Next Sunday is Mission Sunday with the theme ‘Together We Are Mission’.  In his message for Mission Sunday Pope Francis reminds us: ‘I am a mission, always; you are a mission, always; every baptised man and woman is a mission.’ This goes to the heart of our baptismal call. It also challenges the idea that mission work is solely done by missionaries, by asking people to consider the part their own missionary hearts can play in changing the lives of others. We are a missionary people and we have lived our faith here at home as well as sending missionaries from our shores since the time of the early Irish monks right up to the present day to share the joy of the Gospel with other peoples and cultures. 

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s call to bring the Good News to all peoples. Our Mission Walk next Sunday is an invitation to celebrate our missionary identity and story.  It expresses our Baptismal call to be a mission people sharing our faith with others.

In the Harbour Parishes we have many holy sites and sacred places that connect us to the rich history of faith in our community.  This year we are choosing to gather in Barnahely Cemetery close to the site of an early monastic Church built by the missionary St Carthage in the 7th century. We will remember all those who have passed on the faith throughout the years both at home and abroad.  We will gather, weather permitting, in Barnehely Cemetery at 4.00 p.m. next Sunday to pray and walk as a community in faith to the Oratory, where we will share a cuppa in honour of all those missionaries who have gone before us. All are welcome to join us in the Barnahely Cemetery or the Oratory.                                       Nora Noonan

In today’s Gospel Jesus comes into a room full of fear. Sometimes it is fear itself that makes us close the door on others and on God. Occasionally in life a person comes along with the gift of breaking through our closed doors, a person who comes to be with us in our fears. Pentecost is an invitation to acknowledge those who have come to us and stood with us in times of fear, those who have brought us peace in a time of anxiety.  Likewise Jesus showed his wounds to his friends. Moments of grace can occur when another person shows us their vulnerable side, or when we do so with them. Sometimes our vulnerability and our own experience of brokenness opens us to others and to God and allows the Spirit to breathe new life into our souls.                         © John Byrne OSA, Intercom Magazine, Veritas Ireland.

Last Sunday we felt deeply privileged to be part of the Bi-Centenary Celebrations in Shanbally Church where the community gathered to celebrate a wonderfully vibrant yet prayerful Mass of Thanksgiving and gathered afterwards for a reception in the grounds of Shanbally National School.  It was lovely to see so many old neighbours and friends catching up with one another and the afternoon was marked by a tangible sense of a community and goodwill.  It was lovely to see parishioners from Passage West and Monkstown join with the people of Ringaskiddy and Shanbally in celebrating their special day.  Thank you to everyone who played any part in making the day such a wonderful success. 

Olivia Walsh has uploaded a delightful short video of the celebrations on YouTube conveying a fabulous sense of the occasion.  Simply search ‘Shanbally Church Bi-Centenary 2019’ on YouTube. Copies of John Twomey’s fascinating booklet to mark the Bi-Centenary are available in Shanbally Church at a cost of €5 each and copies of Colman O’ Mahony’s thoroughly researched article on the history of the  Church are also available free in Shanbally Church and from the Parish Office. Congratulations again to everyone involved.                  Fr John, Fr Con & Fr Seán

Most of us who are a little bit older can probably agree on two things in respect of exams, especially our own experience of the Leaving Cert.  For many of us it was an incredibly anxious and tense time, a time of pressure and uncertainty. The weeks building up to it, waiting for it all to begin, were often the most difficult.  But we also know that there is life after the Leaving Cert.  Our results may have shaped our choices for our next step in life but the Leaving Cert did not define us nor did it determine who we were to become in life.  That depends on us!

With all this in mind the Parish Assembly have organised an evening of Taize Prayer in Ringaskiddy Oratory next Thursday evening, 30th May 2019, at 7.30 p.m. that will be offered for all those in our communities and in our families facing exams over the coming month.  Taize Prayer is a form of quiet prayer, popular amongst young people throughout the world, consisting of moments of quiet reflection interspersed with short scripture readings and distinctive meditative Taize chant with its soothing repetitive rhythm.  Come and join us on Thursday evening as we pray with and for young people who will remain in our thoughts and prayers over the coming weeks.                                                                   The Parish Assembly

Next Sunday marks a historic day for our parish as we celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Shanbally with a Concelebrated Mass led by Bishop Buckley. It ought to mark a special moment not just for parishioners from Shanbally but for all of us who are part of the Harbour Parishes.  When Shanbally Church was built back in 1819 Shanbally, Ringaskiddy and Monkstown were all part of Passage West Parish.  It was only after the Church of the Sacred Hearts in Monkstown was built in 1871 that the communities of Monkstown, Shanbally and Ringaskiddy became a parish in their own right.  When the parishes were amalgamated as the Harbour Parishes in 2005 it was very much returning to its original configuration that acknowledges and celebrates the close bonds and associations between all the communities here in the Harbour. So please don’t think that the celebration next Sunday is only for the people of Shanbally and Ringaskiddy.  Obviously the celebration will have a special resonance for those most closely associated with the Church, parishioners and families who have celebrated the sacraments there and being part of its prayer life, but the celebration is for the entire parish and all who wish to join us are welcome to do so.  We invite you to be part of our anniversary celebrations in Shanbally next Sunday. 

If anyone would like to contribute baking or cakes for the Community Gathering please drop them into the marquee in Shanbally School between 12.30 and 2.00 p.m.  Thank you for your kindness and support.                                            Fr Seán

The first council of the church in Jerusalem that we read about in today’s first reading had enormous implications for the history of the world, far beyond what the participants could have imagined. They were not surrounded by the pomp and splendour of the Second Vatican Council, nor did they have the attention of the world’s media analysing every move. Rather that small group had to proceed believing that, despite the differences and the difficulties involved in reconciling them, the Holy Spirit would guide them on the right path.  So it is with the church today. Doubtless there are difficult days ahead and hard decisions to be made, but as people of faith we step forward trusting that God will bring about the changes in us which will make us more perfectly the People of God in The Church.

© Seán Goan, Let the Reader Understand  www.columba.ie

Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Shanbally

Bi-Centenary Mass

3.00 p.m.

Sunday 26th May 2019

Principal Celebrant:  Bishop John Buckley

Followed by a Community Gathering and Refreshments in the grounds of Shanbally National School. All are welcome.

Congratulations to the children from Shanbally NS who celebrated their First Holy Communion in a beautiful ceremony on Saturday morning.  We look forward to our final First Holy Communion Ceremony for this year when we welcome the children of Ringaskiddy LHNS to The Oratory in Ringaskiddy to celebrate their special day next Saturday 25th May 2019.  All the children, their teachers and class assistants deserve great praise for all their hard work in preparation for this special moment.

First Holy Communion Celebrations

Congratulations to all the children from Star of the Sea NS, Passage West and Scoil Barra Naofa, Monkstown who celebrated their First Holy Communion this weekend.  We wish the children of Shanbally NS every blessing and happiness on their First Holy Communion celebration next Saturday, 18th May.