In this week’s blog Fr Paddy shares some “Good News” stories which can offer inspiration and encouragement to each of us.

Fr. Paddy Byrne has a weekly column in the Nationalist papers.
This column appeared in the edition published 18th May 2010.

This week, I would like to share some Good News Stories that recently have given me great hope and personal joy. These stories, speak loudly and give me a sense of Gods presence in the midst of the vulnerable and broken. Hopefully they may offer inspiration and encouragement.

Firstly, I think of my niece Ruths First Holy Communion. Ruth, is a Bright Star, whose presence draws out the gentleness and goodness contained in all our hearts. Ruth lives with special needs. When she came to receiving Holy Communion, I said, Ruth, the Body of Christ, and she smiled and said Thanks Paddy. She took the Host, broke it in half and offered one broken piece to her mammy and received the other half herself. This was a profound action and a wonderful spiritual moment. The broken Christ was being shared in our midst. A Christ, who is so profoundly present, when we gather to give thanks. A God, whose abundance and plenty, is given first to the moments in our lives where we are bruised and broken most.

I think of my good friends Paddy & Joan. A couple greatly united in love and friendship. A relationship yearning for the blessing of being able to conceive and give birth to a healthy child. Joan over the past seven years has had to live through the dreadful pain of seven miscarriages. Their desire for a healthy baby brought Paddy and Joan to a very vulnerable place and many anxious hours of torment and deep anguish. Last week Joan and Paddy gave birth to a tiny but healthy baby girl called, Agnes Mary, at twenty five weeks pregnant. Agnes is doing well in the Rotunda Hospital and her parents are absolutely overjoyed with their tiny beautiful bundle of hope. Please remember this little sign of hope as she grows and blossoms, over the coming weeks.

I also think of my friends Gavan and Aine, who also had the terrible pain of losing two children. A couple full of resilience, despite the cross of loss and bereavement. They continued to journey on their pathway mindful and hopeful of Gods presence. Last week, they celebrated the birth of beautiful healthy baby girl, Mary. Again this is sign of great hope. A sign that the light is never too far away from the shadows of darkness and uncertainty.

We are all living testimonies of Good News. Often tremendous actions of kindness and generosity goes un-noticed in the eyes of our outside world and yet such Good News needs to be celebrated and acknowledged.

It is very easy to be over-whelmed and burdened at this time. Our media tells the dark stories of unemployment, recession, crime and disillusionment with so many establishments and institutions including the Church, Banks and Government. I found RTEs recent “Aftershock” programmes greatly depressing and lacking in hope. Despite these difficult days we have reason to hope. Every day, we are touched by the extraordinary kindness and compassion given generously by ordinary people. Parents, who selflessly encourage and nourish their children, young people who enthusiastically look forward, volunteers who generously give freely of their time.

Take time to notice the presence of great goodness in our midst.