Category: Parenting

Faith in the Family

This time one year ago I was busily working on my input for the World Meeting of Families Pastoral Congress in the RDS. I had to be ready in good time because my input had to be sent off to Rome in advance of the Congress just to make sure that I wasn’t saying anything…

Beating the back to school blues

A parent’s perspective   August can be a funny kind of month in many ways.  I’ve never quite been able to shake off that lingering childhood dread that marks the last weeks of the summer holidays. A few weeks earlier the summer break stretched out, full of promise. Anything could happen: another heatwave that would…

Dad’s Diary

This morning, a beautifully decorated envelope arrived at our house in West Cork. Carefully coloured-in birds and flowers surrounded the address, written meticulously carefully in a child’s handwriting. My eight-year-old daughter’s heart soared to find this letter from her very best friend, sent all the way from England. Having disappeared into her bedroom to devour…

Faith in the Family

Is it bizarre to find a connection between the Harry Potter books and the Eucharist? It is something that has been going around in my head for a while. In the books it gradually becomes clear that the evil character Voldemort cannot easily be killed. He has placed a horcrux – a piece of his…

Faith in the family

“No, the Word is very near to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart for your observance.” (Deuteronomy 30:14) I was reading at Mass a couple of weeks ago and that line stayed with me. It was that sense that God’s Word is not something distant or illusive that attracted me. As…

Newman’s vision more vital than ever

A parent’s perspective I’ve taken a great interest in Blessed John Henry Newman recently and was delighted with the announcement that he is to be canonised in Rome on October 13 this year. By all accounts, he was an amazing man: a great scholar, a friend to many, a great priest and pastor, a musician…

Dad’s Diary

One of my earliest memories is riding a horse through an Arcadian meadow with my father. I recall a deep feeling of happiness and safety in his presence, with his arms either side of me, holding the reins and keeping me safe. The scene was indescribably perfect, infused with a warm, golden light. It was…

Faith in the Family

We – all six of us – have just come back from a holiday in the beautiful city of Brugge in Belgium. We had met in the airport in Dublin, delighted at the prospect of going away together. That evening, having settled into our AirBnB, we went out for a walk. Along by the canals,…

Dad’s Diary

French campsites remain for me the archetypal holiday destination. It’s hard to describe the utter excitement we felt at arriving in France as children. The first time I left Ireland, in the early 1980s, was aboard a ferry which departed from just near my home in Cork. The ferry port was so close that we…