Words of praise stretching through the ages

Notebook Probably the best-loved poem written in the Irish language begins with the words ‘Messe ocus Pangur Bán’. In Robin Flower’s translation, the first stanza reads: “I and Pangur Bán my cat,/‘Tis a like task we are at:/Hunting mice is his delight,/Hunting words I sit all night.” It was probably written at some point in…

There is no separation between work and faith

Notebook We’re all familiar with trade unions, organisations like SIPTU and ASTI, founded by workers in a particular sector, and designed to protect the rights and welfare of such workers. They play a vital role in society, and in modern times Popes have consistently made major pronouncements in their favour, most elaborately in Pope St…

A visionary behind the Olympic Games

Picture the scene: sports day in a Catholic school in Grenoble, France, in February 1856, and a confident 15-year-old student named Henri Didon wins three gold medals. This was no ordinary sports day, though. It was ‘The Olympic Games of Rondeau’. This quadrennial school festival was inaugurated in 1832, six decades before the first modern…