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.
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.
The words of the first reading on this Sun. Jan 1st and New Year’s Day are beautiful: ‘May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace.’ This Sunday’s second reading is equally beautiful: ‘If God has made you a son, then He has made you heir’ These are beautiful words from the scriptures and such a prayerful blessing with good wishes to all in our parish and community. Also, new year greetings to all family members in different parts of the world. May they be blessed with the care and protection of Mary the Mother of God on this, her feast day. Please God, we can all make a fresh start to face our many challenges with faith and courage in 2017.
Christmas 2016 was a wonderful celebration in Our Lady Crowned. 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.
While December has been very wet and dark and while it can be a difficult time for so many, we still hope and pray for better times this Christmas and new year. Please God, we can all celebrate Christmas well next weekend. The presence of the newborn infant in our church crib on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning will put a smile on our faces as well. Our faces can be tired and worn from the events of life and of the past year. Perhaps this year someone is absent from your house? We lovingly remember those who have died during 2016. Perhaps, due to a disagreement, someone will be somewhere else this year and that brings sadness. A member of the family has gone abroad and despite Skype etc, they are away from us. Jesus is the ‘Emmanuel’, God-with-us. Truly believe that God is with you in your sadness and loneliness. Truly believe that God is in your joys and happiness. Perhaps there is a new baby or grandchild since this time last year. Perhaps there has been the joy of a wedding in the family. Perhaps someone has come home as a surprise? This year, we put our lives and hearts in front of the Infant Jesus and we humbly ask God’s blessings. May you all have a happy and a blessed Christmas 2016.