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Thought from Fr. Colm - 24th March 2024

What a marvellous evening of music and song we had on Thursday night at the St. Leonard’s concert in St. Joseph’s. From Jazz to Classical, each musical turn was ably introduced by one of the students. Well done to Mr. GrehanBradley and the music department. What added to the evening was that this was achieved in such difficult circumstances with the music department being particularly hit because of RAAC. “Whilst many parents are familiar with the mood-enhancing benefits of music, thy may not know that music has developmental benefits. According to Don Campbell, internationally known educator and author of The Mozart Effect for Children, music enhances intelligence, co-ordination, emotional expression, creativity and socialisation skills. Studies have suggested that music and movement affect all areas of development. Music can bolster listening skills, improve motor skills, assist with problem-solving and promote better reasoning. Many others say that music can calm and focus the mind, which is why it is so often used by therapists. In addition, singing sharpens children’s ability to communicate. Learning a piece of information attached to a tune will reinforce it to the memory cells of the brain.”

Thank you to all the various groups in the parish for their Lenten contributions for the Friday soups and Stations of the Cross. All excellent. Holy Week has very special significance this year because of the daily horrors unfolding in the Land of Jesus. It’s appalling, and there are no two ways about this. It should and must be stopped. Sadly, too many seem to be washing their hands of the Palestinian plight? (Matthew 27:24). Our prayers are with the people of Palestine, especially our besieged fellow Christians at this perilous time. 80,000 Catholics in Jerusalem and Palestinian lands. One Catholic Parish in Gaza has been heavily targeted by the IDF. And on it goes.

“If I Must Die”

By Refaat Alareer

If I must die,

you must live

to tell my story

to sell my things

to buy a piece of cloth

and some strings

(make it white with a long tail)

so that a child, somewhere in Gaza

while looking heaven in the eye

awaiting his dad who left in a blaze

and bid no-one farewell

not even to his flesh

not even to himself –

sees the kite, my kite you made,

flying up above

and thinks for a moment an angel is there

bringing back love.

If I must die

let it bring hope

let it be a tale.

More than 20,000 Palestinians have been slain in just over two months. One of them is writer and professor Refaat Alareer, who was killed in an airstrike by the Israeli military on 6th December, along with his brother, his brother’s son, his sister and her three children. Refaat shared countless narratives about the horrors of the Israeli occupation and system of apartheid, and he mentored so many Palestinian writers, including Yousef Aljamal, whose essay about Gaza appears in a forthcoming issue of “In These Times.” Yousef describes his friend as “the giant of the Palestinian narrative coming out of


Refaat’s poem “If I Must Die” has been shared widely since he was killed. On social media, an impromptu effort translated it into dozens of languages: Spanish, Italian, Tamil, Tagalog, Greek, Japanese, Yiddish and more. Here, we offer it in English and Arabic. Ari Bloomekatz



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