On behalf of the Sacred Space Team, I bring you greetings and prayers for the coming season of Lent, and for the Easter season which follows. As Ash Wednesday draws near, it is fitting that we commemorate the launching of Sacred Space five years ago. When the then Director of the Jesuit Communications Centre, Alan McGuckian, conceived the idea of Sacred Space as “something to do for Lent”, who would have thought that five years later some 9 million visitors would have visited the site? It is an occasion to recall, and give thanks for, the significant events of the last five years.
– Gerry Bourke, S.J., Editor of Latest Space

Sections within this issue of Latest Space:

  • Summary of the last five years
  • A message from the President of Ireland
  • The Sacred Space Retreat Day
  • A “Chapel of Intentions”
  • Sacred Space in book form
  • Word from our translators
  • Sacred Space in California
  • A word of thanks
  • “Something to do for Lent”
  • Sacred Space – where people go
  • Easter greetings
  • SUMMARY OF THE LAST FIVE YEARS

    1999 Ash Wednesday: Launch of Sacred Space (1,500 visitors on Day 1!).

    March 17: Launch of Tearmann, the first translation – in the Irish language.

    Summer: Róisín Pye joins the staff, eventually to take over as Webmaster.

    September: “Stuck? / Need inspiration?” points were added for the first time.

    Advent: Launch of Espacio Sagrado, Spanish translation.


    2000 Lent: 1st anniversary of Sacred Space celebrated by ‘posters’ on Dublin buses.

    Launch of Lugar Sagrado, Portuguese translation.

    Summer: Peter Scally leaves JCC for studies in theology and ordination.


    2001 January 1: Launch of Japanese translation by an Argentinean Jesuit in Tokyo.

    (in 2001, there were also translations in Dutch, Korean, Latvian, and Polish.)

    May 1: Gerry Bourke joins staff to handle FEEDBACK correspondence.

    November: Sacred Space “counter” of visitors averages 6,500 per day.

    December 1: Launch of Latest Space, newsletter of Sacred Space.


    2002 Easter: Launch in USA of Sacred Gateway, a youth version of Sacred Space.

    May 1: Launch in Barcelona of Espai Sagrat, Catalan translation.

    June: Launch in Canada of Un Moment Sacré, French translation.

    Early August: Jae-Hong Cheon (from Korea) joins staff to be Webmaster.

    Mid-August: Roisín Pye leaves for further studies in Italy.

    October 15: Launch of Romanian translation

    Early November: Australian publisher proposes a book on Sacred Space.

    December: Launch of Czech translation.

    December 22: Launch of Byzantine version.


    2003 February 23: launch of 9 Days of Prayer for Peace to commemorate 40th anniversary of Pope John 23rd’s peace encyclical, Pacem in Terris.

    Early May: Launch of Maltese translation.

    June 1: Alan McGuckian leaves team to work full-time on Catholic Ireland.
    Garry O’Sullivan joins team as Communications Manager.

    August: Launch of German translation.

    Early October: Leon Ó Giolláin joins team as part-time content editor.

    Mid-October: A Sacred Space Retreat on Feb.28, 2004 is announced.

    October visitors: Mon.- Fri. average – 9,904; Saturdays and Sundays – 6,408

    November 2: Launch of “Chapel of Remembrance” for month of November.


    2004 January 1: Launching in Taiwan of Chinese translation of Sacred Space.

    First 6 weeks of 2004: “Counter” of visitors averages 9,545 daily. (Mon.- Fri. daily average – 10,445; weekend daily average – 6,511.)

    February 19: Mailing of Latest Space #10.

    Ash Wednesday (Feb.25): Commemoration of 5 years of Sacred Space.

    February 28: Sacred Space retreat in Dublin available online.


    MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF IRELAND


    I am delighted to send warmest greetings to everyone in the Sacred Space community as you celebrate the 5th Anniversary of SACRED SPACE and the 10th issue of LATEST SPACE. From relatively small beginnings, it is an incredible achievement for the Jesuits to have a daily ‘readership’ of some ten thousand, and a website that is translated into 17 languages around the world.

    For many centuries and through many generations, members of the Jesuit Community have traversed the globe in search of new opportunities to spread the message of Christianity. They have absorbed, and have been absorbed by, the cultures and traditions of their adopted countries. In your publications, you encourage the expression of Christianity through the experiences of missionaries going about God’s work. As President, I have many treasured memories of witnessing the tremendous impact of people who dedicate their lives to keeping the flame of Christian generosity and spirit alive in difficult circumstances.

    I am proud to be associated with your celebrations and I wish all of you peace and spiritual guidance in everything you do. Guím rath Dé oraibh sna blianta atá le teacht. God bless you all in the years to come

    Mary McAleese
    President of Ireland

    THE SACRED SPACE RETREAT DAY

    Leon O’Giollain SJ will lead the Sacred Space Retreat Day both in Manresa in Dublin and online on Saturday February 28th. He explains the approach he will take:

    “As a child I learned Irish dancing and loved it. As an adult, in recent years, I revived that interest and now attend weekly céilí and set dancing classes. Our teacher is superb. He lines us all up in a line behind him and shows us how to do the steps of a particular dance. We follow his lead, observing him closely and imitating his movements. He then places us together in dance groups and calls out instructions, correcting us as we go along.

    “Step by step, we get into the rhythm of the dance. By year’s end, you would hardly believe the transformation! Steps and movements have been all but mastered. The joy and delight is palpable on the faces of all and we swing around in a unison we thought not possible only some months previously.

    “Jesus is Lord of the human dance! The early Christian thinkers – the Fathers of the Church, known as such for their foundational theology, profound wisdom and holiness of life – likened the inner life of God to a dance. Yes, the early Christian writers thought of the Trinity of Persons as perpetually dancing in a circular movement of love. What a beautiful image! Even more beautiful is the fact that we are invited to join the dance, to share in God’s own life, to be part of the rhythm of life and love that is in God himself.

    “The saints are called such because they are the best imitators of Christ. Many of the great saints have themselves become teachers of the dance, showing us, by word and example, how to move in sync with the Trinity. St. Ignatius was himself a great pedagogue. In his little book, the Spiritual Exercises, he spells out some very basic steps, which will lead us eventually into the deep inner circle of God’s own loving union. These steps may seem very basic at first, but they are essential if we are to make progress in the spiritual life.

    “I will be your ‘dance coach’ on the Sacred Space retreat day. Whether you are coming to Manresa in Dublin or would like to make the retreat online, I hope you can join us as a community searching for God’s voice in our lives.”

    If you would like to join our retreat in Dublin, email us at [email protected] . If you wish to join us online just watch out for a LINK to the retreat when you choose February 28 on “the day you want”. You will be united with those on retreat in Manresa as they enjoy their “dance with the Lord”.


    A “CHAPEL OF INTENTIONS”

    As many of our visitors to Sacred Space will have read on our FEEDBACK page, there have been many responses to a suggestion (following on our November “Chapel of Remembrance), that we might have a “chapel” for various other “intentions”. Most people favoured the idea, but some noted that www.catholicireland.net, our sister site, already has such a page. And we already have a link to that site and to its prayer site for children. On Ash Wednesday, we plan to have a further direct link to their “Intentions Page” (www.catholicireland.net/prayer_requests/pickpray.php).

    On that page it is noted that “Your request for prayer will also be transferred electronically to a group of monks of the Benedictine Congregation of St. Mary of Monte-Oliveto, who have established a monastic presence in Rostrevor, Down, Northern Ireland. During their times of silent prayer and meditation and their main liturgical celebrations of morning and evening prayer, the Monks have generously offered to pray for the intentions of those who make requests through this website.”

    Those members of our Sacred Space community who wish to submit intentions, or pray for the intentions already submitted, are invited to conclude their time in Sacred Space with a visit to this “Chapel of Intentions” .

    SACRED SPACE IN BOOK FORM


    SACRED SPACE – The Prayer Book 2005″ is well on its way to publication. The publishers – Michelle Anderson Publishing Company in Melbourne, Australia – plan to have it with the printers in March/April 2004 so that the finished copies will be in the bookshops in late July/early August. This means that Sacred Space in book form will be available for the new liturgical year (2004-5), which begins Advent 2004.

    We received a copy of the proposed cover. The front picture is shown left – a very peaceful space. The colours look brighter on the computer and will be softer and give a sense of peace and space. A soft matt finish will be used rather than a gloss laminated cover. The back cover has these words describing the content:

    The book, as with the website, guides the reader, simply and gently,

    through a few stages of preparation, each stage consisting of

    ‘Something to think and pray about each day this week’;

    then six small ‘Stages of Prayer’ leading into a short piece of Scripture

    with points which help us to think about the text,

    and make it relevant to our daily lives.

    This “sacred space in one’s day” can be anywhere at any time,

    on a park bench, at home, the office, the beach,

    a time to quietly connect with God;

    a time to be consoled, healed, challenged and transformed.

    WORD FROM OUR TRANSLATORS

    From the Catalan Translators:

    Congratulations for the 5th anniversary of Sacred Space from Catalonia and the Espai Sagrat version!!!. We are absolutely delighted to be with you in your special edition of “Latest Space”. We started our work knowing our page was not going to be visited as often as the English or Spanish translations. Besides, many of our visitors could already use the on-line prayer of Espai Sagrat in the Spanish translation, which was already available.

    After some weeks of hard work and with the supportive help of the Jesuit Communication Centre in Dublin, the Catalan translation of Sacred Space was on-line on May 1, 2002 . We can say with pride that our visitors have confirmed the reasons which led us to begin our adventure. Elisenda wrote: “Many thanks for the offering of this chance of prayer in ‘català’. Certainly the language you use has its own importance and help. My relationship with Jesus is always in ‘català’ and to have to do it in another language takes away my spontaneity.” Another visitor’s testimony underlines the same feeling: “Praying in your own language helps a lot in assimilating and expressing all that you live and feel. Yours is a great service.”

    But language was not the ultimate argument that convinced us to translate Espai Sagrat into Catalan. There was as well the desire to contribute to this project which makes it possible for millions of people throughout the world to gather and pray the same prayer, in spite of the distance between them. That is why we have made a team who are in charge of the page, preparing the daily gospel commentaries, trying to offer our visitors an up-to-date and solid website.

    Most of the testimonies we have received come from people used to working with computers; some of them do not have the usual contact with the church, and sometimes they do not even have the habit of daily prayer. Jaume described his impressions and feelings on discovering Espai Sagrat: “Due to my work, I spend the day in front of a computer. Many times I have thought that this fabulous tool of work does nothing but spoil my life. Every time you press a key it seems that the computer works slowly and you want to go faster and faster in order to work more. Believe me, now that I have discovered this page my computer has become my place of prayer and I look at it with sympathy. The machine vitalizes me”.

    We have met, as well, visitors who belong to different groups from parish churches or prayer groups. They thank us for the resources we offer them. A priest said to us: “It is wonderful for me and my community. I beg you not to give up offering this service so useful for praying”. The welcome our page had from the very beginning stimulated us to offer other complementary services. We decided to publish a monthly booklet with news related to the world of Espai Sagrat and other proposals concerning the world of prayer and spirituality: books, activities, and some other internet pages. Our intention is to create a small virtual net around Espai Sagrat, which will be open to interested people and make it possible to raise questions, exchange information and resources, and make suggestions.

    – The Espai Sagrat Team: Montse Girbau (webmaster), Santi Torres SJ,
    Fr. Carles Portabella SJ, Óscar Fuentes SJ, Fr. Lluís Armengol SJ

    From the Chinese Translators:

    I am afraid that on our website at present we can only show the text in traditional Chinese characters (big-5 codes), without the simplified characters……In two or three months, our website will move to another address, and the appearance of the pages would also change. Very possibly, we would then be able to offer both the traditional Chinese characters and the simplified Chinese characters on our website.

    …..We don’t have a feedback page in the Chinese Sacred Space in our temporary web frame (I hope we can add it to our design in our new website), so there is only one visitor in Hong Kong who wrote to us to say that he was glad to see we offered a Chinese Sacred Space. I also heard from a few friends in Taiwan who said they like this prayer website and expressed similar feelings as the Hong Kong reader did to encourage our work.

    – Cynthia Chang, Ignatian Spirituality Center, Taipei, Taiwan

    From the German Translators:

    The start of the German version of Sacred Space was not without its hurdles. There had been intensive contact between the Jesuits in Dublin and in Munich since early 2002, but it took more than a year before the German version was finally launched. The main problem was the fact that, despite several appeals, no Jesuit was prepared to commit himself to the regular translating work.

    It was only after some interested lay people offered their help to Fr. Gerry Bourke in Dublin that things started moving. Eileen Opiolka, a Scot living in Dusseldorf, agreed to translate both the basic texts and the daily prayer prompts. Her work is edited and supported by Thomas Busch, the German Jesuits’ press officer in Munich.

    The first comments on the German version of Sacred Space, which has been online since August 2003, showed how impatiently, yet gratefully, the online prayer pages had been awaited. Here in Germany, Catholics and Protestants are almost equal in number, and we were especially delighted that the first reaction came from a Protestant. He wrote: “I discovered the Sacred Space site on the Internet over a year ago and I was immediately thrilled, thankful and moved – all at the same time. Since then, praying with the texts has become a fixed part of my regular day. God moves! We had to wait a long time for the translation into German. Now it is here. Hallelujah! I’m going to send off a mail to all my friends. God’s blessing on you and all the other international helpers on this site!”

    Since then, we have received many encouraging mails both online and at the Provincialate of the German Jesuits. These have included a number of constructive ideas for both content and form. A printed version of the prayers, for instance, was suggested. One visitor would have welcomed a more detailed comment on the bible passages while another was introduced to the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises through Sacred Space. We were particularly moved by thanks received from a handicapped visitor who is no longer able to get out to Mass. Brickbats came too, though: “How on earth can one ever sit in front of a computer and pray?” But even this reaction, like many others, led to a genuine correspondence when we replied with the advice of St. Ignatius, that we can “seek and find God in all things”. In other words, why shouldn’t we be able to sit in front of a computer and pray? More than 10,000 visits to the German version of Sacred Space in the first six months would seem to be a clear answer.

    – Thomas Busch, German Jesuits’ Press Officer, and Eileen Opiolka, Translator

    From the Romanian Translators:

    The Romanian translation of Sacred Space was launched on October 15, 2002, and has now a printer friendly version like the English Sacred Space. I am assisted in the translation by three Jesuit scholastics, studying in Rome, London and Frankfurt.

    The Byzantine version of Sacred Space was launched on December 22nd of the same year. In the Byzantine version the visitor can read the Gospel of the day, the sinaxarion (a short account of the saint’s life and the history of the feast), the troparion (a short poetic hymn referring to the feast of the day) and kontakion (originally a long poem, but now reduced to a stanza) for the saint or feast of the day, with an icon, and a short fragment from the writings of the Church Fathers.

    I want to stress that this version is not referred to as Orthodox, but Byzantine. This is because it is not only for Orthodox people, but also for Greek Catholics. This version was worked out in collaboration with my friends of the Theological Department of the Trinitas Radio of the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Moldavia and Bukovina (Iasi, Romania).

    – Claudiu Ciubotariu SJ, Genoa, Italy


    SACRED SPACE IN CALIFORNIA

    Early in February an invitation arrived from Salinas, California, USA, inviting “a priest from Sacred Space” to participate in a series of sermons with the theme, “Lord teach us to pray” – to be preached on Wednesday evenings during the season of Lent in the Edmund Rice Chapel of Palma High School, Salinas. Specifically, the “priest from Sacred Space” would celebrate Mass and preach on Sacred Space as a help to prayer in daily life on Wednesday, April 7, beginning 7 p.m.

    The writer of the letter, Dennis Donohue, Parent Moderator of the Edmund Rice Society, which is sponsoring the program, wrote, “The Sacred Space site does such an outstanding job I wanted to introduce it to our local community and hopefully the Monterey Diocese.” The editor of Latest Space decided to accept this generous invitation, and will take advantage of the nice climate there to make his own annual retreat. Anyone needing further information about the Lenten series can call Dennis on his voice mail at 831-758-6265 or his e-mail at [email protected].


    A WORD OF THANKS

    The Sacred Space team wishes to thank all of you who kindly responded to our “Support Sacred Space” appeal last November, and who also used the occasion to express your thanks for the help you have received on the site. We hope to use the funds received to update the site and the three year prayer cycle, and to promote Sacred Space further afield.

    Our campaign is ongoing, and those of you who have considered responding to our appeal and would still like to, we would be happy to hear from you. Cheques can be made out to Sacred Space, and sent to 36 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2, Ireland. Or you can make your donation to Sacred Space on our new secure link at the end of the Sacred Space prayer page.

    “SOMETHING TO DO FOR LENT”

    As we commemorate five years of Sacred Space, here are five ways that you might spread the word to others about our website. Remember Sacred Space began with an invitation to pray at one’s computer during the Lenten season as “Something to do for Lent”.

    1. Check the website of your local diocese, parish, or other similar organization – Do they have a link to Sacred Space? If not, why not recommend a link?
    2. Do any friends have homepages? Ask them to include a link to Sacred Space.
    3. Has your local newspaper (diocesan or otherwise) featured an article on Sacred Space? Would they be interested? If so, do not hesitate to suggest one. You may even put them in touch with us, and we will cooperate with them as best we can.
    4. Download and print a poster or some cards from the endpage of Sacred Space, and spread them around.
    5. If you have an idea for a new Sacred Space poster, please send us a copy.


    SACRED SPACE – WHERE PEOPLE GO

    – A poem/prayer submitted for the 5th anniversary of Sacred Space
    Father, we are indeed blest,

    doing what You called us to do.

    Sacred Space is five years old, and we

    couldn’t have done it without You.

    You gave us the vision and

    the people to put it all together.

    Nine million visits, with more to come,

    has indeed been a wonderful endeavour.

    We, Your humble servants, are amazed

    at what Sacred Space has become.

    We hear daily of the many

    blessings experienced by some.

    People from all walks of life go to

    Sacred Space, where people care.

    Two or more, gathered together in

    Your name, who find You there.

    Father, we will continue to put our

    trust in You, each and every day.

    And we look forward to another

    year, with You leading the way.

    – Frances Berumen 2/1/04 <><

    EASTER GREETINGS

    Easter is still some weeks away, but all the Sacred Space team – Garry, Geraldine, Gerry, Jae-Hong, and Leon – wish you, our readers, the fullness of life, with the peace and joy that comes from an awareness of the Risen Lord with us always.

    Greetings of Peace and Joy from your Editor, Fr. Gerry. As we come close to Christmas and the New Year, I am putting together this issue of Latest Space with the hope that it will help to bring you up to date on the many ways God has blessed us in Sacred Space over the past few months. And may the same Lord continue to bless you and yours with many gifts from above at Christmas and in the New Year.
    The “Chapel of Remembrance”

    During the month of November, many members of our Sacred Space community availed themselves of the opportunity afforded not only to submit names, but also to visit the “Chapel of Remembrance” and pray for their beloved dead. The total number of people that submitted names was 1,897 and they were from some 60 different countries. The total number of deceased persons for whom prayers were requested is a little more difficult to ascertain, since a few people wanted prayers for the deceased members of their family. However, the number would be in the area of 7,500.

    It was interesting to note that more than half of those who submitted names – 1,032 to be exact – were from the USA. Next with 209 persons was the UK (including England, Scotland and Wales), followed by Canada (158), Ireland (149), the Philippines (90) and Australia (80). The other some 50 countries were represented by less than 20 persons who submitted names.

    But more encouraging than the response in numbers was the feedback received from those who used this opportunity to pray for their dead. Some of this has already appeared on our feedback page, but here is a summary.

    From Paris: I am an invalid living in France and I would so like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to ‘visit’ my loved ones on your Remembrance Chapel page. I will never be able to pray on their tombs in Ireland anymore but thanks to Sacred Space I can pay them a ‘visit’ and pray for them every day! Thanks, too, for the weekly Masses which they (R.I.P.) would have really appreciated.

    From Australia: After my father entered eternal life on All Souls day, I placed him in your Book of Remembrance. My family and I thank you for the opportunity to place before God our loved one by Masses and prayers. My mother, his wife and companion for 68 years, is especially grateful.

    From Canada: Thank you for the Chapel of Remembrance. I scroll through the names each time I visit Sacred Space, and pray for all of them. What a wonderful work you do, to be part of so many lives in so many countries.

    From the USA: …..It was my dad’s wishes to be cremated and his ashes scattered over his beloved mountain tops in Gunnison, Colorado. We respected his wishes, but I….have nowhere to go to visit him. Now I do. And when I saw his name, I just touched the screen and cried. And I felt so grateful for this gift of the Chapel of Remembrance. Now he exists…his name is there…he is more than dust in the wind.
    There were also some letters expressing regret that the “Chapel of Remembrance” was no longer available after November. But since it was introduced for “the month of the faithful departed”, it was decided to limit it to November. If there are other suggestions and there is such a demand, we could set up a similar “chapel” for other intentions.

    The Day of Retreat

    Fr. Leon has been working on the plans for a day of quiet prayer and meditation at Manresa Jesuit Retreat House in Dollymount, Dublin, on Sat. February 28, 2004, beginning at 10 a.m., and finishing at 4.30 p.m. As of Monday, November 3, we have had a link button on the endpage of our website, which offers an application form for the retreat. There are still spaces available. We encourage you to sign up as soon as possible.

    In the beginning there will be a time for getting acquainted with the place, the people, and the plan for the day. Then, in an atmosphere of silence, the day will be divided between times of preparation for prayer, prayer itself, and reflection on each one’s personal experience of prayer. There will be time alone and time together. At the end of the day, there will be Mass for those who wish to participate.

    For those who cannot be present physically in Manresa, we hope to have in Sacred Space a “Retreat Chapel”, where those who so wish may be united with those making the retreat in Manresa, and be with them in their “walk with the Lord”. Watch out for a “link” to enter the Retreat Chapel.

    The Response to “Support Sacred Space” Letter

    As most of our readers will be aware, on November 18, Garry sent out a letter to those on our mailing list in which the following words were included:

    “As 2004 approaches, we are looking to the next five years and want to ensure that Sacred Space will be as rich and fruitful a space for thousands of others as it has been for you. Put simply, we are asking for your help.

    “As you know, there is no charge for visiting Sacred Space; we do not have advertisements, nor do we have any commercial support. We are a non-profit group. That makes us totally dependent on you, the Sacred Space visitor, to contribute so that we can continue this excellent service. We are grateful to those who have so far contributed generously…..

    “It is not easy for us to ask for financial help, but we throw ourselves upon the goodwill of you, our visitors, and on God’s fatherly care. We trust, too, that you will continue to support us in prayer, so that we will have the resources and the inspiration that we need to continue this ministry…..”

    The response has been very encouraging, not only in the financial sum that was sent in from all over the world (within three weeks, we had passed the 10,000 euro mark) but especially in the feedback received in letters. These two examples appeared on our FEEDBACK page:

    “I have sent a donation and hope it will help. Please don’t hesitate to let us know when assistance is needed. You and your colleagues give us far more than we could hope to repay by mere financial means.” And “You can always ask us for help; it’s our pleasure giving what we can for your wonderful work.”
    Some “Stats”

    November this year was a good month for working out some statistics. It was a month of 30 days, 20 weekdays, and 10 weekend days. When the number on the counter of visitors was noted each morning, it was easy with division by 3, 2, and 1, to work out averages for the month, for weekdays and for the days of the weekend. This was the result.

    During the whole month we had 262,886 visitors, averaging 8,766 per day.

    On weekdays, we had 198,084 visitors, averaging 9,904 on a weekday.

    On weekends, we had 64,802 visitors; averaging 6,408 on Saturday and Sunday.

    Other News

    Sacred Space in Chinese

    On December 12, we received word from the Ignatian Spirituality Centre in Taiwan that the Chinese version of Sacred Space will be on line from January 2004. The text will be shown in traditional Chinese characters, without simplified characters. There will be a link from the opening page of www.sacredspace.ie , but it can also be accessed by logging on to www.tec.org.tw/ignatian/index.htm. May the many many millions of Chinese be blessed as they pray in Sacred Space.

    Sacred Space – A Case Study

    Many of our readers will remember Roisín Pye, who served on the Sacred Space team until the summer of 2002. She is presently studying in Edinburgh for a Master’s degree in Media and Theology. Using Sacred Space as a case study she submitted this December an essay entitled, “Towards an understanind of online religious communities”. She sent us a copy, with permission to quote as we thought fit. The whole essay is very interesting, but her “conclusion”, which we quote below, may stimulate further reflections and suggestions from the members of our Sacred Space community.

    She writes in her conclusion as follows: “When looking at community online then, a number of aspects emerge. Strength of ties between people, a shared vision or meaning, a willingness to be honest and generous with time; these and more are common traits of communities formed around religious web-sites or discussion groups. These traits can be seen to greater or lesser extents in the myriad of sites and communities that exist online, and Sacred Space is a case where these traits can be seen in a limited way. There are many questions still unanswered as to the potential for community interaction and development online. For example, what is the potential for Sacred Space? What transformations would occur if the team introduced some type of interpersonal communication between the users? How would that transform people’s experience of the site? From the research looked at above, it could have positive effects for lots of people, for an extra depth in their lives of community and relationship. And in relation to the myriad of religious sites online, how far can these sites be developed? To what extent can these characteristics of community be pushed? Will using video technology while we communicate bring us closer together in years to come? In what way does the existence of online community challenge the sense of community in offline occasions of worship? Campbell talks about the experience of gathering together, in the real world, for worship in a church. Despite the gathering into a worshipping community, “individual members and visitors often enter alone, sit alone, leave alone.” People can experience a sense of isolation in a church despite being surrounded by a believing community; this is challenged by the sense of togetherness and sharing that can be seen in online communities, despite each user sitting on their own in front of the screen. What will the church’s response be? Can church leaders learn from this form of communication for offline worship? Can they be “critical friends” and explore the possibilities this medium offers the believing community? The key question out of all these questions, it seems to me, is whether the traits we have seen in online communities are enough for a definition of community that would sit well with the church’s self-understanding as community. However, I think there is still much more research to be done into this medium before we can answer that question satisfactorily.”

    Sacred Space – A Printer Friendly Version

    You may have noted on the page that gives the visitor the relevant days from which they can choose, there is now not only a choice between “full version” and “basic version” but also you may have a “printer friendly version”. This is for those who wish to print out the “prayer of the day” and take it along with them. Our Webmaster offers this possibility in response to letters from visitors. If you have any suggestions as to how it might be improved, please do not hesitate to contact [email protected]

    Spreading the Word

    When considering New Year resolutions, here are some suggestions as to how you might help in spreading the “good news” about Sacred Space.

    • Check the website of your local diocese, parish, or other similar organization – do they have a link to Sacred Space? If not, why not recommend a link?
    • Do any friends have homepages? Ask them to include a link to Sacred Space.
    • Has your local newspaper (diocesan or otherwise) featured an article on Sacred Space? Would they be interested? If so, do not hesitate to suggest one. You may even put them in touch with us, and we will cooperate as best we can.
    A Christmas Poem
    Christmas is upon us,

    we celebrate with joy;

    we hear the sound of gifts un-

    wrapping by a little girl or boy.

    Some come assembled while

    others are in need of glue.

    Gifts come in all shapes and

    sizes, even with a card or two.

    Pots and pans are busy, many

    families share with a guest.

    Jesus shares His Birthday and

    we are the ones being blest.

    One of those blessings is the gift of

    Sacred Space where we go to pray,

    or give thanks for those blessings

    that have indeed come our way.

    We join the millions who go there to

    share their fears, hopes and dreams.

    And the victories they have seen,

    prayers answered, it would seem.

    As we look forward to another year,

    counting blessings, one by one;

    Sacred Space is to be remembered,

    a precious gift from Jesus to each and everyone.

    – Written November, 2003 for Latest Space
    by Frances Berumen, Oxnard, California, USA

    A Christmas Letter

    Dear Friend of Sacred Space,

    We will all be taking a well-earned rest during the Christmas holidays soon. So I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and prayers throughout the year. The fact that so many people use Sacred Space and find some peace there is a constant reminder to us that even our little efforts can make a difference in the lives of others.

    There was a tradition in Ireland – it may be in your country too – of putting a candle in the window at Christmas time to let the Holy Family know that there’s room for them in that household. It’s not just a sentimental or pious gesture, it also tells the wearisome traveller that a Christian family live there and that he or she will be welcomed.

    Perhaps we, in our busy lives, have lost the art of welcome? Certainly I know nobody who puts a candle in their window anymore. And yet the message is so much deeper that just old piety. It is that we must look beyond our own lives and concerns and see the equally valid concerns of the other. Whether we’re believers or not, surely that is the message of Christmas.

    This, too, has to be part of what we do at Sacred Space. Can the site solely be a place for the individual to pray and then leave? Should we ‘welcome’ the concerns, worries of the other, perhaps pray for their intentions online? Perhaps we should have a special intentions “chapel”, where we could spend a minute praying for the intentions of those weighed down and burdened in their lives? “Come to me all who are overburdened and I will give you rest,” said Jesus. Can we, almost 10,000 of us, who use Sacred Space everyday, help share the load of our brothers and sisters in 2004? In asking you that question, I invite you to respond with your thoughts and ideas to [email protected].

    In the meantime, all of the team at Sacred Space – Gerry, Geraldine, Leon, Jae Hong, and myself – would like to wish you all a sacred and peace-filled Christmas.

    Garry O’Sullivan,

    Manager

    SOME NEW INITIATIVES


    Since we were somewhat late with the summer issue of LATEST SPACE, you may be surprised to receive this autumn issue so soon afterwards. But we have a new member of our Sacred Space team that we want you to meet, and, as a result of the positive input that we have received from our readers, we have made some decisions that we want to share with you, hoping to receive further feedback from you as soon as possible.

    A New Man in Sacred Space

    Leon Ó Giolláin, SJ
    My name is Leon Ó Giolláin. It is my privilege to be part of the Sacred Space team. I am pleased to offer my modest contribution as ‘spiritual advisor’ so that together we can assure you, our visitors, that the ‘new wine’ of Sacred Space will not lose its zest through neglect or watering down of its rich and reliable content.

    I live and work at Manresa House, the Jesuit Centre of Spirituality in Dublin. At a time when people are extremely stressed and struggling to find that elusive balance between life and work, a centre such as ours can be of enormous benefit. The lovely location and the quiet, contemplative atmosphere of the place is, for more and more people, a source of solace and inner renewal. We would like it to be a place of welcome for all who seek time out for the spirit in a rushed world that can seek to hush or sometimes even crush God’s Spirit which is the source of life and peace. As you will learn in Latest Space, we have organized a Sacred Space Retreat Day which will take place here next February. I hope we have the pleasure of meeting each other then or at any time you may choose to pay us a visit. You can be sure of a warm welcome.

    A Chapel of Remembrance
    Many of our readers will remember that earlier this year, prior to the Iraq War, we introduced to Sacred Space nine days of prayer for world peace. We have kept a link to those prayers for peace over subsequent months.

    One of our users suggested that we consider offering a similar possibility for visitors who wish to pray for other intentions. It might be good, it was said, to have different “chapels” that one could “enter” at the end of the daily prayer, and there pray for special intentions.

    With this in mind, we intend to inaugurate on Nov. 2 (Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed), a “Chapel of Remembrance”. At the end of the usual daily prayer during the month of November, we will invite our visitors to join us in special prayers for deceased family and friends of our Sacred Space community. And each week of the month, we will offer a special Mass for these intentions. On our website, as of Monday, October 20, we will have a link button on the endpage that will invite you to submit the names (not more than five) of deceased family or friends, and your own country of residence. These will be listed in the “chapel”.

    A Day of Retreat
    In response to the many letters received as a result of Garry’s suggestion in the last issue of Latest Space of a retreat for users of Sacred Space, we have made plans for a Sacred Space Retreat Day to be held at the beginning of Lent next year. It will be a day of quiet prayer and meditation at Manresa Jesuit Retreat House in Dollymount, Dublin [Click here (www.jesuit.ie/manresa) for more information on Manresa] on Sat. February 28, 2004, beginning at 10 a.m., and finishing at 4.30 p.m. All Sacred Space users are welcome to attend. The suggested contribution for the day (including lunch) is €35. As of Monday, November 3, we will have a link button on the endpage of our website, which will offer an application form for the retreat.

    Let’s Spread the Good News!
    As we move toward the 8 million mark on the counter that registers the number of times people have visited Sacred Space since Lent,1999, it is consoling to know that the number of visitors to our site continues to grow with each month. During September the number was around 10,000 on weekdays, and on weekends, as usual, dropped to around 6,000.

    With Advent approaching, each one of us could do something to “prepare the way of the Lord” by spreading the “good news” about Sacred Space with others. Here is something you can do:

    • Check the website of your local diocese, parish, or other similar organization – do they have a link to Sacred Space?
    • If not, contact them and recommend a link.
    • Do any friends have homepages?
    • Ask them to include a link to Sacred Space.

    What better way to share the blessings you have received with others?

    SOME SPECIAL FEEDBACK
    Editor’s Note: Every morning I am privileged to read the letters that come in from all over the world. They reflect the experience of visitors to Sacred Space. Every few weeks I share a sampling of these reflections with our community on the FEEDBACK page to be found at the end of each day’s prayer. These are usually limited to brief comments that have been made, with samples that reflect the many countries from which the feedback comes. I updated the page on October 3. Click here to visit the FEEDBACK page. The “feedback” that is shared in LATEST SPACE tends to be more lengthy and relates specifically to a particular topic. All but one of the samples below happen to be from the USA. I trust they will be of interest to all our readers.


    “A GREAT BIG HUG”: Thank you so much for Sacred Space! When we get to heaven, I can’t wait to meet you and give you a great big hug because this ministry has fostered growth in my spiritual life, which has turned into a blossoming of the prayer ministry in our church (I became the ministry leader). We have computers stationed in public spots all over our county, and the general public enters their prayers on our computers, and our team prays for the prayers. Sacred Space fanned the small flame in my prayer life, and now God has used this to do an incredible work; so many people are touched by prayer because of your ministry. Thank you so much!!
    Connecticut, USA

    HELPED BY LATEST SPACE: I have visited this site a few times and now have it on my works computer, but never emailed you before. I am partially sighted, which is why this font is large. It is wonderful to know that there are people all over the world praying on this site. I have read the last two issues of ‘Latest Space’ and printed out the poem by the Irish lady, to show my friend Fiona, as she is also in pain and unable to go out. People from all over the world and many different faiths have been praying for her, and the doctors seem to have given up. But now she has returned to the Catholic church after lapsing, and her friends are hoping and praying to take her to Lourdes soon. Please keep her in your prayers, as it seems that only a miracle will cure her, as like the poet, she longs to go outside.
    West Yorkshire, England

    HELPED IN HARD TIMES: Some days life seems like an endless struggle, full of dead ends, hopeless long days. Thank God, these days are not too often. When I feel the attack on me, I always turn to this website. I have been a part of your prayers, your guidance for a few years now. I just turned 50, and got laid off from the Tech industry. God says not to worry as it is useless. So I do my best not to, but the man in me, the main supporter in me, is geared to “push” until I am again working. At 8% unemployed in the State, it might be a while before I do find that good job again. Thank you who are keeping this site alive. It truly is a comfort to many who need assistance, a comforting word, hope & support. God bless all of you who are reading this.
    Wilsonville, Oregon, USA

    HELPED AT WORK: Your website has really helped me over the past few months with prayer, especially at work. I only have a computer at work, seeing how I am here almost all day anyway, so for me to pray during the week, was very seldom. Until, of course, I found Sacred Space. Now, since I don’t have much time in the morning to pray before I head off to work, and with my busy evenings when I get home from work (if it’s not already 10 o’clock!) I can pray whenever I want at work. I pray in the car from time to time etc, but to be able to sit down, at work especially, and have the scriptures right there in front of me, and the time to read them and meditate is truly a blessing. God is beginning to move in my life, in part because of your wonderful website. Thank you so much for your service to the Catholic community around the world, and keep up God’s good work! Minnesota, USA

    HELPED BY SCRIPTURE (1): Having grown up Catholic I have always had a strong desire for a daily bible or scripture study. Catholics are not famously known for cracking open the bible on a daily basis. I have tried it on my own but without much success. I stumbled on to your web site after coming back from an awesome pilgrimage to Rome and Vatican City…. I believe it was a God thing that led me to your site. Ever since I got back from the trip I have logged on to Sacred Space. It has been something I have so longed for.Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

    HELPED BY SCRIPTURE (2): I have a very wonderful Mennonite friend who heard me speak many times about how I cannot seem to get into the Bible. When I would sit down to read, I could never seem to know where to start. Then when I would start to read, my mind would wander and I got nothing out of the passages. She mentioned to me about Sacred Space and it has turned my life around. I look forward to reading the Scriptures and of having my special time alone with Jesus. I rarely used to take the time to be just with Him. Now, in Sacred Space, you pick the passages for me and it has been a Godsend! Thank you for helping me in my walk with our Beloved Lord. Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, USA

    HELPED TO PRAY ALWAYS: Thanks for being so available. I know not everyone is as fortunate as I am to have you. I try to start each day with prayer and meditation, which includes Sacred Space. Occasionally, it is later in the day when I use Sacred Space, but seldom a day goes by when I miss the reading. One of the messages that has really helped is that I have learned to “pray as I can, not as I can’t.” Also, it has been a great help in that I am starting to pray continuously throughout the day. This has really helped me, especially getting through some “rough” times. No matter what, not praying is not an option. Raynesford, Montana, USA

    HELPED BY THE ADVICE: I’ve been visiting here for quite a while, off and on. The fact that it is “off and on” – not always continuously – is not a reflection on the site, which is wonderful, but a reflection of my needing to pray in different ways from time to time. But one of the things I find most helpful. … and it always seems to appear just when I need this…are the tips and encouragement about prayer. The advice and encouragement is really very helpful. I also really like to read the questions and ideas about the reading, after I’ve gone with my own ideas….. maybe you could think about expanding that sometime. It is a wonderful site. Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA

    HELPED BY OUR RESPONSE: I was so surprised this a.m. to receive a note from you. With 7,000,000 visitors that someone would take the time to write to any one person is amazing in this modern world. And also a nod to the ways in which technology can help people. I did go visit your newsletter as you suggested……what a wonderful mission you are on. I am a 39-year-old American novelist and mother of three……Catholicism was the faith of my grandmother, who was the one “port in a storm” in an otherwise very difficult childhood. I have her crucifix on the wall of my bedroom…… and I have always prayed and spent many long hours in contemplation of God, both in churches and cathedrals, and in long nights of unrest. As a novelist, extraordinary things have happened to me……magazine interviews and Hollywood producers wanting rights to my books, things most writers only dream of and wish for…… many blessings. My children, though, are my ultimate blessing. But as in life for all people, with great joys sometimes comes very great suffering. I have an incurable immune disorder….. I won’t likely die of it, but it does seem bent on making me suffer a great deal of pain. And because of it, and numerous other things, some days are a terrific struggle both physically and with the mysteries of faith. I say all this, because the “yin and yang,” if you will, the highs and deep lows of life mean, for me, an unrest, and I am still amazed at the “still, small voice” I have found at your site. You are doing such an amazing service, in ways, I am sure, some can’t imagine……it can reach the right person at the right time in the way God intends…….Again, words are really (and this from a novelist!) inadequate to explain to you how your site and its prayers reached me at the precise moment I needed to be reminded that Christ is with me. Boca Raton, Florida, USA

    MOVED TO PRAY: In deepest appreciation for Sacred Space, I offer a prayer I have written. Blessings to all. There is Love in the Joining!


    Abwoon… (which means Power of the Universe)

    As we awaken, we know you.
    As we hear the birds so freely sing, we know you.
    As tender leaves flutter and dew joins in a glistening union
    with the petals of a rose, we know you.
    We know your perfect love and devotion.
    We know you would not allow even one precious lamb to be lost,
    one heart to be broken, one spirit to be crushed.
    As we experience the Silence, we know you.
    We inhale the knowledge that God Is and when we exhale we know Peace, Balance, Openness, Truth, Courage, Purity, Compassion, Integrity, Power, Gratitude, and the greatest of all these…LOVE.
    We feel you every moment of every day.
    We know your light goes before us perfecting all that concerns us.
    We know no limitations.
    All corners have been turned. All hopes fulfilled. All prayers answered.
    We do not wait for a sign, we let go and we know God Is, and all is well. Ahmen.

    – Judy McNutt
    San Diego, California, USA

    THE ‘NEW’ CATHOLIC IRELAND

    Many of you will be familiar with our sister site, Catholic Ireland. It is host to the Talk To God prayer-for-kids site, to many top-notch prayer features, and to a wealth of articles about devotions, spirituality, and much more.

    Take another look at it now, as it has just had a makeover. There is a whole new “look-and-feel”, which we think its visitors will appreciate a lot. All the old features are still there, but there is room now for an ever-growing archive of good reading material and prayer guides, and the navigation makes it easier to find what you are looking for.

    The Catholic Ireland team welcomes comments of all kinds, so feel free to drop them a line from their ‘Contact Us’ page. Click here for Catholic Ireland (www.catholicireland.net).

    Catholicireland.net


    With best wishes from the Sacred Space team – Garry, Gerry, Leon & Jae-hong
    Jesuit Communication Centre, 36 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2, Ireland

    A WORD FROM GERRY

    Since we are already in the latter half of August, this “summer issue” of LATEST SPACE will reach you somewhat late in the summer. Because of the delay, it will have to be a short one. My apologies.

    I have been on a “jubilee jaunt” for the past two months, visiting some of the places where I have worked over the past 60 years as a Jesuit – in New York, Hawaii, and Japan. It was good to meet again with old friends – Jesuits, associates in ministry, and students whom I have taught in school and in college. It was also consoling to encounter so many in different parts of the world who have found help on their life’s journey in Sacred Space.

    While I was “on the road”, our new Communications Manager, Garry O’Sullivan, replaced Alan McGuckian at the Jesuit Communication Centre. It is a pleasure to welcome him to the Sacred Space team. Alan, as he bids farewell to Sacred Space, will introduce Garry to readers of Latest Space.
    A WORD FROM ALAN

    One of the best experiences of my life has been my involvement with Sacred Space. I feel that the Lord was very close to the development of the site just as he has continued to be close to so many people who have prayed with us over the past four years.

    Recently I have changed jobs. While I still work at Lower Leeson Street in Dublin, I am no longer responsible for the Jesuit Communication Centre. I am now full time on www.catholicireland.net, the new web portal – also giving some time to the publication of An Timire, a quarterly publication in Irish.

    I would like to take this opportunity to introduce Garry O’Sullivan, who takes over as Communications Manager. Garry is from County Wicklow and a graduate in Communications from Dublin City University. He worked most recently as a journalist on the Irish Catholic. Before that he spent the Jubilee Year in Rome working for Vatican Radio. That was preceded by a period in New York on the staff of the Irish Voice.

    I won’t be working directly on Sacred Space from now on but I will, of course, be dropping by regularly to pray – in Irish at Tearmann. In that way – the most important way – I will continue to be a part of the Sacred Space family. I want to thank everybody who has prayed with us and for us and who has supported us in a myriad different ways.

    A WORD FROM GARRY

    Hello from an unusually sunny Ireland to all Sacred Space visitors, or as we say in Irish, a hundred thousand welcomes. It is truly mindblowing for me as a relative newcomer to Sacred Space to witness the popularity of this daily prayer site. We have already passed the 7 million mark showing that there is a real Christian prayer community being built around the world. The amount of correspondence, offering thanks, asking advice, and even asking how to support this important ministry, is further testament to the hunger for prayer in all our lives and the deep human need to fulfil this hunger of the spirit.

    As Communications Manager, my hope will be to enable Sacred Space to grow and develop as a space for prayer and reflection. It is our desire that as the website is translated into more and more languages, there would be priests, or trained counsellors, available in those languages to offer help and advice to those who seek it. I would also be delighted to hear your views on how you think Sacred Space could answer your needs more fully.

    I would also like to bring to your attention our sister site called Catholic Irelandwww.catholicireland.net– which is a growing resource for all things Christian on this island, and is well worth a visit.

    Finally, let me also say that we hope to offer Sacred Space visitors a special Sacred Space Retreat here in Dublin sometime next year, at our Spirituality Centre in Manresa. If you would be interested, please contact me at [email protected] and we can develop it from there. Perhaps the retreat could also be given over the web for those unable to travel? We’ll see.

    For now, lets thank God for the goodness He brings constantly to our lives and His assurance, through the witness of Sacred Space, that we are not alone in our quest for Him and that in God alone are our souls at rest.

    A CLOSING WORD FROM THE EDITOR
    The son of a good friend in Hawaii sent me this picture of a Hawaiian Sunset after my recent visit there. It was taken from his apartment window, and he suggested it might be good “to keep with your memories of Hawaii”. As the summer comes to an end, I offer it to all my friends in Sacred Space with blessings for the months that lie ahead.


    With best wishes from the Sacred Space team – Garry, Gerry & Jae-hong
    Jesuit Communication Centre, 36 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2, Ireland



    LATEST SPACE #6

    Update: We are in the middle of summer here and Fr Gerry is away on holidays. However, on his return in early August, we hope to bring you all the latest news here on latest space. Enjoy the rest of your summer.


    This is Holy Week, the most sacred week of the year. As we prepare to send you this issue of Latest Space, it is a joy for me, as Editor, to wish you, on behalf of the Sacred Space team, all the blessings of Easter, but, especially, an ever deepening awareness of the presence of the Risen Christ with you, yesterday, today, and forever. May the ALLELUIA of the Easter season resonate in your hearts with joy, as you recall that the Risen Christ IS with you now and forever.   ALLELUIA!   ALLELUIA!

    GOOD PUBLICITY


    The year 2003 began with good publicity. Peter Scally SJ, who was assisting at the Jesuit Communications Centre four years ago, and played an important role in the launching of Sacred Space, had a front-page article on our website published by THE TABLET in its issue of January 18. The picture below shows our Sacred Space team chatting about the article. From left to right, they are Alan McGuckian SJ (Creator of the site and Director of the JCC), Gerry Bourke SJ (Editor of Latest Space and Feedback Respondent), Jae-Hong Cheon (Webmaster).


    On the same day, two other articles, speaking highly of Sacred Space, appeared in the DAILY TELEGRAPH and the TIMES of London. As a result, there was a significant increase in the number of visitors and quite a few sent feedback saying they had learnt about us from these articles.

    NOVENA FOR WORLD PEACE


    The response to our nine days of prayer for world peace from February 23 to March 3 was very positive. This was evident not only in the increased number of visitors to the website, but also from the letters that we received at that time from so many visitors. They appreciated, especially, the fact that we commemorated the 40th anniversary of Pope John’s encyclical, Pacem in Terris, and quoted from it, and that we introduced prayers for peace from other religious traditions. There were even some who thought it appropriate that the nine days of prayer concluded on 03.03.03! For those who may have missed the Novena, there is still a link to its content on the front page of Sacred Space.

    THE SIX MILLIONTH VISITOR


    As many of you may have noted, on March 19, Feast of St. Joseph, the counter of Sacred Space recorded our six millionth visitor. Christine Peterson, an English teacher from Des Moines, Iowa, USA, sent us this short message:”With the circumstances of the world on my mind today, I thought I’d take a moment to use your wonderful page to pray for peace. I glanced at the counter at the bottom when I finished, and I am the 6th millionth visitor…..I pray that many out there are praying for peace today, and to soften the hearts of our leaders. I also pray that God may protect us with His arms like a hedge around our world.”

    In response we wrote: “Congratulations, Christine, on being the six millionth visitor to Sacred Space…..One of the ‘wits’ at our Centre suggested, jokingly, that we might offer you, as a prize, a weekend visit to Sacred Space, all expenses paid! But, seriously, we would like to send you a little token – a small booklet, Praying in Lent by Donal Neary, SJ – to commemorate the event. Please send us your home address…..We hope to send out the Easter issue of LATEST SPACE before the feast. It will announce that you are the winner! It would be nice if you could send us a photo to brighten up the page!”

    The month of March surpassed all records in the total number of visitors for the month. The counter was at 5,793,837 on March 1, and had reached 6,139,863 on April 1, which meant there were 346,026 visitors during the month of March, which works out at an average of 11,162 per day, including weekends, when the numbers are usually less.

    A PRAYER SITE FOR YOUNG CHILDREN


    Our sister website at www.catholicireland.net plans to launch on Easter Sunday an adaptation of Sacred Space, which. it is hoped, will help younger children to pray. The page displayed is a sample from the helps given to prayer in the context of the calming of the storm on the lake in Luke 8/22-25.

    THE NEW EDITOR OF THE CATHOLIC IRELAND WEBSITE



    Hello. I’m Dermot Roantree, the latest addition to the team of CatholicIreland.net. I’m a teacher by training and trade, mainly of History and English Literature. In recent years, however, I’ve diversified quite a bit. A few years back – back when being involved in website businesses was both profitable and popular – I joined with some colleagues and formed an education resource website for Irish students in their later secondary school years. Later I worked for a start-up e-Learning company, sourcing, writing, editing and managing content.

    And that’s close enough to what I’m now doing with CatholicIreland.net. There’s a good deal of quality content on the site as it stands, but we want to develop it much much more. Shortly the whole site will be database-driven, and we intend then to make it a top-notch portal for Catholic content and resources. Make sure you check out the site at www.catholicireland.net – and come back often to see it grow, grow, grow!

    SUGGESTIONS FROM OUR VISITORS


    One visitor from Drogheda, Ireland, wrote: “If Christians all over Ireland (and, indeed, from all over the world among the 6 million + visitors to this site) were to light a single candle at this time of strife in Iraq as a sign of peace. And leave it lighting until we have peace. My wife and I have lit a candle in our sitting room window and intend to leave it lighting, day and night, until peace prevails.”

    Another wrote from Denver, Colorado, USA: “I’ve been coming here to Sacred Space for the last few weeks and have found it very helpful. It has become a sacred part of my day, almost as important to me as going to Sacred Heart Jesuit Retreat Center near here, which I try to do once a month or so. I’d like to find a few other people who are using Sacred Space each day and are here in the Colorado Springs-Denver area, who might like to meet together at the Retreat Center or elsewhere to discuss our experience….”
    Although the writer gave his contact number and address, we feel it would be better for those who are interested in such a project to begin by making it known in their local community (e.g. church bulletin, or local newspaper) and see how it develops from there.

    One more suggestion came from Collingsworth, New Jersey, USA: “In World War II, there was an advisor to Winston Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace. There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate, every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time, stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, its citizens, and for PEACE IN THE WORLD. Together, we CAN make a difference!!”

    This request for prayer came a day before Rashonda Johnson, with six other POWs, was released by her captors: “On the Tom Joyner Show, they discussed the young, black, single mom (RASHONDA JOHNSON) that is now a POW. This is the first time in many years that a woman has been captured and held as a POW. Iraq is known for extreme measures when it comes to torture and especially rape chambers. The possibility is that they will beat, rape and torture her for punishment and to extract information.. We as Christians can do something special. Special days for us to pray together, or something major for us to do as a unit. Sisters and brothers taking action for another child of God…We may not be able to physically do anything for our Sister, but we know a mighty God Who has already dispatched a host of angels to aid and watch over her. The key is that, through prayer, we empower those angels to fight the demonic forces that desire to take our Sister’s life and dignity through rape and abuse..We know that the angels of God will guard and protect her..This we will rejoice in, as we know it is already done…in the mighty name of Jesus. So, we also say a prayer of thanks for what God has already done and is doing for Rashonda.”

    MORE FEEDBACK



    After 35 years, the Holy Spirit had its way and I returned to the Church. I am therefore a Catholic by choice, not simply by birth. I am part of a Centering Prayer group which includes an Episcopal Minister and an Evangelical Minister. I feel very at home having been at both ends of the spectrum in my ‘protestant’ years. My Catholic prayer partners knew of Sacred Space, but never thought to pass it on. One day, perusing the Evangelical Minister’s website, I found it under ‘devotions’. What a beautiful site – so Catholic and yet so Christian and even universal. God must be rejoicing!

    I had not thought to come today. I was in my husband’s office to fix my rosary beads in the daylight. As I looked at the television and at the computer I was drawn to the latter and decided at that moment to open favorites to Sacred Space. There are no coincidences, I wept at the very first words….that God had invited me and although I hadn’t realized it, He was waiting for my prayerful response.

    I had spent the past week feeling completely unworthy, having a very difficult time doing what I was supposed to do, what I owed to others – even praying. The previous week on vacation, my prayer life had gone out the window trying to keep pace with the family. I prayed as if I didn’t deserve to. And then I came here and once again read the parable of the prodigal son and the preceding prayers. Thank you for reminding me again that all it takes is turning back to Him…that He will not grab or push…maybe gently nudge….He will wait hopefully for us to simply turn back to Him. Wilton, Connecticut

    SACRED SPACE IN POETRY


    From the United Kingdom came this poem:


    Each day when work is done,
    the call comes, hushed, insistent,
    a breath of memory
    that urges me to switch on.

    My choice then to connect –
    wait while the computer whirrs
    into life, the bright screen
    mapped out with shuttered icons;

    link with the world wide web,
    go through the sunlit portal,
    hold still in the tall space
    where water flows over stone;

    select with the bright white
    cursor that swoops like a bird
    on a backdrop of sky
    where each cloud is a window;

    look through to the measured
    words that lead me step by step
    to a considered pause,
    while the cathode ray dances;

    click with the mouse to move
    on in this vast cathedral
    where thousands pray with me,
    our thoughts like incense rising.


          
          
          
          
          
          
    – Written by Helen Overell

    From an Irish person, who suffers from fibromyalgia/chronic fatique, came this poem:


    It’s a time to be quiet, a time to rest.
    I tell myself that would be best.
    All will be well, just wait it out,
    It will pass, look around and about,
    see all the beauty there is to see.
    created by God for just such as me.

    But a still small voice inside me cries,
    Lord grant that this time quickly flies,
    for I’m finding today so very tough
    and I honestly feel it’s been long enough.
    Calvary came just once for you;
    for me it begins each day anew.

    And yes, I’ll look all around me and see
    the beauty created for just such as me,
    and hope that someday I’ll get up and go
    out in the wind and the rain, yes even the snow,
    and not have the worry, the fear and the pain,
    but lift up my face to the soft gentle rain,
    and know that tomorrow I’ll wake up and find
    that this time of suffering is left far behind.”


          
          
          
          
          
          
    – Written by Áine Ní Máille


    With best wishes from the Sacred Space team – Alan, Gerry & Jae-hong
    Jesuit Communication Centre, 36 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2, Ireland


    For previous issues, click here: Latest Space #1  Latest Space #2  Latest Space #3  Latest Space #4  Latest Space #5

    A WORD FROM GERRY BOURKE, SJ, EDITOR
    Gerry, Bourke, a team member
    A year has passed since in late November of last year we sent out the first issue of LATEST SPACE. Our aim was to share with those who had corresponded with us the developments that had taken place in SACRED SPACE since the site was launched in Lent of 1999.Great things continue to happen as God uses our site to bring enlightenment, peace and joy to His faithful people. We will record some of the latest “glad tidings” in this issue.

    A MESSAGE FROM ALAN MCGUCKIAN, SJ. DIRECTOR

    Alan McGuckian, Director

    There are many joys associated with Sacred Space. One of the very best during this past year has been to realise how many people work really hard to spread the word and let others know about it. For example, Joyce and Barry in Dublin have developed the practise of carrying a supply of Sacred Space ‘business cards’, which include the URL. They let their friends, colleagues, and everybody that attends Sunday Mass with them, know about the treasure that is Sacred Space. Joyce has even been in to visit some local schools.

    If you would like to have a supply of the business cards, just go to the link for “posters and cards“, and print a page or more of the cards . You might think of inserting one with your Christmas Cards!!

    Christmas Appeal.

    As you can imagine, keeping Sacred Space going and planning for a strong and healthy future is very demanding in terms of time, energy and money. I am very grateful to those who have supported us financially during the past year. However, as yet we have not come close to covering our costs. So I need to make a very frank appeal to everyone who shares in Sacred Space to make a gift this Christmas, a gesture of solidarity with this very important work. We will welcome and appreciate your donation, whatever you can manage.

    Please respond by sending your cheque, payable to “Sacred Space”, to: Jesuit Communication Centre, 36 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2, Ireland. Or, to make a donation with your credit card, go to the “Support Sacred Space” link at the end of the site and follow the instructions.

    GREETINGS FROM JAE-HONG CHEON, WEBMASTER

    Jae-Hong Cheon, a team member

    About 8 months have passed since I came to Ireland. I have found English more difficult than I had thought. I have decided to visit my home in Seoul during the Christmas holidays. In my country at the end of year, people have lots of parties with their friends, colleagues and family to bid farewell to the year that is ending and to welcome the New Year. So I look forward to meeting my family and friends during the holidays, and I will be able to talk about my life in Dublin, especially my wonderful experience with Sacred Space. But until heading off, I may be very busy because I have many things to finish for Sacred Space. Especially, I will open the Sacred Space for PDA as soon as possible. And I would like to say to all of you, “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”

    THE LATEST FROM SACRED SPACE

    After we had sent out LATEST SPACE #4, we decided to put it up online and have a link to it, and the previous issues, next to the link to FEEDBACK. So those who visit the site for the first time can now read “the story of Sacred Space”. We were very happy to learn that some of you, after receiving Latest Space, forwarded it to those friends that you thought would be interested.

    Another very consoling development is the appeal that Sacred Space continues to have worldwide. How often we receive letters saying that although the writers themselves can handle the English language, many of the people of their country cannot. So would it be possible to put up a version in their native language? With our limited resources, all we can do is assure them that we are willing to make the English version available to translators who, with help from others, can have it up for the day specified. This has been an encouragement to individuals and groups to volunteer, and many have succeeded in producing Sacred Space in 14 different languages. Others, too, are working in other languages to be online in the near future.

    Sacred Space in Latvian (from a letter to the Editor)

    I am Oskars Mikazans S.J. I initiated Sacred Space in the Latvian language. I have worked in collaboration with a Lithuanian Jesuit, Virgilijus Saulius S.J., who puts up the Lithuanian version. I take care of the content of the Web Pages. He takes care of technical support. Because I am studying philosophy in Munich, I don’t have much time to work with Sacred Space. So, I am thankful for the help of another Latvian scholastic, Edgars Sprugis SJ, who is studying philosophy in Dublin.

    As soon as the Latvian version of Sacred Space started, we had an advertising campaign in several Latvian portal sites, and we spread the word in local Church newspapers, but we didn’t get many supporters. The fact that there is only a small number of Internet users in Latvia could explain that. Our aim has always been to give a spiritual impulse to people who work directly or indirectly with computers. Sacred Space in Latvian has developed into a place for prayer of approximately 10-20 people, who visit the site mostly during the working day. They form, in a certain sense, a Latvian “prayer group on the Internet”.

    Sacred Space in French
    Bertrand De Beaudoin and Stephanie Bélanger in Quebec, Canada, have been our collaborators on the French version of Sacred Space. Bertrand was the first one, as far as we know, to translate LATEST SPACE into the language of his site. That was Latest Space #4. He called it “Les dernières nouvelles d’Un Moment Sacre #1. He added some feedback and statistics from his own French visitors, and he promises to put the latest statistics that he can find into his upcoming French version of LATEST SPACE #5 !

    Other Versions “in the Pipeline”

    We had a visit from our Maltese collaborator early in December. He hopes to have the Maltese version up and running by mid-January, or, at the latest, for the month of February. We heard from Germany that the Jesuit who was scheduled to work on a German translation, took seriously ill. This held up the promised German version. However we have been told that the work will “remain under the direction of the German Jesuit online-team”, and that it should be available early in the new year. We have had a number of kind offers of help with the German translation. The Czech version is already online, and the Slovak version will not be too far behind. As for the Chinese version, we are still waiting for word from “our man in Hong Kong”.

    A “Miracle” in Sacred Space (Feedback)

    When I first started using Sacred Space, about two years ago, the “counter” was reaching towards a million–and between today and yesterday, it’s changed over to 5 million! What a miracle, and one we can see, with our own eyes!

    In the beginning, I sent it on to all my children, and some I expected might take a chance. But the one I least expected to use it, did, and faithfully so. He was an alcoholic, and was wandering further from God, and risking his marriage and children. Now he is active in his parish, in outreach. He has sought professional help to defeat his own “demon”.

    Sacred Space, and the grace available through your call to prayer has provided the opportunity for a “miracle”. And The Holy Spirit, I am sure, could tell us of many more all over the world as a result of the “opening” of eyes that could not see, and ears that chose not to hear.U.S.A.

    Parked Cars and Statistics (Feedback)

    When I drive into our parish parking lot for weekday morning Mass and see a good number of cars, I feel glad that we have such a good God, Who is here for us, and touches and encourages so many of us. Before I attended weekday Mass with any frequency, I thought that attending Sunday was “pretty good”. Then as I saw the weekday parking lot with cars I realized that many were finding something or feeling something differently than I. Their cars in the parking lot were witnesses to me.

    I like to see the numbers that you post – it delights me to see how good God is to be touching and encouraging so many to come to know, love and serve him through this particular web site. I also feel that I have had a tendency to view (incorrectly) my spiritual life as private – isolated and focused on my individuality. The numbers remind me that we, though many, are one Body. I imagine us benefiting from each other as together we build up community – the Body of Christ.

    Finally, as a mother of six children and a wife of a husband who returned to the sacraments (after thirty years away from them) this summer I find it fun to counter their good humoured teasing comments, “People don’t pray if they don’t have to./ On Sacred Space again? You are probably their only user./ You are odd – who else has nothing better to do than check into Sacred Space?” Then I tell them the latest number – they shrug their shoulders and smile. – British Columbia, Canada

    Statistics Again!

    The appropriateness of quoting statistics in the context of prayer was raised in our last issue. The overwhelming response was in favour of giving some indication of the numbers that continue to visit the site. In case you haven’t noticed, we have recently passed the 5 million mark! This, of course, is the number of “visits” that have been made, and, thank God, most of our visitors return again and again. Some even return twice on the same day. The following diagram gives the most recent figures. Note how the numbers drop on the weekend!

    Statistics Graph

    A Smaller Sacred Space

    We have frequently received requests for a format of Sacred Space that would make it easier to use with hand-held computers. Jae-Hong is working on that at the moment. Perhaps by the time you receive this newsletter, you will be able to see the test pages of Sacred Space for a PDA on your hand-held computer with the help of a service, such as AvantGo.

    Because there are many kind of PDAs, and the test could not be done on all of those (actually, Jae-Hong is only working with a Palm V emulator), we need feedback as to how it looks on your machine so as to improve it. We would also be very happy to receive any other request or idea for the PDA site. Just write to Jae-Hong at [email protected].

    A Larger Picture on the Index Page
    Some people asked to have the picture on the index page enlarged. So we made a link-button, which enlarges the picture. Jae-Hong, personally, doesn’t like it because it affects the quality of the picture, which was originally in a small size. Anyhow, now you can make the choice yourself.

    A POEM ON SACRED SPACE

    Each day when work is done,
    the call comes, hushed, insistent,
    a breath of memory
    that urges me to switch on.

    My choice then to connect –
    wait while the computer whirrs
    into life, the bright screen
    mapped out with shuttered icons;

    link with the world wide web,
    go through the sunlit portal,
    hold still in the tall space
    where water flows over stone;

    select with the bright white
    cursor that swoops like a bird
    on a backdrop of sky
    where each cloud is a window;

    look through to the measured
    words that lead me step by step
    to a considered pause,
    while the cathode ray dances;

    click with the mouse to move
    on in this vast cathedral
    where thousands pray with me,
    our thoughts like incense rising.

    – composed and submitted by Helen M Overell, United Kingdom

    THE LATEST FROM “CATHOLIC IRELAND”

    We are indebted to our sister site, www.catholicireland.net , for the ADVENT CALENDAR, which has been available on Sacred Space for the season of Advent. It is especially suitable for children, but it may also be used profitably by adults. Catholic Ireland has another link on its front page which may be of interest to users of Sacred Space. It is called CRED, which stands for Cathechetical Reflection for Each Day, and, of course, reminds us of the Latin word credo (I believe), and the Creed, our profession of faith.

    The idea for this project came to Fr. Paddy Devitt, the author, when he heard about the finding of a dead body in a suitcase in the Grand Canal – less than a mile from where he lives in Dublin, Ireland. He reflected in prayer and noted his thoughts. He continues to do this each day of the year in the context of the teaching of the Church. “Readers may be encouraged to do likewise”, he says, “by listening to God in their own lives.” His reflections are archived each day, so that they may be found any time under different headings.

    A CHRISTMAS “CARD” FROM THE SACRED SPACE TEAM

    With best wishes from the Sacred Space team

    Jesuit Communication Centre, 36 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2, Ireland


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    For previous issues, click here: Latest Space #1 Latest Space #2 Latest Space #3 Latest Space #4




    Latest Space #4





    Gerry, Bourke, a team member Greetings once again from the Sacred Space team. I am Gerry Bourke, SJ. My role on the team is responding to
    those who send us “feedback” on www.sacredspace.ie Editing Latest Space grows out of that work.
    I hope you will enjoy this issue of the newsletter, which aims to keep you updated on the latest developments at the Jesuit Communication Centre, particularly as they relate to our website, Sacred Space.

    During the summer months there was a lot of “coming and going” in the office. Apart from the
    usual holiday break, Roisín Pye left us in mid-August for further
    studies in Italy. In September, David Birchall, SJ, returned to
    his native England to be Parish Priest of St. Wilfrid’s Church
    in Preston. In early August we welcomed Jae-Hong Cheon –
    all the way from Korea – to take on the formidable task
    of webmaster.




    A WORD FROM JAE-HONG

    Jae-Hong Cheon, a team member People call me Jae-Hong. That’s my first name. I came to Ireland to learn English in April of this year. Fortunately,
    I could begin working for Sacred Space last month.
    Communicating with the translators and managing Sacred Space is my main work. I was a computer software
    developer and a specialist for IBM Information Security Products in my country. When I studied in Sogang University, founded by the Jesuits in Seoul, I worked for 5 years at the Institute for Ignatian Spirituality . I think that’s why I’m happy to work here. I hope that my work will be helpful to many in their prayer. If you have any suggestions or helpful comments for improving Sacred Space, please let us know.







    A WORD FROM OUR PHOTOGRAPHER

    Fr. Philip McShane, a photographer I am Fr. Philip McShane OP. I am at present the Novice Master of the Irish Dominicans. I am interested in
    photography–particularly landscape and people. For the past two
    years I have been contributing photographs to “Sacred Space”.


















    SACRED SPACE ON TV It was mentioned in the
    last issue of Latest Space that Fr. Gerry would
    be spending the month of July in a parish on Long Island, New York.
    Hearing of his plans, one of our regular visitors
    contacted him and asked if he would be willing to be
    interviewed about his work on Sacred Space for Faith Connections, a program which she hosts for TV. This entailed a pleasant trip to
    Massachusetts, and resulted in a half-hour interview, which he
    hopes will help, in some small way, to spread the
    news about Sacred Space to those who may not yet know about it.



    If anyone is interested in a tape of the interview, either for their own
    personal use or for use on a local TV program, Sandy Donovan, the
    interviewer, has very kindly let us know that she can be
    contacted at Faith Connections, S andy Donovan, PO Box 394,
    Chelmsford, MA 01824, USA,
    or by
    e-mail, at [email protected]or, if that fails, at [email protected]





    OUR WORKING COMMUNITY



    With the help of
    Jae-Hong, we have been able to see some graphic data on the visitors to
    Sacred Space. As you will note in the diagram below, the number each
    week is significantly lower on Saturdays and Sundays. This would seem
    to indicate that many people log on to Sacred Space during work hours.



    daily visitor graph



    An interesting illustration
    of how important Sacred Space is in the workplace came recently in
    this piece of feedback from a hard worker in Dublin, Ireland:



    “….I’ve always accessed
    you on the work computer. I work hard and many long (unpaid) hours.
    I find Sacred Space great to help me when I’m a bit stressed out. Now,
    last Monday was a bad morning and it felt like I was being hit with one thing
    after another which was going horribly wrong. In desperation, I went
    to click on Sacred Space to take me away from the chaos for ten minutes and to
    help me de-stress. The next thing didn’t a message pop up that the site
    had been blocked as a ‘non-business’ site. I couldn’t believe it! My
    oasis gone from me! I trotted off to the
    Ladies and sitting on the porcelain throne, I sobbed silently into a fistful of
    coarse loo paper.



    “Next day, with energy
    levels a bit better, I decided that I wasn’t taking the loss of Sacred Space
    without a fight. So ready to do battle, I rang and e-mailed our IT people
    and (with certain trepidation at the fact that I was ‘coming out’ to work
    colleagues as a ‘Person Who Prays To God’… gulp!) I made the case that this
    site was used by me for business purposes in the form of stress
    management. I got the loveliest reception from my IT people! The
    site was unblocked that evening! That means that the 6,000 people working
    in my organisation now have access to Sacred Space ‘cos I opened my gob!
    Wow! O.K. I thought that I should just share that with you
    people out there.”





    OUR INTERNATIONAL
    COMMUNITY
    Apart from the English version
    of Sacred Space, Jae-Hong also sends from our office the Irish, Spanish,
    Portuguese, Catalan and French translations. So the visitors to these
    versions are included in the number that our counter records, as it moves
    toward the 5 million mark. When we sought a breakdown of the countries
    from which these visitors come, we found that in one week we had visitors
    from 51 different countries. That includes only those who use
    e-mail addresses that indicate the country of origin, such as .uk, .au, .ie, and the like.
    Many from all over the world use addresses that end with .com, .net, .org, .edu and the like. So there may
    be members of our praying community that come from other
    countries as well.





    FEEDBACK FROM OUR
    WORLD-WIDE COMMUNITY




    A few examples from recent
    feedback illustrate how diverse is the community
    that is united in prayer by Sacred Space.



    Thank you for allowing God to speak to me
    through Sacred Space. It’s good to stop everything and listen to
    HIM. It gives me peace, allows me to feel love, and brings me home again
    to where I belong. A friend told me about your website and, I assure you,
    Toronto will know about it. Canada



    It may seem a funny place to pray, but I can
    pray better in front of my computer with the help of Sacred Space. I have a
    picture of the Sacred Heart on the wall over the computer and I find that I can
    talk, chat and confide in God. I’ve had some great moments and some sad moments
    sitting here. Sacred Space has made such a difference to my
    life. Ireland



    Logging on to Sacred Space is like stopping and
    looking up at the sky when all around are hurrying along, with their eyes intent
    on the two metres ahead of them. A sanctuary of peace in a life far too caught
    up in the trivialities of modern living. Your site is a release, an oasis and a
    truly Sacred space – comforting yet
    challenging. England.



    It is truly a blessing for me to go to Sacred
    Space, which I think of as a huge Church. There in that Church, I stand next to
    people from all over the world and pray together with them and feel their
    presence next to me. Now THIS is CHURCH ! USA



    I logged on to Sacred Space. It’s great. I
    learnt about it through a course on -“Trying to pray in trying
    times”. It’s listed at the bottom of our suggested readings….I
    tried Sacred Space and I’m thrilled! I can’t wait until I tell my friends
    of this great treasure. Australia.



    This is a wonderful website
    for someone trying seriously to find God, to learn about Him and to be with
    Him. I have found it to be great food for thought, especially when one is
    finding his way in this busy bustling life. What an oasis in a
    desert! China



    I am an evangelical
    Christian and an instructor in the Old testament at one of the seminaries
    here…. (Sacred Space) has been a real blessing……I pray for the day
    that Catholics and evangelicals everywhere can warmly embrace each other as
    brothers, when the prayer of Christ for the church’s unity will be
    fulfilled….. Philippines



    For more than two years now,
    I’m used to pray with your guiding help…. What a big church with more than
    6000 entries a day! What a beautiful living example of the universal church. I
    will keep you in my prayer. May we pray for each other. France



    I would like to congratulate
    you for a job well done. All my life I wanted somebody to teach me how to
    pray right. Sometimes, when praying, one’s mind likes to wander off, but your
    method of preparation before praying helped a great deal…. Namibia



    Hi, everyone! No words
    can really express the way I felt when I found this Sacred Space. It’s so
    beautiful, so touching. I can really get to know God more and more
    closely. Saipan



    ….Sacred Space has given
    me the opportunity to stop and talk to and listen to the Holy Spirit. I am
    finding a calmness within me that I did not have before I found your site. Zimbabwe



    If
    you are interested in more of the latest feedback to Sacred Space, go
    to www.jesuit.ie/prayer/feedback.htm for English, www.jesuit.ie/lugarsagrado/po_feedback.htm for Portuguese, www.jesuit.ie/priere/commentaires.htm for Franch and www.jesuit.ie/espaisagrat/comentaris.htm for Catalan





    STATISTICS – A
    DISTRACTION?


    The question of statistics was raised recently in an e-mail from New
    York: “Could you give thought to an
    opinion….on not putting a priority on keeping track of visitors to
    sacredspace.ie? ….I recently removed a counter on a home page that I
    provide…. It seemed not in keeping with the Lord’s scheme of
    things. I felt it is sort of like boasting. It was good to see that
    visitors were coming, and it may have kept me submitting the URL to
    search engines. Other than that, doesn’t it appeal to a sort of pride or, maybe,
    competitiveness in your opinion? I leave you with a request for your
    thoughts on the matter after you bring it to the Master”



    In my response I
    wrote: “It helps our visitors in their
    prayer to know that they are part of a large community, and that, day after day,
    so many thousands are visiting Sacred Space. Obviously, to make “counting
    numbers” a “priority” would not be a good thing. The numbers are used
    as a means to an end. The end is the glory of God, specifically
    in prayer. In order to achieve that end, we need not only the
    continuing prayer of those already praying, but also the encouragement
    of others as we spread the word to them. It helps in this task
    to convey the good news that some 7,000 people from all over the world are
    visiting Sacred Space daily. It can also help us in getting the financial
    support that we need in order to keep the website ‘up and
    running’!”





    SHORT NEWS ITEMS

    We have had requests
    asking us to make Sacred Space available on handheld
    computers
    . We are looking into that right now and would
    appreciate comments and advice from PDA users – anything that might
    help us in making our decision.



    Vincent Magri S.J., suggested that Sacred Space might be translated into
    Maltese. He has already been in touch with Paul Zammit S.J., the
    director of a Jesuit retreat house in Malta, who will take care
    of the translation. In October, the project will begin, and we
    hope that a Maltese version of Sacred Space will be
    launched this Advent.




    We have also been in communication with volunteers for possible Czech and Slovak translations. But it may be
    some time before we can offer you versions in these two languages.
    The German and Chinese
    versions
    are still in the pipeline, but we hope
    they will be ready in the not too distant future.



    GOD AT HIS COMPUTER

    Peter, our Slovakian web-designer, came up with this adaptation of a Larson cartoon, which we
    offer now to you – with apologies to Larson. We trust God will continue to smile upon us. I hope you have enjoyed this issue of Latest Space as much as the team
    has enjoyed putting it together. Any comments, reflections, or
    suggestions to improve LATEST SPACE are most welcome. Just click on REPLY, not STUCK! God bless. Fr. Gerry



    God At His Computer


    The Sacred Space team,

    Jesuit Communication Centre,

    36 Lower Leeson
    Street,

    Dublin 2, Ireland



    For previous issues, click here: Latest Space #1  Latest Space #2  Latest Space #3

    AN INTRODUCTORY WORD

    As the holiday season approaches, the Sacred Space team will be scattering for a time. I, myself, will be away for the month of July. I am looking forward to some parish work at St. Patrick’s, Glen Cove, New York. I am hoping to send you this, “the latest from Sacred Space”, before I leave.

    As has been noted by some of you, the number of visitors to our site since it was launched on Ash Wednesday 1999, has recently crossed the 4 million mark. One person commented on that event in this way: Today, the feast of the Sacred Heart on the Pacific Coast of the United States, the number is about to show 4 million hits. I think of Sacred Space as such a private place to pray, a chapel really, but sometimes the numbers remind me that this chapel is full of people, all so very silent in their prayer, all over the world and yet holding each other in prayer.

    From Australia, another regular visitor wrote: When I first discovered your site, on August 5, 2001, the Feedback pages held messages of congratulation on “passing the 2 million mark”. Since then, another 2 million souls have logged on…..You help so many people, and you work so hard to do this every day….I hate to miss one day of prayer and wonder at sacredspace.ie. You are better than the World Cup!

    God has blessed us abundantly not only in the number of visitors, but also in the messages that we have received each day from so many parts of the world, and from diverse backgrounds. Many simply say thanks for the help that they have experienced in their spiritual lives through Sacred Space. They assure us, too, of their prayers that we may have all the help we need to continue this prayer ministry.

    Here is an example from Johannesburg, South Africa: I am so delighted to have found your sacred site. During the busyness which surrounds me in a fairly large office I am able to enter the silence for a short while and return to my world refreshed and peaceful. Thank you for the site. I shall certainly tell friends and fellow parishioners (Anglican) about you.

    Alan McGuckian SJ, director of the Jesuit Communication Centre here in Dublin, and a key figure in the creation and development of Sacred Space will fill you in on some changes that we make this summer. Since Róisín Pye, who also has had a significant role in the growth and development of the website, will, sadly, be leaving us in August to face new challenges, I have asked her to share some thoughts on this occasion.

    I hope you enjoy this issue. You may wish to forward it to internet friends, who may not yet have corresponded with us and, consequently, are not on our mailing list. Please continue to remember us in your prayers. God bless,

    Gerard J. Bourke, S.J.

    A MESSAGE FROM ALAN
    It is over three years since we started Sacred Space, and watching the network of faith and prayer grow and spread has been an extraordinary blessing for all of us. This summer is a time of change and, hopefully, further development.

    Róisín Pye has been with us for the past three years as web director. As well as faithfully tending the English and Gaelic versions from day to day, it is she who has helped all the other languages get started. That, and much, much more. She has been a wonderful colleague and we will miss her very much.

    David Birchall SJ is also moving on, back to Britain after a two-year stint. A regular sound in our main office has been, “David, will you come and look at my computer; there seems to be something wrong….” He always came, and was immensely helpful, and not just with wayward computers! We wish him well!

    As well as producing Sacred Space, our office has a range of other projects. The latest is a Catholic Portal site, www.catholicireland.net . It will be a huge task over the next few years. If you haven’t looked at it yet, please check it out.

    All the Churches in Ireland are preparing to benefit from a huge advertising campaign in September of this year. It is called Power to Change. For 4 weeks, over 1.25 million Euro will be spent in Ireland, promoting the Christian way of life. We are co-operating with Power to Change, encouraging parishes and prayer groups to get involved.

    We have a lot of projects in hand. Thank God, things are prospering now. We need your continued support to keep things going, and, hopefully, growing. As well as your prayers, we would very much appreciate your financial help. You can give this support either online, at www.jesuit.ie/prayer/support.htm , or by sending a cheque to Sacred Space, 36 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2, Ireland.

    Thank you and God bless you,

    Alan McGuckian

    RÓISÍN’S FAREWELL

    I joined the Jesuit Communication Centre with a degree in philosophy and theology, and not much computer or web experience. I guess in true Irish fashion, I could be called a “chancer”, willing to try anything and hopefully succeed! Over the three years, with much patience from my mentor Peter Scally and good direction from Alan, I have helped keep Sacred Space running smoothly, doing various jobs from answering a lot of feedback early on to more technical areas of the site administration as time went by. And of course, clarifying my identity when the odd email came in to Fr Roisin, explaining that I’m a lay woman working for the Jesuits Despite joining the team with a bit of theology under my belt, I had much to learn about Ignatian spirituality (and I’m no expert yet). Of course there’s also working with the Jesuits, which I could now talk about for hours!

    Now its time to test the travelling bug and Italy calls, for a year anyway, to learn the language and soak up the art and culture. And then I’ll do some more study in theology, perhaps in Rome, possibly in the States; that is yet to be decided. It has been a really interesting job, rather unique, and I’ve really enjoyed being part of a prayer initiative that has touched the lives of so many people. It is humbling sometimes to read the messages that pour in, and realise that I have played a part in someone’s spiritual experience, just through a website!

    Thank you all for sharing those thoughts with us, as they continue to be a vital part in the life of the site. I finish up here mid-August – I’m writing my farewell rather early – and I thank you for your support all along, and thanks to the team too. They’re all great, and Sacred Space will be in safe hands even without me there! Of course it’s not really goodbye, as I can log on and pray wherever I am, whether it be in English or Italian. So until then, arrivederci!

    Róisín Pye

    NEW VERSIONS OF SACRED SPACE

    New versions of Sacred Space are ever on the increase, thanks to the co-operation of so many good people from around the world. As you might have noticed, Sacred Space has been available for some time now in twelve different languages. By the time this reaches you, we hope to have a thirteenth version. There have been many requests from different parts of the world for Sacred Space in French. On June 28th, thanks to the hard work of Bertrand Baudoin in Quebec, Canada, the French version will be launched.

    Montse Girbau, webmaster for the Catalan Jesuits, has the Catalan version up and running, as was promised in our last issue. Marzena Frolow, with her Christian Life Community and the Jesuits in Krakow, has done the same for the Polish version. The German and Chinese versions are in the pipeline and we hope they will be ready soon.

    The version for young people, sponsored by Youth Front in Kansas City, which was also mentioned in the last edition of Latest Space, has been launched and can be found at www.sacredgateway.org . You might like to check it out, and perhaps recommend it to younger folk.

    Thanks for your continued support, and that’s all for now. God bless,

    Alan, Róisín and Gerry

    Welcome to Latest Space, the newsletter of Sacred Space.

    Alan McGuckian, director of JCCI’m Alan McGuckian, SJ, director of the Jesuit Communication Centre in Dublin.

    As the counter on Sacred Space nudges towards the 3 million mark we want to make contact with all those who have responded to it since the beginning. Many thousands of people have prayed at Sacred Space – in one of the seven languages – and that has created an invisible community. We want you to know that we here in Dublin remember to pray for the whole Sacred Space ‘family’ regularly.

    In this first edition we want to introduce you to some of the people – at least by name – who work behind the scenes to produce Sacred Space.

    In life’s journey major landmarks are often an incentive for renewed effort. 3 million might be a signal for all of us to make another effort at spreading the news. Later we give you some suggestions for publicity. Parish bulletins and local papers are often crying out for some contributions.

    We want to thank everybody who has helped with Sacred Space. Thousands have helped by spreading the news. Many have sent a donation, either on-line or through the mail. Thanks to everybody.

    Welcome to Latest Space, the newsletter of Sacred Space.

    Alan McGuckian, director of JCCI’m Alan McGuckian, SJ, director of the Jesuit Communication Centre in Dublin.

    As the counter on Sacred Space nudges towards the 3 million mark we want to make contact with all those who have responded to it since the beginning. Many thousands of people have prayed at Sacred Space – in one of the seven languages – and that has created an invisible community. We want you to know that we here in Dublin remember to pray for the whole Sacred Space ‘family’ regularly.

    In this first edition we want to introduce you to some of the people – at least by name – who work behind the scenes to produce Sacred Space.

    In life’s journey major landmarks are often an incentive for renewed effort. 3 million might be a signal for all of us to make another effort at spreading the news. Later we give you some suggestions for publicity. Parish bulletins and local papers are often crying out for some contributions.

    We want to thank everybody who has helped with Sacred Space. Thousands have helped by spreading the news. Many have sent a donation, either on-line or through the mail. Thanks to everybody.

    Thank you most of all for praying with us and helping to create this Sacred Space.

    Alan McGuckian, SJ

    Sections within the newsletter:

    • the people behind Sacred Space
    • visitors respond
    • Sacred Space in a group
    • spreading the news

    The people behind Sacred Space:

    The key figures involved in the creation of Sacred Space were two Jesuits, Alan McGuckian and Peter Scally, working out of the Jesuit Communication Centre in Dublin. The site was launched in February 1999, promising that it would definitely be online for all of Lent. On the very first Ash Wednesday there were 1,500 visitors. It appeared quickly that there was no turning back. During the Lenten period, an Irish-language version called Tearmann was created, and launched for St Patrick’s Day, March 17th. This still has a regular following of users from all around the world.

    Welcome to Latest Space, the newsletter of Sacred Space.

    Alan McGuckian, director of JCCI’m Alan McGuckian, SJ, director of the Jesuit Communication Centre in Dublin.

    As the counter on Sacred Space nudges towards the 3 million mark we want to make contact with all those who have responded to it since the beginning. Many thousands of people have prayed at Sacred Space – in one of the seven languages – and that has created an invisible community. We want you to know that we here in Dublin remember to pray for the whole Sacred Space ‘family’ regularly.

    In this first edition we want to introduce you to some of the people – at least by name – who work behind the scenes to produce Sacred Space.

    In life’s journey major landmarks are often an incentive for renewed effort. 3 million might be a signal for all of us to make another effort at spreading the news. Later we give you some suggestions for publicity. Parish bulletins and local papers are often crying out for some contributions.

    We want to thank everybody who has helped with Sacred Space. Thousands have helped by spreading the news. Many have sent a donation, either on-line or through the mail. Thanks to everybody.

    Welcome to Latest Space, the newsletter of Sacred Space.

    Alan McGuckian, director of JCCI’m Alan McGuckian, SJ, director of the Jesuit Communication Centre in Dublin.

    As the counter on Sacred Space nudges towards the 3 million mark we want to make contact with all those who have responded to it since the beginning. Many thousands of people have prayed at Sacred Space – in one of the seven languages – and that has created an invisible community. We want you to know that we here in Dublin remember to pray for the whole Sacred Space ‘family’ regularly.

    In this first edition we want to introduce you to some of the people – at least by name – who work behind the scenes to produce Sacred Space.

    In life’s journey major landmarks are often an incentive for renewed effort. 3 million might be a signal for all of us to make another effort at spreading the news. Later we give you some suggestions for publicity. Parish bulletins and local papers are often crying out for some contributions.

    We want to thank everybody who has helped with Sacred Space. Thousands have helped by spreading the news. Many have sent a donation, either on-line or through the mail. Thanks to everybody.

    Thank you most of all for praying with us and helping to create this Sacred Space.

    Alan McGuckian, SJ

    Sections within the newsletter:

    • the people behind Sacred Space
    • visitors respond
    • Sacred Space in a group
    • spreading the news

    The people behind Sacred Space:

    The key figures involved in the creation of Sacred Space were two Jesuits, Alan McGuckian and Peter Scally, working out of the Jesuit Communication Centre in Dublin. The site was launched in February 1999, promising that it would definitely be online for all of Lent. On the very first Ash Wednesday there were 1,500 visitors. It appeared quickly that there was no turning back. During the Lenten period, an Irish-language version called Tearmann was created, and launched for St Patrick’s Day, March 17th. This still has a regular following of users from all around the world.

    New team member Róis
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    On December 12, we received word from the Ignatian Spirituality Centre in Taiwan that the Chinese version of Sacred Space will be on line from January 2004. The text will be shown in traditional Chinese characters, without simplified characters. There will be a link from the opening page of www.sacredspace.ie. May the many many millions of Chinese be blessed as they pray in Sacred Space.

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