Reflections for The Net

‘The Net ‘ is a monthly periodical published by Derry Diocese to which I belong. From 2021 to 2023, I was part of a panel of mostly laypeople who contributed reflections on a theme for the month selected by the editor. These contributions were generally bi-monthly but that did vary.

January 2023: God’s power works quietly in this world…but it is the true and the lasting power
What can I bring to Jesus?

Pope Francis and Bishop Donal have both reminded us, in our listening process, we are not trying to arrive at a solution that only reflects what we think would be best for us as individuals or our personal opinion of what is best for the Church; we are trying instead to discern what God wants for his Church. To me, that is a mirror of the question that Benedict posed except that instead of asking “What did Jesus bring?”, we should perhaps ask ourselves “What can I bring to Jesus?”


December 2022: Blessed are the Pure in Heart…
Purity is the commitment of a person’s whole life to God

We seem to live in a world where the increase in affluence has led to a decreasing spirit of generosity – many people don’t mind helping people so long as it doesn’t impact their own comfortable lifestyle. Mary didn’t worry about what she was giving up to fulfil God’s will; neither should we.


October 2022: Rest quietly on the heart of Jesus
Depth of our faith truly put to test and eventual reward truly earned in suffering

It [the Creeslough tragedy] has also thrown renewed focus on  the question we grapple with at times like this – “Why?” There is nothing new in that question; pain and suffering are often quoted by non-believers as the strongest possible argument against the very existence of God – why would an all-loving God allow good people to suffer?


July 2022: A Pilgrim Church… journeying with God and one another
Climbing the Mountain

The Synodal Pathway has not been quite so arduous in physical terms but it has certainly been demanding both in time and in mental energy, thinking about and discussing the various issues. Just like the night climb of Croagh Patrick, it can be difficult at times to see exactly where we are going and where to take the next step but there is an underlying confidence that we will complete the journey.


May 2022: Our Lady of the Way walks with us on our pilgrimage through life
What Mary went through gives her a very real understanding of our difficulties and problems

I believe that the things Mary went through herself give her a very real understanding of the difficulties and problems that we go through in our daily lives and that when we pray to her, she can respond to us as someone who knows first-hand the things we are undergoing and how we can sometimes wonder why God does these things to us.


March 2022: Who do you say I am?
God’s presence in me is as natural as breathing or eating

I can’t pinpoint exactly when God became an integral part of my life; I was born and raised a Catholic so God has always been there but in my teenage years, as many of my peers moved away from religion, my love of God and his importance to me became ever deeper; his presence in me became as natural as breathing or eating.


January 2022: Reflecting on the value of Catholic Education…
Overcoming sheer lack of interest in faith values a major challenge

In order to thrive, our Faith has to be part and parcel of what we are, an integral part of the lives we lead. That, to me, is the real challenge we face – getting our young people to realise the value that our Catholic Faith can add to their lives. If we can achieve that then, we will see a genuine appetite for a better understanding of that Faith and that appetite is surely what drives education and understanding.


December 2021: Gifting talents to parish family in thanksgiving to God…
If you have skills you are willing to share let your parish know

If you have any skills or experience that you are willing to share, then don’t wait for someone to come asking as there is sometimes a reluctance for others to approach us to do things for free that other people may pay us for doing. Let your parish know that are available and willing.


September 2021: Celebrating the Season of Creation
Through care for environment can we show youth that our Church still has a message for the world today?

As part of our Synodal Pathway journey, is it possible that in this area of care for our environment, we, the older generation in the Church, can allow the younger generation to stand up and tell us what we should be doing?


May 2021: Thoughts from across the Diocese on a synodal Church…
Walking together as foreigners

We need to find ways of showing that we truly are part of something very special, something that is more than the best that secularism has to offer.


April 2021: Reflections on Eucharistic Adoration and Divine Mercy
Divine Mercy and End of Life

At the same time, it is too easy to become so caught up with an act of apparent kindness, that it is considered as “mercy” without taking the wider context into consideration. It seems to me that the ‘Dying with Dignity’ Bill, currently being considered by the Irish Government, is one such example.


January 2021: Looking forward to the blessings of 2021 with hopeful hearts
Focusing on parish-as-family could really turn 2021 into special year Pope has called for

It is not, however, just our immediate families or our extended families. As Catholics, we are part of a much larger church family and especially our local parish family. Again, the importance of that family has been reinforced during lockdowns with the very high numbers of people who have engaged with Mass and other parish services online.