Because 26.3 Miles is Just Crazy!

It’s hard to believe it’s already Halloween, and that we have been living in Ireland for just over two months now! After the excitement of the Papal Nuncio’s visit, Clonard’s 40th Anniversary Mass, Teach Bhríde VI’s Commissioning, and hosting our multiple American visitors, the four of us in Wexford have had the chance to recharge in our own ways. We have all attended various productions featured in this year’s Wexford Opera Festival, Angie and Sarah came down to visit earlier this week, and Ben traveled to visit a good friend of his who is studying in Spain.

As for life around the parish, things have kept chugging along! Last Saturday, the four of us attended a workshop for lectors and choir members led by an Irish Dominican friar, Fr. John Walsh, OP. It was a wonderful opportunity to step back and reflect on our roles as proclaimers of the Living Word of God in both speech and song. As the day wore on, it felt increasingly more like something within all of us had been transformed. The Dominican quest for seeking and proclaiming the truth of the Gospel helped to invigorate the inner flame of faith within myself, at least! He helped us realize, or re-realize, that everything in our lives is touched by the liturgy, and that the Word speaks to our hearts day in and day out through daily reflection and through the celebration of the Mass. All in all, the preaching mission of the Dominican Order was beautifully made manifest that day!

Also, as part of Teach Bhríde’s relationship with the wider diocese of Ferns, I attended an Ecumenical Quiet Day at the Ballyvalloo Retreat Center last week. About 40 of us representing various Christian denominations (primarily from the Church of Ireland and the Roman Catholic Church) gathered for a fruitful day of reflection on the images of God, complete with a brief prayer service to end the session. The promotion of Christian unity is something I’ve always been passionate about, so the chance to see ecumenical efforts in action at the diocesan level was a true gift.

In other news, I ran the Dublin City Marathon this past Monday, October 27th, along with nearly 15,000 other brave souls representing almost 50 countries! In those 26.2 miles, I encountered a man running while playing a ukulele, a group of Americans on a pub crawl, and learned so much about the incredible strength and endurance of the human spirit. I saw young children scramble cross the barriers to run the last hundred meters with their parents, experienced the kindness of spectators passing out delicious sugary snacks for fuel along the way—sorely needed by mile 20–and was simply awe-struck by the ranks of the elite marathoners, who finished in more than half the time I did. While it’s been difficult for me to stand, sit, and kneel at daily Mass this week due to my sore legs, I can’t wait to start training for my next race!

Now, as the calendar turns to November, we are looking forward to Clonard’s Remembrance Service on All Soul’s Day, more class Masses with the schools, the beginning of sacramental preparation in earnest for First Communion and Confirmation, and in just a few more weeks, Thanksgiving celebrations in both Wexford and Dublin! Thank you so much to everyone here in Ireland and back home in the States for supporting and encouraging us in our ministries. Please continue to keep us in your prayers, as we hold you in ours!