Posts Tagged ‘Ireland’

Meditations on Corpus Christi from Ireland

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

I am sorry that I will not be in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral this Sunday to celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – also known as Corpus Christi.  (The solemnity is actually today, June 7 – the Thursday after Trinity Sunday.  In the United States, we have moved the observance of the solemnity to the following Sunday, this year June 10.)  I’ve got a good excuse, though, for my absence.  You see, I am leading a group of pilgrims from the Archdiocese of New York to the 50th International Eucharistic Congress that is being held this week in Dublin, Ireland.

About fifty of us from the archdiocese are here to join with hundreds of thousands of Catholics from all over the world in for prayer, adoration, study, and celebration of the Eucharist.

While in Ireland, we will visit other sites as well, like the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock, and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in the Archdiocese of Armagh, the Primatial See of Ireland.  But the real purpose of our visit is to participate in the Eucharistic Congress and to be with the family of faith in our communal savoring of the Eucharist.

A Eucharistic Congress occurs every four years, and provides a wonderful occasion for the Church to ponder and deepen her belief in the mystery of our faith we call the Eucharistic. The last one was held in Quebec City, Canada in 2008., and the Holy Father has appointed Cardinal Marc Oullete, former Archbishop of Quebec and the current Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops as Papal Legate – that is, his official personal envoy – to this Eucharistic Congress. 

So, hundreds of bishops, thousands of priests, deacons, sisters, brothers, and seminarians, and tens of thousands of faithful women, men, and children from all over the Church universal, are gathering in Dublin for what promises to be a very spiritually uplifting occasion.

Our faith, of course, is internal.  “The kingdom of God is within you,” as Jesus Himself taught.  The essence of our faith is an interior, sincere acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior, and of all the truths He and His Church have revealed.  The soul is the arena of faith.

Yet, our faith is also external, because our internal acceptance of Christ has profound exterior effects.  An interior adhesion to Christ results in a conversion of heart which has significant social, communal effects.

Thus, as we internally profess our faith in the Eucharist, we are moved to manifest that externally.  Think about it:

– we genuflect as we enter Church as a sign that we adore Jesus really and truly present in the tabernac

– we say out loud, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof” before approaching the altar, publicly indicating our sorrow for sin and desire to be cleansed, a desire that would result in sacramental confession when we are conscious of mortal sin;

– we bow before we receive our Lord at Holy Communion;

 – we say Amen, meaning, yes, when the priest, deacon, or extraordinary minster proclaims “The Body of Christ,” “The Blood of Christ”;

– we dress modestly, appropriately, for the Eucharist, giving a public sign that this is an event more sublime than playing tennis or lounging at the pool;

– on occasion, we publicly express our interior faith in the Eucharist through processions, Eucharistic exposition, and forty hour devotions;

– and, every four years, the Church universal sponsors a Eucharistic Congress as a corporate, ecclesial act of faith on behalf of the entire Church.

 We see so many signs of a revived appreciation for the Eucharist in the Church:

 – enhanced participation in the liturgy;

 – more opportunity for our sick and homebound to receive Holy Communion because of the generous apostolate of our Extraordinary ministers;

 – the growing popularity of Eucharistic adoration (in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, we have Eucharistic adoration about 5 ½ hours every day – about 10 hours on First Friday);

 – an increased awareness of the social demands inherent in the celebration of the Eucharist, acknowledging that the Eucharist has implications “beyond the walls” of our Church buildings;

 – a heightened sensitivity to the necessity of a worthy reception of Holy Communion; and that our partaking of the Eucharist indicates a communion not only with our Lord but with His Church.  Thus, we would not dare violate integrity by receiving the Eucharist if we are conscious of being separated from the unity of the Church by sin or dissent from clear Church teaching.

It was at the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia, 1976, that we first sang “You satisfy the hungry heart with gift of finest wheat.

You are very much on my mind and in my prayers at the Eucharistic Congress as I praise God for the gift and mystery of the Blessed Eucharist!

Apostolic Visitation

Monday, May 31st, 2010

The Holy Father has asked me to serve on the apostolic visitation of Ireland.  Here’s how the Vatican Information Service announced it.

APOSTOLIC VISITATION OF IRELAND TO BEGIN THIS AUTUMN

VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2010 (VIS) – This morning the Holy See Press Office released the following English-language communique concerning the apostolic visitation of Ireland as announced in the Holy Father’s 19 March Letter to the Catholics of Ireland:

“Following the Holy Father’s Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, the apostolic visitation of certain Irish dioceses, seminaries and religious congregations will begin in autumn of this year.

“Through this visitation, the Holy See intends to offer assistance to the bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful as they seek to respond adequately to the situation caused by the tragic cases of abuse perpetrated by priests and religious upon minors. It is also intended to contribute to the desired spiritual and moral renewal that is already being vigorously pursued by the Church in Ireland.

“The apostolic visitors will set out to explore more deeply questions concerning the handling of cases of abuse and the assistance owed to the victims; they will monitor the effectiveness of and seek possible improvements to the current procedures for preventing abuse, taking as their points of reference the Pontifical ‘Motu Proprio’ ‘Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela’ and the norms contained in ‘Safeguarding Children: Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland’, commissioned and produced by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church.

“The visitation will begin in the four metropolitan archdioceses of Ireland (Armagh, Dublin, Cashel and Emly, and Tuam) and will then be extended to some other dioceses.

“The visitors named by the Holy Father for the dioceses are: Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, archbishop emeritus of Westminster, England, for the archdiocese of Armagh; Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Boston, U.S.A., for the archdiocese of Dublin; Archbishop Thomas Christopher Collins of Toronto, Canada, for the archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, and Archbishop Terrence Thomas Prendergast S.J. of Ottawa, Canada, for the archdiocese of Tuam.

“In its desire to accompany the process of renewal of houses of formation for the future priests of the Church in Ireland, the Congregation for Catholic Education will co-ordinate the visitation of the Irish seminaries, including the Pontifical Irish College in Rome. While special attention will be given to the matters that occasioned the apostolic visitation, in the case of the seminaries it will cover all aspects of priestly formation. Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, U.S.A., has been named apostolic visitor.

“For its part, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life will organise the visitation of religious houses in two phases. Firstly it will conduct an enquiry by means of a questionnaire to be sent to all the superiors of religious institutes present in Ireland, with a view to providing an accurate picture of the current situation and formulating plans for the observance and improvement of the norms contained in the ‘guidelines’. In the second phase, the apostolic visitors will be: Fr. Joseph Tobin C.Ss.R. and Fr. Gero McLaughlin S.J. for institutes of men; Sr. Sharon Holland I.H.M. and Sr. Mairin McDonagh R.J.M. for institutes of women. They will carry out a careful study, evaluating the results obtained from the questionnaire and the possible steps to be taken in the future in order to usher in a season of spiritual rebirth for religious life on the Island.

“His Holiness invites all the members of the Irish Catholic community to support this fraternal initiative with their prayers. He invokes God’s blessings upon the visitors, and upon all the bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful of Ireland, that the visitation may be for them an occasion of renewed fervour in the Christian life, and that it may deepen their faith and strengthen their hope in Christ our Saviour”.

I released the following statement to the press today:

STATEMENT OF ARCHBISHOP TIMOTHY DOLAN ON HIS APPOINTMENT TO THE APOSTOLIC VISITATION OF IRELAND

“I am happy to accept the Holy See’s invitation to serve as a member of the upcoming apostolic visitation to the Church in Ireland, with special attention to their historic seminaries.

“My love for the faith of Ireland, and my own background in priestly formation, make me grateful for this assignment, and I look forward to close cooperation with my brother bishops, priests, religious, and the faithful of Ireland.  I await further information and instruction from the Holy See on the specifics and timing of the visitation.”