Friday, 26 March 2021

Holy Week 2021


     Holy Week Timetable  link


"Again, this year our Holy Week liturgies will be celebrated behind closed doors. But liturgy in its simplest form, with the ministry of music given to a cantor, without concelebration, with ministers of the word as needed and streamed live, where available, can be a great source of comfort and offer a sense of solidarity for our parishioners." (National Centre for Liturgy, Holy Week 2021, p.2)


The Easter ceremonies will be streamed from Saggart church, with readers (see here) drawn from every church in the Pastoral Area. 


A Divine Mercy novena will take place in Saggart church at 4 p.m. daily from Good Friday, 2nd April, to Divine Mercy Sunday, 11th April. 


Resources for participating in the liturgy at home

  • Triduum Booklet  This is dated 2020, but the Triduum Booklet remains the same from year to year.

St Finian's, Newcastle

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Bishops' Urgent Appeal to Taoiseach

A statement was released today by the Irish Bishops' Conference following the second day of their annual spring meeting in Maynooth, held this year online. The four archbishops had met the Taoiseach on the 19th February "to continue the dialogue about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the lives of people in our Church". The bishops convening as an entire body yesterday felt that

Despite assurances from the Taoiseach last month that the concerns expressed by the Archbishops would be given serious consideration, we note with disappointment that none of the issues raised has been responded to. We therefore make an urgent appeal that the following matters be addressed :

–  That the easing of restrictions from Level 5 should include the restoration of public worship, albeit in a safe and limited way. For people of faith not to be free to worship until regulations return to Level 2, whilst many other restrictions are eased, is seen as particularly distressing and unjust.

–  That the number of mourners permitted at funeral services be increased, with immediate effect, noting that in Northern Ireland this number has not been reduced below 25. The current restriction places immense burdens on grieving families, compounding the pain of their loss.

We strongly believe that allowing these measures would contribute greatly to giving a sense of hope and consolation to many in our Church – in line with the central message of Easter.  These measures would be a substantial support to the wellbeing of individuals and parish communities, and ultimately serve the Common Good of all.

The statement concludes thus:

We encourage Catholics to make their views on these issues known to their own TDs and local representatives.

We wish to remain responsive to public health messaging. For this reason we are recommending the postponement of the sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation ceremonies for the time being.   

We continue to keep in prayer all who are suffering in this time of Covid, and all who contribute so much to their care.

The statment can also be read on the website of the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Lent in Time of Lockdown

  • You will find Pope Francis's Message for Lent here.
  • See our diocesan resources for prayer and reflection here and here.
  • IN OUR PARISH  Fr Colin will be holding a Lenten Holy Hour (online) in Saggart Church every Friday from 3 to 4 pm. Further information here.

We will all be looking for places of refreshment as we continue to make our slow way through Lockdown 3. One such place is our own Rathcoole Park (see photo below). There we can let our thoughts flow while enjoying the view of the birds, the distant mountains and even, glimpsed through the trees on the horizon, the spire of Saggart church. The poet-priest Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) might come to mind (especially to young people preparing for this year's Leaving Certificate!) as someone who thought deeply about the natural world. When I see a chaffinch in the back garden, for instance, I remember his reference in Pied Beauty to "finches' wings". He dedicates a poem about another bird, the kestrel (far rarer than the chaffinch!), to "Christ Our Lord": The Windhover. As regards our Lenten theme here, one of his final poems (written in Dublin) has as subtitle, The Comfort of the Resurrection. So let your thoughts wander freely and see where they take you.

At various moments and in various places over the period of Lent and in the company of those we find ourselves placed among (providentially? -- there's a theme for meditation!), may we rise above our trying circumstances (be "[brought] out of ourselves", in the Pope's words) to a higher plane of serenity and peace.

You might like to read another issue of our occasional newsletter containing the names of those who died in January as well as some material on Saggart church:  J4 Newsletter.


  • Message from Archbishop Farrell to Parents of Children due to receive the sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation this year: see YouTube video here.