Gerard Gallagher placed the spotlight on a very important challenge and presented a great opportunity for our Catholic Church to address in Ireland 2020 [IC 22/10/2020], how to reach out and evangelise our young people in an effective way?
Young people will identify with the Church’s commitment to social justice and works of charity. Pope Francis has placed a great emphasis in his encyclicals on social justice. Organise a campaign based on one of his encyclicals, homelessness (Fratelli Tutti), the environment (Laudato Si’). Start with what young people find most readily attractive about Catholicism. Lift up and emphasise socially minded saints like Teresa of Calcutta.
Secondly, I would address the whole issue of science vs religion. Many of our young people think that it’s an either/or question. How many of them know that the ‘big bang’ theory was put forward by a Jesuit priest and is not necessarily in conflict with the book of Genesis?
A lot of our young people may have been baptised and confirmed but have a lot of questions about God and the Church that have never really been answered effectively. This needs to be addressed. Catholicism is such an intellectually rich faith which has unfortunately been dumbed down by the RE curriculum.
The historicity of our Faith is very strong, but little known. There is more historical evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ than for the life of Julius Caesar. Do we ever doubt or question whether Julius Caesar was a credible historical figure?
If a young person has a curiosity or a question about the faith, they are far more likely to go to a parish website in the safety of their home, rather than wander into the church building.
What do our websites and social media platforms look like? Are they compelling, captivating and impactful or are they flat and uninteresting? Are we willing to reach out and adapt as parishes and use the digital age to evangelise the culture?
They may have lost faith in him but he will never lose faith in them. Nor should we.
Brian O Hanlon,
Dundalk, Co. Louth
Poland’s abortion ruling sets example for world
Dear Editor, Pro-abortion activists often claim that they are on the side of tolerance and compassion. However, the reaction of pro-abortion activists in Poland following the country’s Constitutional Tribunal ruling that eugenic abortions were unconstitutional, shows the true reality.
Following this humanitarian ruling, pro-abortion activists in Poland interrupted Masses, harassed priests and vandalised Catholic churches in an attempt to bully the Polish government into reversing this decision. Hopefully, the Polish government and people will stand up to this campaign of intimidation.
Under Communism, abortion on demand was legal in Poland, but since the end of Communist rule there, the law has steadily turned in a pro-life direction.
Poland deserves to be commended for the court’s decision to courageously vindicate the human rights of the disabled. In banning eugenic abortions, Poland has set an example for Ireland, Europe, and the world, to follow.
Galway City, Co. Galway
Homilies the flock need to hear
Dear Editor, Congratulations to Fr Seán Mulligan and Fr Gearoid Walsh for recent homilies re: impact of Covid lockdown especially on our freedom to practice our Faith in public.
“We are gradually moving towards a totalitarian approach to government where our freedom is slowly being stripped away…” (Fr Mulligan, [IC 29/10/2020].
The Church is divine and only answers to God. Saving lives from Covid is chanted by many governments, yet many have abortion, euthanasia etc… in their countries.
Comments like we can’t go to Mass in case of catching/giving Covid, and priests can’t risk their lives, shows a real lack of faith in then real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist who is the only healer, and insults our ancestors and saints who defended their faith in times of persecution. It is a priority to save our souls for eternal life rather than our bodies for short terms compromised gain for this world.
“Without Sunday we cannot live” said the Christian Martyrs of Abitene before they were executed in 304 by Emperor Diocletian because they had opposed his ban on the celebration of Sunday – history is repeating itself now.
Scotstown, Co. Monaghan
‘Please open our churches for public worship’
Dear Editor, I am writing to implore our Government and our bishops to please open our churches for public worship again. As you know, we are the only country in Europe (besides Britain) where the faithful cannot currently attend Mass. I don’t feel that this is right. There is no medical or scientific reason for our churches to remain closed. Our supermarkets and grocery stores are wide open as many people pass through each day.
The souls of many of the Faithful are suffering without the Eucharist at present, just as our bodies would be if we didn’t have food.
Due to the lockdown in March, we were unable to attend our Easter ceremonies in our respective churches. Are we now going to have to celebrate Christmas online too?
It is very painful to conceive of another major Catholic feast to be celebrated yet again virtually. So many of us wish to partake in the celebration of Mass within the sacred walls of our churches that have been made so safe with all the measures currently in place.
I am asking you all, and on behalf of many, many fellow practising Catholics, to please reopen our churches for public Mass and the Sacraments?
When the restrictions were lifted on June 29 this year, the safety measures that had been put in place in all the churches around the country effectively guaranteed a safe haven for public worship. The measures and lengths that so many priests and lay faithful went to, in order to minimise any infection outbreaks of Covid-19 were exemplary.
We need Jesus in the Eucharist and I have no doubt that he certainly wants us to receive him also.
Please be assured that my voice and this letter, is united to several hundreds of faithful Catholics across Ireland, who echo these very same sentiments.
Dr Aisling Bastible
Clontarf, Co. Dublin
How should we prepare for Christmas and Advent?
Dear Editor, As I write we are two months away from Christmas Day. Understandably most of our parishes and dioceses have gone very quiet. I hope and pray that in this time of great silence our bishops and pastoral planners are proactively preparing for the various scenarios that might encounter as we seek to gather to welcome and worship the baby Jesus.
Are there any national Advent plans? Will we be able to avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation? What about Advent candles and wreaths for our homes? What about suitable online Advent liturgies? Can we have some online instructions on homemade Cribs?
Through Trócaire we need to find ways by which we can meet our obligations to the world’s poorest. At home we need to support SVP more than ever before. How can we be encouraged to meet this year’s increased needs? And how will we support the hungry and the homeless in our parishes?
How do we ensure that this year’s Christmas dues meet the financial needs of our clergy as they suffer financially in church lockdowns?
Beaufort, Co Kerry