Covid-19 Restrictions Ease

The parish Covid-19 Committee met this week to discuss the recent easing of restrictions (6th September – see here for webpage), and what that means for the parish – especially for the liturgies in the Churches.

50% Capacity (regardless of immunity status of attendees)

The Church of the Immaculate Conception, Tenure can now accommodate up to 150 members of the congregation.

The Church of Our Lady of the Nativity, Fieldstown can now accommodate up to 75 members of the congregation.

Photo by Griffin Wooldridge on Pexels.com

Stewards will be on hand to assist parishioners find a place that is comfortable for them.

Protective Measures

Masks will still be required, as will hand sanitising. Please try and maintain as much social distancing as possible, especially when moving in/out of the Church, and while receiving Holy Communion.

Distribution of Holy Communion

Holy Communion will now be distributed at the traditional time in the Mass – ie, at The Communion Rite, following the Lord’s Prayer, and the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God)

Please follow the direction of the Stewards.

Please allow as much social distancing as possible while preparing to receive and following reception of the Eucharist.

Please only receive Holy Communion in the hand

Please try and sanitise your hands (gels will be freely available throughout the Church) after touching your mask.

After Mass

Please do not linger inside the Church after Mass is concluded.

The Church will be sanitised after each Mass.

All other measures (ie seats cordoned off, collection baskets at the Church doors, one way systems) will remain in place until the 22nd October, at the earliest. A further review will be held by the Parish covid-19 committee at that time.

Thank you to our committee members, our stewards, and indeed to all our parishioners for co-operating with these measures designed to keep the Church as safe a space as possible.

Swapping Pulpits

Last weekend saw the first in a new initiative among the parishes of St. Colmcille’s Pastoral Area, where the local priests celebrated Masses in neighbouring parishes. It seems to have gone very well, and we would love to hear your feedback about the initiative. Please feel free to contact any of the parishes by email.

This is part of a process to facilitate closer collaboration within the Pastoral Area as the future of all our parishes will lie in this direction.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The area takes in the four parishes on the east coast running from Togher in the North to Termonfechin in the South. Clogherhead in the East, and Tenure in the West. An area approximately 190 sq. Km. There are over 2,500 catholic families in this area. The area has 9 Churches, 9 schools, and is served by 4 active priests, with 3 priests ‘in residence’ in the area. Each parish has an active Parish Pastoral Council, and the four parishes together have a Pastoral Area Resource Team (PART), who along with the Vf (Vicar forane – an appointment by the Archbishop) promote closer working together of the Pastoral Area.

Many of the structures we have at the moment evolved in an Ireland where most people walked to Church, and at a time when there was a period of expansion in the Catholic faith in this country.  Now we have entered a new phase.  

There is a need for consolidation to take account of how faith practice has developed and will continue to develop into the future. The Covid-19 Pandemic has also had a significant effect with many people still choosing to engage with Church via webcam, and as priests become older and fewer in number, more  things will happen together, rather than in individual parishes.  

Facing the Future: 
As we go forward, it will be unlikely that there will be sufficient priests to replace all those who retire. Therefore, remaining priests will become responsible for larger areas. In order to best prepare for this eventuality, we must begin now by working together on the things we can, and putting into place the structures which will help us meet the challenges of the parishes of the future. 

Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

Change is not easy – for any of us! It can bring many challenges, and often make people very fearful. However, it is important to remember as a people of faith that we do not face these realities alone. God’s Spirit is with us as we seek to navigate the way forward, especially in these post-pandemic times.

While the future will certainly bring change, there will be many things which will stay the same, and there will be new opportunites to engage with faith and Church both in our own parish and the wider Pastoral Area.

1. Praying for the future;

2. Taking part in the life of your parish/pastoral area using your gifts/talents to benefit the life of the parish/area;

3. Share your faith in Jesus with those around you;

4. Keep yourself informed and up to date with developments on this front.

Webcam Stats

This has been a real blessing to our parish. We acknowledge that, for many reasons, there are still parishioners who are unable or unwilling to return to Church. 

Of course the ‘Sunday Obligation’ remains suspended by the Episcopal Conference, and we do hope that – in time – many people will feel safe to return.  However, until then, we appreciate the ability to ‘connect’ with parishioners and those further afield in this way. 

These are our stats for the month of August.  The important number is the ‘5mins to 1 Hour’ number & the 1 hour + which shows the number of people who typically stay for the length of a Mass.

Webcam Stats for August 2021 (as of 20th August)

You can view any Mass/Wedding/Funera/Baptism held in the Church by visiting www.churchservices.tv and searching for our Church by name or county. Please share this news with friends and family who live away from the parish.

It is possible to view the live stream on PC’s, laptops and a range of Apple and Android and other devices. They also have Roku app – for their TV box and stick.

The webcam cost over €4,000 initially to purchase & install, and costs approximately €60 per week to run. Some parishioners have already given donations towards this Thank You. If you would like make a donation to support the Camera, please contact our parish office.

Cemetery Sunday Blessings of Graves 2021

Will NOT take place this year because of the restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19.

People may wish to bless their own graves at this time.

Fr. Paddy, in consultation with the committees of each graveyard; Mullary, Monasterboice & Ballymakenny, will arrange to hold the traditional graveyard Mass at a later time (possibly October), or if restrictions still remain, Fr. Paddy will celebrate the Masses privately, and record them, as happened last year;

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Mullary 2020 Blessings
Monasterboice 2020 Blessings
Ballymakenny 2020 Blessings

A Blessing of Holy Water

On the basis of age-old custom, water is one of the signs that the Church often uses in blessing the faithful. Holy water reminds the faithful of Christ, who is given to us as the supreme divine blessing, who called himself the living water, and who, with water, established Baptism for our sake as the sacramental sign of the blessing that brings salvation.

The blessing of holy water usually takes place on Sunday, in keeping with the rite given in the Sacramentary.

Since the beginning of the Pandemic, Holy Water fonts were emptied, and the use of Holy Water has been much reduced since it could be a vector for the Covid-19 virus.

However, as we slowly emerge from the restrictions imposed to reduce the spread of the virus, and are coming into the season of the Blessings of the Graves, Fr. Paddy has suggested that people bring their own water to Mass on the weekend of the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time (27th June), and he will bless the water at the beginning of Mass using the rite mentioned above.

Those tuning in from home may also have water blessed for use as Holy Water for their own devotional practices – including the sprinkling on the graves of loved ones during the traditional time for the Blessings of the Graves, which will be postponed this year, with the hope that they can be held in September/October.

Here are the pages from the Roman Missal which show the Rite of Blessing of Water;

Thanks to ChurchPop for the graphic used here. ChurchPOP is a Christian culture brand that’s fun, informative, and inspirational.

Update on the Celebration of the Sacraments

On Thursday 14th May, we received a communication from the Diocesan Office re: arrangements for the Sacraments of First Confession, First Holy Communion & Confirmation.

The current position remains:

“In light of current public health advice, and whilst we await further detail in the published guidance and regulations in the coming days, I (The Archbishop) ask that you do NOT proceed to organise First Holy Communion and Confirmation ceremonies at this time.
Please continue of course to ensure that all the necessary catechetical preparations are being made for the sacraments.  
I understand that this will cause disappointment and frustration for children, parents, schools and parishes. 
Please be assured that I will let you know as soon as I am aware of a change in the health advice or guidelines.”

The Archbishop is continuing to pursue clarification with the public health authorities and will let you know as soon as possible if there is likely to be a change.

Lent 2021

Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent are approaching. This will provide renewed opportunities for reflection and conversion – albeit under very challenging pastoral circumstances.

The Congregation for Divine Worship (The Vatican in Rome) has made it clear that it will not be possible to carry out the distribution ashes in the usual manner. With the “Stay at Home” message, and continuing public health restrictions on gathering for worship, we clearly cannot call people to gather in any way for the distribution of ashes.

For this reason the Archdiocese has been concentrating on developing resources to help people at home mark the beginning of Lent and enter into the spirit of this holy season. The following link on armaghprays will bring you to resources which families can use.

https://www.armaghprays.com/lent-2021

These resources will include a prayer service foAsh Wednesday at Home, with scripture reading, prayers of the faithful and an opportunity to make Lenten promises. The link also includes an invitation to symbolically mark – both personally and as a family – the importance of this moment.

This liturgy suggests that families may make a simple cross or ribbon which can be worn on Ash Wednesday instead of the usual mark on our foreheads. Some members of the Parish Pastoral Council have made some of these and they will be available in our Churches on Ash Wednesday, after the 9.30am Mass (online, via the Parish Facebook Page)

Lent is also an opportunity to provide some additional services e.g. online holy hours; Stations of the Cross; Lenten talks or reflections/thoughts for the day; lectio divina etc. These are ways in which we can keep the three Lenten themes of prayer, charity and fasting/self-denial alive in people’s hearts and minds. Please keep an eye on this website, or the Parish Facebook Page for up to date information.

Archbishop Martin responds…

Statement of Archbishop Eamon Martin on the publication of the report by the Commission of Inquiry into Mother & Baby Homes

  • “Above all we must continue to find ways of reaching out to those whose personal testimonies are central to this Report” – Archbishop Eamon

I welcome the publication of the Mother & Baby Homes Report.  As a Church leader today, I accept that the Church was clearly part of that culture in which people were frequently stigmatized, judged and rejected. For that, and for the long-lasting hurt and emotional distress that has resulted, I unreservedly apologise to the survivors and to all those who are personally impacted by the realities it uncovers.  Mindful of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which calls us to protect life and dignity and to treat everyone – especially little children and all who are vulnerable  – with love, compassion and mercy, I believe the Church must continue to acknowledge before the Lord and before others its part in sustaining what the Report describes as a “harsh … cold and uncaring atmosphere”. 

Although it may be distressing, it is important that all of us spend time in the coming days reflecting on this Report which touches on the personal story and experience of many families in Ireland.  The Commission’s Report helps to further open to the light what was for many years a hidden part of our shared history and it exposes the culture of isolation, secrecy and social ostracizing which faced “unmarried mothers” and their children in this country.

I ask all those who are in positions of leadership in the Church to study this lengthy report carefully and especially to spend time reflecting on the courageous testimonies of the witnesses to the Commission.  Together we must ask “How could this happen?”  We must identify, accept and respond to the broader issues which the Report raises about our past, present and future.

Above all we must continue to find ways of reaching out to those whose personal testimonies are central to this Report.  They have shown determination in bringing to light this dark chapter in the life of Church and society. We owe it to them to take time to study and reflect on the findings and recommendations of the Report, and commit to doing what we can to help and support them.  The Report makes it clear that many are still learning about their personal stories and searching for family members. The rights of all survivors to access personal information about themselves should be fully respected and I again urge the State to ensure that any remaining obstacles to information and tracing should be overcome.

The Commission believes that there may be people with further information about burial places who have not come forward.  I appeal to anyone who can help to do so.  All burial grounds should be identified and appropriately marked so that the deceased and their families will be recognized and never be forgotten.

This Report will hopefully speak not just to our past but will also have lessons for today and for future generations.  As Church, State and wider society we must ensure together that, in the Ireland of today, all children and their mothers feel wanted, welcomed and loved.  We must also continue to ask ourselves where people today might feel similarly rejected, abandoned, forgotten or pushed to the margins.

This report will stir many emotions as it further uncovers disturbing and painful truths about our past.  I commend those who have fought to have this story told and I thank those who have already been supporting survivors through various organisations and providing a platform for their voices to be heard.

ENDS

  • Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm +353 (0) 87 310 4444.

The full report can be accessed here;

Update to Christmas Mass Bookings

There has been a huge response to the opportunity to book Mass for Christmas Eve/Day. We understand that already many people have been disappointed that the time they had preferred was already booked out!

As of Saturday 12th December, the following Masses have been fully booked out;
4.30pm Christmas Eve (Tenure)
6pm Christmas Eve (Tenure)
7.30pm Christmas Eve (Fieldstown)

There is still some limited availability in;
9pm Christmas Eve (Tenure)
11.15am Christmas Day (Tenure)

There are plenty of seats available for:
10.30pm Christmas Eve (Fieldstown)
12 Midnight Mass (Fieldstown)
9.45am Christmas Day (Fieldstown)

Remember, if your plans have changed, please return the tickets either via the booking system (Eventbrite) or, inform the Parish Office, so they can be re-allocated.

Also, don’t forget that the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Tenure will have the LIVE streaming service via CHURCH SERVICES and the Church of Our Lady of the Nativity, Fieldstown will use the Parish Facebook Page to stream the Masses from there over Christmas.

Finally, we will have Masses on the following days too;
Saturday 26th @ 6.30pm (Tenure);
Sunday 27th @ 9.45am (Fieldstown) & @11.15am (Tenure);
Tuesday 29th @ 11am (Tenure);
Wednesday 30th @ 11am;
New Year’s Eve @ 11.30pm (Fieldstown);
New Year’s Day @ 11am (Tenure)

Parish Arrangements for Christmas

Obviously, it is going to be a Christmas with a difference and this will affect Masses too. After some reflection, and adhering to Government guidelines, the following times are proposed;

Christmas Eve (Thursday 24th) Masses:

Tenure – 4.30pm, 6pm, & 9pm – max 100 at each Mass

Fieldstown – 7.30pm, 1030pm & Midnight – max 50 at each Mass

Christmas Day (Friday 25th) Masses:

Fieldstown – 9.45am  &  Tenure – 11.15am

This schedule will facilitate 600 people to attend Mass over Christmas. While I understand that you may not find the time/Church that you normally attend.  Please try to be flexible.

You must book a FREE ticket to attend.

Tickets will be available online at Eventbrite and will be released on Wednesday 9th December at 9am. Bookings will close on Sunday 20th December at midnight.

For those without internet access, please contact the Parish Office (Ann McEvoy 087 648 6809 or Fr. Paddy 086 880 7470) ONLY on Tuesday 8th & 15th December from 2.30 – 5.30pm.

The Church of the Immaculate Conception, Tenure will have a webcam installed by that stage, and we hope to have our Facebook Live broadcasting from Fieldstown, so you can also tune into Mass from your own home.

The most important thing is that we continue to do everything we can to keep each other safe over Christmas. Thank you for helping to achieve this.  

May the peace of the Christ-child be in your hearts and homes this Christmas. Happy Christmas!