Daily prayer online

Latest Space #19

      Happy summer holidays to all! I write these opening words as we enter the summer holiday season in this part of the world. In my opening words for the spring issue, I was “happy to record that on February 7, 2006, the 17 millionth visitor was welcomed to the site” and that on the same day 17,416 visitors visited the site – “the highest number ever since we began seven years ago.”

      But three weeks later, the number of visitors for the first day of March (Ash Wednesday!) reached 26,118. The average number of visitors per day during the season of Lent was close to 20,000. Quite a few people, it seems, still consider praying in Sacred Space “Something to do for Lent” ! During Lent, the number of persons who registered for our Lenten Retreat 2006 was 1959; the largest number (512) were from the U.S.A. And, since the end of Lent, 523 have registered, of whom 82 were from the U.S.A.

      In the ten weeks from April 1 to Friday June 9, the average per day dropped to 15,210. The averages for the different days of those weeks were as follows: Monday: 17,692; Tuesday: 17,933; Wednesday: 17,193; Thursday: 16,825; Friday: 14,709; Saturday: 10,470; Sunday: 11,650. The average for Mondays and Tuesdays is now higher than the 17,416 visitors of February 7, 2006, noted then as “the highest number ever since we began seven years ago.”

      By Easter the total number of visits to the site since its launching in Lent, 1999, had reached 18 million. As I write this on Monday, June 12, the day after Trinity Sunday, we have just passed the 19 million mark! At the presemt rate, we should reach 20 million before the end of the summer. Patrick from West Perth, Australia, has suggested for that occasion the headline: 20,000,000 HEAR THE WORD! We do have reason to be grateful for God’s continuing blessing on Sacred Space. And when we celebrate 20,000,000, we will give thanks to God that His Word has been brought to the ends of the earth through these 20 million visits to the site!

      Enough about statistics! The changes that are taking place this summer on the Sacred Space team are, I’m sure, of more human interest. We are sorry to announce that we had to say goodbye recently to our webmaster, Cheon Jae-Hong from Korea. We are very grateful to him for his faithful service over the past four years. He has contributed a farewell message below. But we are fortunate that John McDermot, from Tullamore, Ireland, has agreed to take his place. John introduces himself in a little piece below, and we are happy to welcome him to the Sacred Space team.

      Many of our readers will already know Fr. Paul Andrews SJ, who for some years has been contributing inspirational reflections for “Thought for the Week” and “Need Inspiration?”. We are happy to welcome him to Dublin 2, where he will live and work at the Jesuit Communication Centre. Up to this he has been making his contributions from the Jesuit Centre of Spirituality in Dublin 3, He will be working closely with the Editor in the development of Sacred Space. Paul, too, reveals a little more about himself in a contribution below. As already reported in Latest Space #17, he may be contacted directly by e-mail at [email protected].

      I myself plan to leave on June 28 for my usual month in the parish of St. Patrick’s, Glen Cove, Long Island, New York. From there, on July 25, I will move on to Japan, where I spent many years of my life as a Jesuit. I plan to stay with my Jesuit confreres at Sophia University until August 17, and then I will start my long journey home. Since I have also worked for 11 years in the Diocese of Honolulu, I plan to stop over on the islands of Oahu, Maui and Hawaii for a few weeks before returning to Dublin on September 7. I am grateful to Dermot and Paul, who, with the cooperation of Pat and John, will take care of feedback etc. during my absence.

      I do look forward to meeting with many old friends, but, at the same time, I must admit that this 80-year-old is not looking forward to the travelling entailed. Please keep me in your prayers. I pray that you, too, will enjoy a blessed summer.

– Fr. Gerry, Editor Sacred Space

Sections within this issue of Latest Space:

  • A Farewell Message from our ex-Webmaster
  • A Word of Introduction from our new Webmaster
  • A Word of Greeting from Fr. Paul
  • A Message from our Manager
  • Update on Pray-As-You-Go
  • The Latest Translation of Sacred Space
  • “I am part of a World-wide Community”
  • Continuing to Spread the Word about Sacred Space

  • A Farewell Message from our ex-Webmaster

          Almost four years have passed since I came to Dublin from South Korea to learn English, and I started to work for Sacred Space in the Jesuit Communication Centre. During that time I have cooperated in updating the website. I have changed and improved the system of Sacred Space in a way that made it possible for me to cope with the ever-increasing number of languages into which the site is translated. Although most of my work was not really visible to others, nevertheless, many people sent a lot of lovely feedback, which always made me happy and made me feel that I was doing a worthwhile job for the large Sacred Space community.

          I can actually say that my connection with the Jesuits is somewhat special. While I was studying in Sogang University, run by the Jesuits in Seoul, I worked in the Institute of Ignatian Sprituality for almost five years. I enjoyed my time with them, but, after that, I never expected to work with the Jesuits again. And I didn’t even know an Irish Jesuit when I arrived at Dublin. But now I am looking back on another four years spent with them.

          I have not only worked here in Dublin, but I have also lived here – far away from my home in Korea. I have met lots of people from everywhere, experienced lots of new and different things and learned from it all. I thought, “I have developed, and it is time now to move on.” So I have left the Jesuit Communication Centre, and now I work in a new place for something new. People come and go! That’s life!

          I would just like to say ‘Thank you’ to everybody in JCC, and to the Irish Jesuits, who have been so very good to me, and welcomed me so warmly. I hope that the Sacred Space community will continue to grow and do really well. Thank you and goodbye.

    – Cheon Jae-Hong, ex-Webmaster of Sacred Space

    A Word of Introduction from our new Webmaster

          When I told my friends that I was moving to the Jesuit Communication Centre, they said I was the luckiest person they had ever met. Why? Because at the time I was working for which is located only a few meters from the JCC office., where I have worked for nearly three years, is a fantastic website with a wonderful team that will make sure it remains the top portal for the Catholic Church in Ireland. However, the move to the JCC had nothing to do with location. It was all about the challenge of helping to guide the JCC into the future through the constantly changing medium of the internet.

          I have always kept my faith, but I never imagined that I would be able to use my knowledge of computers and my beliefs in the same job. One of the ways I have grown in faith has been my involvement with a group called Youth 2000. After my first Youth 2000 event I knew that it was something that I wanted to give my time and effort to. In September 2005 I assumed the role of communication officer for Youth 2000. I have a real love for the work that Youth 2000 do. They have nearly fifty prayer groups around the country and hold retreats for young adults (16-35). If you want to know more about it, please visit the website

          I am really looking forward to my future working with the Jesuits. I hope to bring some of the energy and ideas that inspire me to help the Jesuit Communication Centre adapt and grow through these times of constant change. With the Jesuits producing websites as fantastic as Sacred Space, I have a lot to live up to.

    – John McDermot

    A Word of Greeting from Fr. Paul

          Three years ago the Editor asked me to support Sacred Space by writing material for the weekly Prayer Advices and the daily Inspiration Points. I agreed, and relished the prospect of anonymity, like that of the nameless architects and stone-masons of the great Gothic cathedrals who worked for God: Hallowed by Thy name, not mine. Later when Gerry pressured me to blow my cover and even show my face, I felt paranoid about the exposure. You cannot write 365 Points and 52 Advices a year without revealing some of your prejudices, preferences, quirks, and your odd tastes in poetry, prose and spiritual writing. Having lived for eighty years inside Paul Andrews’ skin, I know that he does not stand up well under such scrutiny.

          This message for Latest Space is another episode in that public undressing. But there has been an immense compensation, in the feedback from the thousands who pray and raise issues with me. I relish the thought of Anna Martha, Bernard, Bill, Bob, Bonnie, Catherine, Meg, Matthew, Marysia, Rory and countless others. It has made the website into a sort of blog, or maybe a Wikipedia, where good people all over our planet can share their experience of God’s grace. I am so glad of this opportunity to acknowledge the precious feedback and to invite more.

    – Paul Andrews

    A Message from the Manager of JCC

          This time last year I little thought I would be writing again for the summer edition of Sacred Space. I was on a year’s leave of absence from RTE ( Ireland’s national TV and radio station) where I work as a radio producer and that year was due to end on April ’06 . My employers had made it clear to me that I was only being given leave for the year, but as my time here in the Jesuit Communication Centre came to a close I found myself in a real predicament. Simply put, I absolutely did not want to leave my job here. I am happy and fulfilled in so many ways, particularly promoting in the media the work of the Jesuits and their lay colleagues in so many areas such as social justice, education, youth ministery, spirituality and the Jesuit Refugee Service.

          In my work with RTE (which I loved) I covered news and current affairs and I often had to cover the more negative aspects of life, the arguments and the controversy! I often wondered whether I did much real good for anybody. There’s nothing as stale as yesterday’s news, and I’d seen a lot of stories come and go, and come full circle again, with precious or little lasting results. Journalism had lost a bit of its flavour for me.

          I wasn’t here long before the salt of life started flowing again and it started when I sent out my first press release. It was about a retreat especially for Doctors (GP’s) in our Manresa Centre for Spirituality. The headline was ‘Doctors Get a Spiritual Check-Up!’ and we got lots of media coverage for it. But the real thrill for me as I clicked the send button on my computer was the last motto line that goes out on all our press releases, Promoting Faith and Justice through the Media. Working in RTE, I had been sent hundreds of press releases but none had a motto like that and it gave me such a thrill to know that this was indeed what I was doing!

          It still spurs me on in the same way that the promoting of Sacred Space does. Because over the last year I’ve also been privileged to be part of the worldwide community of prayer that is the Sacred Space community. And I am moved when I read the often humbling feedback from people of every age, class and creed that have found the site. So much so that we are putting on a special effort to really work on further promoting and developing Sacred Space, and we’re praying for guidance as we explore new ways of enhancing the online prayer experience of all our community. Our Lenten and St Patrick’s Day e-cards was one idea that we had, and it was so successful that we’re in the process of designing ones for all the year and perhaps on different themes. It’s an exciting but busy times for us, (as if our esteemed editor, Fr Gerry, hasn’t enough work!) However, as he has been telling you, we have been given some extra permanent assistance and we have a great advisory team so we’re up and out of the traps!

          But as ever, although monetary considerations are far down our list, we do need financial support and many thanks to those of you who give so generously to us -especially our American friends who are particularly kind. But I would appeal to all our worldwide users to think about making a donation no matter how small to help us keep up our service to you all, and to help us develop it in ever more nourishing ways for an even more wide variety of people hungry for God.

          My old employer, RTE, has made its contribution! When I took my courage in both hands and asked for another year off (at least!), to my great surprise and delight, they unhesitatingly said yes! God is good and I’m happy to be here promoting faith, justice and prayer through the media!

    Update on Pray-As-You-Go
          In our last issue we reported that Fr. Peter Scally SJ, one of the “founding fathers” of Sacred Space, was, from his office in London, launching a new project called pray-as-you-go. Like Sacred Space in 1999, it was being launched in 2006 as “something to do for Lent”. The idea was to provide daily prayer in the MP3 audio format for the many people who travel to and from work every day on bus, train, tube or subway – using music and scripture to guide them through a ten minute prayer session. It was set up so that you could take it with you on your player, and pray on your way to or from work, or whenever you like! The trial began Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2006, at

          We are pleased to announce that, because of the tremendous response from people all over the world, with more than a quarter of a million prayer sessions downloaded, and the receipt of hundreds of emails urging that pray-as-you-go be continued, the decision has been made to continue the program indefinitely.

          Fr. Peter expresses his gratitude for the support that he has received not only from Sacred Space, but from all whose generous help has made the project possible – composers, monastic communities and record companies who kindly allow him to use their music; writers who produce material for reflection; readers and speakers who guide users in their prayer; all who give advice and support. “As we live the season of Pentecost,” he writes, “let us pray that the Spirit will work through our lives to bring the love of Christ to the people around us, and to the world.”

    The Latest Translation of Sacred Space
          On July 1, 2005, a letter arrived from a Hungarian, Ilona Jakab Bajan. She wrote: “…..I found Sacred Space at the beginning of this year and since then I am regularly visiting it. I think it is a great idea to offer prayer in front of the computer. And you are providing a wonderful work with the texts and the quality of this site. There is a link to your site from the homepage of the Hungarian Jesuits, but no Hungarian version. I am sure that there are Hungarians who would be happy to read it, but don’t have foreign languages enough for searching on the internet, or enough trust to pray using it. Who are the people who translate the other versions? Is it possible that I do the translation for Hungarian? What do you think?”

          This response was sent on the same day: “Thank you for your appreciative letter and your question about the possibility of doing a Hungarian translation yourself. The other translators are all people, like yourself, – some Jesuits, some lay people, some a combination of both. They have appreciated what we offer on Sacred Space and wished to share the blessing they had received with others. It is best if you can get some help in doing the work, which includes not only translating but also uploading. Perhaps you could contact the Hungarian Jesuits…..” And a Jesuit in Budapest, with whom the editor had worked with in Japan, was recommended.

          Five days later, on July 6, another Hungarian wrote: “I have just discovered your fantastic website which touched me so much that I thought it would mean a lot to other people, too, who may not speak English at all. I am a Hungarian university student and specialize in English literature and translation. I am a member of the Reformed Church of Hungary. It would be a great honour for me to translate the daily prayers to Hungarian, please contact me if my translation is needed….”

          On July 15, a third letter came from another woman in Budapest: “Your website is wonderful and useful even for people busy during a workday. It would be great if you could provide a Hungarian version, too, as it exists in many other languages in our region. There are Hungarian people (especially in the older generations) who could not learn foreign languages. Thank you for your work…..” After sending a response, the editor forwarded the letter and told Ilona that he had shared her e-mail address with the writer and that she might be hearing from her.

          A long response came from Ilona on July 16, in which she wrote of her connections with the Jesuits in Hungary, and, specifically, with the editor’s friend in Budapest. And she added “I wrote also to Eva (the other person who wrote you) and I am waiting for her answer….” On July 18, one more response was sent to Ilona encouraging her with the words, “Please do keep up the good work. That’s the way the translations have come about. The hand of the Lord is at work.”

          More than half a year passed before the next letter arrived from Ilona on Feb. 27, in which she wrote: “I am here again with new hope. It seems the translation will be a family matter. I have a cousin and his daughter who are also fascinated by Sacred Space and I hope we three will be able to provide the translation. Can you let me know how to proceed?” The editor responded right away: “….I will ask our webmaster to send you the material for April and May. You might be able to get the Hungarian version up by April, or by Easter Sunday, April 16 – a good way to celebrate the Easter season – or, if you cannot make it by then, it should be possible to have the translation ready for May. God bless the work. I look forward to hearing from you. May you and your family collaborators be blessed.”

          Ilona responded on Feb. 27: “I have received an answer from the Jesuit you recommended. He has written on behalf of the Hungarian Jesuit Community to clear the details for the translation and to establish a team for doing the translation. He wrote me also, that the Hungarian Jesuits are interested in the Hungarian version, but do not have the capactiy for doing it themselves. I have also received a message from Eva. She was just delighted, but has written nothing about co-working….. Lent is coming, and it is nearly a year now since I started to dream of a Hungarian version. And, basically, I think that, as day to day work, there is not too much text, just at some special times, when there is more material (e.g. Lent reflections last year). And you cannot achieve your purpose without taking the first step! I think April should be really realistic, so let me know, please, what to do next.”

          On March 5, our Webmaster wrote to Ilona: “I am Jaehong Cheon, the webmaster of Sacred Space. I was told you would do the translation for Hungarian Sacred Space. I am glad to hear that, and to work with you. Because it looks as if the Hungarian Jesuits won’t be able to offer technical support, I think I am going to set up the site on our server. I am attaching the permanent texts which need to be set up before we start. As soon as this mail is sent out to you, I am going to send the texts for April and May. Then you will recognise how much translation work is involved to launch the site and update it every month. Have a look at them and let me know when you have done the translation. Then, we can talk about the launching date. If there is any question, don’t hesitate to contact me. I hope everything goes smoothly.”

          On March 22, Ilona wrote this letter to Jaehong and copied it to the editor: “Even if there is no sign of it, we are working on the translation, and we could find somebody from the Hungarian Jesuit Community who will check the Hungarian texts before sending them to you (I feel more secure that way). I hope it will not cause too much delay ….” The editor responded, “Thanks, Ilona, for copying your letter to Jae-Hong to me. Congratulations on your work on the Hungarian translation, We will look forward to adding ‘Hungarian’ to the languages already on the opening page. Keep in touch with the Jesuits there. They may be able to help you in dealing with the feedback that comes in from your Hungarian visitors to the site. That’s an important consequence of the prayer website…..”

          The Hungarian version was launched on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2006, and now Sacred Space is available in 21 languages.

    I am part of a Worldwide Community

    A letter from Argentina

          I am writing to thank Sacred Space for encouraging in me that “Bonding Spirit” mentioned in today’s reading. I feel that by being in touch through the internet with Sacred Space, I am part of a world wide community, and I look forward to my daily contact. I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and have obtained great comfort from praying during various times of the day. I would like to attach a prayer which my late Mother had by her bedside until she died in her 90th year.

    Lord, help me live from day to day
    In such a self-forgetful way,
    That even when I kneel to pray,
    My prayer shall be for “Others”

    Help me in all the work I do
    To ever be sincere and true,
    And know, that all I do for You
    Must needs be done for “Others”

    And when my work on earth is done,
    And my new work in Heaven begun,
    May I forget the crown I´ve won,
    While thinking still of “Others”

    “Others”, Lord. Yes, “Others”
    Let this my motto be,
    Help me live for others
    That I may live for Thee

    Helping to Spread the Word about Sacred Space

    To help in spreading the word about Sacred Space, you might:

    • Check the website of your local diocese, parish, or other similar organization. Do they have a link to Sacred Space? If not, why not recommend a link? You might suggest that they use one of the icons below.
      Sacred Space      
      Sacred Space      
      Sacred Space
    • Do your friends have homepages? Ask them to include a link to Sacred Space.
    • Would your local newspaper (diocesan or otherwise) be interested in an article on Sacred Space? If you think so, do not hesitate to write and suggest one. There is plenty of material in past issues of Latest Space, or in the feedback of past years archived from as far back as the year 2000. If they need more, you might suggest that they contact us at [email protected] .
    • Have you, or your family, or friends, ever considered a financial contribution to Sacred Space? Such a contribution would help us to respond as effectively as possible to the spiritual needs of our very special international community? Consult our link Support Sacred Space at the end of each day’s prayer..

    With best wishes for the summer from Pat, Dermot, John McD., Paul, Frank, John C. and Gerry – the current team of Sacred Space (

    Jesuit Communication Centre, 36 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2, Ireland

    Sacred Space Daily online prayer Sacred Heart Novena Podcast feed for Novena