Sunday, November 27, 2016

Final Matt Talbot Novena 2016 Session

Matt Talbot Novena Week 9

The ninth and final session of the Matt Talbot Novena 2016 will take place in SS John & Paul Church on Tuesday 29th November at 7pm. The speaker is Most Reverend Alphonsus Cullinan, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore.
All are welcome to attend or view the novena live at
An online petition is available using the form at

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Next Regularly Scheduled Holy Year

Pope Francis closed the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican today, ending the Jubilee Year of Mercy while noting that “the true door of mercy, which is the heart of Christ, always remains open for us.”
Unless Pope Francis or a future pope calls another special jubilee in the meantime, the next regularly scheduled Holy Year would take place in 2025...which would be the 100th anniversary of Venerable Matt Talbot`s death.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Closing of Holy Doors

As the Jubilee Year of Mercy comes to an end, Holy Doors that have been opened will close around the world. 

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin will close the Holy Door of Mercy in St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral on Sunday 13th November before 11.00am Mass.

Holy Doors of Mercy will also close on this date at: 

Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Sean Mc Dermott Street, Dublin, where the remains of Venerable Matt Talbot lie 

Church of St. Francis Xavier in Gardiner Street, which holds the Cross of Venerable John Sullivan

Parish Church of Sts. Peter and Mary in Arklow

House of Mercy in Baggot Street, established in 1827 by Catherine Mc Auley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Conversion Story of Zacchaeus, Matt Talbot and ?

Fr. Tom Huff
31st Sunday Gospel  Luke 19:1-10
We read in the First reading from the Book of Wisdom: “Lord . . . You have mercy on all . . . and You overlook people’s sins that they may repent.  For You love all things that are and loathe nothing that You have made; for You would not have fashioned what You hated.”

There is a blunt saying which says: “God doesn’t make junk!”  But the message is true!!!  God really doesn’t make junk!   It took Venerable Matt Talbot 28 years to understand the truth of this reality.  He was born in Ireland on May 2, 1856 and died at the age of 69 on June 7, 1925.  He was an unskilled laborer and had started drinking when he was 12 years old.  His conversion began 16 years later when he was 28.  One Saturday morning he was not able to get up for work because of his hangover, but that evening he went to the tavern where he and his buddies drank.  However his buddies strangely totally ignored him as if he wasn’t there. His initial anger turned into confusion and then into peace and calm. Grace somehow touched his heart and he went home without touching a drop.  “You’re home early”, his mother said.  He told to her, “I’m going to stop drinking for good.”  

He knew it would hard and decided it was time to go to confession.  It had been three years since his last confession and he had been drunk every day since then. During confession he took the pledge to renounce alcohol for three months.  He began to go to daily Mass, which he continued to do until the day he died.  Three months seemed like an eternity and involved a terrible struggle.  But he stayed away from the pub and his drinking friends.  He slept only four hours, spending the rest of the night reading spiritual books and praying.  He especially turned to reading the lives of the saints to replace his former friends who were still drinking.

Having remained sober for three months he took the pledge for another three months.  His thumping headaches and emotional turmoil began to subside and he felt new hope rise within.  He also stopped cursing.  After a year and a half of sobriety he took the pledge for life. He wanted to do penance to make up for his sixteen years of drinking.  He slept on boards with a block of wood for his pillow. He fasted eating only enough food to stay healthy.  He also gave much of his weekly wages to various charities. He certainly may be considered a “Patron Saint” of those struggling with alcoholism.  His story of conversion shows us that a very ordinary person can with God’s help can change, and it reminds us that our Lord came to seek out what was lost.

We don’t know all the details concerning the conversion of Zacchaeus, but like Matt Talbot we know the results: even though it was very hard, he changed his life for the better!  Zacchaeus gave away half of his wealth to the poor, and he restored four-fold any money he had falsely collected.  He went from being a selfish person, a thief and cheater, into a new person who now thought of others and sought to redress his wrongdoings.

In the Christian Tradition, we call the experiences of both Matt Talbot and Zacchaeus as one of repentance and conversion.  And these two examples remind us that no one here including ourselves or anyone else we know, no matter how hopeless they may appear, is beyond the grasp of God through repentance and conversion.

Let us pray daily for courage and fortitude, both for ourselves and for others, whom God may be calling to a holier way of life, to repentance and conversion.  Who knows who was praying and doing penance for Matt Talbot, most likely his mother.  Whoever it was, they understood that God doesn’t make junk, and that He overlooks people’s sins so that they may repent.

A View of Matt Talbot’s Place in History

Antoin O'Callaghan, Cork historian and author, addressed the gathering for the Matt Talbot 2016 Novena at the Way of the Cross Church,Togher, on Friday,19th February 2016. 
His talk, titled “Matt Talbot: An Ordinary Warrior,” has now been  published and can be read in the October 2016 issue of Pioneer Magazine at