This weekend, we are already experiencing a bitterly cold easterly wind. Apparently, we are promised even colder days and nights during the coming week. It is unusual to be so cold in late February and early March but hopefully, augurs well for a nice summer when all these cold winds, low temperatures and dark days are exhausted. The gospel on this second Sunday of Lent is always the account of the Transfiguration of the face of Jesus on Mount Tabor. He is accompanied by the ‘inner circle’ of disciples, Peter, James and John. They receive a privileged glimpse of the glory of God. In a sense they are virtually blinded by the light and the glory of Jesus. There is no cold easterly wind for them, but a warm glow radiating from the presence and the face of Jesus. As they do not know how to respond, they revert to their traditional understanding and want to build a tent to capture the moment and the presence of God. In our Mass and our faith, we are brought into that ‘inner circle’ where we can see the possibility of the glory of God, where we can be sheltered by God in a protective cloud and we hear the whisper of God as we ‘listen to Him’. This weekend let the face and glory of Jesus shine on you and warm your life and heart and show you a glimpse of what is possible through faith and the presence of God.
Lent 2018 begins during the coming week and it has come around very quickly after Christmas season. Indeed, the cold temperatures and chilling winds of the last few weeks have really impacted on people as if we remain in January and are surprised by the arrival of Lent. Many people have been affected by flu and the cold weather seems to have ‘gotten in’ to people. Spring seems a while away and here we are at a special time of the year. Each liturgical season is a new beginning filled with hope and Lent 2018 is no different. Most certainly many people will come to the church on Ash Wednesday to receive the imprint of ashes as a sign of repentance and conversion. Many people will endeavour to attend weekday Mass during the sacred season and as a way of conversion. Please God, despite many counter attractions and some scepticism in the public space, many people will use this as a personal opportunity to turn our hearts and minds to God. Make Lent 2018 a special time and utilise the opportunity and gift that God gives to each one of us. Time is precious and we thank God for the gift of this sacred time for ourselves, our families, our community and parish.
The month of January has been seasonally cold and wet. It is hard to imagine the emergence of Spring, brighter mornings, longer evenings and warmer temperatures. Reassuringly, there is an inevitable cycle of nature and the seasons assuring us that all these things will happen soon. Nature has its own ‘clock’ which is ticking and promising change for the better. The gospel this weekend proclaims change in the lives of the disciples. It proclaims change and repentance. Like long January days, we may feel that change will not happen and that repentance is simply an attractive word. However, the word of God is more than attractive, it is engaging and transforming. Be assured that change can come and that repentance is real and enduring. This weekend, despite the bleak weather and potentially, the bleak landscape of life and society, we listen carefully to the call to change and repentance. It is more than just a new year’s resolution but the transforming words and power of Jesus Christ.
The recurring word in the readings this weekend (Fourth Sunday) is authority. It is used very differently to the words ‘authoritarian’ or ‘authoritative’. The authority of Jesus is fulfilled in his passion and death on the Cross. It is the complete opposite to our understanding of authority. The words of Jesus are completely the same as His actions. His authority is rooted in His identity as the Son of God and our Saviour on the Cross. It is an authority of love rather than control. It is the same authority and integrity that we have received in our baptism and as followers of Jesus Christ. Our authority is to love and to serve not to dominate and control. The readings this weekend strengthen us to live life with this assurance and authority that we are all children of God with a unique dignity and character. These words are crucial in our world where it is increasingly difficult to live the Christian life when truth is relative and everything is changing and in flux. Today we hold fast to the ‘authority of love’ and cherish the Eucharist where it is celebrated. Our baptism is valid and precious and our faith in God gives courage, strength and wisdom in a challenging and changing world. Fr. Michael
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.