Christmas and the Re-Opening of Churches
After considerable representations to the government by church leaders, including the church leaders in Mullingar, the churches have been permitted to open again in time for Christmas. We are all delighted with this decision. In our representation I made the very strong case that, for parishioners, going to church was a very essential part of their Christmas. I do hope that will be reflected in the numbers who attend our Services this year. As you will see from the “Union Notes” there will be a full range of Christmas Services and all the Christmas music and carols will be played from recordings made by our Parish Choir. However, under the restrictions it is only possible to have 50 parishioners at a Service, except where added space is available. So it is essential that parishioners make contact beforehand to indicate which Services they wish to attend. All the church Services will be held in All Saints’ Mullingar and St. Etchen’s Killucan.
If you wish to come to a church Service in All Saints’ please contact Arthur O’Toole at 087-9733233 (email firstname.lastname@example.org) and if you wish to attend Killucan please contact Jean Kilmartin on 044-9375144.
In our preparations for Christmas, I will be giving an Advent Biblical Reflection on the following Wednesdays at 11.00 a.m. in All Saints’ – Wednesday 9th, 16th and 23rd December.
The church will be open for private prayer every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11.00 a.m. until 1.00 p.m. in All Saints’.
Parish Gift Day
I would like to thank everyone very much indeed for their generous gifts to the Parish this year. As our Honorary Treasurer has reminded us in his letter, the Parish has been significantly challenged financially due to the Covid 19 pandemic and any gifts you are able to make will be very gratefully appreciated.
Advent, Christmas and Epiphany – Church Services
Sunday 6th Dec. All Saints’ 10.00 a.m. Advent Holy Communion
Killucan 11.30 a.m. Advent Morning Prayer
Sunday 13th Dec. All Saints’ 9.00 a.m. Advent Holy Communion
11.00 a.m. Christingle Family Service
Killucan 5.00 p.m. Christingle Family Service
Sunday 20th Dec. All Saints’ 10.00 a.m. Advent Holy Communion
Killucan 11.30 a.m. Parish Carol Service
All Saints’ 7.00 p.m. Candlelit Carol Service
24th December All Saints’ 10.00 a.m. Holy Communion
11.00 p.m. Midnight Candlelit Christmas
25th December All Saints’ 9.00 a.m. Holy Communion
10.30 a.m. Christmas Family Service
Killucan 12.00 noon Christmas Festival Holy
St. Stephen’s Day
26th Dec. All Saints’ 10.00 a.m. Holy Communion
Sunday 27th Dec. All Saints’ 10.00 a.m. Holy Communion
Holy Innocents Day
Monday 28th All Saints 10.00 a.m. Holy Communion
New Year’s Day
Friday 1st Jan. All Saints 11.00 a.m. Holy Communion
Sunday 3rd Jan. All Saints 11.00 a.m. Epiphany Carol Service
We are providing a wide range of church Service options to enable everyone to attend church over the Christmas and New Year period.
The Raffle will be drawn on Tuesday 15th December and in the Union Notes you will see the wide range of prizes which have been donated. I would like to thank everyone for their generosity and Jean Kilmartin for all her organisation and hard work. I am sure there will be many more cards to be returned by parishioners. Please return the cards to Jean Kilmartin or leave them in the Rectory postbox or give them to one of the churchwardens by Saturday 12th December at the latest. Sincere thanks is due to those who have already returned the cards. Please support our Christmas Raffle if you have not already done so.
At the recent Diocesan Synod, Mark Potterton was elected Lay Honorary Secretary of the Diocese of Meath and Kildare. This is a wonderful recognition of Mark’s amazing commitment to the Church of Ireland which, in this Parish we benefit so richly from, and has now been recognised throughout the Diocese. We wish Mark well with his new and important responsibilities.
Remembrance Tree – Killucan
Sue and Brendan have again presented Killucan Parish with a lovely Remembrance Tree. This thoughtful gift provides the opportunity for parishioners to hang a card on the tree with the names of those they wish to be remembered at Christmas. At the Christmas Day Service the names on the cards will all be read out. I would again like to thank Sue and Brendan for this sensitive and most thoughtful initiative which we greatly appreciate.
Due to the Corona virus, the Confirmation this year had to be postponed. However, the Bishop has now confirmed that the Confirmation for next year will be held in All Saints’ on Sunday 24th October and I hope to start meeting with all the candidates in early February next year. For those who are considering Confirmation, I would like to remind them and their parents that Confirmation is a very important time in their Christian lives and, in their preparation, I would expect the young people to attend church on Sunday mornings, as of course all Christians are urged to keep the Lord’s Day holy. I would invite those who would like to be confirmed to let me know their intention before the end of January.
I know you will all want to offer your deepest sympathy to our much loved parishioner Mavis Murray following the sad death of Mavis’s sister Elizabeth in New Zealand. Elizabeth had not been well in recent years but managed to make a trip to Ireland last year when Mavis and all the family were able to enjoy her company during her visit. We all hope that Mavis will be comforted by her lovely memories of Elizabeth and in knowing that God’s promises are true and that Elizabeth, who bore her illness with such courage and dignity, will rest in peace and rise in glory.
All Saints’ School
I would like to both thank and congratulate the Principal, teachers and staff of All Saints’ School who have worked so hard to ensure that this term has gone exceptionally well and the children have benefited so much from being able to attend school each day. I would also like to thank all the parents for their support and co-operation with all the restrictions that have been necessary due to the pandemic. We hope that the teachers, staff, children and parents will have a very enjoyable and blessed Christmas.
Olive and I would like to wish everyone in the Parish a very holy and blessed Christmas. This time last year none of us could have imagined the challenge we were all going to face due to the onset of the Corona virus last March. However, we have all coped with the challenge that the pandemic presented and I think everyone is to be warmly congratulated on the changes they made to their lifestyles to comply with the restrictions. We would personally like to thank everyone in the Parish for their support and encouragement and good work.
We also remember those who have found life financially difficult due to the pandemic and we sincerely hope that in the coming year their fortunes in this regard will improve. We should also recognise the real difficulties the pandemic has caused for young people at all levels and the sacrifices that they have had to make, which run so much against the grain of their life as teenagers and young adults. Not only have young people been brave, but they have shown a lovely spirit of acceptance, even though they have been deprived in so many ways by being denied the fullness of their social life either through sports, music activities, college life and, of course, having the opportunity to meet with all their friends.
In the Parish, for those who have succumbed to the virus, we continue to remember you in prayer. We also sadly remember those who passed away during the last year who we miss so much. We think of their families who, in suffering their bereavement, will naturally feel a sense of sadness this Christmas. During the pandemic a great many people stepped up to the plate to provide necessary services, through the health services, community and voluntary services and business to help those in need. All those who were involved in this good work deserve our warm applause and sincere thanks.
At Christmas we remember that “God is with us” and we “do not need to be afraid”. Certainly God’s loving presence has been both a comfort and strength to so many of us during these trying months and having hope in Him gives us confidence for the future. As we approach the New Year we hope the pandemic will pass, but as life returns to normal I sincerely hope that the realisations we have all gained from living through the pandemic will encourage each of us to focus on the true priorities in life. May we all seek to shape our lives and the life of the world in the way that God always intended.
Do enjoy your Christmas and keep safe and well. May God continue to bless you and those whom you love and may I again wish you all a very happy and blessed Christmas and New Year.
Revd. Canon Alastair Graham
Jesus is the reason for the season