Fr. Paddy's Blog

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

The Strangest Dream

People meeting with people, discussions held round tables decorated with flowers, microphones adjusted for clarity of sound and a fine meal together in the evening. The formal setting of the art of the diplomatist. Ed McCurdy’s song, first recorded in 1950 and since covered by many well-known singers including Joan Baez, Simon and Garfunkel and […]

Make Hay while the Sun shines

There are some very sharp turnings in life, as we know – and if we don’t we’ll find that out soon enough. Most of us, most of the time settle into a pattern of living that we imagine will go on forever. Here today, here tomorrow. It doesn’t, of course, because life is full of […]

One Step At A Time

Summer, 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 not robots and […]

A Prayer for Students

In the last years of his life, the great cellist and conductor Pablo Casals suffered greatly from rheumatoid arthritis and emphysema. At 90, he was badly stooped, his head thrust forward, and his breathing laboured. He needed the help of his wife, Marta, to get dressed in the morning. Marta would then help him shuffle […]

Gossip Kills

Pope Francis often refers to the “Poison of Gossip”. Passing on bad news is negative and toxic. The more at peace we are within ourselves, the more at peace we are with one another. As we begin the month of May, I pray, you will all be filled with light, hope and peace of mind. […]

Year of Prayer for Vocations

The Irish Bishop’s conference has initiated a year of prayer for vocations to the diocesan priesthood. Prayer and priesthood are closely connected. Priesthood ultimately is about service fuelled from God’s Amazing Grace. A service that connects often in vulnerable moments of life, offering hope, comfort and consolation that God continues to be close to us. […]

Spread The Faith

Recent fine weather has given us an opportunity to refresh and renew. It amazes me, how we awaken with such hope and energy because of sunlight. Nature is looking splendid as the early leaves and fresh colours of blooming flowers, remind us, we belong to beauty and we are greatly blessed to live in this […]

Accepting Difference

In his recent Easter message, Pope Francis, reminds us “God loves us as we are, in our own unique way, our Creator, delights in what has been created”. A worrying trend in contemporary society is the growth of polarization. Polarization of opinion and attitude creates friction and tension, which often fails to embrace the grey […]

Easter “All Is New”

Easter is a wonderful time of year. Nature, reflects the transformation, from darkness into light. New green leaves, spring blossoms and brighter days lift our mood and awakens within us a deep sense of hope. Easter 2023 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. This wonderful historical peace process, has been achieved by […]

The Gift of Holy Week

How often do we find ourselves thinking where has time gone? Already in 2023, we have moved from the darkness of winter into the freshness of brighter evenings with the sounds of birds making their nests and the beautiful colours of early spring blossoms. Holy Week, brings us to the conclusion of lent and invites […]

10th Anniversary of Pope Francis

Pope Francis, recently celebrated his 10th anniversary since becoming leader of the Catholic Church. His leadership is a remarkable one. Actions always speak louder than words, Francis, by his humility and courageous endeavour to reach out to the periphery has demonstrated the continued relevance and attraction of the gospel, in a secular world. He is […]

A Mother’s Love…. A Blessing

Sure I love the dear silver that shines in your hair. Does anyone recognise that song? An old, old Irish favourite, Mother Machree. I remember my father singing it to us and the words have been flowing through my head this week as I wondered how to prepare a homily for Mothers’ Day. Of course, […]

St. Patrick……Pray for us……

It’s hard to believe, three years ago, a national lockdown commenced, as we endured the fear and anxiety, that’s part of a pandemic. That’s why this year 2023, there is so much expectation and joy associated with our national Patron and the celebrations that accompany Saint Patrick. For the first time in years, parishes and […]

Time To Think Again

Jesus wasn’t “laid back”. He had a sense of urgency about him, and he communicated that to others, especially his immediate followers. Why? Because he cared passionately about people. The mandate he gave his followers was: preach repentance – a word, which, in its original sense, means “to think again”. If Jesus were walking the […]

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As the evenings lengthen and new signs of life appear in our gardens we welcome a new Spring. The following ancient story tells how the simple spring air can refresh and indeed heal. “The King needs daintier food,” said the Court Cook, so he served broiled peacock on toast, and pomegranates and cream, and wild […]

Ash Wednesday Marks The Beginning Of Lent

Feb 22nd, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. This is a season of reflection that leads us towards the three days of the Triduum, with Easter Sunday falling on Sunday, April 9th. It is a time to ask questions, a pause time on a journey, a time when we might re-examine the baggage we […]

Random Tales of Wisdom

How do you handle adversity? What are you thinking when the sun goes down on those cold, windy nights, when you’re trying to get to sleep, and the wind keeps swirling and howling through your bedroom windows?  Sleep Soundly When the Wind Blows Years ago a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly […]

Deep Breath of Peace

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, an  elderly man was taking a walk along the beach. He was relaxed and content. The sun shone brightly in the sky, the birds wheeled and sang, the waves washed ashore, the sand was firm underfoot, and a gentle breeze tempered the heat. Some distance in […]

St. Brigid’s National Holiday

I love this time of year, a time to embrace brighter evenings and early mornings. Already there are signs of the new spring. Snowdrops, emerging from the winter soil. I’m absolutely delighted that on Monday 6th February, our country celebrates a national holiday, attributed to an iconic and important lady Saint Brigid of Kildare. Children […]

Reflection Enriches Life

St. Ignatius of Loyola’s (1491-1556), great insight came while he was convalescing after a serious injury. God was communicating within him through his daydreams initially, leading him away from selfish pride and towards self-giving service of others. However, it was only in reflection, looking back over his experience, that Ignatius was able to sort out […]

Blue Monday

The third Monday of January 2023 has been branded Blue Monday. It begins what many describe as the most depressing week of the year. It is a gloomy time for a number of reasons including a dip in mood after Christmas, the harsh winter conditions and financial debt. People also tend to lack motivation after […]

Pope Benedict XVI……..A Humble Servant of the Lord

In the annals of papal history, Joseph Ratzinger, who has died aged 95, will be remembered principally as the first pope in 600 years to retire, rather than to die in office.  Any other achievements of his eight-year pontificate as  Benedict XVI – and there were a few worthy of enduring note – will ultimately […]

Christmas Mass Times

The post Christmas Mass Times appeared first on Portlaoise Parish.

The Gift…….The Christmas Child

Christmas 2022 is here. Yet another year has passed with all its many changes and immense challenges. Yet, the Christmas message remains timeless. ‘The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us.’ God is with us. Jesus Christ is the light who shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not put out […]

Céad Míle Fáilte

We are about to celebrate Christmas once again. I’m sure for the vast majority, this Christmas, will be greatly enhanced as we live in a post pandemic world. It’s hard to believe that just two years ago, Christmas began a national lockdown that lasted  for months, where many people were deeply traumatised by loss, illness […]

The Gift of Generosity This Christmas

Time moves by very quickly. Where has 2022 gone? I  sincerely pray that the Lord’s rich blessing will be given to you and your families this Christmas. Christmas, is a time when we share gifts with one another. However, wisdom reminds us that the greatest gifts we all have aren’t necessarily wrapped up, or purchased […]

Christmas 2022 …. A time to Prioritise

In the northern hemisphere, Christmas comes in an extraordinary time of the year. In our most vulnerable and darkest days, we are invited to indulge in a light that is brighter than any darkness, in a hope that is greater than any fear, in a bigger picture, that reminds us “God so loved the world, […]

Advent.. A Time to be Patient

It should be no secret to anyone that we do not know the date of Christ’s birth, and so the Church baptised a Pagan feast. The Pagans saw the world as a great cosmic struggle between the powers of darkness, and the powers of light. They noticed that at different times, darkness seemed to be […]

Finding Balance on Social Media

Social media is a great thing. It’s a very clever use of technology which allows us to connect with a wide circle of people in many different locations all over the world. It’s a great way to get news, updates, and personalised information that you ordinarily wouldn’t get. However, there is a limit to its […]

The Weight of the Glass

The Art of Letting Go is about deciding to stop making the same mistakes and choosing to take a different path. It has been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I totally agree. When we hold onto things that weigh us down, that negativity turns […]

Ratheniska Children’s Choir Permission Form

Ratheniska Children’s Choir Consent Form The post Ratheniska Children’s Choir Permission Form appeared first on Portlaoise Parish.

Discern and change we must….

Recently, Cardinal Mario Grech, speaking in relation to the universal Synod warned against “The Danger of Keeping Silent”. The Synodal process is a time for speech, a time to let the voice of the Church speak and bring forward the issues, the problems that inhabit our Synodal Church. Last week Pope Francis, named Fr. Niall […]

Eternal Rest Grant To Them Lord…

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 […]

I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food……

Hunger is a problem that has plagued humanity for millennia, and it continues to haunt us. The United Nations and World Food Programme 2021 report, projected that between 720 and 811 million people in the world face starvation. Nearly one in 10 people in the world go to bed hungry each night. There are at […]

Lord Increase our Faith

Lord Increase our Faith You don’t just wake up one morning, light streaming in from the window, birds fluttering about, and jump from your bed with exuberance declaring “I have a faith!” No, it’s more like a slow crawl from your bed as you try to slam on the snooze button one last time. Getting […]

What Is Peace Of Mind

Peace of mind, is a feeling of being safe or protected, it is the absence of worry. It’s achieving a calm state of mind regardless of your situation and circumstances. The most important step to achieving peace is to acknowledge the fact that you have control over your mind, including your thoughts and how you […]

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 […]


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 […]