November is always a special month in our parish where our thoughts and prayers turn to and focus on departed loved ones and members of our parish community who have died and gone before us. In previous years, these first weeks of November would afford us an opportunity to gather as a community and to pray for our loved ones in our Annual Masses of Remembrance for those who have died in the past year, in celebrating our Novena of Masses for the Faithful Departed and in our annual blessing of the graves in our local cemeteries in St Mary’s, Barnahely and Cill Mhuire.
Sadly, this year, Level 5 restrictions mean that we will not be able to gather to pray together and to support one another as we would have liked and there is undoubtedly a great loss in that. Families who have lost loved ones this year, especially during restrictions, have already seen their Funeral celebrations curtailed and have had to face the pain of grief without the community at their side to comfort and support them. There is an old saying that goes ‘Those who love remember!’ and there is a great truth and wisdom in that. It is important for us to remember our loved ones, to honour their lives, to appreciate the blessings they have brought to our lives and to commend them to the love and mercy of God. Our November Remembrance is both an act of love and an act of faith; it expresses our enduring affection for our loved ones whilst also proclaiming our faith in the promises of God who at the end of our journey calls us home and invites us to new life.
Despite the limits and restrictions in place this year, our Parish Assembly was anxious that we find new and creative ways to continue our tradition of making November a time of prayer for departed loved ones and are happy to invite you to join us in that spirit of shared prayer and remembrance in the following ways:
Annual Masses of Remembrance
This year our Annual Masses of Remembrance for all those who have lost loved ones in our community in the past twelve months will be live streamed on our Parish Facebook page ‘Harbour Parishes Churches.’
On Monday evening, 2nd November, the Passage West Parish Bereavement Team will lead us in our Mass of Remembrance for the deceased of Passage West Parish at 7.30 p.m. from St Mary’s Church.
On Tuesday evening, 3rd November, members of our Parish Funeral Ministry Team, will lead us in our Mass of Remembrance for the deceased members of our parish community from Monkstown, Ringaskiddy and Shanbally at 7. 30 p.m. from the Church of the Sacred Hearts, Monkstown.
Novena of Masses for the Holy Souls
Our Novena of Masses for the Holy Souls will be streamed at 7.30 p.m. each evening on our Parish facebook page from Monday 2nd November until Tuesday 10th November.
Remembrance Candles and Remembrance Shrine
In each of our Churches we have created a Remembrance Space where people can come and light a candle in memory of loved ones who have gone before us. People are welcome to light the candle and place it in the Remembrance Space or to bring the candle home and to light it as they remember departed loved ones in prayer. These candles will continue to be available in our Churches throughout the month of November.
Prayer Cards for November
Throughout November we will have prayer cards with prayers for remembering loved ones available free of charge in all our Churches for those who would like one. You are free to take copies to share with family and friends.
Blessing of Graves
This weekend Fr Con and Fr Sean will privately bless our local cemeteries and pray for all those buried here in our community. We encourage families to visit their own family graves and to pray for your loved ones. A leaflet with ‘A People’s Blessing of Graves’ prepared by the Diocesan Mission and Ministry Office is also available in our Churches as a guide and support in blessing the grave of your loved one.