Fr. Paddy's Blog

These posts and more are also available on Portlaoise Parish website.

Guardian Angels

Steve Montgomery was headed home from a painting job when something crazy happened. As he drove down the interstate, he noticed what looked like a pipe rolling around in the road. A tow truck drove over the pipe, sending it flying straight through the windshield of Steve’s truck. It should have hit him in the […]

Time for Ordination of Women Deacons

The recent National Synthesis document, followed extensive consultation with thousands of Irish Catholics across the island since last October and culminating in reports published last June from each of the 26 Catholic dioceses in Ireland as well as 29 separate submissions from interested parties. It is part of a worldwide consultation process in the Church […]

Queen Elizabeth – An Iconic Christian

These are historic times. The death of Queen Elizabeth 11, has brought with it a huge outpouring of grief and sympathy, for a life that has “fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith”. Perusing some of the comments about her going home to her God and her King on Facebook, one […]

Living in the present moment….

One day a man walked past a camp of elephants. Looking closer, he was surprised to see that these mighty animals weren’t held in cages or kept in chains. The only thing stopping them from escaping? A thin rope tied from one of their legs to a simple pole in the ground. Confused, as to […]

Life… Our Greatest Teacher

It’s hard to believe that it’s back to school time again. This has been a wonderful summer and I do hope that all school communities feel a sense of being refreshed after their long summer break. I’m very conscious, that this year in particular, back to school, puts enormous pressures regarding its cost on families, […]

Together we are stronger

There has been much discussion and commentary, regarding the publication of the synthesis of feedback from our national Synod. The synod is a process, initiated by Pope Francis, in an attempt to dialogue with all the members of the universal church. It’s a most welcomed initiative, because it allows all the members of the church, […]

Brother Kevin…. A Living Saint

A small number of public figures are instantly recognisable by their first name. One of them is Brother Kevin, the founder of the Capuchin Centre in Dublin’s Bow Street who this week retired at the age of 87. He founded the centre in 1969 – more than 50 years ago, and from small beginnings it […]

God Is With Us

A minister passing through his church in the middle of the day decided to pause by the altar and see who had come to pray. Just then the back door opened, a man came down the aisle, and the minister frowned as he saw the man hadn’t shaved in a while. His shirt was shabby, […]

The Power of Prayer

The following is a profound and yet very real story, told in relation to our human need in times of crisis as we turn to prayer. So often we can judge and be negative when we evaluate our communication to God. Perhaps the conversation seems one way. Perhaps words are inadequate or simply we do […]

Harvest Thanksgiving

Time seems to be moving extremely quickly. It’s hard to believe that August has arrived. This is a wonderful time of year when harvest begins to be gathered, a time which evokes a deep sense of  gratitude, that what has being planted, now produce rich fruit. Recently, Pope Francis, highlighted the very important role, that […]

Stay Positive and Never Give Up

The following stories awaken a sense of hope and encouragement for us all. Well worth reflecting upon…. The Frog Race There was once a bunch of tiny frogs, who arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower. A big crowd gathered around the tower to see the […]

A Guide To Prayer

In the secular world, mindfulness is much  embraced and practiced. Personally, I find it  difficult to differentiate between practicing mindfulness and prayer. Prayer and meditation similarly are extremely nourishing and beneficial to our mind, body and spirit. Prayer is the language of the soul, it’s often in the stillness of our contemplation that God’s Amazing […]

An 8 Year Old’s Explanation of God

A second class student in primary school recently wrote the following wisdom……… One of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn’t make grown-ups, just babies. I think that is because they are […]

Summer… A Time to Rest

Despite all the bad news, regarding huge queues and cancellation of scheduled air flights, it is still wonderful that Dublin International Airport, enjoys a return to full and active business, this summer. After over two years, living in confinement and restriction, so many Irish families seek liberation and warmth as they make preparations for their […]

Synodality……Listening and Learning

Recently, the chiming of a bell at the ancient monastic site of Clonmacnoise, was significant. Laity, religious, priests and bishops, all participated at a daylong national assembly of the Irish Catholic Church in Athlone. The assembly was the  culmination of an unprecedented national consultation, in preparation for the Irish submission to the 2023 Universal Synod […]

God’s Coffee

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, […]

Summer Rest

The month of June, is a wonderful time of year. Long bright days that awaken within us all a sense of peace and calm. Traditionally during summer time those who are  fortunate enough can enjoy a restful holiday. Time out, is a very important gift that we must embrace in our adult lives. We are […]

Spirit of God, Loving and Free

As we have begun the month of June, I pray sincerely that this bright month, will be a time of rich blessing, health of body and peace of mind for us all. I’m very conscious, this week, thousands of young students begin their leaving and junior certificate exams. I do hope, that our wonderful young […]

The Monkey Trap

Anything that you have to control, controls you. There are many variations to this story, but it’s quite instructive. In South America, Africa and Asia, the natives have devised a very effective method of trapping monkeys. The plan is deceptively simple: the natives take a gourd or some similar object and drill a hole just […]

St. Charles de Foucauld

The following is a biography of the wonderful life, of an inspirational Christian, recently canonised by Pope Francis. For all of us it is good to remember, “Every Saint has a past and every sinner has a future”. Charles de Foucauld was born in 1858 into an aristocratic Strasbourg family yet sadly orphaned by the […]

Without Counting The Cost

There is story in the Gospel about a leper coming to Jesus on his knees and pleading with him, saying, ‘If you want to, you can cure me’. It was a pitiful  statement, suggesting despair. The leper had reason to: in the tradition of the time, leprosy was seen as a punishment by God for […]

Let Go……Let God

It’s good to think of prayer, not just as saying prayers, or speaking to God, but as listening to God; not just as words but as silence; not just the head but the heart; not just what we do but what God does in us – if we get out of his way and give […]

Unprecedented Times

Security is an important reality we all desire, even though most of us spend most of our lives doing just that. We long for certainty, wanting to nail down a secure future. Putting together the jig-saw pieces of worldly wisdom that we believe make a secure and settled life. Establishing a firm structure that has […]

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As we move closer to the Month of May, it brings a sense of hope and fresh opportunity. A recent walk in Emo Court, reminded me how beautiful creation truly is this time of year. May is a sacred month, every year, when we can truly give thanks for the gift of life and energy. […]

Easter-A Time of Hope

Easter is a time of hope and new life, an opportunity to begin again in a new way. The Angel said to the wounded followers of Jesus “Why look among the living for the dead”. Easter reminds us in a very powerful way that we belong to a place that is so much bigger than […]

Make time to share this Easter

This is Holy Week, a sacred time when through ritual and symbolism we remember and give thanks for the great sacrifice Jesus made for each one of us. Jesus in the Gospels spent much time having meals and sharing conversation, friendship, solidarity often with those who found themselves on the periphery. This Holy Week, I […]

The Danger of Keeping Silent

The number of priests and members of religious orders in Ireland has dropped by 70% since 1970. In the past three years more than 25% of all priests in Ireland have died. The average age of priests has risen substantially in that time; it is now well above 70. Add to that problems of health […]

Strangest Dream

Tanks in the city streets of Ukraine. Blocks of flats on fire. Wrecked and burnt-out trucks, twisted metal and shattered windows. Small groups of cold and frightened civilians shelter in basements from the insistent barrage. Welcome to the stark face of the mechanics of European war in the late winter of 2022. In recent weeks […]

The Little Flower….. A Powerful Saint

St. Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897) was a French Catholic who became a Carmelite nun at an early age. She died in obscurity at the age of 24. However, after her death, her autobiography – Story of a Soul was published and became a best-seller around the world. Her books explained her spiritual path of love […]

St. Patrick……Icon of Solidarity

After two long years of lockdowns and living with the reality of pandemic, it is with a great sense of joy that we can celebrate our national feast day together again. Yet, after taking a deep breath from Covid, we seem to be plunged into the horrors of war in Europe. The brutal invasion of […]

God’s Dream

We can wait no longer. Martin Luther King’s Letter to White Church Leaders In 1960, Martin Luther King was imprisoned after leading a civil rights march. His dream seemed a long way off. Criticised by white church leaders, he responded with his famous “Letter from an Alabama Jail”, which included this section: We have waited […]

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Saint Basil, known as the Great, was a  fourth-century bishop of the Eastern Church who was known for his care for the poor. He was also the writer of a monastic rule of life, which is still followed today by monks. He wrote a short piece on fasting, which can help us to a wider […]

The Starfish

In the Bible, the Virgin Mary was named Sella Maris, which means star of the sea. The Virgin Mary is a symbol of guidance and protection for people in difficulty such as sailors who sought her for their safe journeys. The star and the starfish are considered important celestial symbols in the bible representing infinite […]

Slowing Down

Most of us live rushed lives, dashing from one thing to another. One consequence is that we live on the surface of life, skimming over it. We may pass through it without ever knowing ourselves, or acquiring the disposition to think matters through, and, as a result, living, so to speak, on second-hand ideas and […]

Stay Positive

February, is such a beautiful month, brighter evenings and earlier mornings, awakens within us, a new energy. Winter has passed and thankfully the darkness of a dreadful pandemic also is behind us. This is a powerful time, to embrace hope, simply, to begin again and embrace a positivity that allows us to live life to […]

A Springtime of Hope

There was a great sense of relief and unburdening when An Taoiseach Micheal Martin, announced the ending of most of the restrictions, regarding COVID-19. We were all invited whilst keeping safe, to embrace this new beginning, after two years of great darkness and anxiety. Never before, have we all looked forward so much to the  […]

Remembering Ashling

The recent tragic death of Ashling Murphy, has left a deep sense of vulnerability and pain, in the heart and soul of our nation. Ashling’s, horrific murder has brought with it renewed                 consciousness, of how so many women constantly feel afraid, regarding their fundamental human right, to be […]

Some Spiritual Tips for New Year 2022

The best resolutions are elastic, they cannot be broken with a single act. If you swear never to touch red meat, one burger ruins the resolution. If, on the other hand, you pledge to eat healthier food, each day you have a chance to fulfil the resolution anew. Below are five elastic spiritual resolutions that […]

Happy New Year

A new year is here! This means new beginnings, new journeys and new resolutions. The New Year is often seen as an opportunity to improve ourselves or what we have, but while this can be a healthy practice, it is also beneficial to reflect on the blessings that we already have. On New Year’s Eve, […]

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This has been a tough year. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect all our lives. The scriptures tell us that after their visit to the new-born Saviour in Bethlehem, the wise men ‘went home by a different way’. The pandemic has also forced many of us to change our ways, to do things differently,    nobody […]

Let The Light Shine

At this time, every year, we hear these words from Scripture: ‘The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light’. Familiar words indeed, and easily left unheeded. But this year the darkness is more immediate, more encircling. Knowing the darkness helps us to appreciate the light. Have we not seen these months of […]

‘O Holy Night continues to inspire hope and comfort.’

The gun should never have been left lying around in the first place. Making the carelessness even worse was that it was loaded. With two unsupervised eight-year-old boys messing with it, something catastrophic was bound to  happen. It did. Young Brignon squeezed the trigger. There was a loud, sharp, crack, a whiff of gun smoke, […]

First Week of Advent

Christmas seems to arrive now by the start of November and ends on Christmas day. In a secular culture the  season of Advent, a time of waiting is certainly counter-cultural. This week we begin Advent. This is the period when we prepare to celebrate the coming of the Christ among us two millennia ago, but […]

Christ The King

This week, we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, we are called to work with this King. And this King is the one who dies on the cross, rises from the dead, and is with his people. And what then is expected of us? A google search for images of Christ the King adds […]

COP26

The two young ladies were noisy. Vinisha Umashankar and Greta Thunberg. Vinisha said: “We’ll build the future, even if you are stuck in the past. I’m not just a girl from India. I’m a girl from Earth.” (15 years old!). Greta Thunberg said: “The politicians are pretending to take our future seriously.” She said more […]

Overcoming Phobias

Many situations in this pandemic world present themselves as almost impossible: coping with stress, keeping going under pressure, addressing tough health issues, coping with death (our own and others) and facing our fears. I had to go in for dental procedure recently, which I have a bit of a phobia about, and found myself driven […]

November- A Time to Remember

Halloween did not come from Hollywood but rather its origins are strongly connected to ancient Celtic roots. In Celtic Ireland, about two millennia ago, Samhain was the point between the lighter (summer) and darker halves (winter) of the year. At Samhain, the gap between this and the other world was at its thinnest, allowing spirits to […]

In The Name of God

Pope Francis, in a keynote address to the popular movements, a group that includes activists working on a wide variety of justice causes, called for a universal basic income and the shortening of the working day. He also praised the protest movement that followed the murder of George Floyd. He also made specific appeals “in […]

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One key biblical image is that of building solid foundations, making a dramatic distinction between building on rock as opposed to on sand (Matthew 7:24-27). The point of foundations is that they have to be done in advance, this largely hidden, deep digging, has an enormous impact on the stability of the building. The importance […]

Leave The Phone At Home

“God brings forth His Son in thee, whether thou likest it or not, whether thou sleepest or wakest; God worketh His own will. That man is unaware of it is man’s fault, for his taste is so spoilt by feeding on earthly things that he cannot relish God’s love”. The above quote was written by […]

Feast of St. Francis

This week we celebrate the Feast of St. Francis. St. Francis is among the most beloved and most familiar of all the saints of western Christianity. He remains as popular today as he was in his lifetime. His love of animals and of God’s creation have made him an icon of the environmental movement. His […]

Wisdom of Life

George Carlin at age 102, offered the following  wisdom that is deeply relevant for us all. If you don’t read this to the very end, you have lost a day in your life, and when you have finished, reflect and put it into practice. George Carlin’s Views on Ageing Do you realise that the only […]

Harvest Thanksgiving….. A Time for Justice

Perhaps this harvest time is an opportunity for us all, to acknowledge the fruits that we all have in the depth of our being. Fruits that take a lot of time to grow and mature into the beautiful personality and unique qualities that are particular to all our stories. The gift of grandparents who embody […]