The Irish Chapter held its first gathering of 2017 at St. Aidan's Monastery in Ferns, Co Wexford. A Holy Hour of Adoration took place at 7pm with intercessory prayers to Saint John Paul II for all families in Ireland. Fr. Billy Swan celebrated Holy Mass at 8pm and during his homily he spoke about the importance of prayer in our daily lives.
Our gathering coincided with the feast day of St. Anthony who was a professional contemplative and devoted his whole life to prayer. He would detach from things of this world to become closer to God.
We are now in the New Year with a fresh reminder of how we all need to stay connected to God and no better way than through "Anchoring of the Soul" as in the exercise of prayer, turning to God in our every need throughout the day.
Fr. Billy used the example of a Bookshelf showing the importance of morning and night prayer. The book to the extreme left represents the morning prayer and the extreme right, night prayer and the books in between are everything in our day. He reflected upon the importance of starting our day in prayer and thanksgiving, how we wake up in the morning and put our own shoes on, not knowing who could be taking them off, only God knows. How missing morning prayer is like going without breakfast! Morning prayer provides you with the "Anchor" through which the rest of the day unfolds and nighttime prayer is an examination of conscience.
In our prayer we dedicate our lives to our blessed Mother before we go asleep and pray for a peaceful nights rest. Our prayer is a participation of the praise, joining in a hymn of praise that is already being sung, a trust and surrender to the father and worship with our mind, our hearts, our bodies and our souls. We cannot claim to be Christian without discipline of prayer. All life flows to prayer and all life flows from it. Fr. Billy used the example of St Thomas who once said "Moved by a power greater than his own" and in this way, prayer gives us a power greater than our own.
A very happy and blessed New Year to you all and please God 2017 will be a great year of prayer for families, strengthening those in their faith including our faithful priests.
Our next gathering takes place in St Aidan's Monastery Ferns on Tuesday 14th February at 7pm with a Holy Hour of Adoration followed by Holy Mass at 8pm. All are welcome.
Prayer to St. John Paul II
Oh, St. John Paul, from the window of heaven, grant us your blessing! Bless the church that you loved and served and guided, courageously leading it along the paths of the world in order to bring Jesus to everyone and everyone to Jesus.
Bless the young, who were your great passion. Help them dream again, help them look up high again to find the light that illuminates the paths of life here on earth. May you bless families, bless each family! You warned of Satan's assault against this precious and indispensable divine spark that God lit on earth. St. John Paul, with your prayer, may you protect the family and every life that blossoms from the family.
Pray for the whole world, which is still marked by tensions, wars and injustice. You tackled war by invoking dialogue and planting the seeds of love: pray for us so that we may be tireless sowers of peace.
Oh St. John Paul, from heaven's window, where we see you next to Mary, send God's blessing down upon us all.