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Previous Events | 2010

Carol Service

Over 100 people attended a lovely Carol Service organised jointly by the Christian Union and the Chaplaincystudent. It took place on Wednesday 24 November in the Contemplation Space, Quinn School, between 6-7pm, followed by mulled wine and mince pies in St. Stephen's chaplaincy.

The Habemus chamber choir (below left) added a classical note to the evening's events with their lovely rendering of SIlent Night, Oh Holy Night and other well known pieces. 

CU (lower right) led us in traditional sing-along carols. We also had studenta powerful piece of drama on creation, sin and Jesus' rescue of man from the clutches of evil, a short homily on the meaning of Christmas from Tim and a personal story of faith from Suzie. Fiona (CU) and Patrick (Newman Soc) compered the evening, thus witnessing to a united front, Christian unity, in proclaiming the Word made Flesh who dwelt - and dwells - among us. end Chaplaincy general start Chaplaincy general

Life after death (interreligious)

In St. Stephen's chaplaincy, on Wednesday 17 November 2010, studentrepresentatives of the major world religions shared their beliefs about 'life after death' in an atmosphere of mutual regard and respect.

We started with 'A' - the atheistic stance represented by Deenish (left opposite) - and worked our way through the alphabet to include the Baha'i faith, Buddhism, Christianity (Catholic and Methodist), Islam, Judaism, and Sikh religion. Our Hindu friends were, regrettably, unable to attend.

A mark of people's satisfaction with the event was the prolonged lingering and mingling over studenta cup of tea afterwards. And, of course, a call to continue to gather like this!

Spanish night

The Newman Society hosted a 'Spanish night' to celebrate the culture of its Spanish members. This took place at St. Stephen's chaplaincy On Thursday 4 November at 7pm. Cocina muy sabrosa! Gracias a todos y a todas.

We ended the evening with a prayer called the Examen which St. Ignatius of Loyola - a Spanaish saint of the 16th century - proposed as a spiritual exercise which opened the heart and mind to the presence of God in all the events of our daily lives. Fr. Leon led the group in this prayer. See http://ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/

All Souls Day

Prayers for deceased relatives and friends of UCD staff and students was offered at the 1.05 Mass in Belfield Church on Tuesday 2 November. This Mass was very well attended. It was greatly enhanced by beautiful music sung by Fiona Hickey, accompanied on the organ by Niall Kinsella.

Scott Ahearn (SU Welfare Officer) introduced the ritual of stones at the end of Mass and invited the congregation to assemble at the UCD Remembrance Garden, where the stones and the lantern were placed by the fountain. This candle will remain lit for the month of November.

At 5pm, a moment's silence in candlelight took place outside the main library in memory of all those who died by suicide - an initiative of the Please Talk campaign.



Best one yet! On Wednesday 27 October, as part of our ongoing ecumenical gatherings, more than 30 of us met in St. Stephen's contemplation space for a short ecumenical service led by Patrick and Annie, auditors of the Newman Society, around the theme of Christian unity: 'that all may be one' (John 17). Afterwards, a lovely meal in the Function Room - building up fellowship, friendship, commmunity, communion among us. student

Fr. Leon and Sam (CU) witness to same (right)! 

And below, Fr. Leon, Kwan Loong and Gillian. student

Thanks to one and all for a wonderful evening!

More to come!


Compostela info evening 

Compostela Walk in Spain:

An information evening about the pilgrimage walk in Spain (June 2011) was held in the Quinn School, Room Q119, on Tuesday evening 12th October at 6.15 pm. This was well attended. Fr. John Callanan S.J. (chaplain, 2nd from right) and Mary Finlay continue to organise this wonderful event which serves the needs of the homeless via the Fr. Peter McVerry trust. For more information, contact: jcallanan25@gmail.com



On Friday 15 October 2010 (10.30am-4.30pm), at St. Stephen's chaplaincy, the Chaplains Network at Third Level (CN3) organised a day of reflection on alcohol and drug addiction among young adults. Our main speaker (John Taaffe of the Irish Bishops' Drug Initiative) took ill at the last moment, so Dr. Fiona Weldon, clinical director of the Rutland Centre, stepped in at very short notice and gave a very informative talk on addiction. 

About 25 chaplains attended.


Compostela 2010

Cheque for 9000 euro raised through Compostela pilgrimage being presented to Fr. Peter McVerry S.J. (third from left) at St. Stephen's chaplaincy, Thursday 7 October 2010. Congratulations to students and staff - especially Mary Finlay, chief organiser along with Fr. John - for their excellent achievement. 

On the right, Fr. John Callanan, UCD chaplain, with students.


Food4Soul Food4Body 

The monthly ecumenical gatherings recommenced on Wednesday 29 September in St. Stephen's chaplaincy. As always, we began with a moment of prayer in the contemplation space (6pm) and proceeding to the Function Room for a social gathering with some refreshments (6.30pm). Our theme, heart speaks to heart - - JH Newman's motto, whose beatification on 19 Sept 2010 we continue to mark.

It was heartening to see the mature number of 21 people present. Our hope is that this number increases as we grow in our commitment to Christian unity.

Drawing on the inspiration of Newman, Leon attempted to put these ecumenical gatherings in context,:

'I think', he said, 'we should emphasise at this, the first of our ecumenical services this semester, the importance of Christian unity. Newman may be taken as a model and inspiration for this. In his teaching on conscience, for example, he found common ground not only with people of no particular religious affiliation - conscience being the 'voice within' with which every human person is endowed and which is a sure guide in discerning right and wrong and, indeed, in leading people to the deepest meaning of their human existence - but also with Christians of all persuasions, since he believed the voice of conscience was the voice of God - appealing to all theists who may not be Christian - and the voice of 'the Aboriginal Vicar of Christ' - appealing to all Christians - who speaks to us 'behind a veil'. Our common calling and task as Christians is firstly to listen to that voice ourselves and then to alert people to that voice, the voice of Christ the Good Shepherd, so that we may follow him. This common mission of Christians is all the more urgent today in face of a growing secularisation, sometimes aggressive, which would silence this voice and replace it with what Newman called 'a counterfeit conscience', i.e. the voice of self-will or - in language more familiar to our times - 'whatever you are into yourself'! As followers of Christ, we listen to the voice of Christ. He is our Way. We do not follow our own way or just any way, but HIS way. This is the conviction we as Christians, whatever our tradition and denomination, all share and this we all celebrate in our attempts also to heal the rifts of division among Christians. Let's renew our commitment to Christian unity and do our part, however small, to bring Christ's will - that all may be one - closer to realisation'.


RTE 1 (TV) Ecumenical Service for Blessed JH Newman

At 11 am on Sunday 26 September, Gillian Kingston (UCD chaplain) presided at a beautiful service in honour of the late John Henry Newman recently beatified in Birmingham, England. The service went out live from RTE studios. In attendance were Fr. Leon Ó Giolláin S.J. (UCD chaplain) who interviewed Patrick and Annie (co-auditors of the UCD Newman Society - 2nd and 6th in photo below) about their experience of the beatification, Dr. Pádraic Conway (Vice-President for University Relations) who spoke of Newman's legacy and his link with UCD, Dr. Martin Butler (Vice-President for Student Welfare), Dr. Art Consgrove (former President of UCD) and Dr. Teresa Iglesias (Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at UCD and Founding Director of the International Centre for Newman Studies).

Students and staff made up the congregation and the UCD Choral Scholars enhanced the occasion with beautiful music drawn mainly from the repertoire of hymns composed by Newman.

Newman was duly honoured by the University he launched over 150 years ago.


Pause for thought

If we were created, it was that we might serve God; if we have his gifts, it is that we may glorify him; if we have a conscience, it is that we may obey it; if we have the prospect of heaven, it is that we may keep it before us; if we have light, that we may follow it; if we have grace, that we may save ourselves by means of it. Alas! Alas! for those who die without fulfilling their mission! Who were called to be holy and lived in sin; who were called to worship Christ, and were plunged into the giddy and unbelieving world; who were called to fight, and who remained idle.....! Alas for those who have had gifts and talent, and have not used, or have misused, or abused them; who have had wealth, and have spent it on themselves; who have had abilities, and have advocated what was sinful, or ridiculed what was true, or scattered doubts against what was sacred. (JH Newman) 


Compostela Pilgrimage 2010

Camino Report 2010.

Twelve days in a row without rain, and almost 220 miles covered.   That's the Camino de Compostela for you. 

One year it rains incessantly and the next ... well one gets almost constant sunshine.

In late May this year, for the eight year in succession, a group of UCD students teamed up with friends from UCG in Galway and were led on their Camino pilgrimage walk by John Callanan S.J. (below with his crook and his staff!) a chaplain in UCD along with a UCD colleague, Mary Finlay (fourth above, clockwise).  

'We try to walk about twenty miles a day, setting out in the early dawn, and use hostels along the way to find somewhere to lay our heads at night.  We also make it a sponsorship event for Fr Peter McVerry and his work and to date have collected over Euro 50,000 for that charity.

'Two keynote moments usually stand out for us as we walk.   Firstly, we gather each evening for liturgy and try to reflect on who we have met and what has struck us that day.   After that, the whole group get together for their evening meal and that experience also is a terriffic opportunity to find out where each of us are at along our journey.   We try to be reflective about how the university year has been for us for, as John Henry Newman would say, 'if we make light of what is deepest within us, nothing is left but to pay homage to what is more upon the surface'.



Two of the chaplains, Gillian Kingston and John Callanan S.J. (last two on right) with 'experienced' alumni who celebrated their Ruby Graduation ceremony in UCD in June 2010.

Congratulations to one and all!


Interfaith gathering

UCD chaplaincy hosted our second inter-faith gathering on Monday 19 April 2010. studentSeventeen in total shared a beautiful 'devotional moment' as we listened in silent wonder and respect to readings from our various holy books on the theme of peace and tranquillity. (Suitable theme as we approach exam season!). One of our guests remarked on 'how happy everyone was' and how peaceful. Fr. Leon spoke about the symbolic importance of such gatherings which witness to unity and mutual respect across all religious boundaries. In an age which easily turns its back on God and religion, we celebrate together 'belief' and the enormous contribution it makes to the wellbeing of individuals and society. We rounded off our session with delicious home-made scones and a cup of tea...and a chat!

Some of our esteemed guests from the Baha'i (left) and Muslim (above) communities.

We hope to continue this initiative when we return after the summer recess. Please do join us.



Moments of rest, repose and energetic exertion during a weekend retreat for UCD students in the Benedictine monastery, Rostrevor, near the beautiful Mourne Mountains, 16-18 April 2010. lstudent

Some comments:

'I experienced in a new way God's personal love for me'. 'I leave with a deep sense of gratitude'. 'Time to reflect on my past and sort out my priorities'.

'Touched by the monks' welcome and hospitality'. 'Experienced a renewed appreciation for so many things'. 'Food was great!' (Monks cooked and served as we ate in silent contemplation). student

A view of the monastery

Retreat organised by the Newman Society in collaboration with Fr. Leon (UCD chaplain) who also guided the retreat with a fine blend of Benedictine and Ignatian spirituality!!


Food4Soul, Food4Body

On Wednesday, 3 March 2010, a small but representative group of Christian believers gathered for an ecumenical prayer service in St. Stephen's chaplaincy at 6pm. This was followed by a delicious meal at which some unexpected guests also turned up!! (Go out into the highways and the byways....!).

After this, Fr. Leon Ó Giolláin S.J. (UCD Chaplain), at the invitation of the Newman Society, gave a workshop on Prayer as a help for living. The workshop was based on the Examen Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola - a twice daily 'mindfulness' exercise for no more than 15 mins (hence do-able for most), during which one plays back (using one's imagination) a set period of one's day, in an effort to notice God's loving presence and action in all the events of that period, as well as one's own 'unloving' attitudes and behaviours that lead to sadness (for oneself and others) and hence the sapping of good energy. Students found this exercise intriguing, useful, helpful. 

Here's a link to it, if you're interested in trying it:



Finding God in the Dark - Exploring Faith through Film

Tuesday 2 March 7pm

Fr. Brendan Duddy S.J., an afficionado of film, introduced Gran Torino and suggested ways of viewing it through the lens of faith. A lively discussion took place afterwards. And of course, the whole event was spiced with home-made scones and tea! An excellent evening - all agreed. Thanks to Fr. John Callanan S.J. for making it possible.


Celebration of religions on campus

At the beginning of International Week (Monday 22 February 2010), UCD chaplains welcomed the variety of religions represented on campus - Christians, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Bahai's, etc - to a 'celebration of religions on campus' at St. Stephen's chaplaincy. In an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation, a representative from each religious group present (Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Bahai and an Agnostic who wished to be represented also) shared a short word on the essence of their belief. Points of convergence quickly appeared, such as acknowledgement of a transcendent reality, the link between one's behaviour on earth and the afterlife, values such as love, justice, peace, concern for the poor, the unity of all peoples, prayer, etc.

The twenty or so participants were very pleased with the meeting and wished to follow up with another gathering soon. We enjoyed informal chat and fellowship over a nice cup of tea and home-made scones to round off the event - a first in UCD, it seems.


Our Church. Do we need to begin again?

This question and answer session with the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, similar to those at the World Youth Day, was very well attended - also by UCD students. The Archbishop was candid in his approach and dealth with neuralgic issues such as homosexuality and sexual abuse with ease and honesty. He avoided a moralistic attitude and encouraged renewed contact through the gospels with the Person of Jesus. He insisted that we had as a church to face the evil of sexual abuse without obfuscation or excuse and to regain trust and confidence that had as a result been lost. He suggested that we had in recent years underplayed the truth about evil in the world and perhaps had an overly optimistic outlook on human nature which was prone to sin as well as called to holiness. He encouraged youth participation in Church and the giving of responsibility to them. He spoke of faith as relationship - relationship with Jesus - rather than a set of rules and regulations. He spoke of a correct reading and interpretation of Scripture in terms of how God reveals himself, i.e. as Love that is overflowing, gratuitous, superabundant (as in gallons of water turned into wine at Cana) and full of mercy, in contrast to a more calculating attitude that often characterises mutuality in society. 

Date: Tuesday 23 February 2010

Place: Mount Merrion Parish

Time: 8pm

Ash Wednesday 17 February 2010

This year, UCD's 1.05pm Mass was the object of much media attention, due to the Archbishop's visit immediately following his return from the meeting of the Irish Bishops with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome. In his address, the Archbishop called on young people to contribute to the renewal of the Church, saying 'we cannot do it without you'. The church was overflowing. The Archbishop was interviewed by RTE after the Mass about the meeting in Rome.


Aifreann Gaeilge, Seachtain na Gaeilge

I rith seachtain na Gaeilge arís i mbliana bhí Aifreann cheiliúrtha againn do chreideamh agus cultúr na nGael atá de dhlúth agus d'inneach ár n-oidhreacht mar chine. Bhí ceol breá traidisiúnta á sheinnt ag na micléinn. Ocáid álainn dúinn go léir.

An t-Ath Leon (ar chlé) a bhí mar cheiliúraí. 

Míle buiochas do gach éinne a ghlac páirt sa tsearmannas.


Methodist Service of Worship at UCD

RTE recording of worship service in the Church of Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, Belfield. Monday, February 8th

This was a Methodist Service of the Word, led by Gillian Kingston, the Methodist/Presbyterian chaplain on the chaplaincy team. Music: Des Earley and Choral Scholars. Students and staff attended and contributed (readings, interview, etc.). The service was to be broadcast on Sunday, February 28th, in the midmorning.


Food4Soul, Food4Body

Wednesday, February 10th 6.00pm prayer, 6.30pm meal together in St Stephen’s.

Good turn-out for this moment of Christian fellowship on campus. 

From left to right, our friends: Kwan Loong, Baptiste, and Alice.


Visit of President of Methodist Church in Ireland

The President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Revd Donald Ker at the Folklore department during a visit to UCD on 1st February 2010. From left to right: Professor Ríonach Uí Ógáin (Curator), John Callanan S.J. (Catholic chaplain), Gillian Kingston (Methodist chaplain),

Rev Donald Ker and Robbie Hanna (student).