2017 was a very busy year in our parish and community. The parish team, parish groups and parish ministries work together in our parish ensuring a welcoming, caring and prayerful environment. Just some of the events arranged by the parish and different parish groups are as follows: The ordination of David Lane to the permanent diaconate took place in the North Cathedral on Sun. Sept. 10th. The Parish Council arranged a memorable parish reception on Sun. Sept. 17th after 12 noon Mass. The event was blessed with wonderful sunshine and it was a truly great parish and community event. David has subsequently been appointed to serve the three parishes within our pastoral area. Our Lady Crowned was delighted to welcome Fr. Rafal Zielonka to our parish in late May. Fr. Rafal also assists in the adjoining parishes of St. Joseph’s and St. Patrick’s/Holy Family. Fr. Dermot Brennan OP celebrated his golden jubilee of ordination to the priesthood in early July with a beautiful Mass and celebration. The Parish Pastoral Council has arranged a year-long schedule of events to prepare for the International Meeting of Families in 2018. Some of the events to date have been the distribution of the special icons at 9pm Christmas Mass recently, and the blessing of animals in early October. Further events are in planning for 2018 and will be announced soon.. Plans are also in place to mark the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and World Day of the Sick in February. Thanks to the Parish Finance Committee for their great work caring for the maintenance and upkeep of our church. The opening of Scoil Mhuire agus Eoin was another great day for our parish. It has been a great success with a significant expansion in enrollment and staff numbers. Refurbishment works were completed on schedule to ensure that the pupils have the very best of accommodation. The school continues to grow and plan for the future. St. Killian’s School is due to move to the existing premises of Scoil Eoin Aspal early in 2018 and advises that remedial works are to commence shortly. Our Lady Crowned welcomed Mayfield GAA as All-Ireland Junior Hurling Champions on Sun. Feb. 19th following their historic victory at Croke Park. Our Lady Crowned ‘went viral’ with 55000 views of that moment on various Facebook pages. Other landmarks during the past year included Mayfield Ladies Club celebrating their golden jubilee, Our Lady Crowned Credit Union celebrating 50 years and the official opening of their additional building as well as Newbury House marking 30 years of service to the parish and community. Our Lady Crowned Parish continues to work with St. Patrick’s/Holy Family and St. Joseph’s parishes in a very strong and successful pastoral area. These are just some of the events along with the celebration of the sacraments of Confession, First Holy Communion and Confirmation for the children of the area. The church continues to be a special place of celebration and consolation with many christenings, weddings and funeral ceremonies. Mary, Our Lady Crowned and our patron continue to bless us and we rely on her help and blessing in 2018 as our parish develops and grows. Our Lady Crowned, pray for us.
Christmas 2017 was yet again such wonderful celebration in Our Lady Crowned. We have something very special in our church and parish thanks to so many people who give of their talents, their time and their faith. The church was truly beautiful thanks to all who decorate, maintain and keep it clean so lovingly. The music and singing was wonderful thanks to all our choirs and musicians. Thanks to all our ministers of the Word and Eucharist who serve throughout the year. Thanks to all the church collectors and counters for their dedication and loyalty. Our church was so welcoming thanks to different parish groups who welcome people at the church door. Our church is blessed with so many people who work quietly and voluntarily. Thanks to all our parish groups and parish ministries who give of their time and talents to assist the parish. Everything ‘comes together’ at Christmas time and it is great to see. It is when people gather together in our church that we experience the presence of God with a sense of parish and community. May God bless you and your families.
On this Third Sunday of Advent, it is more a case of John the Baptist introducing himself rather than the introduction of John the Baptist to us. John the Baptist announces his mission as a ‘voice that cries in the wilderness’. The voice is solitary and the wilderness is vast. It could be a description of 2017 as much as the year of the birth of Jesus. How does that voice reach our live, our hearts, our parish, our community and our society in 2017? The voice of John is authentic; it is not about himself but about announcing Jesus Christ. He puts himself second and his mission first. While his announcement may not have been welcome, his authenticity cannot be denied or overlooked. Surely this authenticity is needed of all those who announce Jesus Christ today? Secondly his message is relevant to the listeners. Surely that also is a requirement for 2017. It is an ‘existential’ message which is real to the lives of the listeners. That too is good guidance to those who announce Jesus Christ and the listeners. Authenticity and relevance reach through the centuries and ensure that we can hear and experience the presence of God in the newborn infant Jesus this year. As we light the third candle on our Advent wreath today, may the light of joy be authentic and relevant to all our lives.
The continuous fog and darkness of recent days has been very dreary. Despite the darkness, people and families have been very busy attending events and trying to remember everyone coming up to Christmas. Now that all the ‘things we must do’ have been mostly done, please God, we can have a bit more time and space for family and for ourselves to welcome Jesus Christ as our true hope and future. During the week, one of the church readings was from the Song of Songs calling on God to ‘show me your face, let me hear your voice’. It is written in the context of a beautiful love song. You know how it is when you see someone’s face that you may not have seen for a while or even just a few hours. When we the see face of those whom we truly love, our hearts are happy and content. In a sense, all is well in the world again. These Christmas days, please God, when we look on the face of the Infant Jesus in the crib, our hearts will be happy, content and renewed. It is a wonderful communication through the face of a tiny infant. We see the face of God and we hear his ‘word made flesh’. It is a subliminal communication between God and us, whom God loves. Make these days special for everyone and, if there is disagreement and bitterness, we pray for this infant to soften hard hearts and bring true happiness that only God can give. May your hearts, your life and your family be happy and content and truly appreciate that ‘all is well in the world’ with the ‘Emmanuel’ (God with us).
In just a few years the commercial phenomenon of Black Friday has developed. The responses of people are fascinating, sometimes almost panic not to miss a ‘bargain’ to non engagement from others who want to shop in the traditional way before Christmas. There is a big difference between thoughtful shopping for presents for people that matter and a headlong rush not to miss out on something. This weekend, in the church, we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King which is the final Sunday in the old liturgical year. We have not reached the first Sunday of Advent where we struggle to let ‘Advent be Advent’ i.e. a time of preparation and anticipation for the birth of Jesus. There is a deep wisdom in this extended schedule of preparation because we will not be disappointed at Christmastime. I am sure that there may well be people already disappointed with their Black Friday business and it is not even Advent yet! Trust in God and you will not be disappointed. Pope Benedict said in his first homily as Pope to ‘let Jesus Christ enter your life and you will not be disappointed’. This weekend, we take our time, we let Jesus Christ be our king and we are quite happy to wait for the greatest gift of all which will be the newborn infant king on Christmas night.