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New RTE Radio and TV Religious Output

RTE 1 Extra logo
RTE 1 Extra logo
From RTE, for interest:

‘Sunday Spirit’ is the new sound of Sunday morning on RTE Radio 1 Extra, from 10.00am to 1.00pm and RTÉ is building an enhanced digital home for religious content on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra.

On Sunday, 2nd November, on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra, RTÉ will launch a strong new weekly schedule of religious and spiritual programmes, which can be heard on all digital platforms. The content can also be heard on Longwave 252.

SUNDAY SPIRIT comprises three hours of religious and spiritual programming, hosted by Michael Comyn: a rich mixture of conversation, music, reflections, religious current affairs, features and archive, built around the centre–piece of Sunday morning Masses and Services.

Michael Comyn has over 20 years experience as a broadcaster and communicator, with a special interest in positive psychology, resilience and personal development. He looks forward to using those interests and experiences to connect with listeners of all faiths and none through content that is eclectic, inspirational, challenging, informed and intelligent.

As well as home–produced content from RTÉ, SUNDAY SPIRIT will bring listeners some of the best religious content from around the world, courtesy of BBC World Service, CTVC and other international partners.

Elements and times may vary slightly from week to week, but, broadly speaking, Sunday mornings on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra will sound like this:
10.00–10.30 Sunday Spirit: Michael Comyn is joined in studio by a different guest each week to reflect on religious and spiritual themes in the news and in the ether, counterpointed by a broad and sympathetic selection of music.

10.30–11.00 Heart & Soul: BBC World Service’s religious current affairs strand offers an eclectic mix of features about the world of faith.

11.00–11.45 Mass: Live Catholic worship featuring a range of contributors from all over the island of Ireland and a diverse array of liturgical styles, from Gregorian to Gospel, choral to folk. Many of these Masses will be simulcast on RTÉ One TV & online.

11.45–12.30 Service: Protestant worship, reflecting the traditions and liturgy of all the main denominations of Ireland, across all 32 counties.

12.30–13.00 Sunday Spirit: Michael Comyn and guest return with more conversation
and music from across the entire spectrum of belief — including disbelief —
in today’s Ireland.

The programme will also maintain a contact with Ireland’s diaspora and will feature news and content generated from home and abroad.

Other programming:

A new season of programmes on RTÉ One explores aspects of – and attitudes towards – death in today’s Ireland.

Thursday 30th October & 6th November, 22.15, RTÉ One: A Parting Gift secures unprecedented access to tell the story of the Body Donation Programme at Trinity College, Dublin. Filmed over 18 months, the 2–part series focuses on ‘the gift’ of body donation: an act of great generosity that contributes to world–class medical education, research and scientific endeavour. The documentary captures different perspectives on the body donation:

– from the motives and life–stories of donors to the experience of their bereaved families
– the staff of the Anatomy Department who receive and prepare remains and make sure that what could easily be justa clinical process remains also a respectful and human one.
– the medical students (past & present) who benefit from a donor’s parting gift

The documentaries encompass science and medical history, cultural attitudes towards death and bereavement and the big questions of mortality and spirituality. Most importantly, the series is about the humanity of those giving the gift, those mourning the loss, those dealing with the donation and those learning from it.   

Thursday 13th November, 22.15, RTÉ One: Guess Who’s Dead
Ardal O’Hanlon (a politician’s son, an occasional expatriate, and a fictitious priest) explores the changing life of the Irish Death Notice: a simple calling card for family, friends and communal mourning. Ireland has an obsession with death notices: in the newspaper, on local radio or online. It’s a uniquely ingrained cultural hunger for the bare facts of a death – a social roadmap for our public grief and sympathy. The Death Notice is a unique symbol of Ireland’s healthy attitude towards death (as long as it’s someone else’s).  

Sunday 16th November, 1700, RTÉ One: Joe Duffy’s Spirit Level returns for a series of six programmes, reflecting on religion, spirituality and ethics in today’s Ireland, through a mixture of conversation, interviews, features and music. To fit in with the ONCE IN A LIFETIME season, the first programme explores contemporary beliefs about, and attitudes towards, death and the afterlife.

Thursday 13th November, 22.15, RTÉ One: One Million Dubliners – winner of the Best Documentary Feature prize at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh – is a deeply moving and inspiring film exploring the life stories – and death stories – surrounding Ireland’s largest and most famous resting place, Glasnevin Cemetery, through the eyes and experience of some of the people most closely connected with the place.
Every plot has a story.

Blathnaid ni Chofaigh
Blathnaid ni Chofaigh
The Moment of Truth
Sundays 2230–2300, 16th November – 14th December, RTÉ One
Bláthnaid ní Chofaigh (right) interviews people who have faced life–changing moral or religious choices.

Sunny Jacobs, who was wrongly convicted of the murder of two Florida policemen and spent 17 years on Death Row, 5 of them in solitary confinement. During that time, she was separated from her children; her partner, who was also falsely convicted, was executed by electric chair; and her parents were killed in a plane crash. Remarkably, instead of bitterness, Sunny attained peace of mind through yoga, meditation and prayer and bears no grudges for her loss and pain. 

Alan Gavigan was raised in a loving home by his mother, a trader on Dublin’s Moore Street. But that didn’t stop him drifting into heroin addiction and crime to pay for his habit. Drugs cost Alan his family, his girlfriend and his home, after his mother was finally forced to throw him out. On the street, though, Alan was befriended by an evangelical Christian, who threw him a lifeline, offering him a place in the Teen Spirit Christian rehab centre in Wales. While there, Alan had a profound religious experience, which not only helped him to put his own life back together, but to become a pastor, reaching out to other similar lost souls in prison. He also mended his fences with his family and married his former girlfriend, with whom he now has a family of his own.

Lorraine Dempsey gave birth to twins ten years ago, but then faced the agonising decision to turn off life support for one of them, Rihanna, who had developed serious complications at birth. Remarkably, Rihanna survived – kept alive, it seems, partly through the bond she had already forged with her twin, Sibhe. Rihanna remains severely disabled and leads a challenging, but happy, life. Her family treasures her. 

Brian Hartnett is a DJ, who developed schizophrenia as a consequence of sustained drug use in his twenties. He started to hear voices in his head, often aggressive ones. But then, a new voice appeared, which he believes to be Jesus. Part of him knows that this is his ‘madness’ talking, and yet he still finds this presence profoundly inspiring and positive. For him, the choice to listen to his voices, rather than trying to banish them, has helped him to reconcile his two conflicting worlds of psychosis and reality. He now helps others do the same through the advocacy group he founded. 

Edward Horgan was a career soldier, a Commandant in the Irish Army, who saw active peace–keeping duty in several war zones, including Cyprus and Sinai. What he witnessed disturbed him so much that, in retirement, he became a peace activist. During the second Iraq War, he risked his family home to bring a case against the Irish Government for, as he saw it, compromising Irish neutrality by allowing the passage of American troops through Ireland. In the process, he made himself a pariah among his former army comrades. Then, in 2004, the Kerry–born grandfather risked his life trying to arrest President George W Bush on Irish soil for conducting what Edward saw as an illegal war in Iraq. He was arrested, but never convicted and remains undeterred.

Joe Duffy and Desmond Tutu
Joe Duffy and Desmond Tutu
Joe Duffy’s Spirit Level
Sundays 2230–2300, 16th November – 21st December, RTÉ One
Joe Duffy (right, with Bishop Desmond Tutu) returns with a new run of the series that explores all aspects of contemporary Irish belief through a mixture of conversation, features and music. This time, Joe adds to the mix a studio audience, who will be contributing to the programme.

As mentioned above, the series begins with a programme examining contemporary Irish attitudes and beliefs about death and the afterlife, as part of the Once In A Lifetime season.

Sunday Worship
RTÉ continues to offer a Mass OR Service ever Sunday on RTÉ One and a Mass AND a Service every Sunday on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra, from 11.00am. There is also Mass in Irish every week at 11.00am on Raidio na Gaeltachta.

Highlights in the coming weeks include:
A National Service of Remembrance on Armistice Sunday, marking the centenary of the outbreak of World War I. President Michael D Higgins will lead those laying wreaths in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, in memory of the 52,000 Irishmen who gave their lives in that war.
3.15pm, on Sunday 9th November, on RTÉ One and RTÉ Radio 1 Extra

An Ecumenical Service in memory and thanksgiving for the lives of fallen and deceased members of the Garda Siochana.
11.10am on Sunday 30th November, on RTÉ One and at 11.45am on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra

iwitness logo
iwitness logo

‘The spirit of Ireland, one voice and one minute at a time.’
These nightly one–minute reflections after the late News on RTÉ One, feature people of every faith, from every walk of contemporary Irish life, talking about the things, people and beliefs that inspire them.

Carols From Kilkenny Castle
1830–1930, Christmas Eve, on RTÉ One.
Mary Kennedy presents a star–studded festive celebration from Kilkenny Castle.


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