Ok so this is the strangest St. Patrick’s Day I have ever experienced. Since starting over as a Pastoral Worker in 2010, I have always spent the day either in the parish working or with family members, or usually, a mixture of both. Today with no public Masses available I stayed home and followed the Mass from Portmarnock Parish at 11.00am, and as most people are probably saying, its not the same! And how could it be? I was subsequently invited to be part of a Prayer Service online – I got an email from the person who invited me, which told me how to download something called ZOOM. Anyway once I had that done I received another email just before 12.00 and when I followed those instructions I found myself online with another group of people (many of whom I know). What a joy to actually see people when one is talking! It was a lovely experience and I felt I prayed!
Just to put it in context I have had a cold for over a week (nothing worse, thank God) and I have kept myself away from everyone, so Ive already had a bit of isolation (except for the company of my two cats!) That’s why I really appreciated the opportunity to interact with real people this morning. Other than that, the family whatsapp group has been pinging away regularly and the Liturgy whatsapp group from the parish are prolific texters too. Thank God for family and friends – even from a distance. I must also get to grips with this ZOOM software – I can see how useful it will be in the next days and weeks.
If you are looking for something to lift your heart a little today here is our choir soloist singing the Deer’s Cry which she recorded yesterday in the almost empty church so that we could all hear it today. Please God, next year we will hear it at Mass in our own church, as we usually do. Thank you Jennifer, and Sharon for recording.
And if your looking for something comforting and reflective – here is a lovely interview with Bro. Richard (Hendricks) where he discusses St. Patrick, pandemic, and how to have peace in these strange times; and he’s also really interesting to listen to! (If you dont know anything about Bro Richard, he is a priest-friar of the Capuchin Franciscan Order. For over twenty years he has worked to promote the Christian contemplative tradition – he sometimes gives courses at the Sanctuary (Sr. Stan). He is currently guardian of the Ards Friary and Retreat Centre in Donegal). Enjoy!