Monday, 1 December 2014

December

December has brought a sharp drop in temperature today in Paris. At 6 p.m. it was 2 degrees. Had my first jog around the streets since July. I picked up a knee injury in early July and it has taken a long time to come right. In the meantime, I did a lot of cycling around Paris. For instance, I cycle regularly to Marymount School in Neuilly sur Seine where I am chaplain. If there were less cars, buses, trucks and scooters it would be even better. They are certainly saying, 'If there were less
cyclists, it would be great!'. Advent is under way and Christmas is only around the corner!      A.T.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Thanksgiving

Celebrated Thanksgiving Day with two American colleagues.

On Wednesday evening I was on the panel for 'The Debate' on France 24 TV. The debate centred on the addresses of Pope Francis to the European Parliament and Council of Europe during his visit to Strassburg. A wide range of topics came up for discussion. The panel was asked to give opinions - which I did. One email to me after the programme attached a photo from the TV broadcast. Another email took me to task on a number of comments that I made. It is great when people want to continue the discussion long after the TV programme has ended. I like that.

Advent begins tomorrow - less than four weeks to Christmas. Busy few weeks ahead here at St Joseph's Church, Paris. On 26 December I hope to travel to Bray and spend a few days before being back in Paris for New Year.

Have a good Advent!              A. T.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Bray Hero

Well done Katie Taylor! Ireland (especially our hometown of  Bray) is proud of you.   A.T.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

End times

Was in Dublin last week for a meeting. What rain! At one stage I wondered if I would make it back to Dublin Airport due to so much rain falling. I did. Earlier last week I was part of the congregation at Notre Dame Cathedral for Armistice Day. The ceremony of Remembrance is very moving, especially as this year is the Centenary of the beginning of World War I. Have started a series of meetings with Parents and Staff at Marymount School Paris where I'm chaplain, to explore ways of following up the Synod of Bishops on the Family. A good start has been made and I look forward to learning a lot. Was disappointed with RoI soccer team being beaten by Scotland in the European Qualifiers. Still, a win last night against U.S.A. was sweet.  The Rugby is going even better for Ireland. A.T.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Clock changes

The dark days of Winter are not far away. Today in Paris it is a sunny almost summer's day! Long may it last like this. My own unscientific view is that the time should be left alone all year round. A few tourists were a little annoyed with me yesterday that the times of Masses at St Joseph's Church, Paris had not been changed by one hour to match the change of the clocks at the weekend. You don't follow that? Neither did I when it was first said nor have I gained any insight since! But, as we all know - the customer is always right! No travel this week. Last weekend I was at an Ordination of a Passionist student in Wales. During the week I attended meetings during visits to St Mungo's, Glasgow and Holy Cross, Belfast. Getting ready now for Feast of All Saints on Saturday and All Souls on Sunday. The year is slipping past. When shopping recently Chritmas fare was in evidence. A.T.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Feast of Saint Paul of the Cross - Founder of the Passionists

Today is special. All over the world the inspiration of St Paul of the Cross is being celebrated in Passionist Churches, Monasteries, Convents and in the hearts of believers touched by this saintly mystic. The Passionist ordination in Wales yesterday was a moment of great joy for Gareth, his family, and Passionist companions. I'm just back to Paris from Cardiff.
A few thoughts I penned during the week about St Paul of the Cross are in this week's St Joseph's Parish Bulletin distributed today. If you would like to read it go to www.stjoeparis.org and then click to enter the website. Go to 'Practical Information' and click on 'Links' and there is Aidan's Blog.
Happy Feastday to all!        A.T.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Ordination in Wales

Tomorrow, Gareth Thomas will be ordained a priest in his native Wales. I hope and pray that all will go well. This is the first time a Passionist student from Ireland/Scotland has been ordained in over 20 years. Blessing though the ordination tomorrow certainly is, the deaths and departures of priests during those years leaves gaps that will not be filled. My hope and prayer is that a thorough review and renewal of priesthood will be undertaken. The Synod on the Family ending in Rome this weekend may help the Church to begin asking about the critical situation regarding the priesthood especially in those countries that until recent years were sending missionaries to other local churches needing priests. A few weeks ago I passed the 50 year mark since taking vows as a Passionist. Maybe it wouldn't help to consult priests still engaged in ministry, but I find it a bit strange that nobody at 'official' church level has asked me, and I'm sure the vast majority of priests, for an opinion regarding the future of priesthood. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised after all these years. Pray for those good and honest priests trying to continue building the Kingdom among and with God's People.  A.T.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Odds and Ends

Had the anti-flu injection today. Got a parish banner put up on the area outside the church thanks to a most helpful friend. Planned coming weeks up to New Year with the other two priests who minister here. Read the daily Catholic newspaper La Croix on the Synod on the Family. My Skype connection is gone - my computer like myself is getting old! Pastoral Council met tonight. These busy parish members meet once a month out of care for the parish. They are stalwarts. Watched an old episode of Fools and Horses and went to bed. Maybe nobody will read this blog of mine but then people tell me that nobody reads the Parish Bulletin that I write 52 weeks of the year. Please don't laugh - but I take seriously the weekly Bulletin reflection and notices that I compile week in and week out. These take hours to research and compose. If no one else reads the Bulletin or this Blog, I have a certainty that Jesus knows about them. It is worth writing them for that reason alone! Deo gratias!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Nobel Peace Prize

Malala Yousafzai, the brave girl from Pakistan, is one worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize - well done! Her campaigning for the right of girls to go to school is truly commendable. 220 very brave girls aged 4 - 11 years bravely walked to and from school in Belfast thirteen years ago despite efforts to stop them. These children and their Parents along with their Primary School stood up for the right of all children, especially girls, to receive an education without hindrance. They will always be heroes to me along with that great young lady, Malala.              A.T.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

RCIA 2014 - 2015

Today, 9th October 2014, the first session of a new course of Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults begins at St Joseph's Church, Paris. A good number of people have enrolled. But, it is only when the day arrives that it will be known who is joining our group. What I find great is that since I got involved in 2008 at St Joseph's, not only have I had the privilege of celebrating the Sacraments of Initiation with Adults, but some have brought along a baby of theirs to have baptism. Two 'graduates' of RCIA over the years have married at St Joseph's and invited me to be present at the Sacrament of Marriage. Of course, some have moved on - approximately 33% of our parish move each summer. Among those who remain, I am privileged to have made some good friends. The most difficult part of RCIA is getting the administrative dossier of each candidate ready for the Archdiocese of Paris. No shortcuts are accepted! When I arrived here in 2008, the RCIA team was Siona and Gabriel and Joe. The present RCIA team still has Joe and in recent years, Joan and Arthur. We are blessed in having these parishioners to witness so strongly to their faith and to set out the teaching of Christ and the Church. Long may this continue to be a part of the life of the Mission Anglophone Paris!       A.T.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

9th October

Since signing up on Facebook some years ago, the world and his wife know that it is my birthday on 9th October. When I turned 21 years of age, I was concerned about how old I was getting! Since then, I have not worried about my age - there is nothing I can do about it anyhow. God has blessed me with good health so far and as long as He does, I will keep going. To celebrate my birthday tomorrow, 9th October, I really look forward to welcoming a new class of candidates for RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). We will meet each Thursday evening until the Easter Vigil of 2015 when Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion will be celebrated. For the past six years at St Joseph's Paris, this has been a highlight of each year for me. Along with Joan, Arthur and Joe we will do our best to open up the love of Christ and His care for this group. While we are at class each Thursday evening, people are invited to come along to St Joseph's Church to pray before the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance on the Altar for our RCIA candidates.. Pray for us all, please.        A.T.

50 Years

On 27th September 1964, I professed four Vows at a ceremony in the Passionist Monastery, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. I had entered the Novitiate on 31st August 1963 having completed my Leaving Certificate at CBS, Bray, that summer. The way I looked at is was that I wanted to try out this strange thing called a 'vocation' and if it was not for me, I would have been happy to get on with my life. A local priest suggested I wait a few years before joining but understood my wish to test this now rather than wait and then find out it was not for me. Little could I have know that I would never see my Mother again in this life - she died suddenly on 19th March 1964.
 
That was then. 50 years later, all I can say is that I am still a Passionist. Some people find it (me?) strange that I did not want an 'official' celebration. At the Information Day in St Joseph's garden a very kind group of people prepared a banner and presented me with a cake - that was very much appreciated.. At a student retreat Mass in Marymount School that weekend, some lovely words were spoken about the occasion and a gift presented. In the old days, a special Jubilee holiday was provided by the Passionists to some part of the world that the one celebrating wished to visit!
 
My reason for not marking the event is because I feel it would be insensitive to celebrate now. During those 50 years a great deal of damage was done to children and vulnerable adults by a relatively small number of consecrated Religious. Even though I am, by the grace of God, not numbered among those who damaged God's little ones or committed criminal acts, I belong to a church that did. It would go against my principles to have a celebration at a time when so many people are still hurting.
 
My reason for going into details about this is that some people may have thought that I was being deliberately awkward or odd! At present I am so delighted to hear the words of Pope Francis and others reflecting what I have always believed to be the mind and heart of Christ. I left home in 1964 from a loving family and entered into a system of clerical formation that even then did not make much sense to me. I remained hoping that the clerical formation would improve. It didn't and was slow to change. I loved the studies I did, the friends that I made but the training to which my generation was subjected was not of Christ.
 
I have survived in religious life because of God and the start I got from my parents and family. I have been truly fortunate that in all the places I have ever lived over the past 50 years, I have been cared for by loving people who showed me why God put us on this earth. I have friends to this day stretching back to student days and since. For these people I could never thank God enough.
 
On 19th December 2020, if God spares me, I will celebrate 50 years as a priest. That is another day like 27th September 2014 on which I will know that all this is God's work and not my achievement.                   A.T.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

A Jog

Delighted to have got back to jogging. In July I got an knee injury that stopped me jogging until tonight. During that time I developed a liking for cycling. The Velib is the public bicycle service in Paris.               A.T.

Synod of Bishops October 2014

The Synod looks like it is coming to life although it is still early days. A lot of reading to be done and even more praying.       A.T.

Papal Visit to France 2015

Good news announced today is that Pope Francis will visit France at some stage during 2015. On 25th November 2014, the Pope will visit the European Parliament sitting in Strasbourg. The Pope's visit to France in 2015 (dates not yet announced) will involve a visit to Lourdes and to Paris. This reminds us of 1979 when Pope John Paul II (now canonised) visited Ireland. I was over eight years ordained a priest and recall vividly going to Phoenix Park, Galway and Maynooth College. Little did many of us know what lay around the corner for the church in Ireland following the visit. It will be a different setting when Pope Francis comes to France and one that I am looking forward to greatly.     A.T.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Geneva Visit Ending

Had a recollection day for parish of St John XX111 at the Diocesan Retreat Centre in Geneva.
Lovely group of parishioners including the Pastoral Council and the Parish Administrative Council.
Now ready for last train back to Paris for Mass on Sunday at St Joseph's.          A.T.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Geneva Retreats

Arrived in Geneva last night by train from Paris. How I love trains! Maybe it has to do with my Father working on the railway all his life. Today I was at a beautiful conference centre outside Geneva to accompany the clergy and parish staff of the English language church of Geneva. It was a joy to listen and share with this dedicated and talented group. After the sessions, I saw UN buildings, Headquarters of World Council of Churches, WHO, EUFA & FIFA headquarters, Notre Dame Cathedral in Geneva, Lake Geneva and a few other places. Soon I will offer the Evening Mass.
Saturday there will be a day of recollection for parishioners at Cenacle Retreat Centre. Then, I hope to travel on a late train back to Paris in time for Sunday Masses. This invitation arose from meeting Fr Richard, Pastor, at European Pastors' Meetings in recent years.          A.T

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Sad Loss of two great Mercy Sisters

It was with shock and great sadness that I heard of the deaths of Sr Frances and St Marie in a traffic accident near Newry on Tuesday morning. May they both rest in peace and may their families and friends draw strength from the power of these women of faith and goodness. My life at Holy Cross would have so much the poorer without the Mercy Sisters in our parish; On an almost daily basis, I met with Sr Frances - when Principal of Mercy Primary or after that in the huge amount of pastoral care that she offered. These great Mercy Sisters have taught us what Consecrated Life can give to the world and the church. They will be missed and may they rest in peace now.      A.T.

28th September 2014

Last Sunday was special to me on a personal as well as a parish level. On 28th September 2008 (6 years ago), at 4 p.m. I arrived through the front door of St Joseph's Church to begin a journey with no idea whatsoever as to where it would lead. People of all races and languages over the past six years have shown me the way forward and have cared for me. Thanks to all who have walked me over the past six years and to those still on the journey. Without these people, what happened for good would simply not have happened as it did. If any of these read this post - don't lose heart! There is only about 20 months to go before the next change for me will come from Passionist H/Q in Ireland. People who know this ask where is next for me to go - only God knows! After 50 years of Passionist Profession (27 Sept. 1964), every day is a gift to be treasured!                                                             

St Joseph's Information Day and Food Fest on 28 September 2014

Last Sunday was special. It was a brilliant sunny day and the people of St Joseph's gave us a day to remember. All the planning, all the work, all the preparations were worth it. The Parish Pastoral Council gave a lead and individuals, families and leaders of ministries at St Joseph's walked to the same drum beat. What the Body of Christ can be was seen by our own eyes as we had our usual 5 Masses and a call to mission went out to appoximately 1,500 people at those Masses.
 
Like the Gospel when Jesus got people together, He instructed his followers not to send them away but, "you feed them". And all were fed. Without counting the cost, people brought food, cooked it and served it with graciousness worthy of a Christian community. People ate foods of many nations and cultures and we rejoiced in our diversity.
At the same time over 200 children and young people were applying themselves to CCD (religious formation and instruction) under the guidance of volunteer teachers and supportive families. We were glad to welcome ACWO (American Catholic Women's Organisation) and Marymount International School Paris, as friends and fellow travellers along the way in building the Kingdom of God.
At St Joseph's we are a truly international community at peace at a time when many nations and groups are at war. May we continue to witness to peace and justice and all that makes this world truly reflect the beauty and goodness intended by God at the dawn of creation.
 
This day will remain with me for a long time to come - I saw the Body of Christ at its best. It made a welcome change from that same Body being debased by crime and sin against the most vulnerable. My sincere thanks to the huge number of people who last Sunday gave my faith and trust a huge boost. You are witnesses to Chist in all that is best among human beings.
 
On 24th November 2013, Pope Francis signed off on "Evangelii Gaudium" in Rome.
On 28th September 2014, we experienced "The Joy of the Gospel" in Paris.                   A.T.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Summer passing

Visited Belfast on Wednesday, 21st August, and was glad to visit Holy Cross, Ardoyne for a few hours while there. Belfast on a sunny day was looking great. An important meeting about the Passionists in Africa had just concluded in Holy Cross Monastery when I arrived and it was good to have lunch with those who had travelled from Rome, Zambia and Enniskillen to attend. Sad to record the death of Fr. Kieran McIvor, C.P. in Durban after a lifetime serving in Botswana and South Africa. May he rest in peace. His funeral took place in South Africa where is he is buried. Soon, my visit to Ireland will end and I look forward to returning to St Joseph's Church, Paris.  A.T.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Iraq suffering

It is heart breaking to learn daily of the suffering of so many in Iraq and to feel so helpless to do anything to help end this horror. I pray every day that there may be people who will step forward and be able to make a difference. The bravery of aid workers and voluntary agencies is a reminder that there is great goodness alongside so much evil.                                                            A.T.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Glasgow

Today will take place the second of two funerals this week of members of the Passionist community of St Mungo's, Glasgow. Fr Eustace Cassidy will be buried in Glasgow after 12.15 p.m. Mass. May he rest in peace. On Tuesday, Fr Jim Berrie was buried.

It is my hope and prayer that the present ceasefire in the Middle East will extend into a longer time to allow humanitarian aid to reach the people of Gaza. There is such a long road ahead. The damage done to people, especially children, will take years to deal with in any real way. We can only admire and support those who are trying to help and improve this tragic situation.    A T

Monday, 4 August 2014

Scotland

Arrived in Glasgow today to attend two funerals of Passionists of St Mungo's Community. Both died last week. May they rest in peace. Was in Paris until this morning (Monday) and followed events over the weekend relating to the Middle East from a French perspective. The tragedy goes on and especially for the children of Gaza. At Mass yesterday a minute of silent prayer was held for all who had died and that peace may be sought and achieved.              A.T.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Fr Eustace Cassidy, C.P.

Tonight in St Mungo's Retreat, Glasgow, Scotland, Fr Eustace Cassidy died. May he rest in peace. A native of Ballymote, Co Sligo, Ireland he was 83 years. This is the second death in this Passionist Community in the past week - Fr Jim Berrie died earlier this week. On Monday I will go to Glasgow for the funeral of Fr Jim Berrie. The funeral arrangements for Fr Eustace will be made in the coming days. For this community to have two family deaths in the one week is a great loss. Please keep the St Mungo's Passionist Community in your prayers. A.T.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Father James Andrew Berrie, C.P. Rest in Peace

On Monday 28th July, James Andrew Berrie went back to the House of the Father following a struggle with cancer over recent years. In early 60's he was among the younger members of St Patrick's Province of the Passionists. He will be sadly missed in his native Scotland where he served in both Archdioceses of Glasgow and Edinburgh. He is survived by two sisters and their families. His Passionist community at St Mungo's Monastery and Parish will miss him. I have spoken by phone to the Superior of St Mungo's, Fr Dermot Gallagher, C.P. and conveyed to him the sympathy and prayers of St Joseph's, Paris.
The funeral will take place on Tuesday, 5th August in Glasgow. I will attend and join in the Requiem Mass. May he rest in peace. Amen.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Middle East Killings

My personal blog about Gaza had a far greater response than I expected. I appreciate the many positive and supportive reactions. Others were upset by the question I raised about a possible response in North Belfast. Remarks directed at me personally could make the messenger rather than the children of Gaza the central point. I am freely editing out the question on a possible response in North Belfast lest what I raised could distract from sincere efforts being made by people in the area. The present 72 hour ceasefire will give some relief . My prayer is that this will extend into a long-term peace. Thanks to all who responded to my personal comments. Aidan Troy


At this time, I offer prayer that the killing in Gaza and Israel stop now. Every killing of a human being is a crime and challenges us all in declaring our refusal to accept the daily slaughter of children.  This is slaughter of innocents. Prayer needs the 'legs' of reflection and the witness to our own commitment to reconciliation where we refuse to accept division and separation as permanent. In trying to achieve reconciliation great patience and couage is needed. With a Christian Minister of another Church I recall during my time in North Belfast meeting with an Israeli and Palestinian delegation who came to look at our peace process. Can help continue to be given?

Offering moral and material support is important. Gestures can be significant in calling people to the ways of peace. Would Woodvale/Ardoyne people of goodwill consider offering a powerful witness to our world at a time when in the Middle East children, women and men are being slaughtered daily?Supposing an agreement could reached to withdraw the objections to the return parade of July 2013 and intensify efforts being made for parading  in 2015? This would speak a message that shows that longstanding divisions of neighbours are capable of improvement when people of goodwill take a risk for peace. It would also show deep care for others who are suffering and dying even as we talk and consider what to do.             A. T.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Loire Valley

A lovely visit to this beautiful area of France. Celebrated a Baptism today in a lovely village church - such joy and conclusion of ceremony by ringing the church bells to welcome the newly baptised. A T

Friday, 4 July 2014

Independence Day 2014

Went to Marymount Sisters Community for Mass this evening. Sad to learn afterwards that France are out of World Cup. Have Mass and Penance Service at l'Arche, Trossly, tomorrow evening. Saw Fr Cormac O'Hora today at Susy en Brie. He is in good form. Have a Baptism on Tuesday near Poitiers. Busy days. Good weather. A T

Saturday, 28 June 2014

7 Priests Ordained Paris

Was at ordinations in Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris. Seven ordained by Cardinal Vingt-Trois. Pity it rained as many of us got soaked on the parvis of Notre Dame. But it was worth it.     A T

James Joyce

No not the Paris Irish pub of that name! Friday night was at a truly great performance of 'Portrait of an artist as a young man'. Richard Ryan promotion and directed by Jimmy Fay. It was staged at Irish Cultural Centre Paris. Great performance applauded by standing ovation. I loved it!       A T

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Trinity Sunday

A week after the great events of last weekend - First Communions, Adult Confirmations at Notre Dame and Confirmations at St Joseph's Church - we have Trinity Sunday. Next weekend we will have Corpus Christi. Good times in good weather.             A  T

Friday, 13 June 2014

Summer in sight!

Great weekend just passed. First Communion on Saturday, Adult Confirmations at Notre Dame Paris on Saturday night and Young People received Sacrament of Confirmation on Sunday afternoon. Monday was a public holiday but emails about a new church project, booking an event, passport application to be witnessed and a rather abrupt hotel enquiry as to why there was only one Mass at 8.30 a.m. that morning. Some guest(s) wanted an evening Mass. It is true - there is no rest for the.......
In Dublin for the day on Tuesday for a Passionist meeting in Mount Argus, Dublin. Good to meet some of the people there. A funeral on Wednesday morning in Neuilly sur Seine. Chaplaincy duties at Marymount on Thursday and Friday. Have taken to cycling to and from school. In this beautiful weather it is a great way to travel. Thank God for the health to do even these few things with people. My own dear Mother was dead by 50 years of age and here am I in late 60's still on the go!     A

Thursday, 5 June 2014

D-Day

Was invited to Garden Party in British Embassy, Paris, during the Queen's state visit to France. Met the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh and spoke with both.
Glorious sunny evening in a lovely garden in heart of Paris. Walking back to St Joseph's Church, saw President Obama going to dinner in a Paris restaurant. Didn't spot President Putin who is also in Paris this evening but was not dining this time with the American President. It meant that President Hollande had to have two dinners to keep the two Presidents apart and both happy! Busy time in Paris but interesting.               A T

Pentecost 2014

A few great days ahead. On Saturday, 7 June at 11 a.m. 32 young people will receive First Communion. Already grandparents, aunts, uncles , etc. are arriving for a great family as well as parish celebration.
One feature of that day that I like is the simplicity and lack of show in the clothes the children wear.
There are no tanning sessions ahead of the Communion day, no stretch limos or anything other than
simply well turned out children. This puts the focus on the core meaning of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. This does not occur because I as parish priest said something about how to prepare and dress. It is the family that makes these decisions. One thing I have worked on and seem to be making progress - no photographs during the First Communion Mass. There is no limit to photographs in the church before and after the Mass. This has restored a sense of mystery without losing a photographic record of the children's great day.

The next day, Pentecost Sunday, 39 young people will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. This too is always a day of great joy. Being a little older than First Communion children, each dresses as she or he chooses. This simplicity adds rather than takes from the ceremony.

On Saturday evening in Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, I will concelebrate Mass with Cardinal Vingt-Trois for 400 adults receiving Confirmation. Two young adults being Confirmed are connected to St Joseph's Parish.
These will be a few great days.             A T



Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Brussels June 2014

Group visited Brussels in afternoon. I met some Irish people from European Parliament and
from business community. Had a meal with some of this group. I was able to speak of our Mission
Anglophone, Paris. Wed will be the final day of European Pastors' Symposium. It was most helpful in that we shared our experieces of life today in Europe. I'm sure there are some who would question if I did this adequately. All I can say is that I did my best.
Tomorrow we have a visit to European Parliament - President Obama is also in town!     A T

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

European Pastors Seminar in Brussels

Greetings from Belgium! Had just arrived when I got word of death of Brother in law of Fr Francis in USA. May Al rest in peace. Fr Francis is now on his way to the funeral. He understands my wish to have accompanied him to the funeral, but that it is not possible for me. We will have a Memorial Mass at St Joseph's Church when Fr Francis is back.
Made a presentation on Mission Anglophone, Paris to the Symposium this morning. It seemed to go alright and evoked some questions. Back to Paris tomorrow.        A

Sunday, 1 June 2014

European Pastors Symposium

Off to Brussels by train first thing in the morning to attend a meeting of those involved in English speaking parishes in European countries. Always a good meeting. This is a busy week at St Joseph's Mission Anglophone with First Communion on Saturday morning and Confirmation on Pentecost Sunday afternoon. These are great blessings in our midst. This year I have the extra joy because a Confirmation candidate asked me to be her Sponsor. I am so honoured that she chose me out of all the options she had. God is so good. A

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Ascension Day 2014

Ascension Day - a public holiday and a church holyday. I had 11 a.m. Mass this morning with a good number present. Another Mass this evening will be at 6.30.
Overcast day again. Going out tonight to dinner in a French bar - watch this space! Enjoy the day off if you have it and keep me in your prayers.      A

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Post Summer Fair 2014

Great work has been done by our faithful volunteer who has counted and prepared for banking the proceeds of the Summer Fair. We are really blessed in the help people give to the community here at St Joseph's Church. Everyone who won a prize in the Tombola draw on Sunday was contacted by Monday afternoon to give the winners the good news! Again, the help of people is wonderful.

The Passionist Provincial from St Patrick's Province arrived on Monday and left Wednesday to make his annual visit. It one of my roles since 2012 to be his 1st Consultor (assistant). Each month or six weeks the Provincial and his council meets in Ireland to discuss the best ways to help our Passionist communities in Ireland, Scotland and Paris and to advance the ministry that it is our privilege to exercise. I will go to Dublin for one of these meetings on 10th June. A big item on our agenda in the past year is the hand over to locally born Passionsts in Africa ending dependence on Ireland/Scotland and to live as brothers with responsibility for the development of Passionist Life in Botswana, Zambia and South Africa. Passionists from Ireland/Scotland landed in South Africa in 1952. To hand over to local Passionists has been a long time coming. They will always have our support and prayers.

I hope that Summer will soon come to Paris and give us back some sunshine. A

Summer Fair 2014 at St Joseph's Church, Paris

Each year there is a Summer Fair at St Joseph's Church held usually in May to raise funds for the summer months. Our Mission (not a territorial parish), sees many families and individuals leave the city of Paris for a month or more during the summer. There are other dear friends and parishioners who move on to other places for work and other reasons. There is also one less Mass during July and August. The net result is that there is a decrease in church income. This is not a criticism or judgement on the great people of St Joseph's. It is a fact. The expenses for heat are down but for air are up! The Summer Fair lightens the worry of making ends meet. God always sees us through. Enough of my homespun economics.
The Summer Fair is a tremendous Parish Social that bonds and knits this community in a way that is so marvellous to behold. When I arrived in 2008 to St Joseph's after some eventful years in Belfast, the Pastoral Council was putting in a great amount of good work organising the Annual Parish Social. This happened in November and involved a great number of parishioners doing great work. Two observations led me to requesting that we reconsider continuing with this parish social - the costs of the social, even with generosity and voluntary work, was running at a financial loss on scarce parish resources.
Secondly, the social consisted of going to the crypt of another Church in the vicinity and eating and watching a few people dancing to 1960's music. The best dancing was the Irish Dancing done by young and old alike! This was not my idea of a night out that had to end by 11 p.m. to get the seats back in place for Mass the next morning. Eventually it was discontinued - some have still not forgiven me for this! Our Parish Christmas Social is held in our Hall after the Carol Service and Pageant each December. The International Food Fest is now our Parish Social and is held in St Joseph's Church garden twice a year. The various foods and flavours is nothing short of amazing. The Food Fest is held on the second day of the Summer Fair and and on the final Sunday of September to welcome back parishioners and to extend a hand of friendship to arriving families and individuals. The sense of community is palpable and the joy and fun is there to be seen. The amount of work to prepare for this is immense and the clean up afterwards is done so well and quickly.
This year our Summer Fair raised just over €11,000 - truly magnificent. Very generous individuals, couples, families and companies donated great prizes of the Tombola that ends the weekend. The tickets are sold by a dedicated band of sellers after weekend Masses. Tables are put in place in the garden, tents put up, 'floats for stalls and tables' expertly arranged, the money counted and carefully accounted for after the Summer Fair. The parish office produced posters and other printing without having to go outside of our own office. I have reached the conclusion that no price or money can be put on the Summer Fair weekend and on the other Food Fest in September for the Information Day.
In my opinion, this is a work of God that is a sign of His blessings on our community. I know it has it critics, as do I as a priest serving you, but that is not the issue. For me, the issue is about people being served and respected and the Kingdom of God being built through these wonderful events.

In the next few years a new parish priest/curĂ©/pastor will replace me and I hope that he will have the same support that I have experienced from many wonderful people. Who knows, I may be allowed stay on at St Joseph's to assist in some capacity and serve among you? One person went to my Provincial Superior during his vist here in late May 2014 to highlight their perception of my deficiencies in leadership among you. I can only ask forgiveness for my failures that are judged in my leadership and assure all that I am really trying to do my best. Perhaps the next leader sent by the Passionists in my place to St Joseph's will do a better job - I have no doubt that he will. I  hold no resentment to any person at St Joseph's Mission Anglophone. It is a daily grace and a privilege for me to do my best each day. I would ask only that it be remembered that in the words of Pope Francis, "I am a sinner". I never claim to be perfect or to match up to the standards set by those who served here in leadership at St Joseph's in previous years.
But, for as long as I can, I will go on enjoying being with you, dear parishioners and readers of my Blog, and ask that you to pray that God will go on blessing us all and making up for my failures.
If you have waded through all this, sincere thanks and if you could leave a comment - good, bad or indifferent - it would be great. With prayers and love, Aidan

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

May 2014

Back again after a break. Easter now is behind us. Busy month of May with its First Communions and Confirmations at St Joseph's Church. How fortunate we are when thinking of the awful kidnapping and holding of the Nigerian schoolgirls. It is hard to comprehend the suffering of the parents, families and the girls. Thirteen years ago I saw something of the pain of children and families during the months of the Holy Cross School protest in Belfast when attempts were made to  prevent 220 young girls going to their school. At all the weekend Masses here I spoke about the kidnapping and prayers were offered for their speedy release and return to their families.     A T

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Paris Visitors

Last weekend Secretary of State USA, John Kerry attended 9.30 Mass on Sunday morning at St Joseph's Church, Ave Hoche. He was in Paris to discuss the situation in Ukraine with Russian Foreign Minister. A lot of people greeted him as he left Mass.      A T

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Post-St Patrick's Weekend 2014

What a great weekend - Irish Embassy on Thursday, Mass at Sacre Coeur on Saturday, the Stade that evening, The Irish Cultural Centre on Sunday, St Patrick's Day here at St Joseph's on Monday, 17 March. Then on 20 March a meeting in Mount Argus, Dublin. RTE Radio I the John Murray Show on Friday morning for a live interview from Paris. Arrival of the Book 'The Francis Factor' (Columba Press) - in which I am author of one chapter. That and the"day job" kept me busy. Thank God for those opportunities and the health and strength for them.                   AT

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Six Nations

What a good game at weekend against England. Looking forward to 15 March in Paris. Saw match at a lovely wedding I was at on Saturday. Now back to prepare for Lent!                   A.T.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

6 Nations

What a great weekend of Rugby Union! Well done to all - especially IRELAND.
Was at Marymount School Paris on Sunday, 9th February to celebrate Mass for
a United Nations weekend being held there for schools form Rome, London and
Paris. Great young people showing real and practical concern for justice and peace.
Well done to all concerned.                    A.T.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Late January

How time is flying past. January almost over. One  day of meetings last Tuesday in Mount Argus. Busy weekend just over - retreat for Confirmation candidates (40) on Sat here in Paris. They are from
so many different natioalities.         A.T.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Philomena

Went to see film 'Philomena' tonight. Very powerful. Some awful things happened in name of religion. The past can't be altered but the present and the future must be different if anything has been learned.   A.T.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

2014

Happy New Year from Paris. A lot of excitement on the streets to welcome the new year.       A.T.