Sharing the few words from this week’s parish bulletin.
I found myself thinking the other night about the parish and its people. It is truly a great parish and, with Fr John, I feel blessed to be here. There is so much goodness around us and so much good happening. I was nonetheless thinking about those who seem to have stopped coming to church or who over the years have attended less and less.
The origin of these thoughts was, I think, a Funeral Mass celebrated and the truth dawning that it was the 111th Funeral in the Kilmovee/Urlaur side of the parish since I came here. That does not count the funerals in Glann and Kilkelly. Not all of these people lived in the parish, and among them were two infants, but the truth remains that in a parish like this it’s a significant number and these people are missed, primarily by their families and friends, but also by the parish since many of them belonged to that generation that saw Church as central to their lives and attendance at Mass a necessary part of their week. Somehow they seemed able to balance other activities with and around their faith. Church and Mass were central and, for them, the cornerstone of a solid relationship. The weekly gathering, of course, included meeting neighbours and the chat outside the church was significant and meaningful for them too.
It saddens me to think this may not be part of the future for some of our people. It worries me that the positive role the church can have in the life of its people is overshadowed if not obliterated by passing interests, hobbies, social media and a myriad of influences that in my view, unlike God, are not always for the good of those to whom they seek to speak. I’m not talking about doing away with any of these things or of being in opposition to them. Indeed many of them I enjoy myself and I believe that anything that brings joy and togetherness has potential for good and should be encouraged. My worry lies in there being no room in some of this activity for the practice of our faith and the building of parish and community.
As we start into a New Year, can I extend an invitation to all to be with us as often as you can. If there’s something blocking you or holding you back, why not talk about it. Maybe together we can pick up the pieces.