Pope Francis' visit to Ireland has come and gone. I would love to have been at Croke Park and at the Mass in the Phoenix Park. But it was not to be. The positive side was that I had a great weekend among great people here at St Joseph's in Paris. A wonderful visiting priest from USA kindly took one of the Sunday Masses, which had two positive effects:
1. people who come to Mass regularly here got a break from me! and
2. I was able to watch Pope Francis' visit to Knock Shrine.
Well done to RTE for such sensitive and extensive coverage of the Papal visit. Life is strange - the weather in Ireland was sunny and warm this Summer. Come the weekend of the Pope's visit and yes, you have guessed it, we had enough rain to begin filling up Irish reservoirs again!
A little funny aside was when France 24 in Paris asked me if I would be available on Sunday last to help with commentary on the Papal Mass from the Phoenix Park. When I asked in which language it would be - French or English - the answer came back - French! My refusal was instant out of deference to the French language. Strangely when the teacher who gives me weekly French class heard this, he was not pleased! He thought I was capable of carrying this broadcast in the French language. Bless him for his confidence in me!
Still, last night, 27 August, France 24 (English language) invited me to their studios to take part in the 'The Debate'. I did the best I could but reaction after the programme varied from criticism about some things I said to some very complementary messages. That is the best about communication - I try to learn from all shades of opinion and most of all, I admire people who go to bother to make contact.
There are so many wonderful aspects to our life of faith today alongside so many 'clouds' over the Church. As Pope Francis asked of us in his recent letter to all of us, prayer and penance are needed at this time. I hope to continue this reflection soon again. Thanks for reading this. AT