I think for most of us the announcement by the Taoiseach last Friday, 21st January, of the easing of the restrictions, came as a surprise. While we must continue to be responsible in our behaviour, it is encouraging to know that the prospects for our day to day life this year will certainly be brighter than they were this time last year. In the Parish we hope to be able to make a gradual return to normality, always bearing in mind the need to be watchful and careful.
In early January, in the light of the concern at the spread of the virus at the beginning of the year, it was decided to postpone the biodiversity weekend which was to have been held in January, until the weekend of 6th-7th March. It had been planned to hold a Climate Sunday Service at 11.00 a.m. on 30th January but, given the deferment to March of the weekend, this Service will also be postponed and this Sunday, at 11.00 a.m there will be a Service of Holy Communion in All Saints’.
Details of the Biodiversity Weekend will be given in the next issue of the Union Notes. However, the basic details are that, at 11.00 a.m. on Saturday 6th March, we will meet in All Saints’ for the visit to the pilot sites for the “God’s Gardens of Hope” project. At 6.00 pm, Dr. Dara Fitzpatrick, scientist at UCC, will give a lecture on biodiversity in All Saints’. On Sunday 7th March, at 11.00 a.m., the Climate Sunday Service will be held.
The Tree Planting project will commence on Saturday 26th March.
Following the easing of restrictions, the monthly Children/Family Services in All Saints’ will resume on Sunday 20th February at 11.00 a.m. and in Killucan on Sunday 6th February at 11.30 a.m. I warmly welcome children and their families back to church and it will be very special indeed to be able to hold these Services again after such a long break due to the pandemic.
Ash Wednesday and Lent
This year Ash Wednesday is on Wednesday 2nd March. In the next Union Notes there will be details of the Services for Ash Wednesday and also the activities in the Parish during Lent. Lent provides us with a wonderful opportunity for prayerful reflection. I extend a warm invitation to everyone to participate in Lent this year and I am sure your experience will be both uplifting and enriching for you.
Holy Days during February
We will be celebrating St. Brigid’s Day with a special Service in All Saints’ on Tuesday 1st February, at 11.00 a.m.
That will be followed on Wednesday 2nd February with a celebration of Candlemas, again at 11.00 a.m. in All Saints’.
St. Matthew’s Day falls on Thursday 24th February and there will be a celebration of Holy Communion in All Saints’ at 11.00 a.m.
Senior Parish Choir
The Choir provided wonderfully inspiring singing for us during Advent, Christmas and Epiphany and I would again like to thank our Musical Director Bill McConnell, our organist David Lamb, and the members of the Choir. After a well deserved rest, choir practice will resume again on Wednesday 2nd February at 7.00 p.m in All Saints. Any parishioners who would like to join the Choir would be most welcome.
Service of Crowns
The Children’s Gift Day Service this year on Sunday 16th January, was a most uplifting occasion and the children’s gifts are being sent to a wonderful project in the Lebanon which is providing education for children who have been displaced from their homeland of Syria due to the civil war. 244,000 of the half million Syrian children in Lebanon have no schools to attend and dedicated teachers supported by this charity are endeavouring to provide basic education for them. It was wonderful to see the children coming forward with their gifts and we hope that during Lent we will be able to have a further collection to support this very worthy cause.
Lighten Our Darkness
It is hoped that this year, with the easing of the restrictions, it will be possible to really expand the work of the project. I would like to again thank all the young leaders for their enthusiasm and commitment.
We offer our deepest sympathy to Christine Timmis and Katrina and Richard Tansley, following the sad death of Christine’s husband and Katrina’s father, Ron, on Saturday 15th January at the Brosna Unit, Cluain Lir Centre, Mullingar. Ron and Christine moved over here from England some years ago after their retirement and had integrated very well into the life of Mullingar. Unfortunately Ron became unwell in the last few years. He bore his illness with enormous courage and dignity. We pray that Christine, Katrina, Richard, the grandchildren William, George, Poppy, Rachel and Zach, Christine’s son Darren, Ron’s brother Geoffrey, and the extended family, will be comforted by their wonderful memories of Ron. We pray that Ron, now in the fuller presence of God may rest in peace and rise in glory.
Spring falls on the first day of February and I hope we can all look forward to Spring and the rest of the year with a growing confidence and hope, following what has been a very torrid and, in many cases, sad and tragic time due to the corona virus pandemic. We pray that God will continue to bless us with His love and spirit and that together we can build a humanity that serves the world with goodness and compassion.
A Prayer of Reflection
O God, we need a star to set our journey through the world. Help us to see in Jesus born at Bethlehem the eternal star which will lead us to the place where truth and love and mercy meet so that we may kneel with shepherds and kings and find heart’s joy and heart’s peace in Jesus Christ.
With God’s blessings,
Revd. Alastair Graham
All Saints’ National School- School Enrolment
All Saints’ National School is accepting applications for enrolment for the school year 2022 – 2023 from Monday 7th February to 4th March. The schools admission notice and application form are available online on our website – allsaintsnsmullingar.ie. Please return the form by closing on Friday 4th March. We look forward to hearing from you. Hard copies of application forms are available from the school office 04493 48206.