22 October 2017

WISHING ALL OUR PARISHIONERS A HAPPY AND PEACEFUL NEW YEAR

I take this opportunity to wish all parishioners a Happy New Year. All of us have our own dreams and hopes for the year ahead, and the fulfilment of different aspirations will make different people happy in the year ahead. I think that a prayer that we come to know God better and worship Him in a meaningful way should be our foremost hope for the year ahead.

We can certainly acknowledge that putting our trust in any tiger (Celtic or other) has certainly failed us in a spectacular way. Many people have indeed adjusted their outlook on life, and have found compelled to question the values that led them to trust so much in material prosperity as the way to happiness. At the same time the collapse of the Celtic Tiger has created its own serious social issues in our country. The plight of people who have lost everything through impossible debt burdens is the most urgent problem in Irish society today. I am reminded of the old feudal system of the Middle Ages where most people were serfs and slaves of the lord of the manor. Sadly, the way out of our present predicament is unclear, and a solution seems to be a long way into the future.

It is clear that the thorny question of abortion is going to be a cause great strife and division in our country in the months ahead. As Catholics, we can most certainly ensure that our Church's teaching on the sacredness of life is understood by everybody. The right to life of the unborn is absolute, we believe, and no human law can dilute or diminish that right. Equally, the right to life of the mother is also absolute. For the moment, we are best advised to wait and see what exactly is proposed, and respond in a manner that upholds our own deeply held beliefs. We should remember that the bottom line is that no law or guideline can ever make abortion right, and we will always hold firmly to that belief.

Our Parish has like many other institutions met serious problems in meeting our repayments on our Parish Centre loan. Thankfully, the bank has agreed to restructure our debt on a year-to-year basis, and in 2013 our repayments will be €70,000 instead of €120,000 in previous years. This is a temporary arrangement but it gives us a breathing space until such time, hopefully, the economy begins to improve again. It is important to note that very many parishioners have responded generously to the critical situation that arose, and for that I thank them most sincerely. It will still be necessary to undertake a certain amount of fund-raising in the year ahead and good support for these ventures will be vital. Overall, we are coping, and the Parish Centre, which has led to our debt, is invaluable in implementing our Pastoral Programmes in the Parish.

We once again look forward to our celebration of Confirmation and First Communion in the year ahead. These are great occasions for families, but also great opportunities especially for parents, to rediscover their faith, and to make themselves part of the spiritual preparation for these celebrations.

On a lighter note, I'm sure we would all like to ask the Lord for a little more sunshine, and a little less rain in the New Year!

Wishing God's blessing on every parishioner

Sean Heaney, P.P.