Sunday, September 10, 2017

Farewell, Fr Aidan. Welcome, Fr Kevin

After seven years of dedicated service to the two parishes of our pastoral area, Fr Aidan is moving to the parish of Castledermot. Newcastle parish where he was mainly based will be holding a farewell reception in his honour. This will take place on Wednesday, 13th September, in St Finian's Hall,  8 p.m,  All parishioners welcome.


Fr Kevin Doherty has been appointed as Co-Parish Priest of our two parishes. He was previously in Celbridge parish.  


See Fr Aidan's own words of farewell in the last here, bottom of p.2) of the newsletters he has put together himself week by week for a long number of years. For that and for all he has done for our joint parishes, on my own behalf and on behalf of whoever visits this site, I thank him. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Suggested Reading/Viewing

Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth (+Moon), Mars,  Jupiter, Saturn, Urnaus, Neptune

Starting from the here and now, you might like to read a recent interview with our own Fr Seamus McEntee which appeared in the Irish Catholic, 24 August 2017 (see it here).

Then, maybe wondering further about the here and now and where we fit in and where we are going, you might like to watch a recently released Irish-made film that raises these vast questions. The Farthest tells the story of the Voyager I and 2 spacecraft that were launched forty years ago in 1977 to find out more about the remote regions of the solar galaxy. Read about the making of the film here and view a trailer (and watch it in full screen!) here.  This film is being broadcast tonight on RTE 1 (10.15 p.m to 12.30 a.m.). I suggest you record it if you can't view it.   

The heavens declare the glory of God, says the Psalmist (Ps. 19.1). On the other hand, 'the silence of those infinite spaces terrifies me,' says Pascal.   We today try to see how we may really say out those words of the psalmist in praise and with real conviction. Newman (Apologia pro Vita Sua, Ch.3) says how he had, before his conversion to Catholicism, 'an habitual notion that my mind had not found its ultimate rest and that in some sense or other I was on [a] journey'. Is not mankind also on a journey towards its 'ultimate rest', a journey of discovery that takes the form of space exploration today, a continuation of those voyages of discovery of the 15th/16th centuries? It may be said that 'Voyager' refers to those who launched it as much as to the spacecraft itself. 'Fare forward, voyagers,' says T.S. Eliot (Four Quartets) and adds later: 'We shall not case from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time.' New statements and observations are being made today as mankind continues its efforts to know the purpose and truth about life on earth, the truth about itself as the inhabitant of the little blue ball in the photo above. Knowing that would indeed make us agree wholeheartedly with the psalmist and, looking around us and above us, 'declare [today too] the glory of God'.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Summer Flowers, Outside and Inside

A small photographic tribute to our flower planters and flower arrangers, in the great world outside and inside where we pray for that world, i.e. the church.  The occasions are the Tidy Towns preparations and, below, the decoration of the main altar in Saggart for Cemetery Sunday Mass, 25th June.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Upgrading Our Churches

A new Finance Committee was announced in the newsletter of 7th May (here, p.2). This committee has identified some renovation projects for our churches, as outlined in the newsletter of 4th June (here, p.1). Parishioners are invited to suggest ideas for further projects and a Suggestion Box has been provided in each of our churches to receive such suggestions. In the words of the newsletter:

SUGGESTION BOX   A suggestion box has been placed in each of our churches. Its purpose is two-fold:
1.  Suggestions for other projects that you would like to be considered. Each project will be reviewed carefully and prioritized.
2.  Suggestions for any input / support that you may be able to provide in order to support the completion of the suggested project(s).

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Volunteers for Cemetery Mass


Sun. 11 June, 2 pm             Mass in Newcastle Cemetery   
Sat.  17 June, 2 pm             Mass in St Finian’s for Brownstown
Sun. 18 June, 10.30 am      Mass in St Finian’s for St Finian’s 
Sun. 25 June, 11.30 am      Mass in St Mary’s for Saggart  
Mon. 3 July, 7.30 pm          Mass, St Finian's, for Colmanstown
   Celebrant for the Mass on 3rd July will be Fr Seamus McEntee

The only one of our Masses being celebrated in the cemetery itself is that taking place in Newcastle on Sunday 11th. Newcastle cemetery also caters for the deceased of Saggart, Rathcoole and even Clondalkin. This Mass obviously requires a lot of preparation and organization and any help that people can offer would be most welcome. For more information please see the Newsletter for 28.5. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

St Finian's Church Redecoration Fund

Presentation of Cheque for €600 to Fr Gilligan,
St Finian's Community Hall, Monday 15th May

At a Bealtaine Coffee Morning on the 15th May, Margaret Maher, Chairperson of The Ladies Social Group Newcastle, presented Fr John Gilligan with a cheque for €600 towards the cost of re-painting St Finian’s Church. A most enjoyable morning.  The ladies also presented a short comedy-musical sketch, ‘The Line’, as well as a musical ukulele rendition. Our local group of Ladies are certainly up to the mark with the Bealtaine Festival theme of ‘Celebrating Creativity in older age’. Well done to all involved!

Photographs are compliments of Cathy Weatherston Photography, Newcastle. And thanks to Bridget Breen who sent in the story.

Please click on photo above for full-screen view. Click the close button, top right of full screen, to come back here. 

For a slide-show of further photos please click here. (Use the controls at bottom-left of screen or simply click on the screen to move to the next slide.)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Read the Newsletter. Lots Happening!

The Newsletters for the 7th and the 14th have many interesting 'stories'. (To read them, click on 'Parish Newsletter' in the side-bar opposite and click again on the date in the grid.)

1.  First Holy Communion and Confirmation

Young people are taking important steps in their religious lives during this month. Please see dates in the newsletters.  If anyone would like a photo put up on this site, please send it to donalmcmahon@eircom.net. The photo should be of a group, as family photos would be too numerous to cater for. (PS 23.5 That last statement should now read:  any photo is welcome, family or group!)

2.  Timetable for Cemetery Masses

The times of the annual Cemetery Masses are given in the newsletter.

3.  Parish Finances

Page 2 of the Newsletter for 7th May gives a very important overview by the newly established Finance Committee of parish finances for Newcastle and for Saggart/Rathcoole/Brittas, each parish being audited separately.  In the case of Saggart, there is a report on the present state of the parish's finances relating to St Mary's renovation.  We are talking in mind-boggling seven- and six-figure terms here (e.g.  one million euro as the cost of renovation, defrayed by a grant of €680,000 from diocesan funds). This is the first update to appear since the fund-raising campaign Living the Joy of the Gospel of May 2015.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Timetable for Easter Ceremonies

St Patrick Lights Paschal Fire on Hill of Slane
(From the Monument to the Saint in Westport)
The words at the top IN DIE ILLA RESURGEMUS are taken from St Patrick's Confession (Par.59) and mean ON THAT DAY WE WILL RISE AGAIN.

Please click here to read our Newsletter giving (p.2) the timetable of the Easter Ceremonies.

Monday, April 3, 2017

World Meeting of Families 2018

Closing Mass for 50th Eucharistic Congress, Dublin 2012
 Sunday, 17th June 2012, Croke Park
View from Seating Area Allocated to Our Parishes
This morning we had a special collection to raise funds for the holding in Dublin next year of the 9th World Meeting of Families  In a letter dated 25th March to Cardinal Kevin Farrell and Archbishop Martin, the Pope addresses the Church in Ireland thus: 'My thoughts go in a special way to the archdiocese of Dublin and to all the dear Irish nation for the generous welcome and commitment involved in hosting such an important event. May the Lord recompense you as of now, granting you abundant heavenly favours. May the Holy Family of Nazareth guide, accompany and bless your service, and all the families involved in the preparation of the great World Meeting in Dublin.' (For full text of the letter see J4 for 2.4. Incidentally, Cardinal Farrell is a man from Drimnagh: see his story here.)

The last big event of this kind was the Eucharistic Congress in June 2012. We all have our different and abiding memories of that summer.  Again, a huge amount of organization went into hosting the Congress, as will, no doubt, have to go into hosting the World Meeting of Families. Many of us can remember the Ireland of 1979 when Pope John Paul II came (to the Republic).  Before that, there was the 31st Eucharistic Congress of 1932. The series The Revolution Papers (No.1, 28 December 2015, devoted to the Easter Rising) has reached No.65 this week with an issue devoted to the Eucharistic Congress of 1932. The issue of the Irish Independent for Monday 27th June (reproduced in facsimile) makes for fascinating reading as it recounts in detail all the epic events of the preceding few days culminating in the Mass held in the Phoenix Park, followed by Benediction on O'Connell Bridge. (See the video here for film footage of the time.) The photo below is of Benediction on O'Connell Bridge. Reading the Independent or looking at the film footage of the time will prompt us to compare the Ireland of then to the Ireland of today as venues for major Catholic events. And so our focus turns to the next big such event in 2018, for which a promotional video can be viewed here.

Eucharistic Congress, Dublin 1932 : Benediction, O'Connell Bridge

Monday, March 13, 2017

Beannachtai Lá Fhéile Pádraig

Cover of an old prize-book,
St Patrick's College, Maynooth

The above is a very traditional representation of St Patrick. Every Sunday in St Mary's we gaze up at him in his bishop's robes in the stained-glass window above the altar, between St Brigid and St Colmcille. Next Friday is his day, then, and we (especially those called after him) will think of him in many different ways, each of us conjuring up our own images and associations. The fact that there are so many schools, colleges, hospitals (e.g. St Patrick's), streets (e.g. our own St Patrick's Crescent, Rathcoole) and even towns (e.g. Patrickswell) called after him shows just how deeply influenced Ireland has been by this British-born propagator of the faith who, back in Britain after six years' captivity in Ireland, heard as in a dream the haunting voice of the Irish calling him to come, this time voluntarily, and walk among them once more.

One lasting association for me. Many years ago, my wife and I found ourselves abroad (in London) on St Patrick's day. As it happened, evening drew on without our having done anything to mark the day, even (mea culpa, because of an all-day meeting for me) going to Mass. We decided to go to a production of Hamlet. It looked like the day was thus going to end on a Shakespearean note far removed from St Patrick and Ireland. The first act unrolls and scene five arrives. Hamlet sees his father's ghost and, after rejoining his friends, tries to conceal what has happened, while apologizing to Horatio for his mysteriousness. Horatio reassures him, saying, 'There's no offence, my lord' but Hamlet disagrees: 'Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio, / And much offence too.'  (The ghost has come from purgatory and the saint is invoked here because of his connection, known far and wide in medieval times, with St Patrick's Purgatory, Lough Derg, Co. Donegal.)

So, against all expectations and quite unintentionally, we did mark St Patrick's Day that year after all!

Please see the Newsletter 12.3 for times of Masses and details of the local parade.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Feast of St Brigid / Lá Fhéile Bríde

St Brigid in East Window
Saggart Church
The above photo is not a very good one but will have to do until a better one can be found/supplied.  The feast-day of St Brigid prompts us to take a close look at this window that we know so well but never really dwell on.   Seeing it up close, however indistinctly (click to enlarge), we notice that the name is in Latin (S. Brigida). We also notice that she is bearing a branch of  oak leaves, symbolizing the Church of the Oak Tree (Cill Dara).  (Next year we will feature the fine window of St Brigid in Newcastle church.)

There is still a community of sisters in Kildare today, the convent of the Brigidine Sisters called Solas Bhríde.  Read about the community here and about how they are celebrating their founder's feast-day here. The life of the Brigidine convent and school in Mountrath which closed in 2009 is recalled in these photos.

Contrasting with the 19th century window in our parish church is the window in St Mary's, Ballinrobe, created by Harry Clarke in the following century, an account of which can be found here (not easy to read in parts, e.g. on the subject of the oak leaves). 

But what is surely one of the most spectacular (as we have to call it) visual portraits of St Brigid is to be seen in northern Italy, in the early 16th century chapel located in the grounds of the Villa Suardi in Bergamo. In 1524 the Renaissance artist Lorenzo Lotto depicted scenes from the life of St Brigid (as well as St Barbara) in frescoes that should -- in addition to our own homely portrait in Saggart, of course, -- really concentrate our minds on her feast-day. See here for a description of the wonderful frescoes, making sure to to click on the links at the bottom of the page for some really close-up views. (For a general account of the Villa Suardi in a fairly obvious English translation from the original Italian, see here.  Details of the St Brigid fresco are given in the 6th and 5th paragraphs from the end.)

Finally, back to our own excellent art/craft work in Saggart: 

St Brigid's Cross (work of Mervyn Ennis)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Belated New Year Wishes

Cover of an Old Writing Pad
click on photo to enlarge

     May God 

     look after us all in 2017   

     And may we 

     look after each other