Saturday, December 31, 2005

A new Catholic publication worth checking out

The print edition is just over a year old, but now the online version of The Voice Today is up.

The newspaper itself costs €1.00 and is published weekly, exactly the same as The Irish Catholic. The Irish Catholic, first published in 1880-something, did have a website with articles some years ago, but no longer.

The current editor of The Voice Today, Simon Rowe, used to be Editor of The Irish Catholic. However, I do not detect any kind of rivalry or animosity between them, and I buy both every weekend; I suspect others do too.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Vigil Mass with a Cardinal

Last night, Christmas Eve night, I decided to go to the Vigil Mass at 9.00 pm in Iona Road church. It was a very nice way to welcome the Saviour. And a very large crowd.

Our retired Archbishop, Desmond Cardinal Connell, was present to co-concelebrate, and he said a few special words after Communion. He started by admitting that he never expected to take part in a Conclave, because he expected Pope John Paul II to outlive everybody, and also because the man himself is approaching 80.

Obviously, Cardinal Connell did not reveal any of the secrets of the Conclave (OK, everybody, stop groaning!), and said he has been in Rome twelve times during 2005. (OK I admit, I'm a little jealous!!)

He described Benedict XVI by using a word I haven't heard anybody use before: "bouncing".

Cardinal Connell said that he recently went to one of the Wednesday General Audiences. He said that when anybody meets the Pope, he always asks them one thing: "Pray for me."

This morning, I watched Urbi et Orbi on the box, switching between both RTE and EWTN. My favourite part was when he stepped out onto the balcony to hear what sounded like screams of teenage girls at a Boyzone concert.

Seven Good Reasons to Celebrate Christmas

Excellent stuff recently posted on Catholic Exchange.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Diary of a trip to North Korea

Margaret Ward, a reporter with RTE, Ireland's broadcasting network, recently made a trip to North Korea with Concern, a third-world development charity. For some reason, the North Korean authorities allowed her in with a cameraman. The results will be shown tonight on Prime Time, RTE's main current affairs-analysis programme.

Here is the link which leads to her diary, including a description of going to Mass on Sunday morning. After the programme is broadcast, you'll be able to download it.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

OK. Now I'm going to make you all a little bit jealous

You wake up. You get out of bed. You walk out of your large white villa to the terrace for breakfast. And what do you see?


Do you ever, ever want to leave this place?

This is the view from the Villa San Michele, Capri; home of Dr Axel Munthe, author of the classic "The Story of San Michele". If you haven't read it, I suggest you check your local library asap!

And sorry! The house ain't for sale!

More evidence to show how clever Swiss people are

I get by e-mail the monthly newsletter from Swiss Federal Railways, and today brings news that will please lots of people.

Effective 11th December, all public transport in Switzerland will be smoke-free.

Good news. And also, in order to get the message across, they will gradually remove all the ashtrays from all rolling stock, so as not to tempt anybody to light up - a job which they state will take around six months.

But it's the last paragraph of the above-linked news item which is most interesting.

After all, what can you do with hundreds (thousands?) of ashtrays?

Recycle the metal? Or perhaps create a sculpture with them?

No; the clever Swiss are going to try and sell them.

As "a piece of Swiss railway history".

Hurry! Hurry! While stocks last!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

"We live in a pluralist Ireland. Pluralist, however, does not mean secular."

Here is more common sense from my Archbishop, Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin. This was a lecture at the National College of Ireland, which is a newer institution attached to Dublin's Financial Services Centre. The subject was "Leadership and the Church".

But it's the anecdotes and stories from his experiences in Italy and Geneva that I think are especially interesting.