It has been a year like no other! It has been a challenging year for everyone. It has been a year when we have come to appreciate ever more our family and the familial, our community and connections, our parish and people. It has been a year when sacramental life and the plans of so many to marry have been thrown into chaos! It has been a time of real loneliness and loss for all who have experienced bereavement, without the hugs and handshakes, which are so valued and appreciated in difficult times. Socially distanced guards of honour at a time of bereavement and loss are a poor substitute. It has been difficult for the many unable to travel home for Christmas to spend valued time with family and loved ones. It has been so difficult for families with older relatives in full time nursing home care or in hospitals. To keep the vulnerable safe, we have had to stay apart. It has been so difficult for all on the FRONTLINE, to whom we owe a huge debt of gratitude.
It has been unfortunate that for a large part of the year we have been unable to come together as a praying, faith and worshipping community, cooperating as Church with the public health authorities in order to suppress the virus. Our empty church buildings reminds us that Church and parish is always about people and serving the needs of others, being foot washers in the name of Christ.
Our parish has tried to respond as creatively as possible in linking with parishioners at home and across the seas, through our new upgraded webcam facilities, our Facebook live broadcasts and social media. The response has been both positive and encouraging. Thank you to all who have facilitated these services and provided the much needed finance and support for these initiatives.
A very sincere and heartfelt thanks to all who are involved in every aspect of parish life and ministry in our wonderful parish. Thanks to our countless volunteer members, our dedicated Parish Finance Committee, our hard working Parish Pastoral Planning Team, our welcoming Baptismal teams, our caring Bethany Bereavement team, our dedicated Parish Safeguarding team, all involved in Eucharistic Adoration, Saint Vincent de Paul Society, our co-ordinators and Ministers of Word and Holy Communion, our super Youth readers, all our committed choirs, musicians, organists, cantors, stewards, counters, funeral stewards, those who arrange the flowers, prepare and clean the churches and prepare the linens to such an exceptionally high standard. A special thanks this year to the Covid 19 team for their dedication and commitment in maintaining and sanitising churches to such a safe standard. Thanks to PJ and all our wonderful Sacristans, our dedicated serving teams and their leaders. Thanks to Loretto and Kenneth for their work in administration and to Darek for maintaining our cemetery and parish grounds. A very special word of thanks to those who have prepared and decorated the Churches for Christmas and all who do so much work quietly behind the scenes throughout the year in the parish without fuss or fanfare. Such truly wonderful volunteerism is making a difference in our parish! Thanks to the Chairpersons and the volunteer board of management members of our four Catholic schools in the parish who give so generously of their valuable time, talent and expertise in the development and support of Catholic primary education in this community. Thanks to Daniel and Stephen who maintain our parish website and webcam facilities. A special thank you to Aine for her commitment to our social media through facebook, twitter and instagram linking us with a much wider world! Thanks to all who are so involved in the many sporting, cultural, community and voluntary bodies in our parish. Your leadership is second to none.
The many visitors to our parish regularly remark on the truly evident community spirit which is clearly apparent. Kingscourt is a parish filled with people of truly great heart, kindness, practical charity and concern. It is a vibrant and living place in which we all can have a righteous pride.
Let us continue to be a people and parish of hope, optimism, positivity, faith and courage, a people who continue to believe and belong in this great parish community of Kingscourt. Wishing you health, hope, love, peace and happiness this Christmas .
In the Spirit of this Christmas,
May you find Joy.
In the Light of this Christmas,
May you find Hope.
In the Hush of this Christmas,
May you find Peace.
And at the Heart of this Christmas of 2020,
May you experience God’s Love.
With warm and sincere good wishes