Dear Parishioners and all those who logged into our Parish,
may the joy and peace of the Risen Christ be in you and upon you.
A What’s App has recommended lighting a candle at 7.30pm and saying a prayer – something we can all do, and at the same time.
The Parish Bulletin is available via the Parish website. Please print it off for family and neighbours who do not have access to a printer or world wide web.
The celebration of Mass took place at 7pm on Saturday 9th May – Parishioners and others joined via the webcam and radios at home.
Once again, I would like to share some thoughts with you. Intercom, a Catholic Pastoral and Liturgical Resource magazine that I receive monthly gives a thought on the readings:
First reading: from the Acts of the Apostles 6:1-7.
Right from the beginning, the Church had to deal with everyday matters such as the just sharing of resources and the assignment of personnel. Her prudential decisions, however, were made in a spirit of communion and of prayer.
Responsorial Psalm 32.
May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.
Second reading: from the first letter of St Peter 2:4-9.
The Lord was rejected by men, chosen by God. Those who choose him may themselves be rejected in turn, but even in rejection they are called ‘to sing the praises of God.’
Gospel: according to John 14:1-12.
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled.’ Those consoling words are not just an exhortation; they are a recognition of the fact that we tend to do just that, to let our hearts be troubled. The Lord understands our weakness.
My few words:
At the beginning of Mass:
We gather again – at a distance – to celebrate Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Welcome to all who join us via radio or webcam.
There is a subtle connection between the coronavirus pandemic and the Season of Lent. Jesus spent 40days – willingly – in the desert and was truly tested. He fasted, prayed, and struggled, but came out a stronger person, with a sense of mission to create a greater and more beautiful world. We have been plunged – most of us, unwillingly – into this pandemic desert of testing, which has gone on longer so far than 40days. We have to fast from our loved ones, our family, our friends and our social active lives, but we can emerge from this crisis with a greater and more beautiful understanding of who and what we are and how we can make this world a better place to live in.
As we begin this celebration of the Eucharist let us acknowledge our impatience with ourselves and others, for missed opportunities to be a disciple of Jesus, for a loss of faith and hope and trust.
Lord, have mercy…. Christ, have mercy…. Lord, have mercy….
After the Gospel:
Our Parish should have celebrated two First Communion ceremonies this weekend. And other girls and boys from our Parish were looking forward to theirs in other Parishes. As I said two weeks ago, I hope that we can celebrate First Communion later in the year when even restricted numbers are allowed to gather in Church.
To facilitate our celebrations, I had arranged to change Mass venues on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. That does happen from time to time to facilitate events – Mass at the Altar Glen; The Ulster Fleadh; my holidays last September. And of course, in this present pandemic situation there are no public Masses, no First Friday visits, no anointings or weddings, no meetings at Parish level or at school. Church things that we probably took for granted are no longer available to us. The Holy Spirit worked wonders when a member of the Parish Pastoral Council suggested last year that we install a webcam in the Church. It has proved particularly useful. A friend sent me a cartoon on what’s app – it was a picture of God and the Devil looking at a map of the world. The Devil says: With Covid 19 I closed your Churches. And God replies: On the contrary, I just opened one in every home! Things happen and we see and experience life differently.
In the first reading the early Church – and by Church, I mean the people that formed the disciples of Jesus – faced a problem, a crisis. After discussion and prayer, a way forward – very different from what went before – was found and this new way became the new normal.
There is plenty of talk about road maps out of our present situation – relaxing of restrictions, opening of businesses – when will I get my hair cut – when can Churches and schools and football grounds be full again; meeting family and friends for coffee or hugs or sleepovers. And along side that is a discussion about life and lifestyle – how different will it be?
Another what’s app ping came my way. This time a conversation between Jesus and Satan. Satan says: I will cause anxiety, fear, and panic. I will shut down business, schools, places of worship and sports events. I will cause economic turmoil. Jesus says: I will bring together neighbours, restore the family unit, I will bring dinner back to the kitchen table. I will help people slow down their lives and appreciate what really matters. I will teach my children to rely on me and not the world. I will teach my children to trust me and not their money and material resources.
The irony is this was written by CS Lewis in 1942 at the height of World War II. It could easily have been written today. Do we as humans ever learn?
What I’m saying to you and to myself – what will life be like after all this? what will Church/Parish be like after all this? Will I change with the times or fall back on to the comfortable of the past – I hope not – I don’t know what the future looks like but I hope we can all add a brush stroke of paint to that picture of the future, that reality of the new normal. As I said at the beginning – we can emerge from this crisis with a greater and more beautiful understanding of who and what we are and how we can make this world a better place to live in.
Now like the teachers in school I have some homework for you all.
As a family watch on Facebook or YouTube a 4minute video called Tomfoolery – the Great Realisation. It was shared with me and I pass it on to you. Tomfoolery – the Great Realisation.
And now something for all the girls and boys: I want you to make me a picture for the Church – I’ll put them up on the walls here. I’m not giving you a theme – I want you to think for yourselves. Leave them at my house and put your name on the back of your picture.
And as other ministers of religion might say – here endeth the lesson!
At the end of Mass:
And following on from my few words earlier about a different way of doing things – Mass for the Sick: Tuesday 12th May at 7pm via Parish of Errigal Ciaran webcam. Please have a small teaspoon of olive oil available at home to bless those who are sick or preparing for/recovering from operations or receiving treatment at this time or are aged or anyone who is living with addiction or mental health or emotional health or spiritual health issues.
If you have a relative or friend who cannot (because of regulations) be present have a photo of them placed on a table. And light a candle.
Remind children to make a picture.
Aisling Kelly, a Parishioner, would like to put together a time capsule of photos of the lockdown/stay at home time. Parishioners and those who live anywhere in the world can get involved. You will find details in the Bulletin.
Pope Francis encourages us to pray the Rosary especially during the month of May.
St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh presents Celebration of Gratitude and Hope – on Sunday 10th May at 7.30pm. accessed at www.armaghparish.net and also on the Archdiocese of Armagh Facebook Page.
Mary’s Meals Armagh and Benburb have launched a new campaign to feed the next 1,000 chronically hungry children. ie to fund meals for 1,000 children who are not already receiving a meal.
Joke – its short so listen up: Its gardening season. Five weeks ago, I planted myself on the sofa and I’ve grown considerably!!!
That was loud …. But I’ll be keeping my day job!
The hymns at the beginning of Mass and later are from St John the Baptist Choir in Drumcree Parish from their cd of the Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage in 2018. The Diocesan Pilgrimage should be taking place these days. Hail Mary… Our Lady of Lourdes…St Bernadette… St Patrick…
After the blessing we’ll hear Bring flowers of the rarest from Canon Sydney MacEwan.
I wish you all the peace and joy of Easter
Continue to do what we are doing for the good of us all – stay at home!
Keep safe and well and keep your distance!