~ includes proposed Sunday Mass times effective January 2020 ~
Parishes Working Together
Edgeworthstown – Rathowen – Streete
The three Roman Catholic parishes of St. Mary’s serve the adjacent communities of Edgeworthstown, County Longford and Streete and Rathowen, both in County Westmeath. We share a rich historic, cultural and literary tradition, counting Maria Edgeworth, Oliver Goldsmith and Oscar Wilde among those that lived or visited here. To this day there continues a vibrant and talented music, drama and written tradition, most delightfully practiced by our youngest generation.
Na trí paróistí Caitliceacha Rómhánacha Naomh Muire freastal ar na pobail in aice na Meathas Troim, Contae an Longfoirt agus Streete agus Ráth Eoghain, i gContae na hIarmhí. Roinnimid traidisiún stairiúil, cultúrtha agus liteartha saibhir, comhaireamh Maria Edgeworth, Oliver Goldsmith agus Oscar Wilde i measc iad siúd a raibh cónaí nó thug cuairt anseo. Go dtí an lá, tá fós le ceol bríomhar agus cumasach, drámaíocht agus traidisiún scríofa, an chuid is mó iontais chleachtadh ag ár ghlúin is óige.
Throughout the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois neighbouring parishes have been asked to explore ways of co-operating together which could lead to better communication and a better use of personnel and resources in providing the best possible service to our people. With this in mind our parishes of Edgeworthstown, Streete and Rathowen have begun a journey of exploration together.
Le linn an Deoise Ardach agus Chluain Mhic Nóis paróistí comharsanacha iarradh ar bhealaí comhoibriú le chéile a d’fhéadfadh bheith ina chúis le cumarsáid níos fearr agus úsáid níos fearr pearsanra agus acmhainní chun an tseirbhís is fearr is féidir a sholáthar dár ndaoine iniúchadh. Sin san áireamh inár bparóistí de Meathas Troim, Streete agus Ráth Eoghain tá tús curtha turas taiscéalaíochta chéile.
PROPOSED CHANGE OF MASS TIMES
“The whole group of believers were united heart and soul”….Acts of the Apostles.
Edgeworthstown Parish Pastoral Council has been considering the Sunday Mass schedule and attendances for the past year or so. While congregations vary in size, it has become evident that frequently, a large number of seats are vacant at our weekend Masses.
There is a very different experience in being part of a gathering that is small in size as opposed to one that has a fulsome congregation.
With a full gathering of the community there is more energy and engagement and it seems that a richer experience of being at prayer together is possible. We have experienced such richness at Masses on Christmas Day, Easter Sunday and St. Patrick’s Day etc.
The Pastoral Council is mindful of the scarcity and aging profile of the priests of the diocese. There are no students in training for the priesthood for our diocese so there are a lot of changes on the horizon in the next few years. The Diocesan Assembly next Spring is a response to this real challenge.
As announced last Sunday, from January 2020 the Parish Pastoral Council is proposing to merge the 10.00 and 12.00 Sunday Masses into an 11 o’clock ceremony. This should ensure that we have a large attendance at both the Saturday evening and Sunday morning Masses in our parish. Hopefully this will lead to a richer, more vibrant celebration and our Sunday Mass will be a place to meet and greet neighbours and friends and a place for the Massgoing public to feel strength and support in worshipping together in good numbers.
This initiative does ask for some compromise from all. Those who are used to coming to 10.00 will have to come an hour later while those who are used to 12.00 will have to come an hour earlier.
In considering this proposal the Pastoral Council has been liaising with the parishes of Rathowen and Streete to ensure that our Mass times are streamlined so that one priest can celebrate all ceremonies if the need arises and indeed, this may be the pattern in the future.
This new proposal would see a 10.00 Mass in Rathowen Church each Sunday morning. It is always preferable that people would worship in their own community but on occasion, that earlier option would be available just a few miles up the road.
The Parish Pastoral Council has given this change a lot of thought. We hope you will see the merit of this decision and that it will meet with the approval of the community. Once more the ultimate goal of this change is to enrich, enliven and strengthen our Sunday celebration of the Eucharist.
“The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself”. – Catechism of the Catholic Church.
“The celebration of the Eucharist is not a private devotion but rather a communal gathering much like a family meal. We come together at the same time and in the same place so that we can take part in a common action. We then gather around the table of the Lord for our family meal. The actual partaking of the food is referred to as “communion”, a joining together of the members of the community, not only with their God but also with each other. Our celebration closes with a charge to go forth as a community and bring God’s love to the world”. – LOYOLA PRESS
Sceideal Aifreann Dé Domhnaigh, éifeachtach i mí Eanáir 2020:
Vigil Mass Saturday evening: Edgeworthstown @ 7.00 p.m. & Boherquill @ 8.00 p.m.
Sunday Morning: Rathowen @ 10.00 a.m. & Edgeworthstown @ 11.00 a.m.
Mass times will remain the same throughout the year.
‘Remember In November’ – A Pastoral Letter for November 2020
Bishop Francis Duffy, Bishop of Ardagh & Clonmacnois
November is a time to remember and pray for family members, colleagues, neighbours and friends who have died since this time last year. Those who have gone before us, those who were so much present with us, so central to our lives, have left us with a deep sense of loss. We look for peace, for healing of heartache, and for hope.
This year is particularly difficult for those who have been bereaved since March. Those profound feelings of loss have been heightened by not being able to be present at a time of death and by the absence of the familiar family and community supports.
The lockdown and restrictions have impacted on how we say goodbye to our loved ones. Some sadly died without familiar faces around them, some left this life with the caring presence of hospital and nursing home staff, we are grateful to them.
Familiar faces, consoling words and reminiscence are all important in our grieving process. Many have not had the traditional practices that help us: wakes, gatherings at home, reception of remains at the church and a funeral Mass with an unrestricted attendance. These experiences have added to the sense of loss.
We have been without the normal free flowing schedule of Masses and sacraments for over seven months now. Our priests and parishioners have made great efforts to keep our churches open and safe and welcoming, for this we are very thankful. Although we have moved online, and on television, for Mass, it is not the same. In his message for World Mission Day 2020, Pope Francis writes,
‘Being forced to observe social distancing and to stay at home invites us to rediscover that we need social relationships as well as our communal relationship with God.’
We long so much to be back in church, with the support of a gathering, and the meaningful participation of being present with others, an expression of who we are and what we believe in.
Uncertainty for young people and the economy
Our remembrance this November takes place at a time of continuing uncertainty, isolation and economic hardship. We take reassurance from the good practices learned in all areas of life about how to keep ourselves and others safe. Every day we should reassure our young people of our love and support and help them to nurture their God-given gifts.
We take reassurance from the determination of our political leaders to bring us through this pandemic as safely and as socially and economically resilient as possible. We take reassurance from our belief in a caring God who encourages us to make wise decisions for the common good and to look out for each other. Jesus’ call to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ has taken on a new meaning in the current context of caring and of keeping safe.
Hope based in Jesus ensures all will be well
We have the reassurance of the Lord that all will be well and that He will strengthen our ability to lift ourselves and others with resolve and hope during this terrible time. Resolve to do our very best to ensure maximum safety. Hope based in Jesus’ promise to be with us always ‘until the end of time’ (Matt 28: 20). In his extraordinary Urbi et Orbi address of March 2020, Pope Francis said,
‘In the midst of isolation when we are suffering from a lack of tenderness and chances to meet up, and we experience the loss of so many things, let us once again listen to the proclamation that saves us: he is risen and is living by our side’
The risen Lord is with us.
#Remember in November
During the month of November parishes will continue with their remembrance practices in so far as the restrictions allow, November lists, remembrance trees, candles and other local traditions.
On Sunday 1 November at 3.00pm a special Remembrance Service will take place in Saint Mel’s Cathedral, Longford, and will be broadcast by webcam on www.longfordparish.com. I invite you to join us online as we remember, pray for those who have gone before us and for those who mourn. In a similar way on social media I encourage you to use the hastag #RememberInNovember along with your prayerful messages to commemorate the souls of our loved ones. May our departed rest in peace and may the Lord bring consolation to those who grieve.
Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois
Choose Life 2018 Newsletters
Life is precious
Amidst all the rich variety of life on earth, human life is cause for special wonder. We alone can contemplate the beauty around us. We alone can create art and music and literature to express this beauty. We alone can love one another.
Each human being has the capacity to experience and express this beauty and love in a unique way and, in doing so, to enrich others. We know that we did not create the beauty and the love around us. We know that we did not create ourselves.
When we say that human life is sacred we are recognising something that is sensed not only by religious people but by everyone who appreciates the wonder of human life. As human beings we depend on one another and so others have the right to expect something from us – it is the right to be recognised and respected and never to be treated as less than he or she is. That is true at every moment of our life – from its first beginnings to its natural end.
Every human life is beautiful, every human life is precious. Choose Life!
Trócaire provides humanitarian assistance and long-term support to communities in over 20 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Last year, 2.6 million people directly benefited from our overseas programmes. In Ireland, we raise awareness about the root causes of poverty and inequality, and campaign on justice issues.
Trocaire boxes are available in our churches from this weekend.
Clerical Changes – September 2017A number of Clerical changes have been made by Bishop Francis Duffy effective September 1st, 2017.
Frs. Seamus McKeon, Pat Lennon and our Pat Kiernan have all been granted sabbatical study leave.
Fr. Kiernan travels to California where he will be engaged in Parish Ministry in the Diocese of San Diego. During this time he will also have the opportunity to attend a course of study in San Diego. We wish Fr. Pat the very best while he is away.
We welcome Fr. Tom Healy to our parish. Currently administrator in Longford he is to take over as the new parish priest in St. Mary’s Edgeworthstown and as the Diocesan Secretary and Financial Administrator.
Other changes include Fr. James McKiernan, CC Boher who is to become Administrator in Longford while
Fr. PJ Higgins will return from Ecuador to become CC Boher.
Additional responsibilities have also been bestowed on other priests within the diocese.
Fr Tom Murray PP in Clonbroney will become Director of Planning, while Fr Seamus O’Rourke, CC Carrick-on-Shannon has been appointed Vocations Director.
Fr Pat has left us the following note:
WORD OF THANKS
I would like to exprees my sincere thanks and appreciation to everyone for their support, help and generosity during the last two years. At this time your kindness, good wishes and prayers are very much valued and appreciated. I pray that Jesus the Good Shepard will bless, protect and guide you and your families today and always. Please remember me in your prayers. I promise to do likewise for you. Beannachtaí agus Buíochas.
Mary Greene R.I.P.
Tribute to Kevin Greene and to Mary Greene (R.I.P.)
On Sunday August 21st 2016 in St. Mary’s Church, Edgeworthstown at the end of 10.00 a.m. Mass we read a tribute to Kevin Greene. Surrounded by his family and grandchildren we presented him with a Genesis crafted Nativity set.
Tribute to Kevin Greene
This morning we are going to take a few moments to acknowledge and pay tribute to our Parishioner, Kevin Greene, who gave freely of his time and expertise to our parish of St. Mary’s, Mostrim for the last 27 years
When volunteering for a job, sometimes one actually volunteers, or as often happens, one is volunteered. Either way, one usually concentrates on the job in hand, not looking ahead, taking one day or one week at a time. As one week follows the previous one, the weeks become months and soon enough a year or two passes by.
In Kevin’s case, he volunteered and served this Parish diligently, conscientiously, quietly and efficiently during the last 27 years. During this time, he was a wondrerful help and support to the many Priests who have served in this Parish, namely, Fr. Christopher Stapleton, Monsignor Patrick Early, Fr. John F. Doyle, Fr. John Francis Kiernan, Fr. Charlie Healy, Fr. Hugh Turbitt, Fr. Jim Sorohan, Fr. Patrick Murphy, Fr. Michael Bannon and Fr. Patrick Kiernan. He also worked closely with Sacristans, Joe Breaden and his good wife Mary.
For the last 27 years Kevin was responsible, with the assistance of other generous volunteers, in collecting and counting the Offeertory Collection here at St. Mary’s, Mostrim, which you the Parishioners so generously and faithfully support, every week of the year.
It is with gratitude and appreciation that we would like to recognise your wonderful contribution to our Parish and we would like to acknowledge all of those who give of their time so generously to volunteer and to serve the various roles in our Parish. On this August morning, we would like to make a presentation to you Kevin on behalf St. Mary’s Parish, in recognition and appreciation of your dedicated and loyal service for the last 27 years.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish you health and happiness now and in the future.
Beannachtaί agus Buίochas
It is with a heavy heart that we record the death of Kevin’s wife Mary, peacefully at home in Devine Crescent (formerly of Drumeel, Ballinalee) on September 14th 2017 after a short illness. It was a kindness that she was not allowed to suffer for a long period. As we know The Lord works in mysterious ways. It was his way of saying to Mary “Good and Faithful Servant, your time to enter the Kingdom has come”. He gently opened the gates of Paradise and welcomed Dear Mary home.
Mary served as Sacristan in St. Mary’s church, Edgeworthstown for 13 years. She succeeded Joe Breadan and served under the following priests/parish priests:
Monsignor Patrick Early, Fr. John F. Doyle r.i.p., Fr. John Francis Kiernan r.i.p., Fr. Charlie Healy, Fr. Hugh Turbitt, Fr. Jim Sorohan r.i.p., Fr. Patrick Murphy, Fr. Michael Bannon and Fr. Patrick Kiernan – she just missed working with Fr. Tom Healy, newly transferred from St. Mel’s two week’s prior to her passing. She also assisted Fr. Peter Beglan, Cannon Jerry McAuley r.i.p., Fr. Cieran McGovern, Fr. Joe McGrath and Fr. Nigel Charles.
Her passing has left a very big void in her family’s lives, those of husband Kevin, sons Gerard and Philip, daughters Rosemary, Noeleen and Catherine, grandchildren, great grandchild, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, brothers Tommy, Jimmy, Robbie, Mickey and Joe, sisters Róisín, Ita, Bridget and Ann, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, cousins. As it has to the community of friends who all loved Mary
Mary’s great loves included her husband and family and her work in the church. While her attention to detail ensured all services ran smoothly she always made time to chat with neighbours and friends. Several times each day – hail, rain or shine – Mary walked from home through to the other end of town to her devine calling, her church. She also facilitated those of us who counted the collections and banked them.
Mary was the mainstay of our church for those thirteen years, her total dedication and love of her work radiated from her. She truly loved what she did and we owe her a deep gratitude.
It is a great tribute to the Greene family that Kevin served us for twenty seven years, Mary for thirteen years, Gerard has filled in as sacristan during and after Mary’s illness and Philip acts as funeral usher.
Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a n-anam
May she rest in peace and rise in glory
Pastoral Letter March 2017 – Bishop Francis Duffy
Sustaining our Faith Community
in the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise
I write to you concerning the reality that the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois has, and will continue to have, fewer priests ministering to the faithful.
I know that many of you who read this are now or have been involved in many ways in your parish church community as Ministers of the Word, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, members of Parish Pastoral Councils, Parish Finance Committees, Ushers, Altar Servers, Safeguarding, Eucharistic Adoration groups, sacramental preparation teams, in addition to the long established choirs and the committees and individuals who maintain churches in such good order. There are many other invaluable local initiatives that you have undertaken such as hospitality at times of funerals, raising awareness of local identity through events and publications and outreach and support to those who have various pastoral and spiritual needs.
At diocesan level we have a Diocesan Pastoral Council, a Diocesan Liturgy Commission, Finance Committee, Accord, Safeguarding Committee, Diocesan Advisors in Catechetics and the Saint John Paul II Awards for young people. The two most recent initiatives are the introduction of the Parish Catechist and the Permanent Diaconate.On behalf of our diocese, to each and every one of you, I offer my blessing and heartfelt gratitude.
As you are aware, in the midst of all these positive developments there has been a steady decline in the number of our priests. Many of you will fondly remember when there were two or three priests working in your parish and where now there is only one.
Three of our parishes do not have a resident priest. This trend of a declining number of clergy is set to continue. At the moment we have 52 very dedicated diocesan priests in our parishes but sadly no seminarians preparing for ordination.
In addition we have four priests from abroad and from missionary congregations who are working in the diocese. This means we have a declining, and an ageing, group of clergy.
From both a pastoral and a duty of care perspective, it is important that responsibilities our clergy now carry are shared with parishioners even more so than at present.
By 2030, over the next 13 years, 28 of our 53 diocesan priests will reach the retirement age of 75 years. By the time children baptised this year reach Confirmation our diocese will be a very different place.
|Number of Diocesan Priests
|Number of Parishes
These statistics tell us that from this year on, as our priests retire or are transferred, there will not be priests to replace them and so an increasing number of parishes will not have resident clergy. In the very near future your parish may not have a resident priest, or if you have, then your priest may be called on to provide pastoral care in a neighbouring parish that is without a resident priest. This ongoing development will impact every parish in the diocese and will bring about considerable change in how the parishes are organised and also in the way the Good News of Jesus Christ is passed on to succeeding generations.
Critically, there will also be an impact on the workload of priests and their welfare is our concern in this changing context.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states “the Sunday celebration of the Lord’s Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church’s life”.
The Sunday Eucharist and the celebration of the sacraments and the pastoral care of people are of central importance for every parish. As a consequence, consideration needs to be given to developing and enabling parish faith development and pastoral care to continue and to flourish with fewer priests and with greater involvement of parishioners.
This is not about closing churches but about reimagining how we worship and pass on our Christian faith.
At this time you and our priests have a unique and precious opportunity to serve the Lord by encouraging and engaging with each other to prepare for and take on responsibility for the formation, promotion and practice of the faith at local level in changing circumstances. We continue to pray for and promote vocations to priesthood and religious life. A time of decline in one area can be an opportunity for growth in other areas. I firmly believe the Lord is with us in change and will provide opportunities for the local church communities to continue to flourish in new ways.
I invite your support as we prepare for a future that will differ greatly from the past in terms of how we worship as a faith community. I therefore ask each of you to consider carefully these matters and
I would greatly welcome your input and suggestions directly, or through your Parish Pastoral Councils, as we seek to meet this challenge together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois
Post: Saint Michael’s, Longford, Co Longford, N39 Y4X5
Email contact: email@example.com