St Carthage, bishop
‘The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.’(Invitatory antiphon)
Various forms of media provide daily updates during this time of Covid-19 on the number of persons who died in the pandemic. These include people who work and minister in professional and pastoral services. Such people gave their lives in serving persons who are sick. Among them internationally are, health care workers, nurses, priests, chaplains, volunteers, doctors and others who died while working on the front line. Covid-19 continues to spread around the world mercilessly. The pandemic leaves workers in a very vulnerable position.
We pray for all who have died. We pray for families who are bereaved and mourn the loss of a loved one. We pray for a spirit of courage, perseverance and trust for those who dedicate their lives to the care of the sick and dying. We pray for all who are suffering right now through war, violence, hunger, thirst and all forms of poverty and injustice. May our eyes and hearts be opened to their every need.
Sadly, many people die alone, and some deaths will never be recorded due to people dying in poor circumstances and lives of poverty.
We thank God for those who are cured from the coronavirus and are now reunited with their families.
The Gospel (Jn 15:12-17) the priest proclaims today at Mass may be heard via the webcam or read from the New Testament. Jesus commands the disciples to love one another. He says, ‘There is no greater love than this, to give one’s life for one’s friends; and you are my friends, if you do what I command you.’ Jesus explained to the disciples that he will not call them servants any more. He calls them friends. This is an endearing term because he says he has ‘made known to them everything I learned from my Father.’ It was Jesus who personally chose each one of them, ‘to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.’ (Jn 15: 16). As the Father and Jesus are one, Jesus assures them that ‘everything you ask of the Father in my name, he will give you.’ (Jn 15:17). What the disciples are invited to do as friends of Jesus is ‘to love one another.’(Jn 15: 17). This is a big challenge, and Jesus promises his friends that he will be with them always to the end of time.
‘GIVING ONE’S LIFE FOR ONE’S FRIENDS’ AND THE GROW IN LOVE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAMME
In Christus Vivit, the Apostolic Exhortation to the Young People and the Entire People of God, Pope Francis writes that ‘the heart of the Church is full of young saints who devoted their lives to Christ, many of them even dying a martyr’s death’ (no.49). These ‘young saints…in their day have been real prophets of change. He says, ‘Their example shows what the young are capable of, when they open themselves up to encounter Christ’ (no. 49). The Pope recalls some of the young people ‘who each in his or her own way, and at different periods in history, lived lives of holiness.’ (no.49).
The young people who prepare in Fifth Class/P7 and Sixth Class to receive the sacrament of Confirmation, using the Grow in Love Religious Education programme are introduced to a number of people who lived lives of holiness. Some of these were very young when they died. Many never received sainthood. Some did. Short passages about the lives of a selection of Christian heroes/ heroines and saints are accessible on the VERITAS Grow in Love website in the e-books.
A series of questions about each hero/heroine/saint accompanies each short life story which allows for reflection on the life of the person and their contribution to life. Then the pupils reflect on their lives in the light of Christian values.
The final question about each Christian hero/heroine/saint is, ‘How might his/her life and the things he/she did and said inspire you?’ Pupils find this exercise very helpful and with discussion, prayer and reflection they come to a greater understanding and knowledge of themselves.
Pupils reflect on the variety of gifts and visions of these people: appreciation of the gift of life; giving up one’s life for others; do the ordinary things in life with an extraordinary love; dedicate their lives to prayer; work to promote unity; promote justice and fairness; cherish the gift of faith; cherish forgiveness and reconciliation; reach out to those who live in poverty and with injustice; care for persons who are homeless; are ecologically aware; values education; are ambassadors for peace; are loving parents and grandparents; and proclaim the Good News.
Pupils identify that people like St Oscar Romero (1917-1980) and St Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941) willingly gave up their lives for others and consequently they died. Jesus was the first to give up his life for all. He died on the Cross on Calvary. He is our Redeemer and Saviour.
Children learn that they too have to sacrifice their lives in small ways for example, sometimes putting other people before themselves; by sharing something they would like to keep for themselves; by listening to their parents and teachers. Through the guidance of their parents/guardian/teachers and the help of the Holy Spirit, children learn to make good choices.
Pupils are encouraged to see that the world needs them and their gifts and talents. Each one is chosen by God to follow Jesus and his way of love. Disciples are ‘sent to bear fruit, fruit that will last.’ God’s promise to them is, ‘And everything you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.’ (Jn 15: 17).
SONGS from Grow in Love that support this theme: ‘Whatsoever You Do’, ‘Go Tell Everyone’, ‘Love’, ‘Connected’, Circle of Friends’ ‘Spirit Anthem’, ‘Spirit Filled Day’, ‘Make a Good Choice’. All are available as video lyrics.
From GROW IN LOVE/ I NGRÁ DÉ
SIGN OF THE CROSS
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
COMHARTHA NA CROISE
In ainm an Athar, agus an Mhic agus an Spioraid Naoimh. Áiméan.
PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
Holy Spirit, I want to do what is right. Help me.
Holy Spirt, I want to live like Jesus.
Holy Spirit, I want to pray like Jesus.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
Enkindle in us the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and we shall be
And you shall renew the face of the earth.
O God, who has taught the hearts
Of the faithful
By the light of the Holy Spirit,
Grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise
And ever to rejoice in his consolation,
Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
PAIDIR CHUIG AN SPIORAD NAOMH
A Spioraid Naomh, ba mhaith liom an rud ceart a dhéanamh.
A Spioraid Naomh, ba mhaith liom maireachtáil mar a mhair Íosa.
A Spioraid Naoimh, ba mhaith liom
guí mar a ghuigh Íosa. Múin dom é.
‘S É DO BHEATHA, A MHUIRE
‘S é do bheatha a Mhuire,
atá lán do ghrásta
tá an Tiarna leat.
Is beannaithe thú idir mhná,
agus is beannaithe toradh do bhroinne,
A Naomh Mhuire,
a mháthair De,
guigh orainn, na peacaigh,
anois agus ar uair ár mbáis. Áiméan.
‘This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you, alleluia.’ (Benedictus antiphon)
‘A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.’ (Magnificat antiphon)
‘I will give thanks to you O Lord among the people; I will sing praise to you among the nations.’ (Psalm 56:11).
St Carthage, pray for us.
Sr Anne Neylon