In the company of centenarians, remembrance, and RTÉ

Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

I am squeezing in this very late reflection before the end of the last week of the Church Year. It will be Advent before you read these words!

Let me tell you about some of the events of the past few days. Beginning on Monday, I visited the sisters in the Convent of Mercy in Longford, hearing their confessions and celebrating the Sacrament of Anointing during their Evening Prayer. Some of the sisters have come to the Sacrament of Reconciliation in Multy on Saturday, but others have difficulty in travelling, hence this visit, which will hopefully become a regular practice in the New Year. What fine women they are, including two stalwarts who are one hundred- and two-years young! God bless Sister Felicitas and Chantal, who celebrated eighty years of profession recently. What an example of fidelity!

Wednesday evening saw a Service of Remembrance taking place in the Church with a packed congregation. The gathering was organised by our next-door neighbours, LARCC, a therapeutic centre caring for cancer sufferers and who share part of our building. Dear departed loved ones were celebrated in a touching ritual made up of readings and hymns, followed by refreshments in the Centre.

Friday was a busy day in the friary office with many visitors picking out Christmas Mass Bouquets nice and early, before the rush. We plan to be open more days in the week coming closer to Christmas, to cater for this popular tradition of buying religious cards with the friary stamp. At 6:00pm the friars assembled in the Church to record a Mass for the RTÉ News Channel, which will be broadcast throughout the country at the usual time of 10:30am next Wednesday. It is always good to reach out to a larger congregation whenever we can, as we regard our webcam as a real blessing. Then, to cap off a busy day, I attended a remembrance Mass in the parish church where families of deceased parishioners who died during the year recalled their loved ones by lighting a candle to represent their lives on earth.

Next week, I am due to give a short Advent retreat to the Franciscan sisters in Ballinasloe, a commitment made some time ago, but which was delayed due to Covid restrictions. Please pray that everything will go well for all concerned, not least myself!

Happy Advent!

Kieran ofm