Our parish was saddened during the past week following the death of Fr. Donal O’Brien who lived on Gardiner’s Hill and who assisted regularly in Our Lady Crowned. Fr. Donal was ordained in 1969 and served in the diocese of Portsmouth until his retirement in 2005. Fr. Donal returned to Cork that year and became a very familiar face in the Mayfield area, most notably walking his dog along the Ballyhooley Road. Fr. Donal was a great help in Our Lady Crowned. He would regularly say Mass to assist the priests of the parish as well as hearing confessions when requested. He assisted in the Holy Week ceremonies and at Christmas as well. He attended 9.30am Mass each Sunday morning if he was not obliged to celebrate Mass in another parish. He was a dedicated priest who took great care in celebrating the sacraments. He also was a man of prayer quietly visiting Our Lady Crowned each afternoon to spend time with God. May he now enjoy rest from his labours in the company of the Lord whom he loved and served all his life. May he rest in peace.
On Sun. Sept. 2nd, our parish welcomed many of the Sisters of Mercy who both lived and served in our parish over many years. We also welcomed the Sisters who served on the staff of Scoil Mhuire Banríon on Boherboy Road. Our parish and community are deeply indebted to the Sisters for their dedication, their vision, their sense of justice and their commitment to people and families. We are blessed with a wonderful sense of parish and community which has been shaped and nurtured by many Sisters. This weekend at our regular 12 noon Sunday Mass, we will honour that contribution and sense of service. May God bless the Sisters, many of whom still serve people and families in new and imaginative ways. We also salute the Sisters who are fully retired yet continue to pray for all of us. May God bless them all and may we all continue to remember and pray for one another. Our Lady Crowned, pray for us.
This weekend in our Mass, we pray for the late Canon Donal Linehan who peacefully returned to the Lord on Friday evening in Marymount Hospice. Here in Mayfield he will always be remembered as Fr. Donal who served as both curate and parish priest from 1982-1998. After that he served as parish priest of Ballinora from 1998-2012. Fr. Donal made a profound contribution to this parish and this area. He was a man of vision and applied that vision in the establishment of numerous community and parish initiatives. Many of the community development projects which he established continue to knit the community together to this day. Fr. Donal had a vision to empower people themselves to shape their own community and parish. Fr. Donal was quietly spoken but firm in his vision and in his faith. He was gentle, humble and kind. He had a strong faith in God and great faith in people and the dignity of people. He shared his gifts and great intelligence with people and saw his life as a service to God and to people. So many people in Mayfield will say that it was Fr. Donal, along with Sr. Enda, who encouraged them to educate themselves in community development. He also encouraged so many people to educate themselves into an adult faith. Education was another great passion for him. Indeed he served as chaplain to UCC for some years before arriving in Mayfield. Fr. Donal has only been sick for a short time. In recent days, he was reconciled to the fact that he would return to the Lord. He was serene and totally at peace. He approached death as he had lived his life with great dignity, humility, courage and faith. May his gentle soul now rest in the paece of the Lord. Our Lady Crowned, pray for him.
Preparations are underway to honour the contribution of the Mercy Sisters to our parish as well as to Scoil Mhuire Banríon on Sunday Sept. 22nd next at 12 noon Mass. The Sisters served both parish and school since 1962 and resided at the Convent on Boherboy Road for most of those years until 2016. Sr. Imelda retired from her role as parish sister earlier this year. Two sisters are currently on the staff of Scoil Mhuire agus Eoin. It is timely to honour the contribution of many Sisters to the community and also to officially mark their departure from Boherboy Road. The legacy of the Sisters is secure and their ethos remains alive in our parish and newly amalgamated parish school. On Sun. Sept. 22nd, the Sisters who previously resided on Boherboy Road and those who served in our parish will be invited to the regular Sunday Mass. It will be the regular vibrant Sunday gathering to mark this occasion followed by a reception after Mass.
The Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Fintan Gavin was a wonderful occasion on last Sun. Jun. 30th in the North Cathedral. Our Lady Crowned was represented by seven parishioners as were the other 67 parishes in our diocese stretching from Watergrasshill to Goleen. Our area was also represented by pupils from Mayfield Community School who joined with a group from Scoil Eoin in Ballincollig for the final uplifting hymn and directed by Mr. John Casey from MCS. It was a truly impressive sight to witness 190 priests process from St. Vincent’s School along St. Mary’s Road and into the Cathedral to join 1100 people from parishes of the diocese and visitors from Bishop Fintan’s native Dublin. The ceremony itself was powerful with many moving aspects. The Papal Mandate, or letter from Pope Francis to Bishop Gavin, was read by Canon John O’Donovan and the homily was preached by Fr. Robert Young, a familiar voice to so many here in Mayfield. The ceremony had a sense of celebration and of a new beginning. In our parish and in parishes across the diocese we continue to pray for Bishop Fintan and we still pray for Bishop Buckley. In time, we will become more accustomed to the name of Bishop Fintan in our Mass and Eucharistic Prayer. May God bless him as he commences his new ministry here in Cork and, in his own words, as a ‘servant leader’. Our Lady Crowned, pray for Bishop Fintan and pray for us.