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Thursday Evening Reflection on the Word of God in our Challenging Times – a view from a member…


A welcome at Galilee

By John Cavanagh,

December 1st 2018

Galilee is a fertile mountainous area in northern Israel.  It is better known for its Sea of Galilee, where Jesus is said to have walked on water.

My Galilee is located on the summit of the Curlew mountains, straddling the county boundaries of Sligo and Roscommon. It is midway between Ballinafad and Boyle, just off the N4, adjacent to the silver horse replica of Hugh O’Donnell, Gaelic war lord.

I have been attending Galilee on a Thursday evening at 8.00pm for the past four years.  We have a long break for the summer and shorter ones at Christmas and Easter.  Sisters Margaret, Olive and Mae host these evenings and are spiritual leaders, ably assisted by lay persons Úna, Mary and Ian. I am indebted to these people for the preparation of written scripts they provide on alternate evenings.

The evenings consist of scripture readings listed for the forthcoming Sunday and they are presented in an informative and interesting manner.  A group of thirteen people on average attends and this group engages in a discussion on the readings. This event lasts about an hour and many of us make a contribution. This is held in the kitchen cum dining room area.  Meditation for half an hour is held in the Oratory upstairs.  This comprises of a hymn, psalm, quiet time, reflection and petitions.

Galilee provides a space for me to break from the busyness of daily living and spend a little time on the real me. The lively discussion on the scriptures challenges me to see the relevance of Christ’s message in today’s world. My spiritual being has been awoken and nourished and I am a little more aware and responsive to the present moment and its needs. This has helped me to cope better with the challenges that have crossed my path in life.

‘Wherever two or three are gathered in my name I am also present.’  I find Christ in Galilee.

The night begins with companionship.  This literally means ‘with bread.’ The sisters always have tea and scones to start the evening.  It is reminiscent for me of neighbourly rambling houses I visited in west Sligo many moons ago.  I am fortunate to have such an oasis to quench my thirst.  I have met lovely people and fellow travellers in Galilee.  I always leave with a smile and don’t need reminding to return.