Showing posts from December, 2022

MAY I SAY LOVE: Remembering Father Pat Dwyer

  “You must be detached” he would say to us his students back in the 1970’s, a lesson that I have tried to learn with some success and then none. We learn, forget, and relearn. Detachment was taught to me again when I visited Pat in August and it is taught again today with the announcement that his funeral will take place on Christmas Eve and I cannot attend. It’s a funeral that I should be at, but this is the price one has to pay for not living in Ireland. What does it matter in the end and who am I anyway that I should be there? But I feel the pain of grief, the pain of disconnection, the pain of being alone with this. At least yesterday evening Evelyn was here to sit with me in the silencing news of his death. He was a father to me, father of my spiritual life. This is not just detachment; it is the Cross – another lesson that Pat sought to teach us. “You must remember the Cross” he announced with right index finger raised on the day of our ordination when everyone else was gett


  Stansted airport 8.10am. Been here since 7 and up since 5. “Relax” is the word next to the scheduled flight to Cork. I do what the word says, relaxing with a coffee and croissant, not realizing that the word is ominous on this morning of heavy snow. Relax means that we’re going nowhere for a long time. The 9.20 departure becomes 11.20 and then 12.20. By then we’ve been waiting at the gate for over an hour. The place is very overcrowded and hot but in a typically English manner everyone is quiet, bearing it patiently. The Italians are different. A waiting planeload of them cheer and chant loudly when they are told to move to yet another gate. I’m on my way to Father Vincent Kelly’s funeral and I’m already late. Mass starts in thirty minutes and the flight that still hasn’t taken off will take an hour and a half. Maybe I should just go back and not travel at all. But something keeps me moving forward and I decide that I will get a taxi directly to the cemetery. Vincent had left instru

NO HURT, NO HARM: Wolf and Lamb

  “The wolf lives with the lamb.” Words I became aware of fifty years ago in the early months of my life as a Pallottine, words that found resonance in me like they were part of the essence of my vocation, expressing something of the identity for which I was chosen.   Wolves fascinate me – all that is wild and free, native and instinctual. Or perhaps it is the idea of the wolf that I like because I would surely be petrified if confronted by one. But they speak to me in some way and of course the wonderful passage from Isaiah chapter 11 expresses something that I dearly yearn for - the return to the peace of Paradise, the harmony of Eden which comes with Jesus the Messiah.   The wolf lives with the lamb, the panther lies down with the kid, calf and lion feed together, with a little boy to lead them. The cow and the bear make friends, their young lie down together. The lion eats straw like the ox. The infant plays over the cobra’s hole; into the viper’s lair the yo