Friday, June 26, 2009


They risked it all to come to him:

risked his pride,
keeling to a carpenter,
begging his daughter’s life,

The woman with the blood
risked shame and disgrace
heaped upon her
by the crowd.
O Christ, we are Jairus.
And we bleed like the woman.
We want to touch you;
increase our faith.
Heal us.
(Poem taken from

Feast Of Our lady of Perpetual Help

The 27th of June is the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help who is the patroness of our Congregation. It was customary to have a image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in every community.

This day we remember all our brothers, most especially those in our European Province. We pray that our Lady will be with them at this particularly challenging time.

May our Lady of Perpetual Help be with us and intercede for us.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Websites

A new website has been launched for the global Edmund Rice Network. It has some very current, informative and useful material.

I also came across an excellent website for Reflections on the Sunday Readings. It is a wonderful resource to prepare oneself for the Sunday liturgy.

I hope you find both these sites informative, reflective and prayerful. You will find links to these sites in our 'Links To Useful Resources' section in the right hand column of this page.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Did the woman say
when she held him for the first time
in the dark dank of a stable
after the pain and the bleeding and the crying
This is my body, this is my blood.

Did the woman say
when she held him for the last time
in the dark rain on a hilltop
after the pain and the bleeding and the dying
This is my body, this is my blood.

Well that she said it for him then.
For dry old men,
brocaded robes belying barrenness,
Ordain that she not say it for him now.

(Frances Croake Frank )

Accepting the Body of Chirst

At the last supper when Jesus said,
"This is my body,"
he probably wasn't talking only about the bread.
He was talking about the community gathered there
About their love and care, about their being together again.
He was talking about Himself,
Christ present as teacher, healer, leader.
He was talking about sharing a meal in solidarity.
He was talking about all the sharing they'd done over the years,
All the words they'd spoken, words of truth. love, kindness.

So this meal isn't just bread and wine. No, it is much more.
It is bread broken and wine poured out.
It is a paschal life and a paschal death.

It is a person's life given for others
And a new way of eating and drinking that will last forever.
In this bread we reverence the whole body of Christ:
The poor, those on the streets, those excluded by our norms, the dirty, the hungry, the children in poverty, those suffering from HIV/AIDS

In a word, we hold in reverence the tax collector, the prostitute, the public sinner

Thus we hold in reverence the body of Christ.

In receiving the bread and wine, I accept the body of Christ,
The community here, the people with their weaknesses and their sins, with their strengths and their giftedness, their differences from me.

Will I accept this body, Will I heal it, feed it, care for it and cherish this body?
Amen. Yes,

I do accept the responsibility of living in the body of Christ
Yes you are my brothers and sisters, and so are those others
All of them

I do accept the body of Christ
Amen, Yes.

Eucharist in that hellish place!

I went out about 4.00 pm, wondering who God would put in my path. I went into a bar and met Anna, a bag lady, age 53. She started talking to me, took a loaf of bread out of her bag and a tin of tuna fish and asked if I'd like a sandwich. How much more easily the poor share of the little they have! So we sat at the bar eating bread, tuna and a banana….it was very dark and the music was loud. Anna talked. She cried. She said she was lonely and sad a desperate woman. She talked about men in her life who had used her and left her. She still works as a prostitute and she asked me outright if I wanted to team up and work with her. I didn't know how to respond, but in the end, I told her I was a minister. She didn't know whether to laugh or cry, but eventually decided to cry. Then after a shower of tears, she collapsed and, exhausted, fell asleep on the bar counter. I felt so helpless.
There was nowhere to take her -- no home -- no shelter open. There were only the streets -- always the streets. I just sat next to her, surrounded by all the noise and laughter of a bar, and felt so totally inadequate to help or to comfort. I left her a note with the address of the shelter and walked away.
In the darkness outside I pondered on how we had broken bread together and eaten together and talked about life and God. We had held each other. Eucharist has been broken and shared in that hellish place.
(I Hear a Seed Growing ~ Edwina Gately)

Corpus Christi

In the words of Aloysius Pieris, the Eucharist is essentially an ecclesial event, a faith celebration of the Word that creates a Kingdom-community. Its ultimate meaning is the command of Jesus, “Do this (i.e. break your body and pour out your life for one another) in memory of me.” This is to say, “Love one another the way I have loved you.” The purpose? So that “You may be one as the Father and I are one”: one flock, one table, one cup, one bread, one world, one body, one community, in short, God’s Reign. (God’s reign for God’s poor)

The only way we can keep alive this dangerous memory of Jesus is to enact it in our lives. Eucharist celebrates this enactment as well as pledges us to it. If this focus is missing, if we see it as being only about Jesus, then our worship is unreal.

What do we understand by the term ‘Body of Christ’? Lest we hold too narrow an understanding, listen to a sermon that Augustine preached at Easter in the first decade of the fifth century:
If then you wish to understand the body of Christ, listen to the Apostle as he says to the faithful "You are the body of Christ and His members" (1 Corinthians 12:27). If, therefore, you are the body of Christ and His members, your mystery has been placed on the Lord's table, you receive your mystery. You reply "Amen" to that which you are, and by replying you consent. . . . But why in bread? . . . "We, though many, are one bread, one body" (1 Corinthians 10:17). Understand and rejoice. Unity! Verity! Piety! Charity! "One bread." What is this one bread? "Many . . . one body." Remember that bread is not made from one grain, but from many. When you were exorcised you were, after a fashion, milled. When you were baptized you were moistened. When you received the fire of the Holy Spirit you were baked. Be what you see, and receive what you are. . . . Many grapes hang in the cluster, but the liquid of the grapes is mixed in unity. So also did Christ the Lord portray us. He willed that we belong to Him. He consecrated the mystery of our peace and unity upon His table.

In the early Church the Body of Christ was always the faithful gathered in Jesus’ name (“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”) And that reality continued in the mystical tradition of our Church, so that Teresa of Avila could say, “Christ has no body now but yours, no hands, no feet upon the earth but yours.” If we are the body of Christ now, then it is our bodies that are given up for the Reign of God, our blood poured out in love. Our coming to Eucharistic celebration is to pledge that we will do so. The ‘Amen’ we utter when the minister says, “Body of Christ” is also an affirmation of our readiness and our commitment.
(from the CLT 'Reflection on the Eucharist')

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"The Dao that can be told is not the eternal Dao"

Recently, on a visit to the Field Museum in Chicago I saw the following quote in the section that housed the Artifacts from China. This quote got me thinking, I hope it gets you thinking too.

"The Dao that can be told is not the eternal Dao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of Heaven and Earth.
The named is the mother of the ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one sees the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name:
Together they are refered to as deep.
The deepest within the depths.
The gateway to all mystery."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

World Environment Day

"I wish everybody could have the experience of looking back at the Earth and realizing that it's really no different from a spacecraft. The five and a half billion inhabitants of Earth are all astronauts living on a sapceship that has limited resources. We have to use these resources very wisely if the ship is to keep us alive." - Captain James Lovell

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Keane Peregrinations

I write from The Paul Noonan Centre, Tamale, Ghana. As indicated in my previous missive I will be here, and later in Kenya. I am available at the usual email address, in Tamale [Ghana] 22 May to 7 September; Nairobi [Kenya] 8 to 17 September. On 17 September I return to Lusaka.
Busy April has given way to busy May. For the last fortnight in ISC I was privileged to be involved in the Final Profession Programme for Religious, representing Christian and Marist Brothers and Presentation, Holy Spirit and Notre Dame Sisters. Certainly an eclectic mix. The participants are from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Liberia, Ghana, Kenya. Having to leave them, though our time together was short, was a bit of a struggle. They’ll survive.
The Feast of Blessed Edmund Rice was celebrated at Nalubutu Road, to which the Poplar Avenue and ISC communities were invited. Following a quiet prayer session organised by Clement Sindazi everyone enjoyed a pleasant social evening centred on a Braii [Bar-B-Q.]
Another pleasant experience on Sunday 10 May was the invitation of the Irish Ambassador Bill Nolan to a luncheon in his residence honouring Father Michael Kelly SJ and Brother John Meade CFC, both of whom have made a major contribution to life here in Zambia.
Here in Tamale I am be assuming the duties of three different people, fortunately not all at the same time. Vivek da Silva is studying in Chicago; Henry McGann will be on leave in Ireland; Prince Tarawalie is undertaking studies in Ireland. Denis Vaughan is joining the team when he returns from Ireland. Fourteen novices are from Zambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Kenya.
My journey here was almost incident-free. Seen off by Tom, Sue and Bridget on Thursday 21 May I left Lusaka at 00.10 hrs [ie ten minutes after midnight!] I caught a flight from Nairobi at 9.30 hrs, and arrived safely in Accra after six hours! at 12.10 hrs. I overnighted at the Divine Word Missionaries Hostel before catching the flight to Tamale on Friday. A slight hiccup did not cause undue confusion. A ticket to Tamale awaited me at the Antrack Air [who guarantee Total Flight Comfort] office. The agent somehow got confused. After some delay I was duly presented with my ticket with instructions to present myself at the airport at 5.30 hrs. However, the ticket was issued in the name of Simon Kummah, our taxi driver in Accra. Instead of rushing back to the agent we decided to allow matters settle. So I presented myself as Mr Kummah at the check-in, said nothing, smiled, and eventually received my boarding pass. With my new persona, coupled with an identity crisis bordering on schizophrenia, I duly arrived at my destination, to be greeted by Vivek. Actually Richard Walsh was in the departure lounge awaiting a flight to Accra, in the plane in which I arrived. We did not meet. So by and large we enjoyed plain [plane?] sailing [flying?]. The flight takes about 75 minutes. By public bus just 12 hours!
One of the joys of the visit is meeting up with old friends and acquaintances. Many tales were exchanged. The last week of May, my first full week here, I was busy with classes every day. However, Monday 25 May being AFRICA FREEDOM DAY we commenced our lessons. Inter alia my classes here will cover history of Edmund Rice and the Congregation, St Mark’s Gospel and St Paul. Thursday 28 May I facilitated my first reflection day for the novices.
Money! South Africa has the Rand; Zambia the Kwacha; Nairobi uses Kenyan Shillings; here we use Cedis [$1 = 1.42 Cedi] A few all-powerful US dollars gets one out of all difficulties.
I have acquired a Zambian driving licence. I can keep driving until March 2014! Procedures are in place to fulfil Ghana’s Road Transport strict requirements.
The month of May this year ends with a doubly strong religious coincidence, the feast of the Visitation and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It is time to rejoice.
(Frank Keane)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


A couple of weeks ago while on ministry distributing food to the mentally challenged and the sick it rained every heavily soaking all of us wet to the bone.
During that period, quite to my surprise, the driver asked us to get down and stay somewhere, so that we would not be soaked with the rainwater. I disagreed with him.
My mind went back to scripture which says, “A Good Shepherd lays down his Life for the Sheep” (Jn 10:11). We continued in the rains with the distribution until the rain was over.
One of the mentally challenged men, named Abu (not his real name) who stays at the back of a certain Mosque was totally soaked with all his clothing wet to the toe. He was harshly asked to move away from the Mosque. One of the men who had come to pray and saw me giving food to the man confronted me and told me that I should send the man away from the Mosque.
“Your man has been making the place filthy,” he said. Shortly, tears almost started running down my cheeks, I froze, not knowing what to do, because of the mixed feelings within me. I felt sorry for the man. From there I recalled “I was hungry and you gave me food” “Homeless and you sheltered me.”
Again, I asked myself, the poor man has been homeless for a long time but why are such people being treated like that and where is our humanity?

Football at all levels!!

The last day of May nightfall, the Novices had the opportunity to join the masses of Ghanaians struggling to enter and watch an international friendly match between Ghana and Uganda at the Tamale stadium. Tamale had come out in strength to watch the Ghana national team play in the North of the country for the first time since independence!! So with a full stadium shouting for them the Black stars emerged victorious with 2 goals to 1.
This exciting event reminded me of how we were baptized on Sunday 17th May by the Parsih youths. On that day we played our first football match against an outside team. Dressed in our dazzling red jerseys we tried to show the fruits of our everyday exercise and started the game skillfully with the opening goal in the fifth minute. However, things did not continue in that vein and we lost 4-2 in the end. Even though it was a friendly match it was not lacking in intensity. The match experienced three substitutions .. no, not for the players but for the referee!!
In any case, we are back on the training field promising to do better in other matches to come. To me it was also a great time to learn how imperative discipline is in soccer.
I finish off by thanking the formation team members for granting us the opportunity to witness the friendly match live! (It was the first time for many novices to be in the stadium as well as watching a match live)

22 on 22 and 31 on 31!!

The month of May stands out significant in the novitiate community as two brothers’ celebrated extraordinary birthdays Likisi turned 22 on 22nd and Peter Kabia 31 on 31st.
We joined Kabia’s birthday with the Pentecost eve feast! He was ever grateful to the community and thanked the congregation for every opportunity and his being in Tamale.
Likisi had this to pronounce: “My experience of cold season, after April in Zambia, reminds me that the celebration of my birthday is around the corner. However, on 22nd May, 2009 I woke up in Ghana. I got out of my room, in preparation for my ministry. No sooner had I got out than the chief monk (Br Henry) wished me happy birthday. The wishes I acquired from the community members made me feel almost no difference between the Ghana and Zambia experience I felt at home.
I am privileged to celebrate my birthday abroad with you brothers. I received a handful of gifts and messages in and out side the formation house, wishing long life, though in actual sense my days to the grave are getting closer.
At the big feast which started around 8:30pm, all the community members joined in celebrating my life which was a symbol of my family and that encouraged me to attempt a bottle of Guinness!!! However, what I treasured most on that party was the following; the arrival of Br. Frank Keane from Zambia who has become part of the community up to September as well as the farewell to Br. Vivek who left for his trip to America, but will be back soon. Not forgetting the four piglets which were delivered that day. Ah, the above mentioned events and my 22nd birthday were colorfully celebrated that night. I thank the community for the support and the encouragements I received”.

Monday, June 1, 2009


In the upper room
Pentecostal wind
swirled like a tornado of grace
and fiery tongues
burned language into stutterers.

O Spirit, stir our passion again!
Light wildfires
and spin them past
our tame intentions.

Huff and puff till you blow down
the shutters we hide in,
scarred by earlier zests,
more cowardly and cynical
than once upon a time

when we inhaled your fire
and gulped your windstorms
like tap water
and laughed at those
who counseled caution.

(Sr. Patricia Schnapp, RSM Adrian, Mich.)