Sunday, April 26, 2015

Litany for Venerable Matt Talbot

May this litany* for Matt Talbot encourage and comfort all who pray it.
Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy, Christ hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Blessed Mother of God, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, born into poverty and lack, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, who suffered the abuse of an alcoholic father, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, who suffered the loss of childhood innocence, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, who succumbed to the drug of alcohol as a teenager, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, who fell into debt due to his addiction, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, who stooped to steal from a beggar, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, who later searched in vain to repay the beggar, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, whose faith was darkened by the veil of addiction, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, blessed by a holy mother who never ceased praying the rosary, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, who endured intolerable cravings for alcohol, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, whose friends turned away from him in derision and mockery, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, broken, desperate, humbled, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, prostrate before the tabernacle, tortured for want of a drink, hearing only Jesus’ response, ‘I thirst’, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, restrained from receiving the Eucharist by Satan, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, freed by Christ to receive Eucharist, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, upon crying out to Our Lady was freed from the bondage of an alcoholic obsession, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, who turned from sin to serve God’s poor and destitute, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, who gave all to the poor, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, entirely transformed and sustained by the Holy Eucharist, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, so devoted to Our Lady that her rosary was ever in his hands, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, friend of Francis of Assisi pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, Third Order Franciscan, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, friend of Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, and Therese of Lisieux, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, refuge and comfort for alcoholics and their families, pray for us.
Venerable Matt Talbot, totally embracing Christ’s victorious grace in his life, pray for us.
Let us Pray
Venerable Matt Talbot, addict for Christ, look down upon all of us in our struggles with different addictions, in bondage, tortured of soul, heart and mind,
blind to the saving light of Christ.
Through your prayers, let us have our eyes opened by grace to see salvation in the Holy One of God, who hung upon a Cross so that we may be set free. Father, pour out your light and blessing in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Fr. Tom Ryan P.P. St. Senan’s Parish Shannon
* A litany is an expression of solidarity with the whole people of God. Particularly, it is an expression of a shared ministry with those biblical or holy characters who have journeyed before us, recognition that they have something to offer us and that we can be guided by their intercession.
Source:  Matt Talbot - A Lenten Journey, pages 48-50 (

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Matt Talbot: An Example for Finishing Your Life Well

The writer is pastor of the Church of the Nativity in Magadan, Russia.

"After a bad start, finish your life well."

Father Michael Shields
December 2014
I am turning 65 this month and a lovely question has come to me: “How do I want to finish this life?”

We all may have had some bad starts along the way but the Christian Gospel says we can make a great finish.

While praying about this for a few months I met a friend along the way. A lovely little saint named Venerable Matt Talbot (1856-1925). He was an Irish man and a chronic alcoholic who found sobriety for 41 years through devotion to the Eucharist, prayer, self-discipline and spiritual direction. He lived the 12 step program before it was discovered. He is a saint for the addict and the alcoholic, the down-and-outers and the rest of us who need a little hope to keep on the path home.

He was a simple man who, through great efforts, taught himself to read and write so he could read the Bible and the lives of the saints. He would often be found kneeling in front of the church door waiting for the parish to open for the early morning Mass. He found a deep relationship to Jesus through Mary as he made the consecration of Saint Louis de Montfort.

He was going to Trinity Sunday Mass when he died and would have been terribly embarrassed that others found out he was wearing a small chain to remind himself he was a servant of the great King and Queen of Heaven.

I love the story about how he spent seven years trying to find the blind fiddle player from whom he stole a fiddle to pay for some pints of beer. He couldn’t locate him so gave the amount of money that the fiddle cost to a priest to pray for the man’s soul. He was a simple man who started badly but finished a saint.

So here I am before God asking, “Lord, show me how to finish this life.”

Matt’s simple spiritual life resonates with me and was taken from the pattern of the Irish monks as summarized by Saint Columbanus: “Pray daily, fast daily, work daily, study daily.” I confess that this is the best description of the life I want to lead as I finish this life. I find in this simple saint such beauty and a call to run with him to the end. I recall Saint Paul’s words in Hebrews: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us with perseverance run the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Lord, in your servant Matt Talbot you have given us a wonderful example of triumph over addiction, of devotion to duty and of lifelong reverence for the Holy Sacrament. May his life of prayer and penance give us courage to take up our crosses and follow in the footsteps of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Matt we are coming, pray for us.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Venerable Matt Talbot and Divine Mercy

Asking Matt's Help in the Presence of the Lord

Gentle Matt, I turn to you in my present needs and ask for the help of your prayers.
Trusting in you, I am confident your charitable and understanding heart will make my petitions your own.
I believe that you are truly powerful in the presence of Divine Mercy. If it be for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
the honour of Mary, our Mother and Queen and the deepening of my relationship with them, show that your goodness towards me, in my daily struggles, equals your influence with the Holy Spirit, who is hidden and at home in my Heart.
Friend of pity, friend of power, hear, oh hear me in this hour, gentle Matt, please pray for me.
Monsignor Charles Pope, pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Church in Washington, D.C., provides us with a very thoughtful meditation for Divine Mercy Sunday—“Gods Perfect Mercy” at 
He concludes his meditation with a video of the song “I almost let go,” which we all can relate to:
I almost let go;I felt like I just couldn’t take life any more.
My problems had me bound;
Depression weighed me down;
But God held me close
so I wouldn’t let go.
God’s mercy kept me;
so I wouldn’t let go
I almost gave up;
I was right at the edge of a break through,
but couldn’t see it.
The devil really had me,
but Jesus came and grabbed me,
and He held me close,
so I wouldn’t let go.

God’s mercy kept me,
so I wouldn’t let go.
So I’m here to day because God kept me
I’m A live today only because of His grace
Oh He kept me, God kept me
God’s mercy kept me,
so I wouldn’t let go.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Influence of Venerable Matt Talbot for One Family

On 10 October 2014 we posted an article about the possibility of a physical miracle involving one-year-old Talbot Joseph Watkins from Kansas and Venerable Matt Talbot, which was investigated in person by Fr. Brian Lawless, Vice Postulator for the cause of canonization of Matt Talbot (

We now have yet another very special story about Lourdes Marie Talbot Boever from Nebraska, who was born with omphaloceles.  Her birth story (Part 1) is shared in detail by her mother, Lindsay at importance of Venerable Matt Talbot and other holy persons in the life of this family is clearly noted in this and other posts.

The given names of these two children leads one to wonder how many children throughout the world have been named “Matt” and/or “Talbot” in honor of the Venerable Matt Talbot in the past ninety years?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Venerable Matt Talbot included in “The Catholic Advantage”

In his latest book, The Catholic Advantage: Why Health, Happiness, and Heaven Await the Faithful (2015),
Dr. William A. Donohue, President and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Right (USA), states
“Not all Catholic heroes become saints, and not all whose sufferings bring solace to the afflicted achieve sainthood. There are some, however, whose spiritual journey merits them being declared Venerable, a status short of sainthood. One of the most interesting persons to achieve this level of recognition is Matt Talbot, known as the patron of alcoholics.” 
The four page section about Matt can be read (within Chapter 4: Coping with Adversity) at

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Matt Talbot: from alcohol to holiness

by Fr. Brian Schieber 
St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Parish
Leawood, KS
First Sunday of Lent Year B 
February 22, 2015

Matt Talbot has been declared Venerable which means he on the way to hopefully becoming a canonized saint.

Matt Talbot was born in Dublin Ireland in 1856. He was one of 12 children. At the time in Ireland school attendance was not in force so Matt rarely attended school. At the age of 12, he got a job in a wine shop. It was there that Matt began “sampling the wares,” which started him on a journey of excessive drinking for the next 16 years. For those 16 years, he lived for booze. After working in the wine shop, he started working in a whiskey shop making things even worse. All of his wages he spent on drinking. He frequented the pubs and became such a down and out drunk that he even pawned his clothes and boots to get money for alcohol. Once he even stole a fiddle from a blind street musician.

One day, penniless, he was standing outside a pub waiting for someone to buy him a drink. Frustrated that no one would, he received a flash of grace and recognized what a pitiful life he was living. He went home and told his mother that he was taking the pledge. She had been praying earnestly for his conversion. At the age of 28 he found a priest, made his confession, and then the next day he went to Mass and received Communion which did every day for the rest of his life until he died at the age of 69 in 1925 of a heart attack on his way to morning Mass.

Living the life of sobriety was not easy. He wrote to his sister, “Never look down on a man who cannot give up the drink. It is easier to get out of hell.” It was the grace of God that set him free. He had support and accountability. And he did more than resist the urge to drink – he lived a life of penance and self-discipline. He slept on a plank, fasted, and wore chains around his waist and arm and leg as a symbol of his devotion and desire to be a slave of Mary.

On this first Sunday of Lent we hear Jesus say to us, “Repent and believe in the gospel.” Repent means to make a turn in your life. Turn away from sin and turn toward Christ. Matt Talbot made a huge life-saving turn in his life. All of us, no matter where we are on our spiritual journey, are called to deepening repentance. As we begin Lent, take time to honestly reflect: what are the sins that are binding me? What do I need to let go of in my life? Then I’m asking all of us to do something very important for Lent – please make a good confession! That was really the beginning of Matt Talbot’s conversion.

The Church holds up for us three traditional disciplines of Lent to help us in our on-going process of conversion: prayer, fasting, almsgiving
I want to talk about fasting first. Why do we fast? We fast in imitation of Jesus. We see in the gospel that the Holy Spirit led Jesus out into the desert where he fasted. What happens when we you fast? You get hungry! What happens in the desert? You get thirsty. Fasting or giving something up for lent is meant to awaken the deepest hunger and thirst in our life: the thirst for God. Alcohol could not quench Matt Talbot’s deepest thirst. In fact in only led him into the throws of addiction. It was only Jesus and his reception of Jesus in daily Communion that satisfied and set him free. Fasting can help us turn to Jesus. Every time we have a desire to have that desert or soda or coffee that we gave up, it gives us an opportunity to choose Jesus over whatever we gave up.

Second, Almsgiving – our sacrifices should lead to the aide of the poor. After Matt Talbot’s conversion he was known for his generosity. He repaid all of his debts. He tried to find the man from whom he stole the fiddle and unable to find him donated money to the church to have Masses offered for him. Even though he was poor himself, he gave generously to the poor, to charities, and to the Church.

We still have the rice-bowls available after Mass. The idea is that you take the money you would have saved on whatever you give up for Lent and you put it in the rice-bowl to help the poor.

Can I make one other practical suggestion of what we can all do for Lent? Catholic Charities has provided a clothing bin for us that we have put on the north side of the church. Please take time this lent to clean out your closet and donate clothes for the poor.

At our administrative team meetings with the Archbishop, we are taking a few minutes before the meeting to reflect on Pope Francis’ letter called Joy of the Gospel. What struck me this week were these words by Pope Francis: “Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? We have created a “throw away” culture which is now spreading.” We so often are blessed with abundance which sadly can lead to waste. It could be a beautiful Lenten resolution to say, “I’m going to work hard not to waste food.” Or before we buy something to say, “Do I really need another  one of these?” Simplify your life. Clean out your closet for Lent!

Finally, prayer. It was by the grace of God that Matt Talbot was set free. Conversion goes hand and hand with prayer. The image of the desert provides us with insight. The desert is free of distractions.

Blase Paschal said most of the time human beings seek diversion in life. We easily get caught up in the world through images, ads, media, music, idle conversations, and the constant borage of sensory pleasures available to us. We are drawn out into the world to the neglect of our interior life – our spiritual life.

St. Augustine: Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. St. Augustine searched for God in the pleasures of the world to the neglect of his interior life. If I’m going to be cultivating my interior life – my prayer life – what is necessary?

Silence! I have to unplug. What a beautiful thing to do for lent – create a desert space in your life. Unplug the TV, computer games, IPad, the cell phone, the IPod and enter into the silence.

Take home a copy of the Word Among Us. You can reflect on the daily readings for Mass. It also has a daily meditation. Consider praying the rosary as a family. Come to the Stations of the Cross on Fridays.

As the story of Matt Talbot circulated, his life gave hope to so many. Now there are countless addiction clinics, recovery centers and youth hostels named after him. Matt Talbot made a turn in his life. Now is the time to repent. Let us take up fasting, almsgiving, and prayer and turn back to God with all our hearts.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

2015 Pilgrimage to Ireland with the Venerable Matt Talbot Vice Postulator

 This is a reminder regarding the forthcoming pilgrimage:

“Pilgrimage to Ireland In the footsteps of Patrick, in the company of Matt, June 21-July2, 2015"

Join Father Brian Lawless, Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Matt Talbot, and JF Declan Quinn, Director of Aid to the Church in Need, on a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the footsteps of St.Patrick, in the company of Venerable Matt Talbot. 

Round-trip airfare from Philadelphia, daily Mass, first class hotel accommodations, most meals, private touring and more.

For details click to download the brochure at