This day was made by the Lord let us rejoice and be glad is the response to the psalm at Mass on Easter Sunday. Yes, Easter Sunday is indeed a day to rejoice and be glad. Christ is Risen. He is alive. He has overcome death and the grave and because of this we can look at life and death in a different way.
Life poses its challenges for each one of us. Some more difficult than others but as we face them we are not alone- the Lord is with us. God has not abandoned us. His love for us is so strong that He gave His only Son to death on the cross so that our sins would be forgiven.
Today we celebrate that forgiveness and that love in a very special way. Jesus died on the cross for you and for me. By overcoming death he has won new life for us. Because of the resurrection of Jesus death does not have the last word. Easter tells us that for the person who dies life is changed not ended. The hope of resurrection is our inspiration. May it inspire us to be joyful and true followers of the Risen Christ.
I pray that our hearts , homes and community will come to experience the blessings of our Risen Saviour. On this day let us rejoice and be glad. Let us commit ourselves to Christ and his message.
May the hope that Easter offers fill our hearts with peace and joy.
As we come to Christmas it is a good time to look back and reflect on what was a very special year in our parish. We celebrated the centenary of our parish church St. Cronan’s. We had some lovely events to mark the occasion – the Palm Sunday walk from the Blessed Well, the Centenary Mass with Archbishop Neary on May 27th, the family day on the grounds of the Secondary School, the talk on the windows and the talk on the influence on early Irish Christianity. They were all significant events and I thank all who participated in them.
In Belcarra we had the celebration in St. Anne’s to mark the centenary of the Society of St. Columban, co-founded by our native son Fr. John Blowick. Again it was a wonderful occasion when we welcomed Columban Fathers that have served in many different countries. Truly inspirational men.
The year saw Balla win the Pride of Place National Award. Our footballers won the County Junior title and the wonderful new playground opened in Belcarra. These are just some of the highlights of the year which demonstrate that our parish community is alive and well.
As in other years there were many happy family events to celebrate, births, baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, marriages, significant anniversaries and we have a centenarian in the parish. Many happy events. Sadly there were the sad happenings also, illness and death visited many families throughout the year. I congratulate those who have had the happy events and offer sympathy and prayerful support to those who have had to endure bereavement, sickness or any other personal difficulty.
As the Christmas season comes upon us, I would like to thank all who are involved in any parish ministry or voluntary organisation within the community. It is your generosity that enables our parish and community to be as strong and active as they are. A parish or a community is nothing without its people. I thank you all for your help and support to me over the year and I pray the blessings of the Christ child on you and yours this Christmas. I extend Christmas greetings to all from Balla, Belcarra, Clogher and Manulla and to all our emigrants at this time. May the Holy Family of Jesus Mary and Joseph guide and support you all now and in the years ahead.
This amazing model is made of matches which was very kindly donated to mark the centenary is now on display in the porch. Sincere thanks to the donor, the Monaghan Brothers who donated the table and John Killeen who assembled it free of charge. It is a beautiful display and legacy of the centenary.
‘This day was made by the Lord let us rejoice and be glad’ is a line taken from the Psalms. It could well sum up the celebration taking place within our parish this Sunday May 27th. We celebrate the centenary of our beautiful St. Cronan’s church. It is indeed a noble structure with its many outstanding features. It is a truly fitting place of worship and today we celebrate and honour the people who in very hard times funded and built the it.
We think of our many emigrants in the United States and elsewhere who donated hard earned money to ensure that St. Cronan’s became a reality. We honour and give thanks for all those who worked hard and long hours to build it. We thin too of all those who have gathered within its hallowed walls to pray over the decades, those who were baptised here, those who were sealed with the oil of chrism on confirmation day, those who committed themselves in love through the sacrament of marriage, those who prostrated themselves before the altar on ordination day and all those who welcomed the Lord’s mercy in the sacrament of reconciliation and His presence in the Eucharist. We also commend to the Lord today all whose funeral liturgies have taken place here. We pray that they now rejoice in the halls of heaven .We think too of all those who have sat in these seats and lifted up their hearts to the Lord in times of petition and likewise in thanksgiving.
Today we give thanks for all who have passed on this beautiful building to us. As a community let us commit to ensuring that this sacred place is maintained as a fitting monument to generations past. Let us pray also that we will be true to our faith and ensure that it is passed on to those that come after us. Faith inspired the people of Balla to build this church 100 years ago. May our faith enable us to appreciate it and ensure that it remains a place where we continue to lift up our hearts in prayer to God.
On this day of celebration I would also like to remember all the priests who have ministered in this parish over the years and the priests and religious who have left here to share the Christian message with other people at home and abroad, and to acknowledge the tremendous work that over 300 people do in various ministries in both Balla and Belcarra. Without their generosity of service our parish could not operate.
On this centenary celebration day I thank all who are helping to make it a happy and positive occasion for everyone and I pray that God will pour down many blessings on us and on our parish as we give thanks for the past, celebrate the present and pray for the future.
‘This day was made by the Lord let us rejoice and be glad.’ Psalm 117:V24/
27th May 2018.
Photos courtesy of Colin Redmond, Kathy Lyons and Michael Durkan.