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Latest Space #13

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

As Editor of Sacred Space and its newsletter, Latest Space, and on behalf of all of us here at the Jesuit Communications Centre in Dublin, I want, first of all, to send you, members of the Sacred Space community, our wishes and prayers that this time of Advent and the coming season of Christmas may be filled with many special blessings for each and every one of you. As I put together this issue of Latest Space, I am hoping that the contents will be a further reminder of the way in which God continues to bless our work in Sacred Space. May the same Lord bless you and yours.

– Fr. Gerry

Sections within this issue of Latest Space:

  • A Message from Fr. Paul Andrews
  • An Advent Retreat
  • The Chapel of Remembrance
  • Farewell to our Manager
  • Reviews of Sacred Space – The Prayer Book 2005
  • “Bubbaz Daily Prayer” – Another Use of Sacred Space
  • Translators’ Response on Importance of Feedback
  • The Latest Statistics on Sacred Space
  • Continuing to Spread the Word about Sacred Space
  • A Christmas Poem


  • A Message from Fr. Paul Andrews
         While you in Sacred Space are celebrating the Coming of the Lord in Advent, I am planning a Going, a temporary Exodus, to the other end of the world. In early December I’ll take off for the South Island of New Zealand to care for a series of one-man parishes and allow their pastors a holiday. I might even meet some of you in that lovely island where Christmas falls in mid-summer, where the rivers run crystal-clear, and the trout are big and hungry: a blissful prospect. Thank you for your companionship on Sacred Space during this last year; your feedback has meant a great deal to me.

    – Fr. Paul



    An Advent Retreat
         Fr. Leon Ó Giolláin, who directed the Lenten Retreat in Manresa Jesuit Retreat House in Dublin, on February 28, 2004, has prepared another retreat for Advent, which is now available online. When we made his points for the Lenten Retreat available online, it was very consoling to note the number of visitors who used his insights to make their own retreat not only during Lent itself, but in the months since then. When we moved to the Advent retreat at the end of October, 4,857 persons had signed up for the Lenten Retreat over the months since February. Since there had been many requests for another retreat, we trust that the new retreat will continue to respond to the spiritual needs of many visitors.

    The “Chapel of Remembrance”
         Once again this year during November many members of our Sacred Space community availed themselves of the opportunity to submit names of their beloved dead, who were listed in our “Chapel of Remembrance”. Many visited daily to pray for their loved ones, and for all the faithful departed. The total number that submitted names was 2,120, and they were from some 66 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 all the deceased members of their family. However, the number was in the area of 7,800.

         Again this year, it was interesting to note that the highest number of those who submitted names were from the USA: 883. Next with 367 persons was Australia, followed by Ireland with 295. The United Kingdom (including England, Scotland and Wales) was next with 183, followed by Canada (96), and the Philippines (83). The other 58 countries were represented by 25 or less persons submitting names of deceased.

    Farewell to our Manager

         At the end of this year, the Manager of Jesuit Communications here in Dublin, Mr. Garry O’Sullivan, will become the Editor of The Irish Catholic, Ireland’s national Catholic newspaper. This will mean, unfortunately, that he cannot continue with us, and the search is on to find his successor. While we regret that he must leave us, we congratulate him on his new appointment, and wish him success in the challenging task ahead of him.

         Readers of Latest Space will have come to know Garry, especially through the “greetings” that he has included in the newsletter, and the “appeals” that he has sent out for financial support toward the end of each of the two years that he has worked for the development of Sacred Space. He wishes to thank all who responded for the encouragement he received in his work with us. And we promise him our prayers for God’s blessing on him as he assumes his new responsibilities.



    Reviews of Sacred Space – The Prayer Book 2005


         According to reports received in mid-November, the book with the contents of Sacred Space for the liturgical year 2005 is immensely popular. The original publisher in Australia reports the sale of more than 1,000 copies; Ave Maria Press in the United States over 8,000 copies; and Veritas Publications in Ireland is pleased with the sale of more than 1,000 copies. The reviews of the book, too, have been very positive.

         On October 27, 2004, Fr. Edmund Campion wrote in Books Etcetera on an Australian website, OnlineCatholics.org: “In Melbourne, I’d met a woman called Michelle Anderson. She started her own publishing house, led to it by her own need. An alumna of a Loreto school, she found herself seeking spiritual sustenance; and so she discovered www.sacredspace.ie, the website run by the Irish Jesuits to meet the modern hunger for a prayer life that nourishes. Good stuff, she found.
    “Coming from a background in publishing, her next thought was “BOOK – had anyone thought of turning this wonderful website into a book?” And the answer was no. So we have Sacred Space: The Prayer Book 2005…It follows the church’s liturgical year, which means that Page One is about to start..
    “As I was looking at this, the postman brought the latest copy of Madonna, the Jesuit spirituality magazine, and I found that they have seen it, too. I’ll borrow two of their sentences: ‘This is a book to help everyday prayer go more sweetly and to help you find unexpected space for God each day. It offers prayers for each day of the year, with reflections on prayer set within a standard weekly format, the gospel reading, and a few questions about the reading.’ I say ‘Amen’ to that.”

         After a visit in October to the International Book Fair in Frankfurt, Germany, Michelle herself wrote to Sacred Space: “A priest from the order of St Paul’s in India wants to buy rights to the book for Asia and Africa. He also said he would contact his other offices around the world and tell them to contact me. A publisher wants it for Mexico, another for Brazil; my Spanish agent thinks she will easily find a Spanish publisher, and I have been given the name of a publisher in Poland to contact…..I received an order a couple of days ago which said ‘Sacred Space is the best thing on the internet’ – I agreed with them, of course….”

         Then she sent us this review written by Kevin Mark and published in two magazines: “As with most technologies, the internet can be used for good or evil. A form of its evil application was brought home to us all with the recent uncovering of hundreds of Australian’s allegedly caught in a sinister web of child pornography distributed through the internet. But the internet can also be put to good use. In the religious area alone, via the Web we can access virtual libraries of classic and contemporary theological texts, keep up to date on religious news, participate in discussions, and even pray.

         “A pioneer in the latter is the website www.sacredspace.ie, run by the Jesuit Communcation Centre in Ireland….Now the creators of Sacred Space, have turned to a much more ancient technology – the book. Sacred Space is a daily prayer book for the period from the coming Advent until the end of the 2005 liturgical year. The book offers the same process of prayer as the website, which is grounded in Ignatian spirituality……”

         In a short review in the Irish Catholic newspaper for September 30, we read: “Many things have changed with the advent of the internet, even our devotions. Sacred Space has proved a most popular web resource, enabling many to open their day at the office with a short prayer and meditation. This book contains material published on the website, which by now has had eight million visitors (sic) since it was inaugurated in 1999. This is a book to be valued and recommended, for it shows that as older expressions of faith fade, others come forward.”

         Finally, here is the review, mentioned above, that appeared in the November/December 2004 issue of Madonna in Australia:
    “Books of prayer are a bit like chocolate liquers. When your life is running out of sweetness, they give you a lift. But offered six or seven, you feel the beginnings of indigestion. coming on. The connoisseur of such things knows, too, of course, which flavour of chocolate indulges what moods – cointreau for liveliness, benedictine for contemplation, cognac for superiority, and so on.
    “So, too, the prayer books. A good selection of goodies for different moods and occasions. Sacred Space – the Prayer Book 2005 is the Book of the Movie – or, more exactly, the book of the wonderful Irish Jesuit website which offers images and prayers each day of the year so you can pray by your computer. This is a book to help everyday prayer go more sweetly and to help you find unexpected space for God each day…. All it lacks is the imagery of the website, but you can explore that for your yourself by clicking on the address conveniently included in the title of the book. Being built around the calendar, too, the book is very helpful for groups praying regularly together.”



    “Bubbaz Daily Prayer” – Another Use of Sacred Space
         Every day, since May of this year, an e-mail, which begins “When we pray, we are never alone”, arrives in our inbox. The subject of the e-mail is given as “bubbaz daily prayer” and the message contains the same scripture that is given in Sacred Space for that day. It is followed usually by the points, originally referred to as “stuck points”, and now called “inspiration points”. In the beginning, an acknowledgment was given at the end to “Irish Jesuits, Dublin”. But, at the suggestion of the Sacred Space editor, it was changed to: “- from www.sacredspace.ie

         The e-mail, according to its writer, started out as “bubbaz floriduh newzletter”, which was a satirical commentary on the 2000 election in the US. The newsletter ended with a prayer. The prayer grew to be more important than the newsletter, but retained the name bubba, which is a nickname for Robert, the first name of the author, whose name is Robert Bruce Heidt. On October 14, Bubba wrote to Sacred Space: “Through a commitment to the Holy Spirit, I have promised to send the daily prayer as long as I am capable or there is no power failure, hurricanes or the like. It goes to some religious persons, like yourself, but also to family and friends and a number of non-Catholics and even one Protestant preacher who quotes occasionally from the daily prayer. He pulled out a print-out one day and showed me which one he used recently in a sermon. I am a product of Jesuit education having attended Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, but also a product of Franciscan education attending a Franciscan High School. I have a special devotion to St. Augustine because it took him so many years to “get” the message, and our lives run in parallel. I am now 71 years old. What I have always admired about the Jesuit experience is the ability to place oneself in the scriptural reading and imagine the colors, scents and noise of the persons involved in the passage. Sacred Space is very good about this experience and I use it to illustrate the scriptural reading for the day. My personal commentaries are written in green. You don’t see very much green in the daily prayer, because it is not my place to add to the thoughts already better expressed. Most people enjoy the daily prayer, but a few complain and want to be taken off the list. We pray for them.” Bubba has issued an invitation to Sacred Space visitors who would like to receive by e-mail “bubbaz daily prayer”, or who would like to propose it to a friend, that they may write to him at [email protected].

    Translators’ Response on Importance of Feedback
         On September 30th, a short questionnaire was sent to our translators on the importance they placed on responding to feedback. By mid-October we had received responses from eight of them, Catalan, Czech, French, German, Korean, Portuguese, Slovenian and Spanish. All eight reported that there was an opportunity for feedback in their version of Sacred Space, but only five of the eight said that there was someone, usually a Jesuit, who responded regularly to the feedback received. The Spanish respondent said they had not considered the advisability of responding to feedback, and the Portuguese said they no longer had someone who could respond regularly. The Korean translator preferred an online forum for feedback, where visitors could respond to one another. All would agree with the Editor of the English version that a valuable contribution would be made to the growth of the Sacred Space community if a suitable person could be found to respond to feedback.



    The Latest Statistics on Sacred Space
    On Nov. 30, 2004, the counter reached 11,740,000 visitors since February 1999.
    In November, we averaged 12,558 each weekday (Nov. 2003 = 9,904).
    On weekends, 8,155 on Saturdays and Sundays (Nov. 2003 = 6,408).

    Continuing to Spread the Word about Sacred Space
         When considering Christmas gifts or New Year resolutions, here are some ways you might wish to help in the ministry of 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 of your friends have homepages? Ask them to include a link to Sacred Space.
    • Has your local newspaper (diocesan or otherwise) ever featured an article on Sacred Space? If you think they might be interested, do not hesitate to suggest one. You may even put them in touch with us, and we will be happy to supply them with pertinent material.
    • Have you shared your enthusiasm with others? You might consider a gift of SACRED SPACE – The Prayer Book 2005 to those who do not have access to a computer.
    • Have you considered a financial contribution to Sacred Space so that in 2005 we may continue to respond as effectively as possible to the spiritual needs of the international community?



    A Christmas Poem
         Once again this year Frances Berumen from Oxnard, California, sent us Christmas greetings in poetry. At the request of the Editor, she also sent us these few words about herself.

         Greetings to all my brothers and sisters! Christmas is my favorite holiday because the rest of the world joins me in what I feel every day. I love waking up in the morning, thanking Him for another day and wondering what He has in mind for me. His gift in the new people I will meet. Or the blessing I’ll find in the gift of those who are part of my life already. He wants me to sprinkle His love on all of them. I love it!!!!!!!!! Poetry has been part of my life for quite a few years. I have been writing more since I got a computer back in 1996. And the closer I get to the Lord the more I get inspired. I thank God for bringing Sacred Space into my life and for the opportunity it gives me to share my poems with my extended family, because that’s what you all are to me. So with that thought may you have a wonderful Christmas, filled with all the love that you share with each other in the many ways it is celebrated all over the world. I can only imagine. Remember “the spirit of Christmas can be every day, not just once a year”.

    Your sister,
    Frances Berumen

     
    Christmas is upon us and
    once again we celebrate,
    the birth of Jesus, which
    is a very important date.

    We gather around the table at a
    feast, many different from the other.
    Families all over the world unite,
    sharing gifts with one another.

    The sun may be shining, snow
    on the roof, perhaps heavy rain.
    And one person may be missing;
    many understand your pain.

    Yet we hold on to the faith,
    no matter how hard it get,
    we count our blessings one by
    one; and for those we forget.

    We don’t know what tomorrow will
    bring, God will soon reveal that;
    just remember He is here, waiting
    for you, with the welcome mat.

    Although we don’t know each other’s names or what we look like, not a trace.
    When you visit, we become an extended
    family, all of us, here at Sacred Space.


    – Frances Berumen. 11/23/04 <

    With best wishes from the Sacred Space (www.sacredspace.ie)team
    Gerry, Paul, Garry, Jae-Hong, Leon & Margarita

    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  Latest Space #12
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