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.
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.
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.
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.