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.

Towards Healing

This weekend (10th October), Fr. Paddy spoke about the terrible news which emerged during the week about the revelations of Clerical abuse in France.

He reminded us of the words from Pope Francis in 2018 condemning these crimes;

“Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated. The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults”. (Pope Francis)

He went on;

“With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives. We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them”. 

Finally, the Holy Father said;

“I am conscious of the effort and work being carried out in various parts of the world to come up with the necessary means to ensure the safety and protection of the integrity of children and of vulnerable adults, as well as implementing zero tolerance and ways of making all those who perpetrate or cover up these crimes accountable”…”It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable. Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others”.

Please read the Holy Father’s full letter here

There is an excellent interview with a senior Cardinal on the report from France here;

If you, or anyone reading this has been affected by the issues raised here, please find help and support in the ‘Towards Healing’ organisation. The Towards Healing Counselling and Support Service reflects the commitment of the Catholic Church in the thirty two counties of Ireland to meet the support needs of survivors of Religious, Institutional and Clerical Abuse and their families. The Towards Healing Counselling and Support Service was established in February 2011.

Cemetery Blessings 2021

All the cemeteries in the parish have now been blessed.

Thanks to Joe Finnegan for recording them; Tomasina McGinnity for her singing; those from the PPC, and Cemetery committees who read and attended the Masses to represent those who could not be present due to Covid-19. 

The links to the videos are below – please share them with family & friends, especially those who are living away from home. 

The dates for the Blessing of the Graves next year will be;

Sunday 24th July, 2022 at 12noon in Mullary;
Sunday 31st July at 12noon in Ballymakenny and
Sunday 7th August at 2pm in Monasterboice – please note the new time!

We thank and acknowledge all those responsible for the upkeep of the cemeteries, always a credit to the local community.

Blessing of the Graves in Mullary, 2021
Blessing of the Graves in Monasterboice 2021
Blessing of the Graves in Ballymakenny 2021

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.

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.

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

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.