Christmas Blessings

Happy Christmas!

Hope you enjoyed this special time of the year – despite the difficulties in the country and the world at this time.

Fr. Paddy used a reflection at his Christmas Masses, and some people have asked for it to be shared;

A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF THE INCARNATION

The Incarnation is no mystery, Jesus. You make it easy to understand.
Because you walked our earth, we are to see the face of the Divine in every person we meet:

the friend who betrayed;
the family gathered for a meal;
the mother on welfare;
the man on death row;
the server in the store;
the teenage thug on the corner;
those society tells me are different from me, and my enemy
and trains me to treat that way.

Every time I love, the mystery of the Incarnation happens.
Every time I love, I birth you on earth, Jesus.

I fall on my knees and beg you, Jesus, deepen my living of the Incarnation.

Slightly adapted from ‘Prayers for A New Millennium’, by Mary L .Kownacki

Fr. Paddy also acknowledged all those who helped in the parish throughout the year;

I think of all those who have helped keep our parish going this year; You, our Parishioners; Our Sacristans; The Parish Pastoral Council; The Parish Finance Committee; The Covid-19 Committee; Stewards; Ministers of the Word & Eucharist; our Secretaries; and all those who helped in any way. I am so grateful for your support.

Happy Christmas

So, on behalf of all, may you and your families experience the many blessings of Christmas and have a joyous and grace-filled new year!

Even the Pope goes to Confession…

Yes, Pope Francis went to Confession, publicly, in St. Peter’s Basilica, after leading a penitential service.

The Holy Father said the Christian way begins with taking a step backward, with removing oneself from the centre to make room for God.

This same criterion, this same outlook, applied to confession, can provoke a revolution in the life of each person: I am no longer at the centre of the sacrament of penance, humiliated with my list of sins — perhaps always the same ones — to be told with difficulty to the priest.

At the centre is the encounter with God who welcomes, embraces, forgives, raises up.

“One does not go to confession,” the Pope explained, “as chastised people who must humble themselves, but as children who run to receive the Father’s embrace.

And the Father lifts us up in every situation, He forgives our every sin. Hear this well: God always forgives! Do you understand? God always forgives!” One is not going to a judge to settle accounts, but “to Jesus who loves me and heals me”.

Confessions for Christmas

Tuesday 21st – 7-8pm, Church of The Immaculate Conception, Tenure

Thursday 23rd – 7-8pm, Church of our Lady of The Nativity, Fieldstown

Friday 24th – 1-2pm, Church of The Immaculate Conception, Tenure

Our Lady of Fieldstown

Our Lady of Fieldstown

Last year (2020) during Lockdown, it was suggested at a Parish Pastoral Council Meeting, that we should explore erecting a Shrine to Our Lady on the outside of the Church in Fieldstown.

Very quickly the idea took momentum, and through the stalwart work of Enda Fahy, and his son, Gavin, the base and arch of the Shrine were constructed. Margaret Fahy, Clare Murphy and Emily Halpin painted the wall, prepared the flowers and helped by Teresa Mulroy, our Sacristan, prepared the Shrine for the arrival of the new statue.

Eventually, after Mass on Sunday, 31st October, the shrine and statue were blessed and dedicated, and Mary Brennan penned a lovely poem for the occasion, from which we got the name, Our Lady of Fieldstown.

Thanks to everyone whose vision, hard work, and support brought this special project to completion. We now have a lovely shrine which we hope will inspire many to turn to Our Lady for help and protection – especially in these difficult times.

First Holy Communion & Confirmation 2021

Recent controversy in the media about whether the Church should hold the Sacraments of Confirmation and First Holy Communion, despite public health reccomendations, prompted me to take some time this week to reflect on how we celebrate these important times in the faith journey of our young people, & their families.

Here in our parish; our principals, Patrick Logue (Chairperson & Chaplain to NS Buite, Tenure), and myself took the decision in June to cancel plans for holding the Sacraments during the summer months, and just this week, we have contacted the families affected to say that this position remains unchganged. We will make arrangements to celebrate these Sacraments when it is safe to do so – but not before mid-September at the earliest.

However, despite the disappointments, difficulties and challenges this has presented to the Children and their families, there is also an opportunity here to consider how to best celebrate our Sacraments going forward, taking into consideration that a large number – indeed, the majority – of our girls and boys preparing for First Holy Communion & Confirmation, and their families, do not attend Mass regularly. 

So, while it’s looking more likely that Communion and Confirmation will be  celebrated in the Autumn across Ireland, in the meantime we should look past cultural norms & into the heart of what the Sacraments mean. 

Passing on the Faith

The Eucharist: is so much more than a reminder or symbol. It is a Sacrament, an action of the Holy Spirit which brings about the presence of Christ in our communities, families and hearts.

The Eucharist isn’t just a noun, it is a verb, a call to action. Just as the bread and wine are taken, blessed, broken and given so also may our lives, communities and world be transformed and renewed.

We need to re-think the idea that everybody receives Communion & Confirmation just as a matter of course; It is an opportunity to think about how we celebrate important rites of passage in the Faith & whether there are new ways, better ways, of doing things into the future. One possibility is that small groups of children and their families may celebrate the Sacraments during the regular Sunday Masses.

The Archdiocese has prepared resources for families in the lead up to the Sacraments;

First Holy Communion resources can be found here;

Confirmation resources can be found here;

Please continue to pray for our children, their families, and our teachers – all of whom are directly affected by how public health advice affects day-to-day living during these pandemic times. We also remember all involved in rolling out vaccines, and the medical professionals working with the sick at home or in hospitals/institutions, and their families.

World Day of Prayer for Grandparents & the Elderly

Pope Francis has established a World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will take place for the first time on Sunday 25 July 2021 on the theme ‘I am with you always’ (Mt 28:20)

Today is a day of joy and hope for all of us in celebrating and giving thanks for our grandparents and the elderly. 

Pope Francis has also granted a plenary indulgence to grandparents, the elderly, and all those who participate in a solemn celebration of this day as well as to those who spend time (actually or virtually) with an elderly brother or sister in need on this day.

Grandparents Day Prayer

I thank You, Lord, for the comfort of Your presence: even in times of loneliness, You are my hope and my confidence, You have been my rock and my fortress since my youth!  I thank You for having given me a family and for  having blessed me with a long life. 

I thank You for moments of joy and difficulty, for the dreams that have already come true in my life and for those that are still ahead of me. I thank You for this time of renewed fruitfulness to which You call me.  Increase, O Lord, my faith, make me a channel of your peace, teach me to embrace those who suffer more than me, to never stop dreaming & tell of your wonders to new generations. 

Protect & guide Pope Francis and the Church, that the light of the Gospel might reach the ends of the earth. Send Your Spirit, O Lord, to renew the world, 

that the storm of the pandemic might be calmed, the poor consoled & wars ended.

Sustain me in weakness & help me to live life fully in each moment that you give me, in the certainty that you’re with me, until the end of the age.  Amen.

Closing of Year of Reflection & Prayer and Commissioning of Diocesan Synodal Core Group

On Behalf of Bishop Michael…

Thank you to the priests, religious and parishes who responded to the invitation to attend the ceremony in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, on Wednesday 30th June, or who watched it online.

The homily, in particular, provides information on the nature of the Synodal Pathway that we are undertaking at a diocesan, national and international level. It is important that when the conversation and consultation begins in every parish and religious community, people will be informed and up to date.

We will have a listening process in the diocese over the next two years in preparation for the Diocesan Assembly in 2024, but parallel to that there will be a consultation in the coming months for the Synod in Rome in 2023 and over the next few years for the National Assembly or Assemblies in 2026.

Full Closing Ceremony

Homily

The Diocesan Website for the process can be accessed here;

St. Colmcille’s 1500th Anniversary

Pastoral Area: Along with Termonfechin (Fr Paul Byrne 98 22121), Clogherhead (Fr Martin McVeigh 98 22224), & Togher (Monsignor Jim Carroll 98  89335), our Parish is part of the St. Colmcille’s Pastoral Area.  

Wednesday 9th June was the feast of Saint Columcille and this year is a very special day, in that it will be 1500 years since the Saint’s birth in 521AD. There are three patrons of Ireland, St Patrick, St Brigid & St Colum Cille who was born in Donegal from the powerful O’Neill clan. His original name was Crimthann. ‘Crimthann’ meant Fox, possibly because he was red-haired. Sometimes he is referred to as Columba, which is the Latin for Dove.

A young Colmcille entered the priesthood at the age of 20 when he became a pupil at Clonard Abbey, situated on the River Boyne in modern day Co. Meath.Colmcille founded some 30 monasteries in just 10 years, inspiring many people with his personal holiness. As a result of a dispoute in 563, he was banished from Ireland by the High King, He settled on a bleak Scottish island called Iona where he would spent most of his remaining years. Colmcille spent the rest of his life on Iona praying, fasting, and teaching his monks to read and copy the Scriptures. He was a renowned ‘man of letters’, wrote several hymns and has been credited with having transcribed over 300 books and manuscripts.

Numerous Catholic schools and parishes are under the patronage of the Irish saint, with Church of Scotland, Evangelical Lutheran and Episcopal Churches also have parishes dedicated to him – showing the strength of his legacy.

Iona and St Columcille: Iona is a tiny beautiful Hebridean island off the west coast of Scotland, cradle of Christianity in Scotland, where in 563AD the Irish monk Columba (Columkille) established a monastic settlement that evangelised large parts of Scotland & the north of England and became an important centre of European Christianity. In the Middle Ages it became the site of a Benedictine abbey, & over the centuries it has attracted thousands of people on their own pilgrim journeys. visit www.iona.org.uk

As a Pastoral Area, we celebrated this occasion with an evening Mass in the Church of Saint Columcille Togher @ 8pm on Wednesday 9th June. Celebrant was Fr Paul Byrne V.F.

Each parish will took responsibility for the ceremony as follows:
Welcome and Co-ordination: Togher parish;
Music & song: Termonfechin parish;
Scripture Readings: Clogherhead parish;
Prayers of the Faithful: Monasterboice parish;

We appreciate the work of the Pastoral Council members in all our parishes, and we look forward to what might be happening throughout the rest of this year.

St Columcille, pray for us!     Launch out into the deep Luke 5:4

Pastoral Area Pentecost Prayer Service

This week, members of the Pastoral Councils from the St. Colmcille’s Pastoral Area (which includes the parishes of Clogherhead, Termonfechin, Togher, & Monasterboice) recorded a prayer service for Pentecost.

You can view this video by clicking this link

We wanted to mark the Feast of Pentecost, or the coming of the Holy Spirit, this week; This year the Covid-19 pandemic has given our Pentecost prayer, “come Holy Spirt and renew the face of the earth” a new urgency. 

It has made us aware of our fragilities and the deep inequalities that wound us all; it has shown us our vulnerability and our poverty. Above all this, however, it has shown us the extraordinary generosity of so many people and their capacity for selflessness.

Their light shines through all the darkness.

Pentecost is sometimes called the birthday of the Church. On the day of Pentecost the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and given the strength to continue Christ’s mission on earth.

Our Pastoral Area will contine to send out these kind of online prayers from time to time.

We are grateful to the members of the Parish Pastoral Councils of Clogherhead, Termonfechin, Togher, & Monasterboice for taking part. 

If you would like to be involved, do get in touch with your parish priest, and if you think someone else might benefit from praying this prayer, please share the link with them. 


May the Spirit, who hovered over the waters when the world was created, breathe into you the life he gives. Amen.

May the Spirit, who overshadowed the Virgin when the eternal Son came among us, make you joyful in the service of the Lord. Amen.

May the Spirit, who set the Church on fire upon the Day of Pentecost, bring the world alive with the love of the risen Christ. Amen.

And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you this day and for evermore. Amen.