FOR PARISHES OF ARDFINNAN, BALLYBACON, GRANGE & NEWCASTLE, FOURMILEWATER
CHRISTMAS EVE Friday 24th December
CHRISTMAS EVE VIGIL MASS
6pm – Newcastle
8pm – Ardfinnan (Broadcast on www.churchservices.tv/ardfinnan )
CHRISTMAS DAY 25th December
12pm – Ballybacon
FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY Sunday 26th December
11am- Ardfinnan (Broadcast on www.churchservices.tv/ardfinnan )
12pm – Ballybacon
A young woman is lost, sad, and lonely. She happens upon a Nativity scene in a public square. She is startled by it. She associates Christmas with happiness, and yet this time around, she is not feeling it. That can describe a lot of people right now, can’t it?
A homeless man approaches her and manages to entice her to take a second look at the Christmas story, which she had previously declared merely a story. By the end of the meeting, she’s not convinced, but gets to the point of prayer, talking to Jesus, as represented in the Nativity scene there: “Sweet and tender Child. Give me hope this Christmas.”
It is easy to imagine that prayer coming from so many hearts this Christmas. At the end of another year marked by sickness and death through the coronavirus, and the current threats of Omicron, we are more aware than ever of our physical vulnerability. But we are also more aware than ever of our need for love and support and encouragement of each other.
Yet, we are blessed, and I am so thankful for the life in our parishes in the last year. I want to thank so many people who give of their time and support the churches in so many ways in their ministry.
To our sacristans, Freda, Teresa, Brendan, and Tony for their daily commitment in opening and maintain our churches and for supporting me in our liturgies.
To Paddy Noonan and Danny Desmond for all the work they do, often behind the scenes in administration.
To our parish pastoral and finance councils who assist in the planning and management of the parishes, and I hope we will have more people to assist in the parish councils in the New Year.
To our Readers, Extraordinary Minsters of Holy Communion, our choirs, and musicians who have been so accommodating during the pandemic and continue to serve the parishes so well and prayerfully. I also look forward to welcoming back our Altar Servers in the New Year when it is safe to do so.
To all who look after our altar and churches through flower ministry; our maintenance staff, cleaners, and helpers; 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 parish who have a role to play – thank you and God bless you all!
Despite the challenges of the last year, I feel truly blessed to be here in these parishes. A lot of work has been done, and a lot is being planned into 2022.
I wish you and your families a Happy and Blessed Christmas and I pray that the Lord will keep us safe as we journey together as a vibrant parish community into 2022.
Merry Christmas, and God Bless you all!
Fr Michael Toomey
PARISH WORK ACHIEVED THIS YEAR
A lot of work has been done across our churches in the last year, including a major refit in Fourmilewater Church thanks to a kind beneficiary. Work has also been done in Grange church with the instillation of a Wi-Fi for livestreaming services and funerals; fixing of carpets in Ardfinnan; work on the sacristy in Newcastle and plans are in place for works in Ballybacon church in the New year with the toilet and re-painting in the church.
There is also a new Parish website: www.abgnfparish.ie where Newsletters, weekly and Daily Mass readings and information of our churches is available. It also links to our Live Streaming service and where payments and donations can be made.
SUPPORTING THE PARISH
All of this can only be done with the continued support of our parishioners and donors. We are so grateful to those who regularly contribute to our parishes. The weekly collections go directly to paying our usual utility bills and requisites and maintenance as required.
In the New year, we hope many more will use our Parish Envelope collections, as this way, we can claim Tax Relief on donations at no extra cost or burden to the person giving, and we have received in the past over €8,000 in such rebates. Further details will be given in the New Year.
We will also be setting up a Parish and development Fund to support future projects in the churches.
Our Livestream Service in Ardfinnan, and from all our churches for other events and funerals has grown in considerable popularity. This has been funded through the sponsorship of All Churches trust in the UK, and through donations from parishioners and viewers across the country, who regularly join us for Mass on the RTE News Channel on Monday Mornings.
So far this year, our service has had over 160,000 viewers, which works out at over 3,000 viewers a week – (not including the viewers on RTE which averages over 30,000 every Monday) Tune in now at www.churchservices.tv/ardfinnan
Thanks to PayZone, you can now donate online. Please scan the Codes Below to support your parish. Again, thank you so much for all your support in maintaining your local parish churches.
Our New Parish Website is now LIVE: www.abgnfparish.ie
Here you can get the latest Newsletter, parish information, readings for Mass, history of the parish churches, find our Livestream and make a donation, book a Mass or request a Baptismal Certificate