Fr Denis will again celebrate Mass live on webcam from the Church of the Holy Rosary, Castlebar at 10.30 am on this Sunday morning, April 19th.
Masswill be offered for the sake of the intentions of all the people of the parish of Balla, Belcarra, Clogher, Manulla and Mayo Abbey and to thank all the people on the frontline, working in shops/services and volunteering during this challenging time.
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The Easter Vigil usually begins with the lighting of the fire at the church door. From this fire the Paschal Candle is lit. The candle is then carried through the church with the words Christ our Light being spoken many times. At the same time the candles held by the congregation are lit. Gradually the darkness within the church gives way to the increasing light and the Exultet rejoices in the Resurrection. We are singing a song of joy.
This year the setting is different. The church is empty, the candle is lit quietly, there is no congregation. Our society, our economics, our church community has been turned upside down. We suddenly find ourselves living in strange times, filled with worry caused by the Coronavirus.
But we have to be people of hope. Easter is a time of hope. It celebrates the fact that we are not alone. The risen Christ is with us and we can place our trust in him. God has never abandoned his people. Easter proclaims that. Just as there was darkness over the whole land when Jesus was crucified there is a form of darkness in our world at this time. But Christ is with us as a light shining in the darkness.
As we look around us so many different lights are shining brightly, such as our healthcare workers, our essential service providers, those engaging in neighbourly and voluntary acts to name but a few. It is wonderful to see so many giving of themselves to lighten the darkness for others. It is heartening to see such positive community spirit at this difficult time. This time of darkness will pass, and we will please God be able to gather together as a worshipping community again before too long.
In the meantime, please take care, stay safe and remember that we are an Easter people. Easter brings us hope. It reminds us that light is greater than darkness, eternal life greater than death. May all who have gone before us rest in eternal life and may each of us continue to witness to Christ our Light.
You are in my prayers and Masses at this time. May the blessings of the risen Lord be with you and yours.
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On July 20th 1969 Apollo 11 landed on the moon and millions watched as Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the lunar surface followed shortly by fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin. It was a remarkable achievement. When Armstrong put his feet on the surface of the moon he said ‘ That’s one small step for man, and a giant step for mankind’. It was seen as the greatest event in human history.
Some years later another astronaut, James Irwin also walked on the moon and he was prompted to say that the most significant happening of our age is not that man stood on the moon, but rather that God in Christ stood on the earth. At Christmas we celebrate God sending his Son to walk on this earth, to journey with his people and to win for us the promise of eternal life.
At Christmas time we celebrate Christ revealing the love and mercy of the Father. Jesus shares life’s journey with us. We are never alone, even in our darkest hour. Christ is the light shining in our darkness offering us the light of hope.
Jesus reveals God’s love to us and in so doing He invites us to share that love with others in acts of kindness, care and support. He invites us to live his message and Christmas gives us the opportunity to reach out in love to all in our community, especially those most in need. May we all do our bit to make it a happy Christmas for everyone. As we celebrate God’s opening his heart to us, let us strive to open our hearts to others.
May the blessings of Christ be with you all this Christmas time wherever you are. May the presence of Christ bring you and yours the precious gifts of love, joy and peace.
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