Confirmation, Holy Communion & Baptisms – August update

By now you will be aware that Baptisms have been given the green light to proceed once more. During August we are celebrating twice each Saturday to clear the back log. Numbers are restricted to 8 family members with baby. This enables Parents, God-parents and Grand-parents to attend the celebration. Families are encouraged not to have a large gathering afterwards.

First Holy Communion celebrations were postponed until September and things are looking good to have these much smaller gatherings on Each Saturday during the month. The schools have informed the families of the dates.

Confirmation celebrations were postponed from July and the children will be informed of dates when the children return to school. These will hopefully begin mid September on week evenings with the class of 2020 celebrating the sacrament on the first week and the class of 2021 on the second week following a similar structure as was planned last month.

Weddings are permitted to have 100 guests whereas Funerals are still limited to 50 mourners present. All celebrations can be viewed online.

Web Mass difficulties

At the moment we are having problems with the webcam. Apologies for that and we will hopefully be back online soon.

Remember we can hold up to 100 for Mass. Not much use to those who are still joining us online but we are praying for you.

New Year’s Greetings

Although it may seem that we have nothing to greet you with apart from Covid-19 restrictions we have lots to say.

Now that the Christmas Season has finally ended we are back to ‘Ordinary Time’ once more. The green vestments, that can be seen by those joining us online, are a reminder of Spring and growth. For the next 6 weeks we will be journeying in ordinary time in the church cycle until Lent creeps up on us once more. It seems that we will be in Level 5 until at least the end of January and even then if we go back to Level 3 our churches will probably remained closed for Mass for some time longer. This brings its own difficulties for so many and we want to thank you for your loyalty and support to the parish in a different way this past year. Little did we think in March 2020 we would have our churches closed for people to gather as a community for so long with a few short months during the summer. The vaccine is coming albeit very slowly to the bulk of parishioners. Even so people are going to have a new way of coming together to pray. The church will remain open as long as possible each day for private prayer and it is heart warming to see many people coming for a few minutes or longer to spend some time before the Blessed Sacrament in prayer. A wide variety of dogs are now part of the community in prayer. I often wonder who is bringing who at times. The sight of a dog sitting in the aisle while its human friend is spending time in prayer is beautiful. Long may it continue!

Christmas Preparations: For those who made the Christmas celebrations possible and prayerful a sincere Thank You. The most obvious work was the crib in front of the altar with the Christmas tree lit in all its glory. The Advent Wreath with the Christmas Light at its centre. The Christmas decorations and flower arrangements added to the decor. The outdoor crib drew attention to what was going on in a difficult time. Readers, singers and musicians, stewards, cleaners, those working behind the scenes in the parish office and sacristy enabling viewers get a good look at the ceremonies and of course the viewers themselves for making it all worthwhile all deserve a special round of applause. Those who collected newsletters and missalettes as well as bottles of Holy Water to bring to those unable to be physically present.

Finance: Thanks to those who continue to collect and return Family Offering envelopes which is the backbone of the parish finances. The shrines are also a wonderful source of revenue for the parish upkeep. As a priest I would like to say a special thanks to those who returned the Christmas Dues envelopes and to those who have taken to the trial credit card donation machine which contributes to the pay of the priests and the lay workers of the diocese via the Common Fund & Share collection. Many are contributing to the ‘normal’ Sunday collections via the envelopes available in the porch. These can be left in to either the church shop post box or via my own letter-box. People are also contributing directly to the parish via the donate button on the parish website. We haven’t always been efficient in acknowledging these donations but rest assured they are being noted and your support is greatly appreciated.

Church Shop: The shop will remain closed but if you are needing cards or anything else that you have seen or would like, please contact the parish office and we can arrange purchase or delivery of items. (Next best thing to click and collect).

Funerals are restricted to 10 mourners and despite the difficulties associated with this restrictions, families are very cooperative in this regard as are neighbours and extended families. This makes our celebrations quite positive under the circumstances. Again as a priest, These celebrations are more personal and families seem to be ‘enjoying’ the ceremony under the horrible circumstances.

New Shoots: As we start a New Year, people are beginning to take a new approach to life in the church. We have had a number of enquiries about baptism and some families are quite happy with just the immediate family being present and no big party afterwards. For them the baptism is becoming more important than the party. This is something to be happy about. (Haven’t had any requests for weddings with just 6 present yet!). Although the obligation for confession has been removed for the moment there are some requesting the sacrament and it is a joy to be able to facilitate this request. Yes the New Year has plenty to be happy about. I take this opportunity to thank you for your support to my colleagues Frs. Harry and Damian and the wider team in the Glasnevin Group of Parishes. Wishing you and yours every blessing as we venture into a new year. May 2021 bring us blessings and hope.

Fr. Joseph Ryan  

Gaudate (Joy) Sunday

The Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday) has for many years been the day when the children of Rome bring the figurines of Baby Jesus from their family cribs to St. Peter’s Square to be blessed by the Pope during the Angelus. The day is affectionately known as “Bambinelli Sunday.” Instituted by St. Pope John Paul II during his Papacy, the tradition has continued and has grown in popularity across the universal Church. Children are invited to wrap the blessed figurines in Christmas wrapping when they return home, and to place them under the tree, to be opened as the first gift of Christmas; thus encouraging young children to make the connection between the gifts they receive on Christmas Day and the greatest gift that any of us can receive, Jesus; and the connection between the Nativity set at home and the local Church where they worship each weekend.

The blessing of the “Bambinelli” [Baby Jesus gurines] as they are called in Rome, reminds us that the crib is a school of life where we can learn the secret of true joy. This does not consist in having many things but in feeling loved by the Lord, in giving oneself as a gift for others and in loving one another. Let us look at the crib. Our Lady and St. Joseph do not seem to be a very fortunate family; their first child was born in the midst of great hardship; yet they are full of deep joy, because they love each other, they help each other and, especially, they are certain that God, who made himself present in the little Jesus, is at work in their story. And the shepherds? What did they have to rejoice about? That Newborn Infant was not to change their condition of poverty and marginalization. But faith helped them recognise the “babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” as a “sign” of the fulfillment of God’s promises for all human beings, “with whom he is pleased” (Lk 2: 12, 14).”


God our Father, You loved us so much you sent us your only Son, Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, to save us and lead us back to you. We pray that, with your blessing, these images of Jesus might be a sign of your presence and love in our homes. Good Father, give your blessing to all who gather with us this Christmas, our family and friends. Open our hearts, that we might receive Jesus in joy, do always what he asks of us, and see him in those who need our love. We ask this in the name of Jesus, your beloved Son, who came to give peace to the world. You, who live and reign forever and ever. Amen


When the figurine of the Baby Jesus is placed in the crib, your family might pray together:

Heavenly Father, we thank You that You love us so much that You gave us your only Son, Jesus, as a most precious gift . We ask you to bless this crib that we have prepared. Let it remind us of your presence with us in all the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows of our human lives. We thank You for the gifts we are about to receive; let them remind us of the gift You gave us; Jesus, your Son, who became one of us and taught us to be fully human. Help us to be generous like You. Help us to follow the example of Jesus in all we do. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen

Christmas shopping online

Each year the sisters from Belarus have joined us on a week morning before the build up to Christmas with lots of unusual stock that many of you have got over the years. This year they are unable to travel to Ireland but have launched their online shopping service. You might like to check it out. 

I include the full copy of the email that they sent to me. (Looks like the prices are in American Dollars.)


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The joyous Christmas season is approaching! The season that is filled with love, family and, most importantly, God. 

As you may be aware, Sisters from the St. Elisabeth Convent (Minsk, Belarus) are unable to participate in annual Christmas markets in our region due to travel restrictions. Nevertheless they have found a great way to spread the Christmas joy, love and deeds of mercy. 

They are launching the very first Online Christmas Market this year, so that people from all over the world can purchase Christmas presents and souvenirs made with love and continuous prayer. 

Please, click here to participate: 

Through purchasing beautiful Christmas gifts each one of us will be able to serve the poor, sick, homeless and lonely people. Because every item purchased at the Online Market is a donation towards one of the Convent’s ministries.      

The Online Christmas Market of St. Elisabeth Convent offers a range of unique handmade items that will make memorable Christmas gifts, including:

  • traditional hand painted Christmas ornaments;

  • wooden toys and souvenirs;

  • Santa Claus and Father Frost figures;

  • handcrafted Christmas tree baubles;

  • Nativity scenes and sets;

  • Christmas themed ceramics and glass products;

  • Orthodox Nativity icons;

  • Russian matryoshka dolls and much more.

Sisters are sending their prayers and blessings from Minsk.


Some great ideas on our website this week for Advent. Check it out. Ideas for everybody. How to make an Advent Wreath, What is a Jesse tree. How to prepare in hope for the Lord.

Thanks to all who have contacted us with ideas and things they plan to do this Advent. 

November – Month of the Holy Souls

Each year we are invited to remember and pray for our dead. This year although we can’t attend mass in person we are invited to join online and pray for our loved ones. 

Here in Ballygall during November we hope to have an online Eucharistic Holy Hour concluding with benediction. This will be a time of praying in a special way for those who have gone before us. Do join us.

Thursday 7.30pm 

Mission Sunday

Sunday is the traditional day that we support the works of the Missions through prayer and a special collection towards the Mission activity of the church. This year with restrictions in place we are unable to be present for Mass on Saturday (6.30pm) and Sunday morning (10am). You are invited to support the work of the missions by taking and returning an envelope with your donation either in the post box at the church shop door or through either of the presbyteries. For further details see 

“World Mission Sunday is the Holy Father’s annual appeal so the life-giving work of missionaries can continue. This year celebrations will take place over the weekend of the 18th October.

During this time, all parishes worldwide will offer Mass collections and donations to aid the work of missionaries and mission overseas. World Mission Sunday takes place in every parish where the Church is present. Including, not only across Ireland and Europe, but also in poorer parishes in the developing world. This is why it is such a special moment because it allows all members of the universal Church family, regardless of location or background, to play a part in supporting each other.

Right now, missionaries desperately need our support. In many poorer parishes in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, missionaries are on the front line. They already do so much. Walking hand-in-hand with marginalised communities, long before and long after any emergency. Worryingly the pandemic means World Mission Sunday is in real jeopardy. Show missionaries you care by supporting World Mission Sunday. Your prayers and generosity will change lives.”

Confirmation & First Holy Communion Update 2020

Having met with the principals of our local schools we have decided in light of current government restrictions to postpone the celebrations of these sacraments for the time being. Parents will be contacted informing them of this decision in the near future. 

As time progresses we will be in a better position to know more and will let families know as soon as is safely possible to have a more wholesome celebration of these sacraments.

August update on Church movement

It seems that things are going to be the same in church for the short term if not even longer. Well done to all who are helping make church attendance possible. We can keep our 98 capacity comfortably seated at mass on weekdays (10am) and Saturday vigil (6.30pm) and Sunday morning (10am only). This is workable as we have the church divided into two halves. Those who enter on the left, stay on the left and exit on the left and the same for those on the right-hand side. To keep the 4 metres separation those sitting at the main aisle are reminded of sitting not at the edge of the seat but in one metre from the edge (behind the yellow poster).

For funerals in line with government regulations we are still only permitted to have 50 present as we are using the one door to enter and exit. Non family members if attending are reminded to remain outside and while keeping the socially required distance of 2 metres can join via the loudspeaker or continue to view via webcam.

For all who enter the church the requirements are to sanitise one’s hands both entering and leaving the church. Gloves are not advisable as these are not a protection for others in the church. Face coverings/masks are strongly recommended though not obligatory unless moving closer than the 2 metres required. Most people in church are wearing coverings. When preparing to receive Holy Communion you are reminded of the procedure of removing the coverings. Slip off one ear and leave the face mask hang rather than pulling it down your chin. This helps prevent any contamination. After receiving Holy Communion you can slip back on the mask over the ear again for safety.  At the weekend masses, missalettes are given out. You are encouraged to bring these away as we are not allowed to reuse them. On the way out from Mass newsletters are available to be taken away.

Ballygall parish is doing well and we thank you for your support and patience as we journey together to keep our celebrations safe and prayerful.