Tag Archives: prayer

Dear Parishioners ….

Dear Parishioners,

Normally a letter to the people of the diocese comes from the bishop but as we currently have no bishop in the diocese of Achonry, we, the priests of the diocese, wish to place before you, the people of our parish communities, some points for your consideration. We offer these points as pastors and as teachers of the message of life at the heart of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

On May 25th, we are being asked to vote on the Eighth Amendment to our Constitution. This amendment was voted into our Constitution by the people of Ireland after a referendum in 1983. The wording of that amendment states:

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

The referendum on May 25th is asking voters whether they want to keep this wording in our Constitution or remove it. The wording as it stands recognises the right to life of the unborn and equally the right to life of the mother. Removing the wording would mean that babies in the womb would have no rights under our Constitution and it would allow the Dáil to introduce legislation for abortion.

The debate on the forthcoming referendum raises serious issues which we all need to consider carefully before casting our vote.

In our parishes, we are privileged to share the joy of mothers and fathers in the birth of a new baby. We witness again and again their wonder at the new life they have helped to create and the tenderness of their care for the infant who is so entirely dependent on them. We see too the wider welcome given to a baby by older brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Working in our parishes, we have walked with mothers – and fathers – who have been overwhelmed by news of pregnancy, who struggle to cope, who are unsure and uncertain about the future, but who choose to welcome their child with the support, compassion, care and love of family, friends and community.

As pastors, we have also shared the journeys of mothers and fathers who become aware during pregnancy that their baby has a life-limiting condition. Though there is heartbreak, we have seen so often the gratitude of parents for precious days, hours, even minutes with their baby after birth, giving them time to name and baptise their child, making memories that live long in the heart.

These experiences with the people we serve leave us with the firm conviction of the wonder of human life that begins at conception. On a purely human level, that sense of wonder is supported by developments in science and medicine that give, in our time, ever greater insight into the hidden life of the little child in the womb with his or her own unique and never to be repeated DNA structure, whose heart begins to beat at 21 days, who by 12 weeks can yawn and stretch developing limbs. In all of this, we see the hand of God for whom human persons are the high point of Creation, made in God’s image and likeness. The insight of the Psalmist rings so true,

For it was you who created my being,

knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I thank you for the wonder of my being. (Psalm 138)

Life is God’s gift and the right to life comes from God and not from any law or constitution. Because it terminates human life which begins at conception, abortion can never be condoned in any circumstances. The circumstances in which human life begins are sometimes far from ideal and in such circumstances compassion is certainly called for, compassion which cares for and supports the mother in a crisis situation and compassion which sees the baby she carries in her womb as entirely innocent and deserving of the right to life.

The Eighth Amendment to our Constitution gives protection to the most vulnerable and voiceless members of our society. The forthcoming referendum calls us to be their voice and defend their right to life. It challenges us to be communities that show genuine compassion and practical care in every way for mothers – and fathers – for whom pregnancy causes a crisis.

We all need to be as fully informed as we can be on the issues before us in the referendum on May 25th and on the implications of our vote.  We pray and encourage you to pray with us that God will guide us and all citizens of our country to make the best decision for the unborn and their mothers.

Yours in Christ,

The priests of the diocese of Achonry.

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.

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.

Lourdes Pilgrimage

Our Lady of Lourdes Pray for us

Our Lady of Lourdes
Pray for us

The Achonry and Killala annual joint diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes began on 23 August. This pilgrimage is the 42nd annual joint pilgrimage to Lourdes between the dioceses of Achonry and Killala and it will last five days, from 23 August until Sunday 28 August.

This year’s pilgrimage will be led by Bishop John Fleming, Bishop of Killala and by Bishop Brendan Kelly, Bishop of Achonry. Spiritual Directors for the pilgrimage are Father Tom Doherty, Killala Diocese, and Father John Maloney, Achonry Diocese.

In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, all pilgrims to Lourdes will have the special opportunity to enter through the Door of Mercy which is located at Saint Michael’s gate, near the Breton Cross in the Sanctuary of our Lady of Lourdes.

Pilgrims from both dioceses departed today from Ireland West Airport Knock to Lourdes, the small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees which rose to prominence in 1858 due to the Marian apparitions seen by Bernadette Soubirous, who was later canonized.

Today, Lourdes hosts around six million visitors every year from all corners of the world. This constant stream of pilgrims and tourists transformed quiet Lourdes into the second most important centre of tourism in France, second only to Paris, and the third most important site of international Catholic pilgrimage after Rome and the Holy Land.

Pentecost Sunday

pentecost

Let us pray
[that the flame of the Spirit
will descend upon us]
Father in heaven,
fifty days have celebrated
the fullness of the mystery of your revealed love.
See your people gathered in prayer,
open to receive the Spirit’s flame.
May it come to rest in our hearts
and disperse the divisions of word and tongue.
With one voice and one song
may we praise your name in joy and thanksgiving.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen

Catholic Schools Week Mass

catholic schools week mass, ballaghaderreen

Bishop Brendan receiving Offertory Gifts during Mass for Catholic Schools Week, 2016

The bishop and people of Achonry Diocese gathered in the Cathedral of The Annunciation and St Nathy, Ballaghaderreen to celebrate Catholic Schools Week.  Bishop Brendan was the Principal Celebrant at the Eucharist.  He was joined by people from the parishes of the diocese, with many schools represented and children taking part in the liturgy. It was an uplifting celebration.  In his homily, Bishop Brendan spoke of Jesus as “teacher” and of the broad canvas that is “Catholicism“.

 

Door of Mercy

doorofmercy2Bishop Brendan, together with priests and people from the diocese, gathered at noon on Sunday December 13th to celebrate Mass and open the “Door of Mercy” in the Cathedral of The Annunciation and St Nathy, Ballaghaderreen.  The ceremony, simple and to the point, sought to mark the opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy called for by Pope Francis. Michael McCormack a local photographer has supplied the accompanying images.

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National Eucharistic Congress

nec_logo

CHRIST, OUR HOPE” (COL 1:27)

CRÍOST ÁR NDÓCHAS

 

Congress Religious

National Eucharistic Conference takes place in Knock Shrine on next weekend, September 26th and 27th.  For programme of events click here

Click on the links below to view information from the National Eucharistic Congress Website www.nec2015.ie 

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