Category Archives: Diocesan News

Permanent Diaconate Ordinations

Ordinations to the Permanent Diaconate took place for the first time in the Diocese of Achonry on Easter Monday, April 2nd, 2018.  Bishop Brendan Kelly returned to the diocese to ordain two men to the Permanent Diaconate. Fr Dermot Meehan, Diocesan Administrator and Director of the Permanent Diaconate programme in the diocese was the homilist.

A packed congregation in the Church of St James’, Charlestown, Co. Mayo watched and prayed as Martin Lynch (Parish of Kiltimagh) and Kevin Flynn (Parish of Collooney) became the first Permanent Deacons in our diocese.  Both men are married and their families were in attendance along with many friends and well wishers.

After the homily, both candidates are called forward by a deacon – answering “present” to the calling of their name is symbolic of their response to God’s Call to ministry.  Having presented themselves for ordination they are, in turn, presented to the bishop as candidates for ordination.

Having been called to Ministry and accepted for ordination, both candidates committed themselves to the ministry of Deacon and responded to the questions put before them by Bishop Brendan Kelly.

Both will assume ministry in the diocese and we pray God’s continued blessing on them and their families.

Ad multos annos.

Data Protection Officer

The Dioceses of the Western Province are recruiting for a Data Protection Officer.  The purpose of this role is to assist a number of Dioceses of the Western Province (Tuam Ecclesiastical Province) and their constituent parishes and agencies in achieving compliance with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Western Province comprises the Diocese of Tuam, Galway, Elphin, Killala, Achonry and Clonfert. The Catholic Church recognises that good pastoral care and respect for the dignity of every person requires that personal data should be sourced, stored, processed and eventually disposed of in an appropriate manner and welcomes the essential principles underlying the GDPR.


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DOWNLOAD JOB DESCRIPTION AND APPLICATION DETAILS

Application also available on IrishJobs.ie 

Diocesan Administrator

Fr Dermot Meehan, Diocesan Administrator Diocese of Achonry

 

Fr Dermot Meehan, Parish Priest of Swinford, Co. Mayo has been elected Administrator of the Diocese of Achonry with immediate effect.

The diocese wishes him every blessing in this role and the priests and people of the diocese will support him in this undertaking and remember him in prayer.

As Diocesan Administrator, Fr Dermot assumes responsibility for the diocese and will represent the diocese at meetings of the Episcopal Conference.  He will manage the day to day affairs of the diocese until such time as a new bishop is a appointed.

February 12th, 2018

 

Evening Prayer with Religious

On Sunday, February 4th, Bishop Brendan gathered with the Religious of the Diocese and a number of our diocesan priests and laity to pray with and for all who have given their lives in service of the Religious Life.  This was Bishop Brendan’s last official engagement in the diocese before he takes up his new role as Bishop of Galway on Sunday next.

He spoke of the absolute need for faith and trust in the future; “We can’t go back”, he said “like Jesus in this weekend’s Gospel, we need to go elsewhere …. in prayer, Jesus received and found what he needed to carry on”.  He reflected on his own move to Galway and that the future is totally in God’s hands – as is all of the future.  “Religious life is always about encountering people, encountering where they are.”  “Churches”, he said “were built so that people could gather together and be alone in the encountering of Jesus.”

His encouragement to all gathered was to keep engaging with people – meeting and being with them for that is the core of the Religious calling.

He used the occasion to thank all the Religious of the diocese for the wonderful support they had been to him over the past ten years.  He asked them to continue to keep him in prayer as he will keep them.

Fr Steve Gibson, CSC, spoke on behalf of all the Religious gathered and wished Bishop Brendan every success in his new role and concluded with a prayer of blessing.

Catholic Schools Week 2018

WELCOME

To celebrate Catholic Schools Week 2018, Bishop Brendan Kelly will be Principal Celebrant at Mass in St James’ Church, Charlestown on Wednesday January 31st at 7pm.  This Mass will be a Diocesan Gathering to celebrate the life lived in the schools of our Diocese. Prayers will be offered and blessings sought for all pupils, teachers, families and staff.

Please know that you are welcome to come along, join us in prayer, and to support the work done in classrooms and behind the scenes in all our schools.


The theme for Catholic Schools Week 2018 is:

“Catholic Schools: Families of Faith”.


For information on Catholic Schools Week 2018, please click HERE


Some images from Mass in Charlestown on Wednesday, January 31st.

Sr Mary Richardson and Mrs Marian Maloney (Diocesan Advisors to Primary Schools) were very instrumental in arranging this evening’s Liturgy.  At the end of the Mass, Sr Mary spoke words of thanks to Bishop Brendan on behalf of those gathered.  She thanked him for his commitment and dedicated service to the school communities of the diocese during his ten years as Bishop of Achonry.  She wished him continued blessings as he prepares to move to Galway, where he will become Bishop of Galway on February 11th.

She concluded her words with a brief quotation from the late poet and writer, John O’Donohue

Bishop Brendan, in response, made the following comments before offering his prayers and blessings to all gathered.

Venerable Patrick Peyton CSC

VENERABLE PATRICK PEYTON, CSC

On Monday, December 18, Pope Francis received His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and authorized the Congregation to promulgate the decree recognizing the heroic virtues of Father Patrick Peyton, a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, thus recognizing him as Venerable by the Roman Catholic Church.

The Positio on the life, virtues and reputation of holiness of Father Peyton had previously been discussed and approved by a panel of nine theologians and more recently by a group of 15 Cardinals and Archbishops who voted affirmatively to recognize his heroic virtues. The Positio refers to the volume containing the evidence that was collected from witness testimonies and supporting documents during inquiries carried out by special tribunals in several dioceses.

Hundreds of testimonies to Father Peyton’s heroic virtue and holiness of life have been recorded. Tens of thousands of prayer cards containing a prayer for a favor through Father Peyton’s intercession are in circulation. Hundreds of favors have been reported. Some of these favors are remarkable healings for which there is no medical explanation. Should one of these healings be officially recognized as having no scientific explanation and approved by the Vatican as a miracle due to his intercession, it would lead to his beatification.

The essence of Father Patrick Peyton’s ministry, which spanned half a century, began in his family. Father Patrick Peyton was born January 9, 1909, in Carracastle, County Mayo, Ireland. His parents, John and Mary Peyton, gathered their family to pray the Rosary every evening.

After emigrating from Ireland to the United States, Patrick Peyton became gravely ill as a seminarian and the doctors had no hope of recovery. So he followed his parents’ example and turned to Rosary prayer.

“Father Peyton was a seminarian, studying for the priesthood, when he was stricken with tuberculosis,” said Father Wilfred Raymond, C.S.C., President of Holy Cross Family Ministries. “He prayed his Rosary to the Blessed Mother and made a miraculous recovery. From that moment, he knew he was to be the one to carry out her apostolate, her ministry to bring families together for Rosary prayer, just as his family had done.”

Over the years, Father Peyton advocated for families by preaching two powerful and memorable messages, “The Family That Prays Together Stays Together” and “A World at Prayer is a World at Peace.”

Known the world over as “The Rosary Priest,” he began Family Rosary, in Albany, N.Y. in 1942, more than 75 years ago with the goal of building family unity through daily prayer of the Rosary. He went on to lead millions in prayer at 40 Family Rosary Rallies that drew 28 million people, including 2 million each at events in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Manila, Philippines.

Father Peyton, a Catholic media pioneer, spent the 51 years of his priesthood serving the spiritual needs of families.  In 1947, he founded Family Theater Productions in Hollywood. Family Theater Productions produced 900 radio and TV programs that featured hundreds of star actors and other celebrities and had more than 10,000 broadcasts.

The essence of Father Peyton’s ministry is relevant and vibrant to families today. Father Peyton still inspires people all over the world by his holiness of life and the example of his strong and tender devotion to Our Blessed Mother. The ministry has grown and engages families through a variety of media and social platforms as well as several websites, FamilyRosary.orgFamilyTheater.org, and the newest ministry, CatholicMom.com, the apostolate founded by Lisa Hendey, nationally known Catholic author and speaker. One of the many social platforms to reach families, Family Rosary Facebook page, has more than 1.2 million followers. The latest media project of Family Theater Productions, “Catholic Central,” was recently released on YouTube. These short videos offer entertaining and authoritative answers to questions about Catholic thought, spirituality and practice, CatholicCentral.com.

Holy Cross Family Ministries also established The Father Peyton Family Institute, based in Lima, Peru, and Bangalore, India. The Institutes provides direct services through research and education to enrich the spirituality of families. 

A site to inspire families and honor Father Peyton, FatherPeyton.org shares his life story from his humble beginnings in Ireland to his fame working with the “stars” of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

HCFM’s “Family of Ministries” are under the sponsorship of the Congregation of Holy Cross. The Congregation in June of 1997 requested that a cause for canonization for Father Peyton be initiated. In June 2001 the “nihil obstat” was granted from Rome and Father Peyton was given the title, “Servant of God,” when his Cause was opened. Since then, significant work has been completed to present Father Peyton’s heroic practice of virtue and reputation for holiness.

Holy Cross Family Ministries, which carries on the works of Father Peyton, has headquarters in North Easton, Massachusetts, with its media production company, Family Theater Productions, in Hollywood, California, and mission offices in 16 countries. The ministry serves Jesus Christ and His church by inspiring, educating, and entertaining families all to support their spiritual well-being and encourage family prayer.

For more information:

 


Taken from catholicmom.com and Holy Cross Ministries


FR PEYTON CENTRE, ATTYMASS, CO. MAYO

PRESS RELEASE
peytoncentre

Bishop Brendan appointed Bishop of Galway

Bishop Brendan Kelly

Bishop Brendan, appointed Bishop of Achonry in November 2007 and ordained in January 2008, has today been appointed Bishop of Galway.  The Diocese, in thanking him for his wonderful leadership over the past nine years, is tinged with sadness as we prepare to bid him farewell.  Returning to his native diocese, we wish him every happiness and blessing and know that his contribution to the life of Galway diocese will be meaningful and rooted in the Gospel he so cherishes.


STATEMENT OF MONSIGNOR THOMAS JOHNSTON, VICAR GENERAL

I congratulate Bishop Brendan Kelly on his appointment as Bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh and as Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora, and with the priests, religious and people of Achonry I pray God’s blessing on him in this new ministry.

Bishop Brendan was ordained bishop of Achonry in January 2008 and he brought to that office many fine qualities, personal and pastoral. We thank him most especially for his kindness to priests and people alike, his commitment to priesthood and dedication to ministry.

We appreciate the initiatives he introduced, encouraged and supported within the diocese, his deep appreciation of the work of priests, his encouragement for their various ministries and his understanding of their ever increasing work-load.

As bishop, he was always deeply aware and encouraging of the ministries and activities carried out by the many volunteers at parish and diocesan level.

His appointment to the see of Galway takes him back to the place of his birth and early priesthood and while we would love to see him remain in Achonry, we know that God’s will comes first.

We remain forever grateful for the time Bishop Brendan spent in our diocese and assure him today and always of our continued prayers.

Monsignor Thomas Johnston,

Vicar-General Diocese of Achonry

11th December 2017


STATEMENT OF ARCHBISHOP EAMONN MARTIN

Following the appointment today by Pope Francis of Bishop Brendan Kelly as the new Bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh and as Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora, Archbishop Eamon Martin has published the following statement of congratulations:

“I wish to offer my warmest congratulations and prayerful support to Bishop Brendan Kelly for his generous acceptance of a new episcopal appointment.

“Bishop Brendan’s ten years of pastoral service as Bishop of Achonry have been characterised by a natural warmth and empathy towards the people, priests and religious of the diocese, and a gentle, prayerful and caring leadership.

Now he returns to his roots! As a native of Craughwell, and a priest of longstanding, dedicated service in the diocese of Galway, Bishop Brendan will no doubt receive a wholehearted welcome home from the clergy and faithful of his native diocese. He returns with the benefit of new wisdom and experience garnered among the faithful people of Achonry.

“I am pleased that Bishop Brendan will continue his valued service to the Irish Episcopal Conference. His contribution, to date, has been immense – as a member of Standing Committee, the Commission for Catholic Education and Formation, Council for Liturgy and as chair of the Bishops’ Council for Education.

“In recent days, we rejoiced with Bishop Brendan as he brought to completion a project that has been dear to his heart as a native Irish speaker – the launch of the new altar edition of An Leabhar Aifrinn Rómhánach, the Irish translation of the Roman Missal.  One of the most important recent cultural achievements in this country, its preparation and production was the fruit of years of intensive work and collaboration of many individuals from throughout the Church, and Bishop Brendan deserves great credit for delivering an Irish Missal that we can all be proud of.

A man of great gifts, I wish him happiness and fulfilment in his new appointment.

“May Saint Colman, Saint Fachanan and Our Lady Assumed into Heaven guide Bishop Brendan in his new role in Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora.

Guím gach rath Dé air agus ar a chuid saothair.”


STATEMENT OF ARCHBISHOP MICHAEL NEARY

“On behalf of the Bishops of the metropolitan province of Tuam, I wish to take this opportunity to warmly congratulate Bishop Brendan Kelly on his new appointment as Bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora.

“Bishop Brendan was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Galway in 1971 and will now return as its bishop.  As both priest and bishop, Bishop Brendan has been a much loved local pastor and a very popular shepherd to the faithful of Achonry since his ordination as bishop on 27 January 2008.  His personal integrity, generosity of spirit and outstanding ministry to the people of the diocese will surely be missed.  No doubt he will bring the same natural enthusiasm and pastoral leadership to the people of his diocese of origin in Galway.”

Archbishop Neary concluded, “On this special day for the diocese and for the country, I ask the faithful to join with me in prayer to ask the Lord to guide and bless Bishop Brendan as he undertakes his new and important Episcopal appointment.”


APPOINTMENT WELCOMED BY CANON MICHAEL McLOUGHLIN,

Please see below the statement of welcome by the Very Reverend Michael Canon McLoughlin, Diocesan Administrator, regarding the news today that the Most Reverend Bishop Brendan Kelly has been appointed by Pope Francis as the new Bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora:

“With great joy and with a feeling of some relief, I am honoured and I am proud to say to our new bishop – ceád mile fáilte romhat abhaile arís.

“We, the priests and people of these three ancient dioceses, have been through a sixteen-month Advent since the retirement of Bishop Martin Drennan in July 2016.  We have been waiting daily in expectation and in hope for white smoke.  Now that hope has been fulfilled with news from Rome and we at last can begin preparations to welcome one of our own back home to lead us and to be our shepherd.

“We have no doubt that Bishop Brendan will be a good shepherd.  The people of Lisdoonvarna and of Spiddal can testify to his compassion and his dedication, to his gentleness and his kindness when he were their priest.  Those many pupils he taught in Coláiste Éinde and in Our Lady’s College, Gort will also know of his abilities and commitment both inside and outside the classroom.  Although he left us ten years ago for Ballaghaderreen, we watched and regarded him with pride and we always kept him in our prayers.

“And now we are very pleased indeed that he has come back to us. We look forward to making him feel welcome and to helping him readjust.  We know some of his many gifts.  Like Bishop Drennan and Bishop McLoughlin before him, he has a passion for the Irish language and for Irish culture.  In his work he has always prioritised evangelisation and the wonderful potential of Catholic education. We know from his words in Oranmore last September, when he ordained our newest priest – Father Declan Lohan – that fostering and inspiring vocations to the priesthood and the religious life has always been to the fore in everything he says and does.  And we know too that he is a man of integrity and of deep faith.  These things are important to us: the priests and people of this diocese.  We look forward, with the help of God and our Blessed Mother, to sharing the journey in the years ahead with our new Bishop.  May God bless our work together mar ní neart go cur le chéile !

“On a personal note, as my time as Diocesan Administrator draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to thank, with deep gratitude, those many people who have supported me in my work these past sixteen months.  I will be forever indebted to our retired bishop, Martin Drennan, for his wisdom and unfailing kindness and to all those many people who worked closely with me in the Diocesan Office, in Moycullen, throughout Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora and beyond.  I believe that Bishop Brendan is coming back home to a diocese full of enormous potential and promise and I wish him, and pray him, bountiful blessings.

“When a priest is first ordained, each priest at the ceremony goes at once to him, offers him the kiss of peace and whispers quietly in his ear ‘ad multos annos’, which means ‘to many years’.  Bishop Brendan, on my own behalf and on behalf of your priests and your people, from our hearts, we also say on this special day: ad multos annos!” 


BISHOP BRENDAN KELLY REFLECTS ON APPOINTMENT

A Cháirde dhíl,

Go mbeannaí Dia dhaoibh … Níor shíl mé riamh go mbeinn anseo, ná go mbeadh an ócáid seo ag tarlú.  Go raibh maith agaibh as teacht agus fanacht.

I am still somewhat in shock.  Having settled happily in Achonry, I never expected I never expected to be asked to take on the shepherding of another diocese.  However, the fact that it is my own native diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora makes it much easier to say yes to this appointment with which Pope Francis has chosen to honour me.  I am very grateful to the Holy Father for his trust.  And it is good to be coming home.

Tá mé sásta freisin bheith ag freastal arís i ndeoise ina bhfuil paróistí bhreátha Gaeltachta. Ba mhór an bheannacht  dom féin blianta a chaitheamh i measc muintir Chois Fharraige  i bparóiste An Spidéil.  Is maith bheith ar ais libh arís.

It is now over 10 years since I was appointed by Pope Benedict as Bishop of Achonry.  I have been very happy in Ballaghaderreen. I am deeply grateful first of all to the priests of the Achonry diocese.  Their welcome to me from the beginning was entirely generous and warm. I believe we have worked together well. I want to thank them with all my heart for their constant support, kindness and acceptance of all I asked of them. I will miss them, but I believe the bonds of friendship and fraternity will endure and continue to sustain me.

From the start, the welcome and acceptance I experienced from the people of Achonry, including the Religious, has been warm and generous, too.  It has been a grace from God to serve them and I trust they will continue to carry me in prayer as I will them. There are those then who worked with me on a daily basis in Achonry. I owe them a special debt of gratitude. I thank them and will miss them.

Now as I stand here in this beautiful Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St. Nicholas, I am conscious of all that lies ahead.  I look forward to working again with the priests of Galway diocese, colleagues since the day I was ordained up to the time I left here 10 years ago.  Many of you have been good friends to me for years.  And I am thinking today with deep gratitude to God of so many of them atá imithe ar shlí na fírinne, great mentors and friends.

I realise there is much work to be done. Somewhere all of us in the Church in Ireland need renewal in faith and in prayer at this time.  Pope Francis is very clear. All of us who have been baptised are missionaries and all of us must be on a continuous journey of conversion. The world needs the Good News as much or more than at any other moment in history.  We have all, priests and people, been solemnly commissioned at Baptism to carry that Good News to the people of our times, most particularly to those who are  experiencing exclusion, isolation and rejection and who are in need of good shepherds.  I invite you all to assume along with me a new determination to be those good shepherds and bearers of the Good News, priests and people together.

I want to say a particular word of thanks here today to my friend Canon Michael McLoughlin, with whom I served happy years in Lisdoonvarna.  Canon Michael has carried the burden of the Administration of the diocese since Bishop Martin retired.  I thank you, Michael, for the courage and faith with which you took on the task, the work you have done and the kindness with which you have dealt with each situation and the people involved.

I want to thank also Bishop Martin, my predecessor as bishop, for honouring the occasion with your presence, and I am so glad you are here today. Thank you for the years you gave shepherding all of us here in the diocese of Galway. Your prayers and scholarly love for God’s Word along with your wise counsel are still needed and I will be availing of them. We are glad that, in retirement, you have chosen to make your home among us and I personally look forward to your ongoing prayerful presence in the years ahead.  And speaking to you as a Kilkenny man, I have to say that I am glad to be returning at a time when Liam McCarthy is making his home again very happily west of the Shannon in this great County!

At the present time we are all looking forward to the World Meeting of Families in August in Dublin and particularly, please God, to a visit from Pope Francis. Pope Francis has set a very clear path for the Church in our time: He has placed the family at the heart of his programme from the start.  The theme he has given for the World Meeting in Dublin is “The Gospel of the Family, Joy for the World”. We are all called to be and to build family domestically and at every level.  It is nothing short of tragic that in a time of unprecedented prosperity for so many, too many families are finding that there is no house for them, no room for them in the Inn. Then there is Our Holy Father’s focus on young people who must always be our first priority in the Church of Jesus Christ.  Along with family and young people, there is the critical mission in Ireland at this time that is Evangelisation: discovering anew the wonder and gift that Jesus Christ is for ourselves and learning anew how to share this gift with others.  We are becoming a smaller, weaker and poorer church.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  I look forward to working closely with the priests and people of our parishes and diocese, with colleagues and good friends in the other Christian communities represented in our city and beyond, and with all people of good will, men and women, both the young and those who have the wisdom of years, as we build together the Kingdom of God. We must work together in new ways and as never before so that we will be a church that is open and welcoming, humble and full of mercy, and cherishing human life at its most fragile and vulnerable, no matter what the price: in other words, a church that confidently takes our stand always with the one who was crucified and whose birth outside and in abject poverty we are preparing now to celebrate again at Christmas.

Finally, mo bhuíochas ó chroí daoibh ar fad as bheith anseo ar maidin.  Please pray for me that I may give my life as Jesus did in service of you, his people.


BIOGRAPHY (Catholic Communications Office)

He was ordained to the priesthood on 20 June 1971 by Bishop Brown in the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas in Galway city.

His first appointment was to the parish of Kinvara as a curate before being appointed to the teaching staff of Coláiste Éinde in Salthill in 1972, completing a Higher Diploma in Education in the then University College Galway (now the National University of Ireland, Galway) in 1973.

Bishop Brendan remained on the staff of Coláiste Éinde until 1980 when he was transferred to the teaching staff of Our Lady’s College, Gort, becoming President in 1986.

Following the 1995 amalgamation of the three Gort secondary schools, Bishop Brendan applied for and was granted sabbatical leave from his diocese for one year and went to live with the L’Arche Community at Cuise-la-Motte in France.  Founded by Jean Vanier in 1964, the worldwide L’Arche movement seeks to create inclusive, creative and caring families where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work in friendship, joy and mutual respect.

Returning to his diocese in 1996, Bishop Brendan was appointed by Bishop James McLoughlin as

Parish Priest of Lisdoonvarna in Co Clare and subsequently as Parish Priest of An Spidéal in 2003.

On 20 November 2007, Bishop Brendan was named by Pope Benedict XVI as the Bishop of Achonry, succeeding recently retired Bishop Thomas Flynn.  On 27 January 2008 he was ordained to the episcopate by Cardinal Seán Brady in the Cathedral of the Annunciation and Saint Nathy in Ballaghaderreen.

Today, 11 December 2017, Pope Francis, named Bishop Brendan as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora, succeeding Bishop Martin Drennan who retired in July 2016.

It is planned that Bishop Brendan’s ‘Installation Ceremony’ will take place in the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas on 11 February 2018, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Bishop Brendan’s episcopal motto is ‘De réir d’fhocail’ (‘According to your word’ Lk 1:38).  He:

– is a fluent Irish speaker and has a working knowledge of the French language;

– was a member of the Standing Committee of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference for six years;

– is a member of the Bishops’ Council of the Liturgy;

– is a member of the Bishops’ An Coiste Comhairleach um Liotúirge i nGaeilge;

– is a member of the Bishops’ Commission for Catholic Education and Formation;

– is Chairman of the Bishops’ Council for Education;

– is a member of The Council for the West.

WMOF ICON IN KILTIMAGH

There was Evening Prayer in The Church of The Holy Family, Kiltimagh on Monday December 4th.  This was to gather people around the Icon for World Meeting of Families 2018 which currently is in our diocese.  Kiltimagh, chosen because of its Church’s name, is the first of three locations in the diocese that will host the Icon and invite people to gather in prayer.  The other centres are The Father Peyton Centre (Parish of Attymass) and Ballymote.

 

Fr Michael Quinn, Parish Priest of Kiltimagh led the Liturgy and welcome all who had gathered to spend some time in prayer in the presence of the Icon.  Fr Gerry Davey, of the WMOF 2018 Diocesan Committee spoke of the “writing” of the Icon and shared some reflections around its meaning.

There was a representative gathering from the six parishes of St Joseph’s Cluster (Bohola, Carracastle, Charlestown, Kilmovee, Kiltimagh and Swinford) and prayers of intercession were offered by parishioners from these parishes.  Three priests read three Gospel passages, drawn from the story told in the Icon; The finding of the child Jesus in the temple, the raising of the daughter of Jairus and the wedding feast of Cana.

Fr Stephen O’Mahony shared a reflection for the evening that might be worth taking a look at.  The words are very meaningful and have certainly the potential to lead us along a path of choosing what is best for others and ourselves.

 

Spirit of the living God,

Help me to be positive in everything I do
In everything I say

In everything I think and feel and imagine.

Where there is beauty, let me sing
Where there is goodness, let me praise
Where there is wisdom, let me listen
Where there is courage, let me affirm
Where there is wonder, let me be in awe.

Where there is loneliness, may I be present
Where there is suffering, may I weep
Where there is wrong, may I speak out
Where there is possibility, may I respond.

All praise to you, 0 God of infinite beauty and goodness
All praise to you, 0 God of infinite wisdom and wonder
All praise to you, 0 God.

Your boundless compassion for us in Christ Jesus

Has made this life such a positive, hope-filled experience.
May we live each day

with your spirit of grace and generosity.

WMOF2018

On Sunday, November 12th, in excess of 450 people gathered in the Sports Complex, Charlestown, Co. Mayo for an afternoon with a difference. Organised by the World Meeting of Families 2018 Diocesan Committee, the afternoon took the format of a Boston Tea Party.  Individuals and groups from around the diocese hosted tables, bringing together families and friends from the twenty-three parishes of Achonry Diocese. Tommy Marren, of Tourlestrane Parish, and well known broadcaster with Mid West Radio was MC for the afternoon and ably directed proceedings.

The Complex was quite literally transformed and looked amazing.  Full credit to all involved. One of the most impressive aspects of the gathering was the host of young people from the local secondary school.  These were a credit to themselves, their families and school.  Well done.  They served table, were so kind and efficient to a fault.

A short video, featuring the planning of and the events around the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia was shown.  This gave all gathered a great sense of what to expect and the amount of preparation that needs to be done.  A representative of WMOF 2018 spoke to all gathered about the great need for volunteers and encouraged people to consider becoming involved in this way.  For more information, click here

Bishop Brendan shared a few thoughts around his own wishes for the gathering in August 2018 and sees it as a central pillar in supporting family life in its very many shapes and forms.  Quoting Pope Francis, he told us the family is “The nearest hospital, first school and best place to grow old”.

There were a few musical moments as well, not least in teaching all gathered the official hymn for the World Meeting of Families.  The tones were sweet!  It’s a tune that will take hold and will hopefully spread throughout our diocese, country and beyond.  Well done to the Fr Peyton Cluster Choir who led us in song.

Large screens relayed images of artwork around “family life” that had been submitted by pupils of primary and secondary schools throughout the diocese.

There was a powerful enactment of the gospel passage of the Child Jesus being lost, as a twelve year old, and the restlessness of his parents until he was found again. This served to remind us of the experience of “family” encountered by Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Surely Pope Francis would rejoice in this girl’s “starring role” at Diocesan Launch of WMOF18

One of the undoubted highlights of the afternoon was the performance of a play, written by Una Leavy (Charlestown) and performed by a group of children from the local Primary School.  It was breathtaking in its simplicity and accuracy as it portrayed something of the lived reality of family life.  A man stood up to take a photograph and I hoped it might lead to a standing ovation – though that did not happen, the children were amazing.  Literally “take a bow”.

The evening finished with another visit from the Fr Peyton Cluster Choir, this time transformed into the cast of Sister Act.  They entertained us with some of the well known songs from Sister Act and elsewhere.  Real talent and, talent is at its very best when put at the service of others.  That’s exactly what happened.  Well done.

There was of course food!  People went above and beyond what was expected and the sharing wasn’t confined to the hosted table or parish.  People freely shared food with one another and sampled the hospitality of other “families” from around the diocese. There’s no doubt, this was a desired happening and it was heartening so see such togetherness, friendship and sharing of table. All in the name of family life.

Once again, full credit to all involved in the formulating of the dream of a gathering like this that was so fully and fittingly realised this afternoon.  It truly augurs well for what lies ahead in August 2018 and for the “legacy” the organisers are hoping this event will leave in its wake beyond August 2018.

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