We have been blessed with beautiful weather in recent weeks. The first days of May, the beautiful month of Mary, have been spectacular. Everyone is looking forward to the forthcoming First Holy Communion ceremonies on Sat. May 13th & 20th. While much is changing in our country in regard to faith and religion, there is a tangible nostalgia around the month of May. The ‘Queen of the May’ remains an evocative and powerful statement of our residual faith in God and our sense of identity. People increasingly reflect on their childhood memories of May altars and May processions. These memories have left a warm and deep impression on many people. It is still possible for us to shape enduring, deep and warm experiences of faith and belief for the children of today. We celebrate the First Holy Communion ceremonies with warmth and faith. We share a prayer with the children that they will treasure and respect in their adult lives. We can still do so much to pass faith to children and the next generations. The month of May is a special moment. Preparations for the World Meeting of Families in our parish can be another such opportunity. May God bless the children, their families, their schools and our beloved church and parish in this month of Mary. Our Lady Crowned, pray for us.
Plans for the newly amalgamated Scoil Mhuire agus Eoin are accelerating as the new school year approaches. The recent Open Day was an outstanding success and pupil enrolment for the new school year is exceptionally strong and has exceeded expectations. Scoil Mhuire agus Eoin will be very well staffed retaining all existing staff members of the existing schools and further supports have been guaranteed. Plans for refurbishment of the existing premises of Scoil Mhuire Banríon are well advanced and works will be carried out during the Summer holidays. As outlined in last week’s newsletter, extensive refurbishment works will be completed in the existing premises of Scoil Eoin Aspal to ensure the smooth opening of St. Killian’s National School in September. These are exciting and positive times for the schools of our parish. There is a sense of a new beginning and fresh confidence for the future of our parish for families, parish and community. Well done to all involved.
A major objection to faith and belief is that the members of the early church invented the accounts of the resurrection of Jesus in order to persuade others to join their group or community. The very existence of their communities and the church depends on the truth of the resurrection. This weekend we will hear two magnificent accounts of the resurrection of Jesus. On Holy Saturday night, in the account of Luke, the men standing at the tomb of Jesus say ‘why look for the living among the dead, he is not here, he has risen’. This is the evidence of the disciples and the experience of Christians through the ages. Would you not love to hear those words spoken of your loved ones who have died? They are not here but they have risen! They are alive in God. I know this is your evidence that the resurrection of Jesus is real. Perhaps you are waiting for the words of resurrection in a difficult situation this year. Have hope. The words of Jesus are true. On Easter Sunday morning Peter and the beloved disciple of Jesus race to the empty tomb, in the gospel of John. The beloved disciple of Jesus waits for Peter and allows him to enter the tomb of Jesus first. They look around and study the evidence of the resurrection of Jesus. The beloved disciple says nothing but he ‘sees and believes’. It is not a shot in the dark. He knows that everything that he has been told is true. I love his response. It is considered and silent. It not ‘over the top’. He is the ‘quiet man’ who is not be easily fooled. I trust his careful judgment. To see and believe is to be wise. Put your trust in the risen Jesus and you will not be disappointed in Easter 2017 and beyond. Happy Easter.
In recent days, the office of the Diocese of Cork and Ross has advised Our Lady Crowned Parish that the existing premises of Scoil Eoin Aspal will be retained in the usage of our parish from Sept. 2017. It will be returned to educational use as the new location of St. Killian’s National school, currently located in Bishopstown. St. Killian’s was initially established by COPE Foundation and is now under the patronage of the Bishop of Cork and Ross. St. Killian’s continues to work closely with the existing COPE schools in the area and currently shares various services with them. This is great news for our area as it means the premises of Scoil Eoin Aspal will continue in use as a school of the parish. The Board of Management of St. Killian’s ‘looks forward to joining the Parish of Our Lady Crowned and the local community in order to provide the specialised enriched curriculum vital to their pupils aimed at developing individual strengths and talents through the provision of a wide range of additional amenities within the school building’.
The Holy Week ceremonies have been very well attended and beautifully celebrated in our church this past week. We have followed the footsteps of Jesus from the Last Supper in the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemane, along the Via Dolorosa in the Stations of the Cross and finally to the hill of Calvary. We have participated in the silence of Good Friday and now celebrate the explosion of joy and new life in the resurrection of Jesus. Every Mass that is celebrated is an ‘overflowing’ of the Easter Vigil. It is the triumph of life over death, light over darkness and hope over despair. It is God drawing us out of the slavery of ‘our Egypt’ with a ‘strong hand and mighty arm’ and bringing us to the freedom and joy of ‘a promised land’ of new hope. Please God, you can taste this hope in your own life, with your family or in the solitude of our minds and hearts. May God bless all on this Easter Day 2017.