cold and that there would be lots of snow. However, global warming seemed to strike because in the event it was mild with hardly any snow at all. Through the kindness of a priest who had gone to India on holiday I had the use of a Ford Focus to get around. It was really great having an opportunity to see all the parishoners and to renew friendships. I would like to thank all those people who showed such great kindness to me, including the many couples who invited me to their homes for a meal. Once again I was impressed by what the St Vincent de Paul society is doing in the parish under the wise leadership of John Fitzpatrick. While in Detroit I had an chance of attending a lecture given by Dr Ralph Martin in Sacred Heart Seminary. I really enjoyed the opportunity of meeting old acquaintances there. A big thank you to Fr. Suresh of St Valentine's for his warm hospitality.
As soon as I got back from Detroit I attended the Relay Leaders Conference in Dublin. Nicky Gumbel was one of the speakers and gave excellent talks on Christian leadership. I gave a talk at short notice on the Church's teaching on the new evangelisation. The following week I participated in a meeting of the bishops task force on evangelisation. We are aiming to have a report ready by the end of April. For the next few weeks I was doing odds and ends in Dublin. On March 18th I went to speak in Limerick. There was a fabulous music group leading the worship. It was a symbol of the changing face of the church in Ireland in so far as the musicians were a mixture of Catholics from India and Ireland. On the 22nd of March I headed off to the Czech Republic to preach in Brno the second city in the country and Zeliv where there is a very large Norbatine monastry. I received a great welcome in both places and had two excellent interpreters. I hope to return to the Czech Republic in September and again next February.
Looking back at my diary for this month I see that it was relatively uneventful. Toward the beginning of the month I spoke at an Alpha Holy Spirit day for Rush parish in north Coounty Dublin. A few days later I spoke at a Full Gospel Business Men's dinner in the Seagoe Hotel in Portdawn in Northern Ireland. It was an ecumenical occasion and those in attendance were mainly of evangelical and charismatic backgrounds. A couple of days later I was invited to a dinner by my former parish of Phibsborough where I used to live and work. It was a lovely occasion and the parish priest Fr Scallon gave me a beautiful copy of the new oder of Mass as a going-away present. The next day I drove to Kilkenny where I met a group of local charismatics who told me about remarkable things that were happening in their area as a result of their prayer and ministry, including healings and deliverances. On the way home I visited Fr Frank McMorrow a member of my community who is recovering in his home town from an accident he had two months previously. In mid month I had my scooter repaired and serviced. It had been badly damaged by drug addicts who tore bits off it. Although it was very expensive I was delighted to have the bike back nearly as good as new. Please God I will go on many more evangelistic journeys on it. A few days later I went to Waterford, to the Ignatius Rice Centre where I spoke at a well attended day of renewal. During the following week I prayed for dileverance for a Protestant lady of African origin. Thank God it seemed to be effective. In the last week I had an article published in the Irish Catholic entitled, Overcoming Apostasy. YOu can read it in the articles section of this website. A few days ago I received the first fresh copies of my latest book, Word and Spirit, Intimations of a New Springtime. I really like the cover. It is already in the shops. What is really surprising is the fact that I only handed in the corrected proofs at the beginning of Nov, and before the month was over, the book was in the shops! The following day I got my free travel pass. While I'm glad to have it and the freedom to travel free on buses and trains, I feel that I'm getting old!! I continue to conduct A Word on the Word meetings on Tuesday nights in Phibsborough parish. Although the attendance is relitavely small I enjoy the sharing. It is probably worth mentioning for non Irish people who read this blog, that this November was the mildest in 150 years. What a contrast to this time last year when it was the coldest Winter in nearly 60 years. It would seem that the weather is very unstable. In November we had a month's rain in one day and it caused some flooding in Dublin. It was a deluge rather than normal rain.
On the 4th of Oct I travelled to Malta to speak at a conference. I stayed in a retreat house in the beuatiful and sunny city of Valetta. On Wed the 5th I went with a friend to the island of Gozo. The confrerence proper began on Fri for about 270 young adults who are members of a the Cenacalo Community. We met in what looked like a large underground car park. The topic for the weekend was the New Evangelisation. The talks and homilies were recorded and filmed. I must say I was greatly impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment of all those who attended. I am really grateful to all the members of the Cenacalo Community who showed me such wonderful hospitality. I look forward to visiting them all again in June 2012 for a leader's meeting.
I returned from Malta on Tues the 11th and headed to Phibsborough parish to lead A Word on the Word.
On Thurs the 13th I attended an Alpha management and later in the day I attended a meeting of the New Springtime Community.
On Fri the 14th I flew to Rome in order to attend a number of meetings organized by the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation. On Sat morning I joined Joe O'Calaghan to attend a leaders meeting which was addressed by Archbishop Fisichella and others. In the afternoon we went to another meeting in the Paul VI hall. There were 6,000 people present. Followring an number of addresses on evangelisation, tenor Andrea Bocelli sang a number of arias, after which Pope Benedict spoke on evangelisation. Among other things he announced that from Oct 2012 to Advent 2013 cwould be a year of faith. On Sunday morning I attended a Mass in St Peter's which was said by the Pope who also preached. After the mass I met up with members of the New Springtime Community for the Holy Father's angelus address and blessing. Afterwards we dined together.
On Monday morning I made my way to the airport. My flight was delayed by 3 hours and we found it hard to land in Dublin because of high winds buffeting the Dublin area. I left the airport at 4.40 and drove immediately to Belfast where I spoke in St Anne's Church of Ireland cathedral on the subject of Overcoming Fear.
I have neglected the blog for some time. A lot has happened in the meantime. I have changed house having moved from St Peter's Parish to one of our community houses in South County Dublin. While the change was demanding from a physical point of view, it was not so from an emotional perspective. I have lived in St Joseph's, 44 Stillorgan Park, Co. Dublin on two previous occasions, once in the 80's and earlier in this decade. In recent times I have spoken at quite a few conferences to which I travelled by scooter. As a result I have put up nearly 2000 miles on the clock. I went to speak at the New Dawn conference in Walsingham in August. The highlight was the healing service which was attended by 1,500 people. I also spoke at the New Dawn Conference in St Andrews Scotland where I also conducted a healing service. WE celebrated Mass in the ruins of the old monastry. I gather it was only the second since the Reformation. More recently I have been helping to simultaneously run Alpha courses in 16 different parishes in South County Dublin. They are being backed up by a lot of advertising on bus shelters, in a cinema and by putting up lots of posters. I have helped by contributing to a training day in Crinken Church of Ireland parish. More recently I spoke at a conference on spirituality in Southport, in England. The main speaker was Sr. Helen Prejan, who wrote Dead Man Walking which was made into a movie. Besides talking at conferences and seminars I have been writing. I have had articles published in the Irish Catholic, Doctrine and Life, and Goodnews magazine.
I was ordained on June 6th 1971, which was the feast of the Holy Trinity. I thank God, that 40 years later, Fr. John Concannon, C.M. and myself are still alive, in the priesthood and trying as best we can to serve the Lord.
As I look back over the years I remember my dear parents who passed on the faith to me and who were such good witnesses to what the Christian life is all about. May they rest in peace. I also feel gratitude for the love and care shown me by my sister Marie and my brothers Peter, and John. Over the years I have been blessed with very good friends, among them Ken, Angela, Marie and Pat. They have been a great support in good and bad times. I also thank God for all the wonderful people I have met in 26 countries as I have ministered in different places. I owe a particular debt of gratitude to my brothers and sisters in the Charismatic Renewal, the Ecumenical Movement and the New Springtime Community. In recent years it has been a joy getting to know people in Sacred Heart Seminary and St Valentine's parish in Detroit. Lastly, I really thank God for my brethern, some of them dead now, in the Irish Province of the Vincentians. As St Vincent said, the community, no matter what faults it may have, is like one's mother, unique and lovable. It has been a privelege to live with such good men.