The miracle at St Mel’s and the meaning of its message

The miracle at St Mel’s and the meaning of its message

Dear Editor, As I followed Holy Mass from St Mel’s Cathedral in Longford recently, I thought of the fire that destroyed so much there a few years ago and of the tapestry of the holy family that was intact in spite of all the surrounding flames and destruction of all else.

I ask myself, what message was being given to us by that miraculous happening? Many people have gone to see that beautiful image of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and have been overcome with joy and thanksgiving that such an obvious miracle should have happened.

I believe that miracle is a clear message to all of us in that we are all part of a family, to value the family structure given to us by God and to call on the holy family to help us live after the example of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

There is much talk today regarding diversity, which is well and good provided we have the underlying unity. When the Holy Spirit is the foundation of our unity, we can share much diversity with calmness and respect.

We have learned in our Faith lessons that the Holy Spirit unites and that the unholy spirit divides. Yes, “diobolo”, the Greek word for devil means division. The Church is our mother and we need her guidance, protection and wise teaching.

The family is considered the domestic Church and it needs a mother’s love care and guidance too. I ask God to reward and bless all mothers in this very important role of motherhood.

I thank God for all good fathers who share this important responsibility of making the home a house where the holy family is imitated and appreciated and where Faith is treasured and shared. This is no easy task in today’s world so I carry in my heart as I go to Mass this evening so many broken families and hearts who are doing their best in some very difficult situations.

I ask God, a God of mercy and compassion, to help us all to remember we are pilgrims on a journey and have to help one another as we follow his way of the cross during these last days of Lent.

Yours etc.,

Sr Susan Evangelist,

Ballyshannon, Donegal


Promoting temperance on Good Friday

Dear Editor, It has been about five years since it was made legal for shops and pubs to sell alcohol on Good Friday. Regardless of religious affiliation, the decision was deeply troubling and at odds with the values that our community should uphold.

Good Friday is a day of great significance in the Catholic faith, marking the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and symbolising sacrifice, repentance, and solemn reflection. It is a day when Catholics observe fasting and abstain from meat and alcohol as a sign of reverence and devotion. Allowing the sale of alcohol on such a sacred day not only diminishes its religious importance but also sends a message that commercial interests take precedence over spiritual observance and moral values.

Moreover, it is particularly troubling given the widespread issue of alcohol addiction in Irish society. Alcohol abuse has long plagued our communities, leading to broken families, impaired health, and countless tragedies. By making alcohol more readily available on a day when people should be contemplating matters of faith and spirituality, we risk exacerbating the already alarming rates of addiction and its associated harms.

I urge our legislators to reconsider this decision and to prioritise the welfare of our society over commercial interests. Rather than facilitating access to alcohol on a day of religious observance, we should be promoting policies that support responsible consumption and address the root causes of addiction.

Furthermore, as a community, we must continue to work towards creating a culture of moderation and temperance, where individuals are supported in making healthy choices and where the dignity of every person is respected. I implore our leaders to reflect on the broader implications of allowing alcohol sales on Good Friday and to take action that aligns with the values of our Catholic faith and the well-being of our society as a whole.

Yours etc.,

Aine O’Sullivan

Crumlin, Dublin 12


Money, land, and inheritance the bane of Irish families

Dear Editor, That Dr Cranfield would press this Government to invest in palliative care, is quite frankly wishful thinking [The Irish Catholic – March 28, 2024]. Why would a Government invest in a system of care that nullifies their pet project, which is assisted suicide. It’s just nonsensical! They have wished to prove that their proselytising secular agenda will somehow finally exorcise the last vestiges of Catholic morality and we will all be happy.

Their push for abortion and marriage redefinition has proven that it will be only a matter of time before they get rid of granny and grandad. But of course, families wish this to happen, given that the elderly are an inconvenience whose hospice care will only eat up their inheritance which would make the wishes of the Prodigal Son look amateurish, to say the least. Money, land, and inheritance have always been the bane of Irish family life, both in literature and in lived reality; the present government only gives them what they want.

Yours etc.,

Fr John McCallion

Coalisland, Co. Tyrone