RESUMPTION OF PUBLIC MASSES
We welcome the resumption of Masses from Tuesday 1st December at the normal times, subject to compliance with Covid-10 Public Health Safety Requirements. Subject to further guidance, arrangements are as follows.
Weekday Masses will be at 10.00 am, Monday to Saturday. For weekday Mass the church will constitute a single space, permitted to contain up to fifty people, observing a 2-metre social distance requirement and wearing face masks, as in shops and on public transport.
Weekend Masses will be at 6.00 pm Saturday (Vigil Mass) and at 10.00 am and 12.00 midday on Sunday. We must continue to observe the Covid-19 Public Health safety rules.
For weekend Mass the church is separated into two sections, each having its own entrance and exit routes based on a one-way system, with a minimum of 4 metres between the sections. Each section is permitted to contain up to 50 people, subject to a 2-metre social distance requirement and wearing of face masks, subject to the same conditions as for shops and public transport. There can be no movement of people between the separate sections of the church before, during or after Mass. Stewards will guide people to their places, and special arrangements will be in place for Holy Communion, with separate distributions points in each section.
Duty to go to Mass
Catholics continue to be dispensed from attending Sunday and Holy Day Masses until further notice. Those over 70 years and those with underlying health conditions should of course take appropriate precautions and follow health advice. Anyone who feels uncomfortable or nervous about returning to Mass has a legitimate reason to remain at home, or to come to a weekday Mass instead of Sunday. Anyone who has symptoms of any sickness (even mild symptoms) should not attend the public celebration of Mass.
Advent prepares us for Christmas, to open our hearts to welcome Jesus. As well as anticipating the Christ Child, we also look forward to the return of Christ at the end of time, and at the end of our time in this life. We watch and pray as we wait for Christmas, for the return of Christ in glory, and for the day the Lord will call each of us.
For these four weeks we move beyond the routine of life as we nourish hope, and nourish dreams of a new future. Jesus tells us “watch at all times, praying.” This will help us to avoid an inner listlessness comes from always focussing on ourselves, on our own life, with its problems, its joys and suffering, but obsessed with ourselves. This is wearying and dull, and closes us to hope. It is the root of a laziness that the Gospel speaks about. Advent invites us to wake up, look beyond the self, beyond ourselves, to expand our mind and heart, as we open ourselves to the needs of our brothers and sisters, and to a desire for a new world. A new world is desired, is needed, by so many people afflicted by hunger, injustice, war, a new world is desired and needed by the poor, the weak and the abandoned. This is a time to open our hearts and to ask ourselves how and for whom we spend our lives. This is a time to pray!
May the Virgin Mary, a woman of expectation and prayer, help us to strengthen our hope in the promises of her Son Jesus, even as we experience all the difficulties and griefs of life in this difficult year. May she will help us to find our joy in the Lord as we prepare for the Christmas of 2020.
The Advent Wreath
There are five candles on the wreath, reminding us of the four Sundays of Advent and Christmas. Three are purple, one is pink and one white. The first is a symbol of HOPE, the second of FAITH, the third candle is pink and is lit on “Gaudete Sunday” and is a symbol of JOY, the fourth candle is a symbol of PEACE and the fifth (white) candle symbolises CHRIST and is lit at Christmas as we welcome the Christ Child.
The Jesse Tree
The Jesse Tree Symbols for the First Sunday of Advent are a Dove, an Apple and a picture of the Ark of Noah.
The Dove recalls the peace and harmony of creation as God intended.
The Apple reminds us of original sin. Christ is the new Adam bringing a new creation, forgiving sin and restoring us to God’s grace.
The Ark reminds us that while God is displeased with wickedness, he also sees the best in us and renews his covenant through forgiveness and mercy.
Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament
There will be Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament after 10.00 am Mass to 11.00 am on Wednesdays of Advent.
Morning Prayer on Fridays of Advent
Morning Prayer of the Church (Lauds) will be recited after 10.00 am Mass on the Fridays of Advent.
Parish Christmas & Triduum Cards
Parish Christmas & Triduum Cards will be available in the Church after Masses from next weekend The Triduum of Masses will be offered on 23rd, 24th and 25th December.
“Walk With Me,” a journey of prayer for Advent & Christmastide 2020.
This excellent booklet is available at the back of the Church (Cost €1.30).
PRAYER AND REMEMBRANCE IN NOVEMBER
We continue to pray for our beloved dead as November comes to an end, and perhaps visit the burial places of our dead once more to pray there alone or with others from our household, remembering that Pope Francis for this year has extended the time during which November Plenary Indulgences for the dead may be gained.
Renewed and sincere thanks for the very generous response to the Autumn Dues appeal.
We apologise for the loss of transmission of our morning Mass last Thursday. We have experienced difficulties with our live-streamed Mass transmissions recently, our broadband connection has now been upgraded and we hope that issues have been resolved.
from Fr Donal Neary SJ
I like these words of the late Cardinal Hume: “There are times when I can visualize Our Lord at the break of day standing by my bed and saying: “Get up, follow me.” Whether I am conscious of it or not, in effect that invitation, that loving but insistent command, is given to me every day. Each new morning is the opportunity to start again. Yesterday there may have been inadequacies and failures but today Christ renews his call: “Follow me. I have chosen you. I need you.” Who can fail to respond to the thought that God needs our willing collaboration.”
We are carers for creation and of his people. Take this seriously, it is our world which God has shared with us. . God has made himself so vulnerable and this gospel reading is just before the passion. An area or parish improves if enough people do something. We look at areas in a locality which are now clean of drugs, more prosperous and just. This has been the work of people, co-creating the world with God. Making it a better place. Doing the world a world of good.
The Gospel today says – Don’t give up. In good times and bad, crisis and pandemic times, God is always near! Live in hope and preparation. Stay awake to the season – the ways we can deepen and grow in our faith — maybe do a a retreat, do something good for others with your time or finance, notice God in the events of the next few weeks, pray a bit every day, make time to be awakened to the centre of our world who is God, and to his central action in creating the world each day, sending Jesus Christ his Son.
A question for the first week of Advent: How can I help someone today?
Lord, send me, use me, create me for your work in the world.
Donal Neary SJ
Gospel Reflections for Sundays of Year B (2017).