Praised be Jesus Christ! Ireland is a blessed place. While there is no denying that the faithful of this country have been hit hard in the past few decades with problems and scandals, there is still so much good. Even in the short time we've been here I've seen so much from the men of the seminary here in Maynooth and learned so much about the rich Catholic tradition in Ireland.
The 40-or-so Irish seminarians have embraced us American visitors with open arms. They have been nothing but helpful and hospitable to us in all our needs. We bond with each other in the chapel and in the cafeteria and can even joke with each other to the point of the picture below! (P.S. Sorry for the pictures, I tried and tried, but just couldn't find a way to rotate them.) They are funny men! But, what is so beautiful is how they are striving after the Priestly Heart of Christ amidst the trials and tribulations of the Church in Ireland. It is inspiring to see their faith and courage, their love of God and of His People. I am consoled to have these new friends, such brothers, to walk towards the priesthood with.
Also in the relatively short time we've been here, a few of us have had the privilege to travel around the countryside a bit. On one of our first free afternoons, a few men and I went to see a patron saint of one of the seminarians- St. Kevin. We hopped in the car, drove on the left side of the street, drove through small and winding mountain roads (which got me a little woozy), and drove past sheep and farms until we reached a monastery build by St. Kevin of Glendalough in the 600s. The story goes that Kevin, desiring to live a life solely for the Lord, lived in a small cave on the side of the mountain for 7 years before coming down and founding this monastery. It was a strikingly beautiful place- the kind that just makes you thank God you're alive. We found the cave of St. Kevin and also the monastery, praying at both sites. The picture below fails to capture the true beauty of the area or the beauty of our prayer. For, in prayer we speak with God Himself! Know that we continue our prayers for you here on the Emerald Isle, and beg you to remember us as well. Please pray for the Church in Ireland and for all us seminarians at Maynooth, that we might become holy priests for God's Children and one day saints like St. Kevin.
Our Lady of Knock, pray for us!