Archbishop Eamon Martin and Archbishop Richard Clarke on ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ prayer initiative


A few years ago, Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury initiated what he believed would be a relatively small-scale project, asking members of his own Christian tradition to pray “Thy Kingdom Come” with real effort and focus in the days between the Ascension and Pentecost.  These days between Ascension and Pentecost mark a spiritual interlude between Jesus Christ leaving the earth in his physical body at Ascension, and the day when the Holy Spirit came in power on his disciples at Pentecost.  And we are told in the Scriptures that the disciples spent these days in Jerusalem in constant prayer.


Praying “The Kingdom Come” can be a familiar phrase that trips off the tongue a little too easily, but it should never be such.  “The Kingdom of God” can best be understood as being the realm of God, that place where God is in full control, where God is completely supreme in the hearts and minds of his people.  Praying for God’s Kingdom to come is therefore not simply a prayer for the world (although it is that), but it is also a prayer for our own spiritual renewal and a prayer for the Holy Spirit of God to enter the lives of those we know and love in a new and powerful way.


We are asked in these days to make a specific effort within this prayer to “pray for five”.  This means praying intentionally for five people, but not necessarily those we instinctively pray for on a regular basis.  This “prayer for five” should be that God will bless the people for whom they have prayed and give them a deeper awareness of his infinite love for them.  It is not a condescending or judgmental prayer, but a simple act of truly Christian love and friendship.  We sometimes wonder what prayer is able to do.  There was a lovely reflection on the matter by Archbishop William Temple, “When I pray, coincidences happen; when I don’t, they don’t!”.


By God’s grace, what began as a simple local call for prayer has spread across almost all the Christian traditions and across the world.  Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby with other church leaders have asked Christian disciples throughout the world to be part of this focussed wave of prayer.  We now join in this call to prayer, coupling it with our own shared prayer to God, “ Thy Kingdom Come”.


+Eamon, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Dromore.

+Richard, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh
                                                             Archbishop Eamon Martin at Mass for the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ prayer initiative

National Marian Shrine, Knock, Co Mayo


“I ask you to think of five people and pray that their lives may be touched by the power of the Holy Spirit and that the love of Christ may really take root in their hearts” – Archbishop Martin


In today’s Gospel Reading for the sixth Sunday of Easter, Jesus promises His disciples that, after He has gone and returned to the Father, He will send them a gift, so that they do not feel like orphans and so that their hearts will not be troubled or afraid.  That gift will be the Holy Spirit, which the Father will send to teach his people and to remind them of all that Jesus said and did when He was on earth.

At the final Mass of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin last August, Pope Francis remarked that it is “the Spirit of God, who constantly breathes new life into our world, into our hearts, into our families, into our homes and parishes.”  He said that “each new day in the life of our families, and each new generation, brings the promise of a new Pentecost, a domestic Pentecost, a fresh outpouring of the Spirit, the Paraclete, whom Jesus sends as our Advocate, our Consoler and indeed our Encourager.”

The promise of the Holy Spirit remains with us today.  That is why, especially during these final days of the Easter season, and as we approach the feasts of the Ascension and Pentecost, we can pray earnestly and with all our hearts: “Come Holy Spirit”!

The beautiful prayer to the Holy Spirit is perfect for these days:  “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.  Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.  And You shall renew the face of the earth”.

Friends, reflect with me on the sheer joy and confidence of that prayer!  We call on the Holy Spirit because we believe the Spirit can change us and change the world.  The Spirit can renew the face of the earth.  The Spirit can bring us new life, the Spirit can recreate in us what God wanted us to be in the first place!  The Spirit can “rejuvenate” us – make us young again!

Out at the Synod for Youth which was held by Pope Francis in Rome of last October, I suggested that we do not speak enough in the Church about the power of the Holy Spirit.  After all, it is Holy Spirit who “rejuvenates” the Church.

I said at the Synod that I’d like to hear more of the joyful language of the ‘new springtime’, the ‘new Pentecost’ which every Pope since the Second Vatican Council has called for.  As Pope Saint Paul VI famously said, “The Church needs her eternal Pentecost; she needs fire in her hearts, words on her lips, a glance that is prophetic (General Audience 291172)”.

I am convinced that the Spirit is already actively at work preparing us for a new springtime of growth and abundance in faith.

How can we encourage people to be more alert and open to the Holy Spirit, calling us and “gifting” us for the service of the Gospel?  Every day I pray for vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life.  But I also pray that all our lay faithful, especially our young people, will find “new life in the Spirit” and realise more and more that we are all called personally by Baptism and  Confirmation to be part of the “new springtime” for the faith.  It is the Holy Spirit who can enable us to embrace our own unique role in the new evangelisation.

In encouraging you, then, to pray “ Come Holy Spirit” in these days before Pentecost, might I also suggest – as other Christian Church leaders around the world are doing during these days – that you might pray another three-word prayer, namely: Thy Kingdom Come.

Of course we pray those words many times every day in the Our Father, ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, and afterwards as we continue, ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’.

When we pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, we imply that we want God’s will to be the motivation for everything we think, and say, and do, every day of our lives.  The two prayers ‘Come Holy Spirit’, and ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, work perfectly together, because it is the Holy Spirit, working within us, who helps to establish God’s Kingdom here on earth – a Kingdom of Love, of Justice, of Peace – a Kingdom where patience, kindness, generosity and charity are alive and well, and where selfishness, anger, oppression and violence are shunned.

How I long for the New Pentecost, for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit to transform and renew the faith in Ireland and rejuvenate our Church!

Remember the Kingdom of God is present whenever Jesus Christ is present.  Jesus Christ is “God-with-us” and if we accept Jesus in our hearts, then, with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can truly become witnesses and workers for the Kingdom of God!

I join with Pope Francis and the Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury and with my friend and brother Archbishop Richard Clarke – the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh – in encouraging you to pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in the coming days around Ascension Sunday and Pentecost Sunday.

In particular, we encourage you to choose five particular individuals and pray that they might make the best decision that anyone can ever make in their lives – to become followers of Jesus Christ.  I ask you to think of five people – not necessarily five family members – five different people, and pray that their lives may be touched by the power of the Holy Spirit and that the love of Christ may really take root in their hearts.

People sometimes ask me what is the proper way to greet an archbishop.  Well, the other day a little boy surprised me by holding up his hand and saying “High Five, Bishop”!  The Holy Bible often speaks of believers ‘lifting up hands’ in prayer.  So, in the final days leading to Pentecost, why not consider a different kind of ‘High five’?  Why not lift up your hand in prayer to the Holy Spirit, praying for those five individuals to become true followers of Jesus Christ.  Pray for them: ‘Come Holy Spirit’, ‘Thy Kingdom Come’.



Teachers may wish to take time in Lent to deepen their own prayer experiences. You are invited to join us for Prayerfest at either of our two locations this Lent.

  1. Franciscan Missionary Community Mount Oliver

Saturday March 23th  2019  10 am      Mount Oliver, Ballymascanlon , Co Louth.


  1. Kilmore Parish Pastoral Centre
              Saturday April 6th 2019         10. am        Battlehill Road, Stonebridge, Richhill, Co Armagh, BT61 8QJ


The Prayer & Spirituality Commission will lead the day of prayer for all.  Come and try different styles of prayer.


Starts at 10.00 am with a Morning Prayer.     Please Bring a packed lunch – Tea and Coffee will be available.

Download poster    prayerfest 2019


The Prayer and Spirituality Commission are delighted to let you know about their new exhibition on Pilgrimage. It was designed to be available to secondary schools who look at this topic as part of Junior Cert and GCSE Religious Studies. It may also be suited to parish groups. To have it for display you will need a large room with tables around the walls so that the posters and materials can be viewed comfortably.

As part of their celebration of Catholic Schools Week, St Killian’s Community School in Ardee is currently hosting the display for their students and staff members to visit.  Other schools in the Archdioces are invited to apply to Fr Declan O’Loughlin to make a booking. You can download the attached poster and small brochure on Pilgrimage prepared by the commission.  contact Declan at

exploring christian pilgrimage poster



As we draw towards the close of January we find ouselves looking forward to the awakening of nature as Spring gradually breaks in upon us. This raises our hearts and spirits as the days gradually lengthen and the quality of light slowly grows brighter and even warmer. For us in Ireland the Feasts of Brigid and Patrick are makstones as this awakening unfolds.   I will add resources as you send them to me.  I thought this Utube video gives us all a great overview of the dawn of Christianity   in Ireland  This is available through Utube on the scoilnetwebsite that provides primary and seconary school teaching resources.   Check out the following link




Other Resources to download and use.

Checkout this library of ideas and resources

Pilgrimage to St Patrick’s Purgatory Lough Derg.

View Utube video

Bishop Robert Barron speaks about the meaning of Lough Derg

Those who come to Lough Derg take their spiritual lives with utter seriousness, and that is precisely why they are willing to endure hardship—even imposing it on themselves—in order to deepen their communion with God. They know that there are certain tendencies within their bodies and souls that are preventing the achievement of full friendship with God and therefore they seek, quite sensibly, to discipline themselves. John Henry Newman commented that the ascetical principle is basic to a healthy Christianity. He meant that Christians, at their best, understand that our sinful nature has to be chastised, disciplined, and rightly ordered. When the ascetical instinct disappears (as it has in much of Western Christianity), the spiritual life rapidly becomes superficial and attenuated, devolving into an easy “I’m okay and you’re okay” attitude.

The whole point of the Christian life is to find joy, but the attainment of true joy comes, in a sinful world, at the cost of some suffering. That’s why I, for one, am glad that a place like Lough Derg exists.


Full comments at


Spring Meditation music and images from utube Spring Mediatio

prayer for students

the canticle of brother sun

catching rainbows

like a sunflower

St Brigid Blessing and Litany

feb 1 St Brigid.


st Brigid pray for us pic to colour


St Patrick and Early Christianity

St Patrick – a Reflection

the Deer’s Cry

St Brigid ..her life


St Brigid Blessing Prayer





Louise kindly sent me this piece for ASH WEDNESDAY

Download Resources below.

ash wednesday service


what does it mean to fast

lent around the world

lent – a reflection

Lenten_Gospel Reflections_2019 Ver 2

ash wed & lenten services inc penance ser.

ashes & penance in lentopen my eyes and ears

patient god (reconciliation)

empty tomb Colouring page

easter breakfast in galilee

holy week  Ppt on Holy week

stations of the cross

Lent Paper Chain

Finding a way to God in our messy world today

Video  Holy Week in 3 Minutes !



For Trocaire Resources this year check out

Land Rights – Post Primary Education

Activities to make connections between land and Human Rights in Ireland and the wider world

Videos are listed on Trocaire and can be downloaded and stored for use by following these instructions.

How to download the videos

Our videos are on a website called Vimeo, this is how to download the video from Vimeo.

  1. Click this link to see the video on Vimeo:
  2. When on Vimeo, scroll down under the video and click the download button.
  3. Select a video file size to download, and save the video to your computer or memory stick.

trocaire_lent_2019_presentation_v PPtx


This Lent Your Love Can Help Change Lives from Trocaire on Vimeo.












ADVENT starts next week. Another liturgical year has passed and now we get ready to welcome the Christ Child once more.

This is a dark time of year. Many find the darkness oppressive and hard to cope with.  I suspect many who instal Christmas lights so early are people who struggle with darkness.  As we prepare for the arrival of Christ Out Light we ask for help to cope with the short days and the long nights.  This wee song may help ….


Attached below some resources for you to use in school.

Advent – The Waiting Time

Advent Journey    Powerpoint slide show.

Advent Reconciliation Service

Penitential Service for Advent

Advent Sunday Gospel reflection Yr C

Advent speaks to the power of smallness

Christmas Carol Service

The Best Gift

The Birth of Jesus Christ

The Twelve days of Christmas

Happy Birthday Jesus

Practical ways to celebrate Christmas

Bambinelli Sunday, Blessing the Christ Child

Bambinelli Information Sheet – final

Community Carol Service Booklet Rev




Catholic Schools Week 2019

“Catholic Schools: Celebrating the Work of Our Own Catholic School”

Each year Catholic Schools Week provides Catholic school communities with an important opportunity to celebrate ‘who they are’ and ‘what they do’. Catholic Schools Week 2019 aims to achieve this in a more meaningful way by placing each local Catholic school at the centre our celebrations. This year the theme for Catholic Schools Week 2019 is ‘Catholic Schools: Celebrating the Work of Our Own Catholic School’ and we invite Catholic schools to reflect on and celebrate the relationship that exists between home, school and parish through participation in two catechetical moments

Catholic Schools Week 2019 runs from Sunday, 27 January to Sunday, 3 February.
The theme this year is Catholic Schools: Celebrating the Work of Our Local Catholic Schools.
The launch of Catholic Schools Week in the Archdiocese of Armagh will take place as follows:
Date                            Time              Venue
Tuesday 22nd January   11.00 am          Church of St John the Baptist, Drumcree, Portadown
Thursday 24 January      12.30pm          Church of the Holy Redeemer, Ard Easmuin, Dundalk

Catholic Schools Week  2019
This will run from Sunday Jan. 27t to Sunday Feb. 3rd 2019.  Both Junior and Senior Cycle Lesson plans and a liturgical resource will be available soon at:

This year’s poster / flyer   CSW_Flier_A4_2019

November Post Primary  Moment 1   Remembering our Dead


Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled Music by David Haas Performed by Renae and Mark Haas


National Resources for 2019

Day 1.  LIVING TRADITION.    pp_day 1  (Pdf Download)

Day 2. Welcoming Diversity.  pp_day 2  (Pdf Download)

Day 3. Inter GenerationalEducation pp_day3  (Pdf Download)

Day 4. Serving Communities  pp_day 4  ( Pdf Download)

Day 5  Supporting Faith  pp_day 5 (Pdf Download)

BOM/BOG  Reflection pp_bom (Pdf Download)

Staff Reflection  pp_staff to staff

If you need these files in Irish you can access them on



“A ROOM AT THE INN” – Pastoral letter on homelessness in Ireland – Senior Students Justice Study perhaps.

A Room at the Inn? looks in depth at the root causes of the housing crisis and offers solidarity with anyone experiencing homelessness.  The dignity which, as Catholics, we recognise in every person, must be reflected in the reality of life in our society.

Key findings of A Room at the Inn? are:  

  • housing be recognised as a human right and that it should be safe, affordable and appropriate;
  • the provision of housing cannot be left solely to the market;
  • housing should not be treated as any other commodity;
  • housing policies should recognise the rights of families and seek to bring about greater equality in our society;
  • action must be taken to increase the supply and reduce the price of housing;
  • the private rental sector needs to ensure fair pricing and security of tenure in the context of its recent growth at the expense of home ownership and social housing;
  • cooperative housing should be encouraged and supported with the introduction of a new ‘Cost Rental’ sector which focuses on actual cost of providing housing and not profit;
  • taxation be considered for vacant sites; close tax loopholes and use compulsory purchase powers to utilise potential sites which lie undeveloped for a lengthy period of time;
  • the making of enormous profits through land speculation in housing developments and in maintaining high rents is particularly damaging to society;
  • the accommodation needs of the Travelling Community and of asylum seekers must be addressed in a housing strategy;
  • housing provision should take account of environmental sustainability and the use of proper building standards to ensure quality of living for occupants;
  • housing provision should take account of rural and urban development policies;
  • housing policy should be committed to ensuring that those employed in the construction sector can work in safe, secure and fair working environments;
  • energy poverty is widespread in Ireland and many are living in substandard or in minimal standards of accommodation;
  • the absence of adequate housing occurs as a result of governments prioritising other objectives over the provision of housing which is necessary for the dignity of the person;
  • an absence of an adequate and a secure home for children will impact on their life in terms of education, employment and health;
  • allowing a continuation of the disparity between those who have adequate and affordable housing and those who are poorly housed or without a home will create a divided society;
  • There needs to be an open debate about how public policy can serve to reclaim housing from global markets so that its primary and essential purpose is realised.

Please see the following link to the full text in pdf of A Room at the Inn?


A great example for us all is the life and teaching of Mother Theresa now a Saint.

She experienced a second calling in her life and chose to go and work with the poorest of the poor.

Watch this video of her story.


Pope Francis encourages us to live the Beatitudes. He says

“The Beatitudes are like a Christian’s identity card. So, if anyone asks: ‘What must one do to be a good Christian?’, the answer is clear. We have to do, each in our own way, what Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount. In the Beatitudes, we find a portrait of the Master, which we are called to reflect in our daily lives. The word ‘happy’ or ‘blessed’ thus becomes a synonym for ‘holy’. It expresses the fact that those faithful to God and his word, by their self-giving, gain true happiness.” {GE, 63-4)

Living these are a true challenge for us all.  Pope Francis continues

“If I encounter a person sleeping outdoors on a cold night, I can view him or her as an annoyance, an idler, an obstacle in my path, a troubling sight, a problem for politicians to sort out, or even a piece of refuse cluttering a public space. Or I can respond with faith and charity and see in this person a human being with a dignity identical to my own, a creature infinitely loved by the Father, an image of God, a brother or sister redeemed by Jesus Christ. That is what it is to be a Christian! ” (GE, 98)

My good friend Aidan Donaldson has recently written about the new Beatitudes mentioned by Pope Francis in Sweden

In his own beatitudes, he tells us that this is what this path to happiness and holiness looks like:

  • Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart.
  • Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalised and show them their closeness.
  • Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him.
  • Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.
  • Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.
  • Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.

(Beatitudes announced by Pope Francis in Sweden 2016)

For more on this read “The Beatitudes of Pope Francis, A manifesto for the modern Christian ”  By Dr Aidan Donaldson  Published by Veritas   9781 84730 850 4