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.

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.

Dear Parishioners, welcome back!

In line with Government and HSE guidelines, Fr Paddy & the Parish Pastoral Council in consultation with the Covid-19 Support Team can confirm that all Churches will reopen for public worship from Monday May 10th.

Our Mass schedule will remain as it was;

Tuesdays 9.30am (Tenure)         Wednesdays 9.30am (Fieldstown)            

Fridays 8pm (Tenure)       Saturdays 6.30pm Vigil (Tenure)           

Sundays 9.45am (Fieldstown) Sundays 11.15am (Tenure)

The Social distancing, mask wearing, hand hygiene & one way systems within the Church will still be in place, as a reminder you may wish to bring a coat as doors will remain open to allow good ventilation.

The Archbishop received clarification from the Office of An Taoiseach on a number of issues as follows: Where the size of the premises/Place of Worship allows for a capacity of greater than 50 this may be permitted in PODS only where:

  • social distancing guidelines are adhered to.
  • the premises can be subdivided into distinct sections (cordoned or marked appropriately) of not more than 50 persons in each section.
  • there is a minimum of 4 metres between sections.
  • each section having its own entrance/exit route.
  • separate arrangements for the distribution of Holy Communion.
  • strictly no movement of people between sections before, during or after the service.
  • the premises is well-ventilated.

On this basis, 100 people (2 pods x 50) can be accomodated at each Mass in Tenure, and 50 people at each Mass in Fieldstown.

The Archbishop reminds the faithful that the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays & Holy Days remains suspended at this time and every person should consider carefully if returning to collective worship is the safe and appropriate step for them at this time.

We invite participation, where possible, by way of live-streaming which will continue for all our Masses. 

Finally, we extend sincere gratitude to parish teams – incl. sacristans, stewards and cleaners – who generously ensure that our churches are safe environments

The Shape of Parish – Week 4

The Shape of Parish: What are your thoughts on What it means to be Church, and how we might better be ‘God’s people’, & build The Kingdom in these post-pandemic times.

Quotes from a chapter in a new book released ‘Maynooth College Reflects on Covid-19: New Realities in Uncertain Times’ (Feb 2021, Messenger Publications) include;

“The evolution of the kind of Church envisaged by Pope Francis in what has been described as his ‘manifesto’ of 2013 Evangelii Gaudium (quoted here in the Bulletin of 18th April), is a demanding yet, exciting task”… 

“It is as if some new seeds planted have been germinating in the dark of lockdown, and may yet produce fresh fruit of authentically faithful living”. 

“Is it possible that the ‘lay involvement; which has been genuinely desired by many pastoral leaders for years was perceived by most laity to be beyond their range? … Our experience is of parishioners taking a step along the way from being fed and led to a readiness to feed and lead”.

Fr. Paddy would like to offer an opportunity for parishioners to engage about what it might mean to come back to Mass, & what effects the Covid pandemic might have.

Join a Zoom discussion on ‘The Shape of Parish’
on Sunday 9th May at 4pm. 
Meeting ID: 815 5300 7905   Password: 760947 

All welcome.

The Shape of Parish – week 3

Amazingly after many decades of Catholic education, there are still many parishioners who struggle to know what their faith says about a particular topic, and to understand it. This is especially true about topics such as Sexuality and Morality.  While there are a huge number of resources available for faith formation individually, or as a family, we must be careful to avoid extremes, and follow only reliable sources; 

Thomas Groome is a world-renowned authority on religious education, in his book, “What makes us Catholic” he asks Who do we think we are? In what will we invest? What is our heart’s desire? The answers to these & five other basic questions, for Groome, are “gifts for life”.

He goes further – saying that while the Church provides a space where we are nourished and guided, prayed with and prayed for, encouraged and corrected, it needs to examine whether its purpose and mission are being fully realized. According to Groome, “Religion that does not nurture people’s spirituality is as dead as a doornail” (p. 273).

As we prepare, Fr. Paddy would like to offer an opportunity for parishioners to engage about what it might mean to come back to Mass, & what effects the  Covid pandemic might have. Fr. Paddy will lead a Zoom Meeting on ‘The Shape of Parish’ on Sunday 9th May at 4pm. 

More details next week.

The Shape of Parish – week 2

The Shape of Parish: As we prepare for returning to public worship, Fr. Paddy would like to offer an opportunity for parishioners to engage about what it might mean to come back to Mass, and what effects the Covid pandemic might have as we go froward. 

The recently retired Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin spoke about the future of the Irish Church ten years ago at a conference in Cambridge; His speaking notes can be accessed here;

These words are very relevant – even 10 years into the future; He said;

“the Church in Ireland is facing a real crisis…”;

“The abuse scandal has deeply wounded the trust that Irish people had in the Church and it will take much effort to regain the confidence of many, right across the generations…”;

“The Catholic Church in Ireland will inevitably become more a minority culture. The challenge is to ensure that it is not an irrelevant minority culture…”; 

What are your thoughts on what it means to be Church?, and how we might better be ‘God’s people’, and build The Kingdom in these post-pandemic times?

More next week.

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!