“When we encounter faith-filled service we know we have been privileged to witness the un-showy work of the Good Shepherd.” Photograph: Getty Images

I’m writing this column on a stunning April day. Summer beckons. Many people in Ireland have been vaccinated. New life is at a fledgling moment. Bloss(...)

“My life-experience and my DNA makeup usually make me suspicious of ‘spectacular conversions’. Nevertheless, conversion is an intrinsic aspect of the Christian story.” Photograph: Getty Images

Last week a young man was sentenced to 20 years in prison. As the judge announced the sentence, the convicted man turned to his family and said: “Five(...)

 Tommy Tiernan: his revealing interviews show the power of really listening to the other person.  If we are open-minded and honest, important truths are revealed to us.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

I still have childhood memories of teachers telling us about lepers and how they were ostracised by their communities. The expression leper colony rin(...)

People listened to Jesus because he spoke authoritatively and did so in a gracious manner

In tomorrow’s Gospel, St Mark shows that the words spoken by Jesus made a deep impression on his listeners. And a significant reason for that is, “bec(...)

“Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ at the end of time, and a reminder of his first coming at Christmas.” Photograph: Getty Images

Tomorrow is the Second Sunday of Advent. Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ at the end of time, and a reminder of his first comi(...)

  Greta Thunberg and other young climate activists have forced the world to think again about the catastrophic climate change crisis that is facing us.   Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP

Sibylle Berg was born in Weimar in 1962. She is one of Germany’s most famous and provocative current writers. Her books have been translated into 30 l(...)

Last Sunday, the annual Dublin Diocesan Pilgrimage to Knock, including a Youth pilgrimage, took place with people staying at home – 11,257 of them. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

An online pilgrimage seems like a contradiction in terms. The essence of pilgrimage for thousands of years has been to travel, to leave ordinary life (...)

 In these dying days of Christmas it’s apposite to recall the first two lines of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem God’s Grandeur: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God./ It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;/It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil/ Crushed …” Photograph: Hulton|Archive

In the Christian tradition, Christmas runs from Christmas Day until at least January 6th, the feast of the Epiphany, Little Christmas, or Nollaig na m(...)

Pope Francis writes: “Growth in holiness is a journey in community, side by side with others.”

In these days of the Easter season, the readings at Mass are constantly reminding us of the important role that community plays in the life of the Chr(...)

The “demise” of the Catholic Church in Ireland is on the tongues of many people. Within the church there are at times signs of panic. It might well be(...)