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Previous Events | 2016

Advent Holy Hour

Calm, serene hour of prayer with moments of silence and prayers read by students interspersed with music from the Notre Dame trio, this Advent evening was propbably the best preparation for upcoming exams! Fr. Leon and Fr. Eamonn were available in the body of the church for confessions and many students availed of the opportunity. 

Seeing Christ in the patient

The  Irish Catholic Doctors Learning Network (ICDLN)


 The Annual St Charles Lecture

 "Seeing Christ in the patient:

- the Hippocratic and Christian tradition"

Venue:     The Chaplaincy Building, UCD

Date:        Thursday, 24th November 2016 at 7pm

Speaker: Dr. Ross Murphy, Consultant Cardiologist,

St James's Hospital, Dublin.


Dr Ross Murphy MD, MSc, FRCPI, is a graduate of RCSI. He trained in Dublin, at St George’s Hospital, London, the Heart Hospital, London and at The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA. He has been a Consultant Cardiologist at St. James’s Hospital, Dublin since 2006.  His special interests include cardiac imaging and valve disease, Cardiac CT, and his research interests include the genetics of cardiomyopathy, newer echo modalities, and the vascular biology of coronary plaque.

Interfaith - Thanksgiving

The origin of Thanksgiving Day is disputed, but many agree that this harvest festival goes back to the 16th century when migrants, after long and hazardous journeys, thanked God for bringing them safely to 'the promised land'.  

Thanksgiving Day, therefore, suggests the theme of movement and of migration and God's Providential care along the way. 

We take a moment of reflection, then, at this Interfaith gathering, to consider how we experience God's guiding hand in our own lives, in its joys and sufferings, its hopes and disappointments. What does our faith teach us about God's love for us, God's presence to us in all the ups and downs of our daily lives? 

Let's share our thoughts on this great mystery!

All are welcome - believers, seekers, doubters, etc. 

All have some wisdom to share.‌


Date: Wednesday 22 NOVEMBER 2016

Time: 7.30pm-9pm

Venue: St. Stephen's chaplaincy‌

Led by: The Taizé team at Arran Quay, Dublin. ‌

this Taizé style prayer session, will be introduced with a Powerpoint presentation by Fr. Damian McNeice who runs the Taizé group at Arran Quay. He will show slides of the little village of Taizé in France and outline a brief history of this unique, ecumenical place of pilgrimage which began with a dream - the dream of Bro Roger Schutz who wished to see Christians of all denominations living and praying in peace and harmony. 

Taizé is a monastic community founded in the 1940s by Roger Louis Schütz-Marsauche, familiarly called Brother Roger. The “brothers” of Taizé have taken a vow of celibacy and are committed to a lifetime of simplicity, service, and community. There is an ecumencial emphasis at Taizé, as expressed in their official website, which says the community “wants its life to be a sign of reconciliation between divided Christians and between separated peoples.” Brother Roger was especially eager to bring Catholics and Protestants together.

Taizé prayer is simple and deeply contemplative. The beautiful chants, repeated over and over again, create a prayerful wave that helps the soul to come into communion with God. Icons and candles help to create the sacred space necessary to quieten the mind and focus on Christ. There is time for meditation, periods of silence, and liturgical readings.  There is no preaching.

The style of prayer practiced at Taizé has attracted many worshippers from around the globe and from many different denominations. 

Do come and join us. All are welcome. 

Student Retreat Stella Maris 2016

‌N‌ote the afterglow of our retreatants after a weekend of prayerful reflection and some fun too! The weather was kind to us, allowing us to enjoy walks around the head in Howth, with stunning views of the penninsula and the bay. Nature, someone once said, is God's megaphone. It speaks of the Creator's awesome magnificence and captivating beauty. We discern his Presence there and we spontaneously raise our minds and hearts to Him. 

Jesus too reveals the wonderful tenderness of God. He is the icon of the Father, his 'human face' which reveals to us the loving kindness and compassion of God who reaches down to us in order to raise us up. Through Jesus and in Him, we become children of God and already here below, we taste the wonders of the life to come when we shall see God face to face and rest in his love forever. 

Congratulations to our young retreatants who created a space this weekend to allow God in. 'Behold, I stand at the door knocking. Whoever hears me calling and opens the door, I shall enter and remain with him' (Revelations 3:20). How blest we are to know and welcome the Person of Jesus, the Source of our deepest fulfilment and peace. 

The Jesuit in Pope Francis

‌Date: Monday 17 October 2016. 

Time: 7pm-8pm

Location: St. Stephen's chaplaincy

Theme: The Jesuit in Pope Francis. Fr. Leon in his presentation, sought to unearth a key source of Pope Francis' inspiritation - a source which greatly informs his vision and outlook as Supreme Pastor, namely the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola (Founder of the Jesuits). Fr. Leon went through the 'grace' sought in each of the four weeks of the Spiritual Exercises in order to highlight striking resonances with Pope Francis' spirituality: (i) defining himself as a sinner and repeatedly inviting Christians to be aware of God's mercy towards us 'forgiven sinners'; (ii) the importance of a deep, interior relationship with Jesus (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, no. 2); (iii) being close to Jesus in his Passion and particularly allowing ourselves to 'touch the wounds of Christ' in the poor and in all our brothers and sisters who suffer; (iv) sharing in the joy of the Risen Lord and bringing that joy - the joy of the Gospel  - to the margins, the peripheries, where it is most absent or most needed. 

Holy hour

Ever feel like getting away from the myriad distractions and 'issues' that drag you under and seem to alienate you from yourself? Ever long for down time, a quiet space to just be yourself and find peace in God?

N‌ewman Society is hosting a HOLY HOUR in Belfield church on Tuesday 27 September 2016, between 5pm and 6pm. No agenda, just quiet time with other 'prayers' who seek inner peace. 

Newman Society is unique in that it is the only Catholic society on campus. Whilst it values and nurtures the many rich elements of the Catholic tradition, its outreach is universal and so it welcomes students of all denominations and beliefs. 

ALL ARE WELCOME to this HOLY HOUR - believers, non-believers, doubters, seekers... whatever. This 'space', this time, may be filled in whatever way sits well with you. 

More information: eamonn.bourke@ucd.ie.


HOPE - Interfaith sharing

HOPE ‌is the chosen theme for our first Interfaith sharing of this semester. In a world that often gives more reason for despair than hope - a world scarred by wars and conflicts leading to the greatest number ever in human history of displaced people suffering hunger, homelessness and destitution - what reasons for hope do we have?  What is our hope?  Where do we derive hope from? What does our particular faith teach about the nature and source of our hope? 

Sharing on this theme was most enlightening, enriching and encouraging. The distinction between smaller 'hopes' and the big 'Hope' (of eternal life, the coming of God's Kingdom of justice, love and peace, etc.) was aptly made. Most spoke about their personal 'take' on hope, some saying, like St. Paul that it was 'certain' because rooted in 'the love of God poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit'. Others located the source of their hope in the essential goodness of human nature which prevails over all evil. Still others placed their hope both in human effort to bring about justice, love and peace and the workings of God's grace in the hearts of women and men. Others stressed that their ultimate hope lay in Jesus Christ. 

DateThursday 29 September 2016

Time: 4pm-5.30pm

Venue: St. Stephen's chaplaincy centre (between Confucius centre under construction and 39A bus hub)

Format: respectful sharing of the wisdom of our particular tradition in an atmosphere of mutual love and appreciation. 

All welcome!

Light refreshments served.  

Livingstones Society Welcoming Party

L‌ivingstones Society welcomes Freshers.

Date: Thursday 22 September 2016

Time: 7pm on

Venue: St Stephen's chaplaincy

Information: http://societies.ucd.ie/livingstones/

'Livingstones is a Vibrant and Dynamic group of Bible Believing Students based at the Belfield Campus of UCD. The Livingstones Society has been in existence since the mid 1980’s and has seen thousands of Individuals over the years, just like you, forming part of what God’s been doing at UCD. We invite and actively encourage students of all backgrounds to join us in seeking our Lord on this Campus!'


Newman Society Welcoming Party

D‌ate: Wednesday 21 September 2016

Time: 6pm

Venue: St. Stephen's chaplaincy centre, UCD Belfield

Newman Society is the only Catholic Society as such on campus, though many Catholics join other Christian groups. Newman have a weekly prayer meeting (Youth2000 style) in St. Stephen's for an hour or so, followed by light refreshments afterwards in the Function Room. It's a great place to meet good friends and helps you to feel very much at home in UCD. Talks on interesting topics by guest speakers, opportunities to explore questions of faith or spirituality, time out to reflect (retreats of different styles) are only a few items on the menu! 

Come and see what's on offer! And if you like what you see, sign up and be part of the action!

All welcome. 

Christian Societies Together

On Thursday 15 September 2016, 5.30pm on, at St. Stephen's chaplaincy, students from many different Christian denominations came together to celebrate our common heritage in the beautiful grounds of St. Stephen's. Perhaps we were enjoying the tail end of an Indian summer! Before Freshers' Week, we wanted to unite in our common purpose of opening the door of Christ's love and mercy to our fellow students who may be seeking the solace of faith and the joy of Christian community.  

Ní neart go cur le chéile! Strength in unity! Strength in unity!

The food, as always, was excellent and much appreciated by our visitors. 

The newly refurbished chaplaincy is also winning wide approval. 

Praise God for all his benefits. 

Meet the chaplains

Thursday 8 September 2016, 4-5.30pm St. Stephen's chaplaincy (between Confucius building (under construction) and no. 39A bus hub).

Come and join us for a cuppa and some delicious homemade scones. You'll get to see the newly refurbished chaplaincy centre and meet students connected with the centre in one way or another. 

All are welcome! 

Mauro and Angela tie the knot

M‌auro, received into the Church at the Easter Vigil 26 March 2016, wed his sweetheart Angela in the church of St. Bernardino da Siena, Bernalda, Italy, on 12 September 2016. Fr. Leon was honoured to preside at the marriage ceremony.

Congratulations and long life and happiness to them both. 

To the left, we see them at the reception in the Magna Grecia hotel, Metaponto. 

And below, a group of their close friends whom they met in UCD. All studied and/or did research in the general area of medical science at UCD. 

Full communion

M‌auro di Fenza at the moment of his baptism by Fr. Leon, with his sponsor and fiancée Angela Panarella at his side.

Mauro was fully received into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil Mass in UCD Belfield, 26 March 2016. The Mass itself was as Gaeilge, but this did not deter Mauro who even learned the cúpla focal for the occasion! 

Both Mauro and Angela were post-doctoral researchers at the School of Medicine for a number of years until very shortly after Mauro's full reception into the Church, when they returned to Italy. Fr. Leon will officiate at their marriage on 12 September 2016.

We wish them both a long, happy and fruitful future together. 

Jesus Youth

M‌eeting every Thursday 5-6pm in St. Stephen's Chaplaincy Contemplation Room. 

Jesus Youth is an international Catholic youth movement with a charismatic spirituality. It had its beginnings in Kerala (India), but is now active in nearly 25 different countries around the world.

Jesus Youth is an initiative of young people themselves, who, filled with the Holy Spirit try to reach out to other young people. The strength of the movement is its special focus on a life centered on the Lord Jesus Christ: beginning with an experience of God nourished by prayer, the Word of God, the sacraments and fellowship, and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with others.

Though not an actual community, Jesus Youth is a network of small but vibrant groups of young people. In their own life situations, they strive to give time to the Lord, responding to the challenges of today’s world in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Open forum

W‌ednesdays, 2-4pm, St. Stephen's chaplaincy. 

Christians of various different denominations come together to discuss themes of mutual interest and concern - such as prayer, what is it, how best to do it, its benefits, etc. Or the tension between justice and mercy in God. How are we to understand God's justice? How are we to understand God's mercy? What implications does our understanding have for our Christian lives? Or, gender roles according to the Bible: what is the biblical understanding of sexual differentiation? How may its teaching apply today? 

These sessions were well attended by students who welcomed the opportunity to grapple with issues that directly affect their lives and their choices. 


T‌hursday 21 April, 4pm-5.30pm, St. Stephen's chaplaincy. 

'What my faith means to me'. An opportunity to share our personal experience of faith, what it means to me, how it impacts on my life and particularly on my life as a UCD students. 

Great turn-out for this our final Interfaith gathering of the year! Sharing awesome! From 'faith is everything, touching every aspect of my life, my getting up in the morning and going to bed at night', to 'faith is a struggle, faith is not easy, it makes demands on you, on how you live your life', to 'life is essentially about worship; we are created to worship God, this is what gives meaning to our existence. Worship is also expressed in treating your neighbour with respect and love', 'faith is a comfort, a consolation, not a crutch; we need God's tenderness, God's reassurance and faith opens us to this'; 'the question what or whom I choose to worship is crucial; since all things are transient, it makes sense to worship what is eternal, perennial, that which will not disappoint. I choose, therefore, to worship God. God must be at the centre of my life and not any other creature. Only then will I find peace'. 

Just a few quotes above in an attempt to capture the depth and range of sharing that takes place at these sessions. 'By their fruits you will know them'! The fruit of these interfaith encounters are plain to be seen in the forging of friendships across cultural and religious divides and the dissolving of walls of prejudice which can so damage social relationships.  

Youth 2000 2016

Youth 2000 Prayer meeting‌, Wednesday 20 April at 6pm in St. Stephen's chaplaincy - the last meeting of the year - was attended by over seventeen students. Rosary was recited in various languages. Adoration, prayer, worship - the hallmarks of Youth2000 prayer meetings - continue to attract young Catholics who wish to nurture their faith and bring it to others. 

We look forward to resuming Newman Society activities in the coming year.

Food4Soul, Food4Body

T‌uesday 12 April at 6.15pm, St. Stephen's chaplaincy centre. 

Theme: God's mercy revealed in parable of Prodigal Son. 

As always, this last gathering of the year, was an opportunity for the various Christian denominations to show solidarity with each other and witness in some small measure to the unity Jesus prayed for before he entered his Passion. 

Attendance at these ecumenical gatherings has been consistently high - 40 on average. 


Interfaith peace

Interfaith gathering on the theme of PEACE: St. Stephen's chaplaincy, 4-5.30pm Thursday 7 April 2016. See you there! 

This is a timely theme given recent atrocities in Ankara, Brussels, Lahore, etc. 

This session will begin with a moment of meditative prayer together and proceed to a sharing on the wisdom of our various traditions with special reference to their teaching around PEACE. 


Student Retreat

S‌tudent individually guided retreat took place in the lovely 'Lucan Centre' from Friday 11 March at 6pm to Sunday 13 March (after lunch).

The location was ideal - accessible by public transport and near beautiful parks in the Liffey Valley: http://www.lucancentre.ie/contact-details/. UCD students had the whole place to themselves, with plenty of space for private prayer and lovely walks on the grounds or in local parks. 

An atmosphere of silence enabled the nine selected retreatants to enter into a quiet space without noise or distraction and facilitated each one's personal encounter with God. The days were speckled with input on methods of prayer and contemplation so that the time of silence was as fruitful as possible for each one. There were also opportunities throughout the days to meet with the retreat guides (Fr. Leon and Sr. Maria-Ana) on the one-to-one. There were some groups sessions also and liturgical celebrations on Saturday and Sunday. 

Each one, in the depths and privacy of their hearts, always receives a particular gift or grace on these retreats, even if this only becomes evident later, well after the retreat has ended. God is never outdone in generosity! 

Year of Mercy Service of Healing and Reconciliation

Location: UCD Belfield church

Time: 6-7pm

An opportunity to reflect on the gift of mercy and to receive the Sacrament of Confession. 

Pope Francis' thoughts on Confession (to pilgrims in Rome 19 Feb 2014): "Everyone say to himself: ‘When was the last time I went to confession?’ And if it has been a long time, don’t lose another day! Go, the priest will be good. And Jesus, (will be) there, and Jesus is better than the priests - Jesus receives you. He will receive you with so much love! Be courageous, and go to confession”. 

Acknowledging a popular objection to the sacrament, Pope Francis noted, “someone can say, ‘I confess my sins only to God.’ Yes, you can say to God, ‘forgive me,’ and say your sins. But our sins are also against our brothers, against the Church. This is is why it is necessary to ask forgiveness of the Church and of our brothers, in the person of the priest.” 

“Forgiveness is not a result of our efforts, but is a gift. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit who showers us with mercy and grace that pours forth unceasingly from the open heart of Christ crucified and risen.”

The Pontiff went on to recognize that many people feel ashamed at the idea of confessing their sins and might say, “but Father, I am embarrased!”

“Even embarrassment is good. It’s healthy to have a bit of shame... it does us good, because it makes us more humble.”

“Don’t be afraid of confession,” Pope Francis stressed. “When someone is in line for confession he feels all these things - even shame - but then, when he finishes confessing, he leaves (feeling) free, great, beautiful, forgiven, clean, happy.” 

“The sacrament of reconciliation is a sacrament of healing,” he pointed out.

“When I go to confession, it’s for healing: healing the soul, healing the heart because of something that I did to make it unwell.”

Rediscovering Mercy + Justice with Trócaire Ireland

Date: 24th February 2016 (Wednesday)

Time: 2pm-4pm

Venue: St. Stephen’s Chaplaincy

Normally a 4week course, this 2h session connected the concept of mercy with justice. Trócaire is also launching the Lenten 2016 campaign where they are asking the Irish public to “join the fight for justice”. Trócaire is an organisation that provides humanitarian assistance and long-term support to communities in over 20 developing countries. In Ireland, the charity raises awareness about the root causes of poverty and inequality, and campaigns on issues of justice.

Free admission and light refreshments served.

Shadow Way - Lenten reflection

Tonight in the Chaplaincy Centre!

February 23rd  |  7 pm  |  St. Stephen's Chaplaincy

On four nights during Lent, we will gather in different locations around Dublin city, to share food, thoughts and personal stories. While each communicator will have the freedom to choose their own perspective, we have chosen ‘The Shadow Way’ as a theme, reflections on Jesus’ 40 days of fasting and temptation in the wilderness. What we are hoping for is reflections on Jesus’ journey, the ways in which he is tempted and the ways that each communicator wrestles with that journey.

You can expect good food, great conversation and authenticity.

Food4Soul, Food4Body

Thursday 18 February, 6pm in St. Stephen's chaplaincy. Half hour prayer followed by food and fellowship. All welcome. 

The theme 'Salt of the Earth' is taken from the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2016 which was prepared by Christians of Latvia. 

Today, Latvia is a crossroads where Roman Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox regions meet. Because of this unique location, it is home to Christians of many different traditions, but no single one of them is dominant. 

The main service is inspired by the verses from Peter’s letter and Jesus’ metaphors of salt and light which are important cultural themes for Latvia. 

Great turn-out for this Food4Soul, Food4Body ecumenical prayer and fellowship session! Over 40 students attended, from many Christiain denominations and from different faith traditions also. Truly a concrete demonstration of the fact that we are indeed salt for the earth and light for the world! 


Interfaith gathering - "MERCY"

4‌pm Thursday 11 February, St. Stephen's chaplaincy.

Theme: MERCY. Mercy, kindness, compassion - these are virtues upheld in all the great religious traditions. Concepts such as Ahimsa in Hinduism, metta and karuna in Buddhism, rahmah in Islam, hesed in Judaism, compassion in Christianity ('Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate'), etc., testify to this. 

Let's gather to share the wisdom of our various religious traditions around this central theme of MERCY. What do our sacred texts say about mercy? What does mercy mean? How are we to act? 

As always, teas and coffees and delicious home-made scones will be served to sweeten our conversation! 

All are welcome.