By Peg Prendeville

It is great to see the Athea Journal out. I look forward to reading it over Christmas.

Christmas really swung into action in Glin last Sunday with the Wrenboy competition at 3pm. Though the day was a little bit misty it was not cold and was as could as could be hoped for in mid December. Well done to the Development Committee who organized the event very efficiently, running on time with no delay between the five batches that took part. Each batch had great talent and variety but someone had to win and that prize went to Athea. Congratulations to all who took part. The large crowd got great entertainment, putting everybody in the Christmas mood.

There was a good response last weekend to the visit to Newcastle West of the Icon commissioned for the World Meeting of Families 2018. I attended just one of the events which were prepared over the three days in which the Icon was displayed in the Church. Ireland, as we all know, has changed immensely over the past twenty to thirty years and this is reflected in the numbers attending Church. This was evident at the Monday evening ceremony which was organized by families for families. Admittedly the time of seven thirty pm is unsuitable for families with young children as the children need to be in bed for school next day; most parents are only in the door from work, trying to get dinners and prepare for the next day so there were few families with children present. Again it was the grandparent generation which formed the bulk of the congregation. I feel a new way of knowing God is slowly evolving and it will be in the more contemplative way. For better or worse we do not know but we will find out as time goes by. The Lord works in mysterious ways. I recall Fr O’Grady, who was in Ballyhahill in 2007/08 telling me that “none of us are lost. God loves us all and will never leave us.”

I got this from Liam O’Mahony: “The annual Christmas Walk along the Great Southern Trail Greenway will take place on Wednesday 27th December at 12.30p.m. Assembly is at the newly opened Longcourt House Hotel , St. Mary’s Road, Newcastle West. The hotel is on the N21 and the public bus services stop alongside it. Walkers will be transferred by courtesy coach to Barnagh from where they will walk the 6 miles[10km], all downhill and mostly along the old railway, back to the Longcourt House where they can enjoy seasonal mince pies, whipped cream and tea/coffee at their leisure. All walkers must wear visibility vests as the final section is through the streets of Newcastle West and involves crossing the busy N21 which must be crossed at the zebra crossing close to the hotel. Cyclists, with visibility gear, helmets and lights, are also welcome and we suggest that they also meet at the hotel at 12.30p.m. and cycle outwards along the Greenway for approximately one hour to Barnagh or beyond and then return in time to enjoy the refreshments. Nollaig Shona do gach éinne agus beidh fáilte romhat ar an 27ú.”

This week is a time for office parties, last minute Christmas shopping, wrapping presents and welcoming home loved ones for Christmas. It is lovely to observe the excitement of children as they wait to see what Santa brings. My two little girls next door see him every night crossing the sky heading towards Limerick. It is usually around the time a plane is getting ready to land in Shannon! Let us hope that he does not collide with Ryanair some night. I wish you all, at home and abroad, a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous and peaceful New Year

The Christmas Masses in Loughill/Ballyhahill have been arranged as follows:

Christmas Eve (Sunday) 6 pm Loughill, 8 pm Ballyhahill

Christmas Day 10 am Ballyhahill, 11.15 am Loughill

St. Stephens Day 11 am Ballyhahill