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.

Vocations Sunday

Sunday 25th April is the 58th Anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations also known as “Good Shepherd Sunday.”

The purpose of this day of prayer is to publicly fulfill the Lord’s instruction to, “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2). As a climax to a prayer that is continually offered throughout the Church, it affirms the primacy of faith and grace in all that concerns vocations to the priesthood & to consecrated life.

While appreciating all vocations, the Church concentrates its attention this day on vocations to the ordained ministries (priesthood and diaconate), consecrated life in all its forms (male and female religious life, societies of apostolic life, consecrated virginity), secular institutes in their diversity of services and membership, and to the missionary life.

Please pray that young men and women hear and respond generously to the Lord’s call to the priesthood, diaconate, religious life, societies of apostolic life or secular institutes.

Resources for promoting vocations can be found at www.vocations.ie

Pope Francis’ Message for Vocations Sunday can be accessed here;

“There is no salvation through anyone else.”

Does a life of joy in knowing you are following the Lord as a priest, deacon or in the consecrated life inspire you?

Speak to your local priest, or contact your Diocesan Vocations Director
Fr. Peter: pmcanenly21@gmail.com; 048 37522802)

or email the National Vocations Office on info@vocations.ie

Holy Week 2021 – Hallowing the Domestic Church

There have been so many difficulties and challenges associated with the Pandemic, that sometimes we forget to look for the blessings; Hopefully, we’ve all found support through the practical help of others, even receiving a card or a phone call. It’s a reminder that we don’t have to be doing great things to make an impact – even a smile could change someone’s day, and have an effect on their life.

The phrase “domestic church” has been used to describe families since the beginning of Christianity. In his Letter to Families, (GRATISSIMAM SANE, 1994) Pope St. John Paul II explained, “The Fathers of the Church, in the Christian tradition, have spoken of the family as a ‘domestic church,’ a ‘little church.’” And, most recently, in his post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation The Joy Of Love (AMORIS LAETITIA, 2016), he says; “The Church is a family of families, constantly enriched by the lives of all domestic churches”. In short, we must never forget that Faith starts in the home.

The closure of Churches, and the restriction of public worship these past months have affected Catholics deeply. Many have felt the pain of not being able to gather for worship; pray & sing together, and especially to be deprived of the Eucharist. Most have made some adjustment to ‘Online Worship’, but it’s not the same.

The Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issues a note to Bishops and Episcopal Conferences in February 2021 concerning the celebration of Holy Week 2021.

In it they acknowledged that; “Many countries still have strict lockdown conditions in force rendering it impossible for the faithful to be present in church”; and also that “The use of social media has greatly aided pastors in offering support and closeness to their communities during the pandemic. Alongside these positive results problematic aspects were also observed. For the celebration of Holy Week it is suggested that media coverage of the celebrations presided over by the Bishop be facilitated and favoured, encouraging the faithful who are unable to attend their own church to follow the diocesesan celebrations as a sign of unity”.

Therefore, you are encouraged to follow the Holy Week ceremonies from Armagh Cathedral;

The local Churches from the Pastoral Area will supplement these liturgies with the following;

Holy Thursday

Mass of the Lord’s Supper; Togher Parish @ 8pm

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (@ 9.30pm) & Night Prayer (10pm) Monasterboice Parish (Fieldstown Church) – via the Parish Facebook Page

Good Friday

Morning Prayer Monasterboice Parish (Tenure Church) @9.30am

Please Note: Stations of the Cross led by members of the Monasterboice Parish Pastoral Council are available to view anytime on Parish Facebook Pages/Websites.

Holy Saturday

Morning Prayer – Termonfechin Parish @ 9.30am.

Easter Sunday

Dawn Mass @5.45am – Monasterboice Parish (via the Parish Facebook Page)

Mass of The Lord’s Resurrection @ 10am  – Togher Parish;

Mass of The Lord’s Resurrection @ 10.30 am – Clogherhead Parish;

Mass of The Lord’s Resurrection @ 11.30am  – Termonfechin Parish.

To help you mark Holy Week in your homes, a reflection with some aids is offered here;

Even though our Easter Ceremonies will be very different again this year, we pray that the hope of Easter will carry us all through the coming months  knowing that we will soon be able to meet together again in worship – until then, on behalf of all parishioners, through the Parish Pastoral Councils, & the Pastoral Area Resource Team; May we – Monsignor Jim, Fr. Paul, Fr. Martin & Fr. Paddy pray God’s blessing upon us all. 

May God grant us wisdom to know what we must do,
the will to want to do it,
the courage to undertake it,
the perseverance to continue to do it,
and the strength to complete it. Amen. 


Happy Easter!

Prayer for the Anniversary of 1st Covid-19 Lockdown

We remember that it is a year since an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s announcement (‘I need to speak to you about coronavirus’) from Washington at 6pm on the 12th March, 2020.  In it he said that Ireland would go into lockdown, with schools etc being closed. 

Little did we know then, about what lay ahead – especially with the toll that the virus has taken on lives (almost 5000 people dead, and nearly a quarter of a million cases) and livelihoods here (buisnesses, schools, and Churches closed) and all over the world.  Nor did we realise that a year later, we would still be under restrictions which help control and limit the spread of the virus.

It’s an important moment to remember, and the members of the Parish Pastoral Councils from St. Colmcille’s Pastoral Area (Clogherhead, Monasterboice, Termonfechin & Togher) offer you an opportunity – in a prayerful context – to reflect on (some of) the things that have happened in the last year, and also to look forward – brighter days do lie ahead.

The service was held through zoom, and recorded. You can access it here;

Zoom Prayer Service for the Anniversary of Ireland’s 1st Lockdown

Stations of the Cross

On Friday 19th February, members of the Parish Pastoral Council took part in a ‘Zoom’ Stations of the Cross.

This recording is now available for you to use, if you would like to follow the Stations for Lent.

Please click here for a link to the video

How to Pray the Stations

Before each station the person leading says:  We Adore You, O Christ, and We Bless You!
Everyone Replies: Because by Your Holy Cross You Have Redeemed the World.

Then each leader names the station, and offers a reflection on it.

Between the stations – The leader will share a story about a Crucifix which is of importance to them. Have you a crucifix thats important to you? Please send us a picture, and a short description of why the Crucifix is special.

After each station we all say together: I love you Jesus, my love above all things. I repent with my whole heart of having offended you. Grant that I may always love you, and then do with me what you will.

Pray the Stations at home using the prayers and meditating for a moment on each station.

Music – Were You There When They Crucified My Lord

Introduction – Andrew 

1 & 2 – Claire

  1.          Jesus is condemned to death:

II.        Jesus is made to carry his cross:

3 & 4 – Declan

III.       Jesus falls the first time:

IV.       Jesus meets his Blessed Mother:

Music – The Old Rugged Cross

5 & 6 – Emily

V.        Simon of Cyrene is made to help Jesus carry his cross:

VI.       Veronica wipes the face of Jesus:

7 & 8 – Philip

VII.     Jesus falls the second time:

VIII.    The women of Jerusalem weep for Jesus:

9 & 10 – Teresa

IX.       Jesus falls the third time:

X.        Jesus is stripped of his garments:

11 & 12 – Fr. Paddy

XI.       Jesus is nailed to the cross:

XII.     Jesus dies on the cross:

13 & 14 – Margaret

XIII.    Jesus is taken down from the cross:

XIV.    Jesus is laid in the Tomb:

Music – Amazing Grace

Conclusion – Andrew