Roads Relics and Rottweiler's

dsc04393Fr Mike Ruddy reports on the success of his charity bike hike across Ireland in June 2012.

It’s dangerous to combine a mini mid-life crisis and jet lag! So there I was wide awake in the wee small hours of the morning after returning from India last march, when I came up with what I thought was the brilliant idea of a sponsored cycle across Ireland, to raise funds for our leprosy work there and the Church roof fund in Sruleen. Most normal people would just turn over and try and get back to sleep, but not me. Within minutes a route was jotted down and before I knew it, I had contacted various people and parishes who would help with the effort. The support and encouragement received convinced me that maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea after all. A wise person once said: ‘good ideas need landing gear as well as wings!’ so now the reality of the planned escapade began to dawn on me. I had two months to get fit, so as not to be like the guys in the Gospel, who began to build a tower but couldn’t finish! Some people weren’t convinced I could do it, a bit like Bob Hope who once told of his family’s reaction when he mentioned he was going to be a comedian: “They laughed when I told them I was going to be a comedian. They’re not laughing now!”

Fr Jerry White, no stranger himself to training, advised me I needed to build up to cycling two hours non-stop, and once this was accomplished the rest would fall into place. Taking him at his word, I started getting up a little earlier and heading out into the darkness, slowly building up to the suggested target. Some more seasoned cyclists told me I needed to get or borrow a racing bike, but I hadn’t the heart to be separated from my reliable “3-speed Giant Expression” (if a rep from that company is reading this, you still have time to donate for this free advertising! See ) Other advisers mentioned the indispensability of some padded cycling shorts to help protect that part of the anatomy that would have to bear the brunt of the 300 mile odyssey. I’m learning all the time: research showed there are two types of the aforementioned shorts: the body-hugging lycra type and the baggy ones with a removable padded insert. Not wanting to exaggerate my spare tyre (of the fleshy variety) I chose the latter!

Ultan Naughton agreed to drive the back-up vehicle, so the final piece of the jig-saw was in place. Ultan’s companionship, support and advice was invaluable and his organisational skills were put to good use arranging and preparing the Eucharist each evening. Articles and photos were sent to various regional newspapers and interviews were set up with local radio stations along the route. We were lucky to have in our possession a first-class relic of St Damien, sent over from Hawaii especially for the cycle. Many people availed of a blessing, either for themselves or a loved-one each evening. During the homilies, it was easy to compare the lives, struggles and faith of St Patrick and Damien.

apostolic workA good crowd of over thirty family, friends and neighbours saw us off from St Patrick’s Church in my home village of Inver. Some cycled for a few miles and two hardy annuals accompanied us all the way to Ballina. We took the beautiful north coast road, taking in the Ceide Fields, Ballycastle and Killala. A linking theme for the ‘pilgrimage’ was some of the sites associated with St Patrick, so Down Patrick Head had to be on the itinerary. That evening mass was celebrated in the beautiful Church of St Patrick in Ballina. Here are some wonderful stain-glass windows depicting the great saint’s life and travels.

Day two saw us heading for Ballintubber Abbey via Foxford, Knock and Claremorris. The beautiful Abbey built on the site where St Patrick founded one of his first Churches, is well worth a visit. Give yourself plenty of time to take in the life-size depictions of the mysteries of the Rosary in the church grounds. From here the majestic Croagh Patrick can be seen, and if you feel fit you can take the ancient Tochar Padraig pilgrimage walk across country to the foot of the Holy Mountain.

Day three was the best of the week weather-wise, so it was easy to make good progress towards Roscommon, stopping off on route at the village of Oran that contains a Holy well associated with St Patrick. The adventure though nearly came to a sad end when a ferocious Rottweiler decided to show-off its guard-dog skills by trying to have me for breakfast. The only thing that saved me from the same fate as some of the early Christians, was the overweight canine couldn’t run as fast as I could peddle! One of the prayers at the Mass in the beautiful Sacred Heart Church in Roscommon that evening was in thanksgiving for a safe delivery. Ultan’s parents Anne and Michael had done Trojan work with advertising the Mass and organising refreshments afterwards when the local Apostolic Society made a presentation to the cause.
Day four saw us heading through Athlone to Clomacnoise, Kilcormack and ending up with Eucharist at Fr Jerry’s home church of Mount Bolus outside Tullamore. A local piper and drummer were on hand to lead us into the church, which set the scene for a lovely celebration. Jerry’s brother Liam and wife Olivia had done plenty of ground-work, and so a good crowd gathered for both the Mass and the tea and home-made goodies afterwards.

The following morning we headed for the penultimate stop at another important site associated with St Patrick: The Hill of Tara. This journey through the rain, took us through Kinnegad and Trim. That evening Mass was celebrated in St Patrick’s Church, Stamullen near Gormanston and the Devlin Estuary where St Patrick landed on his arrival to Ireland. Some parishioners from Sruleen journeyed out to join the locals for the Eucharist, and their lively and enthusiastic demeanour made one of the locals wish they had a few like them in their own parish!
The final day saw us leave the Hill of Tara, journeying through Dunshaughlin, Clonee and into the Phoenix Park where we had a break under the Papal Cross before beginning the final leg back to Clondalkin via Palmerstown and Ballyfermot. Back in Sruleen we had agreed to meet with some of the welcome back committee at St Brigid’s Well, where we said a prayer of thanksgiving before ‘honking’ through the leafy avenues of the parish to the Sacred Heart Church where we would celebrate the final Mass of the ‘Bike Hike.’

The cycle so far has brought in over €16,000 (euros) for the two causes, and so sincere thanks go out to all our sponsors, benefactors and all those who kept us in prayer . Apart from the funds raised, other important effects of the week were the way it brought people together each evening, and also the way it helped to make the work and mission of the Congregation known to a wider audience. We met some wonderful generous people and the week gave us an opportunity to meet old friends, some of whom we hadn’t seen in years. Like all journeys of faith, many of the graces and blessings remain hidden, but remind us of the pilgrimage of life we are all on. Until the next time, we leave you with and old Irish Blessing that was sent to meat the start of the cycle and which took on a deeper meaning and significance as the week progressed:

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face
The rain falls soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of His hands.

Vocation Ministry Special Update

The latest issue of ComUnion provides a wonderful insight into the current state of Vocation Ministry within the Congregation. From Ireland to Indonesia and from Poland to Chile, the latest edition concentrates on what is working, what is being tried and what have been the successes and challenges along the way. To download the edition click here.

Annual Report Released -Child Protection

The Towards Healing 2011 Annual Report is being launched this week. This report covers the first eleven months of the work of the Catholic Church's Towards Healing Counselling and Support Services. The reason for this unusual period is so that in future our financial year and the calendar year will coincide.

The Company CCSS Limited was incorporated on the 14th January, 2011 and operates as Towards Healing. The Board of Directors held its first meeting on the 1st February, 2011. It elected the officers of the Company, set out elsewhere in this report, and also appointed Michael Lyons as its CEO and Dr. Melissa Darmody as its Clinical Director. All other staff appointments were delegated to the CEO.

The Board was acutely conscious that the Company was established by the Irish Episcopal Conference, Conference of Religious in Ireland and The Irish Missionary Union as a genuine response to the wrongs done to the victims of clerical religious and institutional abuse in the Catholic Church in Ireland and, therefore, has as its overriding objective the wellbeing of those victims. To this end, the Board set itself three specific objectives:-

 to achieve, as smooth as possible, the transition of the clients of Faoiseamh which, since 1997, had been providing counselling to survivors of clerical sexual abuse

 to maintain, build on and expand on the services previously provided by Faoiseamh to its clients

 to achieve the foregoing in as efficient and as cost effective a manner as possible.

imagesDamien Centre at Tanagh, Cootehill, is a voluntary-run charity which continues to provide ecumenical outreach in the local community. The committee is having its ELEVENTH ANNUAL GOLF CLASSIC. This is the main fundraising event of the year.
The Golf Classic will take place on WEDNESDAY 18TH JULY 2012 at the NUREMORE GOLF CLUB, CARRICKMACROSS. The format of the competition will be a TEAM OF FOUR (ANY COMBINATION) Full handicap allowances. We hope you can see your way to supporting this venture by entering a Team of Four or by sponsoring a Tee. Team of Four €200 Tee or Green Sponsor €100. Contact Brother Harry This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
From Mayo to Dublin on two wheels


Inspired by a recent visit to the leprosy centre at the Damien Social Development Institute in Orissa India, Fr Michael Ruddy sscc, Parish Priest of Sruleen in Clondalkin, is setting outon a fundraising cycle to raise much needed funds for their mission and formuch needed repairs to the Church roof in his parish. Fr Michael will depart onJune 4th from his home village of Inver in Co. Mayo to his Sacred Heart parish in Sruleen a distanceof over 200 miles.

He will be supported on the route by Bro Ultan Naughton sscc who will provide valuable backup on four wheels over the course of the route. As well as raising funds on route Fr Michael will be celebrating a St Damien Mass of Healing at the following locations during the sponsored cycle and is
encouraging as many people as possible to attend!







Sponsorship forms are available here and remittance to: Fr Michael Ruddy, Sacred Heart Presbytery, St John’s Drive, Clondalkin, Dublin 22 or may be handed in at any of the Masses listed above. Cheques may be made payable to: Congregation of the Sacred Hearts.

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 9 of 15