Evident throughout this Pandemic is the discriminatory way the ‘elderly’ have been treated by both Church and State. Arguably, the most socially responsible group in society have been robbed of their freedom to exercise choice and told that they must ‘cocoon’ – a word itself which suggests that they must be sheltered, cosseted, protected. Other equally high-risk groups such as the ‘obese’ and ‘diabetics’ etc, were given no such direct orders because it would be politically incorrect to do so. But, because over 70s are generally regarded as docile to the dictates of authority, they are singled out and discriminated against. Also, Priests over 70 have been ‘stood-down’ and deprived of exercising their priestly ministry during this pandemic. No dialogue here, no opportunity given for them to make moral choices – and no opportunity given for men to become heroes. For long the Church has accused both the media and politicians of being influenced too often by ‘group-think’ yet this ‘dictat’ is a fine example of it. As in most other things in society today there is a huge absence of common-sense.
As and from tomorrow Monday, 18th May, Churches across Ireland are permitted to open its door for private worship only – subject to strict conditions. (Liturgical worship and the celebration of the Sacraments will be permitted to resume at a later date). Some of the conditions are:
- Signs on display indicating what is expected of all worshippers entering the church;
- Regular and rigid cleaning of the space used by worshippers;
- Physical distance (2m) be maintained at all times among worshippers;
- The sanitization of hands by worshippers arriving and leaving the church building;
- Worshippers will enter via one door and leave via another maintaining a one-way system;
- A roster of Stewards be established to ensure that there is compliance with required regulations.
Here at Gurranabraher, our church will be open each weekday from 10am to 3pm. We appeal to parishioners to once again find refuge and strength in this church building where generations before us have sought refuge at crisis moments in their lives.
While Covid-19 infections and death rates have fallen – (thanks to the punitive measures already taken) – a resurgence still presents a real and ever present danger. The expense incurred so far in curtailing the virus is threatening to bankrupt many, many states. Any major re-occurrence now will be a cataclysmic event for Ireland and many other nations. Hence, each of us must do all in our power to make sure that Covid-19 is kept at bay. We, Catholics, illuminated by the gospel, know that prayer is a central element in ridding the world of this pestilence. For the sake of our future – and the future of our children – we need to intercede fervently before God to show us the way out of this morass. Let our churches be places once again where people plead before the Lord – and may these prayers be answered for all our sakes.
It now seems that Covid-19 will be with us for a long time to come – and finding a vaccination may prove a more difficult task than is presumed. A complete ‘lock-down’ cannot be the answer long-term vis-à-vis mental health and social cohesion. Surely some imaginative ways must be discovered to allow life return to some kind of ‘new-normal’ – and particularly to allow religious people – whose first instinct is to intercede before God for solutions to this pestilence – find refuge where they have always found refuge in God’s house.
The Christian community is the most socially aware in Ireland today. It is not a co-incidence that ‘Church-gate’ collections are still very profitable despite falling congregations. Prior to the shut-down the small weekday congregation in most churches was aware of the threat of Covid-19 – and took the recommended precautions seriously; i.e. social distancing, sanitizing hands, even wearing face-masks. In present day Ireland almost any church building has the space for social distancing – and the good intent is there to make sure that it is not contributing to the problem. Visiting churches for private adoration poses no greater risk than shopping in Lidl or Supervalu or the local Off-License’. For sure, the sick, the elderly, those with health conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to the Covid-19, and people who are just fearful of catching it should be strongly encouraged to stay at home. Masses could be shortened so as to reduce the amount of time people are in any kind of proximity to each other. One thing that is becoming clearer is that the risk of infection from contact with surfaces has been greatly exaggerated, as the recently published study from Germany has concluded. There is no need to fear touching doors, benches, etc. It is high time to be reasonable about this and get over the inordinate fear that is paralyzing.
As the world is going through the Covid-19 crisis and the resulting home confinements, Shalom World, by the Grace of God, has prepared a spiritual banquet for the Holy week in an effort to help people to combat distress, agony, hopelessness and depression with the Peace found in Jesus Christ.
Easter Ceremonies from North Cathedral, Cork
Holy Week will be very different this year. – unable to attend the ceremonies in person, we will be able to follow the Easter ceremonies from the North Cathedral, led by Fintan Gavin, bishop of Cork and Ross via Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/user107940676
Holy Thursday – 7.30pm
Good Friday – 3.00pm
Holy Saturday – 9.00pm
As the rate of infection from Covid-19 spreads rapidly across Ireland, now resulting in numerous deaths, an air of helplessness and despondency is evident among our people. Therefore, we call on Gurranabraher parishioners to display a religious object from the windows of their houses. A picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus or one of the Blessed Virgin Mary, (or any other saint), can give a powerful message that God and his Elect are with his people in these moments of danger.
Such a display will let others know that you are praying for an end to this scourge that threatens to unleash devastating results both short term and long term on the Irish Nation. We ask that you would encourage other believers to do the same.
The last great Polio epidemic that struck Ireland particularly in the 1950s witnessed a great mobilisation of believers to offer Masses and Rosaries both in churches and at ‘roadside Marian shrines’ to be spared from this affliction. Be in no doubt that ‘divine intervention’ is as necessary for ending this plague as is the work of great scientific and medical minds and the front-line staff who so heroically tend to victims. Please spread this news.
We remind parishioners that we continue to hold them in our prayers and in our Masses that we celebrate privately each day. For everyone there is much adjusting to do in these unprecedented times. For us it is very difficult to say Mass alone each morning when our lives have been centered around meeting people and celebrating the sacraments with them.
We feel for the many who cherished the Eucharist each day and who now feel abandoned by everyone – even the Church. We ask them to have faith – to put their trust in God. We encourage all to say the Rosary daily for the salvation of the world. If only families would begin to say the Rosary what a difference it would make to the world.
We appeal to our Catholic members to be extra alert at this time concerning the needs of the old, the sick and the vulnerable. These are the very people who are most at risk to Covid19 – the Corona virus. Please get close to them and offer any assistance you can such as purchasing essential supplies, etc. Be aware that Meals on Wheels are ready to provide hot nutritious meals for those who may wish to avail of them.
If you can offer assistance in any way please contact the Parish Office, 021 4303 655, and provide your name and address. You will be contacted when the need arises.
As the country is further ‘Locked Down’ Mass-goers sufferings intensify with the cancellation of all weekdays Masses for the foreseeable future, in dioceses all across Ireland. The announcement was relayed to parishioners at morning Masses on Monday, 16th March, 2020. On Thursday last week we announced the cancellation of Weekend Masses.
So many faithful Catholics whose natural instinct, in times of danger, is to seek recourse to Divine Assistance are now not able to avail of the most powerful remedy of all, the Holy Mass. We wish to assure these parishioners that God hears their cry – and is close to them in these seemingly apocalyptic times.
We encourage our parishioners to continue to seek refuge in the Lord; to pray harder than ever before for a solution to this plague that threatens to overwhelm us. Intercede before Mary, the Mother of God, imploring her intercession for a nation that has largely turned its back on the Lord.
While public Masses are not celebrated, your priests continue to say Masses in private and are available to you. Our parish church remains open during the day – let it be again ‘Teach Phobal’, the ‘house of the people’ of Gurranabraher – a special place where one can encounter a God who wishes to be close to you.
Following a restriction on all gatherings of over 100 people issued by the Irish Government on Thursday, 12th March, to ‘slow down’ the spread of the Corona Virus, all weekend Masses have now been cancelled at Gurranabraher Parish Church.
In a news release from Bishop Fintan Gavin late on Thursday, he says: “In light of this [Government directive] in the Diocese of Cork and Ross, all public Weekend Masses will be discontinued until further notice. This also refers to Masses for St. Patrick’s Day. I would ask you to celebrate Sunday Mass privately for the people of your parish and, where available, to have it broadcast via webcam. My hope is that the people of your parish, while not able to join you physically, could join you spiritually in that Mass.
As I said in my earlier e-mail, Mass will continue to be live-streamed from the Cathedral at www.corkcathedral.ie. It is my hope to celebrate the 11.30 am Mass there each Sunday.
Funerals, weddings, baptisms and weekday Masses may continue as long as the attendance does not exceed 100 people.”
Parishioners will be kept informed of developments at above parish via our webpage. These are indeed trying times for the Christian community who tries to keep faith with the Lord.
Parochial Bingo cancelled until further notice
Also to be effected by this latest Government directive is the Sunday night Bingo at Gurranabraher Parochial Hall. Probably the longest going Bingo in Ireland; it is for many older people the only source of entertainment they have. We hope that this crisis will soon pass and that the Bingo will resume again.