THE PIONEER TOTAL ABSTINENCE ASSOCIATION OF THE SACRED HEART
MESSAGE OF CONGRATULATIONS FOR PIONEER MAGAZINE
FROM CARDINAL SEÁN BRADY, ARCHBISHOP OF ARMAGH
9 November 1998
I gladly congratulate the Pioneer Association on reaching the centenary of its foundation on 28 December 1898. Within twenty years the Association had more than a quarter of a million members. Today it has half a million throughout the world. That growth tells its own story.
The founder, Father Cullen, wisely concentrated on commitment rather than numbers. He emphasised prayer and fasting as means of reparation to the heart of Christ for sins of intemperance. He believed that the ‘demon’ of intemperance could only be driven out in this way.
The Association has inspired amazing loyalty and enthusiasm. The witness of the Pioneer is silent and humble, gentle and kind, devoid of all superiority, arrogance, or pharisaism. It makes other people reflect on their own attitudes and actions. It calls for honesty, integrity and dependability. That integrity, one of its great strengths, explains its success over the last 100 years. No-one can calculate the immense contribution of the Pioneer Association to the stability of family life in Ireland during this century.
I am convinced that the Association will continue to play a very significant role in Irish society. Intemperance is still a large problem. There is need for a counter sign, another way. The Pioneers provide that sign splendidly. With initiatives like RAY and Young Pioneers they have proved their adaptability and capacity to survive.
The many Centenary events will demonstrate once again the transforming power and vibrancy of the Association. They will not only dispel the doubts of the faint-hearted but instil new heart and new courage. May they inspire a new commitment to the self-sacrificing prayer and abstinence of Father Cullen. Those ideals have served the Association outstandingly during the century that is ending. There are many good reasons to believe that they will do the same in the Millennium that is about to begin.