Issue 130 “UNION NEWS” January 2021


Dear Parishioners,

New Year 2021

The new year has commenced in a challenging way.  The rapid spread of the virus with its’ challenging consequences has certainly had an impact on almost every aspect of our lives.  The pressure on the health services is now very intense and we remember with gratitude all the health workers who are providing such an invaluable service in very demanding circumstances.  We all have a responsibility to follow the Public Health guidelines as they have been presented and hopefully our compliance, with others, will bring about an easing of the pressure on the health services.  The hope the vaccine brings is something we should all welcome and, in time, the benefit of the vaccination will be felt.  However, for now, there is no certainty as to when this will be and, as a result, Parish activity will be restricted to online activity and contact by telephone and email. The abiding promise that God’s light and hope is never overtaken by the darkness that may surround us  should always give us confidence and trust in His love for us.


Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

This month each year is when the churches gather for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  The physical gatherings will not be held this year but I do hope that we will have an opportunity through our prayer to pray that Christ’s wish that we should all be one will be evidenced through the life and witness of the Christian churches.  The Week of Prayer begins on 18th January and continues until 25th January when we remember the Conversion of St. Paul.  In the Mullingar area we are very blessed with the close relationship there is between all the churches in Christian Voices Together.  As the year progresses, we hope it will be possible, if circumstances allow, for us to give expression to this cooperation and friendship by the holding of a special occasion to celebrate our unity which we find through our faith in Christ.


Sunday Moments

For the last number of weeks, I have broadcasted a short devotional Service online each Sunday.  I will continue to do this during the current restrictions and I would warmly welcome you to look in each Sunday, on either the website or on Facebook.


Zoom Meeting

During the pandemic a number of events have been held on Zoom and have been very successful.  I, myself, have participated in many of these and it has been a way to keep in contact with people and also ensure that different activities continue.  In the light of this, I thought I would organise a weekly Zoom meeting that would provide an opportunity for Biblical reflection, prayer and shared conversation.  If anyone would like to join me at the Zoom meeting, I would be delighted to hear from you.  Anyone who is interested should send me an email and I will arrange to send an invitation for

the first meeting which I hope it will be possible to organise in the next couple of weeks.  Please Email

 All Saints’ National School

As you know, all schools are closed at the moment but during their closure children and their families are being invited to participate in online classes with their respective teachers.  The Principal and teachers in All Saints’ School began this process last Monday, 11th January.  The response from both children and parents has been very encouraging and I would like to thank the Principal and the teachers and staff for all the good work they have done in making the preparations and in providing the classes.

Enrolment for All Saints’ National School

All Saints’ is accepting applications for enrolment for school year 2021-2022 from 22nd January to the 5th February. Please contact the school for an enrolment pack at We look forward to hearing from you.


A Special Thank You

I would like to say a special “thank you” to all the parishioners for their generous support in recent months, which has been very much appreciated indeed.  I would also like to thank our church wardens, Arthur O’Toole, William Kilbey, Arie Gorrisen, Richard Tansley, David Miller, Violet Medforth, Annie O’Leary and Billy Small, for the meticulous way they have managed the Covid19 precautions in the churches.  In addition, I would like to pay a special tribute to our Honorary Treasurer, John Hales, for his very fine work at this trying time for all parishes, and also to our Honorary Secretary, Richard Williamson, for his support.  We have also been blessed by the work of our glebe wardens, Mark Potterton and Christopher Manzira, and I thank them for all the work they do in the Parish.


A Prayer for Reflection

Wilfrid Owens, who was one of the leading poets and also a soldier in the First World War, repeated a phrase in his poetry, “nothing happens”.  The repetition of this phrase was intended by him to focus on the misery felt in the war by the soldiers waiting overnight in the trenches.   Although nothing was happening and there was no fighting there was still a danger and his words resonated with that feeling.  As I thought on these words I felt there was a pertinence for many of us in the pandemic.  There is a sense of uneasy anticipation that we could succumb to the virus and face the challenge in coping with its’ consequences.  I would like to feel that this would inspire us to redouble our commitment to abide by the guidelines we have been given and also to know that, as Christians, we have the assurance of knowing that God is with us and that devoting some time each day in our daily living to prayer can be both comforting and strengthening.  In these moments of prayer we are speaking to One who is near and not far off, whose love is all around us and who knows our every need.  Amen.  I pray that God will keep you safe and well and we all look forward to an end of the pandemic. No one needs to feel they are left to cope on their own. Support is just a phone call away


I would again like to sincerely invite anyone in need of any support to please not hesitate to contact me.  I will be delighted to support you in whatever way I can. Telephone – 0877870985.


With God’s blessings,


Revd. Alastair Graham 087-7870985




Message from our Treasurer


Firstly I would like to wish you all a very Happy and Safe New Year.  In these trying times I want to thank you for your continued support to the Mullingar Union of Parishes.  The Gift Day Appeal has been well supported in a time when there are so many other calls on people’s finances. The Raffle was a great success and congratulations to all the winners!  A big thank you to Jean Kilmartin in organising the Raffle and all those who generously donated prizes for the raffle, sold and bought tickets.


Your ongoing support for 2021 will be gratefully appreciated.  There are many ways one can support the Parish financially. 

  • Set up a Standing Order to the Parish Bank Account (details on website on donations page and detailed below).
  • By Participating in our envelope scheme, which can be collected from our Church Wardens. 
  • On our parish website you can transfer to the Parish through our secure paypal portal. 
  • Or a donation by post. 


If a person gives over €250 in a tax year the parish could benefit with a tax rebate from Revenue.  The amount of the rebate depends on the tax band a person is on.

Any questions please give me a call


The Parish Bank details are listed below if you want to transfer direct to the Parish Account:


Account              Mullingar Union of Parishes:

IBAN                  IE74 BOFI 9018 5315 7250 71

BIC                     BOFIIE2D


If you would like to discuss anything to do with the Parish’s finances with me, I would be more than pleased to assist you.


Kind regards,

John W. Hales

Honorary Treasurer


I have been requested to reprint this poem:


The Great Realisation by Tomas Roberts

It was a world of waste and wonder, of poverty and plenty,

back before we understood why hindsight is 20/20.

You see the people came up with Companies to trade across all lands

but they swelled and got much bigger than ever we had planned.

We had always had our wants but now things go so quick,

we could have everything we dreamed of, today, or with a click.

We noticed families had stopped talking, that didn’t mean they never spoke,

but the meaning must have melted and the work/life balance broke.

The children’s eyes grew squarer and every toddler had a phone,

they filtered out the imperfections but amidst the noise they felt alone.

And every day the skies grew thicker till we couldn’t see the stars,

so we flew in planes to find them and down below we filled our cars.

We’d drive around all day in circles, we’d forgotten how to run,

we swapped the grass for tarmac, shrunk the parks till there were none.

We filled the sea with plastic because our waste was never capped,

until each day when we went fishing we pulled them out already wrapped.

And while we drank and smoked and gambled, our leaders taught us that it’s best not to upset the Lobbies, more convenient to die,

But then in 2020 a new virus came our way, the governments reacted and told us all to hide away.

But while we were hidden amidst the fear and all the while,

the people dusted off their instincts, they remembered how to smile,

They started clapping to say ‘thank you’ and calling up their mums,

and while the car keys gathered dust they would look forward to their runs,

And with the skies less full of voyagers the earth began to breathe,

and the beaches bore new wildlife that scuttled off in to the seas,

Some people started dancing, some were singing, some were baking,

we’d grown so used to bad news but some good news was in the making.

And so, when we found the cure and were allowed to go outside,

we all preferred the world we found to the one we left behind.

Old habits became extinct and they made up for the new,

and every act of kindness was now given its’ due.

But why did it take a virus to bring the people back together?

Well, sometimes you’ve got to get sick my boy before you start feeling better.

Now lie down and dream of tomorrow and all the things that you can do

And who knows if you dream hard enough maybe some will come true.

We now call it The Great Realisation and since then there have been many,

but that’s the story of how it started and why hindsight is 20/20.



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Rev. Alastair Graham
The Rectory
Gaol Hill
Co. Westmeath

Tel: 044 9348376