Newsletter 23rd & 24th December 2023

23rd & 24th December 2023
Fourth week in Advent
Fr Michael Toomey V.F. / P.P. / ADM.

Many thanks for your contributions in the last weeks in the collections and envelopes for the upkeep of our parishes and churches:
Ardfinnan/ Ballybacon/ Grange: Weekly Collection €1360
Newcastle/Fourmilewater: Weekly Collection €1325

On Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th December the Masses are as usual Saturday / Sunday times and are for the 4th Sunday of Advent.

PARISH CALENDARS – are available in the church porches. Please take one home and to local parishioners who may be housebound.

5pm – Newcastle
7pm – Ardfinnan
(Broadcast on 10.30- Grange


The parish office will close on Friday 22nd December and reopen on Tuesday 2 January 2024


This time of year, is always a wonderful time to look back on the year that’s coming to a close. For some it’s been a very difficult year, and my thoughts and prayers are particularly with those who have lost loved ones in these last 12 months – sadly many tragedies locally. I know that for some Christmas will be particularly difficult for many reasons, but please be assured I will be remembering all of you in my thoughts and prayers this Christmas time.
Christmas of course has very special memories particularly for those with a new baby in the house or with young children (and the young at heart) that the magic of Christmas is made through the memories as we gather around the cribs and remind ourselves of the birth of the Son of God which we come to celebrate.
In the last year our parish communities have seen such wonderful dedication by so many people in so many different projects and fundraisers which is a great testament to the community spirit here.
Our parishes are in a way a blueprint for many across the diocese and country. While there is technically one priest looking after several churches, I am of course so grateful to be supported by Fr. Jim Denmead who has special pastoral care in the Nire and Touraneena, and Fr Bernard Frawley who at 90 this year is still an inspiration and support to so many!
In each of these churches and parishes, we have so many dedicated people who assist in so many quiet and

unassuming ways and I take this opportunity to thank everyone who support our respective parishes, especially our dedicated sacristans, pastoral councils, finance
councils, ministers, readers, servers, choirs, flower arrangers, safeguarding teams, collectors and so many others. Every parish needs the support of the local people, and I encourage and welcome anyone who wish to help in any way from the New Year as our parishes continue to grow in our every changing church.
In the coming months all of our parishes and across our pastoral area and diocese will have to discuss how we are going to manage for the future with less priests. My hopes and prayers are that we will work collectively to build up our church communities despite the many challenges that are ahead of us.
This year I also pay tribute to Paddy Noonan who we sadly lost in July. Paddy was a central character in Ardfinnan and his loss is still being felt today in so many ways not just in the parish where he did so much to assist me and the parishes, but in the whole community. He is and will be sorely missed and his memory will be kept alive by the chalice which we had commissioned in Padua. “Well done good and faithful servant.”
I would like to thank Orla Walsh, our parish secretary who joined us in September and has already done so much to assist in the day to day administration of our parishes. Special thanks also to Danny Desmond for all the work he does, often behind the scenes in administration. To Sean and the team in the B.N. & B. CE scheme; our local tidy Towns who do so much in and around our churches; a sincere thank you for all your ministry and work. Indeed, to everyone in the parishes who have a role to play – thank you and God bless you all!
Whether you’re at home or away from home this Christmas I will remember every family at Mass this coming Christmas time. Have a blessed Christmas and wishing you all a very safe and prosperous 2024.

This weekend, there is the Christmas collection for the support of the priests of the parish. Again, I sincerely thank you on behalf of the priests for your enormous contribution and support to us in allowing us to be part of your community and to serve you to the best of our ability. Envelopes are in the usual weekly envelope boxes, or special envelopes are available in all church porches. These can be returned with sincere gratitude for your support.