Posts Tagged ‘ls12’

Latest Space #12

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Greetings from all here at the home of Sacred Space. Now that summer is over and the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” is upon us, I hope that all the members of the Sacred Space community will be sufficiently relaxed to enjoy this twelfth issue of Latest Space, with some of the latest developments in Sacred Space. May the coming months continue to be filled with “mellow fruitfulness”.

Sections within this issue of Latest Space:

  • Dublin Jesuit Spirituality Centre and Sacred Space
  • Living Space News
  • Sacred Space in Book Form
  • “An Oasis in a Working Day”
  • Spreading the News
  • Further Feedback

  • Dublin Jesuit Spirituality Centre and Sacred Space
    We are deeply indebted to the community of our Jesuit Spirituality Centre in Manresa House, here in Dublin, for their cooperation in the work of Sacred Space. Fr. Leon Ó Giolláin SJ put together a very popular one-day retreat for the Sacred Space community earlier this year for those who could travel to Manresa. The retreat was made available online for those who could not. Since then, some 4,000 people from all over the world have availed themselves of the retreat online. The feedback has been very positive, and there have been many requests for more retreat opportunities. Fr Leon is planning to come up with another such retreat for the beginning of Advent, 2004.

    Fr. Paul Andrews, SJ, has helped us greatly with suggestions for the weekly ‘Something to think and pray about each day this week’, and with points on the scripture for each day that make the text more relevant to the daily life of the Sacred Space community. When invited to introduce himself to the community in this issue of Latest Space, he wrote: “Europe’s great cathedrals do not carry the names of their architects. The name they present to the worshipper is the holy name of God. Hallowed be Thy name – not mine. For the same reason I hesitate to offer a blurb about myself to the millions who pray in Sacred Space. However, since I have started to write reflections for the “Prayer Advices” and “Inspiration Points”, the director has asked me to say who I am: Paul Andrews, an old (nearly 78) Jesuit from Omagh in Northern Ireland, once a teacher, headmaster, psychologist, psychotherapist; always directed retreats on the side, and did some writing. For the last few years I am rector of Manresa, a retreat house beautifully placed on the north side of Dublin Bay, where I have time for fishing, some bad golf, and talking to my friends. The anonymous stone-masons of Chartres must have felt a gentle glow as they looked up at their cathedral. I feel something like that as my notes go into Sacred Space. It is good to be part of something as worldwide as this, yet focussed outside this world.”

    Living Space News

    For the past three years Fr. Frank Doyle SJ has been offering in Living Space much appreciated reflections on the Sunday liturgical readings to help both preachers and people prepare for the Liturgy of the Word at Sunday Mass. With the completion of the liturgical cycle in November of this year, he has now committed himself to a new series beginning with the first week of Advent. While still offering Sunday reflections, he plans to preent some notes on the daily scriptural readings.

    “These notes”, he writes, “are not meant to be actual material for preaching. Rather they intend to give some background to the daily readings to help both the homilist and the faithful have a sense of continuity as we go through the readings each day……The purpose of the notes is to suggest a way by which all the weekday readings get a little more attention and help both Mass-goers and those who use these notes for personal reflection to have a better understanding of the whole Bible. The two-year cycle is spread over three years. In the first year, the reflections will focus on the Gospel readings. In the second and third years, they will focus on the First Readings of the two-year cycle. These readings will come sometimes from an Old Testament book and sometimes from a New Testament letter as the liturgical calendar decides…..Finally, let me emphasise that I am in no way a Scripture scholar. My only aim is to whet your appetite to have a deeper understanding of the Word of God, to go to the original sources and also to consult the many commentaries which are available. And, better still, to join or set up a group who will study the Word of God together with the help of the many guides which are available.”

    Sacred Space in Book Form
    The book form of Sacred Space has been launched. Sacred Space – The Prayer Book 2005 is an important milestone in the five-year history of the website. The book came into existence when the Australian publisher, Michelle Anderson, used the website daily for some time, and, finding it of immense value, wanted to make it available to those not able to go online. It is now her aim to make the book available in each of the eighteen countries where the website is translated. She will attend the Frankfurt Book Fair in October of this year with the main purpose of selling rights to the foreign language editions of the book in as many countries as possible. In July we received some of the new book from Australia. On the back cover we read:

    Sacred Space The Prayer Book is the book of the hugely successful website inaugurated in 1999 by Alan McGuckian SJ and Peter Scally SJ of the Jesuit Communication Centre, Ireland….People from all over the world are praying at the site, those from many Christian denominations and those seeking a sense of spirituality in their lives. Many have sent feedback realizing that the faith that unites us is much greater that that which divides us.

    “The book, as with the website, guides the reader simply and gently through a few stages of preparation. Each week begins with ‘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 to help us 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.”

    Rights to the book were sold by the Australian publisher to Veritas in Ireland, and Ave Maria Press in the U.S. All three publishers are currently advertising their editions on their websites, and the book for the coming liturgical year is available in bookshops. A link to the sites can be found on the endpage of each day’s prayer. A new edition of the book will be published for the following year with different contents in accordance with the subsequent liturgical calendar. The Publishers believe that it will be 3-400 pages of wonderful ‘inspiration’, and that it will be well used all around the world by people from all walks of life.

    “An Oasis in a Busy Working Day”
    The counter on our English language version continues to register between 10 and 11 thousand on weekdays,, and on Saturdays and Sundays, the number drops to some 6 or 7 thousand. Many users seem to find time for a “prayer break” at their computer during their working day.

    Some time ago I received this letter from a regular Dublin visitor:

    “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 I felt like I was being hit with one thing after another which was going horribly wrong. In desperation, I went to click on to 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 because I opened my mouth.”

    Spreading the News
    As reported in a previous issue of Latest Space, Sacred Space celebrated five years since it was launched on Ash Wednesday of this year. At Pentecost, our counter recorded our ten millionth visitor, and as I write this, we are approaching the 11 million mark. The good news is being spread by our users to other potential visitors. One article, written for the magazine of an Anglican group of churches, was sent to us by its author in Chester, England. It bore the headline, WONDERFUL WEBSITE NO. 1 – Sacred Space, and read:

    “So there you are: you’re ready for a break at your PC; you’d really appreciate just ten minutes thinking about something else, and you really don’t want to spend another thirty quid at Amazon, so what do you do? You look over your shoulder to make sure the boss isn’t watching, and you type in an address: Yes, that’s right – Jesuit!

    “Now don’t panic! You won’t get a Cardinal on your doorstep the following morning selling indulgences, or receive threatening phone messages from the Archbishop of Canterbury! It’s OK; this is ecumenical. In fact, Sacred Space’s feedback page is proof of how beautifully ecumenical it is; people e-mail in from all over the world and from every Christian persuasion, testifying as to how much the site has helped them.

    “So what do you get? You get an attractively packaged, easy-to-follow, clearly explained session of guided prayer that has been put together according to the recommendations of an interesting chap from sixteenth-century Spain called Ignatius, who, far from being a member of the Spanish Inquisition, was actually one of its victims. The Jesuits are his official fan club. This website has been put together by his Irish aficionados in Dublin, who have translated it into umpteen (that’s a precise estimate!) languages, and provide links to other similar websites. I won’t say any more about it other than to recommend that you check it out.

    And the editor of the parish bulletin in a Catholic Church in Dublin, Ireland, sent us this article which she had written for the parish newsletter on the church website:

    “Have you ever watched those TV documentaries about the Sahara Desert, the ones that follow nomads and hapless Englishmen wilting in the midday sun? Remember how the desert seemed to stretch forever? Endless sun, sand and nothing else for miles on end. And do you remember how water, or the lack of it, became a matter of life and death? Couldn’t you just feel that parched dryness rising in your throat, too? The unquenchable thirst of the camels, the nomads and the poor Englishman, (although considering how much the BBC was probably paying him, your pity would have been short-lived). Thirst cannot be ignored. It demands, it screams to be satisfied…! If the Englishman is lucky, his oasis will appear over the next sand-dune and his thirst will be slaked at last.

    “But what about your thirst and my thirst? Where do we go in the deserts of our own lives to find the water that will satisfy our deepest longings, the ‘living water’ that Jesus promised was ours for the asking? Where do we find an oasis of rest and peace in this modern desert known as ‘cyberspace’? One such oasis is just a click away. It’s a website called

    “Produced by the Jesuit Communication Centre, Leeson Street, Dublin, this website invites you to create a ‘Sacred Space‘ in your life each day by spending 10 minutes “here and now, as you sit at your computer, with the help of on-screen guidance and scripture chosen specially each day.”

    “The prayer session moves through six stages, from initial preparation of body and mind, through the Presence of God, Freedom, Consciousness, The Word, Conversation and Conclusion. If you’re new to prayer, or online prayer for that matter, there’s a helpful Prayer Guide to explain and lead you through each stage.

    Sacred Space is offered in English, and more languages than anyone could possibly know. Recently, it celebrated its ten millionth visitor since first launching this ‘technology at the service of the Gospel’ initiative in Lent, 1999. Take a look at its Feedback Page where visitors from the four corners of the globe post their comments on how the site has helped them and enriched their lives. So, the next time you feel a dryness rising in your throat, just park your camel and click into one local oasis: www.sacred”

    Further Feedback:
    Some further feedback to give you a taste of our Feedback Page; this came from New York City:

    “The fruits of Sacred Space – God’s Word clearly heard in silence, eloquent wisdom expressed by the multitude of pilgrims, peace transcending the ordinary, love crossing denominations, Inquisition wounds healed, and unity permeating a wide spectrum of nations, – are awe-inspiring. I just found it very touching to read of centuries-old hurts being healed because of Sacred Space. This is what I have been dreaming of: Christians letting go of their differences to embrace each other.

    “This is great pioneering work in any language. I take my hat off to St. Ignatius of Loyola and you, his Irish descendants in faith, for this awesome gift to humankind. Only God can cause such an unprecedented phenomenon. And these fruits grow in silence without fanfare. This is more astonishing than the 10-million count! Like the Savior’s birth in rural Nazareth, Sacred Space came from a rather humble place, Dublin, away from Silicon Valley, or other great computer capitals of the world. I don’t know much about Dublin, as most Jews probably knew little about Nazareth. God fertilized an acorn of an idea and has made it grow into a great oak tree of faith, love and hope. My eyes have seen God’s glory, thanks greatly to Sacred Space. The least I can do is spread the Good News.”

    And, finally, these words from faraway Canberra, Australia:

    “Thanks from the heart for your wonderful site – I think I’ve been using it for about three years now and, while dealing with severe family problems, it has helped me enormously to know that I am part of something much bigger and that a loving God is attentive to my struggles and also to those others all around the world who are worshipping together at this on-line cathedral. I probably haven’t expressed this well but anyway I want to add my thanks for a priceless gift that has brought me peace and hope during difficult times.”

    For more feedback, click here.

    May Sacred Space bring peace and hope to all during difficult times.

    – Fr. Gerry Bourke SJ, Editor of Latest Space

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

  • For previous issues, go online and click here: Latest Space #1  Latest Space #2  Latest Space #3  Latest Space #4  Latest Space #5  Latest Space #6  Latest Space #7  Latest Space #8  Latest Space #9  Latest Space #10  Latest Space #11


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