Saturday 29 January 2011

Evening of Prayer for Christian Unity in Nenagh

Gathering to pray for Christian Unity

Nenagh Catholics hosted Christians from the Church of Ireland and other traditions at an evening of prayer for Christian unity in St Mary’s of the Rosary on Sunday 23rd January. The prayers were provided by Christians in Jerusalem, who chose the challenging theme ‘All things in common’. The organ was played by Roisín Ryan, and Antoinette Cleary led the singing.

Gathering. Fr Pat Malone PP welcomed the congregation, who joined in singing the Pilgrim Song, ‘Brother, sister, let me serve you’, as readers and representatives came forward to place candles, a Bible and a plain wooden cross on an altar table. Fr Pat then led prayers of intercession for Jerusalem and the world, during which incense was offered symbolising prayer rising to God.

Liturgy of the Word. We listened attentively to God’s word. Rae Croft read from Isaiah. We sang Psalm 96 in a Scottish metrical version to the tune of ‘Amazing Grace’. Mary O’Donnell read from Acts. Audrey Gordon read from Matthew’s Gospel. In a short address, Joc Sanders asked what our response would be to the challenge from Jerusalem: would we leave separately with just warm feelings, or would we leave together determined to act to bring closer a unity of love and purpose?

Response. John Cullen led prayers of penitence and declared the Peace, which all shared with handshakes. After singing ‘Christ be with me’, we joined in saying the Apostles’ Creed. Fr Pat introduced the prayer for Christian Unity, during which representatives from the different traditions came forward two by two to light a candle and offer petitions, to which we responded with the words, ‘May everything become new and make visible our unity’. Then we joined together in the Lord’s Prayer.

Sending out. Sr Patricia Greene led a closing prayer and Fr Pat gave a final blessing. Jane Coman read from Revelation, and before leaving we sang a closing hymn, ‘A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you’.

Afterwards many of us shared light refreshments kindly laid on by ladies of the Catholic parish in the Pastoral Centre. It was generally agreed that the evening of prayer had been moving and well worth while, both a challenge to our separation and a lovely opportunity to come together – definitely something to be repeated.

Briefing participants beforehand

Enjoying refreshments in the Pastoral Centre

Wednesday 5 January 2011

Letter to the Irish Times - Solving our water problems

The following later from me was published in the Irish Times for 5th January 2011, in response to one from Professor Eugene O'Brien on 1st January.

Madam, – The bad weather has exacerbated the current water shortages, and perhaps exasperated Prof Eugene O’Brien (January 1st). While he is correct to say the weather is not the root cause, and to point out the need to invest consistently in water infrastructure, his letter may mislead your readers by suggesting that the proposed pipeline from the Shannon will solve such problems.

There is plenty of raw water in Dublin region reservoirs at present. The water shortages are due to years of under-investment in Dublin’s local water infrastructure. There is insufficient treatment capacity and buffer storage to handle weather shocks, and the mains network leaks like a sieve – 30 per cent of treated water is currently wasted year round, compared to best practice of 5-6 per cent in some European cities.

If ever built, the €450 million pipeline from the Shannon would likely be an expensive white elephant. The promoters try to justify it by saying Dublin will need half again as much water by 2040 as it used in 2010. But this is based on Celtic Tiger era projections for population and economic growth, which surely no one believes any more. With realistic growth projections, fixing leaks, and sensible demand management measures, like water metering and charging, and harvesting of rainwater and grey water for non-drinking purposes, Dublin will not need Shannon water for the foreseeable future.

The pipeline scheme should be shelved now, and available resources invested to bring Dublin’s local water infrastructure up to international standards.

– Yours, etc,
JOC SANDERS CEng, Dromineer, Nenagh, Co Tipperary.