What a day today has been! The sun was absolutely brilliant and its warmth was cast upon us without reserve! I wore only two shirts and no sweater! The monastery was buzzing with the presence of visitors throughout the morning and the monks were all about the grounds as they prepared the house to receive two more postulants (guys who are certain that God is calling them to leave the work and worries of the world behind and enter into a hidden life of prayer for that very same world.
There may be many in the church who are worried for it's future, especially here in Ireland, and yet, this community of men give testimony to what can only be called a revival! A revival of faith in Ireland where a community of young women, the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother, have opened a house; where in recent years the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal have opened new communities; where Cistercian College HS of Roscrea is experiencing a resurgence! Not only here, where the roots of the faith go deep into the heart of the country and the soul of it's people, but also in the land where so many from here went as missionaries and immigrants... America.
If the Church was in danger of irrelevance, empty pews and the mass exodus of our youth, we wouldn’t be witnessing revival across the land and beginning with our youth! We wouldn't see 25,000 youth at the National Catholic Youth Conference every other year; you wouldn’t see exponential growth in Steubenville and Lifeteen Youth Conferences if our youth were abandoning faith. Neither would you see explosive growth in ministry across the nation at College Campus’s, ever increasing numbers of students attending the FOCUS SEEK conferences every other year. We see this kind of hunger for transformative faith in the youth and young adults of our own diocese, in the response to campus ministry efforts, especially at UF and UNF, as well as the increasing numbers of Campus Ministry / College graduates who are not only continuing to grow and live their faith, but are also generating new and exciting forms of fellowship and making their presence known in our parishes.
NO! The gates of hell shall not prevail, revival is afoot! Christ is at work! Where hope has never failed, the Spirit is calling forth new life! The story of how I came to know of this hidden oasis of peace is almost as interesting as the experience of being here. These Benedictine Monks of Perpetual Adoration at Silverstream Priory are part of the tip of the spear that the Holy Spirit is using to tear at the vail of despair in the world... we know this by their fruits! They have welcomed me in as a brother and offered me their home as mine, for this all too brief a time and my heartfelt words of gratitude could never be equal to what is felt. They asked for nothing as compensation for their hospitality or for their time to teach and guide me. They give freely, as the Lord blesses them freely. Yet, (there is always a but), I will contribute to their financial needs and at risk of seeming too bold... I would invite you to pray about offering a little of your own treasure to them, in thanksgiving for what they have given me and which I will surely pass on to those I serve!
Information about this community can be found at https://www.cenacleosb.org and Guidance for giving financial support can be found at https://www.cenacleosb.org/help/
Above all, please continue to pray for the monks as I will, and for the people of Ireland who are now looking out to world and asking for the children of their missionaries and the spiritual children of their Priests, to heed the call of God and come home to Ireland and take up the banner of Christ.
Fr. Blair Gaynes has been in the Diocese since 2008.