By Peg Prendeville

Happy New Year! May it bring prosperity and peace to us all.

Congratulations to Noel O’Connor, Turraree, son of Joan and Tommy, who got engaged to Norma Kelly during the Christmas season.
Congratulations too to Domhnall and Lillian who produced another lovely Athea Journal which I enjoyed reading. It is great to keep these going although the project  requires a lot of time and dedication and patience. Well done to all.
The Christmas and New Year ceremonies were well attended in Ballyhahill. The altar was seasonally decorated with flowers arranged by Mary Flavin who has spent many years taking care of the altar flowers for which we thank her. All these jobs do not get done magically at all but by somebody else’s dedication.  It was lovely to see a lot of returned emigrants at home for the holidays including my own son Seán from Australia who has not seen an Irish Christmas for five years. It is amazing how fast Christmas comes and goes again but it is a nice time for families to catch up with each other.
New Year’s Eve was celebrated in Ballyhahill village by many wrenboys playing up along the street at midnight while the church Bells were wrung to welcome in 2018. Of course the wrenboys were out in force on St Stephen’s Day also. It is one of the highlights of my Christmas each year to see and hear the sound of the bodhráns to let us know they are on the way; we are lucky to have up to three batches in the parish.
This year 2018 is the year where the World Meeting of Families will be held in Dublin in August and from now on all parishes are expected to get involved in some way. Glin parish had a very moving ceremony last Sunday to begin their preparation for this great event.  It will be interesting to see how the enthusiasm will grow as the months go by.
Of course it will be nothing like when Pope JPll came to Ireland but this Pope Francis has endeared himself to many who will want to go to Dublin to be in his presence.