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Homily - Mass for World Day of Peace

Church of the Three Patrons Rathgar,

01 January 2015

Homily from Mgr. Eoin Thynne, Head Chaplain to the Defence Forces:

"I wonder how many people here this morning think that the future will be better than the past, and all problems can be solved if we put our minds to it. I wonder how many people not here, those on the streets, in hostels or suffering an addiction think the same way.  Let us begin the New Year with optimism and confidence; equipped for action, dressed for battle, filled with hope and realism, not fear or cynicism.

Each year we become more and more aware how much our world cries out for peace and justice.  The poor and the oppressed cannot understand or cannot accept a situation where the great nations of the world oppose and condemn them as they do all in their power to defend their basic rights and human dignity.

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Homily of Cardinal Grand Master Edwin O'Brien 20 July 2013 St Patrick's College Maynooth






20 JULY 2013


I would like to begin by thanking Lieutenant H.E. Nicholas McKenna and His Eminence Sean Cardinal Brady our Grand Prior for their gracious welcome and hospitable reception. Our Order’s history here in Ireland is rich and noble and you should be rightly proud as well as grateful in continuing this tradition. And how blessed we are to have here with us in Ireland and at this Investiture our Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown, along with Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop Raymond Field and our special guest and guest of this Lieutenancy, His Eminence John Cardinal Njue.

Permit me to presume to steal a page from Pope Frances’ homily style in limiting myself to three brief points. The first is tragedy. The second is dream. The third is hope.

The Gospel bespeaks tragedy. Jesus interrupts his triumphant Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem, pausing in his descent from Mount Olivet to fix sad eyes on that magnificent city – his magnificent city of Jerusalem, fully displayed in all its historic grandeur.

Many prophets before him spoke the dire description of Jerusalem’s future destruction. But now he knows it to be imminent. Tears streaming: O Jerusalem, if only you know how terrible your destruction will soon be for your children and your children’s children! No life will be spared, no stone unturned. But how often I’ve yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her breed under her wings, but you were unwilling. Even now, you will not recognize this final opportunity the Lord is offering you! Tragedy indeed!

But …… , there is a dream – God’s dream

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Jerusalem - Patriarch Fouad Twal celebrated the Solemn Mass of the Resurrection of our Lord at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre on Sunday, March 31 2013

Easter Sunday Homily

Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher

March 31, 2013


Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,

Dear friends,

A happy and holy Easter to you all! Christ is truly risen! Alleluia! Easter is a celebration of light: the risen Lord illuminates us, he brings immense joy and great hope into our hearts and fills them with his love.

Today the Gospel tells us of the breathless race of Peter and John who follow Mary Magdalene to the tomb where the body of Jesus has been laid. But they discover an empty tomb.  And yet, at once, John sees and believes that Jesus has not been taken away, but that he is risen. So faith is a gift and it is also personal. That is why a close relationship with God is necessary, built on prayer in the secrets of hearts before an “absent presence,” to which the empty tomb bears witness.  The empty tomb, as we see it here today, is the beginning of the path of faith. This time, our faith rests on the testimony of the Apostles.  We are asked to believe without seeing: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” (Jn 20:29)

The resurrection is at the core of Christian faith: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain.” (1 Cor 15:17)  In spite of this, Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants celebrate Easter on different dates.  The difference does not come from God. For this reason, we have decided in our diocese of the Holy Land, with the exception of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, that the date of Easter follow the Julian calendar so that families of mixed confessions can celebrate this mystery together, as is the case in Jordan, Syria and Egypt.  A common, solemn and joyful celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord by all Christians across the Holy Land can become a credible and authentic witness of Christ’s call for greater communion, as of our response to that call.

This decision to unify the date for Easter is not easy, but it is a first step toward the complete unity for which we must continually pray.  In this Year of Faith, which lends itself so well to this challenge, we are also asked to revitalize our faith and our enthusiasm.  Evangelisation, through our charity, love of our neighbour and simplicity, appear to be a priority for our new Pope Francis. Our Argentinean Pope comes from a continent that accounts for 40% of the world’s Catholics, but where the position of the Church is challenged by evangelical groups and where political relations are somewhat strained. The Holy Spirit, which has puzzled the forecasters, has just given us a pope whose actions have for years been directly in line with the orientations of the last Synod regarding the“New Evangelisation.”

The Holy Father in his very first address to the faithful asked that “together, let us start this road…this new path of the church…of brotherhood, of love, of trust…let us pray always for one another.” (Pope Francis, March 13, 2013)

In the gospel of Saint John, Jesus tells us that He is the light: whoever follows him “will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12)  As Christians, the Lord also invites us to be a light for the world; to bring the light of hope in the midst of violence, suffering, wars, and injustice.  He invites us here to carry the light of faith at the centre of our region of the Middle East, where Christianity was born, where the Mother Church of Jerusalem was born, and where everything Christian was born.  That is why our new evangelisation, in order to be up to date and effective, must start out again from Jerusalem:  start out from the first Christian community who “devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42);  and start out again from the first community rooted in the person of Christ, having a cause and ready to make any sacrifice to the point of martyrdom.  Thus I renew my invitation to all pilgrims from around the world to come to the to the Holy Land, starting with our Pope Francis who will be most welcome.

You come, like Peter and John, to see the empty tomb. Pilgrimage to the Holy Places and to the “living stones,” is a great way of renewing our faith and that of all pilgrims.  It allows us to understand better the cultural, historical and geographical background of where the mysteries we believe in were born and of which the most important is today’s feast: the resurrection.

Pilgrimage is an opportunity for a personal encounter with Jesus. Thus the Christians of the Holy Land are the collective, living memory of the history of Jesus. But at the same time, they need other faithful, their prayers and their solidarity.  The presence of pilgrims is a witness of faith and communion with our Church of Calvary.

Our Church exists in suffering in the Middle East.  So the Year of Faith is relevant to specific issues. First, I think of all the victims of war and all Syrian refugees who are crowding into neighbouring countries, notably into Jordan, but also of all the Christians of the Holy Land who are tempted to emigrate.  I say again to all of you that the feast of the resurrection is a reason for hope for a world afflicted by profound tragedies, often caused by human violence. That does not mean that the crosses of our lives are swept away at Easter; God does not come to eliminate them, but to open a road of hope in the midst of suffering, and he wants to open it for us every day.

To live in the Middle East as a Christian is not a choice but a vocation. To know the resurrection, one must know the cross. “The cross often scares us, for it seems to be the negation of life.  In reality, the contrary is true!  It is the “yes” of God to man, the ultimate expression of his love and the fountain from which springs forth life.  For from the heart of Jesus open on the cross, sprang forth this divine life, always available to whomever is prepared to raise his eyes to Him on the cross”. (Benedict XVI, World Youth Day, Madrid).

Since Easter morning, Christian hope has known no limits. The darkest night can be lit up by the victor of the tomb.  It is not countries that need to be reconquered, but hearts.  Hearts that must be converted and educated in the ways of peace.  Yet again and again, I invite the international community, beyond speeches and visits, to take concrete and effective decisions to find a balanced and just solution for the Palestinian cause, which lies at the heart of all the Middle East’s troubles.

In November 2010, I personally met the Pope in Argentina where we discussed the situation of the of the Middle Eastn Christian in diaspora in Latin America.  Argentina has welcomed many emigrants from the Middle East.  So Pope Francis is well aware of the issue of emigration of the faithful from the Holy Land. He was also the Ordinary for the faithful of the Eastern Catholic Church residing in his country.  I am convinced that the Holy Father will continue with strength and determination, the work of His Holiness Benedict XVI, for peace in the Holy Land and a coming together between peoples and religions of the world.  Here in the Holy Land, our communion with the Holy Father is deep and our confidence absolute. We know from experience the importance of efforts for peace that the Holy See maintains with our Patriarchate and the Holy Land.

Dear brothers and sisters I convey my best wishes for a Happy Easter.  May it be the occasion for a beautiful resurrection of ourselves, our churches and our Holy Land.  May a new spring come forth on this Easter morning.

May this radiant feast of the resurrection of Christ bring you the blessing of the Lord!  Amen.

+ Fouad Twal, LatinPatriarch of Jerusalem

Homily at Knock 26 January, 2013 by Vy Rev'd Alan Mitchell, KHS.


Homily at Knock 26 January, 2013 by Vy Rev'd Alan Mitchell, KHS.

It is a holy joy for us to gather in this place made sacred by the apparition of the holy Mother of our Lord and Saviour and by the countless prayers of faithful Catholic and non-Catholic people who have come to pray here ever since. Today, we too, take our place in the long line of pilgrims who come to Knock praising God for the wonders he has done and, seeking the protection of Our Blessed Mother, we ask for the assistance of her prayers as we supplicate her Divine Son, Jesus Christ. We carry in our heats not only ourselves and our families but also our brother and sister Christians of the Holy Land. 
In these few moments following the proclamation of the Gospel, I wish to reflect with you on the question of Christian hope which is such a dominant theme throughout all of Saint John’s Gospel. The hermeneutic of Christian hope allows us to see beyond the immediacy of the now and gives us permission to unveil a Christian perspective on a future that is so often stifled by the paralysis of fear, curtailed by a crippling refrain of uncertainty or simply undiscovered because of a sense of personal inadequacy before the challenges of our age. Christian hope ultimately allows us to be moulded by the message of the Gospel rather than try to mould the message within our own narrow perspective.

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Homily by Rev Fr Timothy Bartlett, KCHS

at the 2012 Investiture Mass


Your Eminence, Your Excellencies, Members and Postulants, esteemed guests, sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ,

On this very day six years ago, an old book was discovered in a field in County Tipperary. When experts from the National Museum arrived to examine the book, they carefully brushed away part of the earth from the page at which it had been found open. As they did, three words began to appear from beneath that ancient Irish soil for the first time in twelve hundred years – ‘in valle lacrimarum’ – a phrase which means, ‘in the valley of tears’. The experts immediately recognised these words as a line from Psalm 83 in the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible. They also realised that what they had in their hands was a rare and highly decorated Book of the Psalms. It had been hidden there by monks from a nearby monastery during the Viking invasions of Ireland.

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Homily Notes of Bishop Noel Treanor at the
Mass for Northern Region



Readings : Acts 13.44-52; Jn 14.7-14

I welcome you once again to St Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast, from various parts of the country for this Northern Region Mass. For all of us, and for you, Knights and Dames of the centuries-old Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, the Region Mass constitutes a moment of worship and of consolidation of identity and mission. Celebrating the Eucharistic liturgy by listening to the Word of God and by re-enacting the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, we are cleansed and renewed in the identity and purpose of our baptismal initiation into the life of Christ and in the dynamic of our specific vocation in life. As ever, at Mass, worship re-charges mission.

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Pilgrimage to Knock 2012

Homily at Knock Shrine, 28th January 2012 by Ecclestical Knight Fr Francis Mitchell.

If you had the opportunity to attend daily Mass over the past couple of weeks you will most probably have listened to the Old Testament readings from the First and Second Books of Samuel.  The readings from the First Book of Samuel outlined how God chose David as king in succession to Saul, how God called him to assume a particular responsibility as king of Judah, and later he was chosen to be, and anointed, king of Israel too – all at a very tender age!

It’s a powerful and engaging story.  God didn’t choose the most obvious person to be in charge, he didn’t choose the one everybody looked up to or trusted, but rather, he chose the one God knew was best for the task in hand.

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The Church, the State, the Economy and Professional Ethics

The Church, the State, the Economy and Professional Ethics: towards Mutuality based on a Shared Vision of Morality & Responsibility in Civil Society


Dr Con Power FCCA KCHS[i], Deputy Chairman, Disciplinary & Regulatory Committees, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA); incoming Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee (2012)

Reflection given at the Day of Recollection of the Irish Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Emmaus Retreat & Conference Centre, Lissenhall, Swords, County Dublin on Saturday 12th November 2011 at  12.30 p.m.

Download a printable version (PDF)

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Homily at the Investiture Mass 23rd July, 2011

Homily for the Mass of Investiture of the Irish Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.                                Maynooth, 23rd July 2011

Preached by the Ecclestical Master of Ceremonies, Vy Rev’d Feargal McGrady, KCHS


From Nazareth, where Jesus was conceived of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, I have reached Jerusalem, where “he suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried”.  Here in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, I kneel before the place of His burial.  (Mk.16:16) “Behold the place where they laid Him”.  The tomb is empty.  It is a silent witness to the central event of human history: the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  For almost 2000 years now the empty tomb has borne witness to the victory of life over death.  With the Apostles and Evangelists, with the Church of every time and place, we too bear witness and proclaim! “Christ is risen”!”

These stirring and unforgettable words of Blessed John Paul II in the Holy Land, during the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, are a powerful reminder for the reason for  the hope that we have.  Our Gospel (Luke 19:14-44) contains a sober warning and yet a hope-filled challenge;

“……they will encircle you and hem you in on every side; they will not leave one stone standing or another within you – all because you did not recognise your opportunity when God offered it”.

Dear friends, you and I, in and through this Order, and in our commitment to our work for the Church in the Holy Land, have been offered a wonderful opportunity to nourish this hope, the hope that we have.

For the 10th anniversary of the foundation of the Irish Lieutenancy of the Order in 1986, the little book, “Deich mbliain ag fas – Ten Years a- growing” was published.  In the forewords, His Beatitude Patriarch Sabbah wrote:

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Homily at the Investiture Mass on 18th July 2009

Homily  at the Investiture Mass  on 18th July 2009.

1. This is the day that the Lord has made , let us rejoice and be glad. In this Mass we rejoice and give thanks to the Lord  as the new Knights and Dames commit themselves to being witnesses to the Gospel in daily life, and to being active supporters of the Catholic Church community in the Holy Land, where Christians are a tiny but vital and indeed vibrant leaven.

2. In 1716, King Charles XII of Sweden visited a little seaside village called Ystadt in the south of Sweden. The king arrived unexpectedly on the Sunday morning at the village church. The pastor, realizing that the king would be in his congregation, wondered what to do about his sermon. Should he preach the one he had prepared or should he praise the monarch for all the good things he was doing? He decided on the latter and so devoted his homily to praise of the king.

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Bishop William Shomali Dunboyne 4 June 2011

John Chapter 16: 23-28


Jesus said to his disciples:

"I tell you most solemnly ,

whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.

Until now you have not asked anything in my name;

ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

I have told you this in figures of speech.

The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures

but I will tell you clearly about the Father.

On that day you will ask in my name,

and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you.

For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me

and have come to believe that I came from God.

I came from the Father and have come into the world.

Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.

Homily Notes delivered by Most Rev'd William Shomaly, auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem in Dunboyne on Saturday 4 June, 2011.




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Sr. Sophie's Creche Bethlehem


sister sophie




In the period since our inception we have donated in excess of €2m euros to the Holy Land, funding schools, the seminary, humanitarian activities, and of course financing the education of a Maroniate seminarian in Rome. In considering what would be the most appropriate way to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Lieutenancy, providence in the person of Chev Frank Hearns came up with the solution, children, the future of the Holy Land!


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Reflection on Compassion by Don Lydon

These are notes which I used to give my talk at the Annual Day of Recollection of the Irish Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in Emmaus, Swords, on 13th November 2010. You are welcome to them but I must caution you that they are speaking notes and not a lecture.

When using them I may have omitted sentences, or perhaps included sentences that are not in the notes. However, the general thrust of my talk can, I feel, be gleaned from a perusal of these notes and I do hope that you may obtain some benefit from reading them. Feel free to give a copy to anyone who may be interested in having it. Just remember......... I’m not a theologian!!


Donal J Lydon.



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Science, Religion and Faith by Vincent McBrierty

 professor vincent mcbriety

Science, Religion and Faith

 ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Darkness, it was the Spring of hope, it was the Winter of despair,  we had everything before us, we had nothing before us ….’


 Some of you might recognise these first few lines from Charles Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ which in many respects describe our world today.  We are living in an era of unprecedented growth in new scientific knowledge which continues to transform our lives at an unrelenting pace. Prime Minister Nakasone of Japan remarked more than twenty years ago that scientific discovery had spread across the globe, ‘carried forward by a universality that no political power or ideological creed has even begun to approach’.  Such progress reflects the genius of the human brain at work.

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