People who have faith today know that they are frequently brushing up against others who don’t believe – this is most markedly true in cities. This can bring home to them that belief is a gift from God, and that they have been chosen by him. It may also lead them to evaluate its importance. But those who are wavering may wonder if they are carrying a burden, while others are freer! However, with calmer awareness the view can be arrived at that there is nothing in life as enriching as faith. As far as appearance goes in ordinary living there is little difference between those who believe and those who do not. Still, their behaviour at times may vary.
Now 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.
As the grace-filled Eucharistic Congress in the royal Dublin Society entered its final three days, on Friday 15 June – the Feast Day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus – Professor Timothy T O’Donnell, President of Christendom College, Virginia, gave an inspiring talk on the theme, ‘Eucharist and Devotion to the Sacred Heart’ to a packed workshop at the Royal Dublin Society.
“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so,” declared Shakespeare through the mouth of Hamlet. Not only was he writing as a dramatist, he was speaking as a prophet, at least if some recent research is reliable. A study from Brunel University, West London, found that people are less likely to consider something dishonest if they have done it themselves. An online test of some 15,000 volunteers indicated that attitudes to honesty are so divergent that legal standards for right and wrong need revision. People’s views on what dishonest behaviour is are so varied there’s concern that – in good Shakespearean fashion – jurors’ ‘thinking’ might make something good bad, or something bad good and adversely affect the outcome of criminal trials.
Stephen Redmond SJ recalls the life of Alfred Delp, a member of the 'Kreisau Circle', (so-called by the Gestapo), a group opposed to the Nazi regime and all it stood for.
We here, one might ask without, maybe, much hope of a positive response, would one find a prima donna who is also a Pioneer? Well, the answer is actually quite easy. Just go to Caragh, near Naas in County Kildare and there you will find soprano Celine Byrne in the place she loves and lives with her husband, Tom Deans, and their three children, Noël, Ciana and Cillian.
Recently I spent some time with an elderly person who was dying. He mentioned that he was having weird nightmares at night. This made me think that at such a time the onslaught of temptation might be very strong. And I pondered would I or others be able to withstand this at such an hour. No doubt we prepare ourselves for this critical time, when we make the petition, 'And lead us not into temptation’ in the Our Father.
Dermot Fagan is from Killucan Pioneer Centre in County Westmeath. Active through the youth structures of the Association from an early age, he was chairperson of the Pioneer Youth Committee from 2003 to 2006 and was a delegate on the Pioneer Board of Management from 2003 until 2012. In 2010 his MSc thesis went on to be published as a journal article co-authored by Dr. Shane Butler, TCD entitled ‘What Are We About?’ – an organisational study of the Pioneer Association in present day Ireland. Here, Dermot interviews his friend and colleague in the Pioneer Association – Patricia Gallagher .
FR D VINCENT TWOMEY SVD, Professor Emeritus of Theology, St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Co. Kildare
John Henry Cardinal Newman was one of the greatest Catholic thinkers of recent centuries. His influence on the present Pope goes back to Ratzinger’s early days as a seminarian in Freising (Bavaria), when, after living through the horrors of Nazism, he began his study of theology in January 1946. His Prefect at the time was researching his dissertation on Newman’s theology of conscience and encouraged those under his charge to read the writings of the great English theologian.
GERMÁN (pronounced Herman) MAZUELO-LEYTÓN tells how from very simple beginnings in the 1980s, the Pioneer Association is now making an impact on life in his Latin American country, Bolivia.
On the occasion of the Centenary of the Pioneer Association I was invited to say a few words at a meeting of Pioneers from all over the world in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth in June 1999. I remember saying on that memorable occasion that the Association came to birth in Bolivia, when we became aware that there was a charism missing to the Mystical Body of Christ in our country, namely that of the Pioneers. Every time I reflect on the origins of the Association in Bolivia, I become more and more amazed by the fact that the Lord’s Hand has continually guided both its establishment and its continuation.
Fr Francis M Browne SJ (1880 – 1960)
Fr Browne, a committed Pioneer and companion of our founder, Fr Cullen, gave frequent talks on the Association and contributed articles and photographs to this magazine in the 1950s. Widely regarded as one of the great photographers of the world, we present this obituary published at the time of his death in 1960.
The woman opposite me on the Cork-Dublin morning express on 8th September 2011 was busy on her mobile phone for practically the whole journey. I kept my head buried in my book and tried to mind my own business. I must confess that I figured that organising after-noon tea in the Westbury or arranging a golf four-some could be done with a lot less communication. Wisely, I said nothing. As we were entering Heuston Station, she turned off the phone and began to relax. I ventured a non-committal comment. "You managed to get through a fair bit of business." She agreed indicating that her interest was a project involving hundreds of people in the streets of Kolkatta. Hence, this account of the extraordinary work of Maureen Forrest and her many friends.
Giving up chocolate? Deleting your Facebook account? We all choose to mark Lent in different ways and more often than not focus on abstaining from something we enjoy, but is this always good for us? NICHOLAS AUSTIN SJ explores how our attempts at an ascetic way of life for forty days each year can go wrong if our motivations are not rooted in the wisdom of the Christian tradition. How can we rediscover the virtue of asceticism?
So what have you decided to give up for Lent? We often we hear that the important thing is not to give something up, but to do something positive. But it’s strange, isn’t it, that the feeling still sticks that Lent is really about giving up stuff? Giving up chocolate, giving up alcohol, giving up desserts, giving up cigarettes, giving up TV, giving up meat on Fridays….
For better or worse, we tend to ask ourselves not ‘What am I going to do, in a positive way, for Lent?’ but ‘What am I going to give up?’ So why are we so fixated on fasting, abstaining, giving stuff up?
Life isn’t fair. Tragedies happen and people let us down. Whether it is a death of a child or your friend betraying a confidence, it can be difficult to let go of the past. The Serenity Prayer can help. It is a simple but practical prayer that can help us keep from looking back to the past and move on to a positive and peaceful future.
We Pioneers are in a process of examining our roots as we face into the challenges of the Third Milllennium. This requires a sustained effort to explore in depth the charism, a special gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church, which led Fr. James Cullen to found the Pioneer Association in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. According to the teaching of the Servant of God, Pope Paul VI, this effort will help us identify what is to be done to adapt our Association to the demands of the twenty-first century. Obviously, there are things that are obsolete today and have to be changed. However there are aspects of the Association that will never change. Fr Cullen was convinced that an association based on prayer: abstinence and public witness in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus could make a valuable contribution to life in society. This is as valid today as in his lifetime.
When evil things happen in life we may ask where God is. Why doesn’t he prevent wars and famines? Why does he allow people to do bad things to each other? But if we expect accountability from God we don’t really know what we’re asking for, suggests TOM CAHILL SVD
Luke’s Gospel portrays Jesus as a miraculous healer We, his followers, are healers too. But our focus is the miracle of healthy relationships, suggests Tom Cahill SVD
An atheist once asked a priest: "Do you honestly believe that Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish?" The priest gave an answer he thought the question deserved, and rep|ied: "I don`t know, sir; but when I get to heaven I’ll ask him." Not satisfied with that, the atheist persisted: "But suppose he isn't in heaven, then what?" The priest replied dryly: "Then, you ask him."
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