Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Times of Masses, Christmas 2017

St Finian's Church Tower at Dawn

For times of Masses over the Christmas period please see the J4 Newsletter for Sunday 17th, p.2.  To access the newsletter, click on the link in the sidebar (above right).

Christmas in the Square

Monday, 27 November 2017

Let Us Pray for the Dead 2016-2017

May He support us all day long, 
till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, 
and the busy world is hushed, 
and the fever of life is over,              
and our work is done.

Then in His mercy may He give us a safe lodging, 
and a holy rest,
and peace at the last.   (John Henry Newman)

Saggart Cemetery (New Section)

Maura Browne
Wayne Keogh
Michael O'Dwyer
Christine O'Reilly
Christina Blackburn
Mary Dullaghan
Frances Whelan
Judy Lucey
Mary Drury
Bernie Callaghan
Eamonn Fitzgerald
Michaela Gonda
John O’Brien
Denis Kelly
Joan Mulvaney
Carmel McDermott
Rose McGlynn
Monica Hanlon
Charles Rudden
Maura Greaney
John Paul English
Eamonn Kenny
Elizabeth Erritty
Thomas Fairbanks
Brian O’Brien
Mary Gibbons
Marie O'Dwyer
Barry Lenihan
Joseph Rainsford
Thomas Moore
Susan Gibbons
James Murphy
Donald Hall
Esther Kenny
Kevin Shiji
Thomas Joyce
Jean Gordon
Eileen Ryan
Declan Slater
John Malone

New Cemetery, Newcastle

Joseph Sharry
Ernest Mooney
Ellen Fox
Patrick Farrell
Noel Mannix
Mary Rogers
Stephen Donnelly
Matthew Lee
Ann Kelly
Angela Burke
Una Healy
Imelda Nolan
Mary Condron
Mary Feely
May Hayes
Mai O’Reilly
James Kilgallon
Brenda Tier
Agnes Janssens
Robert Burke
Pauline Cullen
James Leonard

Louis Delahogue's Tribute to Fr Andrew Hart

Anno 1815
From the Epitaph of Fr Andrew Hart,  St Mary's, Saggart


                          A Little Historic Moment

Two years ago, on Sunday 22 November 2015, the bicentenary was marked of the death of Fr Andrew Hart, P.P. of the ‘United Parishes of Saggart, Rathcoole and Newcastle Lyons’ (d. 20 November 1815, aged 30).  Since the Mass that morning happened to be a children’s Communion Preparation Mass, the talk delivered by Donal McMahon had to be adapted for a young audience, with the emphasis being put on the 'man on the wall' (see the report here). On Sunday 19th this year, the day before his anniversary, Fr Hart’s life was again recalled, this time for grown-ups. On this occasion the focus was the address (in Latin) given to the students in Maynooth the day after Fr Hart’s funeral by Louis Delahogue, the French-born Professor of Theology who had taught him there, had known him there later as Dean, and who had attended his funeral. This address was now heard for the first time in English more than two hundred years later in Fr Hart's own parish church, not far away from the site of his burial, a site distinguished, as we know, by a fine life-sized effigy.

          Andrew Hart and Louis Gilles Delahogue

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Remembrance Masses 2017

The annual Masses to remember those who died during the past year will take place on the following dates in November::

Saggart/R'coole/Brittas    St Mary's,  Friday 3rd, 7.30 pm

Newcastle Lyons           St Finian's,  Saturday 25th, 7.00 pm  

Family members of the deceased have received invitations.     All parishioners are also very welcome to attend, to offer our support to those who have been bereaved this year and to pray for our own deceased loved ones from earlier years.

Please see the Newsletter for times of Mass for the feast of All Saints, 1st November.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Parishioners Who Died in WWI

John Nolan, b. Saggart (sixth name from top left) 
Click to enlarge

Archbishop Eamon Martin paid tribute to his grand-uncle Edward Doherty at  the unveiling of a plaque on the 22nd September last in St Patrick's Church, Iskaheen (in the Inishowen peninsula near Muff), to honour men from the area who died in World War I. Gunner Edward Doherty (Royal Garrison Artillery) died 19 September 1917, aged 33. Archbishop Martin had visited his grave last year where, as he says in the address he gave at the unveiling, '[I] knelt down and prayed at the white Portland headstone'. Read the text of his address and view a video of his visit  here.  

Today, 12 October 2017, is the day John Nolan from Saggart parish died a hundred years ago near Ypres (in Belgium), like Archbishop Martin's ancestor. He enlisted at the start of the war and was sent to France on 17 August 1914. On 18 June 1917 he was awarded the Military Medal and his name entered in the official London Gazette -- but, regrettably, without any accompanying citation. He was killed in action during the Third Battle of Ypres on 12th October, his body never being recovered. He is remembered on the memorial in Tyne Cot cemetery. (Thanks to David Power, South Dublin County Council Library, for this information. For a photo of the material compiled by David on John Nolan for the SDCC exhibition on the Third Battle of Ypres, see here.)

The 1901 census tells us (see link herethat he lived in a thatched cottage on Fortunestown Lane with his mother (55 and head of the family), his two sisters (23 and 22), and his brother Peter (17), he being 20 years old. The family were all Roman Catholic. Mary, a widow, lived in no.4 in a line of five houses. It was a 3rd class (i.e. thatched etc.) house, while their next-door neighbours lived in 2nd class ones. The other families describe their occupation as farmer/farm labourer, while Mary didn't enter any occupation for the females and 'general labourer' for the males. Ten years later, at the time of the next census, the Tippers of No.2 were in the Nolans' former home, while the Nolans themselves were gone out of Fortunestown.

William Newsom in No.5 was a horse trainer, as was his son John. He is down as owner of No.4, the Nolans' house. Our John no doubt learned a lot about horses from these neighbours and, having no land, went to work eventually for the Royal Horse Artillery/Royal Field Artillery, his regiment in the British army. That would explain why he didn't stay at home and find a job in the paper mill like the other young men in the area. He married later and, after his death at the age of 36, the official register of soldiers' effects tells us that Florence Emily inherited his -- a rather ironic word in this case -- estate.

Visit Tyne Cot cemetery here at the website of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for more details about him, including a downloadable commemorative certificate. The 'Grave Registration' list shows him as one of eight Nolans buried in this cemetery, four with Irish addresses (no address or place of birth given for John). In our own Memorial Book to be found in the Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge (with illustrations by Harry Clarke) we find his name recorded along with his place of birth (see photo above). As we can see, he is one of ten men of the same name who all died in World War I.

Maybe we too could kneel, if only symbolically, and whisper a prayer for John Nolan today : in the words of the Mass, 'Remember, Lord, those who have died' -- in John's case, in a tragically violent way in World War I.  And let this small corner of his parish's website be dedicated to him.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Farewell, Fr Aidan. Welcome, Fr Kevin

After seven years of dedicated service to the two parishes of our pastoral area, Fr Aidan is moving to the parish of Castledermot. Newcastle parish where he was mainly based will be holding a farewell reception in his honour. This will take place on Wednesday, 13th September, in St Finian's Hall,  8 p.m,  All parishioners welcome.

Fr Kevin Doherty has been appointed as Co-Parish Priest of our two parishes. He was previously in Celbridge parish.  

See Fr Aidan's own words of farewell in the last here, bottom of p.2) of the newsletters he has put together himself week by week for a long number of years. For that and for all he has done for our joint parishes, on my own behalf and on behalf of whoever visits this site, I thank him. 

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Suggested Reading/Viewing

Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth (+Moon), Mars,  Jupiter, Saturn, Urnaus, Neptune

Starting from the here and now, you might like to read a recent interview with our own Fr Seamus McEntee which appeared in the Irish Catholic, 24 August 2017 (see it here).

Then, maybe wondering further about the here and now and where we fit in and where we are going, you might like to watch a recently released Irish-made film that raises these vast questions. The Farthest tells the story of the Voyager I and 2 spacecraft that were launched forty years ago in 1977 to find out more about the remote regions of the solar galaxy. Read about the making of the film here and view a trailer (and watch it in full screen!) here.  This film is being broadcast tonight on RTE 1 (10.15 p.m to 12.30 a.m.). I suggest you record it if you can't view it.   

The heavens declare the glory of God, says the Psalmist (Ps. 19.1). On the other hand, 'the silence of those infinite spaces terrifies me,' says Pascal.   We today try to see how we may really say out those words of the psalmist in praise and with real conviction. Newman (Apologia pro Vita Sua, Ch.3) says how he had, before his conversion to Catholicism, 'an habitual notion that my mind had not found its ultimate rest and that in some sense or other I was on [a] journey'. Is not mankind also on a journey towards its 'ultimate rest', a journey of discovery that takes the form of space exploration today, a continuation of those voyages of discovery of the 15th/16th centuries? It may be said that 'Voyager' refers to those who launched it as much as to the spacecraft itself. 'Fare forward, voyagers,' says T.S. Eliot (Four Quartets) and adds later: 'We shall not case from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time.' New statements and observations are being made today as mankind continues its efforts to know the purpose and truth about life on earth, the truth about itself as the inhabitant of the little blue ball in the photo above. Knowing that would indeed make us agree wholeheartedly with the psalmist and, looking around us and above us, 'declare [today too] the glory of God'.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Summer Flowers, Outside and Inside

A small photographic tribute to our flower planters and flower arrangers, in the great world outside and inside where we pray for that world, i.e. the church.  The occasions are the Tidy Towns preparations and, below, the decoration of the main altar in Saggart for Cemetery Sunday Mass, 25th June.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Upgrading Our Churches

A new Finance Committee was announced in the newsletter of 7th May (here, p.2). This committee has identified some renovation projects for our churches, as outlined in the newsletter of 4th June (here, p.1). Parishioners are invited to suggest ideas for further projects and a Suggestion Box has been provided in each of our churches to receive such suggestions. In the words of the newsletter:

SUGGESTION BOX   A suggestion box has been placed in each of our churches. Its purpose is two-fold:
1.  Suggestions for other projects that you would like to be considered. Each project will be reviewed carefully and prioritized.
2.  Suggestions for any input / support that you may be able to provide in order to support the completion of the suggested project(s).

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Volunteers for Cemetery Mass

Sun. 11 June, 2 pm             Mass in Newcastle Cemetery   
Sat.  17 June, 2 pm             Mass in St Finian’s for Brownstown
Sun. 18 June, 10.30 am      Mass in St Finian’s for St Finian’s 
Sun. 25 June, 11.30 am      Mass in St Mary’s for Saggart  
Mon. 3 July, 7.30 pm          Mass, St Finian's, for Colmanstown
   Celebrant for the Mass on 3rd July will be Fr Seamus McEntee

The only one of our Masses being celebrated in the cemetery itself is that taking place in Newcastle on Sunday 11th. Newcastle cemetery also caters for the deceased of Saggart, Rathcoole and even Clondalkin. This Mass obviously requires a lot of preparation and organization and any help that people can offer would be most welcome. For more information please see the Newsletter for 28.5. 

Saturday, 27 May 2017

St Finian's Church Redecoration Fund

Presentation of Cheque for €600 to Fr Gilligan,
St Finian's Community Hall, Monday 15th May

At a Bealtaine Coffee Morning on the 15th May, Margaret Maher, Chairperson of The Ladies Social Group Newcastle, presented Fr John Gilligan with a cheque for €600 towards the cost of re-painting St Finian’s Church. A most enjoyable morning.  The ladies also presented a short comedy-musical sketch, ‘The Line’, as well as a musical ukulele rendition. Our local group of Ladies are certainly up to the mark with the Bealtaine Festival theme of ‘Celebrating Creativity in older age’. Well done to all involved!

Photographs are compliments of Cathy Weatherston Photography, Newcastle. And thanks to Bridget Breen who sent in the story.

Please click on photo above for full-screen view. Click the close button, top right of full screen, to come back here. 

For a slide-show of further photos please click here. (Use the controls at bottom-left of screen or simply click on the screen to move to the next slide.)

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Read the Newsletter. Lots Happening!

The Newsletters for the 7th and the 14th have many interesting 'stories'. (To read them, click on 'Parish Newsletter' in the side-bar opposite and click again on the date in the grid.)

1.  First Holy Communion and Confirmation

Young people are taking important steps in their religious lives during this month. Please see dates in the newsletters.  If anyone would like a photo put up on this site, please send it to donalmcmahon@eircom.net. The photo should be of a group, as family photos would be too numerous to cater for. (PS 23.5 That last statement should now read:  any photo is welcome, family or group!)

2.  Timetable for Cemetery Masses

The times of the annual Cemetery Masses are given in the newsletter.

3.  Parish Finances

Page 2 of the Newsletter for 7th May gives a very important overview by the newly established Finance Committee of parish finances for Newcastle and for Saggart/Rathcoole/Brittas, each parish being audited separately.  In the case of Saggart, there is a report on the present state of the parish's finances relating to St Mary's renovation.  We are talking in mind-boggling seven- and six-figure terms here (e.g.  one million euro as the cost of renovation, defrayed by a grant of €680,000 from diocesan funds). This is the first update to appear since the fund-raising campaign Living the Joy of the Gospel of May 2015.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Timetable for Easter Ceremonies

St Patrick Lights Paschal Fire on Hill of Slane
(From the Monument to the Saint in Westport)
The words at the top IN DIE ILLA RESURGEMUS are taken from St Patrick's Confession (Par.59) and mean ON THAT DAY WE WILL RISE AGAIN.

Please click here to read our Newsletter giving (p.2) the timetable of the Easter Ceremonies.

Monday, 3 April 2017

World Meeting of Families 2018

Closing Mass for 50th Eucharistic Congress, Dublin 2012
 Sunday, 17th June 2012, Croke Park
View from Seating Area Allocated to Our Parishes
This morning we had a special collection to raise funds for the holding in Dublin next year of the 9th World Meeting of Families  In a letter dated 25th March to Cardinal Kevin Farrell and Archbishop Martin, the Pope addresses the Church in Ireland thus: 'My thoughts go in a special way to the archdiocese of Dublin and to all the dear Irish nation for the generous welcome and commitment involved in hosting such an important event. May the Lord recompense you as of now, granting you abundant heavenly favours. May the Holy Family of Nazareth guide, accompany and bless your service, and all the families involved in the preparation of the great World Meeting in Dublin.' (For full text of the letter see J4 for 2.4. Incidentally, Cardinal Farrell is a man from Drimnagh: see his story here.)

The last big event of this kind was the Eucharistic Congress in June 2012. We all have our different and abiding memories of that summer.  Again, a huge amount of organization went into hosting the Congress, as will, no doubt, have to go into hosting the World Meeting of Families. Many of us can remember the Ireland of 1979 when Pope John Paul II came (to the Republic).  Before that, there was the 31st Eucharistic Congress of 1932. The series The Revolution Papers (No.1, 28 December 2015, devoted to the Easter Rising) has reached No.65 this week with an issue devoted to the Eucharistic Congress of 1932. The issue of the Irish Independent for Monday 27th June (reproduced in facsimile) makes for fascinating reading as it recounts in detail all the epic events of the preceding few days culminating in the Mass held in the Phoenix Park, followed by Benediction on O'Connell Bridge. (See the video here for film footage of the time.) The photo below is of Benediction on O'Connell Bridge. Reading the Independent or looking at the film footage of the time will prompt us to compare the Ireland of then to the Ireland of today as venues for major Catholic events. And so our focus turns to the next big such event in 2018, for which a promotional video can be viewed here.

Eucharistic Congress, Dublin 1932 : Benediction, O'Connell Bridge

Monday, 13 March 2017

Beannachtai Lá Fhéile Pádraig

Cover of an old prize-book,
St Patrick's College, Maynooth

The above is a very traditional representation of St Patrick. Every Sunday in St Mary's we gaze up at him in his bishop's robes in the stained-glass window above the altar, between St Brigid and St Colmcille. Next Friday is his day, then, and we (especially those called after him) will think of him in many different ways, each of us conjuring up our own images and associations. The fact that there are so many schools, colleges, hospitals (e.g. St Patrick's), streets (e.g. our own St Patrick's Crescent, Rathcoole) and even towns (e.g. Patrickswell) called after him shows just how deeply influenced Ireland has been by this British-born propagator of the faith who, back in Britain after six years' captivity in Ireland, heard as in a dream the haunting voice of the Irish calling him to come, this time voluntarily, and walk among them once more.

One lasting association for me. Many years ago, my wife and I found ourselves abroad (in London) on St Patrick's day. As it happened, evening drew on without our having done anything to mark the day, even (mea culpa, because of an all-day meeting for me) going to Mass. We decided to go to a production of Hamlet. It looked like the day was thus going to end on a Shakespearean note far removed from St Patrick and Ireland. The first act unrolls and scene five arrives. Hamlet sees his father's ghost and, after rejoining his friends, tries to conceal what has happened, while apologizing to Horatio for his mysteriousness. Horatio reassures him, saying, 'There's no offence, my lord' but Hamlet disagrees: 'Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio, / And much offence too.'  (The ghost has come from purgatory and the saint is invoked here because of his connection, known far and wide in medieval times, with St Patrick's Purgatory, Lough Derg, Co. Donegal.)

So, against all expectations and quite unintentionally, we did mark St Patrick's Day that year after all!

Please see the Newsletter 12.3 for times of Masses and details of the local parade.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Feast of St Brigid / Lá Fhéile Bríde

St Brigid in East Window
Saggart Church
The above photo is not a very good one but will have to do until a better one can be found/supplied.  The feast-day of St Brigid prompts us to take a close look at this window that we know so well but never really dwell on.   Seeing it up close, however indistinctly (click to enlarge), we notice that the name is in Latin (S. Brigida). We also notice that she is bearing a branch of  oak leaves, symbolizing the Church of the Oak Tree (Cill Dara).  (Next year we will feature the fine window of St Brigid in Newcastle church.)

There is still a community of sisters in Kildare today, the convent of the Brigidine Sisters called Solas Bhríde.  Read about the community here and about how they are celebrating their founder's feast-day here. The life of the Brigidine convent and school in Mountrath which closed in 2009 is recalled in these photos.

Contrasting with the 19th century window in our parish church is the window in St Mary's, Ballinrobe, created by Harry Clarke in the following century, an account of which can be found here (not easy to read in parts, e.g. on the subject of the oak leaves). 

But what is surely one of the most spectacular (as we have to call it) visual portraits of St Brigid is to be seen in northern Italy, in the early 16th century chapel located in the grounds of the Villa Suardi in Bergamo. In 1524 the Renaissance artist Lorenzo Lotto depicted scenes from the life of St Brigid (as well as St Barbara) in frescoes that should -- in addition to our own homely portrait in Saggart, of course, -- really concentrate our minds on her feast-day. See here for a description of the wonderful frescoes, making sure to to click on the links at the bottom of the page for some really close-up views. (For a general account of the Villa Suardi in a fairly obvious English translation from the original Italian, see here.  Details of the St Brigid fresco are given in the 6th and 5th paragraphs from the end.)

Finally, back to our own excellent art/craft work in Saggart: 

St Brigid's Cross (work of Mervyn Ennis)

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Belated New Year Wishes

Cover of an Old Writing Pad
click on photo to enlarge

     May God 

     look after us all in 2017   

     And may we 

     look after each other