Issue 140  “UNION NEWS” November 2021

Dear Parishioners,

This month we look forward to some special occasions in the Parish.

Harvest Thanksgiving

The last of our Parish Harvest Thanksgiving Services will be held in Killucan this Sunday, 31st October, at 11.30 a.m.  The special preacher will be Revd. William Seale, Rector of Kells Union.  The singing and music will be led by the Senior Parish Choir under the direction of Bill McConnell.  I do hope parishioners will support Killucan this Sunday by coming to the Service.  The church will be decorated from 10.30 a.m. on Saturday morning, 30th October.

November – A Month to Remember

November is always a very special month in the Parish with some lovely church ceremonies.

  • All Saints’ Day – Monday 1st November. This very special Saints’ day will be celebrated in All Saints’ with a service of Holy Communion at 11.00 a.m.  I warmly invite parishioners to attend and, if we have sufficient numbers, we would be able to sing the hymn “For all the Saints”.

 

  • Saturday 6th November. There will be a special service in All Saints’ at 2.00pm to remember our much loved parishioner and choir member, Claude Rolston.  Following the service Claude’s ashes will be buried in the Garden of Remembrance.

 

  • Patronal Festival. On Sunday 7th November at 10.00 a.m., we will hold a special “All Saints’ Day” service to celebrate the life of the Parish and pray for God’s continuing guidance and support.

 

  • Remembrance Sunday – 14th November. The traditional Remembrance Service will be held in All Saints’ at 10.30 a.m.  At the service there will the cascading of poppies at the Act of Remembrance and the singing of all the familiar hymns.  The service will be attended by ex-Servicemen and women and representatives of all the emergency services.

 

  • Day of Prayer for Young People – Sunday 21st November. In our Parish we will be remembering in prayer all our young people.  It is very fitting that this day should be marked with the young leaders in Lighten Our Darkness performing their presentation on Climate Change and Spreading the News at 2.30 p.m. in All Saints’ Church.   This will be an amazing presentation and is worthy of all our support.  The Bishop and other church and civic leaders will be attending.  If you wish to come to the presentation you must let the churchwardens know.  Please telephone Arthur O’Toole on  087-9733233.

 

  • Thursday 25th November. To mark the ‘UN International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women’, the churches in Mullingar will be coming together for a united service to be held in the cathedral at 12.30 p.m.  I earnestly urge men and women and young people to attend this very important occasion to show their support, as Christians standing against domestic violence which is such a scourge, not only in our country, but throughout the world.

 

  • Advent Sunday 28th November. There will be a special service in All Saints’ for all the young people who were recently confirmed, and their families, at 10.00 a.m.  At this service each of the young people will receive their Confirmation Bible.  This service will also give parishioners the opportunity to come and show their support and congratulate them on their confirmation.  At 11.30 a.m. in Killucan there will be the Advent Carol Service and at 7.00pm in All Saints’ there will be the Advent Ecumenical Carol Service with all the church leaders and parishioners.

 

  • Andrew’s Day – Tuesday 30th November. There will be a celebration of Holy Communion in All Saints’ Church at 11.00 a.m.

 

Select Vestry

The Select Vestry will hold its’ next meeting on Monday 15th November at 7.30 p.m.

 

Parish Gift Day

The Parish Gift Day will be held on Sunday 28th November – Advent Sunday.  There will be a service held in each of the churches on that day.  Parishioners have been very supportive of the Parish this year for which we are very grateful.  As you can see from the Parish Notes, our Parish is beginning to really get back into full swing and we have so much to thank God for.  The Parish Gift Day gives every parishioner the opportunity to show their gratitude to God our Father for all His loving care.  The Honorary Treasurer will send a Gift Day envelope to each parishioner

 

Lighten Our Darkness – Sophie Ray

I am writing with the exciting news to say that our initiative is now really taking off and we hope that all of us, as young leaders in the Parish with the support of parishioners, will be able make a significant contribution in addressing the difficulties arising from climate change.  Our Climate Sunday service in September was a great success – over 200 attended.  Thank you for all your support.  This month, on Sunday 21st November, we are putting on our presentation and it would be great if you could support us by coming along.  We have lots of other ideas and projects in the pipeline which we will keep you informed of.  So watch out for next month’s Union Notes.  From all of us thanks for your support.

 

Picia Harvey-Kelly

A memorial service will be held for Picia in Almoritia Church this Saturday 30th October, at 12.00 noon.  Picia was a much-loved parishioner and a person of great talent.  The family would very much appreciate your support at this service.

 

Saturday Lunchtime Concert- The Essence of Beauty

Charles Marshall and Bogdan Sofei will be performing at a special concert in All Saints’ next Saturday, 30th October, at 1.30 p.m.  Tickets are €10 and can be purchased at the door.  Don’t miss this special musical treat.

 

Children’s Baking Competition – calling all Junior Bakers

Entries are invited for a Baking Competition on Saturday 11th December.  The categories are:           

Under 7’s: 6 buns of any kind on a plate

Over 7’s: Chocolate cake presented on a plate

Entries can be submitted on Saturday morning up to 11.30 a.m. at All Saints Church. Entry fee €1 per entry and prizes will be awarded for each class.   We look forward to seeing and tasting your bakes.

Holy Baptism

We congratulate Lorcan and Gideon on their recent baptisms.  We pray for them  and their parents and godparents as Lorcan and Gideon begin their journey of faith.

If I can be of any assistance to you in any way please do not hesitate to contact me – 087-7870985.

With God’s blessings,

Rev. Alastair Graham

 

 

 

 

Issue 139 “UNION NEWS” October 2021

Dear Parishioners,
This month we look forward to some special occasions in the Parish.

Harvests
• All Saints’ Mullingar Harvest will be held on Sunday 17th October 2021 at 11.00 am. The special preacher will be Revd. Bob Kingston, Chaplain of Mageough Home in Dublin.
• Almoritia Harvest will be held on Sunday 17th October at 7.00 pm.
• Killucan Harvest Service will be held on Sunday 31st October at 11.30 am. The special preacher will be Revd. William Seale, Rector of Kells Union.

This year I am changing some of the Services to ensure that parishioners can attend the Harvest Services.

Harvest Flowers
• All Saints’ – On Saturday 16th October at 10.30 a.m. those parishioners who would like to help with the harvest decoration will be warmly invited to come to All Saints’. Donations of fruit, vegetables, flowers and greenery will be appreciated. We would love parishioners to join us to help in any way needed, even making a nice cup of coffee! Doreen Lynch
• Almoritia – The decorations will also take place on Saturday 16th October at 10.00 a.m. and all parishioners will be most welcome to help decorate the church.
• Killucan – The decorations will take place at 10.00 a.m on Saturday 30th October. and again all parishioners are invited to help with the decorating.

Confirmation
The Confirmation Service will be held in All Saints’ on Sunday 24th October at 11.00am. I would like you to remember in prayer those who are being confirmed – Lily Bennet, Rachel Forbes, John and Grace Zumerchik, Emilia Meskenaite, Osasere Uyi, Luke McDonnell, Archie O’Malley, James Hanley, Graham Duggan, Sarah Webster, Rourk and Braiden Shaw, Ryan-O’ Dwyer Small. This will be a very special occasion for the young people and their families and I hope parishioners will come to the Service to give the young people your fullest support.

Picia Harvey-Kelly
A Memorial Service will be held for Picia, followed by the Burial of Ashes, in Almoritia church on Saturday 30th October at 12.00 noon. Picia and William were very long-standing members of the Parish. Following William’s death, Picia moved to live near Mount Shannon. I know there will be many parishioners who knew Picia well when she was living in the Parish and who will want to attend this Service.

Concert- All Saints’ Church Saturday 30th October
A lunchtime concert entitled :The Essence of Beauty’ with the music of Mendelssohn and Rheinberget played by Charles Marshall organist and Bogdan Sofei violinist will be held at 1.30p.m. on Saturday 30th October in All Saints’ Church Mullingar followed by refreshments. Admission 10 Euro including refreshments.

Symposium – “Brexit, Borders and the Common Good”
The Symposium held on Monday 27th September went exceptionally well and the addresses given by the Archbishop of Armagh and Professor Hayward were simply outstanding. We were privileged that Bishop Storey chaired the proceedings. All walks of life in Mullingar and Westmeath were represented at the Symposium and it will certainly long be remembered as a special and significant occasion.

Lighten Our Darkness
The young leaders have started their rehearsals for the next presentation in November. With the easing of restrictions, the young leaders are in a position to implement their Action Programme on Climate Change which will be very significant. We are truly blessed to have their leadership and enthusiasm in the Parish.

Climate Sunday
Climate Sunday on Sunday 19th September was an outstanding success, and was attended by over 200 people. I would like to thank everyone who was involved and the drone video, which was put up on Facebook and the Parish website, has drawn a considerable amount of interest.

Bereavement
We offer our deepest sympathy to the Bell family following the sudden but peaceful passing of George Bell on Sunday 13th September. The Bell family have played a very active part in the life of Mullingar and Westmeath and George was held in such admiration and affection by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him. He pioneered so many sporting initiatives, most notably in running and cycling and he, himself, was cycling up to just a few short years ago. George’s funeral took place in All Saints’, followed by cremation. We offer our deepest sympathy to his beloved wife Sheila, and his children Anna, Ger and George, his grandchildren Conor, David, Leah and Emma, his brothers Frank and Billy, and his sisters Louise, Florrie, Pat and Vangie and all the members of the wider family. May George rest in peace and rise in glory.
We also offer our deepest sympathy to Joe and Angela Wall following the death of Joe’s mother. Joe’s mum was a truly wonderful person with a delightful gentle nature and we pray that now in the presence of God, she may rest in peace and that Joe, Angela and the family will be comforted by God and by their memories of her.

Holy Days this Month
St. Luke’s Day – Monday 18th October
All Saints’ 11.00 a.m. Holy Communion

St. Simon and St. Jude – Thursday 28th October
All Saints’ 11.00 a.m. Holy Communion
Encouraging
I think everyone in the Parish is happy to see Parish life beginning to return to activity after the long period of the recent lockdowns. Hopefully the easing of the restrictions will continue and, as we return to normality, I know we will all be responsible in our behaviour and do everything possible to continue to be both safe and well.

Again may I give you the assurance that every effort has been made by the Select Vestry to ensure that the churches are well sanitised and kept airy. In addition, in All Saints’, we have two very effective purifiers which are keeping the air free of viruses and bacteria. In short, when you attend any of the churches in the Parish I hope you will feel safe and comfortable. Olive and I extend our warmest best wishes to everyone in the Parish and we look forward to meeting you on the return to church services and Parish activities. I am always available if you ever need to contact me at any time. The best telephone no. to contact me on is 087-7870985.

With God’s blessings,
Rev. Alastair Graham

Issue 138 “UNION NEWS” September 2021

Dear Parishioners,
September
We start off this month in the Parish with a fresh sense of confidence which is being shared throughout the country, that hopefully the worst effects of the pandemic are easing and we can all look forward to reconnecting with those aspects of our lives that we find so fulfilling and enjoyable.

We hope, in the Parish, that with the easing of the restrictions, we will be able to gradually restart the activities and events that help make our Parish life so special. I hope you all feel encouraged to continue your
support for the Parish and return to the worshipping of God in church on Sundays.

Climate Sunday – 19 th September at 11.00 a.m.
In November world leaders will be gathering in Glasgow to discuss Climate Change.
Our Parish is one of 5,000 churches in Ireland and the UK holding Climate Sunday Services this month. Church leaders will highlight the Christian view on climate change and our Parish will be included as one of the parishes that is taking part in the Climate Sunday initiative. We are going to hold a special Service on 19 th September at 11.00 a.m. in the open air around the church and school.

The easing of the restrictions allow for a larger attendance at these services and I urge you to come and show your support. We hope a drone photograph will be taken which will, of course, protect individual identity, to show the number of people in the Parish who have attended the Service. It would be lovely to feel that this photograph would show a large congregation and the depth of our commitment to the issue of climate change.

Please do come. All the parishes in the Union will gather together for this one Service.

Harvest
I am pleased to be able to announce that the Harvest Services will be held again this year and details will be given in the October newsletter.

Symposium
A special symposium on “Brexit, Borders and the Common Good” will be held in All Saints’ Church on Monday 27 th September at 11.00 a.m.

The distinguished speakers will be Most Revd. John McDowell, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, and Professor Katy Hayward – Professor of Political Sociology in Queen’s University Belfast. The symposium will be chaired by Bishop Storey.

This is a very significant and important event and we are privileged that All Saints’ IS HOSTING and organising this symposium.

Due to social distancing attending the symposium is by invitation only and if you would like to attend you should speak with Arthur O’Toole, Churchwarden at All Saints.

Confirmation
The Service of Confirmation with the Bishop will be held on Sunday 24 th October at 11.00 a.m. in All Saints’. A small number of candidates have expressed their wish to be confirmed. I would urge any other families to get in touch with me immediately regarding confirmation.

Select Vestry
The next meeting of the Select Vestry will be held at 7.30 p.m. on Monday 13th September.

Rectory Garden Coffee Morning
Olive and I were delighted that so many people were able to attend the Garden Coffee Morning on Sunday 15 th August. In all, 63 parishioners of all ages enjoyed meeting together after what seemed to be a long time due to the lockdowns.

Olive takes an enormous interest in the garden and so many flowers were beautifully in bloom for the occasion. We always love to see people come to the Rectory as hospitality is at the very heart of Christian parish life.

Midweek Holy Days
On Tuesday 21 st September, St. Matthew’s Day, there will be a celebration of Holy Communion at 11.00 a.m. in All Saints’.

St. Michael and All Angels’ Day On Wednesday 29th September there will be a Service of Holy Communion at 11.00
a.m. in All Saints’, to celebrate.

Holy Baptisms
We congratulate the children who were baptised into God’s family over the summer months. We pray for them and for their parents and godparents as the children begin their journey of faith.

Diocesan Synod
The Diocesan Synod will be held by Zoom on Saturday 25 th September.

Christian Leadership Workshops during August. I had the privilege of leading the Christian Leadership Workshops with the young
leaders of the Lighten Our Darkness initiative.

It was so inspiring to be with them and to explore the application of Christian leadership in relation to climate change and the destruction of the natural world and environment.

An Amazing Find by an amazing family.
We congratulate Richard Denniston on his amazing find of the Hauberk chainmail which he came across while farming. The chainmail would have been worn by a child as an armoured vest over 800 years ago and the safekeeping of the Hauberk is now in the safe hands of the statutory authorities.

Richard’s generous philanthropy is truly admirable and it is lovely to think that he, Lesley and the children will always be associated with this invaluable archaeological find.

Rectory Birds
Last month Olive and I had a visit in the Rectory from a bird expert. As we sat having a cup of coffee in the garden the bird expert was able to identify the following birds in
the garden:

chiff chaff which migrates to Africa, treecreeper, blue tit, house
sparrow, goldcrest, magpie, chaffinch, blackcap, blackbird, pied wagtail, mistle
thrush.
It is such a delight to know that so many birds still visit the Rectory garden for food in an environment where they must feel completely safe and respected.

All Saints’ Choir
It will be simply wonderful to have All Saints’ Choir leading the Service on Sunday 12 th September. During the pandemic we have all missed singing in church and it is such a wonderful blessing to now be able to have music return to our worship on Sundays and at other Services.

Ordinations
We remember in prayer this month those candidates in the Diocese who will be ordained deacons and priests. May God bless each of their ministries.

All Saints’ Air Purifier
In All Saints’ we have recently installed two high-quality air purifiers which happily completely cleanse the air and free it of viruses and bacteria. I hope this will give everyone confidence in knowing that when you are worshipping you are in a very safe environment.

The other churches are, of course, also totally safe and are well-aired
and ventilated.

Leaving Certificate Exam
I would like to congratulate all the young people on their success in the Leaving Certificate and I hope each will be successful in pursuing the course of their choice.
We pray that God will bless each one of them with good health and happiness as they embark on this new sphere of their young lives.
I hope that you will continue to keep safe and well and, as I have mentioned before, I am always available if you ever need to contact me at any time. The best telephone no. to contact me on is 087-7870985.

With God’s blessings,
Rev. Alastair Graham

Issue 137 “UNION NEWS”  August 2021

Dear Parishioners,

August

If you are planning to have a holiday during the month I do hope you will have a very pleasant, restful and relaxing time.  It would be lovely to think that we might be able to enjoy some nice weather as we did in the latter part of July.  Above all, I hope you will keep safe and well.  At the beginning of September the children will be returning to the National School for the beginning of the new school year.  The Secondary Schools will also be reopening and we would like to wish the children, young people, teachers and staff everything good for the new year.   Hopefully the new school year will be free from any of the disruptions that occurred during the last year.

Church and Coffee – Sunday 15th August

Olive and I would like to invite everyone to join us for coffee in the Rectory garden on Sunday 15th August after the 10.00 a.m. Service in All Saints’.  We will hold a United Parish Service at 10.00 a.m. on that Sunday and it would be lovely to see a good number of parishioners attending although I imagine many will be on holiday.  The Rectory garden has been looking very colourful with the blooms of the different plants and flowers and we look forward to welcoming you there.

Kilbixy

In last month’s Union Notes I mentioned that Kilbixy had been awarded a grant of over £54,000 to undertake the continued work of restoration on the Leper Hospital located in the churchyard.  We are hopeful that the work of restoration will be able to commence this month in order that the work can be completed before November this year.  I would like to thank David Miller for all his work in helping to co-ordinate the programme of work that needs to be undertaken.

Confirmation

We hope to hold the Confirmation Service on Sunday 24th October.  I would be very grateful if those who wish to be confirmed could let me know if it is their intention to attend the Confirmation Classes which will begin next month.  The young people preparing for confirmation will be from 1st Year in Secondary School upwards.  To date just one young person has put their name forward for confirmation.  I can be contacted on 087-7870985.

Bereavement

We would like to offer our deepest sympathy to Lesley and Richard Denniston following the death of Lesley’s father on Friday 16th July.  Lesley’s father, Cyril, had borne Parkinson’s Disease for a great many years with considerable courage and dignity and was held in very high regard and with deep respect in farming circles.  The funeral service took place in Blessington Parish Church on Monday 19th July.  We also offer our deepest sympathy to his wife Evelyn, whose care of him throughout his illness was simply wonderful.  Evelyn grew up in Kilbixy Parish and we also offer our deepest sympathy to her family there, remembering her sisters Fran and Annie.  Cyril was a person of great faith and we pray that, now in the fuller presence of God, he may rest in peace and that all his family may be comforted by their lovely and heartfelt memories of him.

 

 

 

Canon Lawrence

I would like to thank Canon Lawrence very much indeed for kindly taking the Services while I was away for two weeks in July.  We are enormously privileged to be able to avail of his ministry and it is a delight that he and his wife Anne live in the Parish.  I know that, as parishioners, you very much appreciate Canon Lawrence’s fine preaching and his taking of the church services.  I am so appreciative of Canon Lawrence’s ongoing support and friendship.

 

 

 

Church Services

I am delighted that it is possible to hold Services in each of the four churches every month and I would again like to both invite and encourage parishioners to attend.  The wisdom we find in the Bible and in the Gospel we proclaim is of continued relevance and is so needed to help us cope with the many challenges we face in God’s world today.  Christians have such an important witness to make and each of the four churches has an important place in the communities in which they are situated.

 

 

 

I hope that you will continue to keep safe and well and, as I have mentioned before, I am always available if you ever need to contact me at any time.  The best telephone no. to contact me on is 087-7870985.

 

With God’s blessings,

 

Rev. Alastair Graham

Issue 133 “Union Notes” April 2021

 

Dear Parishioners,

Holy Week and Easter

Unfortunately this year we are again not going to be able to meet in church for the ceremonies during Holy Week and Easter.  This is, of course, a great disappointment but is understandable given the current restrictions in the country.  However, we are going to hold a number of Zoom Services which I hope you will be able to join.  On Mothering Sunday a good number of parishioners gathered for the Zoom Service and everyone was both uplifted and delighted to be able to see so many familiar faces from the Parish.  The Zoom Services will be:

 

Palm Sunday – Sunday 28th March

11.00 a.m. the Palm Sunday Service with the reading of the Passion Story

 

Holy Week

During Holy Week at 8.00 p.m. each evening from Monday 29th March to

Good Friday, 2nd April, there will be a Zoom Evening Prayer Service at

8.00p.m.

 

Good Friday 2nd April

Our normal Service, “Sacred Words and Sacred Music”, will be held on

Zoom at 8.00 p.m.  The Choir has recorded sacred music which will be

played along with the reading of Christ’s Passion.

 

Easter Day 

11.00 a.m. the Easter Day Family Service with Easter music

 

 

I would like to thank everyone who will be taking part in the ZOOM Services and also our Choir Director  Bill Mc Connell and Choir members who have individually recorded their singing at home.  Ron Lomax has  brought all their voices together to blend a lovely musical synergy which we will have the privilege of listening to on Good Friday and Easter Day.

 

 

Lighten Our Darkness

A copy of the recently printed leaflet on our Parish Initiative “Lighten Our Darkness” is included with the Union Notes this month.  The initiative has been very well received and we all look forward to its’ implementation when the restrictions allow.  I would like to thank everyone for their support in producing the leaflet.

 

 

 

 

Select Vestry

There will be a meeting of the Select Vestry at 8.00 p.m. on Monday 12th April by Zoom.  This is an important meeting and I do hope that as many members of the Select Vestry as possible will be able to attend.

 

 

General Easter Vestry – Thursday 15th April at 8.00 p.m.

The Church authorities have requested that all Parishes in this Diocese would hold the General Easter Vestry after Easter and that all the Returns would be submitted to the Diocesan Office by 4th May.  I do hope that a large number of parishioners will be able to attend the Zoom meeting of the General Easter Vestry as we will require a quorum to transact the business of the meeting.  It is everyone’s firm hope that this will be the last year that General Easter Vestries will have to be held by Zoom.

 

 

 

Happy Congratulations

Muriel Ray, our much-loved parishioner who lives in Hopestown just outside Mullingar, celebrated her 95th birthday in March and was able to enjoy some birthday cake with her immediate family with whom she resides.  Muriel still sings in the Parish choir and is such wonderful company.  Her knowledge of nature and life is so magnificently rich and her sharing of it in conversation is nothing short of inspirational.  We pray that God will continue to bless Muriel with good health and happiness and we thank her family for surrounding her with such enriching love.

 

 

Bereavements

We offer our deepest sympathy to Jean and Frank Kilmartin following the death of Jean’s sister-in-law, Deirdre, who had been married to Jean’s brother Norman for many years.  Deirdre unfortunately had a health condition that was never going to restore her to fullness of life.  In her latter years she managed to enjoy her return to living in Donegal, the county of her birth, and we pray that now in the fuller presence of God she may rest in peace and rise in glory and that Norman, Jean, Frank and the family will be comforted by their faith and by their lovely memories of her.

 

We also offer our deepest sympathy to Richard and Lesley Denniston following the death of Richard’s uncle David Satchwell in Roscommon.  Richard’s uncle was very highly regarded and admired in the whole community and his death came as both a shock and a sadness to his family and many friends.  We pray that Richard’s uncle is now safe in the Lord’s presence and that God’s love and care will sustain all the family at this sad time.

 

In last month’s magazine we mentioned the passing of Claude Rolston who had passed away peacefully at home on Sunday 14th February.  Claude and Anna were deeply loved in the Parish and Claude will be very sadly missed by us all and by the members of the Choir.  Unfortunately, due to a slight oversight, his daughter Florence’s name was incorrectly mentioned in the Notes, as was the reference to Claude’s sisters.  Claude had six sisters, Viola, Doreen, Iris, Emily, Lil and Ina, and three brothers, Cyril, Eric and Maurice.   Lil, Ina, Eric and Maurice pre-deceased Claude.  We again offer our deepest sympathy now to Claude’s sisters and brother and, of course, his wonderful wife Anna whose care of Claude was magnificent, and to his children Wendy, Sandra, Newton, David and Florence and all the other members of the family.  In remembering Claude with such affection we pray that he now is in the fuller presence of God and at peace.

 

We offer our sympathy to Canon John Clarke following the death of his mother who passed away peacefully after having lived a very long life.

 

We again sympathise with Kathy von Beaumont and her family following the death of Kathy’s mother.  We apologise for the small typing error in last month’s Union Notes.  The loss for Kathy and the family was, naturally, very upsetting and further created much heartbreak because, due to Covid, Kathy was unable to travel to attend her mother’s funeral.

 

 

Easter Greetings

Olive and I would like to wish you a very Happy Easter.  While, due to the restrictions, everyone’s  meeting with family and friends at Easter this year will be significantly curtailed, we do hope you will manage to have an enjoyable and restful time.  It is wonderfully inspiring to know that there is still a lovely momentum in the Parish and that we are all looking forward to the time when we can come again to each of the churches to worship God and to glorify His holy name.  We pray that God will richly bless your life with His love and grace and that each of us will feel truly inspired as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the hope that that brings to each of us and to the world in which we have the pleasure and privilege to live.

 

Revd. Alastair Graham

Rector

As I have mentioned before, I am always available to anyone in the Parish who might wish to contact me about any matter.  My mobile no. is 087-7870985.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Devotional Biblical Reading for Good Friday – Hebrews 10, verses 19-25

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,

20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,

21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,

22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,

25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

 

 

 

 

 

A Devotional Biblical Reading for Easter Day – John 20, verses 1- 9

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.

So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.

Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.

He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.

Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there,

as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.

Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.

(They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

 

Issue 132  “UNION NEWS”  March 2021

Dear Parishioners,

Safe and Well

In these very challenging times I hope you manage to keep safe and well.  As we know, “the darkest hour comes before the dawn” and so, despite the difficulties we face, we must keep hope in our hearts, knowing a time will come when we will all be able to meet and share our lives again.

Month of Prayer

I hope March will be a special time for prayer in the Parish.  You will find in the Union Notes the opportunities and times we can all share prayer together.

  • on the Sunday Moments online
  • the Wednesday Lenten Zoom Services
  • Sunday “Home Service”. The Order of Service for the March Home Service is in these Union Notes
  • Mothering Sunday on Zoom-Sunday 14th March

Details of the dates and times of the March Services

Online every Sunday – Sunday Moments                                

Sunday 7th March               Women’s World Day of Prayer

Sunday 14th March             Mothering Sunday- ZOOM

Sunday 21st March             Special Preacher will be Luke Hawkins,

Chaplain Wilson’s Hospital

Sunday 28th March             Palm Sunday

 

Wednesday Lenten Services- on ZOOM

Wednesday 10th March`    7.00 p.m. (please note time this week)

Wednesday 17th March      8.00 p.m. St. Patrick’s Day

Wednesday 24th March      8.00 p.m.

 

Sunday Home Service – every Sunday in your home

 

Women’s World Day of Prayer

The Women’s World Day of Prayer Service will be led by women in the Parish.  Women’s World Day started in America in 1887 as a response to the needs of women following the American Civil War.  It became the Women’s World Day of Prayer in 1920.  The first Services in Ireland were held in Dublin, Dun Laoghaire and Greystones.

Mothering Sunday- Zoom Service- Sunday 14th March at 11a.m.

This year there will be a special Service by Zoom on Sunday 14th March which I hope you will all join.  Lets all come together to celebrate Mothering Sunday.

 

Luke Hawkins

We are delighted that Luke will speak on Sunday Moments on Sunday 21st March.  Luke is doing a wonderful job as Chaplain at Wilson’s Hospital School and we are all benefiting from having Luke and Esther living in the Parish, along with their amazing hens!

 

Wednesday Lenten Service- on ZOOM

It’s lovely to have a number of families attending this Service every week and taking part.  We have some lovely piano music and special readings and prayers.  I hope you might like to join us.

 

ZOOM – Zoom is so easy.

It is so easy for me to send you an invitation for the Zoom Services.  All I need is your email address and you need to download the Zoom App.  It would be lovely to have more people from the Parish joining us on Zoom to sing, pray and meet together.

 

Aspire

The Aspire magazine is now in a new format and will be posted to you each month during the restrictions.  The annual subscription is €25.  Please send your subscription to Mr. John Hales, Honorary Treasurer, Ballyvade, Ballinalack, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.

If you would like to receive a copy of Aspire please telephone Edna Craig on 087-2761568.

 

Bereavements

Parishioners were very sad to learn of the passing of Claude Rolston who passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his loving family, on Sunday 14th February.  Claude and Anna had been married for almost 58 years.   They were truly devoted to each other and shared a wonderful love.  An act of supreme love at the end meant an enormous amount to both Claude, Anna and the family as Anna arranged for Claude to return home for the last weekend before his passing.  The comfort and peace he will have felt knowing that each of his children, Wendy, Sandra, Newton, David, and Florence, with Anna, were sitting at his bedside when he peacefully passed away.  We offer our deepest sympathy to Anna and her family, Claude’s two sisters and to Anna’s sister Louise.  Claude was a much admired and appreciated member of the choir in All Saints’ and his presence in All Saints’, Sunday by Sunday, was greatly appreciated by parishioners as were the lovely conversations and time he gave to people unselfishly after each Sunday Service.  As a person of deep faith, we pray that Claude will now rest in peace and rise in glory.

We extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Revd. Canon David Hutton Bury who passed away following a long illness which he bore with such courage and dignity.  David was a true gentleman and his ministry in the Diocese was greatly appreciated by everyone. We pray that he will now rest in peace and rise in glory.

We offer our deepest sympathy to Edie McCullagh, who is a sister of the late Ivan Bourke, whose husband George has also passed away following a long illness which he bore so bravely.  We also extend our sympathy to all of Ivan Bourke’s family at this sad time.

We also offer  our deepest sympathy to John and Andrea Mulvaney following the sudden and sad death of John’s father, Paddy. We pray that Paddy now in the fuller presence of God may rest in peace and that John and Andrea and family will be comforted by their memories of him.

 

We sympathise with Kathy von Beaumont whose mother sadly passed away in Hungary where she resided. The loss for Kathy not naturally very upsetting and further heart-breaking because due to Covid she was unable to travel to attend the funeral

 

We offer our sympathy to Canon John Clarke following the death of his mother who passed away peacefully after having lived a very long life. John is Rector of Navan Union.

 

Item of Interest

 

George Forbes very kindly sent me this text which I would like to share with you and I thank George for his thoughtfulness in sending it to me:

 

Charlie Chaplain lived to 88 years of age.  He left us four statements.

 

The first point is –              “nothing is forever in this world, not even our problems.

The second point –             “I love walking in the rain because no one sees my tears”

The third point –                 “the most lost day in my life is the day we don’t laugh”

The fourth point –                “the six best doctors in the world are

  1. the sun
  2. rest
  3. exercise
  4. diet
  5. self respect
  6. friends

Stick to them at all stages of your life and enjoy a healthy life.

If you see the moon you see the beauty of God.

If you see the sun, you will see the power of God.

If you see a mirror you will see God’s creation

 

So, believe it – we are all tourists.  God is our travel agent who has already identified our routes, bookings, and destinations……. Trust Him and enjoy life.

March – A Month of Prayer

 Do join us in the Parish on Sunday Moments online,

Zoom Services every Wednesday and Sunday 14th March

It would be lovely to have your company – all you have to do is send me your email and download the Zoom app

Sunday Home Service for March

Order of Service

  1. Gather together standing or sitting in a circle
  2. Eyes closed, take 10 breaths in quiet preparation
  3. The Jesus Prayer – Matthew 6

Jesus said “This then is how you should pray.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven

Give us today our daily bread

And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors

And lead us not into temptation

But delivery us from evil. Amen.”

  1. P – a few moments of quiet prayer

R – remember those in need-the sick , lonely , hungry, war victims

A – aware of the needs of the world

Y – you, your priorities and interests

E – encourage, is there someone you can encourage in the life of faith

R – ready to hear God’s prompts and voice for your life

  1. The Lord’s Prayer – said together
  2. Our Prayers

Lord of all, forgive us that we make time like this all too rarely; forgive us that we fill our lives with noise and activity; forgive us that we ask you to speak but fail to hear your voice because we fail to listen; forgive us that we deny ourselves the peace of your presence.  Open now our hearts to you and fill us with the peace that only you can give, through Jesus Christ Our Lord.

  1. Lenten Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing that you have made and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness receive from you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness, through Jesus Christ Our Lord.  Amen.

  1. Lenten Blessing

Christ, give us the grace to grow in holiness, deny ourselves and to take up His cross and follow Him.  Amen

  1. Close the Service with a moment of quiet prayer.

 

With God’s blessings

Rev Alastair Graham- 0877870985

I am always available if you need to contact me

Issue 131 “UNION NEWS” February 2021

MULLINGAR UNION OF PARISHES

Dear Parishioners,

Happy New Year

I would like to again, at the beginning of this month, wish you a very happy and safe New Year.  None of us has any certainty as to how the year will unfold but we do have some hope that the implementing of the vaccine programme holds out a potential which will allow us return to some normality.  I have come to appreciate the importance and influence of patience.  Being patient is something we can all do.  Worry and anxiety won’t, on its’ own, bring an end to the pandemic.  But remaining patient provides a wonderful “antibiotic” for worry and stress and one of the invaluable fruits of patience is the feeling of calmness.  I heartily recommend patience to you and I know you will not be disappointed.  While sitting patiently you might like to quietly read the words of Psalm 121.  Each word is strong enough to hold up the human spirit and give comfort and hope.

Psalm 121

I will life up mine eyes to the hills

where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord

the maker of heaven and earth.

 

He will not let your foot slip

He who watches over you will not slumber,

indeed He who watches over Israel

will neither slumber nor sleep.

 

The Lord watches over you

the Lord is your shade at our right hand

so that the sun shall not burn you by day

nor the moon by night.

 

The Lord will keep you from all harm

He will watch over your life,

the Lord will watch over your coming and going

both now and forever more.  Amen.

 

Sunday Worship during the Lockdown

In addition to the “Sunday Moments” every Sunday on the website and Facebook, from this Sunday 7th February I am inviting all parishioners to join together in spirit as we visit our own gardens, green spaces or farmyards to worship and glorify God for a few moments.

I will send you an Order of Service each month in the Union Notes to be used on the Sundays during the month.  I hope we will all be able to join together in spirit to “keep the Lord’s day” as we should.  I would ask you also to text me on the Sunday so we can know how many parishioners are joining together in spirit to worship God and to support each other in prayer – 087 7870985.

The young leaders of Lighten Our Darkness have kindly agreed to take part.  You will remember their Prayer Vigil in the first lockdown.

In time we could perhaps share videos of the different “Garden Services”.  I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday, 7th February, in spirit.

Communion, Contact, Connection

These are all essential in God’s world.  During the pandemic we are really appreciating their importance and miss them enormously.   Each of these are found in abundance in our Parish when we are living in “normal times”.  When the pandemic passes we must celebrate these in a very special way and, of course, revive them all to their former glory.  So many people are suffering a poverty of “loss” by not being in communion, contact or connected.  May I invite you to take a moment to connect with someone in the Parish.  I know they will really appreciate your call.  We all need divine and human contact.  Prayers and telephones are good starting points.

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will be on Wednesday 17th February.  I am going to hold an Ash Wednesday Service on Zoom at 8.00 p.m. on that day.  If you would like to join me for the Service please let me know and I will happily send you an invitation for the Zoom Service- 0877870985 or by e mail .

Zoom Reflection Meeting

In last month’s Union Notes I mentioned the holding of a Zoom Reflection Meeting.  Happily, a small number of parishioners have responded and the first meeting will be held on Monday 1st March at 8.00 p.m.  If these meetings are successful I hope we will be able to hold one every month.  I have put back the first meeting until 1st March to give parishioners a further opportunity to attend the meeting.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to be part of the Zoom Reflection Meeting by telephone or e mail.

Remembrance

This month we continue to remember with thanksgiving all those good people in all walks of life who are doing such sterling work to help support those who have succumbed to the Corona virus.  Their compassion is an inspiration and we are greatly in their debt.  We also remember those who are not well at this time and those recovering from recent operations and procedures.  We remember those who have been bereaved and we remember Karen and Ron Lomax following the sad passing of Karen’s aunt.  We pray that all those who have passed on from this world may rest in peace and rise in glory. In particular at this time we remember George Forbes who’s fathers’  second anniversary will be remembered on Sunday 7th February

A Morning Prayer and an Evening Prayer

O Lord, our heavenly father, almighty and everliving God, we give you thanks for bringing us safely to this day; keep us from falling into sin or running into danger and in all things guide us to know and do your will, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Lighten our darkness we beseech thee O Lord and by thy great mercy defend us from all the perils and dangers of this life, for the love of thine only Son our saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen.

 

Sunday Worship during February

Order of Service

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen.

May I invite you to look up at the sky and then say or sing the hymn “Count your blessings”

Count your blessings, name them one by one

Count your blessings, look what God has done,

Count your blessings, name them one by one

And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Please take a moment to name your blessings.

Bible Verse

“and my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glorying Christ Jesus” Philippians 4, verse 19

……….

I invite you to move to your lawn or grass.  Please place an item of food on the ground.  Take a moment to look at both the grass and the food and remember how blessed we are to have food to eat and water to drink for our sustenance and wellbeing.

Bible Verse

“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for growing and increase the harvest of your righteousness” 2 Corinthians 9, verse 10

…………..

Please gather a few dead leaves together. The leaves resemble our failings and the failing of others.  Holding the leaves we remember behaviour that can offend us.  Holding a grudge might feel natural but the Bible encourages us to forgive and to seek God’s forgiveness for our failings and the mistakes of others.

Please let the leaves now fall to the ground.

Bible Verse

“If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness”  1 John 1, verse 9

Say or sing “Jesus loves me”

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so

Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but he is strong

               Yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me

               Yes Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.

Stand and look at a tree which is near at hand.

Bible Verse

“I am the true vine and my father is the gardener, He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, I am the vine and you are the branches; if you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing”  John 15

This bible passage reminds us that Jesus exists and is alive and with us.  Jesus has all the good qualities of God.  Jesus is like the trunk of the tree.  As the trunk feeds the branches, when we are in Jesus’s presence His love and power feeds us and we can bring life to others – feed the hungry, help the sick, care for the poor, support each other.  When we try to go it alone, try living life without God, we soon discover our mistake.  We can wither and die.  We must make sure we keep in touch with Jesus, knowing Him and being known by Him.

Prayers:              Let us pray.

Almighty God, by whose grace alone we have been accepted and called to your service, strengthen and guide us by your Holy Spirit in all our work and make us worthy of our calling, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Remember in mercy our Father, those who are passing through illness, those recovering from operations and those who have succumbed to the Corona virus, bless all that is being done for their good and surround them with your healing love and power, through Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Amen.

Prosper with your blessing O Lord, all our work in this Parish and strengthen the hands of all parishioners who serve you, make our worship more worthy, our witness more effective, our lives more holy, and inspire us all with a fresh zeal for our Parish to the honour of your name and to your glory.  Amen.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore.  Amen.

Closing Hymn – “Our God Reigns”

How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him

who brings good news, good news

announcing peace, proclaiming news of happiness

our God reigns, Our God reigns!     “Our God reigns” (four times)

 End of Service- Do keep well and safe this month. I am always available if you wish to speak to me.

With God’s blessings,  Canon Alastair Graham

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  info@mullingarunionofparishes.net

 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 allsaintsns@gmail.com 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.

 

 

Issue 129 “UNION NEWS”December 2020

Dear Parishioners,

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 armot3@outlook.com)  and if you wish to attend Killucan please contact Jean Kilmartin on 044-9375144.

 

Advent Reflections

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

 

Christmas Eve

24th December     All Saints’           10.00 a.m.            Holy Communion

11.00 p.m.            Midnight Candlelit Christmas

Service

Christmas Day

25th December     All Saints’           9.00 a.m.              Holy Communion

10.30 a.m.            Christmas Family Service

Killucan               12.00 noon           Christmas Festival Holy

Communion

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.

 

 

Christmas Raffle

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.

 

Congratulations

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.

 

 

Confirmation

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.

 

 

Bereavement

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.

Christmas Greetings

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

Issue 128 “UNION NEWS” November 2020

Dear Parishioners,

The Providence of God

While we have benefited from the expertise and experience of the medical profession and academic scientists during the pandemic, Christians also draw strength and comfort from the providence of God.  We firmly believe that God, rather than being absent from His world, intervenes in His existence and offers care and protection, and provides the confidence for all of us to know there is a power beyond human experience that we can all trust and have hope in.  Prayer, therefore, is a wonderful blessing as it enables us to share a loving relationship with God.  The reading of the Bible provides us with much strength, wisdom and consolation.

Prayer in Church

The churches will remain open this month to enable parishioners to find time for prayer and reflection and to experience the comfort of God’s presence and the hope of His gospel.  All Saints’, Killucan and Kilbixy are open each Sunday:

All Saints’        between            10.00 a.m.-12.00 p.m.,

Killucan           between            11.30 a.m. -12.15 p.m.

Kilbixy             between            4.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m.

It is lovely to see parishioners gathering to pray every Sunday and, while we are not permitted to hold a Service, the playing of sacred music provides an inspiring backdrop to our private prayer.  In addition to the Sunday opening of the churches, All Saints’ is also open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week and the opening times can be found in these Union Notes.

Remembrance Sunday – Sunday 8th November

Remembrance Sunday is always an important time in the Parish and we hold the annual Service of Remembrance in All Saints’ which is always so well attended.  This year, due to the restrictions, we will not be permitted to hold a Service.  However, at 11.00 a.m. in All Saints’ those who are in church for prayer will be invited to stand for the two minute Silence and for the laying of a wreath.  In Killucan, at 12.00 noon, the two minute Silence will be observed, and in Kilbixy in the afternoon the two minute Silence will be observed at 4.30 p.m.  I warmly commend each of these occasions to you.

Parish Gift Day – Sunday 29th November

For the last number of years we have held the Parish Gift Day on Advent Sunday.  This year we will continue to offer prayers for the Parish on Sunday 29th November and the Honorary Treasurer, John Hales, will be writing to all parishioners before Parish Gift Day Sunday.  This has been a very challenging year financially for the Parish and many parishioners have been very generous in their support which is greatly appreciated.  I am very conscious of the financial pressures placed on many parishioners due to the pandemic, but if parishioners are in a position to support the Parish their gifts will be warmly welcomed as, throughout the pandemic, we have done our very best to keep the churches open and a momentum in the Parish.

November Prayer Promise

Christian Voices Together, which comprises the leaders of the different Christian faith communities in Mullingar, has launched a November Prayer Promise.  During November the Christian leaders will pray daily for your prayer requests.  All you have to do is send an email to CVTPrayerPromise@gmail.com.  As Christian leaders we offer our sincere support to everyone at this challenging time, with the assurance of knowing that “the Lord is near to us”.

Harvest Thanksgivings

We were very fortunate to be able to hold our Harvest Thanksgivings in Killucan and Almoritia on Sunday 4th October.  Unfortunately, due to the introduction of the new restrictions, the Harvest Festival to be held in All Saints’ on 11th October had to be cancelled.   However, on Friday 16th October we were able to hold four short Harvest Services for the children in All Saints’ School which were very enjoyable.  This year as our Harvest gift to the community we were able to give a good quantity of non-perishable food items to the very worthy work at TEAM which provides shelter for those suffering from domestic violence.  I would like to thank everyone for their gifts.

Lighten Our Darkness

The young leaders held a Zoom meeting on Friday 30th October which went very well.  The young leaders are continuing to keep the work of their Project alive and have some very interesting plans for over the Christmas school holidays.  More details of their plans will be given in the December issue of the Union Notes.

Diocesan Synod

The Bishop and members of the Diocesan Council have decided to hold the Diocesan Synod by Zoom on Saturday 21st November.  This will be a very ambitious undertaking and we commend our Bishop for her commitment to ensure that this important Diocesan event is held despite the impact of the pandemic.

 

Christmas Raffle

Every year we run a raffle at the Mayfair and it has always been both enjoyable and well supported.  In the light of the absence of the Mayfair this year, the organisers thought it could be very worthwhile and very enjoyable to hold a Christmas Raffle.  Raffle cards are included with these Union Notes and if you require additional cards please contact Jean Kilmartin at 044-9375144.  We hope there will be a good response.  All the prizes have a lovely Christmas theme and, to those who are successful in the raffle, the prizes will certainly brighten Christmas this year.

 

Bereavements

The ashes of the late Frank Small were buried in the family plot in Almoritia on Sunday 1st November. We pray that Frank will rest in peace and rise in glory.  We offer our deepest sympathy to his wife Mary, his children Mark and Vicky, his brother Billy, his sister Marie, his grandchildren and the wider family and circle of friends.

We also offer our deepest sympathy to Mignone and John Duggan following the sad passing of Mignone’s mother, Mignone,  in Cavan General Hospital.  Mignone’s mother had been unwell for some time but bore her illness with enormous courage and grace.  She was deeply loved and admired by her loving husband, Wilson, her eight children, her ten adoring grandchildren, her remaining siblings and all members of the family.  Mignone was a person of great faith, and we pray that, now she has departed this life, she will rest in peace in heaven in the care of her heavenly Father and will rise in glory.  We trust that Mignone, John, Jane, Graham and Erica will be comforted by their lovely memories of her and by knowing that God’s promises are true, that death is not an end but an entrance to eternal life.

We pray that both Frank and Mignone are resting in heavenly peace.

 

Church Opening Times for Prayer

Sundays           10.00 a.m. – 12.00 noon            All Saints’ Mullingar

11.30 a.m.                                St. Etchen’s Killucan

4.00 p.m.                                  Kilbixy

Monday            10.00 a.m. – 12.00 noon            All Saints’ Mullingar

Wednesday       12.00 noon – 2.00 p.m.              All Saints’ Mullingar

Friday               1.00 p.m. – 3.00 p.m.                All Saints’ Mullingar

 

“Our heart is restless until it finds rest in thee”

St. Augustine

 

 

A Scripture Reading

You might like to read these words of Scripture I found helpful in my recent Bible reading: Ephesians 6, verses 10-18:

 

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

 

 

A Prayer

Blessed Lord who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, help us to hear them to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them, that through patience and the comfort of your holy Word we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life which you have given us in our Saviour, Jesus Christ, Amen.