Thursday May 16th 2019 Feast Day of St Brendan.
I encourage all parishes to honour the Feast Day of St Brendan each year. This year I will be in Dingle celebrating Confirmation. Our tradition of St Brendan is a wonderful heritage reaching back fifteen centuries. Notice the places in your parish which bear his name. Notice the artwork in our churches depicting St. Brendan. These may include sculptures, icons or stained glass. Notice their particular themes.
The icon that Canon Pat Horgan commissioned for the diocese always speaks to me of hope and courage. St Brendan is stepping onto the boat and facing the great seas, facing the unknown and the dangerous. His passion is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with whoever he meets. His message is the same message that Pope Francis sums up in the following paragraphs taken from his recent Post-Synod Exhortation to Young People, ‘Christ is Alive’.
Christ is Alive! He is our hope, and in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world, and everything he touches becomes young, new, full of life. The very first words, then, that I would like to say to every young Christian are these: Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive! (1)
He is in you, he is with you and he never abandons you. However far you may wander, he is always there, the Risen One. He calls you and he waits for you to return to him and start over again. When you feel you are growing old out of sorrow, resentment or fear, doubt or failure, he will always be there to restore your strength and your hope. (2)
The very first truth I would tell each of you is this: “God loves you”. It makes no difference whether you have already heard it or not. I want to remind you of it. God loves you. Never doubt this, whatever may happen to you in life. At every moment, you are infinitely loved. (112)
Perhaps your experience of fatherhood has not been the best. . . . But what I can tell you, with absolute certainty, is that you can find security in the embrace of your heavenly father, of the God who first gave you life and continues to give it to you at every moment. He will be your firm support, but you will also realize that he fully respects your freedom. (113)
Share the message of ‘Christ is Alive ’and encourage people to read it online. Our young people are bright, talented, full of life and they have so much to offer to the world. We are called to do all we can to reach out in faith, hope and love to them. I am mindful of all youth who are in education: those who recently received the Sacrament of Confirmation; those transferring to third level education; and our young adults moving from education into the world of work. Facing exams can be so stressful and unsettling. All young people need a share of the Christian hope and courage of St Brendan. God bless all young people throughout the diocese.
Bishop Ray Browne
Diocese of Kerry