Thanks for being with us

We would like to thank all who attended our Lenten Series of Talks this year. We really appreciated your coming in such numbers. As we said on the final night, it is just as well we have plans to increase the size of our main meeting hall – we had 170 in attendance on the last night and an average of 120 each night.

We hope that the series has helped you to reflect more deeply about you own faith and how your commitment calls on you to respond at this time – in your own life, in parish life and as a member of the universal church.

We are especially grateful to all of our speakers who gave of their time and energy to be with us and who shared their own experience of faith in such a personal and personable manner. You have walked a journey with us and we have benefited so much from your company. May God continue to bless your work.

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Mark Patrick Hederman’s Talk

Our series of Lenten Talks drew to a close last night. We had a wonderful evening with Mark Patrick Hederman, Abbot of Glenstal Abbey who addressed a packed house.  He integrated his response to the question ‘Why I remain a Catholic today’ with the theme of his latest publication ‘Dancing with Dinosaurs’, which is to be published before the end of the month.

A central theme was that the only thing that endures is Love and that all human institutions are subject to human failures. This includes the Catholic Church in its institutional aspects which is inextricably linked with its inner mystical life of relationship with God. The role of the Church is to deliver her children over to Love and then disappear.

The Catholic Church is more an organism than an organisation and renewal is a deed that we do rather than a manifesto that we proclaim. “The renewal of the Church must begin and end with the action which Christ performed at the institution of the Eucharist. ‘Do this in memory of me'”.  Mark Patrick was hopeful that the Holy Spirit is gradually improving mechanisms which might change the Church to become more fully the transparent image of God it is meant to be serving.

Many thanks to Mark Patrick for a very stimulating evening. His talk may be downloaded by clicking here. As always, we encourage you to enter your comments below.

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Ned Prendergast’s Talk

Last night we heard from Ned Prendergast, Director of Faith Development at CEIST, a trust which manages the trusteeship of 112 Catholoic secondary schools in Ireland. Ned gave us a wonderful, rich, stimulating talk which was uplifting and challenging at the same time. He gave a comprehensive, nuanced and personal account of the context within which his faith was nurtured and challenged to grow and of the people who played a significant role in creating that environment. Ned’s talk may be downloaded from here.

Hearing the three talks so far, all on the same theme, challenges us to examine more deeply our own commitment and our response to the challenges of nurturing the faith today. The deeply personal stories of our three speakers challenges us to explore our own stories and to ask ourselves how are we called to respond.

As usual, we had an open discussion after the talk and we finished with a cuppa at the end of the evening.

Our final talk in the series, from Mark Patrick Hederman, Abbot of Glenstal Abbey, takes place on next Tuesday night at 7.30 p.m. Don’t miss it!

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Books recommended by Bishop Willie Walsh

During his talk, Bishop Willie referred to two books that he had found to be very inspirational. For your information they were:

‘What is the point of being a Christian?‘ by the Dominican Timothy Radcliffe and

‘Jesus Today’ by Albert Nolan. In light of the conversation after the talk we noted that Albert Nolan had also written ‘Jesus before Christianity’!

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Bishop Willie Walsh’s Talk

We continued our Lenten series of talks last night with Bishop Willie Walsh as our guest speaker. Willie was Bishop of Killaloe from 1995 until his retirement last year.  We had a large turnout again and we enjoyed a wonderful evening together. Willie’s talk was was a very personal and hope-filled response to the question ‘Why remain a Catholic today?’. His talk can be downloaded from here.

As with Nuala O’ Loan on the first night, we were struck by the very personal nature of the talk and by Willie’s open, honest responses to the many questions and comments that followed his talk. It was a pleasure to witness such lively engagement on such an important question. We are deeply appreciative of our speakers and of the effort that so many have made to be present each night.

Our next talk is on Tuesday week, 5th April when Mr. Ned Prendergast will be our guest speaker. As always, you are invited to leave a comment.

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Nuala O’ Loan’s Talk

We opened our Lenten Talks Series on Friday evening last. Over 100 of us spent a wonderful evening with Nuala O’ Loan whose talk may be downloaded from here. Nuala spoke from the heart and related her personal faith story to us in a way that touched our hearts because of its depth and simplicity. We are very grateful to Nuala for being present, really present, with us.

Underneath each story or post in this blog, you will find the opportunity to comment. It will read ‘Leave a Comment’ or it will show the number of comments already made. Click on the words and you will have the opportunity to make a comment on the story itself or you may reply to the comment of another person. See the story below ‘Lenten Talks 2011’  as an example. You will see that Ita left the first comment and that Noel and Roisin replied to it. If you wish to reply to Ita’s comment, then click the word Reply directly underneath Ita’s comment.

If you wish to make a comment on the original story or post, make your comment in the comment box below the words Leave a Reply, as Sheila did, and then click the words ‘Post Comment’ underneath the comment box.

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Lenten Talks 2011

This year we are hosting a series of talks over the lenten period on the theme ‘Why remain a Catholic today?‘. Four speakers with very different life experiences will address the topic over a period of five weeks. Click on the heading on the menu line above to find out more.

Aftr each talk we will publish a series of posts on this blog, giving those who have attended and others an opportunity to comment. We hope this will generate constructive dialogue among those who wish to engage with the question.

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