Dominican Fathers
Sunday - March 18, 2001
Diarrhoea in 20 different countries
Do you remember the day the Pope was shot in St. Peter・s Square? I watched the television coverage of the attempted assassination. I remember seeing a Bishop, cornered by the media, and a reporter asking him: Do you think the Pope will travel again? Being a smart Bishop he said, "Of course he will travel again. . . . . . it will take more than a few bullets to hold him back!" The part in italics is my bit. The next question began with: "Your Pope is right out there on the world stage confronting the major issues of our times," but before the reporter could get to his question the Bishop jumped in and said, "Of course he is out there on the front line. . . . . . sure, sure, that is definitely true." Then a woman reporter popped the question, "But Bishop, are you Catholics ready for that kind of involvement?" He answered honestly and said, "No, I・m afraid we are not ready to take our position on the world stage." The bishop・s words have stayed with me. We claim to be Catholic but right now at this moment in history one of the big issues is to be Catholic in both the local and universal dimensions. I said in last week・s Bulletin how easy it is to concentrate on our little parish. (I have been Parish Priest on six occasions on three different continents.) The local parish is important but, and that but is important, at this time the challenge facing us is how to be universal in our little parish, in our little Ireland and in our great big world. That is one of the real tests of our times. How do we hold together the local and universal in unity, while at the same time honouring and respecting the cultural differences of the immigrants and refugees in our midst? Only these honoured guests in our land can tell us how well or badly we are doing. We should have the courage to ask them. I am going a step further. I have no doubt that the present Holy Father is very aware of the need for this universal dimension in our understanding of Church. If he has made ninety or so trips outside of Rome to visit all parts of the world (including Ireland in 1979), it was in order to pull together and hold together that universal Church. He is trying to do it by the force of his own personality. We know that can only last for so long. It is essential that we find a way to cultivate a universal mentality that relates to the diversity of the many races, colours and nationalities that make up the Church today. I・ve had the privilege of serving as a priest in many different parts of the world. I think I・ve had diarrhoea in twenty countries! One of the things you learn when you have that kind of privilege (!) is how Irish we are. Every attempt I tried at not being Irish I ended up with one mistake or another. But I quickly discovered that was alright. People know when you are trying to reach out. It・s when you don・t try, that・s when you make the mistakes. But when you try, people do forgive. My Portuguese on a Sunday morning in Lisbon was the best sideshow in town. The Church of Corpo Santo rocked to the gales of laughter. But the Portuguese were "muito simpatico" towards my efforts. They willed me on. They "loved me" for trying to communicate the gospel to them in their own language. St. Thomas Acquinas once defined beauty as unity in diversity. I believe that is the face of beauty we Catholics are called to show one another today. To show it, especially, to those new to our land so that they can go on and say of us, "I was a stranger and you made me feel welcome and at home." THOUGHT PROVOKING Napoleon when asked if he believed in God, answered simply: "Look around you." A sea captain waved his arm towards the sea in the moonlight and said, "Anyone who can see that and say there is no God is a fool." The Bible says: "The fool has said in his heart there is no God." Tennyson said: "Poems are made by fools like me but only God can make a tree." When Robinson Crusoe saw the imprint of a foot in the sand he knew there was someone else on the island besides himself. He knew that nothing just happens, that everything must have a cause. The Bible says: "In the beginning God made heaven and earth." Teacher: "In 70 million years this world will wear out." Pupil: "Did you say 70 million?" Teacher: "Yes." Pupil: "Oh, Thank God! I thought you said 7 million." When you come to the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, Faith is knowing one of the two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or You will be taught how to fly. ~ Barbara J. Winter NOTICE BOARD Website Log onto our website. Beginning on Easter Sunday, we will be putting out a weekly programme under the heading: Sunday Morning Ireland. We will invite our worldwide website audience to join us in spirit at the 10.30am Mass here in Bridge Street. If you have family members, friends or neighbours who have access to the Internet, we ask you to advise them of this initiative. The website provides us with the unique opportunity of joining together in prayer and reflection in a way that transcends boundaries, time zones, oceans and continents. We must, in this day and age, seek every opportunity to carry the good news worldwide. E-mail Note our e-mail address. If you have any comments, criticisms, insights to offer, we would be pleased to hear from you. Wishing all our friends and family here and abroad a very happy St. Patrick・s weekend! Dominican Shop Full selection of Confirmation and Communion prayer books, beads, rosettes and souvenirs now in stock.

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