Friday, September 12, 2008

Matt Talbot Healing Mass

This is an example of what might be instituted in a parish for those who suffer pain from problems of alcoholism and other drugs. (JB)

Community Voice
Issue No 108
Feb 8th-Feb 22nd 2008

The spirit of Matt Talbot is being invoked at a new initiative called ‘Lent-a-Hand’ which takes place at St.Philip’s Church, Mountview starting on 11th February, the first Monday of Lent. It is described as a healing mass for all the pain suffered from problems of alcoholism and other drugs in the community in Dublin 15. Matt Talbot

Fr. Diarmuid Connolly, retired Parish Priest of Castleknock describes as distressing the “hand-wringing that goes on in our society over drugs and alcohol related problems.” He believes that Matt Talbot, from a Dublin labourer background, provides an ideal inspirational figure for people who have encountered such problems. He says that Talbot overcame his own chronic addiction “using the Lord and Eucharist as his main source of strength.”

Matt Talbot was born into the poverty of Dublin's inner city in the middle of the nineteenth century. He lived with his mother in tenement Dublin and they moved eighteen times during his youth through a life of hardship and extreme poverty. He began drinking at twelve years of age, starting with beer before moving on to spirits and becoming a chronic alcoholic in just a few years.

In his enormous difficulties overcoming his problems, a priest helped him, giving him a rehabilitation programme which essentially incorporated the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, fifty years before AA was founded.

After a horrendous struggle, he found sobriety through prayer and self-sacrifice and remained sober for forty years until his death. His life story has already been an inspiration for alcoholics and addicts throughout the world and he has been considered by two Popes for canonisation in the Catholic Church. He died in 1925.

The mass in Mountview will take place on each Monday up to and including the 10th March.