Newsletter 6th & 7th April 2024

Fr Michael Toomey V.F. / P.P. / ADM.
Second Week of Easter 6th & 7th April 2024

☏ For Priest on Duty Please Call: 087- 6564170
✉ Please email us at:
📫 The Parish Office, Holy Family Church, Ardfinnan, Clonmel, Co Tipperary
☏ Phone: 052 – 7464408 E Mail

ARDFINNAN: Mass Saturday 8.30 pm

GRANGE: Mass Sunday 10.30am

BALLYBACON: Mass Sunday 12.00 noon

Best wishes to our students who are being Confirmed this Wednesday:
10.30am Newcastle / 12.30 Fourmilewater / 2.30pm The Nire
We pray that the Holy Spirit will encourage and strengthen you in your lives. Congratulations on this special day!

(No Mass on Wednesday in Fourmilewater)

Again, I sincerely thank you on behalf of the priests for your enormous contribution and support to us in the Easter Collections.

PARISH OFFICE – will be closed on Wednesday 10th April.

Please note that for the protection and security of everyone CCTV cameras are in operation in our churches. All our Masses are Live streamed in Ardfinnan and are at other times broadcast from Newcastle, Fourmilewater, Ballybacon and Grange on and Facebook Live pages.

In his pastoral letter last October Bishop Cullinan highlighted the challenges we in the church are currently facing. He has asked each pastoral area to look at our Mass times and schedules and how best we can pool our resources together collectively whilst doing our utmost to provide services to people on a weekly basis but particularly of course at baptisms funerals and other sacraments.

To put this in context – in our Pastoral Area: Ardfinnan/Newcastle & Fourmilewater/ Touraneena & The Nire /Cahir/Clogheen/Ballyporeen and Ballylooby we currently have 4 priests, 3 retired priests and 13 churches. There are 17 weekend Masses.

This cannot be sustained in the long-term. The Bishop is very conscious that the people of the parishes must be very much part of any discussion about change and how to grapple with this situation. Prayer must be our first step asking the Holy Spirit in a spirit of humility to guide us. In our discussions around the Diocese, the following options for change arose regarding the arrangement of Masses:

1. Alternate the Mass venue e.g.- six months in one church and six in the other.
2. Rotate churches each weekend.
3. Vigil Mass only in one church, Sunday Mass in the other or others.
4. Have a hub church and satellite churches, having no weekly Mass but used only for special occasions, e.g. Baptism, Funerals, weddings.
5. Close a church
6. Change Mass times so that times don’t clash.
7. What happens if your priest is sick? Or on holidays?

The parish councils have already met to discuss the issues raised and we are planning to meet collectively again in the coming weeks with the possibility of a general meeting of all parishioners in May. However, it is inevitable that we will have to cut back on Mass times across the board. To put this in context further last week there was only one priest covering the entire pastoral area due to circumstances beyond our control.

On a personal level, I as a priest never like saying no when asked to do anything. However, I have to also be realistic. I and my brother priests are in danger of burnout if we do not collectively work together to safely travel between churches at weekends and other events and that would serve nobody any good if any of us fell ill. We also have to plan for the unexpected that if a priest is ill that we are able to maintain services right across our pastoral area sometimes at a moment’s notice. We have experienced days when priests have just been unable to attend, and the people have arrived to find there is no Mass. That is the reality of our local churches today.

At this stage I would ask for your prayers and your support in bringing forward ideas of how we can collectively work closer together and to allow people the opportunity to celebrate weekly Mass even if it’s not in their preferred local church. We will of course keep you updated of any future developments. I thank you most sincerely for your support and prayers and understanding as we work collectively on this situation together, and we continue to pray for an increase in Vocations to the priesthood as we approach Vocations Sunday in two weeks’ time.

PLEASE RETURN your Trocaire Boxes into the Sacristy or Parish Office. Thank you in advance for your usual generous support for those in greatest need in our world at this time.

Mass in SS Peter & Paul’s Clonmel on April 7th at 2.30pm.

Please contact the Parish Office on 052-746 4408.

This takes place in our parishes on:
Tuesday’s 10-11am in Ardfinnan
Friday’s 2.30-3.30 in Newcastle
Everyone is welcome to come and spend some time in quiet prayer and adoration.