Return to Ireland...with Love - a poem and a story

I want to share a little about this place and people that have captured my heart and mind. To begin, here's a poem that I wrote while living in Ireland during 2006-7.

Farewell to Ireland with Love
Here's a wee poem that I wrote which expresses my own feeling about that magical place called Ireland. While I lived there especially in the place called Glendalough I would walk the hills and everywhere I went I could hear the sound of water flowing . This music filled me beyond any words and brought to the surface a depth of feeling that still sings. IRELAND Ireland... this land that sings in secret, dark, and luscious things. Ah, this lovely land that streams her scented song in flowing verse and phrases long. O'er blue green hills and golden gorse cross mossied rock and nettles coarse. Oh, breath! Oh, Song! I feel your rising roar til op'ning earth can bear no more - she cries, she cries and joyful pours from glist'ning eyes to list'ning ears...her ancient Celtic tears.
( Dedicated to Catherine , my friend and muse. )

A short story...
I walked into the International Hostel in Dublin the other day and after registering I sat down for some breakfast in the cafeteria. No ordinary place ,the windows are all stained glass and the hand carved wood along the walls tell the story of a place that was once a church. Now the raised platform at the front serves bread and coffee instead of bread and wine and travelers that gather here may never see each other again. Still, a feeling of calm and peace pervades this place and I savour it. Conversation flows and I make some new friends from Italy who are visiting for the week. As you walk out the door in plain sight is an old confessional made of worn wood. No longer a dark place where sins are confessed it has been transformed into a telephone booth where glad news as well as tragic and the mundane are sent and received around the country and the globe.
Walking into the lobby I'm met with the exquisite harmonies of a Mozart Mass being sung by a visiting choir from Spain. After all is said and done I feel like I've been to a very satisfying Church. Welcome to the Bread of Life!
Makes me wonder...How can we"do" church in a way that is life-giving? How can we transform the old paradigm which is dying away into the new? What do we need to let go of? What are we called to embrace?

Irish Blessings...
Stefan Andre