Our Friary receives faith-filled guests

I am looking back on another busy week in Multyfarnham. The Christmas rush for our Mass bouquets meant we have extended our office hours from Tuesday and Friday to Tuesday to Friday inclusive – and the news is getting about. So much so, in fact, that we ran out of our first batch of cards and had to order eighteen hundred more.

Thank God, the good people in DWM cards were on the ball and delivered the parcels swiftly. Thanks also to our devoted volunteers who are giving their time to running the office with their usual cheerful diligence.

Tuesday was exceptionally busy all day, leading up to the evening devotions in honour of St Anthony, with over sixty clients of the saint in attendance, not to mention the additional numbers watching on webcam. Fr John led the communal singing, while I acted as main celebrant.

Today (Saturday) the friary hosted a meeting of a group of men for a time of retreat. This was organised by Fr Pierre of Rathowen, with some lay helpers and attended by some thirty participants.

Among the speakers was Mickey Harte, the former manager of the Tyrone Gaelic football team, whose daughter Michaela was murdered on her honeymoon some years back. He spoke of his deep faith, deriving from a devout family upbringing in the fifties in Northern Ireland, centring on Mass, Adoration, and the Rosary.

Another invited speaker was Capuchin friar, Bryan Shortall, who is national director for the Padre Pio Devotion, who addressed the men on the life of this popular saint. How good it is to see so many, mostly young men, taking a stand for their faith in the current secular atmosphere!

We have just been notified by the Provincial authorities that the friars in England, who are now a very small group, will be subsumed into the Irish Province – another sign of dwindling numbers due to lack of vocations and rising age profile; and all this, after hearing of the closure of two our houses, Athlone and Clonmel! May the Good Lord send more labourers to his harvest.

Still we must rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice, for the Lord is coming!

Kieran ofm