January 13th 2008 – Baptism of the Lord

Blessing of Holy Water
(At the beginning of Mass Holy Water will be blessed instead of the Penitential Rite)
Dear friends,
this water will be used to remind us of our baptism.
Let us ask God to bless it and keep us faithful
to the Spirit he has given us.
God our Father, your gift of water
brings life and freshness to the earth;
it washes away our sins and brings us eternal life.
We ask you now to bless +  this water,
and to give us your protection on this day
which you have made your own.
Renew the living spring of your life within us
and protect us in spirit and body,
that we may be free from sin
and come into your presence
to receive your gift of salvation.
May almighty God cleanse us of our sins,
and through the eucharist we celebrate
make us worthy to sit at his table
in his heavenly kingdom.  Amen.

A New way of Living
Some years ago Anna (from Romania), an 11 year-old girl in fifth class waited for me in the school yard after I had visited the school. She needed to talk to me, she had a request. ‘I'd like to be baptised,’ she said. ‘We were learning about Jesus' baptism in class. The teacher asked the class who was baptised, and all the other girls raised their hands. I want to be baptised too.’ I said ‘Anna do you  want to be baptised because everyone else is?’ Her freckles winked up at me and she replied, ‘No, I want to be baptised because it means I belong to God.’ I was touched by her understanding. Her smile turned to concern and she asked, ‘Do I have to be baptised in front of all those people in the church? Can't I just have a friend to baptise me?’ I asked where she came up with that idea. ‘Well, Jesus was baptised by his cousin John in a river, wasn't he?’
I was caught off guard. ‘You have a point, but if a friend baptised you in the river, how would the Church recognise it?’ We met with Anna's parents and she was baptised some months later at the Easter Vigil. Her teacher and some of her classmates were at her baptism. Anna was at our Mass here on Christmas Eve. She will be doing Leaving Cert. in June. She told me she prays and comes to Mass and in all sincerity she said, ‘I like being part of God's family.’  I felt the better of meeting Anna on Christmas Eve. 

Parish Assembly
There will be a meeting of all the members of the The Parish Assembly in the Parish Centre in this Mon. 14th Jan. at 8pm

Out baptism was a special occasion even though we may have no memories whatsoever of it except for photos.
Every Christian baptism today is celebrated with joy and the ceremony is full of beautiful meaning and symbolism. Unfortunately we tend to see our baptism as a once off event when in fact its effects have an impact on our daily lives.  Our baptism and what we believe in gives our lives meaning and fulfillment and no one can take that away from us.
Lord, today is the feast of your baptism. May I always nurture the gift of faith you have given me. You have said that the smallest of seeds can make such a difference. Help me to realize that my faith too can make all the difference.

Parish Child Protection Representatives
Last December Bishop Buckley sent a letter to every parish in the diocese announcing the planned appointment of Parish Child Protection Representatives in each parish. The role of these representatives will be to ensure that all information about child protection procedures will be available in each parish, thus ensuring that each parish is committed to best practice in respect of children and young people.
The parishes and religious congregations in the South City will form the first grouping to be offered special training for this role. People who may be interested in becoming parish representatives are invited to give their names to one of the priests of the parish by Tuesday, 15th January  (Including here relevant phone number). All those interested will be welcome to attend an Information Evening on Monday, 21st January  at 7.30pm at Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork.

How about a chat!
You are invited for a cup of tea a chat and a game of Bingo on Wed 16th Jan at 10.30am, in Turners Cross community Centre.  All are Welcome.

We remember in our prayers Fr. Michael Nolan, Parish Priest of Enniskeane, Michael Kelly and Daniel Rose who died during the week and extend our sympathy to their families and parishioners.

The sudden  death last weekend of John O Donoghue the popular writer on Celtic spirituality from Co. Clare has saddened many people.  I was greatly inspired by the writings of John. He had a beautiful soul that manifested itself in his lines and words, and drew great beauty from very ordinary things.  His first book "Anam Cara" he wrote – "You can suffer form a desperate hunger to be loved. You can search long years in lonely places, far outside yourself. Yet the whole time, this love is but a few inches away from you. It is at the edge of your soul but you have been blind to its presence."  His last book   "Benedictus" –  “We dodder through our days as if they were our surest belongings. No day belongs to us. Each day is a gift. Tragically, it is often only when we are about to lose a thing that the scales fall from out eyes, but it is usually too late….”
John died in his sleep.  May he rest in peace.

Helpful Website
Missing People:    http://www.missing.ws/_nationalMonument/nationalMonument.asp