Liturgy Seminar

Saturday 26 January 2013 
all handouts also available in our download section

1. Faith and Art As the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, wrote: “One effect of Christian believing is always seeing the world in a new way.” Art has helped over the centuries to deepen our understanding of the mysteries of our faith. Damian McNeice will use the medium of Art and images as a key to open doorways through which we can explore anew elements of the Apostles Creed.

+ Faith and Art – Liturgy Seminar January 2013 +

The End of God 1963-64, Concetto spaziale (‘spatial concept’).

Lucio Fontana (1899 –1968)

The Hand of God, fresco from the Church of Sant Climent de Taüll, Catalyuna, Spain, consecrated 1123.
The Hand of God, mosaic completed 2012, by the Centro Aletti,

Church of  Beato Claudio Chiampo, Italy. (
Earthrise – taken by astronaut William Anders in 1968 during the Apollo 8 space mission. (c) NASA.
The Helix nebula, or NGC 7293, sometimes called the “Eye of God”, lies 650 light-years away in the constellation of Aquarius. A composite picture taken from the Hubble telescope (c) NASA.
BBC website Future section, 22 March 2012.

The Annunciation, mosaic by the Centro Aletti, Church of Santa Chiara, Pontificio Collegio Francese, Rome 2004.

Virgin of the Sign, 16th Century version of the 11th C  Novrogod (Russian) School original.

Nativity. Centro Aletti, Cathedral of St Sebastian, (Military Ordinariate), Bratislava – Slovacchia,  2011.

Christ ‘Pantocrator’ icon, from the Monastery of St Catherine, Sinai, 6th or 7th Century.
 ‘The Golgotha of Jasna Gora in the Beginning of the 3rd Millennium’

1st Station – Jesus is condemned to death, Jerzy Duda Gracz (1941 – 2004) Czestachowa, Poland.

Batlló Majesty (CatalanBatlló Majestat) 12th century wooden crucifixnow in the National Art Museum of Catalonia in Barcelona.
Milltown Priest (Fr Alec Reid anointing the body of Corporal David Howes, Andersonstown, Belfast) a photo by David Cairns, 19th March 1988.

Bibelgarten, by the artist Fr Sieger Köder (b 1931), Sieger Köder Zentrum, Rosenberg, Germany.

Holy Saturday, Fr Sieger Köder.

Descent to the Underworld, by the Centro Aletti, Church of the Ursuline Daughters of Mary Immaculate, Verona, Italy. 2006.

Black Paintings,
Mark Rothko, 1903 – 1970, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. Circa 1964

Victory over Death 2, Colin McCahon 1970, National Gallery of Australia.

A fall of light illuminating darkness, Colin McCahon 1971,  Private Collection.

The Risen Christ, completed 2012, by the Centro Aletti, Church of Beato Claudio Chiampo, Italy.

Icon of the Ascension, from the Russian Orthodox Monastery of Pskov Pechery, after an original of the Novrogod School

Last Judgement, Tympanum over the doorway of the Abbey of La Madeleine, Vézelay, France, completed c. 1130.

Pentecost, a page from the Hunterian Psalter, Glasgow University, circa 1170.

Pentecost Doves, the chancel of Trinity Episcopal Church, Indiana.

Starry night, Vincent Van Gogh, 1889, Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Table of Universal Brotherhood, Jose Clemente Orozco (1883-1949), New School, University, New York. 1931

Communion of Saints, Tapestries by John Nava, Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral, Los Angeles, finished 2002.

Christ the Good Shepherd with Saints, Centro Aletti, Irish College Chapel 2010.

John Paul II meets Memhmet Ali Agca, Vatican Photo, 27th December 1983.

The Resurrection – Reunion, 1945, Sir Stanley Spencer (1891-1959), Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum.
How to develop your own ?
‘Google’ allows you to search the web for images only. Under their ‘search tools’ you can choose to search for images of at least a medium or large size (better for reproduction on a large screen). Search by the artist’s name or by a phrase or combination of words.

 2. Faith and Heritage Padraigín Clancy will draw on our Celtic spirituality and the richness of the tradition of St. Patrick to invite us into the Trinitarian mystery of faith. From her scholarship in this area she will present ideas for the celebration of the Fifth Sunday of Lent (St. Patrick’s Day) incorporating our native Christian heritage.

I Believe In Lent Resources for St. Patrick’s Day/5th Sunday of Lent – 17 March 2013

Searching Questions
According to Tirechán’ s  7th C. life of Patrick , Eithne and her sister Fildelm, daughters of King Laoghaire of Connacht, are said to have met Patrick and his followers at the Holy Well of Ogalla (Óig Eala),  near Tulsk, County Roscommon.  The women did not know who they were and what religion they espoused and asked the following questions…

Who is God  (Quis Est Deus? /   Cia ba ndiaeisi)
And where is God         (et Ubi est Deus /   ocus Cia airm hítí?)
Of whom is God,

And where is God’s house?
Has your God sons and daughters?

Gold and Silver
Is God alive forever?
Is God in heaven
Or on earth?
In the sea,

In the rivers,
In the mountains
In the Valleys

Speak to us about God
Give us some idea of God
How may God be seen
How may he be loved?  How may he be found? Is God found in Youth or Old Age?  Speak to us of God!

St Patrick’s Response to Eithne is known  as;  St Patrick’s  Creed
Our God – God of All people    (Deus  Noster Deus Omnium Hominum)
God of heaven and earth of the sea and of the rivers

God of the Sun and the moon and of all the stars,
God of the high mountains and of the deep valleys.
God is above heaven and in heaven and under heaven

God has as His dwelling place heaven and earth and the sea  and all that are in them.  God’s life is in all things; God inspires all things, God governs all things, God supports all things.
God kindles the light of the sun, God creates the light of the moon and stars. He makes wells in the arid earth and rocky islands in the sea.
God has a Son who is coeternal with him and of like nature.
The Son is not younger than the father nor the Father than the Son; and The Holy Spirit Breathes in Them.  Not separate are the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  (From texts translated by Liam de Paor and James Carney. Text is in Latin and Old Irish and English)

Lúireach Phádraig/ Patrick’s Breast Plate
Lúireach – Lorica- Breastplate – many forms and versions
Attributed to Patrick- Trinity emphasised – 8th century
I arise today and bind myself
with a mighty strength
Through the invocation of the Trinity
Through belief in the three
Through Confession of the unity
Of the beloved Creator
I arise today through God’s strength to guide me
God’s might to uphold me
God’s eye to look before me
God’s wisdom to advise me

I arise and bind myself with
the strength of Christ’s birth and  baptism,
With the strength of his crucifixion and burial
With the strength of his resurrection and ascension,
With the strength of his forgiveness

Gléasaim mé féin inniu       I arise and bind myself
I neart neimhe                     with the strength of the heavens
I soilse gréine                      with the light of the sun
In éadrachta éasca              with the shining of the moon
In áine thine;                        with the brightness of fire
I ndéine thintrí                      with the severity of lightening
I luaithe gaoithe;                  with the speed of wind
I bhfoddhomhain mhara;     with the depth of sea
I dtairseacht talun;               with the steadfastness of land
I gcobhsaíochr ailigh           with the stability of rock
Christ to shield me today
Against burning, against drowning, against poisoning
Against anyone who might wish me ill afar and anear
Alone and in a multitude

Christ with me,                                                Críost liom
Christ before me, Christ behind me                Críost romham, Críost I mo dhiaidh
Christ on my right, Christ on my left               Críost ar mo dheis, Críost ar mo chlé
Christ above me, Christ below me                  Críost os mo chionn, Críost fúm
Christ in me                                                     Críost ionam
Christ in the heart of all who think of me
Christ in the ear of all who hear me
Christ in the eye of all who see me
Christ ever be.

Penitential Poem – Protect me Lord
(11th century by Maol Íosa Ó Brolcháin trans from IrishJ
Protect for me my eyes
O Jesus, Son of Mary
That it not make me greedy
To see another’s wealth

Protect for me my ears
That they will pay no heed to backbiting
And that they will not regularly listen
To foolish talk in the world

Protect for me my tongue
That it slander no one
That I criticise no one
That I am not boastful
Protect for me my heart
O Christ, that through your love,
I may not pursue any
Perverse desire

Let there be no hatred in my heart
Nor envy nor blindness
Nor pride, nor disrespect
Nor corruption, nor harm.

Protect my good belly
That it be filled with due temperance
That I may not stuff it without care

Protect for me my hands
That they be not stretched out in conflict
That they pursue nothing shameful
Protect for me for feet
Upon the good ground ofIreland
That they stir not out of place
On no good business

Protect my sexuality
In wholesome purity of desire
Let lust not overcome me
Let me not fall into any of the
Notorious great chief sins
O Christ, come to me to aid me with them
I give myself totally to you
To protect me
By your great grace, O Lord, Protect me

This poem is attributed to Patrick but is reckoned to date from 10th or 11th century.    In this poem Patrick asks God to send his holy angels to watch over his people, and to protect and preserve them from all harm in both their waking and sleeping.
Patrick Said;
May thy Holy Angels,
O Christ, son of the living God
tend our sleep, our rest,
our bright bed.

Let them reveal true visions
to us in our sleep,
O High-prince of the universe,
O great mysterious King.

May no demons, no ill, no injury
or terrifying dreams
disturb our rest,
our prompt and swift repose.

May our waking, our work
and our activity be holy;
our sleep, our rest,
unhindered and untroubled.( trans. Gerald Murphy, EIL, p45)

God Grant me a well of tears
My sins to Hide
Or I am like arid earth unsanctified!  (Medieval Irish Lyric trans. Carney)

Extracts from St Patrick’s Writings – 5th Century Confessio
(Emphasising Devotion to Prayer/ Experience of God)
16. But when I had come by ill luck to Ireland well every day I used to look after sheep. And I used to pray often during the day the love of God and the fear of him increased more and more in me and my faith began to grow and my spirit to be stirred up. So that in one day I would say as many as one hundred prayers and nearly as many at night even when I was staying out in the woods or on the mountain. And I used to rise before dawn for prayer in snow and frost and rain and I used feel no ill effect and there was no slackness in me (as I now realise the Spirit was glowing in me) (His call to answer the Cry of the Irish)

23.  And next a few years later I was in Britain among my parents who had received me for their son and earnestly requested me that I should now after all the troubles which I had experienced never leave them.  And it was there that I saw in a vision of the night a man coming apparently from Ireland whose name was Victoricus with an uncountable number of letters and he gave me one of them. And I read the heading of the letter which ran ‘The Cry of the Irish’ and as I was reading aloud the heading of the letter I was imagining at that verymoment I was hearing the voice of those by the Wood of Focluth which is by the western sea and this is what they cried as with one voice ‘Holy boy we are asking you to come and walk among us again’ and I was struck deeply to the heart. And I was not able to read any further and after that I woke up. God be thanked that after several years the Lord granted them according to their cry.
(Faith and Gratitude)
12) And so it was that I originally uncultivated, in exile and little educated and I did not know how to plan for the future but this I do know that before I was humbled I was like a stone that lies deep in mud and he who is mighty came and in his compassion raised me up and exalted me very high and placed me on the top of the wall ….so I am bound to cry out and to make some repayment to the Lord for the benefits which he gave me in my land of captivity…

33) I ought not to hide the gift of God which he has lavished on us in the land of our captivity because I then sought him resolutely and there I found  and he preserved me from all forms of wickedness because of his indwelling Spirit which has been active in me up to this day …and that is why I give unwearying thanks to God who kept me faithful in the day of my trial…so that today I can offer him confidently my life for Christ…and that I can say as well, who am I Lord and what is my calling since you have worked in me   with such divine power so that today  I should regularly  exalt and glorify your name  wherever I happen to be not only when things go well but in troubles.

36) How did I come by this wisdom which was not in me because I did not know the number of my days nor used I to know God? Whence did this gift afterwards come to me so great, so health-giving, the gift of knowing and loving God but on condition that I should lose my country and kins folk.
14)  Consequently I must teach from the rule of faith and belief in the Trinity without fear of danger to make known the gift of God and to promulgate the name of God everywhere…so as to leave after my death a legacy to my fellow priests and my faithful children whom I have baptised in the Lord, so many thousands of people.

37)       I was even from time to time offered many gifts with weeping and tears… but by the providence of God I did not yield to them nor agree with them – not thanks to me- but it was God who prevailed in me and withstood them all, to enable me to come and preach the Gospel to Irish Tribes and endure insults from unbelievers..

38)       Because I truly am a debtor to God who gave me so much help that many people were reborn into God through me and afterwards were confirmed and that clergy were ordained everywhere for them for a people who had recently come to belief whom the Lord chose from the ends of the earth

41)   And so it is that those inIreland who had never had knowledge of God are called sons and   daughters of God. And sons and daughters of the Irish Kings and sub Kings become monks and nuns of Christ

3. Faith and Music Using the music of the Emmanuel 2013 Programme, Ian Callanan will offer suggestions for music to highlight aspects of our faith during the year. He will also focus on music for Lent that reflects the call of Christian people to act for justice and peace. (Emmanuel Books and CD’s available from the Liturgy Resource Centre)

4. Faith and Scripture The celebration of the Year of Faith is sustained by the living word of God as gifted to us in the Eucharistic Liturgy each Sunday. Kieran O’Mahony will look at the readings of the Sundays of Lent and Holy Week and point us towards passages for reflection, contemplation and prayer that will help to renew and enrich our understanding of faith.

First Sunday of Lent
Deuteronomy 26:4-10
Moses said to the people: ‘The priest shall take the pannier from your hand and lay it before the altar of the Lord your God. Then, in the sight of the Lord your God, you must make this pronouncement:  ‘“My father was a wandering Aramaean. He went down into Egypt to find refuge there, few in numbers; but there he became a nation, great, mighty, and strong. The Egyptians ill-treated us, they gave us no peace and inflicted harsh slavery on us. But we called on the Lord, the God of our fathers. The Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, our toil and our oppression; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with mighty hand and outstretched arm, with great terror, and with signs and wonders. He brought us here and gave us this land, a land where milk and honey flow. Here then I bring the first-fruits of the produce of the soil that you, the Lord, have given me.”

‘You must then lay them before the Lord your God, and bow down in the sight of the Lord your God.’

Psalm 90:1-2,10-15
Be with me, O Lord, in my distress.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

and abides in the shade of the Almighty
says to the Lord: ‘My refuge,
my stronghold, my God in whom I trust!’

Upon you no evil shall fall,
no plague approach where you dwell.
For you has he commanded his angels,
to keep you in all your ways.

They shall bear you upon their hands
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
On the lion and the viper you will tread
and trample the young lion and the dragon.

His love he set on me, so I will rescue him;
protect him for he knows my name.
When he calls I shall answer: ‘I am with you,’
I will save him in distress and give him glory.

Romans 10:8-13
Scripture says: The word (that is the faith we proclaim) is very near to you, it is on your lips and in your heart. If your lips confess that Jesus is Lord and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved. By believing from the heart you are made righteous; by confessing with your lips you are saved. When scripture says: those who believe in him will have no cause for shame, it makes no distinction between Jew and Greek: all belong to the same Lord who is rich enough, however many ask his help, for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Luke 4:1-13
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit through the wilderness, being tempted there by the devil for forty days. During that time he ate nothing and at the end he was hungry. Then the devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to turn into a loaf.’ But Jesus replied, ‘Scripture says: Man does not live on bread alone.’

Then leading him to a height, the devil showed him in a moment of time all the kingdoms of the world and said to him, ‘I will give you all this power and the glory of these kingdoms, for it has been committed to me and I give it to anyone I choose. Worship me, then, and it shall all be yours.’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Scripture says:
You must worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone.’
Then he led him to Jerusalem and made him stand on the parapet of the Temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said to him ‘throw yourself down from here, for scripture says:
He will put his angels in charge of you
to guard you, and again:
They will hold you up on their hands in case you hurt your foot against a stone.’
But Jesus answered him, ‘It has been said:
You must not put the Lord your God to the test.’
Having exhausted all these ways of tempting him, the devil left him, to return at the appointed time.

Second Sunday of Lent
Genesis 15:5-12,17-18
Taking Abram outside, the Lord said, ‘Look up to heaven and count the stars if you can. Such will be your descendants.’ Abram put his faith in the Lord, who counted this as making him justified.

‘I am the Lord’ he said to him ‘who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldaeans to make you heir to this land.’ ‘My Lord,’ Abram replied ‘how am I to know that I shall inherit it?’ He said to him, ‘Get me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove and a young pigeon.’ He brought him all these, cut them in half and put half on one side and half facing it on the other; but the birds he did not cut in half. Birds of prey came down on the carcases but Abram drove them off.
When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, there appeared a smoking furnace and a firebrand that went between the halves. That day the Lord made a Covenant with Abram in these terms:
‘To your descendants I give this land, from the wadi of Egypt to the Great River.’

Psalm 26:1,7-9,13-14
The Lord is my light and my help.
The Lord is my light and my help; whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life; before whom shall I shrink?

O Lord, hear my voice when I call; have mercy and answer.
Of you my heart has spoken:  ‘Seek his face.’

It is your face, O Lord, that I seek; hide not your face.
Dismiss not your servant in anger; you have been my help.

I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.
Hope in him, hold firm and take heart.   Hope in the Lord!

Philippians 3:17-4:1
My brothers, be united in following my rule of life. Take as your models everybody who is already doing this and study them as you used to study us. I have told you often, and I repeat it today with tears, there are many who are behaving as the enemies of the cross of Christ. They are destined to be lost. They make foods into their god and they are proudest of something they ought to think shameful; the things they think important are earthly things. For us, our homeland is in heaven, and from heaven comes the saviour we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will transfigure these wretched bodies of ours into copies of his glorious body. He will do that by the same power with which he can subdue the whole universe.

So then, my brothers and dear friends, do not give way but remain faithful in the Lord. I miss you very much, dear friends; you are my joy and my crown.

Luke 9:28-36
Jesus took with him Peter and John and James and went up the mountain to pray. As he prayed, the aspect of his face was changed and his clothing became brilliant as lightning. Suddenly there were two men there talking to him; they were Moses and Elijah appearing in glory, and they were speaking of his passing which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were heavy with sleep, but they kept awake and saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As these were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ – He did not know what he was saying. As he spoke, a cloud came and covered them with shadow; and when they went into the cloud the disciples were afraid. And a voice came from the cloud saying, ‘This is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him.’ And after the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. The disciples kept silence and, at that time, told no one what they had seen.

Third Sunday of Lent
Exodus 3:1-8,13-15
Moses was looking after the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law priest of Midian. He led his flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the shape of a flame of fire, coming from the middle of a bush. Moses looked; there was the bush blazing but it was not being burnt up. ‘I must go and look at this strange sight,’ Moses said, ‘and see why the bush is not burnt.’ Now the Lord saw him go forward to look, and God called to him from the middle of the bush. ‘Moses, Moses!’ he said. ‘Here I am,’ Moses answered. ‘Come no nearer,’ he said. ‘Take off your shoes, for the place on which you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your fathers,’ he said, ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ At this Moses covered his face, afraid to look at God.

And the Lord said, ‘I have seen the miserable state of my people in Egypt. I have heard their appeal to be free of their slave-drivers. Yes, I am well aware of their sufferings. I mean to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians and bring them up out of that land to a land rich and broad, a land where milk and honey flow, the home of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites.’
Then Moses said to God, ‘I am to go, then, to the sons of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you.” But if they ask me what his name is, what am I to tell them?’ And God said to Moses, ‘I Am who I Am. This’ he added ‘is what you must say to the sons of Israel: “I Am has sent me to you.”’ And God also said to Moses, ‘You are to say to the sons of Israel: “The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.” This is my name for all time; by this name I shall be invoked for all generations to come.’

Psalm 102:1-4,6-8,11
The Lord is compassion and love.
My soul, give thanks to the Lord all my being, bless his holy name.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord and never forget all his blessings.

It is he who forgives all your guilt, who heals every one of your ills,
who redeems your life from the grave, who crowns you with love and compassion,

The Lord does deeds of justice, gives judgement for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses and his deeds to Israel’s sons.

The Lord is compassion and love,slow to anger and rich in mercy.
For as the heavens are high above the earth  so strong is his love for those who fear him.

1 Corinthians 10:1-6.10-12
I want to remind you, brothers, how our fathers were all guided by a cloud above them and how they all passed through the sea. They were all baptised into Moses in this cloud and in this sea; all ate the same spiritual food and all drank the same spiritual drink, since they all drank from the spiritual rock that followed them as they went, and that rock was Christ. In spite of this, most of them failed to please God and their corpses littered the desert.

These things all happened as warnings for us, not to have the wicked lusts for forbidden things that they had. You must never complain: some of them did, and they were killed by the Destroyer.
All this happened to them as a warning, and it was written down to be a lesson for us who are living at the end of the age. The man who thinks he is safe must be careful that he does not fall.

Luke 13:1-9
Some people arrived and told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices. At this he said to them, ‘Do you suppose these Galileans who suffered like that were greater sinners than any other Galileans? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen on whom the tower at Siloam fell and killed them? Do you suppose that they were more guilty than all the other people living in Jerusalem? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did.’

He told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it but found none. He said to the man who looked after the vineyard, “Look here, for three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?” “Sir,” the man replied “leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it: it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.”’

Fourth Sunday of Lent
Joshua 5:9-12
The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Today I have taken the shame of Egypt away from you.’ Hence that place has been called Gilgal until now.

The Israelites pitched their camp at Gilgal and kept the Passover there on the fourteenth day of the month, at evening in the plain of Jericho. On the morrow of the Passover they tasted the produce of that country, unleavened bread and roasted ears of corn, that same day. From that time, from their first eating of the produce of that country, the manna stopped falling. And having manna no longer, the Israelites fed from that year onwards on what the land of Canaan yielded.

Psalm 33:2-7
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
I will bless the Lord at all times,  his praise always on my lips;

in the Lord my soul shall make its boast.  The humble shall hear and be glad.

Glorify the Lord with me.  Together let us praise his name.
I sought the Lord and he answered me;  from all my terrors he set me free.
Look towards him and be radiant;  let your faces not be abashed.
This poor man called, the Lord heard him  and rescued him from all his distress.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21
For anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation; the old creation has gone, and now the new one is here. It is all God’s work. It was God who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the work of handing on this reconciliation. In other words, God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself, not holding men’s faults against them, and he has entrusted to us the news that they are reconciled. So we are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were appealing through us, and the appeal that we make in Christ’s name is: be reconciled to God. For our sake God made the sinless one into sin, so that in him we might become the goodness of God.

Luke 15:1-3,11-32
The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the Pharisees and the scribes complained. ‘This man’ they said ‘welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ So he spoke this parable to them:

‘A man had two sons. The younger said to his father, “Father, let me have the share of the estate that would come to me.” So the father divided the property between them. A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.
‘When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch, so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants who put him on his farm to feed the pigs. And he would willingly have filled his belly with the husks the pigs were eating but no one offered him anything. Then he came to his senses and said, “How many of my father’s paid servants have more food than they want, and here am I dying of hunger! I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your paid servants.” So he left the place and went back to his father.
‘While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly. Then his son said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the calf we have been fattening, and kill it; we are going to have a feast, a celebration, because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found.” And they began to celebrate.
‘Now the elder son was out in the fields, and on his way back, as he drew near the house, he could hear music and dancing. Calling one of the servants he asked what it was all about. “Your brother has come” replied the servant “and your father has killed the calf we had fattened because he has got him back safe and sound.” He was angry then and refused to go in, and his father came out to plead with him; but he answered his father, “Look, all these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed your orders, yet you never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends. But, for this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property – he and his women – you kill the calf we had been fattening.”
‘The father said, “My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours. But it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found.”’

Fifth Sunday of Lent
Isaiah 43: 16-21
Thus says the Lord, who made a way through the sea,

a path in the great waters; who put chariots and horse in the field
and a powerful army which lay there never to rise again, snuffed out, put out like a wick:
No need to recall the past, no need to think about what was done before.
See, I am doing a new deed, even now it comes to light; can you not see it?
Yes, I am making a road in the wilderness, paths in the wilds.
The wild beasts will honour me, jackals and ostriches,
because I am putting water in the wilderness (rivers in the wild) to give my chosen people drink.
The people I have formed for myself will sing my praises.

Psalm 125:1-6

What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.
When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage,  it seemed like a dream.

Then was our mouth filled with laughter,  on our lips there were songs.

The heathens themselves said: ‘What marvels the Lord worked for them!’
What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.

Deliver us, O Lord, from our bondage as streams in dry land.
Those who are sowing in tears will sing when they reap.

They go out, they go out, full of tears, carrying seed for the sowing:
they come back, they come back, full of song, carrying their sheaves.

Philippians 3:8-14
I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For him I have accepted the loss of everything, and I look on everything as so much rubbish if only I can have Christ and be given a place in him. I am no longer trying for perfection by my own efforts, the perfection that comes from the Law, but I want only the perfection that comes through faith in Christ, and is from God and based on faith. All I want is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and to share his sufferings by reproducing the pattern of his death. That is the way I can hope to take my place in the resurrection of the dead. Not that I have become perfect yet: I have not yet won, but I am still running, trying to capture the prize for which Christ Jesus captured me. I can assure you my brothers, I am far from thinking that I have already won. All I can say is that I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come; I am racing for the finish, for the prize to which God calls us upwards to receive in Christ Jesus.

John 8:1-11
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At daybreak he appeared in the Temple again; and as all the people came to him, he sat down and began to teach them.

The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery; and making her stand there in full view of everybody, they said to Jesus, ‘Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery, and Moses has ordered us in the Law to condemn women like this to death by stoning. What have you to say?’ They asked him this as a test, looking for something to use against him. But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger. As they persisted with their question, he looked up and said, ‘If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Then be bent down and wrote on the ground again. When they heard this they went away one by one, beginning with the eldest, until Jesus was left alone with the woman, who remained standing there. He looked up and said, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir’ she replied. ‘Neither do I condemn you,’ said Jesus ‘go away, and do not sin any more.’

5. Faith and Social Action Kate McQuillan, Church Officer of Trócaire will outline their liturgical resources for Lent 2013 in the Year of Faith. Copies of their resources will be available on the day. 2013 is the 40th anniversary of the foundation of Trócaire, the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland. Resources available on 

6. Faith and Suffering Using original material focused on the Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross, Pat O’Donoghue will offer ideas for a liturgical celebration for Lent or Holy Week which explores the theme of faith in a time of suffering and crisis. Musical suggestions will be included covering a range of styles and traditions.

The Apostles’ Creed
Credo, Credo, Credo Amen
I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth,

Credo, Credo, Credo Amen

and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
Credo, Credo, Credo Amen

I believe in the Holy Spirit,the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,and life everlasting. Amen.
Credo, Credo, Credo Amen

The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross and the Year of Faith

The Apostles’ Creed is our fundamental Baptismal symbol of faith. The Roman Missal recommends its use through Lent and Eastertide as we accompany those preparing for Christian Initiation at the Easter Vigil and renew the grace of our own immersion in the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. The Creed is a proclamation of faith that is recited very often but seldom reflected upon. The Year of Faith is an opportunity to deepen our understanding of what we profess and to draw strength from the power of this Creed to live more deeply the faith into which we were baptised and which we renew at Easter.

During Lent and Holy Week certain parts of what we believe come into focus.
I believe… in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;

This set of reflections on the Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross attempts to open a door into a safe place of hope where we can reflect on our faith as we experience it in a time of crisis and suffering. There we hope to encounter Jesus in whom we believe and who understands pain, loss and struggle. The script and music can be adapted to suit particular communities, their experience and resources. It is one template for exploring the mystery of Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection as it relates to our own lives and the lives of others.

This resource is one part of an initiative of the Dublin Council of Priests – I Believe in Lent. You can download this and the other parts – Faith and Art, Faith and Heritage, Faith and Scripture and some liturgical suggestions at  You will also find there the details of the Credo Card which can be distributed after the Renewal of Baptismal Promises at Easter.


1.  Forgive them for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)

Song  Misericordias Domini (Taizé)
(Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo
I will sing forever of the mercy of the Lord)
God is forgiveness (Taizé)
(God is forgiveness.
Dare to forgive and God will be with you.
God is forgiveness. Love and do not fear.)
Behold and See (G.F. Handel)
(Behold, and see if there be any sorrowlike unto his sorrow)
Gordon Wilson lay in the rubble of the War Memorial in Enniskillen on 8 November 1987 beside his daughter Marie who was dying. She tightly gripped his hand and told him she loved him very much. She was one of the 12 people killed on that Remembrance Sunday as a result of an IRA bomb. Speaking about those who were responsible for her death, he went on to say – ‘I will pray for these men tonight and every night.’ Inspired by the words of Jesus on the cross Gordon Wilson expressed powerfully his faith in ‘the forgiveness of sins’.
John McAreavey whose wife of 12 days, Michaela, was murdered inMauritius while on their honeymoon in 2011 was asked if he forgave her killers. He said – ‘Nothing is impossible. Being Catholic and trying to follow the example we’re set, forgiveness is a big part of it’.

St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) who died inAuschwitz in 1942 offers us these words of advice:
Love is stronger than hatred. In the end there will be only the fullness of love. If we   accept the whole Christ in faithful self-giving, by choosing and walking in the way of the imitation of Christ, then he will lead us through his Passion and Cross to the glory of the Resurrection.

As a forgiven people we are called to be a forgiving people. That is the challenge before us as we reflect on the words Jesus spoke on the Cross – ‘Forgive them for they know what they do’ and as we proclaim in faith ‘I believe in the forgiveness of sins’.

Silent Prayer

Intercession    Let us pray,
God of love and mercy,

Renew my faith in the forgiveness of sins so that I will:
Accept your gift of compassion
Turn away from thoughts of hatred and revenge
Share the grace of mercy with others
We ask this in the Spirit of peace and through your gentle Son, Jesus Christ.

Song Make me a channel of your Peace (Sebastian Temple)
Make me a channel of your peace.

Where there is hatred let me bring your love.
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord
And where there’s doubt, true faith in you.

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there’s sadness, ever joy.

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
In giving to all that we receive
And in dying that we’re born to eternal life.

2 Today you will be with me in Paradise (Luke 23:43)

Song  Jesus Remember Me (Taizé)
(Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom)
In Paradisum (Orlando Gibbons)
(May flights of angels lead you on your way
To paradise and heaven’s eternal day
May martyrs greet you after death’s dark night
And bid you enter into Zion’s light
May choirs of angels sing you to your rest
With once poor Lazarus, now forever blest)

Childhood images of paradise imagine a place of eternal sunshine with rich ripe fruit ready for plucking from lush trees – a place to which we aspire when our journey on earth is over.  Any view of paradise which is self-indulgent usually excludes other people who are our brothers and sisters in Christ. In particular we exclude those we don’t get on with as we feel we would be better off without them.

On the Cross, Jesus promised paradise today not tomorrow – here and now. In the Beatitudes Jesus gave us a step by step guide to creating heaven on earth.  We can build a ‘stairway to paradise’ by our actions for justice and peace, for human rights and equality. We can make life heaven when openness prevails over intolerance and forgiveness conquers resentment. We can build up people burdened with worry, pain or grief by our presence, gentleness and support. We can walk in the Garden of Eden once again when we let go of our pride, arrogance and self-reliance. This step by step approach is supported by St. Hildegard of Bingen, a visionary 12th century Abbess:

‘I began my ascent of the steep slope to heaven at its lowest point, unlike Lucifer who raised himself above himself and fell beneath himself. If you attempt to ascend by taking hold of the highest branch of the tree first, more often than not you will just as swiftly fall. But if you begin your climb at the foot of the path and proceed one step at a time, you will not fall so easily, so quickly.’

The process of building up the kingdomof Godhere and now which is begun in faith will be completed at the resurrection of the body when we are embraced fully into the peace of eternal life. Our Credo – I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting goes hand in hand with these words of Jesus on the cross ‘Today you will be with me in Paradise.’

Silent Prayer

Intercession    Let us pray,
Gracious God of hope and promise,
fill us with a spirit of generosity and enthusiasm so that step by step we will build a
stairway to paradise by our work for justice, love and peace.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord. Amen.

Song The Beatitudes (Glenstal arr.)
Amen! Truly I say to you, this day you will be with me in paradise

3. ‘Woman, Behold your Son! …Behold your mother.’ (John 19:26-27)

Song Holy Mary, Full of Grace (Paul Décha)
When creation was begun
God had chosen you to be
Mother of his blessed son
Holy Mary full of grace
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.

When creation was restored
You were there beside the Lord
Whom you cherished and adored
Holy Mary full of grace
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.

Two people who Jesus loved dearly, his Mother Mary and his close friend John, were united in their grief and facing an uncertain future as they stood by the cross. For those who believe in the power of Christ in the world today this episode is full of promise, comfort and hope because the death of Jesus when seen through the eyes of faith changes everything. In the Funeral Liturgy we pray that ‘life is changed not ended’. We are given a foretaste of both continuity and change in this encounter at the Cross. The community of believers who formed the first Christian church were strengthened by these links of continuity. They believed that Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, did not abandon his people. He gave them his mother to be theirs as an example of faithfulness, trust and compassion. There is a miniature of the Ascension in the 6th century Rabbula Gospel Book from Syria. In this image we see the apostles in confusion as Jesus is taken up to heaven while Mary stands calmly in prayer amid the chaos. That is the precious gift that Jesus gave to us and to the Christian community at Calvary, a woman of prayer and understanding. We cannot turn to Mary, our Mother, without acknowledging her Son to whom she gave birth. At Cana, Mary saw the embarrassment of the hosts at the wedding and immediately acted in faith with the certainty of one who knew that her son would not let the people down. By changing the water into wine Jesus offered more than a miracle of physical transformation but the symbol of a baptism that was more than some superficial washing. This baptism into the family of Christ, the Church, in blood and water makes us ‘blood’ brothers and sisters of each other with all that goes with such a relationship. As we reflect on the words of Jesus on the cross – ‘Woman, Behold your Son! …Behold your mother’ we open our hearts to one who understands suffering and loss but one who wants to lead us to her Son the source of all comfort and hope.

Silent Prayer

Intercession    Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

Song Ave Maria (Caccini)
Salve Regina (Plainchant)

4. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Mark 15:34)

Song  My God, My God (Liam Lawton)
(My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Why have you forsaken me?)
These heart breaking words of Jesus as he hung on the cross are echoed by many who feel abandoned in their time of need despite their faithfulness to prayer and leading a good life.St. Johnof the Cross offers wisdom on dealing with this ‘dark night of the soul’:

Spiritual persons suffer great trials from the fear of being lost on the road and that God has abandoned them…Let them trust in God who will bring them into the clear and pure light of love.

What person would allow their son to suffer so much without doing something about it? This short phrase of Jesus on the cross reminds us how our faith can be tested by illness, loss or disillusionment. Why does God allow bad things to happen? Why are we visited so much in life by suffering and pain? Why do we experience sadness and a sense of abandonment in the face of darkness in our lives? These are questions that can only be answered from a place of faith. In the creed we profess that Jesus ‘suffered under Pontius Pilate’. We recognise that human trait when people seem to wash their hands of us and walk away when we need them most.  Jesus is at one with us in that feeling of abandonment, of betrayal and disappointment as he suffered the same as part of his passion. When we are in that lonely place it is important for us to recognise that the cross of suffering became the cross of glory. It is difficult to hold on to that hope when the cloud of despair settles upon us. Sometimes we fail to see the shafts of light that are sent to us – the kind messages of support, the thoughtful cards, the generous offers of practical help. We are never alone. – God is by our side even though we want to say this verse of Psalm 22 at times with Jesus ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

Silent Prayer
Intercession   Let us pray,

Gracious God,
We unite our anxieties and our sense of abandonment
with the lonely pain of Christ on the cross.
Be with those who feel deserted and alone today.
We ask this in the spirit, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Song  The Clouds’ Veil (Liam Lawton)
Even though the rain hides the stars,

Even though the mist swirls the hills,
Even when dark clouds veil the sky, God is by my side.
Even when the sun shall fall in sleep,
Even when at dawn the sky shall weep,
Even in the night when storms shall rise,
God is by my side, you are by my side.
He Was Despised (G.F.Handel).

5.   ‘I thirst.’ (John 19:28)

Song   Like the deer that yearns for running streams (Joseph Walshe)
(Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you my God)

So many people in our society carry bottled water around with them you would think we lived in a desert. For people living in areas of drought the words ‘I thirst’ are very real. Climate change has a marginal effect on us in the Western developed world. It is vital for the future of our planet and all those with whom we share God’s creation that we improve our awareness of the need to preserving limited resources such as water and of the environmental consequences of our industries.  Jesus thirsts today in so many parts of the world where the provision of clean water is a luxury and people die of thirst.  Thank God there are so many charitable people who give authentic witness to the Gospel by their commitment to people in many developing and often dangerous parts of the world. We think of the Holy Faith Sisters who are joining in with the Kiltegan Fathers in a new mission to the people of Southern Sudan in this Year of Faith.

There is another thirst at a deep level in all people – a thirst that is not satisfied by the immediate and the quick fix of comfort eating, binge drinking and spending for distraction. There is a saying that someone who is thirsting for God is like a fish looking for water – God is all around us. When we are not in communion with God we are literally like a fish out of water. St Augustineputs is so well when he said – ‘You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.’ When we acknowledge in the Creed that we believe in ‘God who made heaven and earth’ we might also recognize that we are part of God’s creation and that our thirst for satisfaction in life can only be quenched by living in communion with God and with one another. When Jesus said ‘I thirst’ he was physically suffering as do our brothers and sisters around the world today. He also opens up the question for us today ‘what will really satisfy our thirst at this time.

Silent Prayer

Intercession    Let us pray,
 God of nourishment and strength,

Inspire us to work for justice and peace
Open our hearts to your grace
Satisfy our longing for fulfilment
We pray this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Song  Let all who are thirsty come (Taizé)
Let all who are thirsty come.

Let all who wish receive the water of life freely.
Amen, come Lord Jesus.
Amen, come Lord Jesus.

6.  ‘It is finished.’ (John 19:30)

Song  Within our darkest night (Taizé)
(Within our darkest night,
You kindle the fire that never dies away, That never dies away)                                                                

It is finished – mission accomplished. Yet Jesus’ work of saving and redeeming goes on. That mission to complete the task for which He was called is now the mission of those who follow Jesus – who call themselves Christian. There are some who say that the communities who follow Jesus today are themselves ‘finished’. Let us keep in mind that the throne of the great servant king, Jesus, was the wood of the cross. St. Paul reminds us that ‘the language of the cross may be illogical to those who are not on the way to salvation, but those of us who are on the way see it as God’s power to save’(I Cor 1 :18). What may be finished are structures and ways that do not give witness to the openness of Jesus to all people who made no distinctions or judgements about them. The real church community of ‘humble’ people still exists as millions throughout the world try to follow Christ in an authentic way following the principles of respect and integrity. It’s not over yet in fact it’s only beginning if we take seriously the challenge of St. Teresa of Avila:

“Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
Christ’s compassion to the world
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about
doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless people now.”

What Jesus is saying to us today is ‘it is finished’ in terms of His witness on earth and that ‘it’s over to you now’. He is telling us that he has given everything and now it’s our turn. We are not alone in our mission because God sent the Holy Spirit to live within us and our Church. As we reflect on the words of Jesus on the cross ‘it is finished’ we also think of our profession of faith in the ‘Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church’. Each day is a new day of hope and promise when we can give authentic witness to the Risen Christ alive in our world today with help of God’s Spirit and the Christian community throughout the world.

Silent Prayer
Intercession    Let us pray,
God of hope and promise,

Renew the grace of your Spirit within us
That we will face the challenge in our times
To be prophetic, courageous and generous
We ask this in the name of Christ, our living Lord. Amen.

Song  St Teresa’s Prayer (John Michael Talbot

7.  ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’(Luke 23:46)

Song  Father, I put my life in your hands (John Michael Talbot)
Complete abandonment. It’s the only way. How often do we fight to get our own way. Yet giving ourselves over to God’s will has consequences that we may not find too pleasant. St. Teresa ofAvilakeeps us in the real world when she reminds us:

There is no danger, my brothers and sisters,
That when you say to God, ‘thy will be done’
You will be showered with riches and pleasures or great honours or any earthly good.
Those who have the grace to give themselves completely enjoy the blessing of letting go and at the same time are cursed from time to time by the uncertainty and insecurity that our human nature brings out in us. Christian living is about that daily dying to ourselves and our own needs so that one day we will truly be at peace and ‘out of control’ because we have let God take over.  If we feel that we are not in communion with God we can take comfort in the words of Meister Eckhart who said that ‘nobody is ever cut off from God’. As we pray this verse of Psalm 31 with Jesus ‘Father, I put my life in our hands’ let us trust in God’s providence and mercy. Julian of Norwich encourages us with these words: ‘All shall be well, all shall be well, all manner of things shall be well’. Mark Strand’s poem based on the Seven Last Words gives us this final stanza:

Hours pass and only the harp off in the distance and the wind
moving through it. And soon the sun’s gray disk,
darkened by clouds, sailing above. And beyond,
as always, the sea of endless transparence, of utmost
calm, a place of constant beginning that has within it
what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no hand
has touched, what has not arisen in the human heart.
To that place, to the keeper of that place, I commit myself.

Silent Prayer

Intercession    Let us pray,
 God of mercy and providence,

Into your hands I commend my spirit,
Help me to trust in in your love and care for me,
Hold me in your peace.
We ask this in the Spirit, through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Song Into your hands, O Father (Taizé)
(Into your hand, O Father, I commend my spirit)

Quiet Reflection before the Cross

Song  Ebarme dich (J.S. Bach
Have mercy, my God,
for the sake of my tears!
See here, before you
heart and eyes weep bitterly.
Have mercy, my God.
Instrumental  Schindler’s List (John Williams)