Voice of Our Lady's Pilgrims, Achill

The people speak out with the truth about Christina Gallagher, the House of Prayer Achill and her spiritual director Fr Gerard McGinnity PhD


Fr Gerard McGinnity – Priest of Integrity – Biography

Biography of Dr Gerard McGinnity
From http://www.gerardmcginnity.info

Fr Gerard McGinnity - Priest of Integrity - Biography

Biography of Dr Gerard McGinnity

Fr Gerard McGinnity, the former Dean of St Patrick’s College Maynooth, was born on April 5th 1947, in Derrynoose, Co Armagh. (1) He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Armagh in 1972. He was appointed Junior Dean of St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Ireland’s national seminary, in 1973 and Senior Dean in 1978 at the age of 32, decades younger than previous holders of the post. He acted as secretary to the Episcopal Commission for Seminary Training while in this post. During the same period he also edited the Liturgical Calendar for Ireland.

Fr McGinnity holds a Doctorate in Patristic Theology (2) having completed his doctoral thesis on the writings of St Ambrose in 1981. (3)

 

Fr Gerard McGinnity – The Author

During his time as Senior Dean of St Patrick’s College, Dr McGinnity was well known for conducting retreats for diocesan clergy and religious, he contributed to RTE and UTV religious broadcasts, was being talked about as a future bishop (4) and had published a number of books, including “Christmen – the Experience of Priesthood Today“, which was a best seller in 1985. (3)

Fr Tom Lane of The Universe, wrote of Christmen “What is different and attractive about this book is the frequent use of such sources as secular and religious poetry, film etc.” Lane describes Christmen as an “extended word of encouragement to those who want to be good priests”.

Fr Martin Tierney, writing in The Furrow referred to Christmen as “a practical and pastoral guide to fruitfully living the priesthood in this busy world.” and in recommending it describes Dr McGinnity’s first book as a work of “spiritual refreshment and practical wisdom”.

Fr Oswin Magrath, in The Southern Cross referred to Christmen as having “a refreshing renewal and contemporary character”.

Cardinal Tomas O’Fiaich contributed the forward to Christmen. and to McGinnity’s next book ‘Celebrating with Mary’ published in 1987. Of the later he writes, “Fr McGinnity’s book is timely in so far as it coincides with the expressed aims of the Holy Father. While maintaining the richness of the Church’s teaching on Mary, Fr McGinnity has a particular feel for the wealth contained in traditional Irish literature and spirituality.”


Fr McGinnity raises concerns at Maynooth College

It was in June 2002 that Fr McGinnity sprang to national prominence in Ireland when The Irish Timesrevealed that, in his own words, he had in 1984 as senior dean in St Patrick’s College Maynooth, been “demoted and humiliated” after taking up senior seminarians’ concerns about the behaviour of the then college vice-president Monsignor Michael Ledwith in relation to junior seminarians – “including concerns of a sexual nature”. (5)

In synopsis, Canon Patrick Marron PP, in a letter to The Irish Catholic said, “Fr Gerard McGinnity conveyed the concerns of some seminarians in Maynooth College about the conduct of a Ferns priest to the Irish bishops in April 1984, and it was transmitted to the Board of Visitors to Maynooth. According to the Ferns Inquiry (10) ‘they were inadequately investigated and appear to have been wholly misunderstood. “It goes on to say that it was ‘entirely understandable that Fr McGinnity should feel victimised’. Bishop Eamonn Walsh in the report acknowledges that ‘some priests had wrongly remained silent’ Not so Fr McGinnity. The Episcopal conference has acknowledged Fr McGinnity’s hurt and has apologised to him for it.” Canon Marron comments further “I have known Fr McGinnity for many years and admired him as a priest. Since his demonstrating a sense of responsibility and a willingness to expose the wrongs being perpetrated on others he has admittedly had a fall in his high standing and been avoided in some gatherings where he was previously in demand and made welcome. At this time of new beginnings, in his case too, justice should not only be done, but seen to be done.” (8)

A statement given by Fr McGinnity in relation to this was printed in full in The Irish Times on 27th July 2001(6) . In it Fr McGinnity describes the events of 1984; of being approached by the senior seminarians with their concerns regarding Mgr Ledwith; of passing on these concerns to Church authorities; and of his subsequent abrupt dismissal from his position by Cardinal Tomas O’Fiaich acting on behalf of the Trustees (17 bishops) of the College. (7)

The six senior seminarians who approached Fr McGinnity had done so after their concerns had already been dismissed by the bishops. They had previously arranged separate meetings with the then Catholic Primate, Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich; Cardinal Cahal Daly, then Bishop of Down and Connor; Bishop Colm O’Reilly of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise; Archbishop Joseph Cassidy, then Bishop of Clonfert; Bishop Brendan Comiskey, who became Bishop of Ferns in 1984; Bishop Eamon Casey of Galway; Bishop Edward Daly of Derry; and the since deceased Bishop James Lennon, an auxiliary bishop in Armagh and Bishop John Ahern of Cloyne. (9)

In a letter to The Irish Times in June 2002, Cardinal Daly and three of the bishops disputed the claims that they were approached by senior seminarians with complaints about the behaviour of Mgr Ledwith towards their junior colleagues. Cardinal Daly, the retired archbishop of Tuam, Dr Joseph Cassidy, the retired bishop of Derry Dr Edward Daly and the Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, Dr Colm O’Reilly, said the complaints were about the former president’s “extravagant” lifestyle. However, uncovering the scandal , Patsy McGarry, religious correspondent for The Irish Times stated “Members of the group of six have repeated to The Irish Times that they made it explicit to the bishops precisely what they were talking about. There was no confusion in the matter. Fr McGinnity confirmed the students’ approach”. (9)

During the subsequent state inquiry (known as the Ferns Inquiry) which reported in 2005, Bishop Eamonn Casey who had interviewed Fr McGinnity on behalf of the bishops in 1984 regarding the concerns he had passed on from the students, confirmed to Judge Frank Murphy and the Inquiry team that they certainly contained a sexual dimension. Bishop Casey admitted to the Inquiry that it was precisely because Fr McGinnity reported such remarks from the students about the vice-president that the decision was taken “that he could not continue as Senior Dean.” (10)(26)

 

Fr McGinnity risks all for truth

After alerting the authorities, Fr McGinnity was persuaded by his bishop to take a sabbatical year and was told later he would not be returning to Maynooth. He was pressured into resigning his position and was posted as curate to a rural parish in Armagh diocese before being appointed dean of discipline at a boarding school, where he remained for 10 years.

The six seminarians had also been concerned about their own future as priests as, having reported their anxiety already to their own individual bishops, there had been no action. They sought Fr McGinnity’s protection, as well as his help, in alerting the bishops to their concerns about Mgr Ledwith. (11) When Fr McGinnity was being forced into a sabbatical year, attempts were in fact being made to stop the seminarians from proceeding to the diaconate, a step towards full priestly ordination. “This effort was successfully resisted by Fr McGinnity before his departure.” (12) 

In an attempt to deflect from the seriousness of the concerns reported about Mgr Ledwith, sources attempted to discredit Fr McGinnity while on sabbatical implying that “his health broke down”. The Irish Times reported a senior Church figure had repeated to them that Fr McGinnity had a “nervous breakdown”. Hearing this for the first time in July 2002, Fr McGinnity was “shocked at the question, but far more shocked to hear that this particular rumour had been maliciously circulating about him for 18 years.” (13) At the request of The Irish Times, he secured a letter from his longstanding personal physician formally refuting these claims. According to his doctors, throughout his lifetime “there has been absolutely no record of ‘psychological or mental problems’ where Father McGinnity is concerned.” (13) 

For almost 10 years following these events, the Catholic Church remained silent about the fact that at the head of the national centre for training priests in Ireland was a man , Mgr Ledwith ,”repeatedly accused of sexually harassing young men there”.(7) Furthermore, in 1985 Ledwith was promoted and became president of Maynooth, a position he held for 10 years. Then in 1994, Ledwith stood down following allegations that he had sexually harassed junior seminarians. (14) Following his departure in 1995 an allegation of sexual abuse against a minor was made against Ledwith. There was a subsequent allegation in 2000. Both allegations were strenuously denied by Mgr Ledwith, He subsequently made two settlements following allegations of abuse.

In 2002 the 17 Catholic bishops, trustees of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth confirmed that its former president, Mgr Michael Ledwith, was subject to allegations of sexual abuse.(15 ) and Ledwith was laicised (16)by the Church in September 2005. (17) 


Fr McGinnity and the McCullough Report

An investigation was initiated by the Irish bishops into the handling of allegations that Ledwith sexually harassed seminarians. At the time Fr McGinnity expressed “serious and profound reservations” about The McCullough Inquiry, adding, “…an inquiry which is not independent but conducted under the auspices of that body undergoing inquiry is wrong in principle, it seems to me.” On 16th June 2002 the Bishops, trustees of the college, published their findings in The McCullough Report which criticised the investigation that they themselves had made in 1984 at the time Fr McGinnity reported the seminarians’ complaints. (14)


Fr McGinnity and The Ferns Inquiry

The concerns raised by Fr McGinnity were fully validated in the report of The Ferns Inquiry, which was commissioned by the Irish Government in 2003, headed by retired Supreme Court Judge Frank Murphy and with which Fr McGinnity did cooperate. The aims of the inquiry were to identify what allegations had been made against Ferns clergy before April 10 2002 and to assess the response to them by church authorities and gardai. (14)

Judge Frank Murphy’s findings were published in The Ferns Report in October 2005. The report acknowledged Fr McGinnity’s feelings of being victimised as a result of expressing the concerns of seminarians. In relation to Fr McGinnity he stated:

  • “By any standard the concerns as communicated by the seminarians and expressed by Fr McGinnity were inadequately investigated. They also appear to have been wholly misunderstood. He made no specific allegations of particular abuse and accordingly the demand to produce a victim was unrealistic. As Fr McGinnity was invited to take a sabbatical on the same date that Bishop Casey reported the results of his “investigation” to his fellow Bishops on the Board of Visitors of Maynooth, the Inquiry views as entirely understandable Fr McGinnity feeling that he was victimized as a result of the concerns of the seminarians which he expressed. Punitive actions of that nature could only deter bone fide complaints to Church authorities which should be valued as providing information for the control of those having access to young people.”(10)


Fr McGinnity – Widely recognised as a priest of integrity

In June 2005, Fr Gerard McGinnity was recognised as one of the few who had the courage to stand up for the victims and for what is right, “by reporting complaints of sexual harassment of students by a senior theologian. He behaved with courage and integrity and in doing so he became a victim himself through his dismissal”. The Dundalk Democrat in praising the courage of Fr McGinnity reported how “He was forced out of his position- a job that he loved and by his own admission was crushed with his reputation and respectability shattered.” (18)

The Irish Times reported on 17th June 2005, “On foot of the report by Denis McCullough the Catholic primate Archbishop Sean Brady and the other trustee bishops at the college yesterday apologised to Fr McGinnity, a former senior dean at the college and to a group of former seminarians.” (12)

Fr McGinnity was totally vindicated and although he received an apology from Archbishop Sean Brady in 2005 for this treatment, no hint of possible reparation for the wrong done to him has been expressed. (18)

Speaking to Margaret Roddy of The Argus newspaper, Fr McGinnity said that his sudden, mysterious and undeserved removal from a very prestigious position had resulted in him losing friends and also his good name.

Recalling the week of the events leading to his removal from the position of Senior Dean of the College he said, “I was acting conscientiously and honourably at the time, as I thought I was making the Bishops aware of the concerns of what students had appraised me. For trying to make the Bishops aware of the situation I was ousted from my position and that has been a cause of severe suffering and enormous humiliation.”

“Going from a prominent position was a very public humiliation which seemed to undermine my credibility. I was only doing what I saw as part of my job and if I had failed to act, to me it would have been a dereliction of my duty and it would have rendered the students more at risk,” he said. Although gratified that the Church had apologised to him he still awaits restitution. “A little apology”, he said, “can’t undo the enormity of the damage. Even though they have apologised at this late stage, they cannot bring back those twenty years of my life, the twenty most vital and dynamic years of anyone’s life.” (19)

Fr McGinnity was reported to be overwhelmed by the extent of public support and comments of sympathy following his interview on RTE’s The Pat Kenny Show in October 2005.(20) However he received no written apology from the Church and the damage to his reputation and position remained.(21)

In March 2006 the parishioners of Knockbridge, Co Louth, in solidarity with their parish priest, Fr McGinnity, delivered a petition to Cardinal Sean Brady, Primate of All-Ireland. In it, over a thousand people are critical of the injustice done to Fr McGinnity. In stating how appalled they were, they complained that “a man who acts with such integrity should not have had to endure such punishment for trying to protect young people. How can the Church claim to put the protection of children first when it fails to redress the damage done to someone who acted on that principle?”(21)

Fr McGinnity was interviewed on RTE in August 2006 as part of RTE Radio One’s ‘Whistleblowers‘ series in which broadcaster Alan Torney interviews prominent whistleblowers, those who take exceptional risks to highlight wrong-doing.(4) Following the interview Fr Martin Tierney writes in The Irish Catholic of his incredulity at the appalling experience of Fr McGinnity, at the hands of Church leadership. “Here is a man”, he says, “who was greviously wronged, and no restitution was made for a reputation left in tatters at the hands of certain bishops. They apparently preferred the ‘status quo’ to the exposure of possible evil.” Fr Tierney commented that “no bishop was made accountable for the injustice visited upon Fr McGinnity.” (5)

Dr McGinnity has never been offered redress by the Irish Bishops despite an acknowledgement in both The McCullough Report and The Ferns Report that the inadequacy of the “investigation” led to the destruction of a promising career.


Fr McGinnity – Spiritual Director of Christina Gallagher

Fr McGinnity, has been described as a veteran expert of contemporary Marian manifestations in Francis Mutsuo Fukushima’s book Akita: Mother of God as Co Redemptrix – Modern Miracle of the Holy Eucharist.(2) Footnote 1. Over the years a number of people claiming to have had supernatural experiences, have approached Fr McGinnity for guidance. Of these Fr McGinnity states that he had “felt obliged to investigate them and the experiences they reported but then, on discovering them not to be authentic to guide them to deeper genuine prayer and send them on their way.”(22)

Having such expertise, it is no surprise that Fr McGinnity was approached for spiritual direction by a housewife from Co Mayo, Christina Gallagher who claimed to have had such an experience.

He received a written account from a religious sister who was helping Christina. He read and studied the contents before speaking to Christina by telephone. Quoted in her autobiography, he said, “The content of the message was fine, without any theological or spiritual flaw.”

Some time later, after meeting Christina Fr McGinnity asked her to pray for a family member who was seriously ill with no hope of recovery. Christina promised to pray and later, after praying, remarked that “God would be greatly glorified in this”. Fr McGinnity stated that “a complete and instantaneous healing occurred which was entirely inexplicable to the medical consultants.”

On 16th July 1993, Archbishop Joseph Cassidy, then archbishop of Tuam, opened and dedicated Our Lady Queen of Peace House of Prayer in Achill, Co Mayo for the work that Christina had been called by Heaven to fulfill. Fr McGinnity, among other priests, concelebrated the Mass of Dedication.

Ten years on in 2003, writing in The Irish Times, he relates that although approached by a number of people over the years, it was only in the case of Christina Gallagher that he found the church’s criteria on apparitions (as set out in norms from the Congregation for the Doctrine of The Faith and in the spirit of The Ratzinger Report) to be fulfilled. (23)

In The Irish Times, Fr McGinnity describes the many first hand proofs he has received and witnessed which uphold Christina Gallagher’s experiences and how it is because of the immense pastoral and spiritual fruitfulness of her work that he felt obliged to stand by her. “Otherwise I would be merely a hypocrite, for in my heart I know this can only be a work of God. Apparitions have been accepted often by the Church, after appropriate examination. It is, I believe, our obligation to come with an open heart to such a phenomenon as this. To rule it out a priori without investigation would, of course, be both unscientific and unfair”. (23)

Fr McGinnity has been Christina Gallagher’s spiritual director for over 20 years. About this he comments “I can only testify that in all my dealings with Mrs Gallagher, I have been extraordinarily impressed … at the charisms she has received, as well as the example of her life and attitude … her common sense, good humour and sincerity”.

He adds that “were I not in a position to vouch for so much of this work, I could hardly have imagined the degree of unfair criticism, rash judgement and twisted stories circulated about Mrs Gallagher and so readily believed by those who have never met her.” (23)

In 2009, the pilgrims, “disgusted by the sustained tabloid attack on Christina Gallagher, Fr McGinnity, the House of Prayer Achill and the people who go there” published a website. Voice of Our Lady’s Pilgrims (24) to expose how this gratuitous attack, driven relentlessly by a few individuals who have never met Christina Gallagher, is based on lies, distortion and misrepresentation of facts. They further published the book “Our Lady touches Ireland and the world” to make known the abundance of graces received by so many at Our Lady’s House of Prayer in Achill – reports they claim are “neglected by unbalanced media articles”. (25) 

In March 2009, following a lengthy Garda investigation into the activities of The House of Prayer, Achill, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in Ireland “decided there should be no prosecution against the House of Prayer on Achill Island, Co Mayo.” (26) 

Attempting to discredit the House of Prayer, Christina Gallagher and her spiritual director Fr Gerard McGinnity, certain parts of the media have continued to refer to the experiences of Christina Gallagher as having no Church approval. However, as the official ecclesiastical investigation has yet to be initiated and as a definitive and canonical judgement has not been made, the Archbishop of Tuam’s overriding comment about Christina Gallagher and the House of Prayer Achill is that “the question as far as competent ecclesiastical authority is concerned, remains open and unproven” (26) 

Fr McGinnity continues to be Christina Gallagher’s spiritual director.

Publications by Dr Gerard McGinnity

  • “Christmen: Experience of Priesthood Today” (June 1985) ISBN 0-906127-94-7
  • “Celebration With Mary: Reflections for Personal Prayer and Parish Devotions” (June 1987) ISBN 0-86217-289-6
  • “Open Door for Christ”(June 1987) ISBN 0-86217-277-2
  • “Out of the Ecstasy & Onto the Cross – Biography of Christina Gallagher”(1996) Our Lady Queen of Peace Publications, Ltd

FOOTNOTES
1. Fukushima was vice president of the International Federation of Catholic Journalists until 1992 when he won the World Press Institute Fellowship to study US politics.

SOURCES

(1) Patsy McGarry “Letter from priest’s doctors say there has been ‘no record of psychological or mental problems’The Irish Times – July 27 2002
(2) Francis Mutsuo Fukushima “Akita: Mother of God as CoRedemptrix Modern Miracles of Holy Eucharist” Queenship Publishing 1994
(3) Patsy McGarry “Seminarians dismissed by bishops took case to dean” The Irish Times – 5 June 2002
(4) Alan Touny “Whistleblowers” RTE Radio One 24 August 2006
(5) Fr Martin Tierney “The McGinnity Affair” The Irish Catholic 7 September 2006
(6) Patsy McGarry “Priest who agreed to speak out about Ledwith – McGinnity’s statement in full“, The Irish Times, 27 July 2002
(7) Patsy McGarry “Church silence that hid ‘kernel of evil’ at Maynooth” The Irish Times May 7th 2002
(8) Canon Patrick Marron “Justice for Fr McGinnity” The Irish Catholic – 30 June 2002
(9) Patsy McGarry “Seminarians dismissed by bishops took case to dean” The Irish Times 5th June 2002
(10) Judge Frank Murphy “The Fern’s Report” The Irish Times October 2005
(11) Patsy McGarry “Maynooth priest ‘humiliated’ for raising concerns of seminarians” The Irish Times 5 June 2002
(12) Patsy McGarry “Bishops sorry for failure to investiage complaints of abuse” The Irish Times 17 June 2005
(13) Patsy McGarry “Letter from priest’s doctor say there has been ‘no record of psychological or mental problemsThe Irish Times 27 July 2002
(14) Kieron Wood, “Priest Fired in Ledwith Affair gets Church apology” – 19 June 2005
(15) Patsy McGarry “Bishops say Ledwith faced abuse claims” The Irish Times June 1st 2002
(16) Patsy McGarry “Ledwith Laicised, church confirms” The Irish Times 27 October
(17) Patsy McGarry, “Priest gratified by the extend of public support” The Irish Times 27 October 2005
(18) Dundalk Democrat “Well done to Brave Fr McGinnity” The Dundalk Democrat 29 June 2005
(19) Margaret Roddy “Knockbridge parish priest is vindicated by report” The Argus 24 June 2005
(20) Patsy McGarry, “Priest gratified by the extend of public support” The Irish Times 27 October 2005
(21) Gene Yore “Over 1,000 sign priest petition – Parish united in support” The Dundalk Democrat 8 March 2006
(22) R Vincent “Please come back to Me and My Son” 1992
(23) Fr Gerard McGinnity “Reading the secrets of others’ hearts ; Father Gerard McGinnity relates his experience” The Irish Times 21 July 2003
(24) Our Lady’s Pilgrims “http://www.voiceofourladyspilgrims.com” October 2009
(25) Our Lady’s Pilgrims “Our Lady Touches Ireland and the world” October 2009
(26) Tom Shield and Patsy McGarry “No prosecution against prayer house” The Irish Times 19 March 2009
(27) Patsy Mc Garry “Casey confirmed complaints against Ledwith” The Irish Times 29 July 2002
 

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“The McGinnity Affair” by Fr Martin Tierney

Article by Fr Martin Tierney about Fr Gerard McGinnity
published in The Irish Catholic  on Thursday 7th September 2006

Fr Martin TierneyI listened with incredulity to Fr Gerard McGinnity, former Dean at Maynooth College, speaking on RTE One of his appalling experience at the hands of Church leadership.  The pimitiveness of the abuse of power was painfully exposed.

Here is a man who was grievously wronged, and no restitution was made for a reputation left in tatters at the hands of certain bishops.  They apparently preferred the ‘status quo’  to the exposure of possible evil.  Not only that, but the breach of a serious confidence by the then Papal Nuncio, was inexcusable.  If ever the cliche ‘mind boggling’ could be applied to any event, this one qualified as mind boggling by any standard.  Listen to this Whistleblower series by keying into RTE’s website.

Play RTE Radio 1 Whistleblowers interview with Fr McGinnity | Download RTE Radio 1 Whistleblowers interview

The story in brief runs like this.  In 1984, McGinnity was approached by seminarians who had concerns about the behaviour of the college’s Vice President, Dr Michael Ledwith – these included concerns of a sexual nature.

After bringing these concerns to the attention of bishops, McGinnity was pressured into resigning his post and had to return to his diocese as a curate, while Ledwith was promoted to College President.  False rumours then circulated that McGinnity had suffered a mental breakdown.  This bizarre story would do justice to the CIA at its most devious!

Later Monsignor Ledwith left the country under a cloud, having made a settlement with a youthful accuser, without admission of guilt. He then became a lecturer in a New Age College in America, the very antithesis of what Catholicism is about and was finally laicised.  Unbelievably, he had been touted as possible Archbishop of Dublin.  To the best of my knowledge no bishop was made accountable for the injustice visited upon Fr McGinnity.  The sheer lack of  discernment by a group of men who by their very office are sometimes considered wise, is amazing but not surprising.

My hunch is that some good bishops remained silent when they should have put a stop to their more vociferous colleague, but they lacked the courage.  Who were in the epicentre of events?  Cardinal O’Fiach and Bishop Casey!

Good leaders inspire.  Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Pope John Paul – inspired others. Every mother or father who seeks to instill good values and moral character in their children inspires.  Every great teacher who wants his or her students to excel inspires.  As human beings we yearn to inspire and be inspired.

Leadership is a relationship of service that inspires growth and makes the world a better place.  Leadership is something you live, model and practice, not something you tell other people to do.  Pope Benedict’s skills as a leader are wonderful.  As Albert Schweister said, “example isn’t the main thing in influencing people – it is the only thing”.  What was so remarkable about people like Gandhi, Pope John Paul, Nelson Mandela, Basil Hume, was that they know why they were here on this earth.  They were in touch with themselves and  God’s plan.

It often puzzles me that when a diocese is vacant we have no campaign of prayer to seek God’s wisdom in the choice of leader.  Instead ‘important people’ play ecclesiastical politics.  A device like Papal Secrecy clouds and obscures a process that is too important to be hidden.  Good leaders know what they stand for, what they are needed to do and how to use their talents to fulfill their calling.  Inspiration isn’t about me – it is about a leaders love for people and his desire to serve them in some way. Inspiration is about love. 

In the McGinnity affair inspiration was sadly absent.  Did the bishops pray before they came to the decision to demote Fr McGinnity? What sort of process of discernment took place before the decision was reached.  Will the minutes of the Episcopal meetings that took place be made public?  If justice is to be done a lot of questions demand answers. 

I have never believed that a ‘head on a plate’ must be delivered before justice is done.  But all leadership is so dependent on those who follow that people need to have confidence in their leaders.  That confidence will take some time to restore after the McGinnity affair.  This is a very sad business that further tarnishes the image of our spiritual leaders.


I WAS CURED OF CANCER IN ACHILL HOUSE OF PRAYER – Reported in the The Daily Mirror (London, England) August 24, 2002

The following article by Elaine Edwards was published in the Daily Mirror in England on August 24th 2002

Kathleen O'Sullivan at the House of Prayer Achill giving witness to her cure from pancreatic cancer

Kathleen O’Sullivan at the House of Prayer Achill giving witness to her cure from pancreatic cancer through the prayers of Christina Gallagher and Fr McGinnity

A WOMAN doctors said was dying of cancer told for the first time yesterday how a visit to the House of Prayer Achill cured her. Kathleen O’Sullivan believed she had only weeks to live when she went to see Christina Gallagher on Achill Island off Co Mayo. She had a tumour on her pancreas and doctors told her she was going to die. But the cancer disappeared after her visit to the island.

And a doctor, Michael Anketell, who has examined Kathleen’s medical records has hailed her recovery a “miracle”. Mother-of-six Kathleen from Listowel, Co Kerry, had wasted away to five stone when she made the trip in June 1997 shortly after she was diagnosed. She said:  “I was extremely ill with only weeks to live but I decided to go with my husband Donal to Achill.”I was so sick it took us three days to make the journey. I had to lie in the back of the car covered in a duvet. I was extremely weak and could hardly walk. Christina Gallagher, who runs the House of Prayer, put out her hands and hugged me, then a priest blessed me. I had never met her before that. I left Achill that day and felt a great sense of peace.”

She said her health improved rapidly after the visit and she knew the cancer was disappearing.

A year later, cancer consultant Dr Anketell rang her because he wanted to bring his mother to Achill. He said he was sceptical about her story, but got permission to access her medical records. He was astonished when he saw the result of a new scan which he said showed no traces of cancer. Dr Anketell is investigating the cases of three other patients who claim they were healed at the House of Prayer.  Kathleen said: “I’m speaking out to give hope to others who are suffering and to highlight the fact that the House of Prayer in Achill is a place of peace and hope.”The Daily Mirror contacted the House of Prayer yesterday to ask Christina Gallagher about the “miracle”. But a spokeswoman said: “Ms Gallagher does not come to the phone. If she did she would be here all day.”More than 5,000 people flocked to the House of Prayer last month for a day of prayer after Gallagher predicted a special vision. They believed they would see an apparition of the Virgin, but instead were given a message that the world was filled with evil and sin. People claiming miracle cures addressed the crowd, with one woman claiming her unborn baby had been pronounced dead but had come back to life after her visit.A statement from Ms Gallagher was read over loudspeakers by a female assistant. The crowd was told: “Many calamities are on the way to  purify  the stench of sin and evil from the world. Storms will affect many in the world. Storms such as the world has not seen. You must be vigilant in prayer. I will be close to each one of you who has responded to my invitation. I will always be close to your hearts. You will have great upheavals in the world. The restlessness in the world will increase each day through the work of the evil one.” [from messages of Our Lady Queen of Peace]Extra Gardai were drafted in to control the flow of visitors’ cars from all over Ireland and abroad.Kathleen, who now enjoys full health, runs a B&B with her husband.
Article by ELAINE EDWARDS


House of Prayer Achill; Response to Media Misrepresentation of Christina Gallagher, Fr McGinnity and the House of Prayer Achill

The House of Prayer Achill released a statement following the first showing of TV3’s Midweek ‘Cult’ Programme on 26th September 2011. The programme has been repeated on TV3 many times since! Here is the House of Prayer’s statement;

TV3’s Midweek Programme; the Usual Exercise of Propaganda and Dishonesty Against the House of Prayer Achill

This report is to place on record the facts from the side of spokespersons for The House of Prayer Achill regarding the efforts they made to fully and openly engage with TV3 during the days before the programme was scheduled for broadcast. We are not in the least surprised that TV3 finally declined our offer and availability and at the last moment cynically refused to include any participation from our side in the programme.

Naturally, as we sought to engage responsibly, it was felt prudent to include legal advice since we were dealing with an entity that employs the underhand tactics of hidden cameras and microphones as well as deception and lies”, when none of such was necessary.

Senior spokespersons for The House of Prayer Achill, working in contact with Christina Gallaghe and Fr McGinnity, continually and sincerely sought to reach agreement with TV3’s production and legal team from 23rd Sept through the weekend following , offering to meaningfully participate and in advance of the programme to fully address all questions etc. from the TV3 team. Spokespersons for the House of Prayer Achill were left for a period of 22 hours waiting for TV3 response.

All these efforts were finally in vain when after several delaying tactics, TV3 finally declined to agree the reasonable terms and conditions we sought, including being shown any finally edited material prior to broadcast, and the assurance that material given from our side would not be tampered with prior to the broadcast.

As already stated, we are not surprised that TV3 could not allow fairness and balance into what was just another black-propaganda exercise…and after all, when was Christina Gallagher or spokespersons for The House of Prayer Achill EVER given the slightest level of fairness and honesty in what has been a vile media campaign of insults, vilification, mockery and lies now well into its 5th year?

In hindsight it is clear that TV3 never intended to allow the truth to be represented by inclusion of statements from our side. Such was the nature of the pathetic programme, any such inputs would have totally contradicted and derailed their cheap efforts to represent lies and sensation.

However, although expected, it was nevertheless sad to see a national TV channel descend to the depths of a gutter tabloid ….remarking, as they did, “We can do what we like because we have the licence” which is reminiscent of the words of Michael McCrory, (the instigator of the campaign against Christina Gallagher) as he described the Sunday World…“ a tabloid newspaper of ill-repute, willing to publish lies, and not concerned about proof”…(M.McCrory, March 2007).

We will comment further upon the damage and danger caused by the incitement to hatred and the effect this has had upon Christina’s life.

Questions & Issues

QUESTIONS and ISSUES which would have been dealt with had TV3 permitted participation by the spokespersons for The House of Prayer Achill:

  • It would have been clearly stated that Christina Gallagher NEVER was involved in “fortune-telling”, and it would have challenged those faceless accusers to come out in the open with any evidence or proof of such.

  • She is NOT a “healer”; she has NEVER claimed to have healed anyone but through Our Lady’s intercession, many have been healed when Christina Gallagher prayed with them -only to prove the authenticity of her work and mission.

  • How the allegation of wealth and ownership of multiple properties is totally false, explaining again the total separation of the Houses of Prayer in USA and Mexico, put in place by the free choice of the people there and are in a Charitable Trust in which Christina Gallagher has no responsibility and from which she has never benefited.

  • It would have been explained how there were names of some people from Ireland registered there at the outset to allow the efforts in the USA become established and only until the relevant individuals with the required skills were put in place, at which point all Irish resigned, and it would have been shown that none of those ever received any fees or benefits for their temporary and necessary roles.

  • How regarding other properties, and despite the facts being many times explained publicly, the media persists in its false reports…for example how the house in Malahide, so much publicised and exaggerated, was provided for Christina Gallagher to be a place of safety and refuge for her when she was hounded by media at her home in Knockmore peering into and photographing her very bedroom trying to make cheap ornaments appear expensive! and how the house in Malahide is now also seriously needed to ensure she is close to hospitals due to her state of health and many illnesses.

  • How the modest home near Newport Co Mayo was acquired by Christina Gallaghersolely funded by royalties from sales of her own books.How later , when she sold that house, she donated -as she was entitled to do- the proceeds of the sale to her daughter who then bought a home near Ballina which has also been crudely targeted.

    Indeed, not only Christina’s daughter, but also her son and husband were the victims of vilification and invasion of privacy… Brendan’s house also being stalked by the The Sunday World which sought to question his ability to purchase such without receiving his mother’s help….DESPITE the fact that he is part of a successful plumbing company which he shares with his father. Those crude, immoral comments by the Sunday World sought to damage Brendan’s reputation and put his livelihood at risk, but also displayed the vile nature of the that so-called “journalist” striving to cause pain and distress to all the innocent members of Christina Gallagher’s family.

    And lastly, when Christina’s privacy and safety in Malahide were destroyed, and her life was being threatened, how the Fraternity decided to provide Christina Gallagher with a fund to enable her to procure an alternative home in safety and privacy, doing this in a completely transparent and legal way with every donation being formally signed off for that purpose and most specifically for Christina Gallagherto use as necessary, which explains the house in the UK.


  • How her very life has been endangered, and threats received arising from the defamation and vilification published by the Sunday World newspaper.

  • How The House of Prayer Achill is NOT a cult and how totally the prayers and devotions which take place there are in absolute conformity with the Catholic Church.

  • It would have been emphasised how those people who attend The House of Prayer Achill are dedicated Catholics, active in their own parishes and are a most joyful and relaxed mixture of people of all ages and professions. In particular it would have been stressed how the utter freedom and relaxation surrounding these people resoundingly demonstrates the complete absence of any features remotely reminiscent of ‘cult’! and, furthermore, how unaffected most of these people are from the fears and worries that are sweeping through the whole world as society disintegrates (as Christina Gallagher already prophesied in the currency breakdown, the stockmarket collapse and the formation of the one-world bank -all now taking shape)

  • How Christina Gallagher’s work as a victim soul began, how she has been chosen to deliver God’s message, the special gifts she has been endowed with by The Holy Spirit including the gift of prophecy.

  • How Christina Gallagher’s messages to the world have been upheld by many miracles and how, through the intercession of Our Blessed Lady at The House of Prayer Achill, over 700 testimonies of healings, conversions, vocations, and blessings of every kind have been received by people from Ireland and many other countries, to uphold the reality of Christina’s mission.

What a wonderful opportunity for TV3 to at least begin to tell the incredibly painful, but massively uplifting story of Christina Gallagher’s life and just for once, to allow a little bit of truth and fact to be reported about Our Lady Queen of Peace House of Prayer Achill and the very special Blessing and Graces which are to be found there by those who go there with a sincere heart.

It has been almost laughable that TV3 would conclude their botched programme giving the impression that there would be a “later programme produced involving participation from The House of Prayer Achill.”

In light of how they have performed by disallowing us to participate and by the slander they permitted to be broadcast, we could not now have trust in them or encouragement to go forward -as we had been prepared to do.

How could any sincere party ever be expected to re-engage with an entity which seems lacking in values and whose only tools are deception, the use of nameless/faceless detractors, the inclusion of self proclaimed “arch-foes” of The House of Prayer Achill and the shameless repetition of the Sunday World’s lies, defamation and slander?

Many horrific, slanderous and libellous allegations have been made against Christina Gallagher without a shred of evidence or proof. We would be interested if the people making such accusations were brought to us – to investigate where these accusations are coming from…

Not alone is it painful to know the depth of these offenses – in fact, it is a crime punishable in law and where formal counter action does have to be taken. It is distressing that such very serious criminal accusations are made based on rumour or hearsay. When confronted they personally WILL have to provide solid proof or face the consequences. It is more distressing to see the purveyors of such accusations pretend to have also religious motives.

Concerning the House of Prayer Achill

Also we would like to restate a few matters concerning The House of Prayer Achill itself.
The House is open every day to visitors and for people wishing to spend some quiet time in prayer or participate in the daily prayers recited there.
It is open to EVERYONE.

The affairs and accounts of The House of Prayer Achill are totally separate from any personality and have always been properly administered and transparent to Dept of Revenue etc.

At the House of Prayer Achill, helpers, volunteers, directors, advisors etc come and go of their own free will…just as the normal dynamics of such in any well-run operation.

The House exists and is funded from the sale of religious articles and from donations received. There is no membership and no collections have ever been taken up in the Chapel.

Coaches arrive with pilgrims to attend the Saturday Novena at the House of Prayer Achill

WHY ARE THERE SUCH ONGONG ATTACKS UPON
Christina Gallagher and her spiritual director Fr Gerard McGinnity?

It would seem clear that the active enemies of The House of Prayer Achill are very small in number. With the exception of 5 individuals, the few others have always sought to be nameless and faceless…and the publications by The Sunday World and Michael Garde would always be to give each of these multiple identities to create an impression of “many”.

A key tactic is increasingly to vilify and destroy the character of Fr McGinnity. This consists of stalking, mockery and defamation, spread by an individual (M.Garde) described by TV3 as a ‘so called’ cult expert (!), who is not himself a Catholic, yet wishes to portray his efforts as “protecting” the Catholic Church. His obnoxious comments mock the prayers of our faith and the sacramentals we hold so dear. He tries to create scenarios of division and disobedience where none exists. His latest ploys are to ridicule the content of messages given to Christina, yet those messages which we see being fulfilled on a daily basis are -as occurred in Fatima, Pontmain, Banneux, La Salette and other places – the warning of future events given us by Our Lady.

Even in the days when The Soviet Republic and Communism dominated much of Europe and the world from 1917-1990, the newspapers there had decency and standards that would put The Sunday World to shame.

Need we say more?

TO BE MADE KNOWN WORLDWIDE

We say to those of you, from any part of the world, who read this true account of the campaign of vilification and injustice being shamelessly waged against Christina Gallagher and her mission, and the resulting danger to her life which it brings…we would be grateful for your opinions and efforts to enable us deal appropriately with it….Or do we have to wait until she is killed before any relevant justice authority investigates? Any fair-minded person can see the wrongdoing and the dangers ensuing, but no-one is seen to take any appropriate steps to confront such naked hatred and incitement which is against the laws of every civilised society and makes a farce of the Irish Constitution which states “every citizen is entitled to their good name and to their religious beliefs”.

Even among pagans and savages, one finds compassion, gentleness, honesty, decency and truthfulness.

The only traits we can identify in the tactics, publications and character of those seeking to destroy Christina Gallagher are mockery, lies, falsehood, coldness, lack of compassion, disregard for truth, ego and an insatiable hatred with lust to cause any level of pain at any price.

Such seems to be what the Sunday World desires…while Michael Garde and Jim Gallagher of the Sunday World follow gleefully.

It is regrettable that some unsuspecting Catholic schools permit…and even pay (!) Michael Garde to be allowed to address vulnerable youngsters and to peddle his misconceptions and prejudices. He is supported by a charitable trust, yet invites funds while also charging a fee to address classes of schoolchildren.

Perhaps some influential body may review this practice given the individual’s crude tactics and lack of credentials.

His inability to make the most basic distinction between a cult and the prayers of the Catholic Church says it all.

Despite the attacks of Jim Gallagher and Michael Garde via the Sunday World and despite the efforts of the tv3 programme, Saturday October 1 was a day of tremendous joy at the House of Prayer which was filled to capacity together with the surrounding areas. Several hundred young people from all over Ireland including many hundreds of people who attend weekly gathered to celebrate a most inspiring Day for Youth. The propaganda failed to inflict the damage its perpetrators intended but it only proves the strength of the Hand of God which is greater than the lies and deception traded through the tabloid attacks.

Attack on Fr McGinnity

As for the despicable attack on Fr McGinnity, we would point out that to recognise it for what it is -contrived, envious and malicious- one has only to recall his heroic stance as a ‘whistleblower’ to the inner Church authority while in the prestigious post of Senior Dean of the National Seminary, Maynooth. As a doctor of theology, spiritual author and well-known retreat director for priests and religious he was responsible for priestly formation there. His courageous approach to the bishops to ensure protection for seminarians who reported concerns to him in relation to another member of staff, were met with his dismissal from the prominent position he held and his being sent off to a remote assignment- a punitive manoeuvre which carried a loss of reputation. Meanwhile the staff-member reported was promoted by the bishops as president and a short time later resigned through having to make a financial settlement with a young student (in an arrangement not admitting liability).

The outrageous treatment inflicted upon Fr McGinnity by Church authority became widespread knowledge through The Ferns Inquiry and its subsequent report. However, as came out in all the newspapers, his demotion and humiliation by the Church did not end there. Not only did he receive no apology for the destruction of his life by the bishops’ action but the humiliation actually persisted -even seeking, fifteen years subsequently, to obstruct his appointment as parish priest and have him assigned, if possible, at the level of curate. This endeavour did not succeed. Yet the demotion of Fr McGinnity within the Church together with the attacks permitted outside the Church sadly indicate that the Church has done nothing to uphold him.

The resentment such a good man continues to face now -in this case from a handful of belligerent laity- surely only proves his holiness at a greater level. Those who ever see him in the depths of prayer and Mass can recognise this reality. If those who slander him knew even the first thing about spirituality, they would recognise his holiness. Two members of his family have been healed of cancer through the mission of Christina Gallagher. When the authority of such a person as Fr McGinnity is questioned and resented, despite a lifetime of endurance for upholding truth so powerfully to the bishops of the Church- a truth subsequently authenticated and confirmed by the state enquiry – it raises interesting questions about what is driving this attack.

Attack Upon the Spiritual Mission

In regard to the matter of attacks upon spiritual missions, research remarkably shows that the more powerful the work, the greater the attack. Studying the lives of the mystics who lived throughout the centuries of Church history, I have been invariably struck by this fact that the more significant the work given them to accomplish, the more extreme the attack upon it and upon them. Even to refer to some out of such a large number, we find such remarkable resemblances to the gratuitous attacks upon Christina…

In Cathleen Medwick’s well-known biography (1999) entitled Teresa of Avila: The Progress of a Soul , we read that when Teresa of Avila was pressing onwith the establishment of the houses of her foundation in Spain, she had left Villanueva after working hard to transform a hermitage into something resembling a convent and with her companions was passing through a small town where they stopped to visit the church. Teresa’s fame had gone before her -but not the truth about her, rather a poisonous defamation of her character. The townspeople were incited to hatred: they were outraged that she presumed to enter their church and they were becoming increasingly violent when Antonio (one of the men who was helping her) fended them off, allowing Teresa to reach her coach. Soon after she arrived at Toledo on that journey, she became seriously ill.

When Pope Benedict was canonising Mary McKillop in Rome on October 17, 2010, how many people realised that during her earthly lifetime, as she went about establishing the houses for her mission in Australia, she was actually excommunicated by Bishop Sheil of Adelaide on September 22, 1871? In his biography Blessed Mary MacKillop A Woman Before Her Time, a priest of the diocese of Adelaide, Fr.Modystack wrote in 1982, “It was sad that the sick Bishop had had his mind so poisoned by the malicious tongues of those who were supposed to be loyal, honest people that he should have reacted so unreasonably towards the Sisters” (page 62) (He accused her of disobedience when she could not accept his making himself superior and changing their rule as he chose. She was canonically entitled not to accept this imposition but he wronged her and expelled 43 sisters from his diocese when they chose not to accept the imposition. The following year, on his death-bed the bishop repented and withdrew the excommunication.). In his preface to the biography Archbishop James Gleeson of Adelaide remarks of his predecessors in that era (ie. bishop and priest-advisors), “It is even more difficult for us to understand how they could seemingly be so unjust and outrageous in their judgements and actions towards Mary MacKillop…

In his biography of Padre Pio (Padre Pio – Man of Hope, 2000, p.93) , Renzo Allegri remarks, “There is no doubt that Padre Pio suffered persecution during his entire life. He was defamed by vulgar accusations and accused of being a vile swindler. He died wihout ever having been officially rehabilitated.” He goes on to quote a homily of Cardinal Giacomo Lecaro commemorating Padre Pio after he had died. The Cardinal said, “Padre Pio’s resemblance to Christ shines out mainly in his suffering… In times of intense persecution (his world) was like the world of a prisoner… His life was a passion and the similarities to the suffering of our Saviour are all too evident, beginning with the unbelief and persecution of those who could have and should have been able to understand. Unfortunately, these poor souls, who felt threatened by such a pure and holy man, found a ready audience when they denounced the humble monk as a hypocritical exhibitionist, and denounced the charismatic gifts that evoked so much faith from his followers as deceptive and fraudulent.”

At least Christina, as she is subjected to the same vituperative treatment, is ‘in good company’, although she would never dream of considering herself worthy of sharing his rank.

Biographers of John Vianney such as Fr. Francis Trochu in his The Cure D’ARS when describing how he too was unjustly persecuted by way of slander and false accusation, notes how the works used to draw back souls in the greatest danger are sometimes “allowed by God to become victims of the vilest calumnies”. He describes how “John Vianney’s front door was splashed with dirt and night after night, under his windows stood a miserable creature insulting and reproaching him as if he had been guilty of leading a disorderly life. Apparently, he was to be spared no humiliation, no anguish of mind. Anonymous letters, full of venom were sent to his bishop… Not surprising that towards the end of his life, he one day remarked, ‘If on my arrival at Ars I had foreseen all that I was to suffer there, I would have died on the spot!'”

In Conclusion

God cannot bring about enormous miracles such as giving back life to a child medically certified dead in the womb,healing cancer of the pancreas, thyroid gland, liver,stomach,bladder,lung,breast,tongue and mouth, leukemia,rheumatoid arthritis, brain tumor, brain haemmorage, brain death, heart failure, multiple sclerosis, blindness, chronic asthma and countless other conditions leading to over 700 testimonies, including psychiatric and nevous healings, conversions, vocations to religious life and priesthood drawing such abundant fruitfuless from a tree that is not good! As Jesus says in the Gospel, “A bad tree cannot produce good fruit and a good tree cannot produce bad fruit. By their fruits you shall know them”.

Related Links:

Medically Inexplicable healings :

The healing and conversion of John Garbutt at the House of Prayer in Achill

The Healing of Kathleen O’Sullivan of pancreatic cancer after prayers with Christina Gallagher and Fr Gerard McGinnity at the House of Prayer in Achill

Doctor Says ‘A Miracle’ – The Healing of Jed Michael after meeting with Christina Gallagher

Hundreds of Conversions through Achill House of Prayer, prayers of Christina Gallagher and Fr Gerard McGinnity, and the matrix medal

Hundreds of Healings – Achill House of Prayer, and Christina Gallagher’s mission

Christina and the Church :

‘Why I Believe’ by Fr Gerard McGinnity Ph D

‘Proof Beyond Doubt’ by Fr Richard Foley SJ


JESUIT THEOLOGIAN “What Clinched My Conviction About Christina Gallagher” By Rev Richard Foley S.J. “

Among the huge number of priests from various parts of the world who have visited the House of Prayer Achill since it was first opened by Archbishop Cassidy on July 16th 1993 have been theologians who have given testimony of their experience and belief in Christina Gallagher and this work. A sample of such testimony is the following from a Jesuit theologian, writer and broadcaster in London, Rev Richard Foley S. J.

“What Clinched My Conviction About Christina Gallagher” By Rev Richard Foley S.J.” 

What think ye of Christina Gallagher? This question has stirred many a conscience as a result of the recent public statement on the subject of the Archdiocese of Tuam (note: this was the 1998 statement). It all focuses on the supernatural phenomena widely reported to surround her and the House of Prayer in Achill: are they or are they not authentic? The Archbishop has, as yet, given neither his final approval nor disapproval with regard to the supernatural element in the case. The key sentence in his statement reads: “The question, as far as competent ecclesiastical authority is concerned, remains open and unproven.”… But he very pointedly added that the door remains open to any further evidence that will vindicate the claims beyond all reasonable doubt. There are well-known close parallels, where the supernatural claims still remain undecided by the competent Church authorities and their wait-and-see stance could continue for a long time to come. Fatima, let us recall, had to wait some thirteen years before receiving formal Church approval. The Archbishop’s statement went on to affirm, in keeping with Canon Law, that Christina Gallagher and her “associates” enjoy the right, not only to believe in the supernatural phenomena, but, to state their belief to all and sundry. I must immediately declare myself to be one of the aforementioned “associates”, for I am fully convinced that Christina Gallagher has a special prophetic mission, reinforced by powerful charismatic gifts, to lead many souls, especially Irish souls, back to a true and authentic living of their Catholic faith in this confused world of ours.

“My First Visit” 

To begin at the beginning, my first visit to the House of Prayer Achill a few years ago was largely exploratory and look-see. Having been commissioned to write something aboutChristina Gallagher, I felt I ought to meet her beforehand and spend a few days in her House of Prayer – the house specifically set up by Christina Gallagher in Achill at Our Lady’s instigation, so she claims, for the sanctification of priests. That house certainly lives up to its name; it has a prayerful atmosphere, and much prayer, in fact, is done there not only by priests but even more, for priests, by the laypeople who flock there in such numbers. It is something of a spiritual power-house. The peace and radiance of the Eucharist is all-pervasive and the Mother of Divine Grace dispenses her largesse with a liberal hand. Indeed, she was good enough to mediate some very special graces for myself and my work. The same goes, I have reason to know, for many other priests who have been there.

“Inner Arena” 

What finally clinched my conviction about Christina Gallagher was her personal charism for reading souls. Though I had been informed that other priests had experience what I am about to describe, in the event it bowled me over. All this took place in the course of an interview I had requested of her as part of my three-day retreat. This modern-day mystic, in the course of the interview, saw into my interior life as if it were an open book. The scanty triumphs and numerous failures I had chalked up over the years since ordination were obviously crystal clear to her. She could survey my entire track record. She clearly possessed a sort of x-ray insight into my private world of conscience. She could witness within me the hidden arena, where, as is the case with everyone, moral warfare is waged non-stop between good and evil, light and darkness, God and Mammon. Christina finally gave some eminently sound practical advice as to how I could and should advance as a priest in the Lord’s service.

I hasten to add that throughout this interview, she was most respectful and tactful, going about her business as matter-of-factly as a nurse taking your temperature or reading your blood pressure. I subsequently felt an over-whelming peace come over me. And peace, as we learn from St. Ignatius, is a sure sign of the good spirit and the presence of God. Thus, at which might be called the spiritual level, I first experienced for myself the supernatural element in Christina Gallagher’s life. This element became for me even more strikingly evident at a physical level on seeing her bearing the stigmata. The wounded limbs of the Crucified are, as it were, replicated in her body, and the thorn-marks stand out starkly on her forehead. The suffering she undergoes is agonising; yet she offers it readily, indeed almost eagerly, in reparation for the sins of the world – especially for the sins of the world’s priests. When you consider the phenomena of the stigmata in the wider framework of Christina’s work, which is characterised by deep prayer, self-sacrifice, humility and submission to authority, total and unquestioning orthodoxy, a burning zeal for souls, and an ardent spirit of reparation, you realise you are dealing with the genuine article.

I came to the same conclusion when applying the simple litmus test prescribed by Our Lord for discerning between the authentic and the sham, “by their fruits you shall know them.” (Mt. 7,16) Indeed, Archbishop Neary paid Christina Gallagher a generous tribute in this connection, affirming that “she has been a force for good in the faith, prayer and lives of many people who have, in whatever manner, been associated or otherwise in contact with her.” What this amounts to saying is that, a superabundance of spiritual fruits have come through this humble Mayo housewife and mother of two. Many thousands of people have experienced a strengthening of faith just through seeing her or hearing her speak. As for her own faith, it is as solid and sound as the Chair of Peter itself. Certainly there is nothing in Christina’s spirituality of those watered-down and wishy-washy half-truths and heresies that liberal thinkers and publicists are spreading like poison among the ordinary faithful. Nor is anybody more aware than she that the Catholic faith is undergoing a serious crisis, in Ireland as elsewhere – and that not a few priests are among its victims. One particularly sad effect of this crisis is the significant absence of young people at Mass in many churches. It is with them that the ‘faith drain’ is at its most damaging and tragic. So worrying is the general situation, in fact, that a charism as powerful as Christina Gallagher’s is clearly needed to bring Ireland back to its former role, as a stronghold of faith and as a springboard for missionary outreach to the ends of the earth. Many healings have been reported through contact with Christina Gallagher and the House of Prayer Achill, all of which healings are a further manifestation of the fruits in question. Spiritual healings naturally take pride of place, and there have been a number of them, priests included. What happens is that those concerned receive the grace to see their lives in a new light and to keep close to God through prayer and the sacraments.

Many physical healings, too, have been reported. A remarkable recent case concerned a Dublin woman with a chronic heart problem. Despite a series of operations, it got so bad that a proposed heart transplant was ruled out as impossible. Then, in June of last year (1997) this woman, who had not been practicing the faith for years, accompanied her sister to the House of Prayer Achill, having first made her peace with God through confession. Christina prayed with her and the woman attended Mass. Then and there, the Eucharistic Jesus touched her life, and from that moment she started to recover. Specialists reported a sensational improvement in her heart condition and she can now walk as never before. What has also staged a remarkable improvement is her faith and prayer. Mass andt he Rosary now form the centrepiece of her life, and her one ambition is to ‘bring others to God.’

“The Future” 

I believe it is vitally important that Christina Gallagher’s crusade of prayer and reparation should reach out far and wide. For her charism has transformed the House of Prayer Achill into a beacon of faith and holiness to illumine the spiritual darkness that is fast enveloping Catholic life and culture in Ireland and throughout the western world. It is also vitally important that the House of Prayer Achill should continue to attract large numbers of visitors, so increasing the volume of prayer for priests – the Lord’s anointed, who are such key figures in maintaining and spreading God’s kingdom… The irony that aches and aches beneath her mission is that it is so widely misunderstood, misrepresented and rejected by those very men for whom it is primarily intended by the Mother of God. Christina is well aware of this; and indeed, it is one of the heaviest crosses God has asked her to carry. May the Queen of Peace and the Mother of Priests promote mightily the vital apostolate She herself has initiated on Achill Sound.”

Rev. Richard Foley, S. J., a Jesuit of British Province, obtained his Doctorate in Theology in Louvain, and taught there for a number of years. A prolific writer and broadcaster, he published various books, including “Mary and the Eucharist”.

Fr Foley wrote the foreward to Thomas Petrisko’s book about Christina Gallagher “The Sorrow, The Sacrifice, & The Triumph”

Related Links: 

Response to Media Attack on Christina Gallagher, Our Lady Queen of Peace House of Prayer and Fr McGinnity

Attack on the Spiritual Mission of Christina Gallagher by Fr Gerard McGinnity Ph D

‘Why I Believe’ by Fr Gerard McGinnity Ph D

Healings through Holy Water at the House of Prayer Achill

Conversions through House of Prayer Achill, Christina Gallagher and Fr McGinnity

Physical Healings through House of Prayer Achill and Christina Gallagher and Fr McGinnity

Healings and Conversions through the Matrix Medal, House of Prayer Achill, and Christina Gallagher 


“Reading the secrets of others’ hearts ; Father Gerard McGinnity relates his experience” – The Irish Times – July 21st 2003

Rev. Fr. Gerard Mc Ginnity, Doctor of Theology relates his experience in relation to Our Lady Queen of Peace House of Prayer Achill and Christina Gallagher to whom he is her spiritual director. The following is taken from an article printed in the Irish Times Newspaper in July 2003.

It is exactly ten years ago this month that Our Lady Queen of Peace House of Prayer at Achill was opened and dedicated for Mrs Christina Gallagher by the Archbishop of Tuam, Dr Joseph Cassidy as “An oasis of peace in a troubled world”. After I was first introduced to Mrs Gallagher five years previously, I sought personal and direct evidence of her genuineness. I got such proof in multiple ways that I was left no option but to help her in her work.

I always remember my first meeting with Mrs. Gallagher when she related to me-though a complete stranger to her- not only my personal past in great detail but several future events in my life which have since been unfolding with precision exactly as she predicted. I happened to be present at that time when she had an experience, I just thought I would like to test her by a question I had in my mind, before I had time to speak, she instantly turned and gave me the answer to what I had not yet asked!

Arising from my first meeting with her, I subsequently asked her prayers for a family member terminally ill with no hope of recovery. Mrs Gallagher promised to pray but added; “God will be greatly glorified in this.” A complete and instantaneous healing occurred which was entirely inexplicable to the medical consultants. In subsequent years, as her spiritual director, it would be quite normal for her to remark to me on the most private intentions for which I might be silently praying, private information of which no one could possibly be aware.

I have noted over the years that in her ministry to priests this gift of intimate knowledge is never sensational but a means of help. A Jesuit professor of theology, writer and broadcaster, Dr. Richard Foley of Farm Street Church, London, later wrote in a foreword to a book about her; “I had never met Christina Gallagher, though from what I had read and heard I was inclined to accept her as genuine. But what in the event completely convinced me of this was the extraordinary insight she displayed into my interior life, including my spiritual track record to date; that is, my memory-bank of triumphs and failures over the years in the Lord’s service.

In other words, this remarkable Irish woman demonstrated beyond any doubt that she possessed a sort of X-ray vision into my private world of conscience and moral striving. She could read the secrets of my heart. She could witness within me that hidden arena, where, as is the case of everyone, warfare is waged non-stop between good and evil, truth and falsehood, light and darkness. Though aware that other priests had a similar experience, I was nonetheless bowled over when Christina Gallagher proceeded to discern with clinical precision the weakness and strengths of my world within.

One young priest who had firmly decided to quit the priesthood travelled from England to Achill. He got such help from meeting Mrs Gallagher that he was strengthened to remain in the ministry. Although it is her prophesy of the destruction of the Twin Towers which is best known, that particular tragedy is only one of a number which Christina clearly warned in advance (e.g. the wars in Rwanda and Chechnya years before they occurred). A Canadian attorney and an American judge were flanking her as a group of us stood near the World Trade Centre on September 11th 1999. Judge Dan Lynch from Vermont subsequently wrote;

“Exactly two years before the attack on America on September 11th, 1999, I stood with Irish mystic Christina Gallagher in Battery Park, New York City, at the tip of Manhattan Island in the shadows of the World Trade Centre, as she raised her hand towards the Twin Towers and said “These will be destroyed”. I would note all such prophesies spoken by her at the time when she first declared them and publish them so that people could observe as they came to pass. Never did it happen that any such predication failed to be fulfilled. A doctor came to the House of Prayer on July 16th 1999, not for any spiritual reason but, as he himself later put it, because his elderly mother had requested him to bring her there for the day.

Only when he experienced at first hand, he said later, could he believe. That doctor’s own testimony was considered sufficiently noteworthy to be published in the Irish medical journal, Medicine Weekly. After his experience of seeing Mrs Gallagher he decided to check out some of the reported healings. To date he has investigated four which have proved to be beyond medical, scientific, or psychological explanation, with his fellow consultants going as far as to pronounce them “miracles”, an epithet rarely invoked in the domain of science.

It is because I have received at first hand the proof of these many and various happenings that I feel obliged to stand by Mrs Gallagher and this work. Otherwise I would be merely a hypocrite, for in my heart I know this can only be a work of God. What, may I ask, would you do if you experienced all of this? Apparitions have been accepted often by the Church, after appropriate examination. It is, I believe, our obligation to come with an open heart to such a phenomenon as this. To rule it out a priori without investigation would, of course, be both unscientific and unfair.

Apparition claims by other individuals

A number of persons had come to me over the years in the course of my pastoral duties and I felt obliged to investigate them and then, on discovering them not to be authentic, to guide them to deeper genuine prayer and send them on their way. Only in this case (i.e. Christina’s) do I find the church’s criteria to be fulfilled. By the same token I must add that, were I not in a position to vouch for so much of this work, I could hardly have imagined the degree of unfair criticism, rash judgement and twisted stories circulated about Mrs Gallagher and so readily believed by those who have never met her.

Father Gerard Mc Ginnity, a Doctor of Theology, is spiritual director to Mrs Christina Gallagher.

Related Links:
Christina Gallagher – “Proof Beyond Doubt” by Theologian Fr Richard Foley
Fr McGinnity – Spiritual Director of Christina Gallahger
Voice of Our Lady’s Pilgrims – House of Prayer Achill
Official Website of Christina Gallagher – www.christinagallagher.org