This month, the linked parishes of St. Martin of Tours and St. Thomas Aquinas in South Buffalo will celebrate their Irish-American heritage with Father William Quinlivan. He has invited two Irish retreat ministers, Sister Briege McKenna, OSC, and Father Kevin Scallon, CM, from Oct. 16-19 for a special four-day parish mission retreat.
Retreat days will include morning Mass and a talk at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish at 9:30 a.m., from Monday through Thursday, and then at 7 p.m. at St. Martin of Tours. On the last evening, Thursday, Oct. 19, there will be Mass followed by a Eucharistic healing service.
"I've been blessed to work on priest retreats as part of a team with Father Kevin and Sister Briege in Ireland as well as South Dakota. In my last two parish assignments, they have been invited to do retreats, but last fall, when I was assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Martin of Tours, I reached out to invite them to visit the Irish Heritage Section of Buffalo," said Father Quinlivan.
Father Quinlivan has attended many of their past retreats, seen them on TV and heard them on the radio. He became aware of Sister Briege in 1987 when his mother, who had been diagnosed with cancer, received a copy of Sister Briege's book, "Miracles Do Happen."
"They have great devotion to Our Lady and the Blessed Sacrament, and they are just very inspired people in their ministry. I'm excited for people to experience that, and they don't have to go to Ireland for it," Father Quinlivan said. "When I was growing up, people would say, 'Do you want to go to Ireland?' I'd say, 'Well, I live in South Buffalo. I've got the next best thing.' But the first time I went to Ireland, it was actually at their invitation to go to a priest retreat."
Sister Briege and Father Scallon lead the Intercession for Priests, a mission Father Scallon began in 1976. Today, the retreat is offered in Dublin, Germany, Poland, Hungary and Lithuania. Father Quinlivan felt his parishes would be an especially appropriate place to have them.
"They have spoken at St. Gregory the Great in Williamsville and Blessed Sacrament in Tonawanda, but never in South Buffalo. I expect that they will feel especially at home here," he concluded.
Although Sister Briege has a healing ministry, she will not be available for in-home or hospital visits while in Buffalo, although people are welcome to drop off their personal intentions for her to pray on her own time.