Pre Election Statement of Archbishop Michael

Posted on Updated on

Statement by Archbishop Michael Neary concerning the equal protection of the right to life of mothers and unborn children

Issues in General Election 2016

I am mindful of the many important issues which are being raised by voters and candidates in the run up to voting day for the general election on 26 February: unemployment and especially amongst our young people, emigration, rural crime, flooding, homelessness, housing, poverty; the quality of our education system; medical services; and the many challenges facing our farmers, all of which greatly affect the dignity of life for many families and individuals across our country.

Each human life is unique from conception until natural death

Of critical importance in any society is the unique value placed on each human life from the moment of conception to natural death. If life is not fully respected and protected then the very basis of our society is weakened. The Eighth Amendment guarantees the right to life of the unborn and the equal right to life of the mother.

Regrettably, some of those standing for election have declared their intention to work to remove this protection from our Constitution and laws. This simplistic approach to the most significant of issues is not only an outright attack on the unborn, but an affront to the charter of human rights enshrined in Ireland’s basic law.

If an unborn child has a life-limiting condition, it would be inhumane to withdraw the protection of the Constitution to their right to life. In this most significant of centenary years it is more pressing than ever “to cherish all the children of the nation equally” whether unborn or born, and irrespective of a child’s health status.

Broader than a faith issue

Just as education must be ‘student-centered’ so society must be ‘people-centered’. This is about life and basic human rights. It is not an exclusively ‘Catholic issue’.

Being pro-life in contemporary Ireland means, more and more, being counter-culture, being radical. However we cannot ignore the consequences of abortion for the unborn, for the voiceless. At this time we have a crucial responsibility to our future generations. Permitting abortion in difficult cases is like pulling a loose thread in a garment. There may be no definitive point at which the unraveling can be stopped.

Compassion for crisis pregnancies

Ireland’s social progress ought to be measured by how effectively we care for the most vulnerable amongst us, for example, a woman facing a crisis pregnancy. We should offer mercy, not judgement, in these situations. CURA’s 180 counsellors support women and men who face crisis pregnancies. Extending compassion, and providing tangible and creative resources to women experiencing crisis pregnancies, should be the ambition of all public policy makers.

Placing a culture of life at the centre of Election 2016

In his address to the United Nations in New York in 2015, Pope Francis said:

“The common home of all men and women must continue to rise on the foundations of a right understanding of universal fraternity and respect for the sacredness of ever human life”.

As part of a conscientious engagement by citizens, I invite voters to ask their constituency candidates whether or not they support the sacredness of every human life, and to provide clarification about defending the weak and those who are easy to otherwise dismiss, and whose constitutional protection is now at risk.

Let us remember in our prayers the unborn child, and all who will be elected to the next Dáil and Seanad Éireann so that, as national public representatives, they may work in a self-confident way for the greater good of all and for a genuine culture of life where every citizen, especially the most vulnerable and including the voiceless child in the womb, is valued and protected.


Archbishop Michael Neary is Archbishop of Tuam


Do This in Memory of Me Masses

Posted on Updated on

Do This in Memory of Me

Do This in Memory of Me Masses this weekend in

Belcarra and Balla on Saturday and Sunday, March 7th/8th respectively

Core Group meet also.

Please see this week’s newsletter for more details.

Lenten Leaves Sacred Space

Posted on Updated on

My Lenten Promise

Have you decided what effort you are going to make for Lent this year?


Here are some ideas that may help you decide.

Our Lenten promises should try to focus on three things:

1. Praying – maybe a little extra than you do already

2. Sacrifice – maybe giving up or taking up something that is hard to do

3. Alms-giving – maybe putting money in your Trócaire box, or helping someone who does not have as much as you have.

There are leaf templates available in both churches. Please take one and write your Lenten promise anonymously on the leaf. This leaf can then be placed in the sacred space prepared in the church for Lent.


This template is available for you to print and prepare here.


Leaf Template

Ash Wednesday February 18th 2015

Posted on Updated on

The Meaning of Lent


The English word ‘Lent’ comes from the Anglo-Saxon word Lencten, meaning ‘Spring’. In other languages the word comes from the Latin, Quadragesima – a period of 40 days.  In the Christian tradition the forty days is understood to refer to a time of intense prayer and preparation; we remember the biblical stories of Noah and the flood of 40 days, the forty years the Israelites spent wandering in the wilderness and Christ’s forty day fast in the desert in preparation for his earthly ministry.


Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday.


Mass in St Cronan’s (Balla) on Wednesday at 7 and 10 am

and in St Anne’s (Belcarra) at 7.30 pm


The 7 am Mass will be celebrated weekly

on Wednesdays during Lent (alternating between churches)

Why not make the effort to attend?

World Day of the Sick 2015

Posted on


Mass for the Sick will be celebrated in St Cronan’s Church, Balla

at 10 am on Wednesday, February 11th.

The 23rd World Day of the Sick will be celebrated on Wednesday 11 February, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The World Day of the Sick is an initiative which was started by Pope John Paul II in 1992.  Pope Benedict and Pope Francis have continued this special World Day – an occasion during which the whole Church bears witness with special concern to the tender mercy and love of God towards all who suffer. It is a time to pause and be prayerfully in solidarity with those who are sick and with all who care for the sick.

The theme for the 2015 World Day of the Sick is “I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame” (Job 29:15).

In his message for this year’s World Day of the Sick Pope Francis says: “Today too, how many Christians show, not by their words but by lives rooted in a genuine faith, that they are “eyes to the blind” and “feet to the lame”! They are close to the sick in need of constant care and help in washing, dressing and eating. This service, especially when it is protracted, can become tiring and burdensome. It is relatively easy to help someone for a few days but it is difficult to look after a person for months or even years, in some cases when he or she is no longer capable of expressing gratitude. And yet, what a great path of sanctification this is! In those difficult moments we can rely in a special way on the closeness of the Lord, and we become a special means of support for the Church’s mission.”

Taken from

Dates for First Penance

Posted on

First Penance


The Sacrament of First Confession will be celebrated on the following dates

St Anne’s Church, Belcarra on March 10th @ 7.30 p.m.


St Cronan’s Church, Balla on March 12th @ 7.30 p.m.

Updated Message from Sr Mary O’Malley

Posted on

Dear Fr Carney,

With Huge Gratitude I welcome the good news from the parish that very soon I will be able to count on the very generous donation of Balla/ Belcarra to the amount of €3,164. It is good money.  It is extremely welcome as you can imagine and the daily task of trying to ‘rustle-up’ a few bob for the most needy is not easy.

In all cases I try to leave people a little better than I found them – not a dishing out of money – I abhor such a thing – but help them advance along the road of life. But others too who need the daily bread and when hunger is written all over the face, I cannot walk away .

Every good wish and BLESSINGS in the New Year.

Mary O’ Malley

Parish Statistics for 2014

Posted on Updated on


The following information

may be of interest

to people in our parish community

and elsewhere!


                                             Balla          Belcarra

Baptisms                              28               19

Marriages                             6                 4

Funerals                               22               11

First Communion             20              22

Confirmation                      38              34

Happy New Year to all

Posted on

Reflection for New Year

Believe in yourself.

You were born good and you are loved by God.

God believes in you, and has plans for you.

Your life is important and you were born for a reason.

God created a beautiful you.

Do not turn your back on God, who fills you with love and power to do things.  Focus on what you can do and on your good qualities.

Don’t trap yourself by saying, ‘I can’t’. Be patient with yourself.

If you make a mistake, it’s because you’re learning and growing.

You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t struggle with some things!

You cannot change what has been done in the past,

so stop hurting yourself by thinking about your failures and mistakes.

Forgive, accept forgiveness, let go of the past and celebrate you.

You are worth celebrating.

You are a child of God and you are worth everything.  You are unique.

In the whole world, there is only one you.

There is only one person with your talents, your experiences, your gifts.

No one can take your place!

God created only one you, precious in His sight.

You have immense potential to love, to care, to create, to grow,

to sacrifice, if you believe in yourself.

It doesn’t matter what you have been, the wrong you’ve done,

The mistakes you’ve made.  Let that go.

It belongs to the past, you belong to the now.

You are forgiven, you are accepted.

You are loved in spite of everything.

So love yourself and nourish the seeds within you.

Celebrate you.

Begin now, start anew, give yourself a new birth, Today.

You are you and that is all you need to be.

You cannot deserve this new life.  It is a gift freely given.

This is the miracle called God who loves you.

So celebrate the miracle, celebrate you!

And be a light of hope to others.

Happy New Year to You All