Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Feast of St Francis, 4th October

Working in the garden with my trusty helper-supervisor

Tomorrow is the feast-day of St Francis. In thinking of him we all, no doubt, think also of nature, the Creator, and those most humble, serviceable and faithful of creatures, the animals we know -- whether on a farm in the country or in our suburban homes. Why these creatures 'speak' to us so powerfully must be because, unlike us, they do not have language. We speak to them while they can never reply except in their own unique non-verbal way -- which can, of course, express so much, be it bark, miaow . . . and all the other sounds they use to communicate their feelings. Human beings are just higher animals, we say, only to come up against some very complex questions: 'How are we "higher" exactly?  In what way are we different? What use have we made of language? What does our thought arrive at?'  These are the questions that are somewhere in my head as I (in the photo above) stroke the little head of my cat who has very kindly come out to help (and supervise) me in the garden.

The Blessing of Animals takes place on Sunday the 7th of October on the steps of the Presbytery at Holy Redeemer. Fr Dan [Nguyen] will begin the service at 3pm and we welcome all creatures great and small, furred, finned and feathered to join us in a celebration of the life of St. Francis of Assisi and our animal companions.  

This invitation can be found here in the newsletter (30th September) for the parish of the Holy Redeemer, Bray. We don't (yet!) have such a blessing ceremony in our parish. So, instead or in the meantime, let this corner here be where we think of and ask their Creator's blessing on all our animal friends, those wordless companions with us on life's long, sometimes joyful, sometimes weary road.

Readers are welcome to send in their own pet story or photo.
(PS  Photos of the Pets/Animals Blessing in Balbriggan Parish here.)

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Pope's Visit : A Parish Website Record

The photos and texts below will serve as our testimony to, and memory of, a unique event.  (With all photos, click to enlarge. Once one is enlarged, you can view the whole sequence in enlarged view.)

Sunday 19th   Read Fr Michael Shortall's sermon here.

Wed. 22nd      Mass in RDS during Pastoral Congress

Cardinal Kevin Farrell and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
Photo :  Newcastle Parishioner

Friday 24th :   Capuchin Day Centre, Bow Street                                                                              
This photo was taken around 5 p.m. on Friday and shows the entrance to the Capuchin Day Centre on Bow Street.  Opposite the doorway to the centre is a row of houses called St Francis Terrace. Look at the street on google maps. Donal McMahon (writer of this account) with his wife Mary went to see the film about Pope Francis by Wim Wenders, A Man of His Word, showing in the Lighthouse Cinema, Smithfield, that day at 6.30 p.m. We were in plenty of time, so we walked over to the Capuchin church on Church Street to see the preparations for the visit of Pope Francis the following day. We passed by the Day Centre on the way. Imagine, the central character in the film we were going to see would be coming up that very street tomorrow! The papal flags were out, as you can see, but otherwise all was quiet round the Day Centre. Pope Francis walked through that door about 24 hours later with the eyes of millions on him (in attendance and viewing on tv). See the video of that moment here (fourth video down). The photo below (taken next day) shows the Pope on his way to the Day Centre via College Green and Dame Street.

Sat. 25th    The Pope on His Way to the Day Centre 

Status Civitatis Vaticanae
City State of the Vatican - in Dublin City
Photo : Newcastle Parishioner

Saturday Evening   In Croke Park

Ronan and Deborah McDermott
With their children and Ronan's father Liam

Sunday 26th  Mass in Phoenix Park

The three fine photos above were taken by Matt O'Sullivan (Chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council) who attended the Mass with his family.

Before the Mass:   A Unique Fleeting Moment Captured for Ever here  (thanks to Tabitha Thompson, Newcastle)

After the Mass :

Everyone Happy 
Mairin Leonard  of Newcastle with Family and Friends,  

A Final Word and Summary 
(from a Newcastle Parishioner)

What a wonderful gathering of families and clergy from around the world! From the official opening in the RDS on Tuesday evening to the closing Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park on Sunday evening, anybody attending any of the events could not but be impressed by the good humour and sheer joy of all who travelled from around the world to attend this amazing event. 

In the RDS from Wednesday through Friday there was an incredible array of top-level speakers, experts in their fields, who spoke on a wide range of topics, pertinent to contemporary Christianity. In addition, each day there were programmes for children and teenagers, exhibitions, prayer spaces and a concelebrated Mass in the main arena. On Saturday, there was great excitement as Pope Francis made his way around the streets of Dublin in the popemobile, squeezing it in with all his other engagements on the day. Everybody was able to view on TV the once-off incredible Festival of Families from Croke Park. Then there was our second Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park – truly historic.

THANK YOU to that small organising group from the Archdiocese who worked relentlessly to provide us with this wonderful event. Thank you too to the thousands of volunteers. The photos above (and all those you took yourselves with your families) will allow us relive the personal, familial and communal joyfulness ('laetitia') that we were all blessed with over the course of those wonderful late-summer days.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Mass Times from Sunday 5th August

Please note that some changes have been made to the times of Mass in our three churches. You will find the new times either under 'Mass Times' on the menu-bar above or else here.

New times have also been brought in for the sacraments of Baptism (starting in September) and Reconciliation.  See under 'Sacraments' on the menu-bar above.

Sacramental High Points

Outside Tuam Cathedral, 23rd June
Rev. John Regan, Fr Gerard Quirke and Mr Donal McMahon 

Children embark on their preparation for First Holy Communion in September and, after a year of following the Do This in Memory programme in the schools and at Mass on Sundays, they reach their goal in May with the reception of the sacrament. Older children prepare in a similar way for Confirmation and receive that sacrament towards the end of the school year. Weddings, too, take place more frequently as the summer months approach. Finally, there is the far less common sacrament of ordination. In this case we have mature men studying hard over several years in the national seminary of Maynooth or in the Irish College in Rome, all the while discerning whether this is indeed the right road for them. At the end of the academic year, they are ordained in their parishes all over Ireland -- or in the cathedrals, as was the case with our own Seamus McEntee on 3 June 2014 in Dublin's Pro-Cathedral (let's recall the joyful occasion here). Robert Smyth from Knocklyon who studied in Maynooth and in Rome was ordained priest for the Dublin diocese on Friday, 29th June, in the Pro-Cathedral (read Archbishop Martin's homily here and read Fr Robert's story here).

Beyond our parishes but involving two people from them, the photo above shows Fr Gerard Quirke outside St Jarlath's Cathedral,Tuam, following his ordination on Sunday 3rd June as a priest of the Tuam diocese. On the left is John Regan who was ordained priest for the Pallottine order in St Mary's Westport on Sunday, 23rd June. On the right is Donal McMahon of Saggart who taught Gerard and John during their first and his final two years in Maynooth (2011-1013). They then proceeded to their studies of Theology, when they were taught by Fr Michael Shortall.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Cemetery Masses 2018

Newcastle (Ballynakelly)    Sunday 10 June, 2 p.m.
Mass in cemetery followed by blessing of graves
St Finian's                               Sunday 17 June, 10.30 a.m.
Mass in St Finian's Church followed by blessing of graves
Saggart                                    Sunday 24 June, 11.30 a.m.
Mass in St Mary's Church followed by blessing of graves