Fr Paddy Sweeney will conduct a series of topical Lenten Reflections (“Living in Unsettling Times”) over five Thursdays during Lent. He will be speaking from each of the churches in our grouping beginning in OLV and here in Ballygall on Thursday 4th March at 7.30pm. If you would like to share your thoughts or questions with him after any of the talks there is a special email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) for this purpose. If suitable he will incorporate it into future talks. For full details of the talks click here
A week when we focus on the gifts of our schools and their contribution to the faith and formation of our children. This year the theme is ‘Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith & Resilience’. This year as we know has been so difficult and we thank all in Sacred Heart and Mother of Divine Grace schools as well as Scoil Chiarain, St. Michael’s House and St. Kevin’s for their trojan work with our young people.
More information here
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
It is with a heavy heart that we must once again close our churches for public masses with effect from St Stephen’s day.
Mass will be celebrated behind closed doors starting with 10.00 a.m. Mass on St Stephen’s Day and can be viewed on our webcam.
Our church will remain open for private prayer.
All our Masses will be available online from our own church and from the other churches in the Glasnevin Grouping and Area.
Here are some useful links.
Redemptoristine Monastery www.rednuns.com.
Iona Road www.ionaroadparish.ie.
Corpus Christi www.corpuschristidrumcondra.ie
Our Lady of Victories www.olv.ie
Our Lady of Dolours www.glasnevinparish.ie
Christmas Greetings to Family And Friends Abroad
If you would like to greet your family members who are living abroad for our Christmas Services, please leave their names, town / country in the Parish Office.
We will welcome them through our internet broadcast on Christmas Eve / Christmas Day before each of our Masses begins.
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).”
BLESSING OF THE BABY JESUS
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
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.
Christmas Eve & Christmas Day Mass Schedule.
5 p.m. Mass – Family Mass, with members of the Children’s Mass group leading the liturgy.
7 p.m. will be the ‘Saturday evening group’ leading the Congregation singing.
9 p.m. will be the Traditional choir style Mass with some members of the choir present to lead the singing.
Christmas Morning Masses (at 09.30 a.m. and 11.00 a.m.) will have a cantor leading the singing at both Masses.
As you will understand all Masses will by nature be much simpler than in the past and your patience and support will be greatly appreciated.
In view of the restriction on numbers, we will be issuing tickets for the Christmas Masses. From Wednesday, 9th December, we invited parishioners to book their tickets for Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning Mass. Members of the Parish Pastoral Council were available after 10.00 a.m. Mass each day, including the weekend Masses, to distribute tickets. All tickets are now gone.
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.