Dia is Mhuire díobh go léir a chairde, and welcome to my weekly report.
This is Holy Week, the clocks are gone one hour ahead and I got my second Jab last Thursday. Lots of new developments to take in, in one week. But changes keep us on the alert and that’s a good thing at any time, moreover in these historic times. I know a few people who didn’t even realise that the clocks had changed and anyway what difference did it make. An hour up or down doesn’t really matter when you have no important engagements to meet. Mass would be the most important one but if you miss it in our own church, the flick of a button will have you attending your weekly obligations in places as far apart as Boherbue or the Vatican. Those who are fortunate to be working or have children going to school would want to be in the know about the change of time, obviously.
In the past, the long evenings following the changing of the clocks were eagerly awaited as people got stuck into work in the garden after work but now with so many people still not back to work on account of the various restrictions, the mad drive has been softened by the fact that lots of jobs in the out-of-doors have been carried out already. Stores are sold out of many seeds and other requirements for the Spring work/hobby. Seed potatoes were like gold dust,also peas and carrots seeds to name but a few. I was fortunate to lay my hands on a little bag of seed potatoes and I have even a few left over which I would gladly share with some other gardening enthusiast. This is the time of year when there is widespread sharing and swopping of plants and bulbs and gardening ideas. Last season’s surpluses are being uprooted now and should not go to waste. If I can’t find someone to share them with I find places along roadsides etc. Put them in a small paper bag with a bit of earth or compost and place them suitable spot. They don’t all take root but those that do never fail to give me a little lift when I’m passing along and seeing them in full bloom, happy in the knowledge that I put them there. The strong winds have no mercy for the garden but it never ceases to amaze us to see how the long-legged daffodils can spring back up after the gale. The tall Phormium almost stand on defiance of the wind as their long ribbon like foliage flaps and twists ,almost oblivious of the weather. Evenings are visibly brighter and everybody is aware of the singing of the birds at dusk. Well worth taking a trip outside to hear them. The cock pheasant is proudly ambling along in the long grass in the meadow, so his little woman must be already sitting on the eggs. Lawns are looking neat and tidy after their first cut. We are asked not to trim them too often and leave some wild areas in the garden where creepy crawlies and slugs can survive as they are entitled to do. Nature is so beautiful and it’s all around us.
Well I got my second jab, (Phizer) at the Tullig Medical Centre one month after the first one and I’m thankful to say that I had no ill-effects whatsoever as a result of either and now that I’m the proud holder of a document to prove it. I’m wondering where do I go from here. How much more latitude am I entitled to ,or indeed safe to embark on. Recipients have to wait in the doctors for about twenty five minutes after the injection, just in case they have any reaction to it. A few of us joked while waiting ,about the possibility of we being safe to play cards at a well spaced table sometime in the near future. A lovely idea, but perhaps ,still taboo. Can two fully treated people travel in one car I wonder. So many questions, so few answers.
This is Holy Week. Only a few more days left to honour the sacrifices that we took on board, for the six weeks of Lent. We don’t always realise it on Ash Wednesday when making our commitment, how hard it’s going to be to hold it as far as Good Friday but still it gives a great sense of achievement when Easter Sunday comes. The old reliable for Lent in the old days was giving up the fags or the drink. Children, gave up sweets for a day or two anyway. But the hard men who rarely went without a fag or pipe in their mouth or the hard drinker who put his thirst before everything else were able to call a halt on their addiction for the whole six weeks. It never failed to amaze me how they did it. But alas where did their self-control go on Easter Sunday . Lots of us gave up sugar in our tea or coffee for Lent in our youth and never went back. It was a big commitment at first and we expected to gain some brownie points for our sacrifice but what when Lent came round again and we didn’t want it anymore, I wonder did we lose our brownie points too.
In spite of everything our Priests are making every effort to make our Holy Week as prayerful and meaningful as possible. Thanks to their blessings we are all supplied with lovely fresh blessed Palm to hang in our homes for this uncertain year ahead. Our supply of Holy Water will also be replenished. Details of the ceremonies for the week are on the website. Please look them up so as not to miss any. Good Friday will of course be a day of fast and abstinence. So get your supply of fish in good time and be reminded that the popular Novena of the Divine Mercy begins on Good Friday and ends on the Sunday after Easter April 11th. This powerful Novena was recited in public for many years in the past when some person who was devoted to it came to the church every day to recite the novena prayer with others. Ending on the first Sunday after Easter with a three O’Clock service in the Church. This service was always very well attended. Many of the requirements of the Novena will not take place this year but the Lord never refuses a contrite heart so like so many other things in our modern day world we will put all our trust in Him, and do this Novena as best we can. The Picture and candle stand of the Divine Mercy is in the alcove on the Sacred Heart side of our Church.
Easter Sunday can the most welcomed Sunday in the year. The Resurrection of Christ from the dead following his crucifixion on Good Friday goes deeper with may believers than Christmas Day itself. The six weeks of Lent can be dull and dreary and we long to come to the end of it and to the end of our fast to partake once more of the things that we found so difficult to do without. On the other hand maybe we made no sacrifice and on onset of Easter will rid us of our guilty feeling that we may harbour, because of our no-compliance . They used to say that the sun danced on Easter Sunday morning. And when we were small, we really believed that it did. We would be up early in an effort to see the great phenomenon, and looking at the rising sun shining through the shaking leaves of the trees ,certainly gave the impression that it was doing a gig. Make-believe does great things for the imagination. Chocolate Easter eggs didn’t come into being for many years after our childhood, but eggs were always synonymous with it. It was a very important time of year to replenish the number of your feathered friends in the farm yard . Hens, geese, ducks, turkeys were all encouraged to do their annual hatch around that time. Some times a hen may get a few duck eggs to sit on. This took four weeks, her own eggs only took three but they never seemed to complain. Everything went fine until she marched her brood out in the open and while her pals went a-scratching in the straw her gang headed for the nearest hole of water or stream. She was often seen with wings and feathers all a flutter as she tried to get this unruly clutch of hers to be like the neighbours but alas to no avail. Very soon she’d abandon the effort and join the ‘girls’ in the barn and leave the young ducks to paddle their own canoe. Eating eggs on Easter Sunday was very old custom. And there was always a great deal of rivalry among those who tried to devour the most. Sometimes the boss of the house got a boiled goose or turkey egg as a treat on Resurrection morning. Eggs of that ilk were very valuable and scarce so it was considered a special honour to get one to eat. A few welcome few bob could be made of such eggs, when the fear a’ tighe’ went scratching to a neighbours house and took along a goose or turkey egg safely wrapped in his pocket which he put up for a raffle or game of cards. All those taking part had to pay the winner got the egg and the owner got the proceeds. A great time was had by all. Perhaps by todays standards to win a goose egg may seem very trivial times were very harsh and an egg well hatched at Easter could mean the only way of having a Goose or a turkey for Christmas dinner.
The monthly news sheet from IRD Duhallow came today and its worth a glance or two. Many people are at a loss as to find ways to pass the time. Give IRD a ring and get details about their wonderful Revamping service, where they mend and refurbish all sorts of furniture ,It might be your chance to get a piece repaired or newly upholstered. And they have a wide range of good quality revamped pieces in their sales room. Give them a call at 02970633 .
Tune in to CMS tonight from 9.30 and get the third episode of Sean Radley’s interview with Con Houlihan on the history of the wonderful Cullen Pipe Band. Join him on Sunday after 11.30 Easter Sunday Mass for his popular request program.
Before I close I want to wish you all a very Happy, Holy and Safe Easter. Look out for those who are lonely, or ill or bereaved , give them a ring ,or join them in a well distanced chat. Wearing your mask of course.
Slan, Agus Beannacht de leath