Year of St. Joseph

Pope Francis proclaims a ‘Year of St Joseph’

In a new Apostolic Letter entitled Patris corde (With a Father’s Heart), Pope Francis describes Saint Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows.

The Letter marks the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaration of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To celebrate the anniversary, Pope Francis has proclaimed a special “Year of St Joseph,” beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2020 and extending to the same feast in 2021.

The Holy Father wrote Patris corde against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which, he says, has helped us see more clearly the importance of “ordinary” people who, though far from the limelight, exercise patience and offer hope every day. In this, they resemble Saint Joseph, “the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence,” who nonetheless played “an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”

A beloved, tender, obedient father

Saint Joseph, in fact, “concretely expressed his fatherhood” by making an offering of himself in love “a love placed at the service of the Messiah who was growing to maturity in his home,” writes Pope Francis, quoting his predecessor St Paul VI.

And because of his role at “the crossroads between the Old and New Testament,” St Joseph “has always been venerated as a father by the Christian people” (PC, 1). In him, “Jesus saw the tender love of God,” the one that helps us accept our weakness, because “it is through” and despite “our fears, our frailties, and our weakness” that most divine designs are realized. “Only tender love will save us from the snares of the accuser,” emphasizes the Pontiff, and it is by encountering God’s mercy especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation that we “experience His truth and tenderness,” – because “we know that God’s truth does not condemn us, but instead welcomes, embraces, sustains and forgives us” (2).

Joseph is also a father in obedience to God: with his ‘fiat’ he protects Mary and Jesus and teaches his Son to “do the will of the Father.” Called by God to serve the mission of Jesus, he “cooperated… in the great mystery of Redemption,” as St John Paul II said, “and is truly a minister of salvation” (3).

Welcoming the will of God

At the same time, Joseph is “an accepting Father,” because he “accepted Mary unconditionally” — an important gesture even today, says Pope Francis, “in our world where psychological, verbal and physical violence towards women is so evident.” But the Bridegroom of Mary is also the one who, trusting in the Lord, accepts in his life even the events that he does not understand, “setting aside his own ideas” and reconciling himself with his own history.

Joseph’s spiritual path “is not one that explains, but accepts” — which does not mean that he is “resigned.” Instead, he is “courageously and firmly proactive,” because with “Holy Spirit’s gift of fortitude,” and full of hope, he is able “to accept life as it is, with all its contradictions, frustrations and disappointments.” In practice, through St. Joseph, it is as if God were to repeat to us: “Do not be afraid!” because “faith gives meaning to every event, however happy or sad,” and makes us aware that “God can make flowers spring up from stony ground.” Joseph “did not look for shortcuts but confronted reality with open eyes and accepted personal responsibility for it.” For this reason, “he encourages us to accept and welcome others as they are, without exception, and to show special concern for the weak” (4).

A creatively courageous father, example of love

Patris corde highlights “the creative courage” of St. Joseph, which “emerges especially in the way we deal with difficulties.” “The carpenter of Nazareth,” explains the Pope, was able to turn a problem into a possibility by trusting in divine providence.” He had to deal with “the concrete problems” his Family faced, problems faced by other families in the world, and especially those of migrants.

In this sense, St. Joseph is “the special patron of all those forced to leave their native lands because of war, hatred, persecution and poverty.” As the guardian of Jesus and Mary, Joseph cannot “be other than the guardian of the Church,” of her motherhood, and of the Body of Christ. “Consequently, every poor, needy, suffering or dying person, every stranger, every prisoner, every infirm person is ‘the child’ whom Joseph continues to protect.” From St Joseph, writes Pope Francis, “we must learn… to love the Church and the poor” (5).

A father who teaches the value, dignity and joy of work

“A carpenter who earned an honest living to provide for his family,” St Joseph also teaches us “the value, the dignity and the joy of what it means to eat bread that is the fruit of one’s own labour.” This aspect of Joseph’s character provides Pope Francis the opportunity to launch an appeal in favour of work, which has become “a burning social issue” even in countries with a certain level of well-being. “there is a renewed need to appreciate the importance of dignified work, of which Saint Joseph is an exemplary patron,” the Pope writes.

Work, he says, “is a means of participating in the work of salvation, an opportunity to hasten the coming of the Kingdom, to develop our talents and abilities, and to put them at the service of society and fraternal communion.” Those who work, he explains, “are cooperating with God himself, and in some way become creators of the world around us.” Pope Francis encourages everyone “to rediscover the value, the importance and the necessity of work for bringing about a new ‘normal’ from which no one is excluded.” Especially in light of rising unemployment due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Pope calls everyone to “review our priorities” and to express our firm conviction that no young person, no person at all, no family should be without work!” (6).

A father “in the shadows,” centred on Mary and Jesus

Taking a cue from The Shadow of the Father — a book by Polish writer Jan Dobraczyński — Pope Francis describes Joseph’s fatherhood of Jesus as “the earthly shadow of the heavenly Father.”

“Fathers are not born, but made,” says Pope Francis. “A man does not become a father simply by bringing a child into the world, but by taking up the responsibility to care for that child.” Unfortunately, in today’s society, children “often seem orphans, lacking fathers” who are able to introduce them “to life and reality.” Children, the Pope says, need fathers who will not try to dominate them, but instead raise them to be “capable of deciding for themselves, enjoying freedom and exploring new possibilities.”

This is the sense in which St Joseph is described as a “most chaste” father, which is the opposite of domineering possessiveness. Joseph, says Pope Francis, “knew how to love with extraordinary freedom.  He never made himself the centre of things.  He did not think of himself, but focused instead on the lives of Mary and Jesus.”

Happiness for Joseph involved a true gift of self: “In him, we never see frustration, but only trust,” writes Pope Francis. “His patient silence was the prelude to concrete expressions of trust.” Joseph stands out, therefore, as an exemplary figure for our time, in a world that “needs fathers,” and not “tyrants”; a society that “rejects those who confuse authority with authoritarianism, service with servility, discussion with oppression, charity with a welfare mentality, power with destruction.”

True fathers, instead, “refuse to live the lives of their children for them,” and instead respect their freedom. In this sense, says Pope Francis, a father realizes that “he is most a father and an educator at the point when he becomes ‘useless,’ when he sees that his child has become independent and can walk the paths of life unaccompanied.” Being a father, the Pope emphasizes, “has nothing to do with possession, but is rather a ‘sign’ pointing to a greater fatherhood”: that of the “heavenly Father” (7).

A daily prayer to St Joseph… and a challenge

In his letter, Pope Francis notes how, “Every day, for over forty years, following Lauds [Morning Prayer]” he has “recited a prayer to Saint Joseph taken from a nineteenth-century French prayer book of the Congregation of the Sisters of Jesus and Mary.” This prayer, he says, expresses devotion and trust, and even poses a certain challenge to Saint Joseph,” on account of its closing words: “My beloved father, all my trust is in you.  Let it not be said that I invoked you in vain, and since you can do everything with Jesus and Mary, show me that your goodness is as great as your power.”

At the conclusion of his Letter, he adds another prayer to St Joseph, which he encourages all of us to pray together:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil.  Amen.


Reflections for Advent

Christmas in our Churches

Parish Pastoral Council – Preparing for Christmas Masses.
It is hoped that everyone who will be spending Christmas in our parish will be able to come to Mass for Christmas. As the parish plans for its Christmas celebrations, we are reminded that Masses are still restricted to Covid numbers and guidelines.
We want to ensure that everyone planning to attend a Christmas Mass will have the opportunity to do so in a safe and pleasant environment, for this to happen it will be necessary to book. Booking details below.
Of course, all masses will also be streamed live on the
Mass times are as follows:
Christmas Eve at 6pm and at 8pm. Christmas day at 10am and 12noon. Please note the new times to allow for Covid cleaning and safety.
Mass booking arrangements:
We are asking parishioners to inform us in advance and no later than Friday December 18th which Mass you and your family wishes to attend.
The Parish Pastoral Council have set up a dedicated mobile phone 083 0197873 and ask you to text your Family Name and the number from your household that will be attending, also state the Mass you are hoping to attend. Places at each mass will be granted on a first come bases. A member of the Pastoral Council will reply to your text confirming your place or advising you if the Mass of your choice has exceeded Covid numbers and advising you which other Masses are available.
We sincerely thank you for your co-operation during these strange times but grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas Masses together as best we can.
We would like to express our thanks and gratitude to our Covid stewards and cleaning volunteers for making this possible and both Covid 19 Teams are meeting on Tuesday evening at 8.00pm in Culfadda Church.

Christmas cards available to purchase…


Christmas Cards for sale. €2 each. Available from the Parochial House or following mass in Culfadda Church next Sunday.


.- It is a core tenet of the Catholic faith that demons are real, and as said in the St. Michael prayer, that they “prowl about the earth seeking the ruin of souls.”

As a lifelong Catholic, Italian journalist Fabio Marchese Ragona has always believed this. But he did not know he would one day write a book about it — until he witnessed an exorcism with his “own eyes” and a priest asked him to write about what he saw and learned.

“Many people think the devil is an invention of marketing,” Ragona told CNA. He wanted to tell the stories of real possessions and exorcisms not only to underline the reality and existence of Satan, but to show that “even our neighbor” can have problems with the demonic, he said.

In “My Name is Satan: Stories of Exorcisms from the Vatican to Medjugorje”, Ragona talks to exorcists to answer questions about the phenomenon and the Church’s response, and he tells the stories of ordinary people — plus cases that went all the way to the Vatican.

“Even the popes have performed some exorcisms, and some cardinals too,” Ragona said.

Venerable Pius XII

A story Ragona gives evidence for in his book is Venerable Pius XII’s attempts at exorcising Hitler.

“The concern of the Pope, according to witnesses, was also that of averting the protracted massacre against the Jews,” Ragona wrote. “And, perhaps driven by desperation, he had also attempted the extreme card of the ritual of liberation from the devil against the Fuhrer. An attempt that, however, did not have the desired effect.”

The fact that Pius XII had attempted to exorcise Hitler was first reported in 2006, when Vatican documents were released showing Pius XII had attempted a “long distance” exorcism of Hitler from his private chapel.

Famed Rome exorcist Fr. Gabriele Amorth, who died in 2016, told Vatican News in a 2006 interview he believed Hitler and the Nazis had been diabolically possessed.

“The Nazis were all possessed. All you have to do is think about what Hitler — and Stalin did,” Amorth said. “Almost certainly they were possessed by the Devil.”

Amorth, who was an exorcist in the Vatican for over 20 years, explained in that interview that a requirement for an exorcism is that it be carried out in the physical presence of the possessed person and with their consent, so “it’s very rare that praying and attempting to carry out an exorcism from a distance works.”

“Therefore trying to carry out an exorcism on someone who is not present, or consenting and willing would prove very difficult,” he said.

But that was not the only exorcism Pius XII attempted to carry out from the Vatican. Ragona told CNA that when researching his book, he uncovered documents showing the pope had also attempted an exorcism of sorts on the Italian Communist Party on the eve of the 1958 election.

Pius XII hoped to prevent the anti-Catholic communist party from winning the election. Almost a decade earlier, he had approved a decree from the Vatican’s doctrinal office declaring membership or support of the Italian Communist Party illicit for Catholics.

In a 1969 report, Pius XII’s nephew wrote that his uncle had been very anxious and had difficulty sleeping in the days leading up to the election. “In the three preceding days he also performed exorcisms,” Carlo Pacelli stated. He also noted that Pius XII had been praying and offering sacrifices and suffering for a good outcome to the election for three months before the vote.

In this case, the pope’s prayers were answered. The communist party lost the election to the Christian Democratic Party.

Benedict XVI and St. John Paul II

Ragona said he spoke to several exorcists who said “the devil was terrified of” St. John Paul II and of Benedict XVI.

Though there are personal accounts that the prayers of Benedict XVI may have helped liberate some people from possession, there is no evidence that he, as pope or before, ever carried out the Rite of Exorcism, Ragona said.

However, during Benedict’s pontificate, an elderly Indian cardinal did perform an exorcism in the guardhouse of the Swiss Guards, the book recounts.

A young Italian woman and her friends had attended a Mass offered by Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square, “and the devil immediately revealed himself.” As her friends looked for help for the woman together with some young guards, Cardinal Ivan Dias approached. He asked, in a severe tone, for a place to “pray for a soul,” and he was offered the guardhouse, which sits just outside the columns of the square.

According to an eyewitness, after an intense 20 minutes of prayers, the young woman appeared to have been freed, and left.

Benedict XVI, “despite never having received requests for exorcisms … fought against the devil on other planes,” Ragona said. “He fought and prayed for the souls in pain, he wrote and said very strong words, which opened eyes, which unleashed the fury of Satan.”

There is also testimony that St. John Paul II performed at least three exorcisms while pope: in 1982, 1984, and 2000. The book shares details of these moments as witnessed by the pope’s longtime photographer, Arturo Mari, and as testified to by Fr. Amorth.

According to reports, those of 1982 and 1984 were effective in permanently liberating the young women. But a third, which took place outside St. Peter’s Square after one of John Paul II’s general audiences in 2000, had some good effect, but did not succeed in liberating the girl, wrote Amorth.

“When he was still alive, John Paul II, in addition to practicing exorcisms, represented with his prayer a great disturbance for the father of lies,” Ragona wrote, “the devil, in practice, has always hated him and continues to hate him, first as Pope, now as a saint.”

Pope Francis

Ragona told CNA Pope Francis has never performed the Rite of Exorcism while pope, but he has prayed for the liberation of a possessed Mexican man, Angel V., who asked for his prayers.

Pope Francis’ first encounter with Angel was in May 2013. After offering a Mass in St. Peter’s Square, the pope went to greet the sick, including Angel. The man was accompanied by a priest, who explained to Francis that Angel was possessed by demons and in Rome for an exorcism. Pope Francis put his hand upon the man and prayed for him.

The man underwent several exorcisms in Rome but was not able to be liberated from the demons possessing him.

In 2015, Angel wrote to Pope Francis, recounting his story and asking for his prayers. Angel asked the Holy Father to let him know the time and day he would pray for him, so that he could undergo another exorcism in Mexico with the additional power of the pontiff’s prayers.

Thus, Pope Francis offered his morning Mass in the Santa Marta guesthouse for Angel on April 27, 2015, and again on May 13, 2015.

Ragona wrote that according to Angel’s spiritual director, he is not yet free of the four demons possessing him, but he is “a little better.” More than one exorcist has said the demons communicated during exorcisms they would not leave Angel until abortion is legalized throughout Mexico, but Ragona points out in the book that the demons may be lying. They also said Angel would be liberated Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, but not in what year.

Fr Michael Griffin

The life and death of a Galway priest is being remembered in the city this weekend. Fr Michael Griffin was lured from his home and subsequently killed by British forces, on this day a century ago.

His death convulsed the city, with thousands of mourners turning out to pay their respects at his funeral, just over a week later.

Fr Griffin responded to a call at his door, late on the night of 14 November 1920.

Neighbours reported seeing him leaving the property but when there was no sign of the priest the following day, concerns grew for his welfare.

Six days later, the 28-year-old’s body was found in a field near Bearna. He had been shot in the head.

After being lured by British forces to leave the house, it’s thought he was taken to Lenaboy Castle, on Taylor’s Hill, where Auxiliary forces were stationed. There, he was questioned and ultimately killed.

The abduction and murder of Fr Griffin came at a time when tensions were particularly high around Co Galway.

It is thought the attack was a reprisal for the killing of a local teacher, believed to have been a British informer, the previous month.

Galway historian, Tom Kenny, says Fr Griffin was effectively a marked man, after his name featured in correspondence being sent by the suspected informer to the British authorities.

“There had been several very nasty events locally in the weeks preceding the abduction, including the execution of the teacher, who had been given the last rites prior to his death. This immediately placed a number of priests, including Fr Griffin, under deep suspicion.”

The Black and Tans had warned the clergymen that they were under threat as a result.

On the night he left his home on Montpellier Terrace, Fr Griffin left the eucharist and holy oils behind.

An autopsy conducted on his body showed the priest had been killed soon after the abduction and had died as a result of a single shot to the temple.

People around Galway were horrified at the killing and turned out in their droves to pay respects to Fr Griffin, who was laid out in St Joseph’s Church on Presentation Road.

Exactly a century after his death, preparations are under way for a special mass to mark the anniversary of the killing. The table on which Fr Griffin reposed still stands in the sacristy and extensive refurbishment works at the church are due to be completed this week, ahead of a service celebrated by the Bishop of Galway, Brendan Kelly.

Photographs of the funeral cortège show the scale of the crowd in November 1920. Several hundred clerics and several thousand members of the public attended.

Tom Kenny says the killing made international headlines and was seen as an attack on the Catholic religion. The British Army and authorities initially denied any involvement in the incident.

He says that while nobody was tried for the murder, “six months later, a very senior military man finally admitted it was the Auxiliaries that had done it”.

One hundred years later, Fr Griffin’s legacy lives on in several aspects of Galway life. A GAA club was named in his honour, a local road bears his name and a memorial stands at the site where his body was located, close to the village of Bearna.


From rte news website

Every morning we wake, is a new opportunity..

Culfadda Church – Live Stream

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The following is a list of Defibillators in the Parish:-

1. The Travellers Rest Pub, Keash (eircode F56WY22)
2. Wards Shop, Keash (eircode F56YP11)
3. Higgins’ Lounge, Culfadda (F56NF72)
4. Dermot Casey’s house, Keash (F56WZ53)
5. John and Margaret Cryans house, Keash (F56YY44)
6. Sean Gallagher’s house, Culfadda to Gurteen road (F56KH61)
7. Jason Higgins’ house, Culfadda to Ballymote road (F56K722)
8. Anne Higgins’ house Culfadda to Boyle road (eircode F56EH29)
9. Pat and Rosaleen Walsh’s House, Ballymote to Gurteen road (F56N270)

Mass – Sunday, 11th October, 2020

As we are aware public mass is suspended once again, for the next number of weeks.

There are many options open to people to view mass electronically. The following are a few suggestions and no offence is meant to anyone by not referencing the many more options available.

Mass will be broadcast on the RTE News Channel at 14.15 (ie 2.15pm) on Sunday October 11th, 2020.

Ballymote Parish through Facebook – 11.30am

Kiltimagh Parish – daily mass can be accessed anytime of day or night through their website

There are many more options. The above are just a few.

We are presently exploring options within our own parish to electronically share Mass from keash and Culfadda. We hope to have more on this shortly….