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Easter Sunday - 12th April 2020

Easter Sunday, 12th April 2020

A Reflection {only view of Aidan Troy}

Pope Francis I have admired since his election in 2013. I decided to go to Rome for his first Mass as Pope. I have never regretted that decision and remember clearly the first time I saw him in person. May God continue to sustain him in health and courage as he serves the Body of Christ.

He is a great ‘people person’ and is at his best when surrounded by people of all ages and conditions. He radiates joy and compassion that touches the spirit of all. Like us all, he must have his struggles and challenges. But his love and deep faith sustain him and lift the veil on the love that God has for each and every one of us.

We can only guess what it is like for him addressing an empty St Peter’s where normally people stretch into the streets for as far as the eye can see. He has a work schedule in the Casa Marta with various departments presenting him with issues that require his attention in the service of the Church. He has been meeting in recent days with people who are dealing with the poor and homeless during these challenging times.

On Wednesday at his weekly audience he opened his heart and shone a light on his own state of soul saying:

“At this time of anxiety and suffering caused by the current pandemic, we all face uncertainty and may ask where God is to be found in this situation? During these days of Holy Week, we can find solace in the account of the Passion of Jesus. Our Lord also faced questions, with many wondering whether he really was the promised Messiah. It was only after His death that that a Centurion confirmed that truly Jesus was the Son of God.” {}

Pope Benedict XVI[Emeritus] writing on the Resurrection, quotes the Song of Solomon, ‘Love is strong as death’ (8.6) The inevitability of death, clear in this pandemic, could plunge us into loneliness and fear. On this Easter morning love has conquered death. It seemed all over on Friday afternoon. Those who crucified Jesus were sure that it was ‘mission accomplished.’ The did not know that this now is the Mission of Jesus accomplished.

St John gives Jesus’ farewell discourse where he signals the saving love of Jesus like a golden thread running through His precious words before he leaves the disciples. In washing their feet at the Last Supper, ‘Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world, he loved them to the end.’ [John 13:1]

At the end of His prayer, Jesus prays that his suffering, dying and rising will bring his followers to a communion of love which lies at the heart of the Blessed Trinity. “That the love which thou, Father, has loved me may be in them and I in them.” [Jn 17:26] It is amazing that this Easter morning we are brought into the communion of love which is the life of the Trinity.  

Never do I tire of reading ‘An Ancient Homily for Holy Saturday’. “Truly Jesus goes to seek out our First Parents like lost sheep; He wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains. ‘Awake, sleeper, I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead, I am the life of the dead. Rise and let us go hence, for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person’.” Jesus visits our suffering world this Easter with the same message of Hope. Happy Easter!



Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord – 5th April 2020

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord 5th April 2020


Reflection[only view of Aidan Troy]

Social media provides great material on religion and spirituality. Now that God’s People cannot be physically present for liturgies, St Joseph’s YouTube transmission of Mases are proving helpful. Daily I receive links to many great religious sites. It would take a long time to view them all, but they have widened ways of being in contact. In this its 12th year from this ‘scribe’, this little parish bulletin has tried to be a form of contact with you.

These few words this week, a modest offering in comparison to what is out there, are offered by me, a Passionist, on how our Father and Founder, Saint Paul of the Cross came to start a new Congregation in the Church 300 years ago in November 1720.

St Paul of the Cross, a Mystic, did not start a new group primarily ‘to do’ but firstly ‘to be’. Before doing, he wanted Passionists, female and male, ‘to reach closer union with God and witness to his love.’ (Constitutions 1]

Of course, St Paul of the Cross wanted Passionists ‘to do’ as well as ‘to be’. He put it like this in the First Rule of 1720, ‘they are to persevere in prayer, and to preach the word of the Cross in season and out of season.’

When a human heart is filled with love of Jesus, it overflows into proclaiming the Cross in life and deeds. Otherwise, there are only empty words.

St Paul of the Cross was no introvert. Looking around at the evils afflicting people of 18th Century Italy, led him to, ‘never tire of insisting that the most effective remedy is the Passion of Jesus, <the greatest and most overwhelming work of God’s love>’ [Letters of St Paul of Cross]


St Paul of the Cross saw the ‘Passion of Jesus’ and the Passion of people, as the one Passion. The suffering of the ‘Crucified Christ’ and the pain of ‘crucified people’ are two sides of the same coin. Here is how the Passionist Rule of Life expresses this intuition of the Founder -  ‘We are aware that the Passion of Christ continues in this world until He comes in glory; therefore, we share in the joys and sorrows of our contemporaries as we journey though life to the Father. [C 3]

Religious Congregations profess vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. St Paul of the Cross gave Passionists a 4th Vow, binding those who profess this vow, ‘to keep alive the memory of the Passion of Christ.’ [Rule 1720]

In the present pandemic that we are going though, we are living ‘The Passion of the World 2020’. St Paul of the Cross, from Heaven, is with us all, pleading for a Resurrection for us as truly as is was for the Crucified Christ. His prayer will be answered. When? Only God knows - enough for me.

During ‘lockdown’, I daily pray the Rosary walking around the garden of our church. On each ‘circuit’ I pass the beautiful marble shrine to Our Lady of Sorrows, donated by a parishioner. St Paul of the Cross saw the Passionist sign for the first time in a vision of Mary wearing the habit that is now that of Passionists worldwide. Our Rule says: In our love for Mary, we endeavour compassionately to share her sorrow in the mystery of the Cross, chiefly by contemplating the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Invoking her help, we are confident that her motherly intercession will win us the graces we need as sons [daughters], making our way to the Father.’  [C 53]


5th Sunday of Lent 2020

Fifth Sunday of Lent – 29 March 2020


Reflection[only view of Aidan Troy]

On Wednesday last, with joy, the church celebrated the Annunciation to Mary that Jesus was to be born among us. Never could we thank Mary sufficiently for being ready to answer a request from the ‘God of Surprises’.

Her hesitation brings home to me how human, even though sinless, she truly is. ‘How can this come about?’ she asks. Her question to Gabriel, God’s messenger, mirrors mine in these days – ‘how are we going to get through this?’ Then comes a most wonderful revelation and reminder for us today – ‘nothing is impossible to God’. I cling to this promise for dear life in these days of unprecedented challenges.

Since I can remember, I have believed in Jesus being God. I can remember learning about Jesus from my parents at home. They were not ‘theologians’ in the academic sense, but they were believers who passed on to their children the priceless treasure of faith. They were my first teachers in the ways of faith and by far the best.

They also taught us children that as well as being God, Jesus became man, human like us in all things but sin. But as I moved on from home, I noticed how at times, the humanity of Jesus seemed ‘watered down’ lest it might obscure His divinity; this is poor theology and not great spirituality.

A great help to me in keeping alive my belief in Jesus becoming one of us, is in today’s Gospel, when St John simply says that at the death of his friend Lazarus, ‘Jesus wept’. Lazarus is in the tomb for a fourth day. The sisters Mary and Martha are truly devastated at the loss of their brother.

Jesus comes to them not as superhero but as friend and mourner, moved to the pit of his stomach by this loss and not ashamed to show what this death means to Him. God help bereaved people hearing that the deceased is, ‘in a better place’ or ‘this is God’s will’ – not great spirituality or psychology. Jesus’ tears anytime for me!

Before His own death, Jesus showed the cost of the Cross, ‘Father if you are willing, remove this cup form me; nevertheless not my will but thine be done….He prayed more earnestly and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.’ [Lk 22: 42, 44]

I believe in Jesus human and divine. How often I wished that God had dealt me a different hand in life? How often I begged God not to ask me and He simply said ‘no’. Never in my worst moments did I doubt His grace to sustain me. That is why Mary is a hero in my life, saying ‘Yes’, when she knew this was what God wanted.

I’m convinced that Jesus is truly part of every family and with each person. He doesn’t do ‘guest appearances.’ He doesn’t need to be first accepted and loved by us, He just loves us anyhow and won’t stop. On our side, the only thing that Jesus cannot do is to force our consent. He waits for our love.

If Jesus had not become truly one of us, God would always be beyond our grasp. But He chose to come within our grasp by the Incarnation. In these days when we are apart, I am greatly consoled by knowing that the ‘church is not closed’ (the building is) but we the People of God, the church, are alive and active. Our God reigns and Mary is always our Mother.


4th Sunday of Lent 2020

Fourth Sunday of Lent – 22 March 2020 [2nd Scrutiny RCIA]


Sunday Readings: Year A; Weekday Readings Year II.


Reflection[only view of Aidan Troy]

Laetare Sunday is the Sunday to rejoice! The vestments change colour from the sombre violet of Lent to a more pastoral shade of rose. The tone of the Liturgy this weekend is more ‘upbeat’. We are getting ever closer to the great events of our Salvation that will take us through the Cross to the glory of the Resurrection. That, indeed, is a reason to rejoice.

This year is like none other which you or I have ever known. On Ash Wednesday the opening prayer of the Mass offered us an invitation ‘to take up battle against spiritual evils’. That prayer retains all its power and validity. It has been added to by the present ‘war’ on the COVID-19 virus. Prayer for victory over both the spiritual and physical attacks are now very much part of our Lenten prayer.

The present virus devastating our world is neither a grace nor a curse on us. It is a medical reality known to God for reasons beyond our understanding. But while we can fight the virus by following advice, we can grow in grace by our way or responding to God in this challenge which none of us could have predicted. There is, let me be clear, no element of punishment in this present moment of worldwide trial. That is not who God is and not how He treats His beloved children.

A grace from this present pandemic can come in how we enter into this moment of the Passion on our earth. A week ago, I would have said that I saw clearly and tried to appreciate generously how God is showering gifts on us at St Joseph’s. If you are elsewhere, dear reader, please look at the blessings all around you in your parish and in your situation.

A grace that has come to me is to realise that, like the man in the Gospel today, I need Jesus to restore the eyes of my mind. I may see you clearly but had become blind to the marvels of His grace in you before my eyes. This happened for me last Sunday in this way.


For the first time since coming to St Joseph’s, I went for a walk by the Seine mid-morning last Sunday. It was very quiet, no restaurants open, no boats on the river and few people about. I should have been overcome with joy. While it was peaceful, there was something missing. Or rather, someone was missing. It was you the parishioners and visitors that throng St Joseph’s in thousands every weekend. I had begun to take you and all this for granted and as simply ‘normal’.

But it is not. Each child who scampers into CCD on a Sunday morning is pure gift of God to their Parents and to us. All teachers and assistants in classrooms are put there by God to be His instrument of faith and witness to love. The small ones are not to be overlooked. Maybe they are small but are ‘big’ people in God’s eyes.

Choirs singing, organ, guitars and other instruments raise the Liturgy to Heaven by their beauty. Last Sunday offering Mass on YouTube to an empty church building with no music and congregation left me lonely. Within this public worship of the Church you who pray, and make sacrifices are the heart of St Joseph’s. Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, Ushers, Altar Servers and all who play a role, you are total git of God. I always saw you but presumed that this was ‘normal’. You are a gift of God to each other and to me. My eyes are being opened by Jesus as truly as the blind man.

After Mass hospitality and a bookstore add to the warmth of our community with a constant flow of conversation. I took it for granted that RCIA Candidates, children for Baptism and other sacraments were ‘tasks’ to be done. How blind I had become. Not one of these should ever be taken for granted. The very kind invitation to share a meal with you, I had taken as ‘normal’. That was wrong on my part.

By the river last Sunday, I offered thanks for the Eucharist; but I was feeling the loneliness of absence of His presence in you, His Body of beloved people. Let us see each other as gift and grace and not drift apart in these days of the Passion.

3rd Sunday of Lent 2020

 Reflection[only view of Aidan Troy]

Often, I regret that I have lacked greater order in the ministry of service in which I’ve been privilege to engage with such a rich diversity of people. Hard as I have tried, many happened in circumstances that would not have been my choice.

That is where Jesus scores top marks every time. He takes each person and every circumstance to reach out to human and spiritual need. It was midday at the well of Jacob. It was hot. Jesus is tired from the journey. His feet are dusty, and he is weary. He is hungry and thirsty, but is ready for anyone God sends in his path.

A Samaritan woman comes along in the scorching heat to get water. She wants to avoid meeting anyone, because she was sensitive about her ill-repute. She sees that there is a person sitting by the well. She takes little notice at first, because she can see that he is Jew and they shun Samaritans. She is not concerned.

But Jesus is concerned about this woman whom God has put in his path at the well. It may be midday, very hot, but God gives us circumstances to meet people that we would not choose. I am wrong to want to be better organised for ministry in my life. God sets the appointments, even though He lets me think that I set the agenda and time slots. Will I ever learn? Probably not.

Jesus is thirsty both for water deep in the well and for the women’s faith. The conversation that takes place between the two is fascinating and gives a great insight into how ministry works. Jesus engages the woman in a wordplay of questions and answers. She is good at it. Eventually, Jesus touches her deepest soul.

‘Are you a greater man than our father Jacob who gave us this well?’ This is new territory for her to be talking to a Jewish man about their shared history. Jesus now reveals the real depth of water is not in the well but in His person. One day it will flow from His side on Calvary.

Her marriage history and present status come up. This does not make Jesus take a step back. It is closer Jesus comes. The high point is reached when the woman confesses her faith that the Christ is coming and that when he does, he will tell us everything. ‘I who am speaking to you’, said Jesus, ‘I am he.’ To Moses beforehand, God had declared himself to be ‘I Am’. Now Jesus says to this lady, ‘I am the Messiah, I am God.’ It doesn’t get much clearer than that.

The Apostles returning from their shopping are not impressed to find the Master taking on his own to a woman. They say nothing. But the woman has plenty to say. She lays down her precious water jar and sets out on what we know to be her first ‘missionary journey’. She carries the name of Jesus to her townsfolk. They flock out to see Jesus and are so captivated by Him, that they beg him stay on for a while. He stays two more days – unplanned as I would see it, but just right in His eyes. That is ministry availability.

There are few more human stories in Jesus’ ministry than this one. It has everything. Even after so many readings, I see new elements in it all the time. Where my ‘Well’ is and I go there, Jesus is always there. For example, people on the parvis after Mass, remind me of the scene of the woman meeting Jesus. We are brought here by Him so that He can go on speaking to us through each other. Where your ‘Well’ may be, Jesus is there waiting for you. Keep an eye out for Him!

Our prayers continue for those nursing the sick and seeking an antidote to deal with the present pandemic. St Joseph’s will continue as normally as possible, but always under the direction of Archbishop Aupetit. Each person and family is urged to make decisions as to what is best for them in these extraordinary times. Please be at peace with your conscientious decision. Archangel Michael grant our World your continued protection.


Saint Joseph's Catholic Church
50 Avenue Hoche
75008 Paris, France
33(0)1 42 27 28 56

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