Katie Mullane Lynch,Tom Moran and Brendan Lynch, celebrating Limerick’s All Ireland win at The Red Cow.

Jane Stackpool & Mike Guinane who were married in Athea Church on September 1st 2017 by Fr. Michael Cussen assisted by Fr. Brendan Duggan. Jane & Mike have the honour of being chosen to attend Pope Francis’ Mass in the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin on Saturday next, August 26th. Their names were put forward by Fr. Brendan Duggan

Limerick Abú

The drought is over!   After 45 long years Limerick are All-Ireland hurling champions. In a match they dominated for 95% of the time they came perilously close to losing it in the last couple of minutes. Thoughts of the games lost to Offaly and Wexford sprang to mind but this time Limerick prevailed.  Great celebrations on Sunday night. On Monday the sales of Aspirin and Disprin went through the roof!!

Public Meeting   Re: Post Office Closure

A public meeting will take place on this Thursday, August 23rd at 8.30pm in the Con Colbert Community Hall to discuss the proposed closure of our Post Office in Athea.

Eleanor McEvoy Concert

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Eleanor McEvoy will appear at the Glórach Theatre, Abbeyfeale on Friday, August 31st at 8.30 pm.  Most famous for her breakthrough hit, ‘A woman’s heart’, Eleanor has released a wide range of material since, most recently garnering critical acclaim for her interpretations of the songs of Thomas Moore.  Tickets are a reasonable €20 and can be booked at 0871383940.

Church on Trial

By Domhnall de Barra

This week, the World Meeting of Families takes place in Dublin. It is a very prestigious event and a great honour for Ireland to host it but it has been completely overshadowed by the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church and how Pope Francis is going to deal with them. There is no doubt that the Church is in crisis and it must be a very trying time for the many good clergymen who are trying to carry on working in their parishes, looking after their congregations.  Because of the vile deeds of their compatriots, they are all now tarred with the same brush and looked on with suspicion.   What happened to young boys and girls, not to mention the unmarried pregnant girls and their babies, was terrible but the cover-up by those in authority was even worse. The institution which was the Catholic Church, had to be protected at all costs so, instead of having the offenders handed over to the police for prosecution, there was a veil of silence put over their deeds . To make matters worse they were allowed to continue in different parishes, free to abuse more and more innocents, some of whose lives were ruined. The people in authority who oversaw this travesty of justice are just as guilty as the perpetrators  themselves and deserve to be at least named and shamed. Though saying sorry is a good thing, it is not nearly enough and concrete measures must be put in place to ensure that nothing like we have recently discovered will ever happen again. The Church has to change as have the clergy. In my young days the priests had great power and were revered in their parishes. I don’t know if we, as youngsters revered them but we were certainly terrified of them. In our area at that time there was only one family who were Protestant and all the rest were Catholic except for one family who were non-believers. We were in constant fear of dying and going to Hell to be burned alive forever. God was not a loving father but someone who was constantly waiting for you to slip up so you could be punished.  Sin was all around us and you tried to avoid it but then there was the sin of going into the “occasion of sin” which carried the same penalty. The sermons at the time mostly concentrated on the sins of the flesh and the promise of fire and brimstone if we misbehaved kept us in a constant state of fear. Thankfully times have changed and young people today learn about a God of love and compassion who wants them to be good but understands when they fall from grace. The number of Catholic families has fallen sharply in recent years due in a big way to all the scandals and the intransigence  of those ion authority to accept the need for change.  The census will tell us the number of Catholics is still high but are they all practicing the faith?  Many will put Catholic as their religion because they were baptised and got their Holy Communion but a great number of those only attend the Church for weddings and funerals.  If the Church is to survive they really must accept that times have changed, people have changed and the days of meek acceptance are over. Pope Francis is a good man and I think he is coming under too much pressure at the moment to make certain statements on his visit to Dublin. He can’t cure everything overnight and it is wrong to expect him to. There are others in the Vatican and around the world who don’t want him to speak out but I am sure he will try. He is not going to please everyone and will continue to be criticised by many of those who were hurt by the Church over the years but we need to give him a chance to tackle the issues and come up with solutions. We should not make this visit by the head of the church all about the abuse scandals. It is seldom a pope will visit our island and the faithful deserve to experience the joy of his presence amongst us and the opportunity to hear the words of a man who has brought a new  humility to the office. This humility is badly needed today. For too long there has been far too much pomp and ceremony and not enough of the type of ministry that Jesus himself espoused. The message of Jesus Christ is a very simple one and if we all followed just one of his commandments; “love thy neighbour as thyself” the world would be a far better place; no wars, no fighting between neighbours  but I suppose that is a dream too far. In the meantime I hope all those who attend will enjoy the Pope’s visit and that the Church will get a boost from it. I also hope that all those  who have been hurt by the Churche’s actions and inactions will get comfort from his words of apology and his determination to usher in  a new and better regime that will put the children of God first.