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Digitally proclaiming the Gospel in the diocese of Ferns and beyond

‘The Hook of Faith’ is brought to you by ‘FERNS C.A.F.É’ (Catholic Adult Formation and Education) – a group in the diocese of Ferns, Ireland who are committed to the work of evangelisation and adult faith formation. It seeks to bring the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to bear on all sectors of society in a way that offers life and meaning to everyone. We recognise the challenge of this task at a time in the Church that needs healing and hope. The mission of ‘The Hook of Faith’ is to ‘Digitally proclaim the Gospel in the Diocese of Ferns and beyond’. Our hope is that the light that comes from our faith will reach a wide audience through this new age of digital media and will help transform lives through the joy of the Gospel.

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THE LAST WORDS OF JESUS AND THE PROMISE OF PARADISE

Here is the second mediation on the 'Seven Last Words of Jesus' when the Lord promised paradise to the repentant thief. "Today you will be with Me in Paradise" Fr Billy Swan mediates on these words of Jesus from the cross to the good thief.

LEGISLATING FOR THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MOTHERHOOD

As we celebrate Mothers' Day this weekend, we not only celebrate our Mothers but also the gift of motherhood - that unique gift of human nature that gives life to other human beings, biologically, emotionally and spiritually. This article by David Quinn questions government plans to erase references to 'Mother' and 'Father' from birth certs. These terms will be replaced with other terms like 'Parent 1' and 'Parent 2'. These reforms are being proposed given the diversity of family life in modern Ireland. But still the question remains: are we de-valuing the gift of motherhood in the name of inclusion by insisting that any two parents of either sex, can take her place? David Quinn explains: A

THIS WEEK'S INTERVIEW WITH FR BILLY SWAN ON ALMSGIVING OR CHARITY

This week, we complete the last in the three part series on charity that we embrace during the season of Lent. Above all else, our faith calls us to be people of mercy and of charity, especially to the poor to whom Jesus has united himself in 'the least of these brothers and sisters of mine' (Matt. 25: 32ff). CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: https://soundcloud.com/user-297441672/billy-swan-on-charitymp3

HOMILY FOR FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT - LAETARE SUNDAY

Dear friends. On this ‘Mothers’ Day’, we congratulate all the mothers of our parish and think of them with affection and gratitude, whether they be in heaven or still here with us on earth. I begin with a true story of a mother who had four children and whose husband had died some years before. The youngest of the children was a boy named John. One day, John was killed tragically in a road accident which left the family devastated. A few weeks after the accident, the family were sharing a meal at table and were talking about John and remembering him. Then, one of the remaining sons said something odd to his mother: ‘We always had the impression that you loved John more than the rest of us’.

WHAT IS TRUTH?

As we approach Holy Week, the question asked by Pontius Pilate ‘Quid est veritas?' during the trial of Jesus is a question that has always fascinated me. What is truth? Pontius Pilate’s unusual question as recounted in the Gospel of John (18:38) is one of the most challenging questions ever asked. I still remember coming across this question as a child when I was watching a movie about the life of Jesus Christ. It struck something deep within me. It may even have been the significance of this question that fed my curiosity about science and maths. Some of the world’s most famous philosophers have attempted to answer this perplexing question, yet it remains the most crucial of all questions.

THE FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION - GIVING OUR 'YES' WITH MARY

The following is a beautiful reflection by St Bernard of Clairvaux on Mary's 'Yes' to God at the Annunciation. 'You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us. The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life. Tearful Adam with his sorrowing

The 7 Last Words of Jesus

As Jesus suffered on the Cross, he spoke words of real significance, words that can help us to better understand the meaning of Easter and the purpose of our own lives. In this video, Fr. Billy Swan offers a touching contemplation on the meaning of Jesus' last words. What does forgiveness mean?

PRAYER TO ST. PEREGRINE

St. Peregrine was born in 1260 at Forlì, Italy to an affluent family. He lived a comfortable life as a youth, and politically opposed the papacy. After he experienced the forgiveness of St. Philip Benizi, he changed his life and joined the Servite order. He was ordained a priest, and later returned to his home to establish a Servite community. There he was widely known for his preaching, penances, and counsel in the confessional. He was cured of cancer, after he received a vision of Christ on the cross reaching out His hand to touch his impaired limb. He died in 1345 and was canonized in 1726. He is the patron of cancer patients. Prayer to St Peregrine Glorious wonder-worker, St. Pereg

HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT

Dear friends. In Ireland today, there is an increasing opinion that in order to achieve our potential and realise the ideals stated in the Proclamation of the Republic, we need to do away with God and religion that are perceived as getting in the way of the freedom we want for ourselves and our children. But is this true? Does genuine faith in God hold us back, oppress us and stop us being free? This is a crucial question. In the first reading this Sunday, Moses comes across the burning bush where a peculiar detail is added to the story. Despite the bush being on fire, it was not being destroyed. The story is a description of what happens when God’s presence comes to interact with his create

Relationships & Sexuality Education (RSE) in our Schools

The following is the submission by the Iona Institute to the Joint Committee on Education and Skills on the planned revision of the Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) programme. The revised changes planned by the government are far reaching and have implications that parents need to be aware of. The following are the broad principles the Iona Institute believe should govern the planned revision to the RSE course. General principles Parents’ wishes must be front and centre in any revision While a national curriculum can be proposed, parents must have a real input into adapting it to the needs of the local school. The new model of education emphasises partnership between the school, c

THIS WEEK'S INTERVIEW - FR BILLY SWAN ON PRAYER DURING LENT

In this second interview on the three pillars of Lent, Billy Swan reflects on our call to be people of prayer. St John Damascene famously defined prayer as 'a lifting up of the mind and the heart to God'. Yet prayer is also an activity within God himself that we are drawn into, so that we not only pray to God but within God by the power of the Holy Spirit. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: https://soundcloud.com/user-297441672/billy-swan-on-prayermp3

THE UNFOLDING STORY OF THE UNIVERSE

Science helps us to think about our place amidst creation. We are part of the physical fabric of the universe and have developed through the evolving history of life on earth. In highly complex ways, we are connected to human beings who lived several thousand years ago, we are connected to all life on our planet and we are connected to the universe itself. Pope Francis argues in his encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ (Praise Be to You), published in 2015 that human beings possess a uniqueness which cannot be fully explained by evolution. Each of us has his or her own personal identity and can enter into dialogue with others and with God himself. Our capacity to reason, to develop arguments, to be inven

FOR ONE WHO IS EXHAUSTED, A BLESSING

When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic, Time takes on the strain until it breaks; Then all the unattended stress falls in On the mind like an endless, increasing weight. The light in the mind becomes dim. Things you could take in your stride before Now become labour-some events of will. Weariness invades your spirit. Gravity begins falling inside you, Dragging down every bone. The tide you never valued has gone out. And you are marooned on unsure ground. Something within you has closed down; And you cannot push yourself back to life. You have been forced to enter empty time. The desire that drove you has relinquished. There is nothing else to do now but rest And patiently learn to recei

WHAT IS GOD DOING IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN IRELAND IN THE PAST DECADE?

Ireland remains (in name) a Catholic nation. But what is God doing in the Roman Catholic church? Vox magazine asked Paddy Monaghan, as a representative of the Evangelical Catholic Initiative to share his thoughts. Paddy identified seven areas where he believes God is at work. Two individuals from Ireland and Northern Ireland also share their stories of their encounters with Jesus. 1.A New Humility The effect of the sex scandals has been devastating, contributing to the defeats in the last two referenda. My prayer has been: ‘Lord, don’t let any of this muck within Roman Catholic church (RC) stay hidden.” Cancer has to be exposed before it can be dealt with. Over the past 10 years a new h

THIS WEEK'S INTERVIEW ON FASTING WITH FR BILLY SWAN

As we know, the three pillars of Lent are fasting, prayer and almsgiving. Perhaps the most difficult discipline is fasting. It is also the most misunderstood. What is the point in going hungry when we don't have to? In these days of challenges such as 'Operation Transformation' we see people committed to fasting for different reasons, namely to lose weight and to look better. So what then are the spiritual motives for us to fast in the season of Lent? Sean O' Leary talks to Fr Billy Swan about this question that we all need to ask ourselves. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: https://soundcloud.com/user-297441672/billy-swan-on-fastingmp3

HOMILY FOR FEAST OF ST PATRICK

Dear friends. A young Sister I know from a convent in Dublin told me a story this week that saddened me. Two weeks ago, a worker from a nearby hospital called and asked if the Sisters were willing to take the contents of a large box that was sitting on the back seat of her car. When the young nun looked, she saw the box was full of crucifixes, holy water fonts and statues of Our Lady and the Sacred Heart. These were all taken down from the walls and rooms of the hospital in response to a government demand that State hospitals should not display religious symbols or décor. For the young Sister and all of us who would have seen it, the box was a symbol of what is taking place in our country –

THE GOSPEL OF CREATION

A presentation by Sean O'Leary will take place in Ballyvaloo Retreat and Conference Centre, Blackwater on Tuesday 19th March at 7.30 pm. The title of the presentation is: 'The Gospel of Creation - Discovering Wisdom through Science, Faith & Hope'. This Lenten presentation will explore the meaning of creation through a series of five paintings by the presenter. The artwork reflects Sean’s interest in the harmony of science and the Christian faith. Themes covered will include the Tree of Life, the fine-tuning of the Universe and God’s covenants with humankind. The meaning of Easter will be explored as we journey together on the road of discovery to our Heavenly Father. In Laudato Si, Pope Fran

THE CROSS ON YOUR FOREHEAD

As you read this, the chances are that you were marked with the sign of the cross made with blessed ashes on Ash Wednesday this week. But what does that sign mean? It’s not the first time we were marked on the forehead with the sign of the cross. It happened first at our baptism and as the priest traced the sign of the cross on our foreheads, he prayed: ‘The Christian community welcomes you with great joy. In its name I claim you for Christ our Saviour by the sign of the cross’. Then he invited our parents and godparents to do the same. But hang on a second!! What does it mean for someone to have a claim on my life? Do we not prize our independence highly? Is it not my life and mine only? We

 
 

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