Fr Doyle on Irish television – programme available online now

Fr Doyle featured in a programme on Irish television this evening. The section dealing with his life is about 6 minutes long, and features some comments from me and some footage from his family home in Dalkey, including an interview with the current owner. We also get to see an old toy soldier that was found under the floorboards of the nursery a few years ago. Fr Doyle and his brother Charlie loved playing with toy soldiers. Perhaps this was one of them? Perhaps the young Willie Doyle cried when the soldier got lost? We won’t ever know for sure.

A toy soldier found under the floorboards in Melrose. Perhaps this is one of the soldiers young Willie played with?
A toy soldier found under the floorboards in Melrose. Perhaps this is one of the soldiers young Willie played with?

The most interesting part of the programme was footage taken in the Jesuit archives. We get to see some artefacts or “relics” associated with Fr Doyle’s time in the trenches – altar linen he used for saying Mass,  a cushion he kneeled on, a bar of soap… We also get to see some of his private instruments of mortification, including his cilice, his discipline and the counting beads he used to count his daily sacrifices and penances.

The programme is available online for the next 21 days only. The relevant section commences at about 11 minutes into the programme and lasts for about 6 minutes. You will have to watch a few minutes of advertisements before the programme appears. I assume that viewers outside Ireland will also have access to this programme, but I have no way of testing that right now…

The link to the programme is here: 

Thoughts for the First Sunday of Advent from Fr Willie Doyle

The saints had ever a childlike confidence and trust in God. Upon Him they cast all their anxieties and cares, under His powerful protection they sheltered themselves, and with His almighty help they were ever strong. They lived in the present day alone, striving to bear with cheerful hearts the burden of the moment; the morrow’s work would bring its stream of graces to help them on their journey.

COMMENT: Today we start the Church’s new year, and we start on our journey of preparation for Christmas. The importance of Advent is often forgotten in the West. Often it is seen as period of merriment and shopping and of Christmas parties. And when Christmas finally arrives, the consumer culture quickly turns off the lights and turns its attention towards the secular new year and the January sales…

Advent is a time of spiritual preparation for Christmas, and we should attempt to live it with the same enthusiasm with which we attempt to live Lent.

As St Josemaria Escriva wrote:

Advent is here. What a marvellous time in which to renew your desire, your nostalgia, your real longing for Christ to come — for him to come every day to your soul in the Eucharist. The Church encourages us: Ecce veniet! — He is about to arrive!

Let us then have the childlike confidence and trust in God to which Fr Doyle exhorts us today. We can count on many graces to help us over the coming weeks as we prepare to encounter the baby Jesus, born in poverty in a broken world, all for love of us.