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IRISH FRANCISCAN MISSION MAGAZINE No. 1 DEC/jAN 2013 €1.00 S S t t A A n n t t h h o o n n y y B B r r i i e e f f Nativity: en and Now Who Can You Trust? Witnesses to the Gospel in Haiti
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SStt AAnntthhoonnyy BBrriieeff�� Nativity:

en and Now

�� Who Can You Trust?�� Witnesses to the

Gospel in Haiti

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St Anthony Brief


Every year we celebrate

the holy season of Advent, O Lord.

Every year we roll up all our yearnings

into one word: "Come!"

But it won't really be "another" coming,

because you have never really gone away.

In the human existence

that you made your own for all eternity,

you have never left us.

But still you will come again,

because your coming must continue

to be revealed ever more clearly.

It will become progressively more manifest to the world

that the heart of all things is already transformed,

because you have taken them all to your heart.

– Karl Rahner, SJ

SSppiirriitt aanndd LLiiffee

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2 Spirit and Life.

4 From the Editor.

5 Who Can You Trust? Kieran Cronin, OFM, looks at the seriousissue of ethics within the various professions.

8 A Place Apart. Gerald Evans, OFM, tells of the hermitagesbeing set up by the friars in Costa Rica.

10 Among the Poor in Latin America. Franciscan Sister, AncillaGrenham, FMIC, writes of the work of the Sisters among thepoor of South America.

12 Church Brief.

13 Something Precious in the Cooking-Pot. Liam McCarthy,OFM, tells of the celebration in Zimbabwe in memory of Servantof God, John Bradburne, martyred friend of the lepers.

14 Repairing the Church… Building the Kingdom. Adrian Peelo,OFM, travelled from Mission San Luis Rey in California topreach the St Anthony Novena in Killarney friary this year.The experience gave him food for thought!

16 The Nativity Story – Then and Now. Sr Mary Burke, FMDM,has been deeply moved by the Nativity play that takes placeeach year in Wintershall, Surrey. She ponders the Then andNow of the timeless story.

19 Missing God.

20 Blessed Conor O’Devany, OFM. This year is the 400thanniversary of the martyrdom of Irish Franciscan bishop,Conor O’Devany, who died for the faith in 1612. Pat Conlan,OFM, tells his story.

22 News from Around the Franciscan World.

24 The Gospel of Life. As a Christian people we are called toprotect life. Francis Cotter, OFM, looks at the painful issue ofabortion.

27 Witnesses to the Gospel in Haiti. Gearóid Ó Conaire, OFM,finds a passion for Christ and a passion for humanity among thefriars in Haiti.

30 Mission Digest. Mutemwa: Celebrating the Servant of God,John Bradburne.

31 Letters to the Editor.

Volume 73 No.1

Missionary Magazine of the Irish Franciscans. Published bi-monthly by the Franciscan Missionary Union, 8 Merchants Quay, Dublin 8.

Editor: Fr Bernard Jones, OFM.Production: Fr Francis Cotter, OFM.Subscription & Distribution Secretary:Helen Doran. Tel: (01) 6777651.Design, Layout & Printing:Corcoran Print & Design. Tel: (053) 9234760.Subscription including Postage:Ireland – €12.00 per annum Britain – Stg£12.00 per annumOverseas – €15.00 per annum

Dec/jan 20133

SStt AA nthonynthony BriefBrief

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St Anthony Brief4

From the Editor…

Advent Candles Lightthe Path to Christmas

The colour of the Advent season is purple. Thiscolour is the colour of penitence and the colour ofroyalty. As we prepare for Jesus’ coming into theworld, we use the time to pray and repent of our sinsso that we can be worthy of Jesus’ coming.

We focus on thanking God for Christ’s first coming,that very first Christmas so long ago; we spend ourtime preparing our hearts and homes for Christ’sfinal coming when the world as we know it now willend.

A common Advent tradition is the making of andlighting of the Advent wreath. Advent is a time ofpreparation and awaiting the coming, it is importantto have a way to mark the time. We use three purpleand one rose coloured candle for this celebration.

During week one, we light the first purple candle as asymbol of hope. Week two, peace, is marked by thesecond purple candle along with the first candle.

Week three the rose coloured candle is lit in celebration of Mary, the Virgin Mother, who gave birthto the child Jesus and this is the candle of joy. The final purple candle, the candle of love, celebratesthat the preparations are complete and we wait for the birth of Jesus. The lighting of these candlesis a way to remind us that Christ is the light of the world and each candle we light shows His lightto the world, sadly a world that sometimes exists in the darkness of sin.

For each of us this time of Advent is a time of reflection to acknowledge that Christ came to earthto live the human struggles of life right alongside us. It is a time to prepare our hearts for Christ’scoming and to thank God that we have Jesus in our lives to help us with our daily struggles.

Advent prepares us for the coming of the Lord and the celebration of hope, peace, and the joy thatis Christ, the light of the world.

We pray that during this time we will open our lives to the wonders of the crib and the love ofGod.

On behalf of the staff here in the Franciscan Missionary Union I wish to thank you for your gener-ous support and to wish you every blessing and good health for 2013.

– Bernard Jones, OFM ([email protected])

Fr Bernard Jones

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5Dec/jan 2013

Many of the pressing ethical con-cerns of our times are directlyrelated to what is called “role

morality”. Most of our moral obligationsstem from the socially defined roles weoccupy or “play” in daily life. How weought to act is prescribed in roles likefather, mother, husband, wife, friend, butalso very significantly in our occupationalroles. It matters a lot to our human fulfil-ment what kind of work we do, whether itis a “trade” (plumber, electrician, carpen-ter) or a “profession” (doctor, lawyer,priest, accountant) or a non-skilled,menial job. Nor should we forget the painof those who have no work for variousreasons. In this article, I want to underlinethe ethical aspect of the professional role,since professional people exercise a greatdeal of power and influence over ourlives, for better and, unfortunately, forworse.

A fair proportion of the moral scandalsreported in the media are about the mis-behaviour of professionals. Our extremefinancial crisis has been largely causedby those in the banking profession (espe-cially at the higher managerial level) whofailed to carry out their role of stewardshipof their customers’ savings and invest-ments. Irresponsible lending, especially toproperty developers, has led to a painfulrecession where many are at their wit’send to survive economically. It is clearthat some of those who had the role offinancial regulators failed in their duties tochallenge the high risk policies of financial

For good or ill, professional peopleexercise influence

over our lives.Kieran Cronin, OFM,

looks at the seriousissue of ethics

within the various professions.

Who Can You Trust?

institutions. The role of politician has alsobeen affected by scandal over the years,with some high profile figures accused oftaking bribes, “being economical with thetruth” when answering to tribunals, and atendency to make unrealistic promises atelection time which soon after becomethe subject of u-turns! Some lawyers havebetrayed their clients by running awaywith their money. Some members of thepolice have been known to cut corners inattempting to get convictions. (Recentlypolice in England were found wanting inthe way they handled the tragic deaths offootball fans in Hillsborough). Last, butcertainly not least, some priests havebetrayed the trust placed in them byabusing children. Often bishops/religioussuperiors failed in their role as shepherdsof the flock by mishandling these cases:moving abusers to new locations, cover-

ing up scandal and at times refusing totake seriously allegations brought by vic-tims. Although we must emphasise that inall of these examples, just “some” of theprofession’s members violated their codeof ethics, it still remains the case that themoral authority of many of the professionsis to some extent undermined by the “dripeffect” arising from so many reports ofmisconduct by people expected to betrustworthy.

Professional EthicsIn his book, Professional Power andSocial Welfare (1982), Paul Wilding sug-gests that occupational groups whichattain to professional status within societyseek to have four privileges safeguarded.First, a state enforced monopoly of thetask they carry out. No one is allowed toset up as a doctor on their own initiative.If you “operate” on a person, even withtheir consent, you are liable to end up inprison. Notice how many in the medicalprofession are hostile to practitioners in“alternative” medicine! Is this simply dueto medical risk or are they also wary ofcompetition? Second, they maintain con-trol of entry to the profession in terms ofthe selection of candidates and their num-ber. Thus, criticisms have been made ofthe medical profession for supporting apoints system of education which favoursmedical students with high mathematicaland scientific skills, and largely ignoringother vocational factors such as care andcompassion. Third, control of the length

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St Anthony Brief6

patients by telling untruths about their con-dition on the basis of the fundamentalprinciple, “Do no harm”. This can occur insituations where telling an ill person, suf-fering from anxiety say, that they have aserious condition, may cause them to godown hill quickly and in some cases torefuse life saving treatment out of fear.Doctors and medical personnel have inthe past claimed the right, sometimesunder pressure from family members, tocover up the fact that a patient is dying inorder to minimise his or her distress. (Or isit geared to minimising their own dis-tress?) Here we should note that, even incommon morality, some may argue forexceptions to the rule on telling lies if agreater good is served. Thus, it is argued,we can sometimes tolerate “white lies”?On the other hand, medical practitionerscan (and should) adopt a very strict oppo-sition to misleading patients in the nameof another principle which could be said tooverride the principle of avoiding harm,namely, the principle of autonomy. Thisprinciple holds that if patients are to makea free, rational decision about their well-being then they must be given the relevantinformation by their doctors. Being untruth-ful to a patient is to undermine their dignityby failing to respect their freedom.

Another controversial area today inconnection with professional practice per-

and content of training. And last, thedetermination of conditions of work.Recall here the traditional treatment ofjunior doctors in hospitals who often worklike slaves to their own detriment as wellas risking patient health. Wilding goes onto say that in order to maintain these priv-ileges of “professional autonomy” the pro-fession in question promises or guaran-tees trustworthiness and commitment to acommon good by promulgating an ethicalcode and by disciplining their delinquentmembers. In other words, with privilegesgo responsibilities and given the powerthat many professionals exercise over ourexistence in relation to life, health, educa-tion, freedom, wealth, etc. it stands to rea-son that we can expect a high level ofethical commitment from them. And sinceso much wrongdoing or sin is associatedwith the abuse of power, we rightly feelthat ethical controls of professionalsshould be particularly stringent.

Ethical Principals Among the many issues raised by profes-sional ethics perhaps the most significantis the relationship between the ethicalprinciples that bind members of the pro-fessions and the universal or commonmorality of lay people, the clients of pro-fessionals. The question is whether doc-tors, lawyers, priests, counsellors, socialworkers and their like have a special formof morality which allows (or even obliges)them to act in ways that would be forbid-den to the ordinary man/womanon the street.

Take the case of truth-fulness. Common moral-ity prohibits lying to peo-ple, that is, deliberatelymisleading others orintentionally withholdinginformation to which theyhave a right. But it isarguable that doc-tors, in particu-lar, may mis-lead their

tains to confidentiality. This is the otherside of the coin to truthfulness. Theremust be times in our relationships withothers when we keep the secrets theyconfide in us. This obligation wouldappear to be especially stringent for pro-fessionals in whom clients may confidehighly private information, the revelationof which would be damaging to them ifmade known to third parties. And yet,books on medical ethics and professionalguidelines seem to justify any number ofexceptions to this rule, especially whenthe welfare of others is in question. Thus,if a psychologist hears from a patient thathe intends to murder someone, shouldthe professional report this fact to thepolice? Would this not involve a breach oftrust and lead to a breakdown in the rela-tionship between doctor and patient?Today it has become common place forany professional counsellor to lay downthe limits of confidentiality with a prospec-tive client so that each person in the rela-tionship knows where he or she stands.Still the growth of exceptions to therequirement of confidentiality has ledsome ethicists to claim that this hasbecome a “decrepit concept”.

Still in the area of confidentiality is thevexed matter of the religious dimension,where some clergy demand absolute con-fidentiality, as in the sacrament of

Confession, no matter what theconsequences for others.We have encounteredthis position in Irelandwith suggestionsfrom some politiciansthat priests be com-pelled to report peo-

ple who confesscrimes of

Trustworthy: the responsibility

of privilege

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Dec/jan 20137

paedophilia. Mandatory reporting of thistype does not allow exceptions such asthe seal of confession. If we think ofpriests as professionals and insist on theirabsolute duty of confidentiality, then wehave on the face of it at least one exam-ple of where professional moralitydiverges from what we call commonmorality.

Legal ProfessionAlthough the majority of legal profession-als are trustworthy people, this profes-sion has often receivedmost criticism from theethical perspective,especially from the pointof view of commonmorality. I am not think-ing here of the ways inwhich a minority oflawyers help to encour-age a litigious culture,encouraging people tosue for trivial or dishonestreasons (the so-called“ambulance-chasers” inthe American legal cul-ture.) Rather the mainissue, I believe, stemsfrom obligations to clientscreated by the adversarialsystem of criminal law. Ourintuitions from common morality makesus feel uneasy about lawyers defendingpeople accused of serious crimes, espe-cially when the defence counsel uses hisor her skill to release dangerous crimi-nals back into society. This feeling ofunease increases when we note the ten-dency of some lawyers to attack andharass witnesses, including victims oftheir clients, already traumatised bycrime. A famous quote from the nine-teenth century barrister, Lord HenryBrougham, reflects this tendency: “Anadvocate, in the discharge of his duty,knows but one person in the world, andthat person is his client. To save thatclient by all means and expedients, andat all hazards and costs to other per-sons, and, amongst them, to himself, ishis first and only duty; and in performingthis duty he must not regard the alarm,the torments, the destruction which hemay bring upon others.” It would be hardto find an approach to professionalethics more in conflict with commonmorality than this. Legal confidentiality isalso controversial, when lawyers mustprotect client information, even thoughthey know or suspect their clients are

guilty; and when this failure to reveal thetruth means that an innocent person maygo to prison while a guilty person goesfree. No wonder ordinary people can besceptical of the “justice” of the justicesystem.

Common MoralityAlthough there is something to be saidfor recognising some distinction betweenprofessional morality and ordinary, every-day moral standards, I believe that it

is dangerous to allow professionals tomove far from common or universal ethi-cal thinking. Because of the tendency forpower to corrupt, it is necessary to con-trol the power professionals have at theirdisposal. This demands a careful consid-eration of claims made by professionalswho insist on following their own moralstandards, lest their alternative ethicsbecome self-serving and abusive ofclients.

A number of reasons can be sug-gested for limiting the freedom of profes-sionals to plough their own moral furrow,so to speak. Firstly, most professionalsdo not have any special expertise in thearea of moral reflection. Much of thetraining of doctors and nurses, forinstance, is of a scientific nature, withmedical ethics courses occupying asmall section of the curriculum. Nor is itclear that doctors and nurses have spe-cial insights into the moral implications ofillness that would allow them to dictatemorally to patients. Secondly, modernculture is critical of the unequal relation-ship between professionals and clientswhich predominated in the past, where

the former expected to be obeyed andtrusted without question. The movementtowards patient autonomy in medicalethics is a major example of the limita-tion of the authority of doctors to decideon treatment options for patients. Tobypass the consent of patients is abu-sive, except in extreme circumstances.Thirdly, encouraging distinct professionalethics contributes to a spirit of moral rel-ativism in a society which already suffers

from this trend in com-mon moral debate.Relativism in moralityholds that moral prin-ciples, rights, andvirtues are specific toeach culture andtime, rejecting theidea of universal andtimeless moral reali-ties. This false viewwould be encour-aged if we were tostress that in addi-tion to everydaymorality, each pro-fession is like amini culture with itsown moral view-point.

Professional ethics is an area thatrequires more attention, not only fromprofessionals themselves but from laypeople in dialogue with professionals.Issues in professional ethics should bedebated more often in the public forumso that everyone can potentially have asay in developing widely accepted stan-dards guiding the important relationshipsbetween professional practitioners andtheir clients. One area of importancehere is the debate on the limits of confi-dentiality. Another might be concernedwith how we should temper the adversar-ial system of criminal law to take intoaccount the dignity of all those involvedin the process of achieving justice. Withregard to the priesthood in the CatholicChurch, there is need to discuss therelationship between vocation and pro-fession and to develop codes of ethicswhich promote loving and just relation-ships between priests and those towhom they minister. Finally, we mightagree on the position that if there is to bea distinct professional ethics, it should beone that is humble, receptive to thepoints of view of others and willing to gobeyond a minimal standard in going theextra mile for those who put their trust insuch valued members of society. ����

The Justice System: How Just?

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8St Anthony Brief

El Barrio San Martín, Alajuela,Costa Rica, has been my homefor the past fifteen years. I say

home “tongue in cheek” as San Martinhas been more a base to live the life ofan itinerant friar travelling all over CentralAmerica and Mexico on differentProvincial activities giving retreats andworkshops on Franciscan spirituality.

The barrio is relatively small, made upof working class families employed in thelocal factories. We are a fraternity ofthree friars. Along with myself there isone from El Salvador and one from CostaRica. The friar from El Salvador is study-ing full-time for his masters in anthropol-ogy in the University of Costa Rica. Theother friar helps me out with the pastoralactivities in the community.

Since our presence here as a frater-nity is not a parish but a rectory we havethe opportunity to move more freely andbe involved in many areas not associatedwith the parish structure. Parishes tend totie one down to a specific area and to avery specific type of pastoral work. InCentral America the parishes areimmense, like dioceses. One’s time isabsorbed almost exclusively in adminis-tration which defeats the purpose of hav-ing time to attend and accompany thepeople pastorally. Some would argue that

It is our hope to have a fraternityaccompanying people who wish to havehermitage experiences here in CostaRica. Latin Americans, being a very“soul” people, are increasingly searchingfor silent spaces offering accompanimenton their inner spiritual journey. In our veryfast, agitated and superficial world themajority of us live out our lives day byday, week by week, year by year withinthe family, the work situation, the commu-nity, along with our hobbies, as best aspossible but as ends in themselves andnot a means to live a deeper life.

Some of us go to Mass, and occasion-ally we leave inspired or indeed ques-tioned by what we have heard during thecelebration. We pray when we can, butwith the pace of life and stress of workthe things of the spirit at best take secondplace, at worse no place at all. Deepdown we know that things should be oth-erwise and we feel bad. At times we evenbegin to wonder whether life has notbecome just a routine, even boring andempty and we ask ourselves with certaindisquiet is this what it’s really all about?Surely there must be something more tolife than this? However, most of us rapidlyreturn to our daily chores, to our con-sumerism, thus distancing ourselves fromthese disturbing intuitions.

the parish structure limits the Franciscancharism’s freedom to respond to the pas-toral needs the parish clergy are unableto meet.

Over the years, San Martin hasbecome a point of reference for theFranciscan charism lived out in a verysimple lifestyle: for example, walking andtravelling by bus rather than owning acar. Our house is simple and we do ourown cooking and attend to the basichousehold chores ourselves with the helpof a local person who gives us a handthree mornings a week. San Martin isalso a place where people can comecontinually to receive spiritual direction.Indeed most of our time as friars is dedi-cated to that apostolate. As I mentionedin my last article on “FranciscanAwakening”, we have a very strong pres-ence among the street people here inAlajuela and indeed in all of the principalcities of Costa Rica.

HermitagesMore recently we began a project ofbuilding hermitages in the nearby moun-tains with a view to offering retreats tothe friars, religious and lay people. Theproject is now well underway with sixcabins, dining room, kitchen and chapelcompleted.

A Place Apart

All need support on their spiritual journey. Gerald Evans, OFM,tells of the hermitages being set up by the friars in Costa Rica.

Sacred space: View from the Hermitage.

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mountain ranges running through CentralAmerica from Guatemala to Panama. Wewould hope to offer this experience not

only to Franciscan religious and theFranciscan family but to all those inter-ested in this essential search. ����

Divine DiscontentSad to say few of us recognise thesemoments of divine discontent as Godpassing through our lives inviting us toawaken to life´s deeper meaning whichconsists not in materialising our existencebut living it inspired by the eternal valueswhich have humanised peoples and cul-tures throughout history.

Many are aware of the Franciscanpresence over the years in marginalisedareas around the world accompanyingthe poor in their search for dignity and ajust share in the world’s riches. In CentralAmerica our work among the urban andrural poor is well known with projectsamong the street people of our largercities, and among migrant workers in thecountry. Few are aware of anotherequally long tradition of accompanyingpeople in their spiritual search throughhermitage experiences. Our hope asFranciscans is to respond to the aboveneed by returning to this ideal, by build-ing hermitages in each country in the

Hermitage cabin: a wakening to the inner journey.

Available now from the FranciscanMissionary Union (FMU) Office:�� St Anthony Brief magazine (per annum):

¤12 (Ireland), Stg£12 (Britain), ¤15 (overseas)�� Annual Enrolment�� Perpetual Enrolment�� Monthly Draw Tickets

Religious Items:�� Everybody’s St. Anthony booklet ¤1.00�� St. Anthony’s Brief in metal 50c�� St. Anthony’s Brief in linen 50c�� St. Anthony Guide Stamps booklet ¤1.00�� St. Anthony’s Relic 50c�� St. Anthony’s Beads ¤2.00�� St. Anthony Blessings 20c�� St. Anthony Novena prayers 30c �� Stations of the Cross book ¤2.00

All prices include postage & packaging.Please make cheques/postal orders payable to: Franciscan Missionary Union.


Dublin 8 Dublin 8 Tel: (01) 6777651Tel: (01) 6777651

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In the 1960s, The MissionaryFranciscan Sisters responded to thecall of the Church to priests and mis-

sionaries of western countries to sharein the evangelisation in South Americaby sending some of their members tohelp the Church in South America minis-ter to its people. Vocations to the priest-hood and religious life were not sufficientto reach all the people of that large con-tinent and especially to reach the indige-nous peoples of which there are an end-less number of groups. For a few hun-dred years, many of these indigenousgroups had been left without properevangelisation. In modern times, itbecame imperative to evangelise thesepeople properly and also because manyof them were being drawn away fromthe Church by the modern day cultssuch as the Jehovah Witnesses, theMormons, etc.

In 1969-70, in response to the call ofthe Church, the Missionary FranciscanSisters started their ministry in Bolivia

In 1984, Sisters came to Peru toexamine the situation of the Churchthere and to discern if they could make acontribution. They found that indeedthere were real needs in Peru especiallyin the mountain regions where theChurch had been absent. The ministry inPeru began as a pastoral ministry in theAndes Mountains of Huancabamba, inthe Diocese of Chulucanas. The Sistersminister there with the Franciscan friarswho originally came here from SouthernItaly for the pastoral work in the moun-tains. These friars are now part of thePeruvian Province of the TwelveApostles. The pastoral work in the dio-cese of Chulucanas is guided by theDiocesan Pastoral Plan, The New Imageof Parish, and is in operation for 35 to40 years.


After some years ministering in Sondor,Huancabamba, some girls were askingto enter with us for pastoral ministry

St Anthony Brief10

working with the Franciscan friars fromHoly Name Province, USA. They beganin the mountain regions to help outschools in need and alongside that theybegan pastoral work among theAymaran people. Our mission there con-tinues. One of their contributions therewas to establish a branch of the CatholicUniversity of La Paz in the farming areasof the mountains where the majority ofthe people are Aymarans. That institu-tion is in full operation now training thepeople of the mountain region ofCarmen Pampa, Coroico. Their speciali-sations are nursing, teaching and agri-culture. The main objective of the univer-sity is to educate the people of theregion to work and serve their own com-munity. Most of those students would notbe able to attend University in La Paz orelsewhere because of their poverty. Thepastoral work in Bolivia continues and allour ministries are among the majorityAymarans. Bolivia is one of the poorestcountries of South America.

Franciscan Sister, Ancilla Grenham, FMIC,

writes of the work of the Sisters

among the poor of South America.

Among the Poor in Latin America

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who cannot pay for the ordinary med-ical attention and medicines, nor forrehabilitation after strokes and acci-dents. The centre also has a temporarysafe house for abused women and chil-dren who are referred to them by theauthorities. It also has a programme forwomen´s promotion which givescourses in such things as sewing, hairstyling, arts and crafts, etc., anythingthat can help women help themselves.

The centre also has a programme ofspiritual development for the peoplewho come there. There are times ofteaching meditative/contemplativeprayer and workshops of prayer are

also sponsored and attended. The latterfollows the workshops of prayer devel-oped by Ignacio Larrañaga, OFM Cap.These are also fairly well attended. Wealso give time for spiritual direction orsimply “a listening ear” for those whoare in trouble and need to talk.

As well as Shikena, for the last fiveyears we have a plant nursery wherechildren from the nearby schools cometo learn about our environment and theways in which they can help protect it.In Peru they have a marvelous environ-ment to protect. It also helps the peopleof the area to be aware of the needs ofthe environment and to protect it. ����

among their own people. So, almostimmediately, our General Leadership inRome was anxious to establish a novi-tiate. For the sake of formation andeducation, the novitiate was establishedin the city of Piura. Two houses wereopened there: Bello Horizonte on thenorth side and Consuelo de Velasco onthe south side and pastoral ministrywas initiated there also. Piura is a cityin northern Peru, about four hourstravel to the border of Ecuador. The cityis on the Pacific coast, all of which isdesert – from north to south. Piura isalso the northernmost province of Peruand it includes the coast and the moun-tains. The city of Piura is called the cityof the eternal sun because it has a veryhot climate for six months of the year.

With the establishment of the novi-tiate in Piura, the greatest need therewas our presence in the shanty townsor new settlements and so pastoralministry was begun there. These settle-ments are on the north and the south ofthe city of Piura. They are a modernphenomenon. They are made up ofmostly young people and young cou-ples who move there and get posses-sion of a small part of the desert andbuild their houses of palm matting.Most of them come from the mountainareas in the hope of building a betterlife. Some of them have been able tobring a certain amount of finance byselling land or holdings in the moun-tains so they are able to get started insome form of work near the city but themajority of them are desperately poorand eke out a living from day to day. Itis heartrending to see them. The cli-mate of Piura enables them to live inthose houses of palm matting and with-out the amenities of water or electricity.Some of them earn their living by cart-ing water to the area and selling it. Itbecomes a moving market of basics.

Holistic Centre

Our Sisters have been working in thesenew settlements both north and southof the city of Piura since 1987-90.Since 2000, in Consuelo de Velasco,the Sisters have initiated a holistic cen-tre of medicine, reflexology and mas-sage, called “Shikena”. The objective ofthis centre was and is to help the poor

WE ARE LOOKING FOR PROMOTERS OF OUR MONTHLY DRAWWe are looking for supporters of our mission who will take one book of tickets a month.

Please help us. Buy a book yourself. Write for a book to sell to your friends.Will you buy or sell for us:

Book of 20 Tickets =€16.00. Return €10.00; keep €6.00. Thank you for supporting us in all the ways you do already. Our Address is: 8 Merchants Quay, Dublin 8.

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Franciscan Sisters: Sr Ancilla is third from the right, back row.

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Search for Peace"Behind the missiles fired from Gaza andretaliation from by Israel, the underlyingissue always resurfaces - the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is the problemthat must be addressed and resolved, ifone wants both peace in Gaza and forIsrael to live in security." So says HisBeatitude Michel Sabbah, PatriarchEmeritus of Jerusalem of the Latins. ThePatriarch Emeritus recalls that the GazaStrip for many years "has been livingunder the weight of an absurd embargo,which makes the daily lives of a millionand a half of people inhumane, fosteringfeelings of permanent hostility towardsIsrael. The international communityremains indifferent, andwakes up in a stuporwhen there is an escala-tion of violence as is hap-pening now." PatriarchSabbath, the first Arab tolead the Latin Patriarchateof Jerusalem, holds thatone should use all politicaland diplomatic means to"force the Palestinians andIsraelis to a final peaceagreement." In this regard,the Patriarch Emeritusraises the recent appeal bymore than one hundredChristian leaders in HolyLand who have asked theinternational community, and Europe inparticular, to support the recognition of thePalestinian State as a full member of theUN, with the status of permanentObserver. "I cannot understand how sucha request can be presented as an initiativeagainst peace. Even the Churches - addsHis Beatitude - must take on their respon-sibility, so that the Holy Land does notbecome a land of war." According toPatriarch Sabbah, strong support for thisrequest of the Palestinian Authority is thelast chance to preserve the authority ofPresident Abbas from the total collapse. "Ifan authority is constantly humiliated, intime the people acknowledge that theauthority is not worth anything. Abu Mazenis a Palestinian leader who wants peace.

will guide them in this new path, that of faithand proclamation." In the Diocese of Samea mission of the Franciscan Sisters ofMangalore is already present since 2004. Itnow has 30 nuns, seven convents, threehouses and a formation centre in three dio-ceses in Tanzania. Also the Carmelite friarsof Karnataka have been working in ruralmissions and in the field of education inTanzania and South Africa for 30 years andcurrently have 27 priests in Tanzania.

Garden of OlivesThe Franciscan friars are responsible forcaring for and preserving all the sitesrelated to the life of Jesus in the Holy Land.

As part of their role theycollaborate with differentscientific investigations.The last one actuallybegan three years agowhen two labs indepen-dently analysed the olivetrees found in the Gardenof Olives, where thePassion of Jesus began.Pierbattista Pizzaballa,OFM, Custos of the HolyLand, says: "These olivetrees are about 1,000years old. We've beenable to prove this throughthe trunk, the wood andalso through the tradition

of the Church. What we see is that ancientChristian communities preserved thesetrees in a special way." The trees are ingood condition, considering they wereplanted roughly 2,000 years ago. The studyreveals that the eight trees have the sameorigin and DNA. Antonio Cimato, coordina-tor of the scientific investigation states: “Itwas difficult to identify the units or piecesthat could be useful in the investigation.Especially since many of them didn't have atrunk. Now we are planning of taking theinvestigation even further in the Mount ofOlives.” With the help of technology, scien-tists want to reproduce these eight olivetrees within ten to twenty years. Organiserssay it's a unique way to preserve theGarden that witnessed the suffering ofJesus. ����

St Anthony Brief12

Church BriefSeeing the way he was treated, whoknows who will come after him."

Faith and MissionThe Year of Faith will also be a year ofmission, because "mission and proclama-tion are the thermometer of faith." In thisspirit the diocese of Mangalore in theIndian state of Karnataka, sent two newpriests on mission to Africa, called to sharethe gift of faith with the people of Tanzania.And this mission will be constantly moni-tored through a website. In this way, thetwo missionaries will remain in contact andwill share their experience with their dio-cese of origin. The website becomes an

instrument for fostering communionbetween believers of different continents.On 14th November Fr Alwyn D'Souza, for-mer National Director of the YouthPastoral, and Fr Ronald Pinto, who wascurate in the parish of Madanthyar,received the solemn missionary mandatefor the new missionary venture in theDiocese of Same, in Tanzania. AloysiusD'Souza, Bishop of Mangalore, explains:"Given that there is a shortage of priests inthat area, the Bishop of Same had askedus for help. Our priests leave as authenticapostles of Christ, to places and personsunknown, and even without knowing thelocal language. It is Christ that inspires and

Arab Christians: caught in ongoing conflict.

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Dec/jan 2013

OOn Saturday and Sunday 1stand 2nd September this yearthe 33rd anniversary celebra-

tions took place at Mutemwa whereJohn Bradburne lived and died. Largecrowds gathered even though there wasa National Congress organised on thesame weekend. Some pilgrims went tothe congress in Harare and then spedoff to Mutemwa! The celebrations beganat 3.00pm with the recitation of therosary led by Br Alfred Patience Tigere,OFM. Then followed the penitential ritein preparation for the Sacrament ofReconciliation. Fr Jim Hasson, OFM,conducted the penitential service andgave a beautiful homily – all in Shona.Many pilgrims come to Mutemwa toreceive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.During the time of individual confes-sions pilgrims also visited the Tin Hutwhere John Bradburne lived, and thereDaniel Chidemo, OFS, National Ministerof the Secular Franciscans, gave intro-ductory talks on the life and times ofJohn Bradburne. This was very wellreceived.

As the crowds gathered, there wasplenty of congregational singing and thisprepared the way for the talks on thetheme for the celebrations this year,Love One Another.

We then had the Holy Hour ofAdoration. This was led by Fr SylvesterCSSp. It is a great experience to wit-ness the silent adoration of the people –in the stillness of the night – all kneelingin prayer. Holy Mass then began at11.00pm. Around midnight the torch-light procession made its way to Mount

golden shirts and dark pants. A girl inher golden dress and a floral wreath onher forehead carried a cooking pot onher head – with the smoke coming fromthe pot! But where was the GospelBook? That’s what the deacon asked asshe approached him at the altar. He wasgoing to take the pot and bring it to thecelebrant! But she said to him in a lowvoice: “No, not the pot – take the lid offand look inside.” And there it was, theGospel Book. The Word of God hadbeen cooked and now the deacon wasto share it with the people!

Yes, another year has come, theannual anniversary has been celebrated,and each year the numbers attendingare increasing. The celebration wasorganised and planned by CyprianChipwere and his team – the JohnBradburne Memorial Society(Zimbabwe) Committee. As the pilgrimsset off on their homeward journeys theywere happy to have been there, to haveasked for the intercession of JohnBradburne in their many needs, to haveexperienced the joy and peace of thecelebrations, and hoping to come againnext year to this place of prayer andinner healing. ����

Chigona. This is a unique part of theMutemwa pilgrimage each year. We allknow how much John loved to climb thismountain each day. On the mountainthroughout the night there was singing,praying and listening to talks. Some pil-grims also slept – didn’t that happen tooin the Garden of Gethsemane!

The morning Mass began at theJohn Bradburne site at 6.30am. Thiswas also a memorable celebration. Thepatients from the leprosarium were therealong with the orphans from Mother ofPeace Community and the many pil-grims. Whilst at night there was thedarkness during the celebration of theMass – now all was light – with BrotherSun resplendent. The sun seemed togive all a new energy, ringing out a newday with plenty of singing. The principalcelebrant was Fr Linous Mukumbuzi,OFM, from Assisi Mission at Nharira.The preacher was Br Naison Manjovha,OFM, a deacon. He preached a powerfulsermon on the meaning of true love. TheGospel procession with the Book of theGospels was just memorable. The pro-cession was accompanied by the boysand girls from the orphanage – the girlsin golden dresses and the boys wearing


Liam McCarthy, OFM,tells of the celebration inZimbabwe in memory ofServant of God, JohnBradburne, martyredfriend of the lepers.

Something Precious in the Cooking-Pot

Cooking-pot: Deacon Naison receives the Gospel Book

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II n June of this year I went home toIreland to conduct the St AnthonyNovena at Killarney friary. It had been

eight years since I last ministered in myhomeland, and I went with a mixture ofexcitement and trepidation. A lot has hap-pened in the Church in Ireland these lastten years; reading the Irish newspapersonline here in California has been verypainful at times and has left me with a sadand uneasy feeling about the future.

Mindful of this, I thought long and hardabout what to share with the people ofKillarney. I have only good memories ofthe year I spent there as a novice in 1974.I let these memories form the backdrop tomy thoughts and prayers as I prepared forthe novena. I also prayed the prayer of thelate Fr Mychal Judge, OFM, who died atthe Twin Towers. He used to say: “Lord,help me to do your work and keep me outof your way.”

Healing ProcessIt often happens that after you agree toconduct a retreat panic sets in. Havingsaid yes to the friars in Killarney I foundmyself blank for ideas and wondering whatto do with two talks a day for nine days.The very question itself, “What will I do?”reminded me of St Francis as he kneltbefore the icon of the crucifixion at San

Damiano and prayed for guidance. Fromthe cross came the reply: “Francis, go andrepair my house which, as you see, isfalling into ruin.”

The house in need of repair, Franciscame to understand later, was not thesmall tumbledown chapel of San Damianobut rather the household or family of theChurch, which, in the early Middle-Ageswas in great need of reform. It occurred tome that perhaps I should talk about how StFrancis, an ordinary man with little formaleducation, began to repair the “house” inhis time – and how we ordinary folk can doit in ours. When a family is shamed by thesinfulness of some of its members, whenits reputation is tarnished and feelings ofhurt, betrayal, disappointment and painpredominate, what can help the healingprocess and make the family whole again?When looking for enlightenment, StFrancis went directly to the Gospel for ananswer.

Running like a thread through all theGospels is Jesus’ proclamation of the king-dom of heaven. I felt that this would be agood place to begin a retreat, to talk aboutwhat this kingdom is and how weannounce it in our time. But what is the“kingdom of heaven” or “kingdom of God”,this image which is the heart and soul ofthe Gospels? It is woven into all the stories

and teachings of Jesus. Some think thatthe kingdom is the afterlife, some as theChurch. But Jesus speaks about the king-dom as being within you or in your midst.In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus says to his fol-lowers: “Proclaim as you go that the king-dom of heaven is near: heal the sick, raisethe dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,drive out demons. Freely you havereceived, freely give.”

This passage makes it clear that wereveal the kingdom by the way we live andact – not simply that we live morally andvirtuously, but that we work at healing,wakening, caring for, and calming others.Another translation might read like this: “Asyou travel around, let people know that thekingdom of heaven has come. Take careof the sick, waken the lifeless, get to theroot of suffering, and banish the demonic.Do it all with a generous heart becauseGod has dealt generously with you.”

The Way to RepairIsn’t this what Jesus did during his publiclife? He healed the sick, and not just thephysically ill like the ten lepers, but thosewho were sick in spirit and who felt farfrom God like the blind man Bartimaeuswho cried out to Him from the roadside:“Son of David, have pity on me!” Hebrought people back to life, and not just

St Anthony Brief14

Adrian Peelo,OFM, travelledfrom Mission San Luis Rey inCalifornia topreach the StAnthony Novenain Killarney friary this year.e experience gave him food for thought!

Repairing the Church…Building the Kingdom

The Friary,Killarney

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Lazarus and the widow’s son, but peoplewho were shunned because they wereimpure and outside the Law, dead in spiritlike the woman taken in adultery and theoutcasts, the tax-collectors and sinners,who dined with Him at table.

He got to the root of suffering by invit-ing people to forgive, even enemies andthose who despise one another. He ban-ished the demonic by calling people toexorcise the demons of hatred, jealousy,greed and prejudice. He told a tale of rec-onciliation in the parable of the ProdigalSon and how compassion can replacesuspicion in the story of the GoodSamaritan. Against all the rules, Heengaged the Samaritan woman in conver-sation at Jacob’s well, and in a great ges-ture of friendship revealed His heart,despite protests from His disciples. Hechanged the greedy heart of Zacchaeus,the tax collector from Jericho, through aprofound personal encounter, touching itinto life.

The way to repair, it seems to me, isthe way of Jesus as he goes about pro-claiming the kingdom. The kingdom is thevision God has for the world, the kingdomrevealed in the words and actions ofJesus. God’s vision is often at odds withthe way we think and act. We often rush tojudge and condemn, dismiss or exclude.Jesus awakens faith, offering forgivenessin God’s name, healing and telling thetruth. Jesus’ way demands justice for thepoor and compassion for the wayward.Jesus is not concerned for Himself asmuch as He is mindful of the welfare ofothers, in particular the lost and hopeless.He breaks convention by reaching out andmaking the dignity of the person primary.His mission, as He said, is to mend thebroken, give sight to the blind, lead thecaptives to freedom, and reaffirm God’sfavour on humankind.

Kissing the LeperSt Francis’ conversion and his coming intothe kingdom began when he embracedand kissed a leper, the most despised andreviled person in the Middle-Ages. In hisTestament, the last words he shared withhis brothers before his death, he says thatthat having embraced the lepers he wasgiven the grace to show them a mercifulheart. Francis himself became a leper, notphysically, but socially, by identifying withthe poorest and most forgotten, theminores, or the least in society. In embrac-ing the leper he embraced his own dam-aged self in the power of God’s mercy, andthus he became his true self. His life pro-

Dec/jan 201315

Passionate BeliefThe kind people of Killarney who cameevery day to the novena have heard thismassage many times throughout theirlives. I came to see my task as simplysharing with them my own faith as a fellowtraveller on the way to God, who is love –to share my passionate belief that as con-version leads us to at-onement with ourdeepest parts, withdrawing the evil we seein others and are blind to in ourselves,recognising the blame, the excuses, forwhat they are, coming home, and lovingourselves, being Christified; serenity andwisdom come.

So also comes a soft heart, the capac-ity tenderly to hold and touch and heal; withthis comes compassion, the characteristicof those who belong to the kingdom. “Thevision of compassion cuts through allboundaries. It is not shocked and does noteasily take offence. It knows its own dark-ness, its own need for forgiveness, andhaving received mercy, it can now pass iton,” writes American theologian, BarbaraFiand, who captures well the essence ofwhat I wanted to share during the novena.

In conclusion, I would like to expressmy thanks to the congregations at Killarneyfriary who came in great numbers morningand evening to listen and to pray. Yourdeep faith and compassion continue toassure us that “the kingdom of God is nearat hand”. ����

[email protected]

Francis and theleper: embracingthe despised.

ject was, then, a participation in the mis-sion of Jesus. Francis made himself hum-ble and socially insignificant so that hemight mirror the love of God without affec-tation or privilege. He simply imitatedJesus, who had done the same, and herepaired the “household” as he went.

Repair, then, starts with self. I acknowl-edge that I am a sinner and that I stand inneed of forgiveness, that I am not perfect.It begins with embracing my own innerleper and being merciful… first and fore-most to myself! It is more, though, thanbeing sorry for past wrongs. It is to be pro-foundly changed from the inside so thatmy worldview shifts deeply. It is a changein the myth by which I live.

This change of heart, or metanoia (theGreek word used in the Gospel to describeconversion, literally to go “out of yourmind”), brings me into the kingdom, andthere I discover the power of love to heal.This is what Jesus is all about. He is not amoralistic teacher but the giver of a newvision by which I can live. It is a vision thatis in me and around me. It is the kingdomof God. Once I embrace the vision, I am inthe kingdom, and there, through loving, Ican heal the brokenness in myself and inothers. This loving is prepared to sacrificeall, even to the laying down of my life.Only self-sacrificing love can heal thedeepest wounds and restore the equanim-ity and balance that leads to the whole-ness we call holiness.

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NNow… A spotlight casts a longshadow across the hills, and thecrowd waits expectantly as its sin-

gle beam focuses the light on a distant fig-ure. This solitary figure barely distinguish-able as a young woman, heavily pregnant,riding a small and somewhat bedraggleddonkey, is led gently by a solicitous youngman. This same opening scene isrepeated each year for several eveningsin an open air Nativity play in Wintershallin Surrey, England. The actors are real, asis the Baby Jesus and it is often accompa-nied by real rain or snow! Thousandsgather, many of them children, excited bythe presence of real actors, real sheepand lambs, camels, horses and a brightlyburning fire with shepherds warming them-selves on a starry night as they discussthe coming of the Messiah.

Then… a tired and weary Mary arrivesat the inn seeking a place to stay, carryingnot just the physical weight of her preg-nancy but the greater weight of an uncer-tain future, the worries of every first-timemother expressed possibly in words like:Will this child be okay? Will I get the help I

St Anthony Brief16


e Nativity Story –en and Now

need? I don’t know what to expect? In theabsence of those she loved and mighthave depended on had Jesus’ birth takenplace in Nazareth, Mary might naturallyhave felt a certain apprehension. Had thebirth been in her home town her motherand the women close to her would surelyhave been on hand to help and offeradvice. So, Mary might have felt a littlesad that her child, and indeed a child whoheld such great promise as the futureMessiah, was to be born so far from herhome, from the security of loved ones,and where most people were strangers toher, a place where there was no room forher in the inn and where she could findonly a stable in which to deliver her first-born son.

Now… a dim light in the distant hillsshows that the border is not far away andwith rebels and strangers helping them ontheir way a group of Syrian refugeesmarch slowly and fearfully through thecold desert night towards what they hopeand pray is the Jordanian border. Manyare women and small children, seekingsanctuary, fleeing indescribable suffering

and walking each painful step in the hopeof a different and better future. The land ofJordan, unlike Turkey, does not have arefugee camp at the border and the newarrivals, some of them heavily pregnant, orcarrying small children, (the men either lostto the terror of war or having stayed behindto continue the fight for freedom), are left tofend for themselves, to find their own mea-gre shelter often simply a small cave or amakeshift tent of old jute sacks.

Just as Mary carried Christ, the hope ofthe world’s salvation in her heart andwomb on that Christmas night long ago, sotoo these woman carry hope in the midst ofgreat sadness. They carry the hope thatthe sons they have carried in their ownwombs and nourished with the love of theirhearts are alive. If they have been killed,as is often the case, the women carry thehope that they themselves will have thestrength to carry on and care for those leftto them to look after.

Then… Mary and Joseph found a sta-ble, a poor and humble place in whichMary might give birth to Jesus. ManyNativity stories, including the play produced

Sr Mary Burke,FMDM, has been

deeply moved by theNativity play that

takes place each yearin Wintershall, Surrey.

She ponders the en and Now of

the timeless story.

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“Come quickly, Brother Carlo, come andhelp me,” he begged. “My sheep are lostand they are dying in the sand.” Sotogether they dashed out into the desertand with some difficulty found the missingsheep that by then were weak withexhaustion and fear. Of course naturallythere was nowhere else to put the sheepexcept in Carlo’s cave! It reminded him ofthe cave at Bethlehem except when hewent to snuggle up to the sheep hoping forheat, he found they were wet and smelly.

Rather than be despondent, Carlo wasreminded of the reality he was livingthrough. On this very special night here hewas in a cave with sheep and a shepherd.He was cold and life was a little less com-fortable for him than if he had arranged ithimself but in fact nothing was missing!The tinsel had been removed and he wasactually being given the gift of seeing intothe real story of Christmas.

So as we celebrate Christmas this yearmight we too be called to see beyond thetinsel and be aware of the real stories ofthose whose lives are hard and full of suf-fering, lives which at the same time are fullof endurance, courage and hope. Let usremember them in our hearts and ourprayers and by giving any practical help wecan thereby offering some small corner ofthe cave of our hearts to those in realneed. ��

For more information on Winterhall Nativity, check outwww.wintershall-estate.com

at Wintershall, provide us with at least thethought, and sometimes the practical real-ity, of some kindly person helping Mary inher time of great need. It can be helpfulfor us to draw comfort from the fact thatthere may have been someone there tohold Mary’s hand, to speak gentle andencouraging words into her ear and toease the moments of pain and uncertaintythat she may have felt. Certainly wegather from the Gospel narratives thatboth shepherds and kings shared Maryand Joseph’s joy at the birth of Christ.There is a sense of promise and of afuture which will be different and of aworld which will never be quite the sameagain.

Now… Ghada is a forty-year-oldSyrian woman who has lost her husbandand three sons; one of her sons, Ayman,was only thirteen years old when he waskilled playing football in the street. Afterfleeing to Jordan with her only remainingson and daughters, Ghada says: “Wecame through the fence with just theclothes on our backs, I began crying; outof sadness to leave my country and out ofhappiness to know I was alive and hadsaved my remaining children’s lives. TheJordanian border guards treated us kindlyand gave us tea. They brought blanketsfor the ones who were cold.”

Then and Now…Carlo Carretto in hisbook Blessed Are You Who Believedreminds us that scarcely had Jesus beenborn when troubles were closing in around

Dec/jan 201317

Him. Herod in his search for supremacywas determined that no other king shouldusurp his power. We read in Matthew’sGospel that Joseph is told in a dream:“‘Rise, take the child and his mother, andflee to Egypt, and remain there till I tellyou, for Herod is in search of the child todestroy him.’ And he took the child and hismother by night, and departed for Egypt.”

Carlo Carretto speaks of the grief andhelplessness of Mary and Joseph, of theirsadness at the loss of human life aboutthem, about their asking questions whichseemed to have no answers such as: Whyother innocent children are massacredand not Jesus? Why did God allow suchbloodshed? Indeed these are questionswe may find ourselves asking when welook at the bloodshed in Syria and otherplaces. Mary too would have grieved suchloss of life, would have been pained andfelt the sword of sorrow pierce her heart.

Now… for you and me… Like Maryin her time we can feel there is little wecan do to make the Nativity of the 21stcentury any less painful than that of thebirth of Christ Himself in His time.However, Carlo Carretto offers me hope ina little story he tells of how his own plansfor Christmas took a different turn. Hewas spending time in the desert, lookingforward to a contemplative Christmas, sit-ting in his cave praying quietly. However,as can happen in the desert, a sandstormsuddenly began raging outside and ayoung shepherd boy came rushing in.

Nativity play: delight as the story unfolds.

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18St Anthony Brief

Dear Friend,

Firstly, I would like to wish you andyours a blessed and peaceful Christmasand all God’s blessings in the New Year.Thank you for your loyal and constantsupport of our missions – both by yourprayers and by subscribing to ourMission magazine “St Anthony Brief”.The proceeds from the sale of this magazine go to help our missionaries whominister in Zimbabwe, South Africa andCentral America.

The magazine as you know is full ofinteresting articles, a good read from thebeginning to end. If you enjoy readingour magazine, why not donate a year’ssubscription as a gift on behalf of afriend or neighbour. Just fill in the accompanying subscription form andreturn it to our office.

Yours sincerelyFr Bernard Jones, ofmDirector

Please post the “Brief” magazine for oneyear to the following person/s (please useblock capitals):__________________________________

1. Name: ........................................................................................................................Address: ............................................................................................................................................................................................€12 (Ireland) [ ] €15 (Overseas) [ ] Stg£12 (U.K.) [ ] (please tick appropriate box). __________________________________

2. Name: ........................................................................................................................Address: ............................................................................................................................................................................................€12 (Ireland) [ ] €15 (Overseas) [ ] Stg£12 (U.K.) [ ] (please tick appropriate box).__________________________________

3. Name: ........................................................................................................................Address: ............................................................................................................................................................................................€12 (Ireland) [ ] €15 (Overseas) [ ] Stg£12 (U.K.) [ ] (please tick appropriate box).__________________________________

Your own name and address:............................................................................................................................................................................................................__________________________________

Please complete and return with paymentto Franciscan Missionary Union, 8 Merchants’ Quay, Dublin 8. Thank you.

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19Dec/jan 2013

His grace is no longer called forbefore meals: farmed fish multiplywithout His intercession.Bread production rises throughdisease-resistant grains devisedscientifically to mitigate His faults.

Yet, though we rebelled against Himlike adolescents, uplifted to seean oppressive father banished –a bearded hermit – to the desert,we confess to missing Him at times.

Miss Him during the civil weddingwhen, at the blossomy altarof the registrar’s desk, we wait in vainto be fed a line containing wordslike ‘everlasting’ and ‘divine’.

Miss Him when a choked voice atthe crematorium recites the poemabout fearing no more the heat of the sun.

Miss Him when we stumble on the breast lumpfor the first time and an involuntary prayerescapes our lips; when a shadow crossesour bodies on an x-ray screen; when we receivea transfusion of foaming bloodsacrificed anonymously to save life.

Missing GodMiss Him when we exclaim His namespontaneously in awe or angeras a woman in a birth wardcalls to her long-dead mother.

Miss Him when the linen-covereddining table holds warm bread rolls,shiny glasses of red wine.

Miss Him when, trudging past a church,we catch a residual blast of incense,a perfume on par with the fresh-baked loafwhich Milosz compared to happiness.

Miss Him the way an uncoupled gliderriding the evening thermals misses its tug.

Even feel nostalgic, odd days,for His Second Coming,like standing in the brickdome of a dovecoteafter the birds have flown.

– from Missing God

by Dennis O’Driscoll

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St Anthony Brief20

FFour hundred years ago the author-ities in Dublin were worried. Anti-Catholic legislation had been

greatly strengthened in England but noth-ing had been done in Ireland. TheProtestant Church-by-law remained pre-cisely that in a country that was stillCatholic in body and spirit. Bringing Irishlegislation in line with what had becomelaw in England would involve calling anIrish parliament. It would have a Catholicmajority unlikely to pass the requiredlaws. Something would have to be doneto change their minds. Then somebodyhad a bright idea! Why not frighten theCatholics by having a few bishops orpriests found guilty in a trial and exe-cuted afterwards? That should do thetrick. London agreed so long as theywere condemned for treason and not fortheir faith. The authorities looked at theprisoners in Dublin Castle. There were anumber of suitable candidates who wereof Old English stock, families who hadbeen settled in Ireland for centuries.Their death would cause more troublethan it was worth. Catholic opposition inparliament would increase. Then some-one discovered a bishop and a priestfrom Ulster. They were Old Irish and theirdeaths would not present political prob-lems with the important Old English. Thebishop was the Franciscan, ConorO’Devany, and the priest was PatrickO’Loughran.

nate in that either a lenient jailer or agroup of friends regularly managed to getsupplies to him.

Conor spent four years as a prisonerand was released just before the UlsterEarls rose in rebellion. Even though hewas ministering in Ulster, the bishop wasvery careful to take no active part in thewar. His diocese was in the area gov-erned by the O’Neill of Clandeboye, areluctant supporter of Hugh O’Neill. In1606 it was reported that Conor, dressedas a friar, had been ministering while liv-ing under the protection of CormacMacBaron O’Neill. In 1607 he was inTyrconnell under the protection of RoryO’Donnell. Rory brought Conor to meetwith the bitterly anti-Catholic Church ofIreland Bishop of Derry, Raphoe andClogher, George Montgomery. In 1610Conor was reported as visiting the pil-grimage centre of Oileán na mBeo (nowMonaincha) near Roscrea.

The Flight of the Earls in 1607 madelife more difficult for Conor. Significantlyhe was arrested in May or June 1611while at the house of Brian MacHugh ÓgMacMahon who was married to a daugh-ter of Hugh O’Neill but had not fled withthe others. Our bishop was brought oncemore to Dublin Castle. There PatrickO’Loughran joined him. He had beenarrested on his arrival in Cork in June1611 after years of study on the conti-nent.

The O’Devany family had beeninvolved in Church administration inRaphoe, County Donegal, for centuries.Conor was born around 1535. Many of hisrelatives were priests in the dioceses ofRaphoe and Derry. He opted to become aFranciscan, joining the Order in the friaryof Donegal around 1550. This had beenfounded for the Observant Franciscans in1474 and was flourishing despite perse-cution. We know little about his formationas a friar or his ordination. He nextappears in Rome in 1582. He was nomi-nated as Bishop of Down and Connor on27th April and was consecrated in theChurch of Santa Maria dell’Anima inRome on 13th May.

PrisonConor O’Devany was soon back inIreland. He was one of six bishops whomet in 1587 to promulgate the decrees ofthe Council of Trent in the northern part ofIreland. The following year saw the failureof the planned invasion of England by theSpanish Armada. English troops wentthrough the country seeking refugeesfrom Spanish vessels wrecked off theIrish coast. During one of their sweepsthey captured Bishop Conor. He escaped,was captured again and imprisoned inDublin Castle. This was a frightful experi-ence. Prisoners were often kept on theirown in cold, dark, damp cells with a mini-mum of food and water. Conor was fortu-

Donegal Friary: youngConor enters the Order.

is year is the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of Irish Franciscan bishop, Conor O’Devany, who died for the faith in 1612. Pat Conlan, OFM, tells his story.

BBlleesssseedd CCoonnoorr OO’’DDeevvaannyy,, OFM

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21Dec/jan 2013

TrialMost people of either persuasionexpected that both would be releasedsoon. There was no obvious reason forkeeping them in prison. It was well knownthat Bishop Conor had been inactive dur-ing the Nine Years War and there hadbeen a general amnesty in 1605. He hadnot taken the Oath of Supremacy but thiswas not considered a major problem. FrPatrick had not been in Ireland for fouryears but had been a chaplain to theO’Neills and had left Ireland at the time ofthe Flight. But London had decided on ashow trial and matters of guilt or inno-cence did not matter. Dublin wasinstructed that they should be tried fortreason rather than for their faith. A grandjury was empanelled in County Down andmet in Newry on 15th January 1612. Thebishop was charged with having con-sorted with the Earl of Tyrone and “othermost wicked traitors as well as havingtreasonably advised, aided and comfortedthem” on 1st January 1602 and earlier. Inaccordance with the arrangements, thejury did their duty and found the bishopguilty.

Bishop Conor was then brought toDublin and charged with treason beforethe Court of King’s Bench. He pleadednot guilty and elected for trial by jury. Thetrial of both bishop and priest began in acrowded courtroom on 28th January1612. The bishop protested that the jurywas not only hostile but also illegal. Itwas not made up of Irishmen but ofeleven English men, two Scots and anIrish man. Also, as a bishop, he shouldbe tried in an ecclesiastical court. Theobjections were thrown out and the trialproceeded. Conor admitted that he hadbeen in Ulster during the Nine Years War.He was there, not for treasonable pur-poses, but because he was a bishop inthe area and had to minister to his peo-ple. He also pointed out that James I hadpardoned all offences by the generalamnesty of 1605. Sarsfield, the judge,pointed out that this amnesty only appliedto those who had taken the required oathand could show that they had done this.The bishop countered that few layCatholics had taken the oath or had the

paperwork to prove it. The fact that a sec-ular rather than a Church court was tryinghim showed that he was being tried forhis faith rather than treason. Sarsfield sar-castically remarked that Christ appearedbefore Pilate. The bishop replied that hewas content to be judged as Pilate judgedChrist. Another charge was put that thebishop had been a party to the Flight ofthe Earls. He could easily prove that thiswas not true but was not allowed to callwitnesses. Again the jury did their pre-arranged duty and found the bishop guilty.The priest was found guilty by the judge.The mandatory sentence for treason wasdeath. Both would be hanged, drawn andquartered on 1st February. The prisonerswere offered pardon if they would confesstheir treason and take the Oath ofSupremacy. This meant acknowledgingthat King James was the head of theChurch in Ireland, something that noCatholic could do.

ExecutionOn the day appointed the two were tiedon carts face upwards and drawn fromDublin Castle across the Liffey to theplace of execution on George’s Hill. Thisis now close to Church Street and behindthe Vegetable Market. A large crowd ofCatholics had gathered. The prisonerswere refused permission to kneel andpray but were brought to the gallowsimmediately. The usual executioner hadvanished and was replaced by anEnglishman in jail for murder. A number ofProtestant clergymen tried but failed to

convert the prisoners. The sheriff wouldnot permit the bishop to address thecrowd in Irish so he began to pray loudlyas he mounted the gallows. He prayedthat those present and Catholics all overIreland would remain faithful. He prayedfor and forgave his persecutors. It hadbeen a dull winter day and nightfall wasapproaching. Suddenly the sun emergedfrom behind the clouds and illuminatedthe scene. It vanished after the death ofthe bishop. He was suspended by theneck until he was nearly dead from suffo-cation. He was then disembowelled andhis head cut off while the hangman cut upthe body. Someone managed to steal thehead as a relic! Others in the crowd gotparts of his habit or other relics. Thepriest was then executed. Soldiersguarded the remains overnight whilesome Catholics kept vigil. The next daythe remains were buried at the site. Somepious Catholics disinterred them on thefollowing night and gave them a properburial.

The Irish parliament finally met in1613. The authorities realised that thetrial and ritual killing of Bishop O’Devanyand Fr O’Loughran had strengthened theCatholic cause. Forty new borough coun-cils inhabited by the New English, thePlanters, were set up to ensure aProtestant majority. Some were in placeswhere construction had not yet begun.Confusion ensued when the Catholicswere removed. King James needed par-liament to agree on a royal subsidy. Acompromise was reached. Anti-Catholiclegislation was withdrawn. The king gothis money. The Catholics continued topress for protection of their rights. ��

Blessed Conor O’Devany, OOFFMM

Dublin Castle: Bishop imprisoned twice.

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22St Anthony Brief

News from around the . . .

Franciscan World

New Franciscan BlessedA Franciscan missionary to China and agreat scholar, who died in 1976, has beenbeatified. Fr Gabriel Allegra, OFM, whodevoted the greater part of his life totranslating the Bible into Chinese, wasdeclared “blessed” on 29th September inSicily where he entered the FranciscanOrder. While he was studying he heard ofGiovanni of Montecorvino, a Franciscanwho journeyed to China in the late 13thcentury. Inspired by Giovanni’s attemptsto communicate Christianity to theChinese people, Gabriel sailed to HunanProvince shortly after his ordination in1930, and as soon as he gained knowl-edge of the language, began translatingthe Bible into Chinese. This was a taskthat would consume the next 40 years ofhis life; facing many obstacles, he perse-vered, establishing the Studium BiblicumFranciscanum in Beijing in 1945. Forcedto move to Hong Kong in 1948, he and hisfriar collaborators completed the transla-tion of the Bible into Chinese with fullcommentary in 1968. Although known pri-marily as a biblical scholar, he also carvedout time to help the poor, victims of war,and the sick, especially a leper colony inMacau, where he often spent his holidays.Perhaps Blessed Gabriel might be vener-ated as the patron of workaholics. He wasfond of saying: “The most enviable fate fora Franciscan who does not obtain thegrace of martyrdom is to die while he isworking. Everyone thinks I’m sick! I canstill work – so let’s go on!” ��

� �Caption ??

Blessed Gabriel: Missionary and scholar.

� Novices: Vincent Finnegan,Adrian McGrath andDavid Connolly, in Ennis Friary.

� �Best Seller: Galway Poor Clareswith their book of reflections ‘Calm theSoul’, now available

on Kindle.

��Higher Options at the RDS, Dublin: Friar Pat Lynch,Vocations Director,with Carlow Poor

Clares and Ann-MarieGallagher, Director ofVocations Ireland.

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Led by Fr Bernard Jones, OFM, Commissary to the Holy Land. Price: €1,398 P.P.S. 4 Nights Jerusalem and 3 Nights Tiberias (4 Star), Half Board (including taxes).

For further information contact: Celebration Travel Ireland Ltd, D.F.B.A. Business Park, Dunhill, Co. Waterford.Tel: (051)396448. Fax: (051)396470.

Licencsed in Republic of Ireland – T.O. 145.

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“Sometimes the text is fine, sometimes the pictures are lovely, but herethey are both brilliant! Here you may use your mind, your eyes, yourheart, and your imagination to be led into a better, bigger and so muchneeded world.” – Richard Rohr, OFM, Center for Action andContemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

Hardcover, 83 pages – SPECIAL OFFER in our friaries only € 12.

Available at Franciscan friaries in Ireland and from Assisi Bookshop, Franciscan Friary, Merchants’ Quay, Dublin 8.Also available in Veritas bookshops throughout Ireland. ����




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VViissiitt tthhee HHoollyy LLaanndd dduurriinngg tthheeYYeeaarr ooff FFaaiitthh!!


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Union of Midwifes: “If the saving of the lifeof the mother, independently of her preg-nant condition, should urgently require asurgical act or other therapeutic treatmentwhich would have as an accessory conse-quence, in no way desired or intended, butinevitable, the death of the feteus, such anact could no longer be called a directattempt on an innocent life. Under theseconditions the operation can be morallylawful, like other similar medical interven-tions.”

A Christian MandateThe Christian community must proclaimthe Gospel of Life in its fullness, even if theworld resists the message. This mandatehas been given to His disciples by Christwho came to bring “life in abundance.” Theissue of abortion needs to be placedwithin, what is called, “a consistent lifeethic” - the wider context of our calling towork to protect life at all stages and inevery situation where it is threatened –war, abortion, poverty, injustice, racism,capital punishment and euthanasia. Whenhuman life is considered “cheap” or easilyexpendable in one area, eventually nothingis held as sacred and all lives are treatedwith contempt.

The Church has consistently con-demned abortion understood as the directand purposeful taking of the life of theunborn child. All human life is sacred fromconception until natural death, and the tak-ing of innocent human life, whether born orunborn, is morally wrong. The Churchteaches: "Human life is sacred becausefrom its beginning it involves the creativeaction of God and it remains for ever in aspecial relationship with the Creator, whois its sole end. God alone is the Lord of lifefrom its beginning until its end: no one canunder any circumstance claim for himselfthe right directly to destroy an innocenthuman being" (Gift of Life, 5).The respect for the sacredness of life inthe womb originates in Christianity’sJewish roots. The ancient Jewish world



AA s Iwrite,the topic

of abortion has beenthrust centre stage inIreland with the tragicdeath of SavitaHalappanavar, the pregnantwoman who died of septicaemia ina Galway hospital recently. There hasbeen a rush to judgment in this sad case.It is being used to advance the argumentthat Ireland must change its law on abor-tion. It is also being used to falsely give theimpression that Ireland is an unsafe placefor pregnant women, when the opposite istrue. Indeed Ireland, without induced abor-tion, is recognized by the UN and WorldHealth Organization as a world leader inprotecting women in pregnancy and issafer than places like Britain and Holland,

e Gospel of Life

where abortion iswidely available. While two inquiries

still have to be concludedmedical experts and bio-ethicists have stated thatIreland’s ban on abortionshould have had nothing to dowith Mrs Halappanavar’s death.They insist that the guidelines from

the Irish Medical Council are perfectlyclear that pregnant women must be givenall necessary medical treatment. It alsoneeds to be stated that providing neces-sary care for the mother is not an issuethat conflicts with Catholic moral teaching.Catholic ethics do allow for actions to betaken to save the life of the mother, evenat the risk of ending the life of the unbornchild. Pope Pius XII expressed this posi-tion clearly in 1951, speaking to the Italian

As a Christian people we are called to protect life.Francis Cotter, OFM, looks at the painful issue of abortion..

St Anthony Brief

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25Dec/jan 2013

was much different from the surroundingcultures where infanticide, infant sacrificeand abortion were not uncommon, and insome cases prevalent. For the Jewish peo-ple all human life has as its author the oneGod whose creative power produces thechild in the mother’s womb and brings itstep-by-step to full life. The Old Testamentrevelation, which the Christian communityinherited and accepted, gives clear evi-dence that life in the womb was consid-ered as sacred. In Psalm 139:13, we pray:"Truly, O Lord, you have formed my inmostbeing; you knit me together in my mother’swomb." The prophet Jeremiah recalled:"The word of the Lord came to me thus:Before I formed you in the womb I knewyou, before you were born I dedicated you,a prophet to the nations I appointed you"(Jeremiah 1:4,5). The prophecy concerningthe Servant of God, fulfilled in Christ,states: “The Lord called me from birth,from my mother’s womb He gave me myname... Now the Lord has spoken, He whoformed me as His servant from the womb."(Is 49:1,5).

Sanctity of LifeThe Greco-Roman world at the time of ourLord and in which Christianity grew permit-ted abortion and infanticide. In Roman law,the two acts were really not distinguishedbecause an infant did not have legal statusuntil accepted by the pater familias, thehead of the family; until accepted, theinfant was a non-person who could bedestroyed. In some parts of the RomanEmpire, abortion and infanticide were soprevalent that reproduction rates werebelow the zero-growth level. Nevertheless,the Christians upheld the sanctity of the lifeof the unborn child, not only because ofthe Old Testament revelation as cited butalso because of the mystery of the incar-nation. The early Christians, as we still do,believed that Mary had conceived by thepower of the Holy Spirit, and through her,the eternal Word of God became also trueman. The story of the visitation attests tothe sanctity of life in the womb: “WhenElizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the babyleapt in her womb. Elizabeth was filled withthe Holy Spirit, and cried out in a loudvoice: ‘Blest are you among women andblest is the fruit of your womb. But who amI that the mother of my Lord should cometo me? The moment your greetingsounded in my ears, the baby leapt in mywomb for joy.’" (Lk 1:41-44).

Given the revelation of the Old andNew Testaments, with special emphasis on

the mystery of the incarnation, the Churchfrom the beginning has consistently upheldthe sanctity of the life of the unborn childand condemned the act of direct abortion.In 1995, in his encyclical, The Gospel ofLife, Pope John Paul II dealt at length withthe major moral issue of our time. In thatteaching the Pope declared that theChurch’s teaching on abortion "isunchanged and unchangeable. Therefore,by the authority which Christ conferredupon Peter and his successors, I declarethat direct abortion, that is, abortion willedas an end or as a means, always consti-tutes a grave moral disorder, since it is thedeliberate killing of an innocent humanbeing. This doctrine is based upon the nat-ural law and upon the written word of God,is transmitted by the Church’s tradition andtaught by the ordinary and universal teach-ing authority. No circumstance, no pur-pose, no law whatsoever can ever makelicit an act which is intrinsically illicit, sinceit is contrary to the law of God which iswritten in every human heart, knowable byreason itself, and proclaimed by theChurch."

Moral BlindnessPope John Paul speaks of a kind of moralblindness. “Today, in many people's con-sciences, the perception of the gravity ofabortion has become progressivelyobscured. The acceptance of abortion inthe popular mind, in behaviour and even in

law itself, is a telling sign of an extremelydangerous crisis of the moral sense, whichis becoming more and more incapable ofdistinguishing between good and evil, evenwhen the fundamental right to life is atstake. This has led to interpreting crimesagainst life as legitimate expressions ofindividual freedom, to be acknowledgedand protected as actual rights. Given sucha grave situation, we need now more thanever to have the courage to look the truth inthe eye and to call things by their propername, without yielding to convenient com-promises or to the temptation of self-decep-tion. In this regard the reproach of theprophet is extremely straightforward: ‘Woeto those who call evil good and good evil,who put darkness for light and light fordarkness’ (Isaiah 5:20).”

The right to life is the basic human rightand the foundational element of society.“The inalienable rights of the person mustbe recognised and respected by civil soci-ety and the political authority. These humanrights depend neither on single individualsnor on parents; nor do they represent aconcession made by society and the state;they belong to human nature and are inher-ent in the person by virtue of the creativeact from which the person took his origin.Among such fundamental rights one shouldmention in this regard every human being'sright to life and physical integrity from themoment of conception until death.”(Catholic Catechism, 2273).

Precious life: in the UK 92% of unborn children with Down Syndrome are aborted.

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St Anthony Brief26

This understanding has very practi-cal implications. For example, prenatalscreening has become very common.But in a society that more and more wor-ships at the altar of appearances andperfection these tests can put terriblepressure on parents. Both in the UK andUSA the vast majority (92%) of unbornchildren diagnosed with Down Syndromeare aborted. Indeed in the increasingdemand for the perfect child recentreports in UK have revealed that theunborn children have been abortedwhen diagnosed with cleft pallet or clubfoot, easily treatable with surgery. Whenabortion becomes available progres-sively the “defective” child is destroyed.The right to life becomes based onsome superficial definition of “normal”.

Prenatal diagnosis is morally accept-able, “if it respects the life and integrityof the embryo and the human foetus andis directed toward its safeguarding orhealing as an individual... It is gravelyopposed to the moral law when this isdone with the thought of possibly induc-ing an abortion, depending upon theresults: a diagnosis must not be theequivalent of a death sentence.”(Catholic Catechism, 2274). The Lord issurely especially close to those coupleswho lovingly accept gravely handi-capped children and care for them withtenderness. Society needs the witnessof their generous love.

Healing CompassionNo matter what the circumstances theChristian community must manifest theboundless goodness of God whose com-passion heals our broken hearts and setsus free from the crushing burdens of thepast. New beginnings are always possibleby His grace. For those who do wrong themercy of Christ is always available. Manywomen carry the wounds, emotional andspiritual, inflicted by abortion. Pope JohnPaul spoke to those most directly affectedby abortion: “I would now like to say a spe-cial word to women who have had an abor-tion. It is true that the decision to have anabortion is appalling and painful. Decisionsthat go against life sometimes arise fromdifficult or even tragic situations of profoundsuffering, loneliness, a total lack of eco-nomic prospects, depression and anxietyabout the future or intense pressure fromothers. Such circumstances can mitigateeven to a notable degree subjective respon-sibility and the consequent culpability ofthose who make these choices which inthemselves are evil. The Church is aware ofthe many factors which may have influ-enced your decision, and she does notdoubt that in many cases it was a painfuland even shattering decision. The wound inyour heart may not yet have healed.Certainly what happened was and remainsterribly wrong. But do not give in to discour-agement and do not lose hope. Try rather tounderstand what happened and face it hon-

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estly. If you have not already done so, giveyourselves over with humility and trust torepentance. The Father of compassion isready to give you His forgiveness and Hispeace. To the same Father and to Hisunending love you can with sure hopeentrust your child. With the friendly andexpert help and advice of other people, andas a result of your own painful experience,you can be among the most eloquentdefenders of everyone's right to life.”

Wonderful work of healing and support isbeing carried out by various groups (forexample, Cura or Life) to help those affectedby abortion. One such group, present inIreland and abroad, is Rachel’s Vineyard(www.rachelsvineyard.org. In Ireland, in com-plete confidence call Bernadette:087.8592877). It offers weekends for cou-ples, for mothers or fathers of aborted chil-dren, as well as persons who have beeninvolved in the abortion industry. They comein search of peace and inner healing fromguilt, hurt and grief, often carried for years.

Because abortion is such a painful andemotive subject, many believers, includingpriests and religious, shy away from speak-ing of it. It is far easier and more sociallyacceptable to speak out on care for the envi-ronment or the ending of war than on thissensitive topic. Yet we are all called to“speak the truth in love”. And to shine thelight of God’s truth on this area where somuch sorrow and falsehood, death and dark-ness reign is an act of genuine love.

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II n the last St Anthony Brief, I began toshare some impressions from my visitto Canada, Haiti and Central America

during the summer, particularly in relationto contemporary witnesses of Gospel lifeand mission. I would like to continue shar-ing about the work of other impressiveFranciscan missionaries in Haiti who, intheir own unique way, are sowing seeds of


27Dec/jan 2013

Witnesses to the Gospel in Haiti

Gearóid with Fra Columbanus and Fra Jean Luis, and with streetchildren and youth at the home.

hope in difficult circumstances. MartinLuther King Junior, a man who dedicatedhis life to working in an active nonviolentway for the freedom of his black brothersand sisters in the United States, oncesaid when asked what he would do if hehad only one day to live, that he wouldplant a tree. This epitomises an attitude ofhope and determination, often despite the

Gearóid Ó Conaire,OFM, finds a passion forChrist and a passion forhumanity among thefriars in Haiti.

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St Anthony Brief28

requires a special vocation. He spent tenmonths trying to open a bank account. Heeventually refused to leave the bank andonly then did he manage to get a positiveresponse. He moved to the capital a fewyears ago when the mission in Pestel wasclosed. He works with some of the200,000 displaced who, since the earth-quake, invaded hilly, barren lands on theoutskirts of the capital. Life in this for-saken place is rough. There is no electric-ity or running water, nor many of the basicservices we take for granted in Ireland. Itis somewhat similar to the informal devel-opments that sprung up in San Salvadorduring the war when people were forcedto flee the violence. Raymond, now 78years old, goes to the settlements everyday. It is a tribute to him that he haslasted 25 years in this mission, when theaverage time for most friars has been 4/5years. He is supported economically bymany foundations and families in Canadaand focuses on trying to provide basicnecessities, such as electricity, water,sanitation and employment opportunities.

He celebrates the Eucharist in an old,battered Red Cross tent, formerly used tohouse people following the earthquake.He is probably being ripped off on a regu-lar basis, but doesn’t seem to be fazed.He continues to believe in the people, totreat them with respect and support themto the best of his ability, no matter what.His approach has its critics. He does notexpect too much success and respondswith wonderful tranquility to set-backs andfrustrations. And believe you me frustra-tion is the order of the day. It is hard tofathom, but Raymond is consideringbeginning a new mission on Martinique,

another Caribbean Island, where there isa group of Secular Franciscans, but nomember of the First Order. Most peopleare happy to be retired by 65 or 70 yearsof age, but our friend obviously followssome other logic! He is definitely a “foolfor Christ”.

Fra Columbanus After twenty-two years working in EastAfrica, Fra Columbanus, OFM, fromMexcio, at the age of 67, finds himselfministering in Haiti. He was recentlyelected President of the numerically smallbut growing foundation of Friars Minor,which celebrates twenty-five years ofpresence in Haiti. He left Africa for seri-ous health reasons and had more or lessresigned himself to stay in Mexico until hereceived an invitation to go to help inHaiti.

I want to tell you a little about thisextraordinary man, known as Columba tothe people. He probably had someFrench after working in Africa, but he hadto learn it again, along with Creole, thelanguage of the people. So at 66 years ofage he began again. He inspires confi-dence on first meeting him. He is apeaceful and loving man. One day heinvited me to accompany him on his dailystroll around the market. Try to imagine ashabby and poky friary and church, dam-aged by an earthquake, surrounded bythousands of poor Haitians selling vegeta-bles, fruit and meat. They are mostlywomen sitting beside small baskets with,from a gringo’s perspective, not veryenticing products. Each one competes,although I didn’t get the sense of cut-throat competitiveness, with hundreds of

lack of obvious signs of progress, of manymissionary man and women I met in Haiti.

Presently there are nine Finally-Professed friars: four Central Americans(two Salvadorians, a Guatemalan and aPanamanian) and five friars from othersparts of the world, including a Chilean,Mexican, Belgian, Congolese and French-Canadian. There are 18 young Haitians invarying stages of formation, preparingthemselves to be Friars Minor. There arethree friaries in Port-au-Prince, the capi-tal: a parish, formerly run by theSalesians, a friary in the centre of the citysurrounded by an open-air, informal food-market and a larger house on the out-skirts, built by a congregation of religiouswomen, which now serves as a postu-lancy.

Fra Raymond Twenty-five years ago in 1987, FraRaymond Mailhiot, OFM, from Quebecspent six months in Haiti during a sabbati-cal break. He was in his early 50s. Hewas so moved by the poverty he encoun-tered that he vowed to return. Afterreceiving permission from his Province inQuebec, Canada, he convinced thenewly-appointed first Provincial of CentralAmerica to send friars to open a missionin Haiti. They were entrusted with theMission of the Cayemites Islands andPestel, about an hour from the southwestcoast of Haiti. During the embargoimposed by the United Nations after acoup in the 1990s, Raymond and aGuatemalan friar, Dempsy Laorca,accompanied a group of boat peopleescaping the island. It was at a time peo-ple were leaving Haiti in desperation insearch of a better life. Many weredrowned or were turned back. Some weretaken in by neighbouring countries. Thefriars wanted to highlight the plight of thepeople. They took a calculated risk andembarked with others on a make-shiftraft, not knowing whether they too wouldperish. They were eventually picked up bythe US coast-guard and brought toGuantanamo Bay, a US base on theIsland of Cuba, long before it becameknown for its infamous prison post 9/11.

I had previously visited Haiti in 1993and, indeed, wrote two articles in the StAnthony Brief about my experience. Iasked Raymond how long it took him toget used to life in Haiti and to begin tounderstand the culture and its people. Hejoked, but with a certain grain of truth,that it was only since last year that somany things began to make sense.Patience is an important virtue here. Infact, he believes that mission to Haiti

Friars Raymond, Dempsy and Miguel in front of the provisionalfriary in the settlement.

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the diocesan seminary by a professorfrom the Democratic Republic of theCongo who is himself a Voodoo priest.Voodoo practices came from Africa withthe slaves and developed over the cen-turies, incorporating and transformingmany Catholic symbols and rites. Catholicsaints represent Voodoo spirits. Duringcolonial times slaves were forced to par-ticipate at the Catholic Mass and Voodoocelebrations were outlawed. It was onlyrehabilitated during the presidency ofJean-Bertrand Aristide in the 1990s.

In such a short period of time,Columbanus has managed to insert him-self into this difficult and complex reality. It

is obvious to me that he is a man of God.He has become the Gospel. His optionsare clear and his energy to be with thepeople is Spirit-led. Apart from renting ahouse and organising the permanent carefor 15 street children, with the help of aChilean friar, a psychologist, a wonderfulproject in itself, he is not defined by whathe does, but very definitely by who he is.He probably wouldn’t be described as anorganiser but is the man sent by divineprovidence for this place just now. Similarto the other friars, his passion for andfidelity to the people springs from hiscommitment to Jesus Christ. ����

[email protected]

others for a limited customer base.Alongside them I notice some blackerthan black individuals covered with sootand dust. These are the charcoal sellers,only barely distinguishable from the back-ground by their smile and the light in theireyes. Beside them are men kneadingflour into long sheets of undulating dough,soon to be cut into small pieces andshoved into a hot urn for tomorrow’sbread. We make our way through thismass of humanity, drowned out by acacophony of noise, reaching a feverpitch as we approach the live animal sec-tion, mostly chickens and goats. Justround the corner the freshly harvestedlean stringy meat is displayed on dirtytables covered with blood and guts,engulfed by flies, but few seem to havethe cash to think about going there.

Yet, there is something strangelybeautiful about the colour, the chaos andthe energy of a people trying to make aliving in this, the poorest country in theWestern hemisphere. Despite the earth-quake that killed an estimated 200,000and the toll of suffering and pain for thou-sands of survivors, mostly in the capital,the international focus and attention ishelping to move Haitians and their coun-try forward. For example, a Canadianhealth expert, teaching an MA coursehere, whom I met on the flight down, toldme that all the health indexes, includinginfant mortality, are improving despite theearthquake and new sources of infec-tions, including cholera.

The Gift of PresenceFriar Columba does “presence” so effort-lessly. He knows everyone, many byname and everyone knows him. He stopsto chat, engages with each individual,expresses his joy to be with them andmoves on. This is a daily ritual. He is likethe pied piper with a gang of children andyoung people following behind. It is obvi-ous that he is loved and the people lovehim. Following the earthquake he and thefriars from his fraternity accepted a pro-ject supported by Hindu monks to providehot food daily for the neediest childrenand their mothers. It is still on-going. Onthe rounds we visited a Voodoo templebut there was no ceremony taking place.The walls were decorated with colourfulsymbols. An altar at the side of the roomhad a cross and was surrounded byhuman skulls, liquor bottles and otherobjects. I was not permitted to take pho-tos. Columbanus knows these people. Infact, the Catholic Church is trying toestablish a dialogue with Voodoo priests.The seminarians are taught a course at

Dec/jan 2013

The extraordinaryFra Columbanuswith street childrenat the home.

Settlement: Fra Raymond in front of a sign aboutFranciscan projects.

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Br Alfred Patience Tigere.

The dancers.

Some of the pilgrims.

Celebrants Fr Linous Mukumbuzi, OFM, and deacon Naison Manjovha, OFM.

MUTEMWA: Celebrating the Servant of God, John Bradburne

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Please write your letters,

comments and suggestions, to:

The Editor, St Anthony Brief,

Franciscan Missionary Union, Merchants’ Quay,

Dublin 8.

Letters to the Editor

Dec/jan 2013

Dear Editor,

The article about Fr Murray Bodo’s book on thelife of St Francis, The Journey and the Dream,brought back happy memories for me. Wayback in the 1980s when I was at college andstruggling with my faith I came across thatbook by accident. I would not have been opento reading anything churchy or pious but thatbeautiful poetic book gave me a new sense ofGod’s presence and a new beginning in myfaith. I am sure that it has touched the lives ofmany people over the years. Thank God for FrBodo and his gift of communicating God’slove.

Yours sincerely,Jim Doyle,Cork City.

Dear Fr Bernard Jones,

The magazine is extremely

interesting every month.

I particularly liked the issue with

the article “Franciscans in

Education” wrien by my friend,

Fr Ulic Troy. I wrote to him

immediately, and I have no doubt

that schooling is a different

maer these days from my

schools days at the Loreto!

My best wishes,

(Mrs) Miriam O’Donoghue,

Dublin 4.

Dear Father,

The St Anthony Brief which I have being gettingfor more years than I want to remember keepsgetting better and better. I especially enjoyed FrPat Conlan’s recent article about the beautifulexhibition on Franciscan Faith in the CollinsBarracks Museum in Dublin. I “stumbled” uponit last year when visiting the museum with someAmerican relatives. As a member of the ThirdOrder it was of particular interest to me so whenI got the chance I went back later to spend moretime to view the wonderful display and to readabout the history of the Order in Ireland. It is a pity that such exhibitions are not better publicised; at least I had not heard of it. AsFranciscans we have a rich and proud history in this country.God’s blessing on your work.Imelda P.Dun LaoghaireCo. Dublin

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