With Christmas only a few days away and a Covid19 Vaccine now finally on the horizon, for the first time in a long time we have reason for genuine hope. 2020 has been a long year, a year which has challenged us all in different ways and a year we will be delighted to see the back of. Although still some way off the dawn of a new Covid-free era is beginning to stir.
At a parish level the virus has been deeply disruptive. From early March we have been unable to gather together as a full family of faith and for months on end have been unable to gather at all. Being unable to receive Holy Communion has been particularly difficult for many. Baptisms, First Communions, Weddings have all had to be postponed or rescheduled while simple things like school visits and First Friday calls have had to be suspended. We have missed our altar servers and full choirs.
Every aspect of our lives has been affected and yet we have been willingly prepared to surrender so much of our own freedom, not because of Government regulations but rather because of our commitment to work together for the common good of all. We stayed at home so that others might be safe, we limited our social interaction so that people who may be vulnerable because of age or underlying health conditions had a better chance of avoiding the virus, we washed our hands, wore our masks, kept our distance so that we would not – unknowingly to ourselves and to others, be carriers of the virus. It hasn’t been easy, but it was never so much about ourselves as it was for others.
It’s important to keep that sense of the common good in mind as we now prepare for Christmas. What we do, or do not do, has an effect on others. Throughout this period we are not being ‘deprived’ of Mass – numbers are limited in our churches so that all might be safe. We would prefer to be able to attend Mass, we would dearly love to attend Christmas Mass and to receive Holy Communion, but we are prepared to surrender our preference so that no one in placed in unnecessary danger.
When we gather for Christmas Mass this year, be it in Shrule or Glencorrib Church or on the Parish Radio or Parish Facebook page we do so for each other and in solidarity with each other. We do so as Parish; as a family of families stretching from Ballycurrin to Brackloon, from Rostaff to Gurteen. We gather as one. As each family lights its candle in its own home a light will spread across our parish and beyond; the light of faith, the light of hope, the light of Christ. “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” God Bless you all.

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