The feeling in our parish is that of warmth and appreciation of the liturgies facilitated by The Ember Team, Vincentians on Mission.
Liturgy by young people for young people: It was a heart warming sight to see so very many young people light up our church with their love of life and enthusiasm for the liturgy. Afterwards at a party in the exuberantly decorated hall the atmosphere was electric.
Series of liturgies to “Nourish our Spirit” and “New Life”: Quiet reflective ritual … reflective and moving liturgy … themes of compassion and forgiveness touched every soul in the congregation. People leaving the church were heard to say: “that was outstanding”, “just beautiful”, “powerful”. One person was overheard making the comment “to sum it up, these three nights gave a meaning and purpose to Lent”.
It seems such a long time since you were all here but we still remember and talk about the great time we had at the mission and St Patrick’s Ceilidh. We have been lifted up and helped on our journey.
Our strongest memory of the parish mission is the presence of the feminine and the leading role taken by women at liturgies. The most helpful elements of the mission were the opportunity to reflect on life’s experiences, also the positive tone of the presentations.
We hope to carry forward the creativity of the liturgy and the connection between life and how we celebrate faith. We see our parish building on the mission by encouraging willing individuals to participate in an imaginative way in celebrating faith.
Attendance at the mission was excellent. There was a very strong input from lay people on the mission team who are giving a very good insight into Christian spirituality as lived by men and women in the world today. They are very much in tune with the concerns and cares of both married and single people in our country today.
As one parishioner stated: “There is a big change now since the days when I drove an ass and cart each night to the mission. But thankfully there is wonderful enthusiasm shown by all young and old people participating in this year’s mission. Keep up the good work.”
We had had a wonderful week of prayer, discussion and workshops, led by Mary Ó Broin, Fr. Paschal and Fr Eugene. The feedback has been very positive. On Monday the service was entitled Faith and Life Experience; Tuesday we remembered our dead and looked at Grief and Loss in a very gentle and sensitive way. The Celebration of Love, on Wednesday night, was a very special event. It was geared towards our young people and all of those attending – though small in number – were involved with readings and prayers and singing. Many of our adult parishioners attended and it was a heart-warming experience for all of us. On Thursday a service of prayer for healing was followed by a workshop on Family Life and on Friday we had our Reconciliation Service. And then on Saturday the Candlelit walk through St. John’s Walk before the 6.30pm mass.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Vincentian mission team. It was a wonderful week, mentally and spiritually stimulating, and proved to have ‘A little something for everyone’. Mary, Fr. Pascal and Fr. Eugene challenged us in lots of ways, and left us with a different perspective on life. All in all, our mission week was a huge success, and one which by all accounts was of huge benefit to the people of our parish.
Now that the Parish Mission is over and we all sit back and reminisce on a great, exciting and I suppose a very unusual Mission week, let me say that it was a revelation, at least to me and to many other people. Many of us had never heard of the Vincentian Missioners, so these people would be something very new to us and you can be sure they were. The Mission was completely different from Missions we had in the past. No blood-and-thunder shouting, no telling us we were all damned; no threat of the flames of hell. All the sermons were very easy to listen to, just all about our station in life and the problems and the worries we all have.
I had my mind made up that I wouldn’t go to many of the Mission nights, but when I heard that first session I didn’t miss one session in either of our churches, and the same can be said of most people at both sides of the parish.
For all the ceremonies both churches were packed and the choirs were all in great voice. A thanks to the priests who came along from other parishes, our own parish priest, the missioners, and all who came along and helped make our Parish Mission Week the great, holy and grand event it turned out to be. As for myself, I was astonished by the piety that was shown, the peace and the hope that I felt in this, the strangest, happiest Mission I have experienced over a long life. Again well done to all.