From Fr. John:

Hello everyone.

My first task today is to say thank you all for your prayers over the last few weeks. I ask you to keep them going and know that I am keeping you all in my prayers. I am doing well and thank God phase one went well – the pre-op days got the correct results and the operation on January 5th went well. Phase two, went from January 5th to February 2nd – four weeks between the cataract being removed and the check by the surgeon. That time was designated as a rest time and also a time for four eye drops daily for four weeks. One of my brothers inserted the vast majority of the drops for me and I am grateful to him for his willingness to do the job. All the family have been extremely ‘supportive and helpful through this time.

Last week on February 1st I had a warfarin test – it was the first one in over a month that gave a result allowing me a two-week break before the next. The day after, the 2nd, the visit to the eye clinic saw a number of checks on the eye, including scans to the back of the eye. thank God, all went well. I was taken off the drops and the next visit there will be in two to three months time (date will be sent out to me). Am in phase three now. Have to get reading and distance glasses and waiting for those. I have an appointment for that but I hope it will be brought forward.

I have started a bit of reading where I can enlarge the print a little so that I won’t strain the eye and am exploring a little bit. I have started reading two reports for government: the report on the mental health services in South Kerry and the one released this week on the Defence Forces. I have also been looking at the Vatican website and it is interesting how where you least expect to find something to make you think something pops up and gives a little wake up call. I opened up the daily bulletin on Monday and found an address by Pope Francis to the residents of the Lombard Seminary in Rome. he gave a few pointers to them about vocation and how the traditions of their place of residence were part of their experience but he also gave some very wise advice for how to view what they have been called by God to do and it is advice that can be adapted to all walks of Christian life really.

He refers to Pope Pius XI who would have spent time in that seminary and says that in his first homily as pope, he was speaking about mission and rather than giving answers, invited people to ask themselves the question: “What can I offer the Lord?” Pope Francis goes on to explore that question in the light of the priestly ministry facing the seminarians but he also poses a question that can apply to us all. Maybe it could be a question we could use during the Lenten season that begins on March 2nd this year. He says: Let us ask ourselves, ‘What can I offer?’ at the beginning of every day. What can we offer the Lord this Lent to bring the joy of the Gospel to the people of our world, a world that is broken in so many ways.

God bless, everyone and see you soon, please God.