17th May 2020 – 6th Sunday of Easter

                                   CHRISTIAN LIFE AND WITNESS
We are all called to a life of witness, and our proclamation of Christ is primarily through the witness of our lives. Philip proclaimed Christ in Samaria, and the message was welcomed but this is not always the case, we may have to witness in a hostile environment. There are around us those who reject the message of the gospel, sometimes because it is unwelcome, sometimes because those who present it have discredited the message.  Yet those who reject the words of Jesus reject him, and reject the Father who sent him.  We may be called to suffer for the truth, to be subject to a certain amount of mockery or ridicule, and as well as witnessing by our day-to-day behaviour, we may be called to proclaim our faith in words.  St Peter tells us to proclaim in our hearts that the Lord is holy, and be ready to answer with respect and courtesy those who ask the reason for our faith. The Christian life is a commitment to live as Jesus wants us to; if we love him, we will keep his commandment to love each other.  We need the presence of the Lord in our hearts to withstand the pressure, to give us an interior serenity in difficult outward circumstances. Jesus assures us that we will not be alone, “I will not leave you orphans.”  He promises the Holy Spirit will live in us.

That same Holy Spirit gave us Jesus through the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Incarnation, and through the work of his redemption Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to us, poured out at Pentecost and given through the ministry of his followers by baptism and the laying on of hands.  The Holy Spirit again gives us Jesus in the Eucharist when at Mass we pray that “by the power of the Holy Spirit the bread and wine may become the body and blood of Jesus.”  As we are nourished by the Eucharist, the presence of God within us is ever renewed. Jesus has returned to the Father, and is now present for each of us through his Spirit, in our hearts.  He promises us that we can be as close to him as he is to the Father, he invites us to share in his life and to live in the presence of God.

In our gospel reading for this Sunday Jesus promises his disciples, and us, the gift of the Holy Spirit, to be with us for ever. In our Alpha courses we ask: who is the Holy Spirit?  In the Creed, we profess with faith: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life.” We acclaim the Holy Spirit as Lord, truly God. He is the great gift of the Risen Christ who opens our mind and our heart to faith, to friendship, to communion with God, and one another in Christ. Pope Francis comments that the Holy Spirit is the inexhaustible source of God’s life in us. We are like travellers crossing the deserts of life, thirsting for living water: gushing and fresh, capable of quenching our deep desires for light, love, beauty and peace. Jesus gives us this living water, the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and whom Jesus pours out into our hearts. “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10).

We pray for Mary Madden, Mercier Park, Patrick (Patsy) O’Riordan, Connolly Road, Brendan Horgan, Doyle Road, Josephine O’Regan, Ashdale Park, South Douglas Road, and Josephine (Joan) O’Neill (née Hickey), Upper Friars Road, , who died recently.  We extend our sympathy to their families.

Pope Francis asks for prayers to Mary, the Mother of God, during this time of pandemic.  Two Prayers he composed for this time are to be found on the Cork & Ross website.
He also asks people across the world to pray the Rosary:  It is traditional in this month to pray the Rosary at home within the family. The restrictions of the pandemic have made us appreciate all the more this “family” aspect from a spiritual point of view (25th April, 2020).
As the church is closed and our movement restricted, we remember a little sadly the hymn to Our Lady, traditionally sung in our church in this month of May

Bring flowers of the rarest,
Bring blossoms the fairest,
From garden and woodland and hillside and dale;
Our full hearts are swelling,
Our glad voices telling
The praise of the loveliest flower of the vale.
 O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,
O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.
Their lady they name thee,
Their mistress proclaim thee,
Oh, grant that thy children on earth be as true
As long as the bowers
Are radiant with flowers
As long as the azure shall keep its bright hue.
We welcome the announcement that from Monday May 18th, churches in the Diocese of Cork and Ross will once again be opened for personal prayer. In a message to the priests of the diocese, Bishop Fintan has issued guidelines which must be followed before each church can be opened.  “This needs to proceed very carefully so that people can visit churches safely knowing that procedures are in place in line with government advice and HSE guidance,” the Bishop wrote.  This forms part of a phased plan towards being able to celebrate the sacraments with a congregation at a later date.
Initially our Church of Christ the King will be open from 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm on weekdays (Monday to Saturday).  Special precautions against the spread of the Covid-19 virus will be in place, relating to cleanliness and disinfection, social distancing, designated prayer spaces, access to the church and movement within the church.  Notices giving full information will be in place and volunteer stewards will be on hand to give advice.
The church will be cleaned and disinfected before being opened each day, hand sanitisers have been provided at the entrances and everyone is asked to sanitise coming in and going out.  Disposable gloves are provided for use with the electric votive lights at the shrines, and may be placed in bins at each shrine after use.  Tissues may be discarded in the bins at the entrance and exit points.

From Monday the carpark gates will be opened for walking through each weekday from 9.30 am to 6.00 pm, and the Capwell Road gate will be open to cars from 2.30 pm to 6.00 pm.  Access to the Church will be restricted during Funeral Masses to the permitted number of mourners (at present family members only with a small number of close friends in special circumstances, subject to the overall total not being more than ten people).

A Turner’s Cross Parish on-line Alpha Course begins on Monday18th May, and runs on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 7.30 pm to 8.30 pm, concluding on Monday 22nd June.  To attend you need an email address and access to a desktop or laptop computer, or to an iPad or other tablet. Register by sending your email address to Brother Andrew Hickey at 086 1522160, or email andrewhickey@presentationbrothers.org. It is necessary to register as the meetings are in Zoom Meeting format.  A link will be sent to all the email addresses about fifteen minutes before the start of each session, just click on the link before the start time to join the Zoom meeting.                                                                                                                            This will be our sixth adult Alpha Course in Turners Cross since 2013. The other courses were held in the Parish Centre at Christ the King Church, on the basis of one session per week and those attending were very positive about Alpha.  Because of Covid-16 restrictions we are offering this course on an on-line basis, with twice-a-week sessions, over a shorter total period.                                                                                               Alpha is relaxed, friendly and enjoyable, and explores the faith in a “non-Churchy” and adult way.    Sessions cover topics such as Who is Jesus? Why did Jesus die? How does God guide us? Why and How do I pray?  We don’t assume any background knowledge of or belief in Christianity and everyone is welcome.                                                                                                                         Each session starts with a short introduction followed by a video presentation covering one of the Alpha topics.  We then break into break into smaller groups to discuss the topic and questions arising from it.  No question is out of bounds and you are free to discuss as much or as little as you wish. Try it and see what you think: no pressure, no follow up, no charge.                                                                                                                           Alpha accomplishes an incredible task, in making people interested in faith and in making faith relevant to modern people  –  Father Raniero Cantalamessa OFM Cap, preacher to the Papal Household.

Fr Billy and Fr Kerry are still unable to say Mass in the church due to the Covid-19 restrictions, and the church webcam is turned off except for funeral Masses.  From Easter Sunday, Fr Billy has said a live-streamed Mass from the Presbytery at 12.00 noon on Sundays and 10.00 am on weekdays (Monday to Saturday) on the separate internet address  frbillyosullivan.ie (http://frbillyosullivan.ie). This will continue until the church is opened for webcam Masses again. Mass is also celebrated and broadcast from the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Anne each day, Bishop Fintan celebrates the Mass on Sundays at 11.30am, and Mass on Monday to Saturday is celebrated at 10.15am.  Details of other live-streamed Masses are given on the Diocesan Website.

Laudato si
Sunday, 24th May is a day of prayer for the environment throughout the world. Pope Francis has asked us to mark the 5th anniversary of the publication of Laudato si with a special “week” from 16th to 24th May (nine days!).  The Cork & Ross Pastoral Development Office has prepared prayerful reflective resources based on the account of creation in the Book of Genesis and on Pope Francis’ encyclical on care for our common home, and on the prayers for 24th May.  Each day’s reflection will be shared on the Pastoral Development Office Facebook page.

This year the Dublin Diocese Scripture Summer School will be presented online as a series of Zoom Conferences because of COVID 19 and will be offered from 22nd to 26th June.  This is instead of the normal series of workshops in Dublin each summer. The online programme is offered at a reduced cost of forty euro.  Fr Sean O’Sullivan, PP Monkstown, in recommending the programme comments that he has personal experience of all three of this year’s presenters and have found each of them to offer wonderful insights into the scriptures in a way that is both accessible and engaging.  He recommends the Summer School to us as an opportunity to revisit the study of the scriptures from the comfort and convenience of our own homes, while we may have a little more time because of the current restrictions.  Full details of the Summer School are available online at www.tarsus.ie/page-28/

Monday 18th May is the 100th anniversary of the birth of John Paul II.  In this difficult time for us all – when we struggle with the coronavirus pandemic and question the future of our families and society – it is worth asking what he would he say to us today? The Church of his native Poland suggests these words from the homily inaugurating his pontificate. “Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ,” good spiritual advice