Saturday, April 19, 2008

Fifth Sunday of Easter, 20th April 2008

Cornered by the stone
Today’s Second Reading (1 Pet 2:4-9) describes Jesus as a stumbling stone for those who do not believe. Could that include anybody who harbours disbelief – even believers? I think so. Following Jesus is a very varied venture. When he calls us to follow him he doesn’t specify the distance. That’s up to us. And the temptation is to start measuring – especially the closer we get to him. From a distance, everything Jesus stands for is great. How could any decent human being not be for what Jesus is for: love of God, love of neighbour, especially the weak, the exploited and those on the margins of society and even sanity? But how close to that loving do we want to get and how close do we actually get? In his book, God of Surprises, Gerard W. Hughes writes: ‘There is a foolish prodigality, too, in the Father who is presented as leaving the ninety-nine sheep to go and hunt for the one that is lost, a foolishness which we so often correct in the Church by concentrating our attention and energies on the one which is safe and leaving the ninety-nine!’
There is no detour. That stumbling stone has us cornered. We must face it in the one who is lost, or become lost ourselves.
Fr. Tom Cahill SVD

Questions people ask
Q. On a recent radio programme, the Pope was called the Antichrist. What does this name mean or where did it come from?
The Antichrist is mentioned in the First Letter of John. The name means one who is opposed to Jesus Christ and denies that he is the Son of God. It is not entirely clear whether John was referring to some particular individual or to unbelievers in general. Fundamentalist sects who carry an anti-Catholic bigotry claim that the term refers to the Pope. This is absolute nonsense, because, whatever faults Popes have had, none of them ever denied the divinity of Jesus Christ.
Fr. Silvester O’Flynn OFM Cap

Common Vocation
The Irish Church is marking the next 12 months as the 'Year of Vocation'.
Note the word vocation is in the singular. Why? Because the aim of the Year of Vocation is to raise awareness of the common vocation that we all share through baptism as expressed through witness, love and service. Within each of these themes and throughout 2008-2009, the specific vocations of marriage, the religious life, the single life and priesthood will be highlighted and promoted.
Some highlights of the year will include: a national prayer campaign for students at examination time; a rally for World Youth Day to coincide with the events in Sydney; and collaboration with the national pilgrimage centres to reflect on the theme of vocation during their seasons.
A key objective of this year’s initiative is for the vocation message to reach as wide an audience as possible so that people will be challenged to discern and explore their own specific vocation in life.
Let’s hope we will have the courage and strength to promote the Christian Vocation through our personal witness, love and service to others.

Life in the Spirit Seminar
These weekly seminars continue in Castlecomer until Tuesday, 13th May. Mass and Prayers in the Church of the Immaculate Conception each Tuesday at 8pm. Speakers to include: Eddie Stones, Fr. Thady Doyle, Fr. Killian Byrne, Mary Curran, Fr. Leo McAuliffe, Noel Byrne and Fr. Martin Tobin. All welcome.

Church Door Collection
The annual church door collection for children with special educational needs in Ossory will be taken up this weekend. The money collected is targeted for special needs projects which require additional funding to be raised locally.

Pray for the Deceased
Recently Deceased: Geraldine Carroll, 8 Haltigan Terrace. Martin Hoyne, 6 Laurel Court. Nancy Webster, Cheshire. Charlotte Lee, Roscrea (Thurs 10.30). Peg Gorey, Bennettsbridge. Nicholas Hyland, England.
Months Mind: Michael Brannigan (Sat 7.00)
Anniversaries: James Phelan (Sat 6.15), Margaret Banahan (Sun 9.30), Joe Brennan (Sun 10.00), Michael Gaule (Sun 10.30), Betty Byrne (Sun 11.00), Tom & Jim Phelan (Sun 12.00), John Hennessy (Mon 9.30), Kathleen McAvinia (Tues 9.30), Henrietta Hyland (Fri 9.30), William Maher, Kitty O’Keeffe, Brigid Kelly, Andrew O’Neill, Mary Muldowney, Eileen Hickey, Kate Coyne, Kitty Cleere, Mary Crotty.
Intentions for Next Weekend: Paddy Tomney (Sat 6.15 Months Mind); Patrick & Ellen Moran (Sat 7.00), Pierce Anthony Grace (Sun 10.00), Private Intention (Sun 10.30), Joan & Anthony Nolan (Sun 11.00), Mary & Eddie O’Keeffe (Sun 12.00)

St. Vincent De Paul Collection
The monthly collection for the local conference of the St. Vincent De Paul Society has been postponed until next weekend. Please be generous go this local charity.

Brass and Reed Concert
The St. Patrick's Brass and Reed Band will play sacred music at the 12 noon Mass in St. John's Church on Sunday, 27th of April to commemorate the centenary of the Church. As part of the band’s 125th anniversary year the members will perform a free concert at 3pm in McDonagh Junction Shopping Centre. All are welcome.

Medjugorje Youth Group
Young people are invited to come to St. Mary’s Cathedral between 7 and 9pm on next Friday to hear Br. Shaun O’Connor of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal address the group. Br. Shaun lives and works in Moyross, Limerick.

Contribution Envelopes
Thanks to many volunteers who have helped prepare and deliver our contribution envelope most homes will have received their new pack by now. Please note your identification number may have changed and we ask that you dispose of any old stock of envelopes and begin using the new ones. This will enable us to record your contributions more accurately.
There are a number of reasons why you may not have received your envelope pack. Please contact the sacristies after Mass or the presbytery during the coming week if you require a contribution pack.
Thanks to all who continue to support the parish in this way.

Easter Time
The celebration of Easter is prolonged throughout the Easter Season. The fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday are celebrated as one feast day, the ‘Great Sunday’.
The Sundays of this season are regarded as Sundays of Easter and are so termed - this weekend we celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Easter. These Sundays have precedence over all feasts of the Lord and over all other solemnities.

Trócaire Boxes
This year’s Trócaire Family Fast boxes should be returned to the churches as soon as possible. Alternatively send the money by cheque to Trócaire, Maynooth, Co. Kildare.

Handel's Messiah
The Kilkenny Choir will perform Handel’s Messiah in St. Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny on Sunday, 27th April at 8pm. The choir will be accompanied by a Professional Orchestra and Lynda Lee (Soprano), Tanya Sewell (Alto), John Elwes (Tenor) and Owen Gilhooly (Bass). All conducted by Karl Rochford. Tickets €20 (€16 concession) available at the door.

The Parish Draw
During the past few years your support for the parish draw has raised €337,000 for the parish coffers. Well done and thanks. Some of the fruits of your work became visible during the week as hoarding was removed from the site adjacent to St. Fiacre’s Church.
As we approach the opening of the new development we must continue to raise funds to reduce our borrowings and to save on interest payments. A new run of the parish draw begins this month and we are appealing to you to help make it the most successful to date. Please consider becoming a promoter and taking a card or two – each card brings a value of €3,000 for the parish when interest is taken into account. You might also consider becoming a subscriber and encouraging others to do likewise. It is you, generous subscribers, who make the draw a success each year.
The draw takes place on the last Tuesday of the month, starting on the 29th April, and continuing until March next year. The monthly prize fund is €2,000 and subscription is just €10.00 per month. If you can help us please contact the Presbytery at 776 4400 and we will provide further information.

A trip to Scotland will take place from Monday, 5th to Friday, 9th May. If anyone is interested please contact Mary 776 5014.

Pope Benedict in America
Pope Benedict marked his 81st birthday and the third anniversary of his election as Pope during his pastoral visit to the United States this week. In a talk to American bishops, he said that the sexual abuse of minors was a “countersign” to the Gospel of Life and is a cause of “deep shame”. He asked the bishops “to bind up the wounds caused by every breach of trust, to foster healing, to promote reconciliation and to reach out with loving concern to those so seriously wronged.” The Holy Father added that “truly caring about young people and the future of our civilisation means recognising our responsibility to promote and live by the authentic moral values which alone enable the human person to flourish”.

Could it be you?
· Would you be willing to offer your life in the service of others?
· Do you think there could be more to life than what you are at right now?
· Could the life of a priest or religious be the way for you?
Contact any priest or religious to discuss your options. Further information available on or contact:
Fr. Paddy Carey, The Presbytery, Erril, Rathdowney, Co. Laois. Tel: 0505 44973
Bishop Séamus Freeman at 056 776 2448