Journey into Advent with Irish Chaplaincy
Journey into Advent – a time of Taizé music, reflections and silence in preparation for the great season of Advent.
Friday 30th November 2018 6-6:45 pm
Our Lady Help of Christians, 4 Lady Margaret Rd, Kentish Town NW5 2XT
St Mildred’s Church in Canterbury was packed full for a celebration of the life of a great friend of mine, Denise Rigden. And in honour of a woman who almost every day wore party dresses, fancy shoes and a flower in her hair, the invitation had been for us to dress as if coming to a wedding. Continue Reading
As a native of Liverpool, with Wexford roots from my maternal grandfather, I grew up with stories of the family farm back in Ferns, and stories of my grandfather, Henry Gahan, a Liverpool man, who was a veteran of the trenches of World War One.
As a member of the Royal Engineers, he would crawl out into no man’s land-that very dangerous space between the British and German trenches-to try and intercept German messages on their telephone lines. However, at the end of 1916, as a result of the wet conditions of the trenches, he became ill and was discharged from the army and returned to his job as a post office telegrapher in Liverpool.
A hundred years ago on 11 November 1918, he was on duty in Liverpool’s main post office, in his role as a telegraphist. He was responsible for receiving and sending messages via morse code-a series of dots and dashes-along radio lines, one of the main methods of electronic communications a century ago.
My wife and I were staying with friends in Liverpool and Paul was telling us about his voluntary work as Chair of the St Bart’s & Friends Community Sponsorship Scheme, by which careful preparations are made for the welcome of a Syrian refugee family into a parish. Paul mentioned the excellent input the group had received from Sean Ryan of Caritas Salford who is the national lead for the scheme. “Sean the musician?” I asked. It was indeed the same Sean that I had been in Rome with a few weeks ago for the Caritas Leadership Week and with whom I’d enjoyed a couple of great sessions of music. Continue Reading
Mass with the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference in the magnificent St Patrick’s Chapel at Maynooth was the start of a 5 night trip that would take me across Ireland, up a holy mountain, and finishing with a fundraising walk with two Gaelic footballers and a bishop, among others. Continue Reading
Matthew came to see us last week. He spent a whole day in our office. We had quite a bit for him to do because another regular volunteer was taking a well deserved break. Among other things, Matthew prepared 50 Information Packs for Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas. Each pack needs envelopes which are pre-stamped. These are sent out to prisoners who are new to us. They contain a large colourful map of Ireland and a poster with Irish pictures to brighten up a prison cell. Our latest ICPO Newsletter https://www.icpo.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Newsletter.pdf
We have contact information for our services and other organisations which people may need. Pur packs tell people what we can and cannot do for them. We have over 250 new people every single year so our Information Packs are a very important resources. If they are not ready and waiting then our extremely busy caseworkers have to stop what they are best at, go to print and prepare the information packs themselves. It is extremely frustrating and time consuming to have to do this. So we’ve made it a challenging but rewarding task for our volunteers and despite it being a very boring tedious job, Matthew does it more cheerfully than most.
He makes sure to enjoy a chat and some music to lighten the load. The time saved by a volunteer doing this means our caseworkers ensure that the continuous requests and letters which need responses get done efficiently and with the least interruption possible.
Matthew loves working with us as a volunteer and we love Matthew’s work because it allows us to do our jobs better. Thank you Matthew! Go raibh míle maith agat!
Our latest Traveller in Prison Newsletter TIPN September 2018
Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month 2018
Celebrations for Gypsy Roma Traveller History month went on around many prisons in England and Wales. The Traveller Equality Project attended events in HMP Thameside, HMP Highdown, HMP Chelmsford and HMP Erelstoke to name a few. All events were well attended and celebrations included
traditional meals, music, story telling and socialising. GRTHM coincides with Appleby Fair and this too was a fantastic event attended by many.
Appleby-in-Westmorland is a market town in Cumbria, north-west England and has been host to the fair since 1775. The picture above displays some of the horses that were at the fair this year. The fair was well received in the media this year, with many national newspapers reporting on the positives of the fair, the beauty of the horses and the fun had by all. If you celebrated Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month in your prison, please get in touch and let us know what you did.
I get the chance through my work to meet a lot of great people, in some interesting places (from prisons to palaces), and the Caritas Leadership Week near Rome did not disappoint. We were a group of fifty, representing a range of Catholic charities and dioceses in England and Wales, staying at Villa Palazzola, a 13th century Cistercian monastery perched above a volcanic lake, Lago di Albano, and according to the website ‘Rome’s best kept secret’. Continue Reading