Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, has welcomed the approval by Pope Francis of the beatification of Father John Sullivan SJ. Bishop Nulty said he welcomes this good news for the people many thousands of lay faithful in Ireland and beyond who have great faith in the healing powers of this Jesuit priest. Bishop Nulty said he particularly welcomes this news for people of the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin and particularly the parishes in the vicinity of Clongowes Wood College.
“Stories abound of Fr. John Sullivan traversing huge journeys, hitching a lift, going by bicycle or travelling by foot to attend the sick and dying in the locality around Clongowes Wood College in the parish of Clane. He was known for his own sense of deep personal prayer which led to his being the instrument of healing and mercy for so many. I know both the students, past and present as well as the staff of Clongowes hold John Sullivan in revered affection.”
Bishop Nulty said that he fondly recalls his celebration of the Annual John Sullivan Mass in Clongowes last year. The Mass is held each year, proximate to the date of his birth on 8 May. In his homily that afternoon Bishop Nulty wondered what might be the message of John Sullivan for the Ireland of today? He referred to the tragic incident involving Fr Sllivan’s brother Robert. Bishop Nulty said, “I wondered then, and repeat today, might John Sullivan be a comfort to the many families who have lost loved ones in death? Might John Sullivan, who must have known the pain of losing a brother in the prime of his youth and never finding a body to bury, offer some comfort to heartbroken parents and siblings today?”
Bishop Nulty said that he is very much looking forward to celebrating this announcement by Pope Francis of Venerable John Sullivan becoming Blessed at the Annual Mass of Thanksgiving in Clongowes Wood College next Sunday 8 May at 3pm. He concluded by offering a word of thanks, “I thank Cait Cullen and her team who have faithfully kept the flame of Venerable, soon to be Blessed, John Sullivan, lit all these years. The Mass will include the anointing of the sick and the Blessing with the Cross of John Sullivan. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, it is very interesting to see someone recognized in our church, for whom devotion to his Cross is central to the promotion of his cause. Regarding the mercy of God, John Sullivan said: “God always leaves the door unlatched”. It’s up to us to walk through that door. For many people the cross represents suffering and sickness in their lives; my prayer is that this announcement by Pope Francis will bring them great hope and encouragement, no matter what cross they carry”.