Solemnity of Corpus Christi 14th June 2020


Dear Parishioners and all those who logged into our Parish,

may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

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 13th June – 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 Book of Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16.

‘Remember… Do not forget.’ Remembering is a Leitmotif in the book of Deuteronomy; it is also at the heart of our liturgical celebrations: we remember what God has done for us, and we are strengthened to live as he calls us to live.


Responsorial Psalm 147.

To you glory and praise for ever more.


Second reading: from the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians 10:16-17.

One cup – one loaf – a single body of believers. The Eucharist is a means of, and a call to, communion in Christ.

Gospel: according to John 6:51-58.

Arguments over the significance of the Eucharist began after Jesus’ first homily on the Eucharist! What does this mean? How can this be? Jesus answers, not by splitting hairs or getting drawn into theological minutiae, but by re-affirming what the Eucharist is. This gift of gifts can never be entirely understood: it is to be gladly received in faith.


My few words:

At the beginning of Mass:

We gather again – at a distance – to celebrate the Eucharist. Welcome to all who join us via radio or webcam.

As a local Church we remember Veronica Owens whose First Anniversary occurs, we continue to pray for her and her family who continue to mourn her near and far.

As members of the universal Church we celebrate Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of Christ. So, today’s feast is a bit like Jesus taking a selfie. The gift of himself in the Eucharist takes us back to the Last Supper and his continued giving of himself on the Cross of Good Friday which led to the Resurrection, the giving of eternal life to us. A selfie that contains so much – the Communion host is small and yet so huge.

To prepare ourselves to celebrate we acknowledge our sins and selfishness and God’s mercy, forgiveness and welcome.

Lord, have mercy…. Christ, have mercy…. Lord, have mercy….

After the Gospel:

I am grateful to Trina Doherty and Fr Willie Purcell who wrote in Intercom this month and whose ideas I share with you now:

At the end of March this year, a host of Irish sports stars, including some we know personally, came together to urge people to ‘unite by staying apart.’ Their video message continued: ‘We’re all in this together… Now it’s time for us all to unite and rise to the occasion by keeping our distance and by staying at home.’ It is a message echoed in our pictures from the children here in Church – staying apart we are together. It seemed like such a paradox: how can we be united when we are all so far apart? It is hard, when we are used to living in community, supporting others and being supported, to accept the idea that we can be apart, yet together.

It was a particular challenge for us as Catholic Christians across the globe, as the coronavirus outbreak saw Masses and Church services cancelled and the faithful called upon to stay at home. Physically, we were separated from our Church community, but thankfully most of us were able to tune in to live-streamed Masses on TV, radio, online, Facebook, YouTube, where we could unite with the Church in prayer.

For us this experience, we hope, will be short lived. But there are many Parishioners and other people around the world who are unable to attend Mass for various reasons, perhaps because they are housebound or in hospital or in a nursing/residential care home or in prison or living in a place where there is no priest available – maybe only getting Mass once a month or three or four times a year, but who are nonetheless united in communion with the Body of Christ.

Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, we are ‘apart, yet together.’ In the Mass, we are united with the whole Church across the world – those in the Church building with us (when we can attend in the Church), as well as all those who are not. Today, the Feast of Corpus Christi, St Paul tells us in the second reading: ‘Though there are many of us, we form a single body because we all share in this one loaf.’ In challenging times, we are united by Jesus, the living bread.

Over the past months, there has been a hunger in all of us for freedom, healing, family and even food, a hunger to get back to Mass, to work or even school maybe, a hunger created by the Coronavirus. But Jesus has in mind another kind of hunger, a deeper longing of the human spirit that is not so easily satisfied. It is difficult to put a name on the deep human yearning that goes beyond any physical hunger we experience. I think most of us would agree that the fast pace of life we experienced before coronavirus did not answer this deep human yearning. Maybe with the

slower pace of life that has been the new normal recently we have found some answer to our yearning – precious family time, less dependence on material things, more time to pray and meditate on the God of nature, an inner peace. St Augustine of Hippo prayed: Almighty God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you; so lead us by your Spirit that in this life we may live to your glory and in the life to come enjoy you for ever.

I forgot to put out the Chalice, Paten, bread and wine and water before Mass!!!! Mea culpa!

At the end of Mass:

Lough Derg may not be open yet, but it is still here! Online Retreat Days on Thursday 18 June. ‘Do Lough Derg Pilgrimage from wherever you are’ 27 – 29 June. More details – see bulletin

Parish Envelopes for the Ballygawley Area and Garvaghey Area are available now for collection in the Churches in Ballygawley and Garvaghey. Again, thanks to all who have been contributing to the Parish.

Emotional Wellbeing during the Covid-19 Pandemic – Video

In conjunction with Fr. Dermot McCaul, now residing in Caledon, the diocese has produced a short video on emotional wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic. The video is intended to offer guidance around issues of emotional wellbeing and mental health during these times. It also gives some sound and practical advice on how each of us can navigate these challenges and indeed flourish beyond this period. Fr. Dermot suggests five daily actions and activities that can help:

Reduce and limit Media and Multimedia interaction

Exercise Daily

Make time for daily prayer

Develop and maintain a daily routine

Whilst honouring social distancing protocol engage with family and friends The video can be accessed at the following link:

I walked round the graveyard at Garvaghey during the week where the poet John Montague is buried. May he rest in peace. I’m delighted that the muse of poetry is very much alive in the Parish. Check out poems by P7 young people on the Covid-19 pandemic. Thank you, Ms Phair. They can be read in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Ballygawley. If the poets would like to send me their poems via email, I will publish them on the Parish website

Joke time:

My heart skipped a beat on Thursday when I learned that Arlene Foster announced that from tonight, Saturday, people living alone can spend the night at another house – a sleepover!! – my phone number is online.

A Sunday School teacher asked her class why Joseph and Mary took Jesus with them to Jerusalem. A small child replied: “They couldn’t get a babysitter.”

A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. After explaining the commandment to “honour your father and your mother,” she asked, “Is there a

commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?” Without missing a beat one little boy answered, “Thou shalt not kill.”

I wish you all a pleasant evening and a good Sunday. Continue to do what we are doing for the good of us all – some relaxation of restrictions is taking place – don’t travel far and undo how far we’ve come – stay at home! Keep safe and well and keep your distance! Respect!