13 Apr 2011

Limerick Diocesan Pastoral Centre Resource Email - 13th April 2011

Each week Noirin Lynch from Limerick Diocesan Pastoral Centre sends around an pastoral resource email for use of parishes within Limerick diocese. Below we have some of the items from this week’s email but if you would like to be included on Noirin's distribution list drop her a line to mailto:NLynch@ldpc.ie.ie:

Blessing of Holy Oils for the People of God in the Diocese of Limerick

Bishop Kieran O'Rielly, Bishop of Killaloe, has kindly agreed to bless the Holy Oils for the Diocese of Limerick this year. Instead of a Chrism Mass, we will gather for a Holy Hour in St John’s Cathedral on: Wednesday 20th April from 7.30pm - 8.30pm. Everyone is invited to come and pray together, and refreshments will be available for all afterwards.

Holy Oils – what are they and why bless them annually as one diocese?
Catholics use three kinds of sacred oils during our sacraments. They are:
  • The Oil of Catechumens. A blessed olive oil; this is used in Baptism, in the consecration of churches, in the blessing of altars, and in the ordination of priests.
  • Chrism Oil, which is olive oil mixed with a small amount of balsam. It is used in Confirmation, Baptism, ordination of priests, in the consecration of a Bishop, the consecration of a various things such as churches, chalices, patens, and bells.
  • The Oil of the Sick. This is used in the Anointing of the Sick.
The blessing of oils is performed by the Bishop of each diocese on Holy Thursday, (or the eve before it), in the diocese's cathedral during the Chrism Mass. While we await our new Bishop, we have asked Bishop Kieran O’Rielly of Killaloe to bless the Holy Oils for us this year.   All Holy Oils that will be used in sacraments and blessings in this diocese are blessed once and together during Holy Week. This is a strong statement of unity – a reminder to us all that we one. Each parish priest then collects Holy Oils for the parish he is ministering in. We will use these Holy Oils at times of great joy or sorrow in our lives across the whole year - and as we do we are united with all our brothers and sister in Christ who are likewise blessed.

This Friday, 15th April, at 8 p.m. St Joseph’s Church, O’Connell Avenue, Limerick
Tenebrae: (Latin for ‘shadows’ or ‘darkness’) is a Christian religious service traditionally celebrated during the final days of Holy Week. This distinctive ritual, over the years, was characterised by the gradual extinguishing of candles, while a series of readings or psalms were chanted or recited, culminating with the church being put into total darkness – to represent the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross.

Originally celebrated after midnight, as part of Matins or Lauds (the first two hours of the Divine Office) its celebration, in time, was “anticipated” so that it could be held at an earlier hour in the evening. The forthcoming celebration will feature the choir moving to different positions throughout the church, gradually leading from light to darkness. This ceremonial celebration of Passiontide is an occasion not to be missed!

Musica  Sacra  Chorale (a resource group for liturgical music in the Diocese) will be augmented by choristers from various city choirs
Musical Director:        Dr Patrick McCormack
Organist:         Dr Michael O’Brien
Percussion:      Brian O’ Regan (Director of Music, Mount St Alphonsus)
All are welcome !

Dramatised Reading of the Passion in St Nicholas Parish

In St. Nicholas' Church, Corbally, there will be a dramatised reading of the Passion on Palm Sunday at the 10:30am Family Mass, and again on Good Friday at the 3pm service. On Good Friday, at 8.00pm, there will be a reflective Pageant called ‘I was at Calvary’. About 20 children, teens and adults will participate in these events and everyone is very welcome to come and pray with the parish during this Holy Week.

Blessed Palm & the family home

Many people don’t realise that they can, and indeed should, display palms in their homes – why not help them to re-discover this prayerful tradition!

Why is blessed Palm important? The procession at Mass with the palms is a public display honouring Jesus who is Christ our King and Redeemer. Christ is the King of our home too, so we bring the blessed palms home and respectfully display them.

Where to display Palm at home. Every home has signs of what matters to its occupants. Pictures of those we love, treasured memories, football scarves and ties ... all point out what’s important to us. Christian homes have Christian signs. A Bible and a Crucifix are important in every home. Many Irish Catholic homes have an image of the Sacred Heart with a lamp (where many a county tie hangs!). Some homes find it helps to have a prayer corner in the house where the family Bible and seasonal prayer resources can be easily seen/accessed – for example, a window ledge where a May altar /Easter tomb/ Christmas crib might be placed. Blessed Palm can be displayed behind a crucifix, in a prayer space, by a sacred heart picture, etc.

Don’t own any of these? Choose one to begin with and work from there. A variety of Crosses, Bibles and other images can be found in local Christian bookshops or online (e.g. Abbey bookshop at the Augustinians,  Knock Shrine bookshop in little Catherine St, Limerick. Veritas bookshop, Ennis or www.veritas.ie )

A Prayer Service for the new blessed Palm. In advance, as a family, decide where the palm will be placed (e.g. above the door in each room, or behind the main crucifix in the house, etc).  Gather together to begin. One adult/teen reads the account of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (from the Gospel of Mark 11:1-10 or Matt 21:1-11 or John 12:12-16 or Luke 19:28-40). Then another, with a lighted candle, leads a short procession through all the rooms of the house, while all sing an appropriate hymn. (e.g. He’s got the whole world in His hands, We are marching in the light of God, Our God reigns etc). Place the palm in its new home and invite each person to name one event, relationship or thing that they are grateful to God for. Finish with an ‘Our Father’ 

Celebrating the Easter Vigil – Dark & Light: An explanation and some suggestions for parish liturgy groups.

The Easter Vigil begins with darkness. The darkness represents all darkness, and all the meanings of darkness: the darkness of our world, and the darkness in my heart. If I come to the vigil and restlessly and impatiently fidget in the dark "until something happens," I miss the power of what is about to happen. So, we prepare for the Easter Vigil by readying ourselves to experience the darkness. It is uncomfortable and confusing, humbling and nervous. Then a light is struck. It breaks into the darkness like nothing else can.

"Make this new fire holy, and inflame us with new hope."
"May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds"

The candle lit from the new Pascal fire is then brought into the community in procession, and we receive its light, and the power of that light grows. We sing: The Light of Christ: Thanks be to God! The experience of darkness now heightens our senses in this dramatic moment and helps our prayer. When the candle is brought front and centre, we hear the Easter Proclamation, or Exultet.

"Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels! Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen! Sound the trumpet of salvation!"

So it’s clear now why the entire celebration of the Easter Vigil must take place at night. The Easter Vigil does not correspond to the usual Saturday evening Mass. While some object, the Church is very strict on this point and even notes that the kinds of objections raised to holding the Paschal Vigil at night are not raised when it comes to midnight Masses at Christmas or other  gatherings of various kinds! To light a fire and candles and speak of “this holy night, “and “Christ the Morning Star,” while there is still light on the western horizon would literally be senseless! Thus, the Easter Vigil in Limerick Diocese should be held no earlier than 9pm this year. (Sunset on April 23rd 2011 is estimated at 20:39pm)

Corpus Christi parish – welcoming 19 new members this Easter!

On Sunday morning at 11:30am Mass, the parishioners of Corpus Christi parish welcomed 5 mothers and their 13 children into their faith community. The ladies have been meeting with Fr Tony, Eileen and Noirin as they prepare for Baptism or reception into the Catholic church (for those already baptised as Christians) for themselves and their children. It is inspiring to hear these mothers speak of their love of God, and desire that their children know God.
Across the diocese adults and children are preparing for Baptism this Easter – please keep them in your prayers, that Gods grace will be abundantly poured out in their lives!

Cappagh parish – Mamma Mia.

Hollywood talent scouts have been seen driving around county Limerick this week, in search of tickets for the sold-out parish event-of-the-year ‘Mamma Mia’. Congratulation to all involved for this creating this community building, fun show ... we look forward to receiving pictures to share!

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