Friday, 27 August 2010


Mam in her beloved garden, unusually at rest.


The thirteenth anniversary of my mother's (Kathleen O'Shea) death takes place in a few days time (August 29th.), in some ways it seems like only yesterday and yet it could be a lifetime away ! One of the books she kept by her bedside was a slim volume of poetry by Patience Strong, and i have chosen this poem by her to remember the light and life of my very special mam.~GOSh.~


Death is not a sleep, but an awakening
to Life. Casting off the dreams of
darkness, sorrow, sin and strife-the soul
arising greets the glory of the morning ray
-faring forth into the promise of the golden
At the gate that swings between this world
and worlds above-stands the Angel of God’s
mercy with the lamp of love…. Fear not for
the spirit that has passed into the night.
Death is not sleep, but an awakening to

Patience Strong

This picture has a story. I had been on one of my frequent
jaunts to Ballyvaughaun deep in the heart of the Burren and
locked the keys into my car. A phone call home and a
couple of hours later Mother came to the rescue,
accompanied by her sister Bridie. As can be seen from the
photo they made the most of the inconvenience and
stayed to imbibe the bracing Atlantic air. ~GOSh.~



I have often written here about the late John Moriarty, philosopher and writer who spent his last days living at the foot of Mangerton Mountain in County Kerry. His charm was his personality as well as his mixture of profound ideas drawn from several world traditions though always seeming to draw back to a simple gospel fascination, and an intense appreciation of Christ's Passion. This fragment of an RTE documentary made a couple of years before his death gives a flavour of the man and his message. ~GOSh.~

Sunday, 22 August 2010



This is taken from a sermon preached by Dr. Shadrach Meshach Lockridge, Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, San Diego from 1953-1993. His powerful delivery here captivates the listener not alone through the wonderful truths spoken, but in the cadence and measured tones of the preacher. These few minutes of soul-truth are a perfect pick-me-up for the weary saint and downcast soul, listen to it often and rekindle the flame of the living God as you gaze on His Son, Jesus the King of Kings and Lord of Lords ! ~GOSh.~

Saturday, 21 August 2010



A radical call for a boycott of mass on September 26 th in protest at the authoritarian nature of the Catholic church has come from an unlikely quarter. Eighty year old Jennifer Sleeman whose son is a priest at Glenstal Abbey is so horrified at the way the church has dealt with women and the numerous sex scandals that she sounded the call last week to her sisters in the Faith to simply not attend mass on the last Sunday in September. The rebellious octogenarian from Clonakilty in County Cork called on the women of Ireland to “join your sisters on Sunday, September 26th. On that one day, boycott Mass. Stay at home and pray for change. We are the majority. We may have been protesting individually but unremarked on, but together we have strength and our absence, the empty pews, will be noticed.”

Luther hammers home the Reformation

Men are also welcome to participate in the boycott, she said. “It’s not just about Mná na hÉireann. But it’s for them, because they are frustrated.”

Her action comes at a time of general discontent from Catholics at the insensitive and autocratic response from the Vatican in recent months to the gathering storm of sex abuse amongst its clergy in Ireland. Could this be the beginning of a revolution in the pews against clericalism and Roman control of the Irish church. Traditional Protestantism threw off the shackles of Roman supremacy after the Reformation at a time when the Vatican’s image was tarnished by numerous sexual shenanigans and the abominable practice of selling indulgences for suffering souls in Purgatory.

Knox was a prominent Scottish Presbyterian

Historians point back to the early Celtic Church which was independently organised without reference to Rome when Christianity became a shining jewel on this island and spread through missionary endeavour throughout the world. Perhaps this boycott call from Jennifer Sleeman may remind us of a time when the early Church looked to the Holy Spirit and God’s word for its guidance and not to the latest Papal pronouncement or Vatican Council. It is interesting to note that the woman at the heart of this controversy is herself a convert from Scottish Presbyterianism, a body committed to church democracy (ruling elders are elected by members of the congregation) and strict adherence to Biblical teaching. What a welcome development if this small step, could for the people of Ireland, be the first in a journey back to authentic New Testament Christianity. As I have said here before the tragedy of modern Ireland is not the disintegration of any single denomination, but the general perception that confuses the excesses of institutional Catholicism with the truth of the Gospel message as announced by Jesus and the Apostles. A return to authentic Christian experience based on the Gospels is really the only effective antidote to the dry bones of ‘religious practise’ which lye strewn about us.

Gerard O'Shea

Saturday, 14 August 2010



WILT Thou forgive that sin where I begun,

Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
For I have more.

Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallowed in a score?
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore ;
But swear by Thyself, that at my death Thy Son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore ;
And having done that, Thou hast done ;
I fear no more.

John Donne

John Donne (1572~1641) justly felt amply qualified to write on the subject of sin, as a convert to Anglicanism from Catholicism, as a sitting M.P., as someone who married a 17 year old in his thirties and who, had he lived, almost surely would have been elevated to the office of Bishop. He even took the slightly odd precaution of writing his own funeral sermon, ‘Death’s Duel’, concluding it thus, “There we leave you in that blessed dependency, to hang upon him that hangs upon the cross, there bathe in his tears, there suck at his wounds, and lie down in peace in his grave, till he vouchsafe you a resurrection, and an ascension into that kingdom which He hath prepared for you with the inestimable price of his incorruptible blood. Amen.”
His poem,’Hymn to God the Father’ is rewarded by a careful reading as he explores the full spectrum of holy disobedience from our inherited ‘original sin’ to those wayward practices that we “run through” He concludes his dark musings on a note of optimism, “But swear by Thyself, that at my death Thy Son / Shall shine as he shines now / And having done that…I fear no more.” ~GOSh.~

Tuesday, 10 August 2010



Here is the video evidence that a Bobfest did indeed take place on the eve of the songsters appearance in Thomond Park, at the Anglers Rest in Doonass. Featued above are two local musicians, Siobhain O Brien and Eamon Hehir waxing lyrically one of Bob's country flavoured numbers. So there, doubters everywhere take note and air out that old sleeping bag for the Bobfest 2011

Monday, 9 August 2010


Writers, Anne Rice(L) and Fay Weldon(Above)


In the last couple of weeks two prominent women in the literary world have grabbed the headlines with matters relating to faith and fellowship. Back in 1976 Anne Rice published her first novel, ‘Interview With The Vampire’, a book that enjoyed huge success in the ‘erotic horror’ genre, later in 1994 the book was made into a cult movie starring brad Pitt and tom Cruise. Rice went on to write several more volumes in her ‘Vampire Chronicles’ series all going to the top of the best seller lists. Boosted by the huge success of the screen version her debut novel has gone on to sell over 8 million copies to date.Then in October 2004 Rice announced through the pages of ‘Newsweek’ magazine that she henceforth would “write only for the Lord.” True to her word she subsequently published ‘Christ the Lord-Out of Egypt’, the first in a series chronicling the life of Jesus. In her memoir, ‘Called Out of Darkness’ she explained her return to Roman Catholicism and faith, “In the moment of surrender, I let go of all the theological or social questions which had kept me from God for countless years. I simply let them go. There was the sense, profound and wordless, that if He knew everything and that, in seeking to know everything, I’d been all my life, missing the entire point.”

In July of this year Anne Rice publicly renounced her dedication to the Roman Catholic faith yet maintaining her personal commitment to Christ. She explained this change of heart on her Facebook page, “ For those who care, and I understand if you don’t ; today I quit being ‘Christian’ or being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.” This reminds me of the encounter between the great Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi and Christian missionary E. Stanley Jones. Jones impressed with Gandhi’s knowledge of the New Testament asked, “Mr. Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?” Gandhi replied, “Oh, I don’t reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ.” And indeed any of us who have struggled with fellowship over the years can testify how difficult it is to live in harmony with many who follow the Lord. I have wrestled with this dilemma myself, trying to remain obedient to Jesus’ clear command that we are to love one another and ‘putting up’ with some of Gods most ‘peculiar’ people.
As I write this I full well realise that there is no more ‘peculiar’ disciple than I and I in turn have created multiple difficulties for my brothers and sisters ! Still, the plain commandment of Jesus does not allow us wriggle room in this regard, and John expounds the principle well in his epistle, “If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20) I am relieved that Rice’s personal faith in Jesus remains intact and leaving the monolith that is the Catholic church is no bad thing, but the imperative remains for her as for every believer to meet together, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)

Another well known lady in the literary firmament is Fay Weldon, the celebrated author and outspoken feminist. She came to faith through attending a traditional Anglican church after a visit from the Vicar started her on her journey to ‘belief’. Ten years ago at age 69 she was baptised at Saint Paul’s Cathedral. One spark that ignited this new found spiritual dimension in her life was when she was asked to write an introduction to the Book of Corinthians, Paul’s New Testament epistle. As she read the words of the Apostle she was struck by their relevance to her own life. She explains, “I was more or less converted by St. Paul. What he had to say was so new at that time, and yet still so relevant.” It’s encouraging to be reminded that the Word of God and the reality of Jesus can still transform even the stoutest unbeliever, a fact often overlooked as Christianity is being attacked as never before in a plethora of so called ‘scientific’ books attempting to consign ‘faith’ to the dustbin of human history. Titles such as ‘God Is Not Great’, ‘The God Delusion’ and ‘The Da Vinci Code’ scream that the end of Christianity is nigh, the stories of Rice and Weldon suggest otherwise.

Gerard O'Shea

Saturday, 7 August 2010


Relax… this rather terrifying notice spotted on
William Street in Limerick

is merely notifying customers that a tattoo
shop has moved to a new location..