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Showing posts from October, 2017

First Anniversary of Fr. Seamus Stapleton SCA R.I.P - Parish Priest of Hastings

On this Sunday last year we were faced with the sudden death of Fr. Seamus who was swept away from this world in the space between the two Sunday Masses. We remember especially in prayer his mother Mary and his family for whom this day is especially lonely. I was Rector of the Student House in Dublin when Seamus joined and I have many memories of him but one in particular stands out. I had come back from a walk in Marley Park and found Seamus with Noel O’Connor sitting at the table in the kitchen. They were talking about farming and animals and Noel asked Seamus what would be the first thing he would see when he walked into a field of cattle, something Seamus was very familiar with. Seamus sat erect and in his direct way he replied, “I’d see the strong animal first!” I was asked the same question, though I’ve seldom ever in my life walked into a field of cattle. In Marley Park I had just spent a while with a swan that had a broken wing, something I did regularly and there


" he must not be allowed to reach out his hand and pick from the tree of life too" (Genesis 3:22) Multitudes made manifest In the Presence of God Millions of unborn martyred Holy Souls whose blood With that of Christ is shed Making intercession for us That we might be freed From all the guilt by which We are bitterly burdened Brought low by the sins Of their dying and lifted Up by Mercy if we would Acknowledge them Theirs is the sorrow That has turned to joy Their kindness is our Consolation May they intercede for all Who will follow them and For those who set them On the path of martyrdom And all the living innocent Holy Souls who grace this earth Desecrated so dispicably May God be Saving Justice And our Healing Peace That we might turn again In humble reverence For Eden's most sacred Tree And touch it Not Amen.

UTTER CONVICTION: Mission Sunday Reflection - Eamonn Monson sac

Two of our Pallottines - Fathers Phil McNamara and Jose Campion - died in the past couple of days and it strikes me that both their lives are very fine expressions of the Mission of the Church which wr are celebrating today. As God called King Cyrus by name, so He called Phil and Joe and they responded with all of their lives to that boundless divine stirring, the soundless whisper of God's voice in the depths of their soul. They left home and country as young men to serve in Christ's Mission to His people. Fr. Johnny McDonagh, Br. Jim McCartan and Bishop Winters in Galapo The details of the Mission given to each of us are different but it always involves being called personally by name to represent Jesus in this world in whatever sphere of life we are involved in. Ours is a communal calling in the Church, lived out in a uniquely personal way and the most authentic expression of Mission is one that stems from our personal experience of Jesus, an experience that d


The contrast could not be greater! The bleakness of two nights ago has given way to a summer-like calm; the place where emptiness abounded now overflowing with hundreds of people, maybe thousands. Silence has surrendered to heart-pounding drums that seem to hit you right in the chest, bullet-like bangers explode by the minute. The restrictions of Ireland do not apply here. It's bonfire night, commemorating 1066 - the Battle of Hastings - and the the pre-bonfire parade passes beneath my first floor open window. Great view. People march in period costumes carrying flaming torches to the beat of  hundreds of drums, a noise that is both thrilling and frightening! All ages are there. An elderly woman with a walking stick has the resolute bearing of a general and a baby sleeps in her buggy, oblivious to it all. The power of sleep when it descends on an infant! The air is full of fire and sulphur and good humour! The whole parade takes about 30 minutes to make its way t


I find myself singing the Connemara Cradle Song. “Hear the wind blow love, hear the wind blow!” Out loud! Against the wind, head down in the dark, the wind with rain on it. So it doesn't matter! No one can hear me. The seafront on this night feels like a scene from Ray Bradbury’s ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes!‘ It is the scene of mostly solitary men, mostly jogging. One woman! Jogging! The bravest is the man who sits on a bench staring out to sea. Stillness mid the elements! Waves like a thousand white horses galloping to the shore. All the amusements stand deserted. Kiosks closed and shuttered! Palm trees wave frantically and the automated pirate’s voice in the crazy golf place shouts insults at nobody. I was tempted to sit in front of the TV for the evening. I had just witnessed a teenage boy’s grief over the death of his dad; heard the poem of the man’s godson spoken through tears. Observed the dignified sorrow in the faces of all those who loved him. I soak

MICHAEL: Let Me Sing To My Friend - Eamonn Monson SAC

Let me sing to my friend Let me sing to my friend the song of his love Let me sing to my friend the song of his love for his vineyard (Isaiah 5:1) Michael scared the life out of me the first time we met! He was so angry and aggressive with bitterness carved into the shape of his mouth. Eyes on fire! I was repelled inside but I stood my ground because he was hungry and he had come to our house for food. So I got something together and gave it to him. He scowled. I left him alone. Oddly enough we became friends over time; we grew to love each other. And we often laughed together. He started to tell me the story of his life and I listened. It completely changes your perspective when you hear what the other has been through, even though it also leaves you helpless because there is nothing you can do to change what another person has experienced, can’t change what life has done to them. But we can be present to a certain extent and we can listen. Listen without judgement

BOOKENDS: My Induction As Parish Priest of Hastings - Eamonn Monson sac

I’m wearing vestments that were made for my predecessor Fr. Seamus who was a much, much bigger man than me by a long shot, so there’s no way I can fill them as he did. There is no way that I can fill the space occupied by him when he was Parish Priest. But all the same the vestments fit me in a different kind of way. Something of Seamus remains here but things are not the same. His death brought an unexpected change and I have become part of that change. When I was his novice master I never dreamed that he would die before me, never thought that I would succeed him.  On the front and back of my chausible is the Pallottine seal with the motto "Caritas Christi Urget Nos" (The Love of Christ Urges us on). This seal is testament to our communal calling, the mission given to each of us personally and together as community. The emotion of his passing is still strong! He is very much missed and was greatly loved here in Hastings. He touched people’s lives for the bett