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.

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.

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.