TO KNOW AND LOVE JESUS MORE AND MAKE HIM BETTER KNOWN AND LOVED
I was introduced to Charismatic Renewal before I was ordained. However, it wasn’t until I was baptised in the Holy Spirit some years after ordination that I felt my priesthood transformed. Being a priest is the joy of my life and I love ministering in parish and throughout the diocese. You can read how my dream for a group of apostles has been realised in ‘The 12’ in the welcome to this site.
Through the ministries of ‘The 12’ many people have been brought into a real and loving relationship with Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Being part of these ministries, whether it is Life in the Spirit Seminars, Unbound- Freedom in Christ Ministry, Called & Gifted or just taking time to listen to and pray with people is a great privilege and I feel so blessed to be part of this wonderful group of Intentional Disciples of the Lord. Our Mission is ‘to know and love Jesus more, to make Him better known and loved’ and this is my mission as a priest – to help more and more people experience the love and mercy of God which is far beyond our understanding.
To those of you reading this who feel lost, alone, sinful or unwanted I say, the Lord loves YOU! Come home to Him! He is waiting for You! If you feel lost I challenge you to pray, ‘Lord, please find me’. He Will!
I was born beside St. Brigid’s Shrine, outside Dundalk; a place sanctified with the prayers of pilgrims down the ages. The shrine and its environment was my playground and place of prayer for the first eight years of my life, until we moved to Haggardstown on the southern side of Dundalk. I believe Faughart was for me a place of sanctity and mystery that had a profound effect on my young soul. My parents were wonderful people of faith, who worked hard to rear eleven children and bring them up in the faith. My brothers and sisters are wonderful people who have loved and supported me over the years.
I grew up at that time in our history when God was presented as the God who kept note of my faults and failings – all was written in His book! However, by the time I was eleven and I started to learn about Jesus in the Gospel, I became fascinated with this Man who stood up for the forgotten and outcast, who defended and saved the woman who was going to be stoned, and spoke up for the sinful woman who cried tears over His feet. Gradually Jesus became that special Someone around whom my life revolved – He was and is my Friend.
That is not to say I was always His. As I look back I am reminded of Francis Thompson, who wrote,
“I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears I hid from Him”.
At times it seemed as if He had to bring me back ‘kicking and screaming’ as God did His wayward people in the desert many centuries ago.
I believe I am home now or coming home at least. It is a daily journey of choices. Being a member of ‘The 12’ has been a great gift to me and I have learned so much from each member of our group. They have taught me about fidelity to daily prayer as well as outreach to my brothers and sisters especially those who are in need of any kind. I feel privileged to be part of the ministries of ‘The 12’ and helping people come into relationship with God, is always wonderful.
I have five wonderful brothers. I was blessed to be born into a stable catholic family who loved and cared for all my needs and never neglected my spiritual growth nurturing my faith at my level of understanding. I was baptised the day after I was born and named in honour of our blessed mother.
In due time I was prepared by family, teachers and priests to received the sacraments of confession, communion and confirmation.
Having completed my education I was blessed to begin working and I became more independent taking responsibility for the decisions I had to make about my life style.
One of my first decisions was to become a pioneer thankfully I have always remained faithful to my promise.
Later I met James Maguire my God given gift to accompany me through life and as we prepared to celebrate the sacrament of matrimony I was aware that this was our choice we were both adults and nobody else was taking on this commitment.
In our life together we continued to give God His place attending Holy Mass praying the Rosary and reaching out and sharing with others in their times of need.
I have always been active in building the Kingdom Of God here on earth working in many fields in His vast domain.
One decisive moment in my faith journey was when I received the baptism in the spirit and I became more alive and active in my witness of how God The Holy Spirit was making use of a mere humble creature like me in the big plan of His Church, recalling the words I have no hands no feet no voice but yours.
As a member of THE 12 I share my charisms for the uplifting of others to encourage them to seek through reading the scriptures daily the guidance of the Holy Spirit to live our mission statement.
I worked in the Health Service Executive for a number of years and retired in May 2008. I went on to study for a Certificate in Theology in Milltown College Dublin which I undertook on a two-year part-time basis.
I subsequently undertook two Units of Clinical Pastoral Education in the Mater Hospital Dublin. Clinical Pastoral Education is the training ground for Lay Chaplaincy and other vocations also.
I have been involved in many areas of service in my local Parish, St. Patrick’s Parish, Dundalk, Co. Louth.
I was a member of the Parish Pastoral Council from 2007 to 2013. I was a member of St. Patrick’s Parish Baptismal Team from it’s inception in April 2008 for approximately 7 years.
I was a member of the R.C.I.A. Team in the Parish during that period also. I joined the Children’s Liturgy Team in 2013 and am still involved as a Facilitator with this group. I am a Reader of The Word in our Parish on a weekly basis and this Ministry has greatly enriched my life. I have gained great strength and so many blessings in my personal life having finally said ‘Yes’ in answer to God’s call in my life to be a Reader of His Word; ‘In giving We receive’.
As a member of ‘The 12’ I am called to go out and evangelise and we as a group aspire to bring God’s forgiveness, freedom, healing, joy and wholeness to all we meet . Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News.
My Good News is that I personally have experienced God’s love, mercy, compassion and accompaniment in both the dark times and the happier times in my life. I experienced God’s love and acceptance of me, at times when I could not accept or love myself. God is healing my brokenness and I am becoming whole again. This is the reason why I personally want to spread the Good News. God loves each and every one of us unconditionally and He is ever present in each of our lives. Sometimes we need to be reminded of this.
I was brought up in a traditional Catholic family by hardworking loving parents who instilled in us love for the truth, compassion, trust in the Lord and respect for the Church and authority. It took me some time to realise how fortunate we were to have received this firm foundation for life.
However as time went on, I had to unlearn some of the narrow, less inclusive attitudes that I had absorbed early on. Being a mother of four teenagers I knew I needed a fuller understanding of my faith for their sake. Since then I have been searching. When the Soil for the Seed programme started in Dundalk in 2007 I felt I had found a really good avenue to adult faith formation. Maybe it was only then that I was ready for it!
With the Twelve I am privileged to see how generously the Lord responds when we make room for Him in our lives. Among other programmes the Unbound: Freedom in Christ ministry (a gentle healing prayer ministry that helps people explore the barriers to their peace of mind and spirit) brings amazing relief and is a joy to witness. I enjoy the variety in our work and how it is continually developing as well as the time spent together in prayer and discussion. Please God that we may continue so that I can give something back for the very many blessings I have received.
I grew up in a strong Catholic family. I was an only child and my parents instructed me well in the Catholic faith. However, by the time I was in my late teens I was just going to Mass on Sundays and was about it with regard to faith practice. I was a bored Catholic!
In September 1990, I began studying the Bible with Jehovah Witnesses and shortly afterwards I left the Catholic faith and joined the Jehovah Witnesses. This was in my early twenty’s. I was with them for fifteen years – until 25th September 2005, when I attended Mass celebrated by Fr. Gerard McGinnity in St. Mary’s Church, Knockbridge. It was an anniversary Mass for my parents. During the Mass I was completely transformed inside. I was converted back to the Catholic faith. My wonderful spiritual journey began that day.
My relationship with God started to grow and I wanted to please Him. It took time. It didn’t happen all at once. After a while I found myself going to Mass more often until I attend most days. I also had a desire for regular Confession. I learned more and more about my faith and the importance of putting God first in my life. A few years later I met Fr. Gerry Campbell who taught me much.
Before this I had never heard of Unbound: Freedom in Christ Ministry. For me it was another new experience – one not to be forgotten. This is a ministry I would advise everyone to experience. I became part of this ministry as an intercessory for the recipients and the minister. I witnessed the peace and freedom in people who had received this ministry.
Just over a year ago, Fr. Gerry invited me to become a member of ‘The 12’. As a member I am still learning new things and it feels great to be a part of this group. For me it is like being part of another family. We all care about each other and pray for each other, and look forward to our time together every month.
I am kept busy all the time with my home life and my ministry. I enjoy being at home with my husband Stephen as well as our many pets. I love cats in particular. I also enjoy cycling, walking and eating out.
I thank God for blessing me in so many ways along the journey of life.
Fr. Gerry asked me to join ‘The 12’. I prayed about this request and I felt the Lord Jesus was calling me on this journey. I was commissioned by Cardinal Brady on 12/12/12. As part of ‘The 12’ I have discovered my charisms and talents. Commitment to the group is very important to me as is loyalty and support of the other members. I see that we all have been given charisms and talents to build up the Body of Christ. As a group we are focused and we strive towards the same goal. In our meeting we share our charisms, our knowledge and insights and by discerning together we set our focus and plans for ministry.
As a member of ‘The 12’, I have grown spiritually. I have gained much from our training, retreats and mutual support. I also have a spiritual director – a requirement as a member. Spiritual direction has kept me focused.
I believe as a Disciple of Jesus we must step out of our comfort zones. Proverbs 1:25 says “A generous soul will be made rich and he who waters will also be watered himself.” This is what I try to do as a member of ‘The 12’. The generosity of other members inspires me as does our Mission Statement: To Know and Love Jesus more, to make Him better known and loved.”
I am a member of both Armagh Holy Spirit Prayer Group and Monaghan Prayer Group. As part of my work with ‘The 12’ I help found the Armagh Holy Spirit Prayer Group.
I married Anna a very loving and dedicated Catholic, and over time through her example I became aware of just how selfish my behaviour was. I could see that she was very much in the light in her relationship with God and other people, while I was very much in the dark. Her prayer life, her relationship with Jesus, and her behaviour spoke to me and challenged me.
I began then gradually to take an interest in making an effort to find and build a better relationship with God and others in my life; but could I do it? A more diligent look at me and my self centeredness was needed, coupled with a truthful admission to God and honest prayer. A scripture promise that got my attention then very much and still does was Matt 7:7. Seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. I started on that journey to seek and knock and claim that promise and I am on that journey since.
I got involved with groups of people over time who are into relationship with God and people. Prayer groups and others who try to bring and give Gods love to others in many different ways. This is a challenge to me and I often need to stretch a bit to keep up; but I will not stop praying, seeking to find and giving if and when I can.
My mother always had a great love for Our Lady and I was raised in a home where we prayed The Rosary daily. I attended Mass regularly but I had no real understanding of our Catholic faith.
From I was twenty two years old I suffered ill health and about ten years ago now I attended a healing service with Eddie Stones. From that day my life began to change for the better. I began to recognise God in my life as never before. I wanted to know more about him and so I started to attend The Good Shepherd Prayer Group. It was there that I began to learn about God and also about this great gift that is our Catholic faith. Mass and the sacraments became more real to me and bit by bit I began to get this new life that Jesus himself promises us in John 10:10. Not only did I get this new life, I wanted everyone to get it. With the help of The Holy Spirit I began to reach out to help others. Belonging to a prayer group and being amongst like minded people provides the opportunities for me and others to reach out and help, in many different ways.
My parents would have guided my childhood prayer life, primary school also taught different prayers, prepared me for Holy Communion & Confirmation , my understanding then was that God guided us from afar. Secondary school Religious study, was for me another subject, without the real importance it should have been and without the same commitment as the other subjects.
Later reading about other religions, controversial books about Jesus, only added confusion, i found myself searching for something and questioning things which I had been brought up to just accept. However when troubled , from the depths of my heart reaching out to Jesus , always gave me a feeling of great comfort an inner warmth. On other occasions like the passing of my parents I experienced an unexplainable calming presence, which i now believe was the consoling Holy Spirit.
I have always had my religious beliefs, however it has really only been in the last 10 years or so that i have felt the need to follow the Lord more closely , going to prayer groups , attended retreats , going on pilgrimages, enrolling on different courses and I started reading the bible daily.
More recently myself and another friend have got involved with 3 different charities, organised small events , with the help of others bring healing services , speakers and even videos to these events. I have been humbled by some of the people i have met and i get real satisfaction from helping out in such a small way. I would like to develop these along with some other projects we have in mind over the coming years.
Prayer and my trust in the Lord has brought me to where i am today, of that i have no doubt and I am truly thankful .
The foundations of my faith though stem from my mother’s deep devotion to prayer, her love of the Sacred Heart and our Lady as well as an overwhelming acceptance of God's will through difficult times. My faith has been enhanced through attendance at the prayer group and by participating whenever possible in either day or weekend retreats and seminars organized by local prayer groups.
On this journey I have met so many deeply spiritual lay people who continue to inspire me with their love and devotion for our Lord. I am relatively new to ‘The 12’; having joined in February 2016 but already feel a strong affiliation with the group and I am drawn and totally committed to our mission statement of knowing and loving Jesus more and to make him better known and loved. I feel extremely privileged and honoured to be a member of the mission team under the spiritual guidance of Fr. Gerry and I am in awe of the time, commitment, energy and uplifting guidance he readily gives.