'Day in the Life' Blog

A one minute interview.  Three questions.
An insight into the variety of people and ministries in our diocese.

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January 2014

Trocaire in Malawi: Preparing for Lent 2014   -   Noirin Lynch, Pastoral Co-ordinator.


What is this trip and how did you come to travel?

Trocaire is a department of the Irish Bishops Conference and has 2 roles: overseas aid and education at home. See www.trocaire.org for more. Every year a key campaign in Ireland is the Trocaire Lenten campaign. Homes receive 'Trocaire boxes' for fundraising, and parishes and schools receive educational and liturgical resources to create awareness of the issues involved. Each Lenten campaign has an annual theme, a focus country, and based on this - a focus child who is the face of the campaign.

This years theme will be Water, the country Malawi in southern Africa, and the child we will see is Enestina, a nine year old schoolgirl in the Diocese of Dedza.

As a ways of seeing the impact that donations from the diocese of Limerick is having in areas of need, Trócaire invited a local diocesan representative to witness on behalf of the diocese the work on the ground. Noirin Lynch visited Malawi on behalf of Limerick diocese this January, and has since created a number of opportunities for local workshops in February and March - see Calendar on the main page of this website for details.

 

Give an example of a day on this visit

We were a group of twelve, each day we visited a number of projects that are supported by Trocaire. Trocaire supports local projects, empowering local leadership for sustainable development.

On Sunday we returned to Enestinas village in Mua. We arrived before 8am, to be greeted at mountain base by local children, who walked with is uphill to their home. Here we celebrated Sunday Eucharist in the school house, an experience electrified by the stunning choral singing of the community choir.

After Mass, around 11am we walked in the hot sun to the river from where most collected their water. This water was for washing, drinking and everything else. Now in the rainy season it was an ankle deep stream, but at other times it is a muddy mess in which women make holes to see if water will bubble up. Water will need to be collected up to five times a day for an average family.

Leaving the village, we drove an hour  to see a village which had the advantage of an irrigation system. Here crops were at least twice as tall as previous, and a crop was already harvested. An incredible difference, and an inspiration. Here too we saw the results of Trocaires Global Gift campaign, where every family now had at least two goats, and all the kid goats resulting from that! Lovely to see.

Finally we drove an hour to  visit Sr Mary, a Medical Missionary of Mary from Spancill Hill, who does mighty work in rebuilding a Medical Centre in a rural area outside Lilongwe. Her warm greeting, and stories of ambulance bicycles and local ingenuity left us smiling as we headed back to the capital that evening.

 

What was inspiring about it all?

People are inspiring, always and everywhere. This is true of Malawi too. It is a beautiful land, full of warm and kind people. It deserves its name 'The warm heart of Africa'.

Some images that remain for me now:

- Driving out of the capital, I was mesmerised by the fields of green maize in orange earth. It looked pretty and lush, though the plants were small. Then I saw a truck with bags of grain. 'Whats that' I asked 'for sale?'. "No, the crops are growing but the food is already gone. These are free grain bags for people in need." our driver answered. He looked at me, "There is hunger in Malawi".

- in Enestinas village a few of us were visiting a family and chatting about their life. Here children had no guarantee of good health, clean water from a well is a long desired and still new possibility, many are living with HIV, and while education is prized, illiteracy is still 52%. Yet we saw a quiet dignity in this family. Hard work and pride in achievements, committment to each other. We visited for a half hour and as we left Sugar, a son, ran to his house returning with a bunch of bananas for us. A gift for the visitors.

- Sunday Mass in the school house. There were as many outside as inside, and the singing lifted the tin roof. People began to leave, and then I realised they were queueing outside for the offertory procession. The choir began to sing and clap, and from every household a person danced forward with a gift. A few had cash, most brought maize, flour, a candle or matches. Some children brought flowers. And they danced and laughed and praised God.

 

Three images from many. 'The warm heart of Africa'. Trocaire Lenten campaign 2014  www.trocaire.org

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September 2011

Paudie Hurley spoke to us about his experience in Madrid this summer as part of the World Youth Day celebrations.

How did you get to WYD?
I am involved with Muinteareas Iosa in Limerick. I was invited to go to WYD and am delighted I went.

Give us an example of what it was like?
It was a magical experience.  I couldn’t get over all the people from every country and the sea of coloured flags and banners. All rushing to see the Pope. We had a cathechisis led by Bishop Murray, which was brilliant too.

Tell us one thing about WYD that was inspiring for you.
The walk (on Saturday) to the vigil was inspiring, even though it did take us 7 or 8 hrs in 38 degree heat!!  There were so many people there that we didn't even get in to see the Pope, (despite having very good seats reserved by Fr Chris & Aoife!)  - but we met so many people along the way! Another highlight was the first gathering of all the Irish pilgrims. Actually – there were so many, thats its hard to pick one!!

Congratulations to all forty two Limerick pilgrims, who joined the 1.5 million pilgrims in Madrid. Heres to the next World Youth Day - in Rio, Brazil during the summer of 2013.

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September 2011

Mary Keating: Learning support & resource teacher. Ahalin primary School.

Mary works in Ahalin National School, in the parish of Knockaderry/Clouncagh (107 pupils & growing).She is a learning support & resource teacher working with pupils from all ages and classes.

How did you get into this work?

I was a class teacher for many years. Working as a learning support & resource teacher allows me the opportunity to work with children in smaller groups – I have more time to spend with each child, in a less busy environment and at a more individual level. It also means I have more energy to stop and meet a child in corridor/yard who wants a minute of your time –as their various needs arise across the day.

Whats a typical day like?

School starts at 9:20, and I work with a variety of children each day depending on their needs. We might work to overcome a speech (language) issue,  or perhaps the child has an occupational therapy need (often we use games), perhaps a child is very energetic and needs to develop skills around being calm in the classroom, or how to win/loose appropriately.

I find that the ‘Alive O’ program carries through the day – we might have morning prayer, prayer before/after meals, or evening prayer, it’s all integrated into the day. I have a little altar in the room to create a seasonal and calm atmosphere – the children enjoy lighting a candle and saying a prayer.

What inspires you to do this work?

It is true that ‘in giving we recieve’. I love young children, and teaching them. It has kept my own faith alive, fresh & growing. I would say that working in school environ keeps my faith alive-o!

It is a real privilege to have the trust of children – as they share their stories & life with you.

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July 2011

Rose O’Connor: A member of Our Lady Help of Christians Parish pastoral council and the Cathedral Pastoral Area team.

Rose is from Our Lady Help of Christian’s parish in Milford, Castletroy.  She works in business and economic development on a freelance basis and is engaged with her local pastoral council and pastoral area team.

How did you get into this work?

I was involved in my local folk group in Milford in my teens and then got further involved in the establishment of the first ministry groups and pastoral council towards the end of the 90’s.  I spent 7 years in the UK and on my return in 2006 got involved again with the pastoral council.  I am also one of the parish representatives on the Cathedral pastoral area team.  I am secretary to both my own pastoral council and the pastoral area team.

What’s a typical day like?

I have a lot of variety because of the nature of my work – I work with several different clients usually on a short to medium term basis so there is constant change.  Most of my pastoral work is done in the evenings – I think the business skills and tools I use in my day job are useful in a pastoral context too; particularly in moving from vision to action.  I am very keen to expand my knowledge and skills in the pastoral field and hence I am currently half way through an MA in Leadership and Pastoral Care in All Hallows College.  I love the course; it is very varied and provides great insights into working with people.

What inspires you to do this work?

I find it hugely inspirational; I love being involved in creating liturgies and living faith experiences in the faith community.  I am hoping that the MA will facilitate me to engage more widely in this area.

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June 2011

Fr Noel Kirwan: Youth Leader with the Diocesan Lourdes pilgrimage

Fr Noel is a priest of the diocese of Limerick. He is currently PP of St Michaels parish, director of the Limerick Diocesan Pastoral Centre and diocesan director of vocations. He travels to Lourdes each year as a youth leader with the Limerick diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes

How did you get into this work?

I am involved with this youth pilgrimage through my work in the Pastoral Centre. I join with Fr Chris, Aoife, Karen & the other youth leaders here every year.

Whats a typical day like?

Every day is different here. Today we had Mass at the Grotto and Stations of the Cross with the sick. The young people bring the invalids to and from each ceremony, so they get to know them and spend time with them through the day.

What inspires you to do this work?

I enjoy bringing young people to the experience of Lourdes. Lourdes offers an alternative life experience to them: here there is a freedom to live joyfully now with meaning.

So watching young people revel in this freedom is uplifting.

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June 2011

Alison Glynn: Volunteer Nurse with the Limerick Diocesan Pilgrimage.

Alison is from Corbally, Limerick and currently lives in Brighton where she is nursing. Alison has been to Lourdes nine times with the youth pilgrimage and this year – as a newly qualified nurse – has travelled from Brighton to join the Limerick pilgrimage as a nurse. 

How did you get into this work?

I qualified as a nurse this year. After nine years with the youth pilgrimage, this was a natural progression.

Whats a typical day like?

Today I worked with patients in Infirmary where they are staying. We had opening mass at the Grotto followed by the outdoor Station of Cross, (which all the patients come to) Then the youth group led us all in a sing-song!

What inspires you to do this work?

I keep coming to Lourdes and working with the patients because its magic! I love my patients & the experience of Lourdes.

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There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all.

(1 Cor 24. NLV)