Greetings to all. Firstly, in this time of isolation, thanks again to be able to use the Ballinora Community Website to communicate with the people of our parish. I’m grateful to the people who set it up, to those who maintain it, and to those who are posting useful information on it. I’ll be as brief as I can. In the absence of public Masses, and of a parish Newsletter, there are a number of things that I need to say.
Once again, please take every step to stay safe, and to keep others safe
Limit direct social contact, keep physical and social distancing of 2 metres, keep washing hands, and obey the guidelines of government and HSE.
The elderly, as well as many other categories, are especially vulnerable. But nobody has immunity.
‘Cocooning’ is the new term for the protection of those over 70. Staying at home, limiting contact with others only to what is totally necessary. To you especially we send our love.
However, please do not socially isolate completely. Use the phone or the internet for shopping and for contact with others.
I have been so encouraged by the number of people who have contacted me offering help and support. This is where the God of Love is active in this crisis.
More than half of the priests active in the Diocese are ‘cocooned’ and not allowed to minister because of being over 70.
I’ve been asked at diocesan level to look after funerals and sick calls for the parishes of Ovens and Dennehy’s Cross as well as Ballinora and the care of Marymount.
In the absence of Mass and formal ceremonies, make use of the Internet for faith support
The Mass is broadcast live from many churches on Churchservices.tv, from Corkcathedral.ie, St Mary’s as well as on RTE each morning. The Diocesan website corkandross.org has a number of prayer supports.
Please make this a time of faith. We need it!
Even though I cannot easily meet people, I wish to remain in contact as much as possible. Please feel free to ring me or contact me with worries, fears, to ask for prayers. I’m contactable by:
Even though I’m not celebrating Mass publicly, I’m celebrating Mass in private, and I’ll be praying for the people of the parish, especially the vulnerable, during those Masses. I hope you will also keep me in your prayers. I’ll offer Mass myself privately for the intentions which have been booked into the sacristy, anniversaries.
You may still book other Masses with me which will be celebrated privately.
We’re recording the weekend Masses to keep us together as a praying community. The first one was recorded and uploaded for the Fourth Sunday of Lent on 21 March 2020. A further one was recorded on 28 March 2020.
It’s not possible to stream it live as there is very little internet connectivity at the Church. Sincere thanks to Pat Tuite, Grace Tyrell and Pat O’Connor for making these broadcasts possible.
I’ll be recording the Palm Sunday Mass and Easter Sunday Mass and uploading them to YouTube. You’ll be able to find them on this website.
For Palm Sunday, I encourage people to bring in some greenery from their garden and sprinkle it with holy water or a simple blessing prayer. What we call ‘palm’ is Cypress. Any plant that can be waved can be used.
The Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Saturday Vigil are not meant to be celebrated by a priest on his own in the absence of a congregation.
The priests of the Diocese have been encouraged in solidarity with one another and with their Bishop to watch the ceremonies from Corkcathedral.ie. We have been asked to encourage yourselves to do the same.
The times of the Cathedral Services
Mass of Last Supper at 7:30pm
Celebration of Passion: 3pm
Easter Vigil at 9pm.
Please see our recording of the Station of the Cross with the images form the church painted by Brian Smyth.
A number of weddings have been booked by parishioners in the next months. Most have already been postponed until later in the year.
The guidelines are that the only ceremony that can safely take place is a private funeral Mass, with only the most immediate family present, and a maximum of ten people present. There can be no gathering for Rosary or Removal. You will have seen the wording and restrictions on RIP.ie This is a very difficult situation for those bereaved, to be allowed so little comforting social contact. A commemoration of the person’s life and public religious ceremony can be had at a future date.
Congratulations to anyone in the parish who has given birth to a new child recently. All Baptisms are now being deferred to a later date. All couples should know that in a case of emergency, Baptism can be performed by any Christian by pouring water on the head with the words ‘I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’
Communion to the sick and housebound
Obviously it would be irresponsible for a priest to continue to visit the sick regularly, increasing the risk of spreading infection. But if any person who is ill or housebound needs to make contact with me for the sacrament of the Blessing of the Sick or Holy Communion, please contact me through the contact details given above. Arrangements can be made on an occasional basis for a family member to be delegated to bring Communion if needed, especially at Easter. But only under the strictest aseptic conditions.
Spring Station Dues
Obviously it’s not possible for the Spring Dues or Easter Offerings envelopes to be distributed safely, and no Station Masses will take place for the foreseeable future. If you’re in a financial position to make a donation for Spring Dues and Easter Offerings, please put the donation into an envelope and either post it to, or drop it into the parish house while out walking or heading to the shops. These contributions form the majority of a priest’s income for the year.
Wishing you peace, love and joy