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Previous Events | 2014


S‌pecial Food4Soul, Food4Body ecumenical gathering on Thanksgiving Day, 27 November 2014. 

6pm St. Stephen's chaplaincy, Contemplation Room, followed at 6.30pm by food and fellowship in the Function Room. 

The search for unity among Christians continues, so that Jesus' prayer 'That All May Be One' (John 17:21) may, in time, and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, be realised. We gather to foster that unity (which is of divine origin) and to pray together in thanksgiving for progress made thus far. 

'May they be so completely one.... that the world will believe'! In coming together as we do, the light of Christ shines ever more brightly for all to see.

Come and join us and bring a friend or too as well. 

All are welcome. 

Christmas Carol Service

D‌ate: Tuesday 25 November 2014

Venue: St. Stephen's chaplaincy

Time: 6.30pm

This was an ecumenical event where all the main Christian Societies - Newman Society, Christian Union, Livingstones - came together to sing from the same hymn sheet! 

Strength in unity! 

All welcome. 

Light & Darkness, Good & Evil

Interfaith meeting: St. Stephen's chaplaincy at 4pm on Thursday 23 October 2014. 

Religion in general has much to say about Light and Darkness, Good and Evil. At this gathering of friends, we took a moment to reflect on and share with each other the wisdom of each particular faith tradition on this core theme, addressing the questions: How do we name the source of light/goodness and the source of darkness/evil in our world? How do we imagine their interaction one with the other? How does this manifest itself in our human reality? What about the struggle between light/goodness and darkness/evil and what about its ultimate outcome? 

As always, we did not enter into debate, but listened respectfully to each one. In a second round, we were invited to interact more freely, less formally, in an attempt to discern some common elements or lines of convergence. 

One comment: 'It's great to able to share freely on topics that are normally kept out of conversation. I felt free to be myself, to question, to doubt, to ponder on really important issues for our lives'. 

All this over a cuppa and some nice scones! 

St. Ignatius and Pope Francis

What makes Pope Francis tick?! 

As a member of the Jesuit Order, Pope Francis' spirituality has been deeply marked by their Founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Fr. Leon, in this half hour talk, traced some of the main influences of Ignatian spirituality on the Pope's 'way of proceeding'. This was followed by Q/A. 

Date: Thursday 9 October 2014,

Time: 4pm-5pm

Location: St. Stephen's chaplaincy. 


Welcoming the stranger

With this theme we resumed our INTERFAITH GATHERINGS this semester on Wednesday 1 October 2014 at 4pm in St. Stephen's chaplaincy. 

And what an important theme it is in the context of an increasingly divided and dangerous world which so easily forgets that we are all children of the one God from whom we come and to whom we will all ultimately go. 

We took this moment to reflect on what the teachings of our various religions propose to us around this theme of welcoming the stranger. Common features of all religions quickly emerged.

Light refreshments were served. 


Food4Soul, Food4Body

I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Mt 25:35). 

W‌e resumed our ecumenical gatherings on Thursday 25 September at 5.30pm, beginning with a half hour prayer for Christian unity in the contemplation room and continuing with food and fellowship afterwards in the Function room at St. Stephen's chaplaincy. 

The turn-out was fantastic! And from so many parts of the world too: students from many European countries (France, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Poland... to mention but a few, and not forgetting the Irish!) were present; we were so glad to have our many Malaysian friends with us, and of course, meeting old and new friends from China was a great pleasure. In addition, we were blessed with guests from the African and Indian continents and from the U.S.A. 

The theme - I was a stranger and you welcomed me - reminds us of our Christian duty to reach out across all ethnic and religious divides in order to embrace in love all our sisters and brothers throughout the world. Our relatively small and intimate gathering at St. Stephen's puts that Word into practice and thus furthers God's purpose in our world - that all may be one! 

Livingstones Welcoming Party

Thursday 18 September 2014 at 7pm. 

For more information see: 


Lvingstones in a non-denominational Christian group, friends of the chaplains and joint organiser of ecumenical events in conjuction with the Newman Society (the Catholic society on campus) and Christian Union. 

Ní neart go cur le chéile! Strength in unity! 

Newman Society Welcome

‌What a turn-out for this event - the Newman Society's welcoming evening! About 40 people from all over the world graced this get-together which launched the Newman Society for the year 2014/15. Students and guests from Malaysia, Korea, Poland, France, Germany, Spain, the U.S., China, India and, of course, Ireland, mixed and mingled over fine fare prepared by students themselves. Pádraig Birmingham, auditor for this coming year, introduced the purpose, style and activity of the Newman Society, emphasising its core Catholic ethos, its aim to nurture and nourish a living faith which includes being open to everyone without exception, whatever their creed or nationality. The Newman Society is, therefore, 'Catholic' with a capital 'C' and 'catholic' with a small 'c' - the latter defining its universal embrace. 

One of our Muslim friends, who joined the evening's festivities, confided that the chaplaincy is 'my favourite place of all on campus'. Our hope is that everyone will always receive a warm and fulsome Céad míle fáilte within the Newman Society family and the chaplaincy. 

Orientation Welcome

The event, advertised below, was a great success. Evidence? Not enough scones to feed the multitudes! We'll know better the next time! Excellent turn-out and a great opportunity to break the ice for our new students and warm up their first days in UCD - and hopefully, keep them warm throughout the year too!

UCD Chaplaincy warmly welcomes our new students! Please join us for tea/coffee + scones at 4pm on Thursday 4 September in St. Stephen's (opp. gable end of Engineering building). This is a chance to see the wonderful facilities we have for your enjoyment, and to meet other students who'll tell you all about 'life around the chaplaincy'. 

St. Stephen's is used by many student groups, such as the Newman Society (the Catholic Society on campus), Christian Union, Livingstones, World Aid Society, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, etc.

St. Stephen's hosts student Masses every Saturday evening (6pm) in term, inter-Christian meetings and interfaith gatherings which bring together students of different cultural and religious backgrounds. 

The chaplaincy is a hub of unity and a hive of activity! 

Come and see! We look forward to meeting you soon. 

Summer Recess

W‌ishing all our students a refreshing and rejuvenating summer break and every success in exams (including repeats!). 

May God continue to bless your life with joy and inner freedom whatever circumstances you find yourselves in. 

We wish those you have ended the UCD chapter, a new chapter full of hope.

We look forward to welcoming back those who will return in the Autumn to continue their studies.

And we eagerly await the new batch of students who will soon join the UCD community. 

Prayer for Exams

L‌ocation: Belfield church

Date: Wednesday 23 April 2014

Time: 7.30 - 8.30pm. 

Format: Quiet, meditative prayer in silence.

Rosary at 8.15pm. 

Calm me Lord as you calm the storm

Heal me Lord, keep me from harm.

Let all the tumult within me cease.

Hold me Lord in your peace. (Margaret Rizza)

Students from various Christian societies on campus as well as members of the Legion of Mary, came together to pray for students as they prepare for their exams. Music from Margaret Rizza played quietly in the background as people lit a candle or remained praying in silence. 

'Pray as if everything depends on God, work as if everything depends on you' (St. Ignatius of Loyola). 

Student Retreat

Location: http://www.orlagh.ie/page1/index.html. Dublin city, in the hills. Very accessible. ‌

Dates: Friday 11 April (6pm) to Sunday 13 April (2pm). 

This silent retreat was guided by Fr. Leon who offered the group of six students daily guidelines for prayer while remaining available to meet each one privately during the day. 

Orlagh, the house on the hill, overlooking Dublin bay and Dublin city, is a fitting symbol for the search for a 'higher perspective' while keeping the city, the market place, daily life, in view. Students greatly value the time and space to reflect on their lives in the gentle and loving Presence of God who helps us see our lives from this higher perspective. We return to the daily grind refreshed and renewed. 

Following Jesus to Jerusalem: Christian Discipleship

S‌pecial Food4Soul, Food4Body Ecumenical gathering for Lent.

Date: Thursday 13 March 2014

Location: St. Stephen's chaplaincy

Time: 6-6.30pm Prayer. 6.30-8pm Food and Fellowship

This was indeed a special Food4Soul, Food4Body, but not for reasons we had thought! it was special because although the group was small - due to students being away on a break - there was a large contingent of Chinese students present, as well as a New Yorker, a Malyasian and a few Irish. The variety made for cross-cultural conversation of a most interesting kind. Good to see friendships being formed around the table, even if we do not yet all share the table of the Lord. It is our hope that that day will come! For this we gather in prayer, urged on by the prayer of Jesus 'that all may be one' (John 17).

Interfaith: Meditation/Prayer

D‌ate: Thursday 6 March 2014

Time: 4-6pm

Location: St. Stephen's chaplaincy

The theme chosen for this Interfaith gathering was Meditation and Prayer. It was 'open forum', so anyone who wished shared on: 'Why I pray/meditate? How I pray/meditate? The kind of prayer/meditation that means most to me?'. 

This gathering was chaired by Sana, our Baha'i friend and Yusef, our Muslim friend, who, along with Leon (chaplain) and Christine (Newman Society), chose the theme and prepared the meeting. Our meeting opened with Taha, one of our Muslim friends, explaining and demonstrating the ritual of daily prayer in the Islamic tradition. From there we proceeded clockwise around the room giving each person a chance to share their understanding and practice of prayer. The atmosphere was joyful, friendly and respectful throughout. 

This interfaith gathering was preceeded by a prayerful meditation on friendship based on the sacred texts of various traditions. The fundamental truth that we are all children of the one God and hence brothers and sisters to one another, emerged strongly from that sharing and set the tone for the warm exchange that followed on the place of prayer/meditation in our lives. 

Edith Stein: Philosopher/Saint

L‌ecture by Professor Dermot Moran.

Date: Tuesday 25 February 2014

Location: Room E114, Newman Building, UCD

Edith Stein was born a Jew, professed atheism for a time in her adolescence, studied under Husserl the noted philospher of Phenomenology, became a philosopher of repute in her own right, converted to Catholicism as a young woman after reading the works of St. Teresa of Avila, entered the Carmelite Order soon after, was arrested by the Nazis and imprisoned in Auschwitz and died there. She was canonised and declared Patron of Europe by Pope John Paul II in 1998. 

Ecumenical Conversation

I‌s Christ Divided? This was the title given (by students) to a conversation between Gillian Kingston (Methodist preacher and UCD chaplain) and Fr. Leon Ó Giolláin S.J. (Catholic/Jesuit priest and UCD chaplain) about the historical and actual differences between Protestants and Catholics, not forgetting also the essential doctrinal positions that unite them. This conversation took place in St. Stephen's chaplaincy on Thursday 20 February 2014, 6.30pm-9pm. It was very well attended, with over fifty particupants present

The main aim of the evening was educational: to understand the source of division between Christians of different denominations and to review contemporary efforts at rapprochement through ecumenical dialogue. 

The meeting was chaired by Pastor Paul (Cornerstone church, Dún Laoghaire). Gillian and Leon took the audience through a sweeping historical review of church history to the present time, with special emphasis on the controversial issues which divided communities, the schisms and splits that resulted in a fragmenation of Christ's Body, the Church, and contemporary efforts at healing and reconciliation. 

This input was followed by questions and answers from the floor. How Protestants and Catholics view the Eucharist? Teachings on moral issues such as contraception and homosexuality. The authority of Scripture, the Tradition as a source of Scriptural interpretation, Papal authority, etc. 

The atmosphere throughout was respectful and unifying. I believe everyone left more enlightened about church history and hopefully more convinced of the need for progress in ecumenical dialogue. Pastor Paul asked Gillian and Leon to suggest some steps forward in this dialogue. Gillian emphasised the need to grow in charity and love. Leon suggested three levels of ecumenical engagement: lived ecumenism (praying together, works of charity together, etc.), spiritual ecumenism (conversion of heart, towards greater mutual understanding and respect) and theological ecumenism (study of history and theological points of difference, together). 


Student Retreat

Location: S‌tella Maris, Retreat Centre, Howth, Co. Dublin

Dates: Friday 14 Feb (6pm) - Sunday 16 Feb (2pm)

This retreat was guided by Fr. Leon (chaplain), who offered suggestions and guidelines to help each retreatant to use this time away fruitfully and according to each one's personal needs, desires and rhythm. Fourteen students in all (6 male, 8 female) agreed to enter into silence and solitude so that the gentle voice of the Good Shepherd, who leads into green pastures, might be more readily discerned. 

This retreat was subsidised by the chaplaincy. Students contributed to the cost according to their means.  

Interfaith gathering

‌Love! This is the theme of our next Interfaith gathering, the day before St. Valentine's Day! 

Date: Thursday 13 February 2014

Time: 4 - 5.30pm

Venue: St. Stephen's chaplaincy.

What is true love, according to the Christian, Muslim, Baha'i, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Sikh ..... traditions? 

As always, it was gratifying to hear one another and be enriched by the diversity and variety of 'angles' on this core reality of our human lives. 


Is Christ Divided? Special Food4Soul, Food4Body for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

We continued UCD's modest contribution to Christian Unity by being in solidarity with Christians all over the world gathered in prayer for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. 

For info in this year's theme (Is Christ Divided?) and its provenance, see http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/week-of-prayer

Place: St. Stephen's chaplaincy

Date: Wednesday 22 January 2014

Time: 6-6.30pm Prayer. 6.30-7.30pm Food and Fellowship

Some thirty-five or so students turned up, including a number of new faces from China! We were delighted to welcome them and introduce them to our group.  We hope they feel at home with us. 


Memorial Mass

A‌ memorial Mass for Paudie Horan, a second stage student of Veterinary Medicine who died tragically one week before, was held in Belfield church on Tuesday 21 January 2014, at 1.05pm. This was attended by his parents Tadhg and Sheila and his sisters Niamh and Deirdre and many, many colleagues and friends from the College of Veterinary Medicine. Fr. Leon celebrated the Mass. In his homily, he encouraged young people to listen out for the gentle and reassuring voice of the Good Shepherd - so much harder to hear today through the din of busy-ness and the veil of forceful atheistic philosophies which attempt to seduce and kidnap our souls; the Good Shepherd's voice continues to resound deeply within us, however, if we but listen - a voice that brings inner peace and tranquillity of soul. The Good Shepherd is ever present and present most especially when we go astray and find ourselves lost and alone. He is there to rescue us and lead us to safety, to lead us home. 

After the Mass, Paudie's family, along with student friends of Paudie and members of the College staff, joined us for lunch at St. Stephen's. After the meal, Paudie's Dad, Tadhg, thanked everybody for their kindness and hospitality. Fr. Leon reassured the family that they would always received a warm welcome in UCD and that we would continue to keep them in our prayers.