Friday, October 30, 2015

Taking the November Pledge

As we near All Saints Day and All Souls Day, the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association, of which Venerable Matt Talbot was a member, suggests that November is an ideal occasion to take a break from alcohol and take a Short-Term pledge and offer it as a prayerful act in honour of deceased loved ones as well as addicted friends and family members.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Proposed Papal Visit to Ireland Should Include Matt Talbot Shrine

The following is a Letter to the Editor of The Irish Catholic published on 15 October 2015 at
The Irish Catholic
The Irish Catholic

Dear Editor,
Your front page story in last week’s The Irish Catholic (08/10/2015) focused on a possible papal visit to Ireland in 2018 and the places that may be included in his itinerary. (See

Pope hand-picked Ireland in hope of 2018 visit
Francis has a ‘special affection’ for Ireland
- See more at:
If he were to come he should also visit the Shrine of Matt Talbot. This was actually included in John Paul II’s own itinerary, but due to logistic reasons, he was just driven past the church. The disappointment of the locals is still very palpable today, 36 years later. (See

Though situated right in the heart of Dublin, the North inner city is a marginalised community having to endure the social stigma attached to it. However there are many positive elements to be found there which are often overlooked.

In the words of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: “Inner city Dublin has a great history of people looking after one another, especially when times are hard. This community has shown that it has extraordinary resources of goodness and caring and courage.”

Pope Francis loves the deprived and marginalised, and would feel very much at home visiting such a community to which Matt Talbot belonged. Moreover, Matt would be very much to the heart of Pope Francis, since he is a clear “witness of the mercy and tenderness of the Lord”.

The Pope’s visit will highlight the World Meeting of Families; in the inner city he will surely meet many resilient families, as the archbishop himself affirms: “There are great families in this parish. There are great mothers and grandmothers, who when things went wrong kept families together.”

If the Pope were to visit Matt Talbot’s Shrine he would surely also visit his own Jesuit Community in Gardiner street, and pray at the shrine of Venerable John Sullivan. Holiness touches the lives of all people, whatever their background!

Yours etc.,
Richard Ebejer SDB,
Our Lady of Lourdes,
Sean McDermott Street, Dublin.
Site of the Matt Talbot Shrine

Pope John Paul II crowd waiting at Matt Talbot Shrine

This 1979 photograph and text is from the Dublin City Council Photographic Collection at

"Our Lady of Lourdes was built in 1954 and contains the shrine of Matt Talbot (1856-1925). This photo was taken during the visit of Pope John Paul II in September 1979. 
Pope John Paul II had voiced his support for the beatification of Matt Talbot and the locals were convinced that the Pontiff would visit the shrine. 
Despite many weeks preparation, the Papal cavalcade swept past the disappointed gathering. As one local put it: 'no joyrider even came down Sean McDermott Street so fast'."

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Facing Demons

Dr. Ronda Chervin’s latest book, Avoiding Bitterness in Suffering: How Our Heroes in Faith Found Peace Amid Sorrow, was just published last month by Sophia Institute Press.
In the chapter titled “Meeting Christ in Temptation,” Dr. Chervin discusses saints and holy people who were periodically surrounded by “gruesome tormenting demons."
She provides two examples in which Matt Talbot suffered from “violent oppression demons,” one occurring while waiting to enter a church and another within church while approaching the alter rail. She also notes Matt’s practices of fasting and penances to help him overcome temptation to drink.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Video of Matt Talbot Related Photographs

This 1:41 video of photographs (taken 29/8/15) are from Granby Lane (where Matt died) and his Shrine in Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Dublin.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Prayer Pulled Matt Talbot Over the Line

by Fr. Tom Ryan, P.P.
22 September 2015

For the next nine Tuesdays starting on Tuesday, 29th September in SS John & Paul Church Shannon people will gather each week at the Shrine of Matt Talbot, to pray and intercede for people suffering or sharing in the life of addictions.

Excessive drinking and addictive behaviours are having a damaging effect on Irish society. Research has shown that half of all adult drinkers in Ireland are harmful high risk drinkers and 15% of our 18 to 24 year olds who drink are already dependent. More people die each day from alcohol related problems than on our roads. Nowadays more women and young people are presenting for help with alcohol dependency. Very few Irish families have not been impacted in some way by the problems of addiction, whether it be alcohol, tablets, or other drugs, online gambling, pornography or some other dependent behaviour.

All of us can identify behaviours in our personal lives which we know deep down are not good for us, like over use of alcohol, drugs or the internet, an unhealthy relationship, obsession with work, the need to gamble or spending, or a fixation with someone or something which dominates our lives to the exclusion of those who are most dear to us.
Being honest with ourselves is the first step to recognising our weaknesses and this in turn can open us to the love and mercy of God that can lead to us changing our lives for the better, with God on our side. This was the experience of Matt Talbot.

Matt Talbot was born in Dublin in 1856 and died suddenly in 1925, experienced at first hand the pain and suffering of addiction. Matt worked and prayed and fasted for the gift of temperance. He had experienced at first hand, in his own body, the havoc and the ravage wrought by his drinking alcohol to excess. He had felt the horrors of hangovers and saw its effects on his work and on his relationship with his friends and with his family. In fact, he saw that he was slowly but surely destroying himself.

Somehow or other, by the grace of a good and generous God, he got the strength to give it all up and to go sober. He began to see that our hunger and thirst for food and drink is something good – given to us by a good and generous God, to encourage us to eat and drink to keep ourselves alive and strong and well. But he saw also that it was something to be used in moderation.

One of the things we need, at all times, is a proper approach to the use of food and drink and the sexual power, given to us by God to bring new life into the world. There is a right way and a wrong way of using his gifts. There is a temperate way and an intemperate way. The temperate way is the better way. The intemperate way is the way that leads to disaster, but people don’t see it like that unfortunately. The temperate way is possible.

Matt Talbot is an outstanding example of prayer and conversion. The Matt Talbot Novena, now in its 23rd year in Shannon, is our annual opportunity to support by prayer and reflection all suffering or sharing in the life of addictions. Matt Talbot has shown that it is possible to change; the power of prayer should never be underestimated.