When he came to Ireland in 1979, Pope John Paul had not completed the first year of his ministry as Pope. This autumn we recall the twenty-fifth anniversary of that memorable visit and we pray that we may have the joy of greeting him once more in our country.
You would imagine it should be impossible to be bored in the twenty-first century. Satellite and cable bring an ever-increasing number of television channels; new mobile and wireless technology promise sound, text, pictures, video and email wherever we are; the endless possibilities of the Internet, now with a broadband connection, are becoming more and more available; music, news, information are constantly on tap. I-Pods and MP3s allow us to carry with us music to fill every silence. The strange thing is that, in the middle of so many options, people are as bored as they ever were.
The Church in Ireland is living through challenging times. A half a century ago, the great majority of people were convinced and practising Catholics. The older ones among us remember the sense of wonder and anticipation when, in January 1959, Blessed John XXIII called the Second Vatican Council, and expressed his hope for a new Pentecost in the Church. When Pope Paul VI presided over the Council for the first time he said it should be seen as “a new springtime which awakens, within the Church, immense energies and possibilities which are latent in people’s hearts”