This Friday, Mar. 3rd is a Day of Prayer for survivors and victims of clerical sexual abuse, in Ireland and around the world, as requested by Pope Francis. This Day of Prayer takes place in Ireland and more information can be found here: www.catholicbishops.ie. During the month of March, representatives from a support service for survivors called Towards Peace, will be present and speaking at Masses here in Cork and Ross. They look forward to speaking with us in Mayfield next weekend, the 11/12th March. Here is more information about Towards Peace: Towards Peace is a new spiritual support service designed for those who have experienced sexual, physical, emotional or spiritual abuse by Catholic Church personnel in Ireland. Support is also available for family members of abuse survivors. The vision of Towards Peace is to provide a safe supportive space, where people who have been affected by abuse in a Church context can be accompanied as they seek their own experience of spiritual peace, one step at a time. Towards Peace provides spiritual support through one-to-one spiritual direction sessions, with a qualified spiritual companion. Up to nine sessions are offered and there is no cost. For more information, please visit www.towardspeace.ie, phone 01 505 3028 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
Lent 2017 begins on this coming this Wed. Mar. 1st. In recent days and weeks, many people have been preparing their gardens and planting for the spring. Please God, this work will flourish for Easter and later in the year. Growth is slow initially, but then flourishes with warmer temperatures in spring and early summer. Hopefully we can see the same pattern of change and growth for ourselves. Growth does come even if it seems impossible at first. Lent is a time of change and growth which too, seems impossible at first but it does happen. It is a time for us to turn our hearts and minds to God as a loving and merciful Father. Please God, many of us will receive ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday. We want to receive the ashes and we all want to do our best. Think about what you can do this Lent, what sacrifice can you make to help us along. Think about it before Ash Wednesday and be ready to make Lent 2017 important for you and your family.
The certified outline of parish income and expenditure for 2016 is available at the back of the church and on the notice board. Your contributions to the weekly offertory collection and monthly church maintenance collection remained incredibly generous during the past year. This is an extraordinary achievement and a tribute to your consistent generosity. It illustrates the unique ‘spirit’ of Our Lady Crowned and is profoundly appreciated. Furthermore it is your financial support which enabled the major works to be completed on the church roof, church ceiling and heating system over the last two years costing €235,000 in total and without incurring any costly debt. In 2016, the church ceiling was fully repaired and redecorated and the church heating system was upgraded with a new boiler installed. During the coming year, it is envisaged that further redecoration and maintenance in some areas of the church will be completed. Your contributions ensure that our church and parish has the best possible building and appearance ensuring a warm and welcoming environment for our large attendances. May God bless you for your generosity.
I had the privilege of being in Croke Park yesterday to support Mayfield. It was a wonderful day and a special day in the history of our parish and community. The line of scripture that came into my mind was, ‘this is the day that was made by the Lord, let us rejoice and be glad, Allelauia’. As always, it is the people and the place that made the biggest impression! A few thoughts struck me yesterday: • The biggest support from the four clubs represented in Croke Park was from Mayfield and we were the ones who had to travel the longest distance; • It is people who make a place, a parish, a club, a team. People always matter and make the difference; • The joy of victory was unbelievable and shared by everyone from Mayfield and beyond. In our church we are blessed with a fantastic attendance from many different parishes. It is hugely appreciated and I think everyone shares in the joy this morning. • It was a great day for the young people of our area and shows what can be achieved; • It was an equally great day for many older people, perhaps grandparents who thought they might never see any such day; • It was a great day for all the sporting and voluntary clubs, groups and organisations in Mayfield who contribute so much loyally and well; • It was a day of remembrance for parents and grandparents who have died and who would have loved such a day. I was thinking of the parents and grandparents of some of the players who have died recently and please God, are proud in Heaven. We pray for them this morning; • Above all, it was a day of achievement for a dedicated group of players who have brought great joy and distinction to their area, their parish, their club and their families and themselves; • May God bless them all; Our faith brings us together this morning from Mayfield and beyond. The words are demanding but nothing in life is easy. The words of Jesus are spoken from one person to another. The gospel is demanding but, with the grace of God, not impossible. We pray for that grace this morning to go that extra mile, to give and receive forgiveness and always, put our faith in God.
I had the privilege of standing on Mount Korazim, the historical location of the Sermon on the Mount, in March 2000 when Pope John Paul addressed an enormous gathering of young people with the following words: “Blessed are you!”, Jesus says, “all you who are poor in spirit, gentle and merciful, you who mourn, who care for what is right, who are pure in heart, who make peace, you who are persecuted! Blessed are you!” But the words of Jesus may seem strange. It is strange that Jesus exalts those whom the world generally regards as weak. He says to them, “Blessed are you who seem to be losers, because you are the true winners: the kingdom of heaven is yours!” Spoken by him who is “gentle and humble in heart” (Mt 11:29), these words present a challenge which demands a deep and abiding metanoia of the spirit, a great change of heart. On that day, the Sermon on the Mount, and our gospel this weekend, was read in Aramaic as Jesus would have spoken it and the words of Saint John Paul were powerful. Now, while we may be surrounded by doubt and uncertainty, these powerful words of St. John Paul strengthen us. We make the right choice when we listen to these words and the voice of Jesus. We are the ‘true winners’ with these words and our faith and trust in God. We are all blessed this weekend as we listen and pray together.