Dia is Mhuire díobh go léir a chairde, and welcome to my weekly report.
Welcome to the year of 2021. In the past couple of weeks we have come through some very unusual and strange events we had to do without many of the age-old customs and rituals which have been part of our Christmases since the Birth of Christ. To say it was challenging would be an understatement but at the end of the day we can pat ourselves in the back and say I did it, I did it my way and came out stronger as a result. Full of new determination to take 2021 by the scruff of the neck, take it on with all our might and the help of God.
One of the main highlights of our Christmas was the return of our beloved parish priest Canon John FitzGerald to our alter following some heartfelt weeks without him and while we are deeply grateful to the other clerics who looked after us so well in his absence, there was something special about having ‘the Boss’ the Father figure home. We wish Canon John all the best for the future. The streaming service in our Church made a huge difference to us over the Festive Season. There was a great attendance of those who were fortunate enough to be among the limited few who were allowed into the church on Christmas night, but for those of us who tuned in from home it was so special to be able to see the alter in all it’s splendour all lit up and the celebrant in full view, his words coming through as clear as crystal. Speaking for myself and I’m sure many more of my vintage I found it great to sit in the comfort of my own home for Mass and still feel a part of it all, joined by our people from all over the globe in one big celebration of the birth of Christ. The Christmas Crib all newly painted and surrounded by lush branches of green ivy was placed as usual at the bottom of the church where it is still intact and where people can pay homage any time as the church is open every day. Hand sanitisers available the whole time. There is a collection box at the Crib and the money raised there goes to good causes every year. In ways I suppose we are seeing our Alter for the first time in many ways. Never before has it been held in our full gaze for so long and it looks so beautiful. The mosaic walls, the marble pulpit, altar and steps, the brass candle sticks and flower vases filled with a profusion of fresh flowers and the overhead lighting casting lustre on it all, the huge picture window at the back. Whenever you hear something praised to the hilt, there is nearly always a BUT. I suppose it’s an age thing with me and with all health and safety regulations being drummed into us every day, I can’t but notice the absence of handrails on the steps of the altar to see the Padres negotiating them in their flowing robes makes me nervous. Every place we know that has steps even a couple has handrails. Our beloved clergy is going through very difficult times at the moment. It can’t be easy for them to come on the altar and minister to an empty house. We’ve heard of a flock without a shepherd, but a shepherd without a flock, can’t be easy .
[read more …] “Eily’s Report 5th January”