Thursday, 31 March 2011

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Discerning a Franciscan vocation

Two videos here for you, on vocation discernment, produced by our Franciscan Brothers in the United States. You know, a great beauty of a Franciscan vocation is that we are Brother in a Universal sense,so these short video reflections are as relevant here, in Ireland, as across the Atlantic or anywhere else. They are focused on discernment, a word we use often. It means coming to understand what God is asking us to be, not do. To the Apostles He said ' Will you come follow me?' and He says it again today to us, to you ....... NOW

Vocation Part 1

Vocation Part 2

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Franciscans at World Youth Day 2011 (16 - 21 August, Madrid)

World Youth Day Website

Hi Folks

WYD is fast approaching! To date, 1,250 Irish people have registered to attend, with over 300,000 in total from all around the world registered. This year the Franciscan family will host a 'Franciscan Village' in the heart of Madrid. The village is open to all.It will be a fantastic opportunity for Franciscans, from around the world, to meet up,as well as, creating an opportunity for us to welcome the WYD pilgrims into a Franciscan way of life for a few days. Pilgrims will have a chance to join us for prayer, attend some Franciscan talks and the 'Festival of Joy' - a big concert celebrating Francis and our way of life.

So if you are attending the WYD, you will get a very large,and warm, Franciscan welcome in the village.Do try to come along to the church of San Francesco el Grande, where we will be based.

Hasta la vista

Br Martin

Monday, 28 March 2011

'A prophet is never accepted in their own hometown' (Luke4:24)

Good Morning

In today's Gospel Jesus tells us that a 'Prophet is never accepted in their own hometown'. I am sure we have heard this phrase before many times, used in many different ways. But what is Jesus saying to us?

We can grow very familiar with situations, people, projects, ideas and over time, maybe unintentionally, we begin to take them for granted. We expect certain things from them, certain behaviours, certain responses because that's the way it has always been.

I remember when I first thought of speaking to somebody about my desire to discern a religious vocation, the words of this Gospel echoed in my mind. Nobody will believe you ! They will think you are mad! This made me put it off for some time... years infact!

When I finally opened up, in confidence, to somebody I couldn't have been more amazed. Yes, they were initially surprised, because I had kept this to my self and nobody suspected. But, as they listened to me, they could see that I really meant it. That I was prepared to give up what I had to respond to Christ who was asking me to come and follow Him.

In the rest of this Gospel. Jesus goes on to speak about the genuine love of God, a no strings attached love, that is always accepting of us. It can be very difficult to make the first step, with regards to talking about a religious vocation, but I would encourage you to ask the Lord for the courage to do it. Ask him also to provide you with somebody you can talk to, who will give to a chance to express how you feel... you may be surprised who he sends your way!

If you feel you would like to talk about how you can respond to God, you are most welcome to contact our Vocations Director, Br Terence, on 086 3230638 or at

Peace be with you all on this beautiful Spring day

Br Martin

Friday, 25 March 2011

Saying Yes ..

Today we celebrate the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord. The feast in which we remember Mary's yes to God. I can't imagine for an instant that it was an easy yes but, thankfully, she had the courage to say it. Mary's Yes was no foregone conclusion. St Iranaeus, a great father of the Eastern Church, tells us that 'ALL of Creation held it's breath.. waiting for Mary's yes'. What a wonderful image and what a wonderful example of how God respects our freedom and choice.

We too have many opportunities to say Yes to God, just as Mary did. Lent is a great time to show, in a concrete way, our Yes. Saying Yes to God is not a one off event either, it is a daily, and sometimes hourly, event.

How do we say Yes? Well Jesus gives us the answer to this when he tells us to 'love God the Father with ALL your heart, ALL your mind and ALL your strength AND to love your neighbour as YOURSELF'. Not always easy, I know.

One yes that takes a lot of courage is to say the Yes to a Religious vocation. It is a step into the unknown, frightening and can change how the world sees you. But, and I speak from my own experience here, once you have said yes, any fear and anxiety turns to liberation, joy and peace. For me, it wasn't the easiest Yes I have ever said but it was, and is, the best one I have ever said.

So I leave you with one question: What Yes is God asking you to say today?

Hail Mary, Full of Grace
The Lord is with you and Blessed are you among women.
Blessed is the fruit of your womb .. Jesus.

Peace to you all on this beautiful day

Br Martin

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Franciscan Videos - St Francis and Assisi


The Secret of St Francis                                            
                                                                                                                 Assisi - The home of St Francis    
Peace and Blessings on this beautiful day !!

I have attached two very good slideshows / videos. The first is called the 'Secret of St Francis' and the second is some footage of Assisi, the place where Francis lived, ministered and died.

Francis' life forms how we live our life as Capuchin Friars. He wrote the rule that we live by, he is our Father, Brother and inspiration.

Please enjoy, if you have any questions or would like to know more about Francis or our way of life please e-mail :

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

What is a Capuchin Franciscan vocation.......?

A Capuchin vocation, like ALL vocations, is a response to God asking you a question. That question is the same question He asked the Apostles 2,000 years ago, namely, 'Will you follow me?'.

But what does this mean in real terms? Is to follow merely to walk behind? to copy? to row in with? I don't, for an instant, feel that this is what Jesus meant when he utters those words to us. To 'follow' means much more... it means responding to the stirrings of the Spirit within, in an open hearted and generous way, in order to serve God and all Creation.

For us Capuchins, as with all religious orders, to follow takes a particular form, we call a charism. A charism is how we, as Franciscans and Capuchins, express this call in the world. For us our foundations as three fold : Fraternity (Brotherhood to all Creation); Prayer and Contemplation and Evangelisation (Bringing the Good News to the world).

We live as Brothers, in fraternity with each other. But this fraternity isn't contained to the friary but rather spills out into all that we do. Recently our Minister General, Br Mauro, said that our mission as Capuchins is to 'make the world more fraternal'.

Prayer is central to our life. Prayer is communication with God and we do this through our daily communal praying of the Liturgy of the Hours, the rosary, celebration of the Eucharist and personal contemplation.

St Francis once said ' Preach always - use words only when necessary!'. The Capuchins have always had a very strong tradition as preachers whether at Mass, in retreats or Parish missions. But we also preach through our actions and our ministries. Friars minister in many are varied fields including with the homeless, the poor, in hospitals, schools, parishes and now even on-line !

If you feel called, as St Francis did, to 'Go rebuild' the Church of the Lord and are interested in more information on our way of life, you are most welcome to contact our Vocation Director
Br Terence Harrington
086 3230638 or at


Br Martin

Liturgy of the Hours (online resource)

Greetings on this beautiful Spring Day !

As friars we celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) at Morning, Noon and Evening together. The Liturgy consists of a Hymn, Psalms, Scripture reading and intercessions for the Church and the World. We we pray the office, we never pray it alone - even if we are alone - because we pray it as part of the Universal Church, the people and mystical body of Christ.

I have attached a link to a great on-line resource, allowing access to the Daily Office.

May the Spirit of God, flow over you, through you and with you, as you pray this ancient, beautiful and Universal prayer.


Br Martin

Liturgy of the Hours

Monday, 21 March 2011

Our Lenten Themed Blog ...

As with Advent, the Season of Lent is marked by a change in Liturgical colour from Green (ordinary time) to Purple (Lent / Advent).

This colour signifies that we are in a time of penance and waiting. That it is a different and special time, and that something out of the ordinary is going on.

Lent is a time of searching, a time of wandering in the desert, as Jesus did himself, a time to find a new direction in life ... so we have tried to reflect that image too.

We hope you like
Br Martin

Pace e Bene ..... let me explain !

Hi All

Since posting yesterday about our new group for young adults in Church Street - The Pace e Bene Group, I have been asked what does it mean. Well, let me explain..!

Pace e Bene is an old greeting used by the Friars, used by Francis and Clare, Pio and Anthony and everybody in between. It translates as 'Peace and Goodness'. But why do we use that greeting? I have been thinking about this and would like to offer three reasons:

  1. The first is rooted in the words of Jesus Christ. When Jesus sent the Apostles out for the first time, he said to them, that when they entered a village and knocked on a door, they should greet the people by saying 'Peace be with you!'. He said if a person of Peace lived there, your Peace will remain with them, if not, it will return to you.
  2. Secondly,it is rooted in our Franciscan Tradition. St Francis saw EVERYTHING as Good because everything comes from God who is Goodness Himself (with a Capital G!). Francis wrote 'Mi Signore, Sei il Bene, tutto Bene, multo Bene' - 'My Lord, you are Good, every Good, All Good'. 
  3. Thirdly, it is rooted in our Christian identity and mission. When we greet somebody with 'Pace e Bene' or in another similar form (Pax et Bonum ... Peace and Goodness.. Peace by with you), we are identifying ourselves as Representatives of Peace (with a Capital P) and Good (with a Capital G), who is God. 
Peace and Goodness, the essential message of Jesus Christ, is the essence of Christian living and discipleship. It is what we need as individuals, as families, as a society and a world. 

So Pace e Bene to you all !!

Br Martin

Taking time to Listen to the Voice within

One of the essentials of discerning any vocation is cultivating the ability to create a sacred space in which we can listen to the voice within, the voice of God. We are born with this inner voice, the echo of Creation and the Creator, but as we grow up, grow busier, grow noisier we can turn down the volume of this voice... but it is ALWAYS there, to guide, to support, to encourage, to forgive, to LOVE.

Taize, has been a great support to me through my discernment and journey. Taize chant, is repetitive, meditative and calming, allowing the Lord the space to turn up the volume a little bit. Thousands of young people visit Taize in the South of France every year, where they experience prayer, meditation, fellowship, support, community, love.... The Lord!  There are many Taize groups in Ireland and, as Capuchin Friars, we have had the great honour of being involved with them in Cork, Dublin, Kilkenny and Donegal.

A favourite piece of scripture for me illustrates the gentleness of the God within. It comes from 1 Kings and is the story of Elijah meeting the Lord on the mountain:

Elijah was told, 'Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.' For at that moment the Lord was going by. 

A mighty hurricane split the mountains and shattered the rocks . 
But the Lord was not in the hurricane. 

And after the hurricane, an earthquake
But the Lord was not in the earthquake.
 And after the earthquake, fire
But the Lord was not in the fire.

 And after the fire, a gentle breeze, the sound of silence.
 And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak. (1Kings 19: 11 -13)

Today and always, may the Lord grant us the Grace to search for Him in the Silence of ourselves, to have the courage to create a sacred space for Him in our Day and to allow him to turn up His volume in our Hearts and lives. Amen

Br Martin

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Pace e Bene Group for young Adults (18 - 35)

Greetings on this beautiful Spring morning!

From the 27th of March and every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month thereafter, we will be hosting what we have called the 'Pace e Bene Group' for young adults, in our Friary, Church St Dublin, following the 7pm Mass.

Who is this Group for?
Young Adults who would like to come together, in a Sacred Space, to share, support and search together. It will be an opportunity to explore our faith, spend some time in prayer and meditation, share our stories and experiences of Christ and to offer support and mutual up-building.

In an ever secularized society, it is becoming increasingly difficult for young people to have an opportunity to express, in real terms, the marvelous work the Holy spirit has done, and continues to do, in their lives.

If you usually attend the 7pm Mass in Church Street, if live in the Dublin area and you are a young person working for the Lord  or if you are searching for the Lord in your life, this is a great opportunity to meet in a spirit of prayer and community.

If you feel inspired to attend, please contact me at

May the Lord give you His Peace
Br Martin

Friday, 18 March 2011

The Story of St Patrick

This comes from a recording called 'Give up yer auld sins', an audio recorded in the inner city schools of Dublin in the 1950's. The Children tell the stories, as they see them, of Saints and biblical stories. Innocence is, in fact, bliss!!

Br Martin

St Patrick

Friday, 11 March 2011

Vocation: A Call to see Christ in those who suffer

Mother Teresa of Calcutta was a wonderful gift to the World and is an excellent example of what vocation means, in a very practical way... it means searching for the broken Christ in this suffering world of ours, with the sole aim to comfort Him, in whatever way we can, using the gifts He has given us.

I heard it said that when God calls us to a vocation He doesn't give us a Crown but rather a mop and bucket! Here are some short videos with some words and examples of this response to Christ from the Great Saint of Calcutta herself. The last one is a movie of the Saints life.

Mother Teresa's response to the poor of the world, seeing Christ's eyes in their eyes, was the very same response our founder, St Francis of Assisi, had over 800 years ago and the very same response Christ is calling us to have today.


Br Martin
Mother Teresa on Vocation

Mother Teresa Interview Part 1

Mother Teresa Interview Part 2

Mother Teresa Movie : In the Name of God's Poor

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Lenten Reflections 2011 thanks to Catholic Ireland

I have attached a link to Catholic Ireland's Lenten resource. It provides and excellent framework to assist our journey through this great season. I will attach these to the right of the blog for easy reference as well

Br Martin

Online Vocation Guide

Hi ! This is a great Vocations resources with some fantastic articles, suggestions and supports for anybody discerning a vocation to Religious Life. This is an American Publication so contact details for Orders will be different than in Ireland but the general information will be pretty much the same.

I hope you find it useful

Click on the link below to go to the Guide

Online Vocations Guide

Pax Martin

50th International Eucharistic Congress Launch


Tuesday, 8 March 2011

6 week Spiritual Fitness Programme

Hi All ! Tomorrow we begin the great season of Lent. Lent is a very special time in the Church year, in which we take some time to get spiritually fit through a renewed effort to live the two great commandments Jesus gave us: Love the Lord Your God with ALL YOUR HEART, ALL YOUR MIND and ALL YOUR STRENGTH and love your Neighbour as yourself. So how do we do this ???

The traditional methods encouraged by the Church are fasting, prayer and almsgiving. The purpose of these is to help us enter into a deeper relationship with God and our Neighbour (remembering that 'Neighbour' extends beyond those who live next door!!).

Fasting allows us to become conscious of what we take into our bodies recognising that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. By controlling what we consume for a few weeks we enter, also, into solidarity with those in the world who have little to eat or drink on a daily basis. Fasting allows us to develop a deeper focus and sense of clarity, which we can bring to our prayer and good works.

Prayer is simply conversation with God. When we meet with our friends and family we talk, share, listen with them and them with us. To pray is to work on developing a relationship with Jesus Christ our God, Brother AND friend so that we can take some time to talk with Him, share with Him and listen to Him.

Alms giving really refers to reaching out to those who are in need and God knows their are plenty. However you do this is entirely up to you and your own personal circumstances. The important thing is to reach out in an effort to move beyond ourselves opening our world to somebody else.

So we have six weeks to work on getting spiritually fit. It is important to remember, as we start out, that Lent is essentially a time of joy. Jesus tells us that when we fast we should do it joyfully the same applies for prayer and reaching out. As with all fitness programmes it's important to take some time to plan what we are going to do, some time to reflect and review how it's going and very important to take time to joyfully encourage ourselves, and others, when times get though.

So I wish you all every blessing this Lent. Whatever we do, no matter how small it may seem, is guaranteed to bear abundant fruit in our lives and the lives of others as long as we build our observances on a firm foundation... Jesus Christ. We do all for Him, Through Him and With Him

Br Martin