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.

For the eight principles of ‘The Hook of Faith’ click on the arrow below:


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Take up your cross and follow me are the words of Jesus to us today. This highlights the importance of acceptance as the way forward. It is only in the acceptance of what is that we can take the next step and when we can’t its then that we remain stuck. The reality is that life can throw us in at the deep end with seemingly unacceptable situations being put in our path. What can we do then? The answer must still lie in that little word acceptance but this time in the acceptance of the seemingly unacceptable. That means letting go with an attitude of surrender, and that’s what opens the door for the grace of acceptance to flow into our lives. Where our will power can’t succeed grace will alwa


Friends, in today's Gospel, Jesus teaches something shocking. He says that 'Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me in not worthy of me'. Who is Jesus claiming to be with these extraordinary demands? Only one conclusion is possible - that Jesus is of God and this demand for prioritisation of him over everything and everyone else is another way of living by the first commandment where we are asked to put God first and above all other things. If we are to do this we have to make choices, commitments and sacrifices. More than ever today, living as a Christian is a way of life that is intentional and purposeful. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN


We conclude this series on the gifts of the Holy Spirit with a reflection on the seventh gift of Spirit – the gift of piety or reverence. Very few of us would like to be described as pious. Being pious these days has a negative connotation for it smacks of being a ‘holy Joe’ or a ‘holy Mary’. In fact, we live in a time when to be non-religious is almost a virtue. We hear it all the time from people who quickly state that they are not religious. It’s almost a badge of honour. The Spirit’s gift of piety has nothing to do with creating an impression or going out of our way to convince people that we are religious. It is a gift from God Himself – the gift of holiness which connects us to the div


This pandemic has forced many things to change, and some of them are far from easy. Being physically separated from Christ in the Eucharist, especially as we approach Easter, is truly heartbreaking. We know that nothing beats being at Mass in person. But we can still reach out to Jesus — in personal prayer, Spiritual Communion, and caring for our neighbour. As we return to Mass next week, we realise that nothing beats being there CLICK HERE TO WATCH THIS VIDEO BROUGHT TO YOU BY


Today we continue to draw from John O Donohue’s writing in Anam Chara where he addresses the age old tendency to want to get rid of that which we deem to be unpleasant or unacceptable in our lives. He writes: When we notice something immoral we normally tend to be harsh with ourselves and employ moral surgery to remove it. In doing so we are ensuring that it remains trapped within. We merely confirm our negative view of ourselves and ignore our potential for growth. There is a strange paradox in the soul that if we try to avoid or remove the awkward quality it will pursue us. The only way to still its unease, is to transfigure it, let it become something creative or positive that contributes


Friends, in today's Gospel, Jesus is approached by an unusual suspect. A Roman centurion came to him and asked Jesus help his servant who was sick and in great pain. The Romans were mostly hated by the Jews because they were foreign invaders and unbelieving gentiles. Yet here was one who dared to approach Jesus. The Lord immediately expressed his desire to respond to this appeal and to come to the centurion's house. To this, the centurion responded by saying that he was unworthy to have Jesus come into his house or under his roof and that he need only say the word for his servant to be healed. These are the words that made their way into the Eucharist when before communion we say: 'Lord I am


Too much or too little are two ways of doing something wrong. A well-meant action can go bad because of an excess of it or a lack of it. Courageous gestures, for instance, lie between excessive fear and recklessness. If we consider risk, which is a common and inevitable element of life, what is too much or too little risk? The answer depends on the circumstances, it is not something fixed that can established in theory but only in practice. For instance, public worship is not permitted in Ireland at the moment, because there is some risk of spreading the Corona virus. Proper measures could be established to limit the risk we can afford but a total ban, which is an extreme approach, has been


Many readers will be familiar with a well known book called Anam Chara by the late John O Donohue with whom I shared my seminary days. In that he has a piece that captures the essence of what it means to welcome the stranger. We generally think of the stranger as being the person out there that we don’t know. However, an equally valid way would be to think of the stranger within ourselves; the parts of ourselves we are estranged from and still need to get to know. This was what John had to say: 'Our lives would be immeasurably enriched if we could but bring the same hospitality to meet the negative as we bring to the joyful and the pleasurable. In avoiding the negative we only encourage it t


'Faith on Fire' is a new missionary and creative initiative at the service of Adult Faith Development in parishes around Ireland. It is a new organisation taking a novel approach to parish based adult faith development, and is asking for experienced and enthusiastic ‘evangelisers’ / catechists to get in touch. FAITH ON FIRE will gather and support a team of people who already have experience in faith development or a related area: “we’re looking for people passionate about the Catholic faith and passionate about sharing it with others” said Petra Conroy, the new initiative’s director and founder. “The team of catechists we’re gathering now will be available to work in partnership with Cat


Friends, in the Gospel today, Jesus meets a leper or rather a leper comes to meet him and implores Jesus to cure him. He says to the Lord: 'If you want to, you can cure me!'. To which Jesus replied: 'Of course I want to! Be cured!'. This episode from the Gospel reminds us that God wants us to present our needs before him in prayer while trusting in his desire that we be cured and healed of anything that holds us back from happiness and joy. The response of Jesus to the man confirms this. 'Of course I want to' reveals the heart of a God who wants to help, who wants to support and to provide what we truly need. But why then is there so many who still suffer from the leprosy of our day? Why is


We come already to the end of June and celebrate the great feast day of Saints Peter and Paul. Both men were pivotal players in the early Church, each in their own way. Both men were martyred for the faith in Rome and both knew each other and worked together to lead and direct the mission of the early Church. In this video, Bishop Robert Barron explains the significance of this feast and how Peter and Paul remain pillars of the Church - not because of their own powers - but because of God's choice of them despite their failings. CLICK HERE TO WATCH:


Dear friends. A few years ago I made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. On my first day in Jerusalem, I visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where under one roof, there is both the rock of Calvary where Jesus was crucified and the empty tomb where he rose from the dead. Soon after I arrived at the Church, Mass was about to begin so I took my place with the other pilgrims. The reading at Mass was the second reading at Mass today where in his letter to the Romans, St Paul talks about us being united with Christ in death and united with him in new life. That day, it was like I heard that reading for the first time. I realised that being a Christian in that place at that moment was not just abou


As men we are often accused of living too much in our heads rather than in our hearts and it can be a long journey for us to reach the level of our emotions. Even if we were very much aware of our feelings the real question is how do we feel about our feelings, especially the less acceptable ones? We are fine when we feel the likes of love, gratitude and affection but what about anger, envy, jealousy, sadness or loneliness? We just don’t like feeling those feelings so we try to outlaw them. Whenever they raise their ugly heads we want to shoot them off as if they were enemies to be destroyed. The result is that they go underground where they deeply affect our health and well-being and wait f


In today's Gospel, Jesus urges us to found our lives on the rock that is his word. On what precisely is the whole of your life built? Your heart is your deep center, the place where you are most authentically yourself. That is your point of contact with God. There you will find the energy that undergirds the other areas of your life: physical, psychological, emotional, relational, and spiritual. If you are rooted in God at the level of your heart, then you will be following the intentions and commands of God, and you can withstand anything. But this does not mean that if we follow God’s commands, the winds and floods will not come. In Jesus’ parable, both builders, the one who follows


While visiting the home of a retired police dog handler, who still had his dog, I ignored warning signs and walked across his yard to the front door. Suddenly this outsized beast came charging towards me with a vicious look and his teeth stripped. There was nowhere to go. To run back, I would not have been able to sit down for the rest of my life and to go forward would have eliminated all future challenges posed by celibacy. Thinking fast I knelt down to his level, held out my arm and said ‘here boy.’ He suddenly slowed down, gently nuzzled my hand and continued to lick it as we went to the door. The wife couldn’t believe what she was seeing, that this dog, trained to arrest, was so friendl


Friends, today the Church celebrates the birth of John the Baptist who was the forerunner of Jesus, the Messiah. He pointed to Christ and directed the attention of the people to him: 'Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world'; 'He must increase, I must decrease'. For us as Christians, John's humble example is a lesson for us all. The values of the witness we give is when it points away from ourselves and to God and his glory - when it leads people closer to faith in him. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN:


Forty years ago, just weeks before Ordination, my class concluded our seminary days with a retreat. The retreat master asked what seemed a very strange question at the time. He said: The important thing to ask yourself at this stage is not are you ready and capable of making this huge step in your life; not even if you are strong enough for the task, but rather are you weak enough? This was really an invitation to a profound level of trust that was both humbling and reassuring. It was like being offered a lantern for the journey ahead that has lit my path for forty years and continues to shine as bright as ever. It meant never to despise my inadequacy, my littleness or my brokenness, but to


In today's Gospel, Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls in front of pigs, or they may trample them and then turn on you and tear you to pieces'. These words seem strange but what do they mean? One interpretation is that we as Church ought to put a higher value on what we have to offer - that we truly believe that the Gospel, the sacraments and our faith holds the keys to life and to joy. We have a tresure that we must not keep to ourselves but share it as abundantly as we can. This begins with the conviction that what we have to offer is good, true and beautiful. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN:


Dear friends. For the past three months of pandemic, a phrase we see a lot on posters, hear much on the radio and TV and use at the end of text messages is ‘STAY SAFE’. It is a phrase that speaks of the need to protect ourselves and others from this awful virus. StartFragment However, when Jesus sends out his disciples on their mission, he does not tell them to ‘STAY SAFE’. In fact, he tells them the opposite. He predicts that they will not be safe. He warns them that they will suffer for being faithful to him and his word. Some of them will lose their lives. Remarkably, having said this, he urges them not to be afraid of death because the loss of our lives is not the worst fate that can hap


While most of us can easily identify whether we tend to be more passive than aggressive, or vise-versa, we may also find that we have a tendency to be passive in certain situation and aggressive in others. A man who is afraid to stand up to his boss, whom he perceives to be a bully, can then come home and he himself then acts the bully. Closely allied to this is where someone who is passive by nature is unconsciously storing up a lot of repressed anger. A very small straw can then break the camel’s back that has become overloaded. This is where a mild and gentle person lets fly and appears to lose the plot over something quite trivial. They appear to be now using a sledgehammer to crack a nu



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