Saturday, 15th November was a special day for Timirí members and their friends. Over fifty people gathered in Emmaus to mark the 25th Anniversary of the founding of Timirí Éamainn Rís. It was a day of Remembering, Celebrating and Thanksgiving.
The event took place in Emmaus and as always there was a warm welcome for all. The day opened with a welcome cup of tea and the opportunity to catch up with friends from near and far. The front of house team of Donall, Mary and Denis were very welcoming and made sure that the registration process went smoothly.
Joe Tynan facilitated the day and made sure all went smoothly. Dick Fields, who is a founding member of Timirí, gave the opening address and the full text is below. This was followed by a Powerpoint presentation which encompassed the main points of Dick’s address in key phrases and photographs. Nessa Ní Argadáin led us through a beautiful reflection that gave us the opportunity to ponder, in a calm and peaceful way, on our own thoughts and memories of Timirí. Afterwards we were given a time to share our thoughts and to place a lighted candle in the beautiful sacred space.
Denis O’ Reilly gave an overview of the development of Timirí since 2009 under the guidance of the Timirí Support Group with a special emphasis on our own spiritual growth; supporting our Timirí groups; communication through the newsletter, email and text; and financial support of worthy causes when funds allowed.
Donal Leader, in a very compelling visual presentation, introduced us to the key messages of Chapter 2014 in Nairobi. “DRAWN BY MYSTERY, DESTINED FOR LIFE”. There was plenty of opportunity for discussion, debate and reflection on the events of the day and suggestions for future plans and developments.
Br. Edmund Garvey, Province Leader,in his address, described Timirí as having a key role within the Edmund Rice Network and thanked the members for their support, prayers and contribution to the Network over the last 25 years.
The day ended with a beautiful meal where we had time again to engage in many conversations about the events of the day. I think all those present were touched by the calmness that prevailed, the acknowledgements shown, our sincerity and the challenges that we expressed. It was a team effort from start to finish which showed our commitment. Thanks to everyone. A big “thank you” to the staff of Emmaus for welcome and service we received.
Dick Field’s address to the Gathering
Good afternoon. It is lovely to see everyone. Thanks for making the effort to attend and to be with us today as we gather as friends united in brotherhood and sisterhood to show our gratitude, to remember past and present members, to celebrate their gifts and to acknowledge the achievements of Timirí carried out in gentle service and in humble prayer.
On behalf of the Timirí Support Groupí I would like to welcome you to our Gathering today in Emmaus as we gather to celebrate 25 years of Timirí. We held our first Timirí meeting in Cluain Mhuire, NCR in the then Provincial House of the Northern Province. Some Brothers and former Brothers gathered to spend time in prayer and reflection together. Little did we know then that different Timirí Groups would come together for the next 25 years meeting in 27 different Brothers houses in different parts of the country. They were united with the wish to pray, reflect and support one another in their lives.
Timirí continues to review and reflect on how we are progressing and developing since we were founded in 1989. It’s important that we do this otherwise we would cease to exist. It is wonderful that we have survived to the present time and look forward to celebrating our 25 years in existence. Time flies by so let us remember and acknowledge the many people who have been involved and have supported Timirí since that time. At the time it was an opportunity for Brothers and for those who left the Congregation to be reconciled, to renew friendships and more importantly to afford the possibility of deepening together our relationship with Jesus. I know many of us are very grateful that we had this opportunity to meet, to pray and to support one another in our lives and in the many challenges that we were to encounter. Each Timirí meeting was an occasion to be filled with many graces and blessings for us, our families and communities.
It was also a time when the Brothers were being challenged and criticised daily, many times unfairly, through TV and newspaper reporting. It was a very difficult period which is not completely finished yet and where our continued support and prayers are still appreciated. Timirí journeyed with the Brothers through this painful time and by our support and prayers hopefully helped to ease the pain. I would like to think that we helped to influence the Gathering in UCD in August 1994 when over 280 Brothers and 360 former Brothers, wives/partners were invited by the Brothers to celebrate Eucharist and a Gala Meal. This gathering renewed old friendships, where moments of love, happiness, reconciliation and reconnecting dominated the Sign of Peace during the Mass and continued into the night and afterwards.
During times of celebrations, especially at the time of the Beatification of Edmund Rice in Rome in 1996, Timirí members were present in great numbers and were very involved in all the celebrations. Over this period, since 1989, many of those associated with Timirí have gone to their eternal reward. I recall Br. Nessan Flannery, Br. Luke Keating, Br. Felim Martin, Br. Phil Reilly, Br. Aidan Quinlan, Charlie Moore, Seán Ó’ Riordáin, Tim Casey, Ray Topley, Gerry Power, Edward Dempsey, Mick Gately, Fr Jack Mc Ardle, Fergus Keegan to name but a few, who supported and were faithful to the ethos of Timirí.
Initially Timirí was formed to reconcile and unite Brothers and former Brothers. For former Brothers it was an opportunity to show our respect and appreciation for what the Brothers had given us. It was always an expression of gratitude and friendship and a witness to the fact that we continued to promote the message of Edmund Rice and the work of the Brothers through our lives and commitment throughout the country.
With the passage of time Timirí has tried to change, adapt and open up, welcoming new people with a devotion to Edmund Rice and the work of the Brothers. This has happened in a small way. The involvement of many people and friends who have a strong devotion to Edmund Rice and the work of the Brothers has inspired us. The involvement of women, who share their gifts of femininity with us, has made Timirí all the richer and better for it. On our Support Team we have three women and their presence and guidance has had a huge influence on our thinking, our planning and in our sharing for our future. Yet we must be honest and admit that it is difficult and challenging and probably not as successful as we would like it to be, if we are judging it by numbers. I believe that if Timirí has helped even one person in their life and supported them to have a loving and compassionate relationship with Jesus and his poor then we have achieved something.
It is important that we take time out to review, reflect and plan for our future. Since 2009 since the new Timirí Support Team came together in the Province Centre , Marino we have spent time reflecting, praying, producing materials/reflections to challenge people. The Munnar document from the 2008 General Chapter in India “The spirit moving in our midst: Be my disciples” inspired and encouraged us and had a major influence on us. It inspired us to arrive at our aims to “Invite those who are inspired by the life of Edmund Rice, to Grow in our search for the Mystery of God, to Build healthy and compassionate individuals and groups and to Open our hearts to the cry of the poor”.
Yet the progress for change is slow, painful at times and the prospects intimidating. We have challenged ourselves on numerous occasions and have decided on what to do and yet we have not succeeded yet in fully achieving our goals. The questions have been asked ‘Has Timirí fulfilled its mission?’ and ‘Does Timirí have a future and a mission?’, ‘Has it run its Course?’ and so on. In spite of these questions and thoughts we are not despondent or down beat. We are the opposite because we believe that the Lord is with us, that the Holy Spirit is moving in our midst and the charism of Edmund Rice motivates us. The general consensus is that it does have a future and an important part to play in the Edmund Rice Network. The main reason why I think that Timirí does have a part to play is because it gives its members the opportunity to meet, to support one another and above all the opportunity and occasion to pray. The challenge and question is how are we going to grow that gift and share it with others. This is where we must have trust that the Holy Spirit, through the intercession of Blessed Edmund Rice, will be directing and guiding us. The words of Jesus ‘to be not afraid’ encourages us to take risks in His name. This is the challenge that faces us.
I know our Timirí Groups meet regularly and over time have developed their own way through prayer and reflection in relating to their God. I have heard from different groups how they look forward to their monthly meeting and how the prayer and sharing helps and influences them in their lives. I suppose this is the gift that Timirí is and we thank God for that. I know also that we can learn and be inspired by one another. I believe that it is important that we share this. This is the main reason why we are in Emmaus today. We need your wisdom, guidance and support as we look forward to the future. All Timirí members and friends must face this challenge together so that Timirí can review and reflect, plan and adapt for the future. Timirí is for every person, young and old, male and female, parents, teachers, friends etc. Each person brings what they can. Each group brings its own gifts and develops its own character and style. There is no competition in Timirí. In Timirí there has to be a welcome that inspires people both young and old and be a place where God’s love and compassionate is felt. Therefore we would ask each group and each member to spend time reflecting on what I have just said. This is not going to be easy and it might take time. Your prayers, your support and active participation is necessary if we are to achieve our aims.
Timirí must be prepared to take risks and to move outside its comfort zones. We have to look at ways of welcoming more people to be part of us. How can we reach a younger audience and are there occasions to show compassionate action to those on the margins of our society? From my own experience I know there are opportunities to take on these challenges. Can I just give you a little example how things are possible and how we can make a difference. I run a Youth Club in Kilbarrack where I taught for many years. In 1995 when I saw that drugs and anti-social behaviour were destroying the lives of many young teenagers I gathered around me young adults and formed a club to show our young people there was another way to live their lives. We formed the Maranatha Youth Club. Today we use music, drama and dance to challenge our young teenagers to grow with confidence and self- esteem. Today, nearly 20 years on, the young adults in our Club come together to pray, have visited Callan, Mount Sion, Emmaus, Edmund Rice House for days of reflection and have been to Mazabuka in Zambia to experience what the cry of the poor really means. Br. Declan Power, Br. Dermot Ambrose, B.r John Burke and Br. Martin O’Flaherty journey with the young people of Kilbarrack and support them in their lives. Anything can be achieved if we take risks and gather around us people of like mind and not be afraid to challenge them. All anyone can do is their best. Your life, your circumstances will be your guide. Today I would invite you to join with us in reflection and prayer in how this can happen. Your advice and suggestions ,no matter how smal,l will be welcome and appreciated. Let us listen to one another on how we might take our message further and take on greater challenges no matter how small or insignificant. In the eyes of God all these situations are part of His Mystery.
Thank you for your presence here today. Your presence gives us encouragement and support. Your prayers continue to lift us up. I hope today will inspire and encourage you in your efforts no matter how simple. I will finish with a few excerpts from the Munnar Document of 2008.
“The time is now! The place is here! You are the people!”
“Fly free as Edmund Rice did before you to new horizons, to the unknown the not yet imagined”.
“Risk leaping and falling”
“Risk being different”
“Dare, be my disciples. In you I am doing something new”