THOUGHTS FROM FR. LIAM 2 July
Since the start of the lockdown, I began to offer some reflections and thoughts to reach out to those who were confined to home and I wanted to share some of my thoughts and bits of writing particularly during Holy Week and Easter.
It’s seems so long ago now that we were afraid to move about, and even going shopping was filled with some trepidation and the fear of being stopped by An Garda to enquire was our trip necessary.
Much has changed since then. Now there is a greater sense of freedom about the place and the background warnings from Dr. Tony Holohan constantly repeating the refrain to observe the protocols, still hover over us.
Over the period before and after Easter the weather provided welcome relief and gardening was the one thing that kept me going, along with the walks around the area. Getting out on the golf course is a welcome added bonus.
Since the rain returned, the straw brown of the grass has been replaced by beautiful green, as if it had always been that way, wild flowers have thrived and weeds have begun to re-emerge after receiving the invitation to germinate again!
As of last Monday, the Church has been open for public Mass and though we are limited to a total of 50 persons, thankfully parishioners have heeded the advice not to rush back and we have not had to turn people away. This weekend we have our Masses at the usual time, but again, the restriction applies in terms of the number that may enter. So I ask that people hold off coming to ensure that we can accommodate the limited numbers permitted.
The Parish Office and Parish Centre have reopened, with limited service. The Coffee Dock is open Monday – Friday. The Parish Office hours are 9.30am- 12.30pm
It was a strange sight on Monday to look from the altar and see people in the pews once again, this time with face coverings and sitting well apart in line with social distancing. The Church has been fitted out with hand sanitisers and a new machine is on order for disinfecting the Church after each Mass. The Church will be closed after each Mass to carry out the disinfecting but will reopen after that and remain open until the evening. While people are visiting the Church, we ask that the hand sanitisers are used and in so far as is possible to clean down the surfaces that were touched.
All this is coming as people are wondering about taking holidays and what options are in place. ‘Staycationing’ is the advice promoted at the moment. One hears of varying reports in relation to pubs, bars, and restaurants, not to the mention beach parties and other gatherings of people that might not be in accordance with guidelines. And the worrying increase in cases of the virus in other countries is a cause for concern.
That’s why we are taking such steps in the Church and the Parish Centre to ensure that we are doing our best to avoid the spread of the virus. Some people have been making comparisons with other Churches and other places. But we took a decision to do it right in so far as we could. My thanks once again to the Steering Group who have worked so hard to prepare for the reopening of the Church for Public Mass. It has been a learning experience for everyone and with tweaks having to be made according to the relaxation of the restrictions, it has been a busy time. Extra equipment had to be purchased so that has been an additional cost to the parish.
My sincerest thanks to the parishioners who maintained their support of the parish by dropping in their Easter Dues, Contributions to the 1st and 2nd Collections and the Family Offering.
Most of all thanks to all who have been keeping me up to date with the issues surrounding the technology – mainly to do with the webcam, which has been a great blessing, but also has had gremlins interfering with the reception. Work to improve the sound system which has been unsatisfactory, is nearing completion.
All in all, as we return to a sense of the more ‘normal’ routine, I pray that you may stay well and healthy and look forward to seeing you soon.
Go raibh míle maith agaibh agus beannacht Dé oraibh go léir.