COI Gazette – 11th July 2014

Irish Guild of the Church’s promotion of Irish language in worship receives presidential seal of approval

President Michael D. Higgins with members and friends of Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise during their visit to Áras and Uachtaráin to mark the 100th anniversary of the Irish Guild of the Church. (Photo: Lynn Glanville)

President Michael D. Higgins with members and friends of Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise during their visit to Áras and Uachtaráin to mark the 100th anniversary of the Irish Guild of the Church. (Photo: Lynn Glanville)

Members and friends of Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise – the Irish Guild of the Church – were recently welcomed by President Michael D. Higgins to a reception in Áras an Uachtaráin to mark the organisation’s centenary.

The Cumann has been promoting the Irish language in the Church of Ireland since the organisation was founded following a meeting in St Ann’s church, Dawson Street, Dublin, in 1914 and it received high praise from President Higgins for its efforts in keeping the language alive.

The group was led by chairperson, Bishop Michael Burrows, and treasurer, Dáithí Ó Maolchoille. After welcoming each member of the group individually, the President delivered a warm speech in which he described the Cumann’s centenary as a “milestone” and an impressive tribute to its efforts in the promotion of the Irish language in the Church of Ireland.



Football and Faith

The weekly Roman Catholic news magazine, The Tablet, in its 14th June issue carried a selection of extracts from David Kadel’s book, Fussball Bible (‘Football Bible’), the passages having been translated into English by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt. The article referred to the faith of five of the footballers competing in the World Cup tournament in Brazil (report, page 12), illustrating how they draw inspiration from God for their lifestyles “both on and off the pitch”.

The five “deeply religious men” were David Luiz of Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil, Jermaine Jones of Besiktas and the United States, Lewis Holtby of Tottenham Hotspur and Germany, Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich and Poland and Edinson Cavani of Paris Saint-Germain and Uruguay. (Players’ club sides do not dictate the side for which they are eligible to play in international matches as there are quite wide- ranging rules for eligibility in internationals.)

David Luiz, referring to footballers generally, said that people “watch the way we live pretty intently, so I try to inspire others by the way I live and by what I do and say”. Jermaine Jones testified to how the stories of other footballers of faith had inspired him “to think about God and faith”. Lewis Holtby said that when he is alone he often talks to God: “I thank him every day for my life, my health, my family and my well-being.” Robert Lewandowski said that his faith helped him “to lead a good life”. Finally, Edinson Cavani said he had come to faith through reading the Bible with his girlfriend.

One of the things, more generally, that is striking in what was said by the players is the extent to which the example of others inspired them. There is a lesson here for all Christian people – actions speak loudly, often more loudly than words. So, the calling of every Christian is to bear witness in whatever way he or she can, without becoming overbearing and, rather, being inspiring. It’s a tall order, but every believer can indeed inspire.

No doubt many analogies can be drawn between football, or sport in general, and life itself. There are rules, which really do need to be given their due place if the game, or life, is to proceed at its best; there are other people with whom we have to co-operate and develop good relations; there are opponents who must be respected; and there is a time limit, making clear everyone’s mortal nature and the need really to use time wisely and well.

The World Cup has kept many people captivated for weeks, while no doubt upsetting others who haven’t the slightest interest in the tournament. Yet the spectacle in Brazil has been a reminder that humanity flourishes when there is a good spirit, and the testimonies of the footballers of faith are an encouragement to everyone to recognize that not only can faith be as important for famous people as for people in more ordinary walks of life but also is something that everyone can pass on if it is done in the right way and in the right spirit.


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