Pioneer magazine

mag 250x150Now in its sixty-ninth year, Pioneer magazine is a favorite in many families. With articles on Spirituality, personalities, short stories, a crossword and games, there is something to appeal to everyone. Below find some of the recent articles and some of the highlights from the past.

Louis and Zélie Martin: Saints of a Saint

october2015On 27 June, during a consistory of bishops Pope Francis formally approved the canonisation of Louis and Zélie Martin the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. He announced that the ceremony would take place on Mission Sunday, 18 October 2015 during the Synod on the Family, writes SR THÉRÈSE MARIE OCD

St Peter:Teaching Us to Start Again

SeptembercoverSt Peter is a much-loved saint, perhaps because he often got things spectacularly wrong.  His mistakes, well-recorded in the Gospels, are there for all to see, writes SUSAN GATELY

Coach for our Lives: The Holy Spirit

july-augustcover2015Fr. Brian Cavanaugh TOR reflects on the role of the Holy Spirit in our journey through life.

Have you ever asked yourself, ‘What is the role of the Holy Spirit? What is the Holy Spirit’s function in my life? And, how do I respond to the Holy Spirit’s inspiration?’ These were questions I reflected upon for some time. The symbol of the Holy Spirit as a dove just left me searching for an image I could grasp; something I could relate to and comprehend. Yes, I could recite the Church’s teachings on the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Trinity, but something was not connecting in my understanding. Talking with others it seemed that the role and function of the Holy Spirit is often not comprehended, especially as to how the Holy Spirit affects my life and how I am to respond. Saint John Paul II, in preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Third Millennium, wrote the Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveni ente (November 10, 1994). He asked that the three years prior to the millennium be devoted, one year each, to reflections on each person of the Trinity. These papal exhortations stirred something within me, and my reflections began to coalesce into an image of the Holy Spirit that I could grasp. In this article, I will share you how I journeyed to this personal understanding. A word of note: following are my own personal reflections on the function and role of the Holy Spirit. They are not intended to be theological statements; any errors in thought or conclusion are my own.

The Fifth President of the PTAA

Junecover2015Pioneer meets the new President of the Pioneer Association: James Shelvin, from Glinsk in County Galway.

I am honoured, privileged and absolutely delighted to have been elected as the fifth President of the PTAA. I was the only child of Charlie and Annie Shevlin. My father was from near Killybegs in County Donegal and my mother was from Glinsk in County Galway. They met and married in Manchester and I was born there. My parents returned from England when I was just six months old and I have lived in Glinsk ever since. I am married to Carmel and I have three sons - Kevin, Damien and Aidan, a grand-daughter, Jaimie and two grandsons, Donnacha and Adam.

The Struggling World of Marriage

maycover2015When we think on this theme, we tend to see a wider perspective – many kinds of partnership, temporary arrangements and casual encounters. We may wonder how is Christian marriage possible in today’s world? And yet there are many good examples of it. We are impressed by the efforts some go to, to get this right – while others view the matter much more casually


april2015The Pioneer Prayer, offered to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and featured at the top of this page, says it all. This prayer has been at the heart of the Association since the Founder, Fr Cullen, first composed and wrote it down in the presence of the Administrator of St Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast on the eve of St Patrick’s Day, 1889. Since that day, it has never required further modification.


march2015coverFR BERNARD J MCGUCKIAN SJ outlines some aspects of the life of St Francis Xavier, the ‘Apostle of the Indies’ and how his memory remains fresh in the minds of those who pray through his intercession and who honour him especially in the annual Novena of Grace.

Forgiveness - The Keystone of Human Values

february2015coverFr BRIAN CAVANAUGH, TOR concludes his article on forgiveness

Maybe it’s the Franciscan influence, but I find that the world of Creation abounds with noteworthy lessons for life, if we only learn to pay attention to them. Did you know that shrimp are considered ectoskeletons? That is, they wear their skeletons on the outside of their bodies, and some have been known to discard their shells as many as twenty-six times during a lifetime. They need to shed their shells to accommodate their growing bodies.

Forgiveness - The Keystone of Human Values

january2015coverForgiveness begins with grace, yet it comes to fruition only through a lot of hard, and often painful, work. This article is the result of a number of years of using this topic as the second in a series of programmes for parish mission retreats, writes  Fr BRIAN CAVANAUGH, TOR

St. Teresa of Avila

december2014coverOn 15 October the Carmelite Order began a year of Celebration to mark the fifth centenary of the birth of St Teresa of Avila. She was born on Wednesday 28 March 1515 at 5 o’clock in the morning, and the year of celebrations will run until her feast day in 2015, writes SR MARIE THÉRÈSE FROST

THEOBALD MATHEW: Temperance ‘Precursor’ to Fr Cullen

novembercover2014A ‘Who’s Who’ of Ireland’s great benefactors will rarely nowadays include a biography of Fr Theobald Mathew. His enormous achievements and legacy will be skipped over, as if to minimise the enduring impact of his endeavours to help the Irish extricate themselves from the heartbreak and sorrow of addiction to alcohol, writes  PAULA MURRAY


october2014coverFrancis our Pope decided to call an Assembly of Bishops to look carefully at the state of marriage in the Church and, with it, family life. He wanted to know how the faithful people of God thought and felt about all these issues. The plan was that the dioceses, worldwide, were all to engage their people in a survey to find out.

Build a Bridge

September2014ALAN MOWBRAY SJ writes on the relationship between service and reconciliation, and how we can play our part and imitate a humble Christ in reaching out to each other.


july-august2014PATRICK P ROWAN recalls the life and times of Canadian Brother Andre, canonised by our current Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI in 2010

He was a poor boy in a large family, who received very little education and, later, he became a lay brother in the Congregation of the Holy Cross. During his lifetime, he was credited with thousands of miraculous cures and after he died one million people attended his obsequies. Then in 2010, he was canonised. In religious context, he was known as Brother Andre.

The Late Vocation

junecover2014ESTHER ANNE GUCKIAN describes the events that led to her taking a vow of abstinence from alcohol, and how this eventually inspired her to become a full member of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association.

Single Ticket to Heaven

maycover2014Maisie Ward, in her book, The Splendour of the Rosary tells how she was a nurse at the height of the Battle of Britain as bombs were raining down on London. An air-raid warden was carried bleeding and broken into the hospital. In the darkness, she took out her Rosary beads and began to pray. The young man reached out his blood-stained hand and said: “Let me touch it. It's something to hold on to!”