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.
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.
We live in a world defined by communication or sometimes, the absence of communication. We expect to be informed of matters and issues that affect us and may be frustrated when people or organisations do not communicate with us. We listen to people in public life and form opinions and loyalties from what they say and how they appear. Most importantly, first impressions are crucial and introductory words can shape our impressions and expectations. This weekend’s gospel gives us the opening words of the public ministry of Jesus, ‘repent for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand’. It is more than a greeting, more than a demand, it is a proclamation of the nature and ministry of Jesus Christ, the Son of God’ It speaks directly to the heart of the listener, the reader and to each of us in the congregation this weekend’. It is a word of hope, of promise, of trust, of love and challenge. It is demanding and yet, consoling. It sets the standard very high for us so that we may become the people that God created us to be. It communicates love, mercy, forgiveness and hope. This weekend, we embrace all of these things and receive them in the Word of God and in the Eucharist. May God bless you and your family and may we all be blessed in the words and presence of Jesus Christ.
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.
2016 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: Evenings for current and additional ministers of the Word and Eucharist were completed in late February and early March 2016 and arranged by the Parish Council. Additional parish funeral ministry members received training and there are now eight members of the funeral ministry team in our parish. The parish marked the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and World Day of the Sick with a ceremony on Thurs. Feb. 11th next. Fr. Ben Hegarty OP from Ennismore spoke at Masses over one weekend in March to introduce the Jubilee Year of Mercy which concluded in November. Remedial works on the church ceiling were completed in July concluding major works to the church roof, church ceiling and church heating system costing €235.000, in total, over a two year period. Thanks to the Parish Finance Committee for their great work caring for the maintenance and upkeep of our church. A new Parish Council was prepared and commissioned. The Council arranged many other events such as the Parish Festival in May, Blessing of Animals in October, the Giving Tree and Christmas Cake Raffle at Christmas and other events ensuring a vibrant and welcoming parish. 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 continues to bless us and we rely on her help and blessing in 2017 as our parish develops and grows. Our Lady Crowned, pray for us.