As we continue our journey through Covid-19, let’s spend four Tuesday nights learning, or relearning, how to pray with Scripture.
Greetings to you all, in what’s been a difficult and challenging year. Who could have imagined as we sat around the Christmas table scarcely 12 months ago, that in a few short weeks our lives, and indeed the lives of all our fellow human beings would be so utterly changed. Most of us have never experienced such a crisis in our lifetime. Many will have lived through personal crises but nothing on the scale of this global pandemic. In the first of my reflections back in March, I spoke of how our true nature is very often revealed in moments of crisis. “The basic rule of a crisis is that you don’t come out of it the same. If you get through it, you come out better or worse, but never the same.”
In these testing circumstances we make choices which reveal our nature, our true heart. We have witnessed the very best in human nature, millions throughout the world working on the front lines, spending themselves in the service of those in need. Sadly, there are also those who get rich out of others misery.
Let us not dwell on the negative! Pope Francis reminds us that this is also an opportunity to dream big, to rethink our priorities, what we value, what we want, what we seek and to seriously commit to real change. He ponders the inspiring words of Friedrich Holderlin, “Where the danger is, also grows the saving power.”
We have witnessed how countries coming together in a spirit of collaboration can produce a vaccine. God is asking us to create something new. We must not return to the old rivalries and animosities. “We need a movement of people who know we need each other, who have a sense of responsibility to others and to the world. We need to proclaim that being kind, having faith, and working for a common good are great life goals that need courage and vigour.”
As we sit around our Christmas table this year, let pause a moment and recall those we have lost, remember too all those wonderful men and women who have worked selflessly to keep all of us safe, and spare a thought for the millions throughout our word who are considerably worse off than we are.
May Christ our Lord, in whom we live and move and have our being, find a welcoming place in your hearts and in your homes.
God bless, Richard
Looking forward to welcoming you back
If you are an older person and would like someone to talk to, particularly since Covid-19, consider phoning SeniorLine. We are Ireland’s national confidential service for older people. We are open every day of the year from 10am-10pm. We are older people too, trained to listen and support. We would love to hear from you. Freefone 1800 80 45 91
COVID-19 Support Line for Older People
ALONE manage a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Professional staff are available to answer queries and give advice and reassurance where necessary. The support line is open seven days a week, 8am - 8pm, by calling 0818 222 024.
Press Release - Feast of Saint John Eudes, Wednesday 19 August 2020
The following statement has been issued by the Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland Primates of All Ireland, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland:
At this time, both in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland, the governments have not formally made mandatory the wearing of face coverings at services of worship. This is, in part, due to the fact that as churches we are committed to maintaining 2 metre physical distancing between household groups and strict adherence to all government guidance on hand hygiene, cleaning, ventilation etc.
It, however, remains our responsibility to ensure that our services of worship are safe places for all who join with us. It has become increasingly clear that the wearing of face coverings, in conjunction with hand washing etc., is likely to reduce the spread of coronavirus, thus helping to protect others. Their use is therefore one way in which we can evidence protection for the most vulnerable, support for our health workers, and practical love for our neighbours.
Following further recent consultations with public health authorities, we join with Christian church leaders all over this island in formally recommending and encouraging the use of face coverings at all services of worship, along with the ongoing maintenance of 2 metre physical distancing, from Sunday 30 August 2020, and earlier if practicable.
We understand that some people are exempted from the wearing of face coverings, as outlined in the two jurisdictions.
We also recognise that whilst it may not be appropriate for those who are leading from the front during worship, including preaching, to wear face coverings, they should at all times continue to maintain at least 2 metre physical distancing from one another, and 4 metre physical distancing from the front row of the congregation.
The Most Revd Eamon Martin
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
The Most Revd John McDowell
Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
The Rt Revd Dr David Bruce
Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
The Revd Dr Tom McKnight
President of the Methodist Church in Ireland
July 5th, Mass will be celebrated at 9:30 am in Fanore and 11:00 am in Ballyvaughan. Please read below for more details.
"Prayers at Home for a Fresh Outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that can be said by families/households (or individuals) at home this weekend, invoking the Holy Spirit to come to us.Pentecost is an invitation to turn to the Holy Spirit, to renew our trust in him and to pray confidently for light and guidance at this time."
- Bishop Brendan Kelly
Primrose by Patrick Kavanagh
Sunday’s reflection. Palm Sunday
Sunday’s reflection. A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John
Sunday’s reflection. I have based it on St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians which I shall read.
Ephesians 5: 8-14
You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord: be like children of light, for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and right living and truth. Try to discover what the Lord wants of you, having nothing to do with futile works of darkness but exposing them by contrast. The things which are done in secret are things that people are ashamed even to speak of; but anything exposed by the light will be illuminated and, anything illuminated turns into light. That is why it is said:
We are certainly living through some very interesting times. The saying, “May you live in interesting times” come to mind. It is believed to be a traditional Chinese curse. I am not really sure how true that is, the saying is most likely apocryphal, as no one really knows its source.
We can all agree, these are very interesting times, and for many of us, very worrying and unsettling times too. Since the dreaded Coronavirus or COVID 19, first raised its threatening head in the Wuhan Province of China, an atmosphere of panic seems to have taken hold of much of the worlds population. (some responding quickly and effectively to the threat and others, sadly, lagging behind).
Now, we are hearing almost on a daily basi, terms such as, social distancing, self isolation and total shutdown, How many more of these frightening terms will enter the public psyche before we’er all out of the woods?
I began my short reflection with an old Chinese curse and perhaps I might continue in that vein. The Chinese word for crisis is composed of two Chinese characters signifying danger and opportunity.
There are many dangers associated with our present crisis. There is the very real danger that some people may not take the situation seriously, others in their panic become self obsessed and selfish and indulge in some of the unfortunate behaviour we’ve witnessed in our supermarkets and shops, yet more carry on as normal, as though nothing had changed, putting others at risk, particularly the most vulnerable.
Crises invariably bring out the best and the worst of our human nature. Some people actually grow and flourish when faced with the most unimaginable difficulties and challenges. We have all witnessed this miracle of strength and resilience in ordinary human beings. The parents who struggle with a seriously challenged child, Men and women caring for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimers, Parents struggling with a child’s addiction, entire populations surviving in parts of our world torn asunder by war and violence. Countless ordinary men and women who bear their many crosses with patience and quiet dignity
And in spite of all this: many wonderful souls have taken the opportunity to show solidarity, generosity, sensitivity…Hotels here in the county have provided meals for households, neighbours are checking in on the most vulnerable, staying in touch… Here is the opportunity to let the best of our human nature shine true. Our churches may be closed but our hearts remain open and our spirits positive and eager for signs of new life.
We are heartened by the word of St Paul, one who seldom flinched in the face of a crisis.
“Wake up from your sleep, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”