Coping with the Pandemic.


Join Declan in praying the Jesus Prayer for our world, and all its People as we cope with this pandemic.

The Jesus Prayer is an ancient Christian Prayer form, based on the words of the Blind Man asking for help from Jesus.

Traditionally you begin it by repeating the Phrase often in the presence of a Holy Icon.

Jesus is reputed to have lived for 33 years on this Earth.  So it is repeated 33 times.

This practice was used in the very early Christian Church and was a favourite of the Desert Fathers and Mothers in Egypt.

I believe it was used even earlier back as far as the time of the Apostles.

It is sometimes known as ” the Prayer of the Heart”.  What starts in the mind slowly deepens from the head into the heart or soul.

It is a very powerful way to pray.  Please try it. Some people use it with prayer beads or ropes with 33 knots.

This is not essential.  Sit and join me and allow God to fill your heart with His peace.  God Bless you.



Many will be in lockdown living with family members.  This is not always easy.  The lovely prayer attributed to St Francis is a way to help us live in these unusual times.  We are each called to try to be true instruments of peace as we follow the example of Jesus our Master.  Join Declan in praying this lovely prayer. Indeed it might become a family morning and night prayer.  Don’t go to your rest in an angry mood.  Make peace.  God Bless and love you  .


Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.


Many of us who are isolating are spending time walking or working in our gardens if we are lucky to have one.  Perhaps a byproduct of this prolonged time in isolation is a growing awareness and appreciation of the beauty that God surrounds us with each day.  Perhaps we have taken this gift for granted in the past busy lives we led.

Take a few moments to pray with Declan as you view this video.




Join Declan in praying for ten minutes before Jesus The Bread of Life.



This prayer uses Holy Scripture from the Gospel of John and also the Litany Pope Francis used at His prayer during the Holy Week Urbi et Orbi message and Prayer this year.


Lough Derg will host one-day retreats

On this Sunday (May 24) and next Wednesday (May 27)  St. Patrick’s Purgatory, Lough Derg will host one-day retreats by live stream at:   See the attached poster for details. 



Pentecost Novena: 

These nine days between Ascension (when celebrated on a Thursday) and Pentecost Sunday are traditionally a vigil of prayer for the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Cork Scripture Group has forwarded the attached novena reflections by Sean Goan (beginning today, May 21) as we pray, day-by-day,  that the Spirit will renew our lives.  

Full texts download here .

Pentecost Novena_Cork Scripture Group



This programme gives families of every kind the opportunity to become stronger by working and reflecting together. The programme consists of four sessions and the resources here will guide you through each of them. Any family can participate, the family in the home, in the classroom or school or community group.







The resources linked to each of the four sessions are designed to provide parents, teachers or group leaders with all they need to organise and run the programme. In addition to Session Notes and other downloadable materials, there are short films to guide leaders as they prepare to work with their particular “family” group. In addition to being aids for preparation, the films can also be used during sessions if you wish.

Homily of Archbishop Eamon Martin for the Fifth Sunday of Easter: the Way, the Truth the Life

“Our forced seclusion and restricted personal freedoms have certainly reminded us all that we are not invincible and are far from in control of everything; we are dependent on others and on God“ – Archbishop Martin

It’s amazing how certain words and phrases in the Sunday readings seem to speak directly to us, as if it was planned that those lines from the Bible were chosen especially for today.  But then, the scriptures are the inspired Word of God – God speaks to us in and through them; they never lose their freshness or relevance to our lives.

Today, the words that leap out at me from the lectionary are “trust”, “hope”, “life”, “love”, “truth”.

As we continue to struggle through the months of lockdown, it can be difficult to keep our spirits up. The words of today’s psalm are certainly worth praying, over and over: “May your love be upon us, O Lord as we place all our hope in you”.

There are also comforting words in today’s Gospel reading, especially for those who are sick and suffering; those who have been admitted to hospital and feel isolated from family and friends.  Jesus speaks memorable words of comfort: “Do not let your hearts be troubled; trust in God still and trust in me”.  I think these words would also be very helpful for our A-level and Leaving Cert students who might be feeling anxious about what happens next. “Do not let your hearts be troubled; trust in God still and trust in me”.

I notice in today’s First Reading from Acts of the Apostles, that the early Christians wanted to ensure that the preaching of the Word of God would be accompanied by practical outreach and charity towards the poor and disadvantaged.  No one was to be neglected in the daily distribution of food for the needy.  That is why the apostles appointed deacons like Stephen, Philip and others to ensure that the vulnerable would be nourished not only with the Word of God but would also receive food and essential daily supplies.

In recent weeks I have been impressed by the generous outreach of so many of our parishioners who have volunteered for community distribution of groceries, medicines and friendly calls to those who live alone.  Earlier in the week I had an opportunity to meet with our local Knights of Malta, to hear about their work, to bless their ambulances and to pray with them for the protection of our carers and health workers.

Our parishes and dioceses have now begun to draw up their plans and “roadmaps” for a return to collective prayer as soon as it is safe to do so.  It has been very difficult for us not being able to gather together in our beautiful church buildings. We’ve had to rely on spiritual communion.  For this I draw strength and inspiration from the words in today’s second reading which speak about our being like “living stones” making up a “spiritual building” and Christ being the cornerstone of that building.

It is also helpful to hear in the Gospel what Jesus told His friends when they were struggling to cope with the news of His pending departure from them. They asked: ‘How will we know the way?’ Jesus said:

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”.

On RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland earlier this week I heard an elderly couple being interviewed about their experience of being cocooned – cut off from their family and loved ones.  It was moving to hear them speak about the daily webcam broadcasts from their local parishes, describing them as being their “lifeline”!

It strikes me that, as the Covid-19 crisis rolls on, we are all beginning to reflect a little deeper, searching for our roadmaps forward, our “lifelines”. Government announcements say that we’re headed for a ‘new normal’.

I wonder what will be my ‘new normal’?  Will I have learned anything from this crisis?  How will it have changed me?

I am sure that many people are growing closer to God through this crisis, realising perhaps that the way they have been living their lives has been unsatisfying at a deep level.  Our forced seclusion and restricted personal freedoms have certainly reminded us all that we are not invincible and we are far from being in control of everything; we are actually quite dependent – on others and on God.  Life is precious and fragile; love and family is fundamental to our safety and well-being.  Not only is our physical health important, but also our mental, emotional and spiritual health.  They all need to be nourished if we are to truly ‘keep body and soul together’.

As we continue our journey through lockdown and sketch out a way forward, the readings of today’s Mass certainly contain much food for thought and nourishment: words of inspiration like: ‘trust’, ‘hope’, ‘life‘, ‘love’ and ‘truth’.

And they all come together in Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Amen.


Archbishop Eamon Martin invites grandparents and grandchildren to pray for each other, to

share and record their ‘2020 vision’ stories


Archbishop Eamon Martin has welcomed Pope Francis’ message for the 54th World Day of Social Communications which will be celebrated on Sunday – the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.  The theme of Pope Francis’ annual message for this year reflects on the power of storytelling: ‘That you may tell your children and grandchildren’ (Ex 10:2).

Archbishop Eamon said, “During this time of COVID19 restrictions, many grandparents have mentioned how much they miss the physical company and affection of their grandchildren – especially their hugs!  The relationship between the generations is a favourite theme of Pope Francis which he reiterates in his communications message for 2020.  The Pope often speaks of the bond that exists between younger and older people and for his communications message this year he particularly focuses on the importance of sharing stories across the generations.

“The theme of Pope Francis’ message reminds us that ‘from childhood, we hunger for stories … stories influence our lives … [although] not all stories are good stories’.  By choosing his theme from the Book of Exodus, the Holy Father underpins how memories and storytelling are precious in our lives and in all the best communications. The telling of stories – inspired by faith, hope and love – is also hugely significant in the handing on of faith from generation to generation.

 “When I attended the Youth Synod in Rome in 2018, Pope Francis surprised us by hosting an evening when young and older people who came together to learn from each other and at which he launched Sharing the Wisdom of Time.  In the preface, he says ‘the Lord wants me to say: that there should be an alliance between the young and old people.’  The Pope explains that this cooperation entails sharing experiences of older people, heeding their advice and creating a strong bond with the new generations who are hungry for guidance and support as they prepare for their future.  This spirit is exemplified in this year’s communications message:

‘In an age when falsification is increasingly sophisticated … we need the wisdom to be able to welcome and create beautiful, true and good stories.  We need courage to reject false and evil stories.  We need patience and discernment to rediscover stories that help us not to lose the thread amid today’s many troubles. We need stories that reveal who we truly are, also in the untold heroism of everyday life.’

“Encouraged by Pope Francis, this weekend I invite grandparents and grandchildren to share their own stories – over the phone, on social media or video call – of how they are coping during this coronavirus crisis.  Perhaps  young people could record and capture this moment for the future.  In years to come, when we look back on 2020, we will be sharing with future generations the story of how the world had to pause, to stand still.  Hopefully, we will be able to relate the things that we learned from this pandemic experience.  Perhaps we will speak of ‘2020 vision’ in a new way, that 2020 was the year we learned to appreciate more each other – our family, our elderly, our friendships, our front-line workers, our clergy – and all because we had to spend some time apart.

Archbishop Eamon concluded, “I strongly encourage everyone to read this year’s uplifting Communications Day message by Pope Francis and to reflect on the power of ‘the story’ in our own journey, and on those around us, especially during this restricted period.  As Pope Francis says, ‘The history of Christ is not a legacy from the past; it is our story, and always timely.  It shows us that God was so deeply concerned for mankind, for our flesh and our history, to the point that he became man, flesh and history.  It also tells us that no human stories are insignificant or paltry.’”

Other resources

Trocaire has compiled the following reflection based on a recent statement of Pope Francis:   “The pandemic reminds us there are no difference or borders between those who suffer. We are all frail, all equal, all precious. May we be profoundly shaken: Now is the time to eliminate inequalities and heal the injustice undermining the health of the entire human family!”

Daily Church Liturgy?  There’s an app for that.  Give us this Dayis resource for personal prayer published by Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota.  It contains texts for a shorter Morning and Evening Prayer, for Mass with daily reflections, a commentary on Scriptures, as well as prayers, hymns and colour images.  The GUTD app is available by searching for Give Us This Day at the Apple and Google stores in you Apple/Android device.  These beautifully presented resources  are normally (in non-pandemic times) available as a printed booklet.  The app in currently available free of charge for a 60-day trial.  To download a PDF version of the current booklet: visit or GUTD.netand select ‘Digital’ in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Then download the full PDF colour edition on the right-hand side of the browser.  

My Planet My Pledge: Youth Work Ireland has developed an online activity pack on climate change and the environment. The My Planet My Pledge activity pack was originally developed as a workshop session, but due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it has been adapted to be delivered as an online resource. The pack contains activities to support young people develop skills and knowledge to enable them to live an environmentally friendlier life and to support them recognise their responsibilities and abilities to become advocates for the environment and climate change. The pack is available at

Young Philosopher Awards: Ethical questions are important not only in our everyday interactions with others, but in the use of technology, how we conduct ourselves at school and at work, how governments and institutions undertake their duty and conduct their practices, and how we plan for the future as well as reflect upon past actions. The UCD Young Philosopher Awards are inviting young people to create a short project on any ethical questions that they think is important or relevant in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Prizes will be awarded for the best entries. The best entries will also be published on the UCD Centre for Ethics in Public Life website and the IYPA website. Find out more here>>

The Religion Teacher website offers lots of free printable student worksheets on Lent/Sunday Readings which Parents could use at home with students?

Junior Cycle RE Once again, here is the link to last Thursday week’s JCT RE webinar and resources in case you couldn’t link in:


Youth Work at a Social Distance Zoom resources

Below are some resources we wanted to make you aware of:

Attached is 24/7 Prayer’s resource for helping young people to pray that we highlighted on the call. Thanks to 24/7 for developing this!

We highlighted a resource called Rock Solid TV made by Youth For Christ. It is brilliant and you can find out more at the below link!

Do check out Alpha’s Webinar series as a fantastic resource for you, your youth, their parents, and your church!

Scripture Union Ireland have just launched a part of their website called SU+ where they have been releasing fantastic resources. Link is below


COVID-19 Praying with Young People[1]


Scripture Union – Light My Path Series is settling into a program now for the next 8 weeks. During this time they will make available for streaming all the parts of the NUA Film Series along with exclusive SU+ devotionals. This is completely free and suitable for all ages. To subscribe visit

Messenger Publications – The following message has been forwarded by Donal Neary S.J., editor of the messenger of St. Anthony:  “The Messenger is still being printed and distributed monthly. However, some may find it hard to access it. Thus, we are offering a free digital subscription for three months. If you would like to receive this, please send an email to, with message digital.”

Messenger publications can be ordered at


Sr Deirdre McKenna RSM who is a social worker with the Southern Health Social Care Trust in NI along with her colleagues has created some helpful short videos on helping to respond to living and dying issues during the current COVID-19 situation. From the videos I have watched, these are very good resources and I commend them to you. The following link will take you directly to the video clips:


Teacher Welfare – Some practical and timely advice for teachers during this difficult time.

and for the students


A good read to cheer you up

‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse’ is a beautiful, illustrated, heartfelt book filled with characters each of us can relate to in some fashion. The conversations held between the Boy, and the friends he finds along the way, are a reflection of truths many of us have forgotten — how to be gentle to ourselves and others. How to love without limit. (Author: Charlie Mackesy)


Also Read


“How does one become a butterfly,” Yellow asks pensively. “You must want to fly so much That you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”


Love this :

Coronavirus Letter To Humanity

The earth whispered but you did not hear.

The earth spoke but you did not listen

The earth screamed but you turned her off.

And so I was born…

I was not born to punish you..

I was born to awaken you.

The earth cried out for help…

Massive flooding. But you didn’t listen.

Burning fires. But you didn’t listen.

Strong hurricanes. But you didn’t listen.

Terrifying Tornadoes. But you didn’t listen.

You still don’t listen to the earth when.

Ocean animals are dying due to pollutants in the waters.

Glaciers melting at an alarming rate.

Severe drought.

You didn’t listen to how much negativity the earth is receiving.

Non-stop wars.

Non-stop greed.

You just kept going on with your life..

No matter how much hate there was..

No matter how many killings daily..

It was more important to get that latest iPhone then worry about what the earth was trying to tell you..

But now I am here.

And I’ve made the world stop on its tracks.

I’ve made YOU finally listen.

I’ve made you take refuge.

I’ve made you stop thinking about materialistic things..

Now you are like the earth…

You are only worried about YOUR survival.

How does that feel?

I give you fever.. As the fires burn on earth.

I give you respiratory issues.. Has pollution fill the earth air.

I give you weakness as the earth weakens every day.

I took away your comforts..

Your outings.

The things you would use to forget about the planet and its pain.

And I made the world stop…

And now…

China has better air quality.. Skies are clear blue because factories are not spewing pollution unto the earth’s air.

The water in Venice is clean and dolphins are being seen. Because the gondola boats that pollute the water are not being used.

YOU are having to take time to reflect on what is important in your life.

Again I am not here to punish you.. I am here to Awaken you…

When all this is over and I am gone… Please remember these moments..

Listen to the earth.

Listen to your soul.

Stop Polluting the earth.

Stop Fighting among each other.

Stop caring about materialistic things.

And start loving your neighbours.

Start caring about the earth and all its creatures.

Start believing in a Creator.

Because next time I may come back even stronger….

Signed:   Coronavirus


Written by: Vivienne R Reich






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