Sunday 21 June Reflection from Monsignor Tony Doherty

20 June 2020
Cardinal Seán O'Malley OFM Cap, Archbishop of Boston. Image: Archdiocese of Boston.


A retired priest from the Archdiocese of Sydney has chosen to start recording weekly reflections on the Gospel.

Monsignor Tony Doherty has started a series of reflections called “Breaking Bread Together” on a personal YouTube channel.

The reflections were designed for parishioners of St Joseph’s Neutral Bay, part of the Parishes of Sydney Harbour North, but he warmly welcomes those outside of the parish to the video.


As a rule, I do not find Archbishops very funny.

In that quick one-liner sort of fashion, I mean. Admittedly the sample is a little bit small for such generalisations – but, as I have lived with three of them not to be entirely dismissed either.

But one notable exception comes to mind.

He is the former South African Anglican Bishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu who had an outrageous sense of humour and a laugh that could shatter glass. The video reflection attached to the end of this short page will tell you what I mean.

Another cleric who can tell a good story is the Catholic Archbishop of Boston USA, Cardinal Sean O’Malley. He is a Franciscan, who are famous for their storytelling.

On a visit to his ancestral county in Ireland, he was introduced to one of the family stories which he had not heard before. The O’Malleys hail from County Mayo, a part of Ireland that was hallowed by St Patrick’s ministry there.

They told him the story of a dramatic conversion of an Irish chieftain by the name of Ossian. A huge crowd assembled in a field to witness his baptism.

St Patrick arrived in his Bishop’s vestments with his mitre and staff. St Patrick stuck his staff in the ground and began to preach a long sermon on the Catholic faith.

The people noted that Ossian, who was standing directly in front of St Patrick, began to sweat profusely, he grew pale and finally fainted dead away.

Some people rushed over to help, and they discovered to everyone’s horror that St Patrick had driven his staff through the man’s foot.

When they were able to revive Ossian they said to him, “Why did you not say something?”

And the fierce warrior replied, “I thought that it was part of the ceremony.”

A story dedicated to my gritty Celtic ancestors and all the liturgists I know and love.

The reflection on the Feast of the Ascension below is about ‘letting go’- its pain and its power.

Just click on the link below. And if there is any friend who you feel would like to share this please feel free to forward it to them







To follow Msgr Doherty’s reflections, visit his YouTube channel –


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