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.
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.
The opening words of the first reading this weekend (Mar. 30th/31st) are liberating i.e. ‘today, I have taken the shame of Egypt away from you’. The reference is to ‘today’ and our shame about the past or present that can overwhelm us. The context of the gospel is significant i.e. Jesus tells this parable/story to explain why he shares the company of ordinary people and not the self-important. The gospel account of the Prodigal Son is familiar. There is no need to add or subtract from the gospel reading. It is what it is. There is mercy that we might crave from someone else. There is the tenderness of the Father. There is the acceptance and recognition of reality by the son and how his life is dead. There is the imagery of the husks that the pigs eat and the misery of life. There is the dignity of welcome and the importance of people to a loving and merciful Father. There is the resentment of the older brother. There are so many angles, so many interpretations and slants on this parable. The word that could bring it all together is ‘home’. The son comes home to the Father. Home can be the image on this Mother’s day as well. Words can be hard to find. Maybe ‘home’ is the right one for all mothers today. Please God we remember mothers no longer with us and that they are at home in Heaven. In the Eucharist today, hopefully we can experience that same sense of home. Like mothers and fathers, words are hard to find. The Eucharist is much more than words; it is the action of God. You are here in great numbers because this is home for you. We look for the same welcome as the prodigal son, we can experience the same dignity as special guests and we can feel a sense of home.
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.
62 children from Scoil Mhuire agus Eoin and St. Killian’s schools will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation from Mon. Kevin O’Callaghan VG. on this Thurs. Mar. 14th @ 10.30am. Please God, it will be a sacred day for the children, their families and their schools. Furthermore, it will be an historic day for our parish as the progressive reconfiguration of parish schools will be evident to all. Holy Spirit, fall afresh on us.