As for all parishes throughout the country and indeed the world, the virus Covid 19 has had its impact with NPHET, HSE and Government restrictions. However, we very quickly embraced technology with offering Facebook and You Tube Mass on line until Webcam was installed into the Church early April. Phone calls and zoom meetings became the norm and we embraced technology with open arms – as these were the only arms we had to reach out to our parishioners.
The Sacramental life of the Church was hardest hit, Baptisms, First Communions and Confirmations were postponed until August and September. As schools were closed, it was exciting doing the final preparations via zoom conversations with parents and their children. There was something lovely about meeting each other within our own homes. Our celebrations of Confirmation and First Holy Communions were beautiful. They were simple, family friendly and Covid-safe. Unfortunately for some First Communion families, they were postponed twice due to the reintroduction of level 3 and 5 restrictions. However, we kept our hearts and spirits up and did what we could virtually.
Caring for our Common Home
There was a large site belonging to the parish, backing on the priests' houses, which had been neglected over the years, this area was cleared and an Eco garden was developed. The parish was given the Eco-Congregation Ireland award in 2015. Over the years, a section of this garden has been providing, blackberries, raspberries, potatoes and vegetables. The garden has been given a time of rest (jubilee year) and now has given us some wild flowers which encourage natural habitat for bees, butterflies and common insects.
In spite of Covid 19 restrictions we were able to highlight our desire in promoting Laudato Si and care of the earth awareness through the daily prayer of the faithful and our sacred space within the parish church.
To end the season of creation this year, Fr. John Joe Spring gifted us with a Rowan tree and it was planted in our Eco Garden.
As we walked or drove around our parish, it was wonderful to see how many private houses had taken to growing wildflowers in their gardens and indeed the green areas around our neighbourhoods where Dublin City Council had sectioned off some green spaces for wildflowers. Congratulations to the local communities for all their work in creating wildflower gardens and for protecting them. They bring all of us great delight.
November: We Remember!
During the month of November, our parishioners have great devotion to pray for their departed loved ones. Our annual Mass for our deceased was held via the webcam. Families were invited to attend virtually. A candle was lit for each person who had died during the year. While there was only 5 of us in the Church for the Mass, we had a powerful sense of our parishioners’ presence with us on line. Afterwards, families were invited to collect the candle, a tulip bulb and a November prayer card in memory of their loved one.
Localise Youth Volunteering challenges young people to come together and make a difference in their local community by being of service to others. Through the Localise youth volunteering programmes, young volunteers directly address the needs of the most disadvantaged locally, serving the homeless, the elderly, the disabled and other groups needing support. Over the past eight years our parish have invited Localise to work with children from 6th class in our schools. The children volunteer to join Localise for ten weeks when they come to the Parish Centre usually from September to December and Localise youth workers engage with the children in designing their ideal local community. Covid 19 didn’t stop Localise from engaging with the children this year. The girls from St. Catherine’s school with the support of their principal and class teachers got involved again via zoom and have chosen to prepare gift bags for the Covid and Psychiatric wards in the Mater Hospital.
The photo shows the girls busily preparing the ‘gift bags’ for collection. While this all looks easy, there was a lot of planning to comply with school Covid restrictions. The gifts were bought in bulk and had to be quarantined for 72 hours before the children could prepare the gift bags and again quarantined before collection by the Localise leaders and quarantined again before delivery to the Mater Hospital. Mid December, the children will attend this event again by zoom and will sing Christmas carols for the Psychiatric ward.
Hampers for the Staff.
Virtual Climate Justice Candle in St. Catherine’s Senior School, Cabra West
During November Remembering, Fifth class students in St. Catherine’s Primary School reflected on the Creation story in Genesis and watched an animated version of Laudato Si’ as a springboard to compose a Prayer Service for the whole school to highlight the arrival of the Climate Justice candle in the school during November. The girls wrote a reflection and some short prayers, which were then passed from class to class with the Climate Justice candle, so that each class heard their thoughts on our Common Home. As one student wrote “We want to make the world a better and healthier place for future generations to live in. We need to try harder and do our best to protect the animals and nature that God has created”.
Our Common Home
The Earth is our common home.
It is our responsibility to look after and care for it.
Unfortunately, we are neglecting to care for our Earth,
and we can’t live anywhere else.
God gave us the Earth and wants us to look after it,
so, we need to try harder.
It made us sad and angry to hear that people are littering
and throwing waste into the oceans and lakes.
This is very harmful to all sea creatures.
We need to try harder and do our best to protect the animals,
creatures and nature that God has created.
Pope Francis wrote in his letter ‘Laudato Si’ that the world belongs to everyone, including animals, but we need to act now before it is too late.
We want to make the world a better and healthier place
to live in for future generations.
We only have one life on this planet, let’s make it right.
Ms Kealey’s 5th class.
(Sr Philomena Neary)