Photo is by David Mark from Pixabay

Our photo today is of the late Pope Benedict with the former President of the United States George Bush. I share this photo today as the funeral Mass for the late Pope takes place this morning in the Vatican. Most news channels are showing the funeral live, including RTE starting at 8.30a.m

On This Day

On January 5th 1933 The Golden Gate Bridge construction began in San Francisco

On January 5th 2014 Eusébio perhaps the greatest Portuguese football (soccer) player of all time, died in Lisbon.

On January 5th  2021 Daily new cases of COVID-19 top 60,000 in the UK as data reveals one in fifty in England had COVID-19 within one week. A similar surge was experienced in so many other countries as well, including Ireland

Birthdays Today

Emma Bolger (Actress) is 27

Bradley Cooper (Actor) is 48

Vinnie Jones (Former Footballer and Actor) is 58

Saint For Today

The Saint for today Jan 5th is Saint John Neumann and he is the patron of immigrants and sick children

Significance Of Today

The funeral of the late Pope Benedict takes place today and will be led and celebrated by Pope Francis.

Interesting Quote For Today

“God is not distant: God is ‘Emmanuel,’ which means God-with-us. God is no stranger and has a face, the face of Jesus.” ~the late Pope Benedict

Did You Know

Here are some Did You Know Facts about the late Pope Benedict

  • Pope Benedict was the oldest person to be elected pope since 1730.
  • He spoke fluent German, French, Italian, Spanish, Latin, and English.
  • He played the piano and especially liked Beethoven and Mozart.
  • Interestingly he had a pilot’s license and sometimes flew the papal helicopter to the summer residence. He never learned to drive a car.
  • He loved cats and had two of them. One was a stray he found in Rome.
  • He was the first pope to own an iPod.

Thought For The Week

“Love is more important than what we can take in life. Love, Love, Love.” ~Pelé

Two world figures went to their eternal reward during the past week, Pope Benedict and Pelé.

I will start with Pelé and there have been wonderful and glowing tributes given to him.  He was a man who simply loved the game of football.  His real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento but of course he is known around the world as simply Pelé. But where did the name come from? There are no obvious explanations as the word has no translation in the Portuguese language. But the late RTE commentator Jimmy Magee had his own theory and shared it with Pele in one of their interviews.

The story relates to an Irish speaking missionary priest who was working in one of the poorer parts of Brazil where Pele was born and raised. Of course, back then Pele was simply known as Edson, the name everyone called him.  Watching the young boy play on the street with a ball made of paper, the priest talked in Irish about the “buachaill ag imirt peile” (boy playing football) and on hearing the Irish phrase, the local women began calling the boy “Pelé”. Nobody has been able to prove the exact origins, but Jimmy Magee was always convinced this is where it came from.

There are many quotations from Pele himself, but the one on love is most appropriate as we journey through the season of Christmas and as we begin the New Year. Love is at the heart of the Christmas Story. Take away love and there is no story. We celebrate the difference love makes in our lives every single day. We so often talk about God using the language of love.  A new year’s resolution is to be open to the blessings of love in our life today. Love so often comes to us in small moments and often quietly and without fuss. We can allow these moments to touch us and allow us to share a loving moment with someone else. 

Pope Benedict was a man who also believed in love and believed totally in the difference it can make in our lives. Yes he may have come across as stern and serious, but those who knew him up close said he always was very gentle with a relaxed style. Like Pele he believed that our world is such a better place when we receive love and when we share it. The late Pope Benedict was known as a ‘Pilgrim of Peace’ and he brought the Gospel message of peace to so many parts of the world including Northern Ireland. We pray that this message of peace will be heard in the troubled parts of our world especially in Ukraine.

Wishing you a Happy New Year and a blessed 2023

The Thought For The Week is updated each Monday