God bless the Irish

Paging through “The Week,” I noticed an encouraging article from the “Irish Independent” penned by Mary Kenny. The backdrop is the annual “Pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick.” Mary writes that, “..although led by an ecclesiastical figure — Bishop Michael Neary of Tuam — [the pilgrimage] is far more about the traditions of the people’s faith.”

As seen in The Week, “Scandals may have hurt the Catholic Church, attendance at Mass has plummeted across the country, the Irish might stop sending their children to Catholic schools; they may boycott Mass but they haven’t stopped believing in Jesus Christ or thinking of themselves as Catholics.”


Anyone who has participated in a pilgrimage, attended a retreat or visited a shrine can attest to the uplifting character that such places and practices can have for the human heart, soul and body. As the article mentioned, “Granted, the mountain is located in the most breathtaking part of Ireland, and ‘surly even an atheist’ would find it worth climbing.”

Fine, let’s start there.

(Full disclosure #1: For busy people, I find The Week one of the most concise, balanced and useful pieces of news literature available. They have one section (2 pages) covering US news; one section (2 pages) on international news. They also will present a synopsis of several current issues along with comments/editorials from both “conservative” and “liberal” voices. I keep it on the breakfast table, peruse throughout the week, listen to a little talk radio (including a taste from the looney left and the shrill right) and I’m pretty caught up on what’s happening in the world.

(Full disclosure #2: Mary’s beliefs and articles are not without controversy and I don’t necessarily agree with everything she has to say/write. But I can also “separate the wheat from the chaff.”)

One Comment Add yours

  1. Father: I’d love for you to consider writing more about your personal experiences within the church in addition to your perspectives on the wider culture. Too few within the institutional Church speak about what’s working and what’s not, and what presents challenges and what leads to great parish/ministry communities. You have experience in all these areas.

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