Parish Mission 2018
Fr. Brendan Keane CsSR and Fodhla McGrane, led the wonderful Mission in our Parish from the 17th-25th March. During the morning Masses, we took a closer look at the parts of the Mass and Fr. Brendan explained the significance of each one. It was good to reflect again on the wonderful gift that the Mass is, which we know at a deep level, but we can sometimes take for granted.
During the evening services throughout the week, we had a different focus every evening. The themes included:
- One Parish
- The Healing Presence of Christ
- The Blessing of Hands
- Gifts for Service
- Remembering Our Beloved Dead
- Blessing of the Sick and Carers
- The Youth of the Parish
- The Blessing of Babies Young Children and Parents
Some of the highlights of the week included the first evening service, where we carried candles up to represent different groups within the parish and the light that each of them brings to this community. There was an invitation to each parishioner to place their hands on the Bible to recognise it’s importance, in conjunction with the celebration of the Eucharist, in revealing God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to us.
We explored the healing power of Jesus, who asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” to those of us who seek his help. We looked at the gentleness of a Christ who doesn’t barge in, but comes to us when we invite him. When we issue that invitation, Christ can heal us. Fodhla emphasised the difference between curing in the physical sense and healing in the spiritual sense.
We explored the physicality of the Jesus we meet in the Gospels. He touched people and he talked to them and he dined with them. Looking at this Body of Christ we explored the way in which we, as members of that Body can reveal Christ to each other. Each person was invited to have their hands blessed.
We had a beautiful Penitential Service on Wednesday evening of the Mission where we were joined by all the priests from the Derriaghy and Colin Pastoral Community.
During the Service for our beloved dead, Fr. Brendan gave a very consoling talk about grief and loss acknowledging the pain of grief and the stages we go through when a loved one dies. He also explored the pain of unresolved relationships and the anger, guilt or hurt that we might be left with. He emphasised that our faith can be a light to us in these dark places of grief. We were invited to place the names of all our deceased relatives and friends into a basket and this was lifted up as we prayed for all those we have loved and lost.
On Saturday morning we had the blessing of the sick and their carers and Fr. Brendan asked us to pray for all the sick in our parish, including those who were unable to attend.
Our evening Mass on Saturday had an emphasis on young people and how they are not, as some people say, the future of the church, but are very much the now of the church. Perhaps one of the most moving events of the whole week was at this Mass, when one of our own parishioners, Anthony Hegarty, gave powerful witness to the importance of his faith and belief in God as he lives with the condition Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. His testimony was inspirational.
The Mission concluded after the 2 Masses on Sunday, the feast of Palm Sunday. We processed into the church with our palms. Hosanna! There was a great feeling of community, as the young children of the Parish and their parents were given a special blessing and each child was presented with a medal of St. Gerard Majella.
Afterwards there was tea and treats in the parish hall and it was great to see so many people there. As we face into this Holy Week, where we reflect on the Passion of Christ, it is good to remember that we are all one body and that we help each other through the challenges of life.
As a parish, we are so grateful to Fr. Brendan and Fodhla for all the hard work they put in to making the Mission so special. During the week they had visited the nursing homes in the parish, St. Colman’s Primary School and the sick in their homes. We also thank all those who supported the Mission, many of you attending all the sessions.
A word of thanks to our Sacristan, Tony, who did a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure the smooth running of the Mission. Thanks to the musicians Rebecca, Charlotte, Ethan, Edel and James as well as our own folk group, who enhanced the worship with beautiful music each evening and at the Sunday Masses. A great many people helped throughout the mission week and in preparation for it, delivering leaflets, participating in liturgies and organising the reception at the end. There are too many to name but a sincere thanks to all those who helped us in any way during the week. We will continue to pray for each other and ask God to multiply the graces that we received during the Mission.
Fr. Paul and the Parish Pastoral Council