A message from Fr. Declan

Greetings to all. Firstly in this time of isolation, I’m so glad 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.

Please take every step to stay safe, and to keep each other safe.

Limit direct social contact, Keep 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. A letter from a GP on today’s Irish Times stresses that each of us is a frontline healthcare worker, responsible for the health of those around us, and not the doctors and nurses etc who treat the symptoms after we have been infected. But please do not socially isolate completely. Use the phone and the internet for shopping and for contact with others.

I’ve 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.

In the absence of Mass, 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.

Contact me

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:

Mass

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 others with me which will be celebrated privately.

To connect you to the weekend Masses, we’ll record and published them as videos.  See the first, recorded and uploaded for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, 21 March 2020

I hope this will help to keep us together as a praying community.

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 this broadcast possible.

Weddings

A number of weddings have been booked by parishioners in the next months. Some have already been postponed. The current guidelines – between HSE and bishops – are that a Catholic wedding can still take place on the day planned, with a short private ceremony of vows and blessing with the couple, priest and two witnesses.

This is all that is required in order that the relationship between the couple is officially recognised, become sacred and sacramental and a source of God’s supportive presence. A more public celebration can take place at a future date.

Funerals

Again the guidelines are that the only ceremony that can safely take place is a private funeral Mass, with only the most immediate family present.

There can be no gathering for Rosary or Removal. You’ll 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.

Baptisms

Congratulations to anyone in the parish who has given birth to a new child recently. It’s still possible to carry out baptisms in churches, but with the least number of people present. It’s up to each couple to make a responsible decision around timing, postponing until safe. But remember the spiritual benefit to the child. Again, a celebration with family and friends could be held later.

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.

Arrangements can be made on an occasional basis for a family member to be delegated to bring Communion if needed. But only under the strictest aseptic conditions.

Spring Station Dues

It’s not possible for the Dues envelopes to be distributed safely and no further Station Masses will take place. A box of Dues envelopes will be left at the back of the Church. If you’re out walking or passing the church, please take one and put them in my letterbox or post them to me.

Thanks

Fr. Declan