St. Vincent de Paul

Church Gate Collection

Will take place on Saturday, December 1st & Sunday 2nd. Your generosity, as always, would be appreciated.

Funeral Arrangements or the late Mikey Byrne

Mikey Byrne sadly passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday last at The Gables, Athea.  He will lay in repose at Kelly’s Funeral Home on this Friday evening from 7 to 8 pm. His funeral Mass will take place at 12 noon on Saturday with burial afterwards in Holy Cross Cemetery, Athea. ‘May he rest in Peace’.

If anyone wishes to make a donation towards the cost of his funeral they can do so by contacting Fr. Brendan Duggan, it would be very much appreciated.

Rambling House

A Christmas rambling house will be held at Fr Casey’s club house, Abbeyfeale on Thursday, December 20 in aid of the Chemotherapy Day Ward at Kerry General Hospital. Your support would be greatly appreciated and all singers, dancers, storytellers and musicians all welcome to attend.  Doors open at 8.30 and show begins at 9pm.  Spot prizes and Santa will also make a visit on the night.

Christmas Cards

Hand-painted Christmas Cards are available at €5 for a pack of five at the Community Council office. €2 out of each set will go towards the Athea Lourdes Fund.

Call into the office or ring 068 42533  / 087 6758762  to order cards.

Going Strong Christmas Party

Names must be in by this Wednesday, November 28th for the Christmas Party on Wednesday, December 5th. Please contact Peggy Casey on 087-9416223 or Maireád Langan on 087-6407026.Take Away Dinners on the day, need to be ordered in advance when booking.

Stranger than Fiction

by Domhnall de Barra

John (not his real name) was born the eldest of a family of six, into a small farm with the grass of 12 cows about a mile and a half from the town of Abbeyfeale. The farm had once been bigger but John’s father had a problem with the drink and every now and then sold a field to finance his habit. It was tough going for the family at the time, just after the second world war, and as soon as John was strong enough  he took on the responsibility of running the farm in his father’s absence. He missed a lot of days at school and as soon as he reached the age of 14 he quit altogether. His father often came from the town in a foul mood and sometimes would take it out on his wife. John was also frequently at the wrong end of a boot up the backside or a clip around the ear. They tried to avoid him as much as they could but things came to a head one night when John came home after being at the pictures to find his father laying into his mother in the kitchen while the younger children were upstairs asleep. He was 16 at the time but all the years of hard work on the farm had turned him into a very strong young man. He could stand it no more and hit his father with a haymaker of a punch that landed flush on his jaw and sent him reeling backwards. On his way to the floor he hit his head on the kitchen with a sickening thud and lay lifeless to the world. His mother tried to revive him but to no avail. John panicked when he saw what he had done and, stopping only to grab a few pounds he had saved he ran out the back door and disappeared into the night. He spent that night in a hay shed and in the morning he made his way to the railway station at Devon Road (he did not want to be seen in Abbeyfeale) and got the train for Dublin and the boat to England. On the boat he struck up a conversation with two lads from Galway who were returning to London after being home on holidays. Three of them had come home but one decided to stay which was lucky for John because they offered him a room in their lodgings. Work was plentiful in England and he was employed, under an assumed name, straight away. He kept himself to himself as much as he could but he couldn’t get what had happened out of his mind. He dare not write home to his mother in case his whereabouts would be discovered and, like many a lonely man before him, he took solace in the bottle. Every night he drank alone in the pub hoping the liquor would ease the guilt he felt. One night he was on his way home, well tanked, when he was set upon by two ruffians who beat him up and took the few pounds he had left in his pocket. After a while he dragged himself up and tried to make his way home. Hobbling along he saw a light in a church he was passing and he got a sudden urge to go in. The church was dimly lit but it was warm and as he sat in the back row a strange calm came over him. Memories of going to Mass with his mother in Abbeyfeale came back to him and suddenly he broke down. Sobs wracked his body as the tears cascaded down his cheeks. In between the sobs he spoke to God asking for forgiveness for the awful crime he had committed and vowed there and then to put things right. He went home and for the first night since he left home he slept without being disturbed by nightmares. He drank no more and at the end of the month he took the train and reversed his steps back to Abbeyfeale. It was Christmas week and there was great joy at the station in Abbeyfeale as the homecomers were welcomed on the platform by their families. John left the train with a heavy heart and made his way down the Killarney road and into the Garda station. Sergeant Normoyle was sitting at the desk and without looking up asked John what he wanted. “I’ve come to give myself up” said John. That got the sergeant’s attention and he looked closely at John recognising him straight away. “What did you do”, he asked. “I killed my father” said John looking down at the floor in shame. “When did this happen”   asked the sergeant. “Seven months ago” said John  who was more than surprised when the sergeant stood up and shouted at him , “Don’t be wasting my time with your fantasies, get out of here and don’t come back”. John was bewildered but he had nothing better to do but make his way home. When he reached the house he was surprised at how neat and tidy everything was with all the walls painted and the yard as clean as a new pin. The lights were on inside and he peered in the window. The family were on their knees saying the rosary and he couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the back of his father’s head as he kneeled at a chair beside the fire. John shook his head and blinked a few times to make sure he wasn’t seeing things but no, when he looked again, there he was. He lifted the latch and stood in the doorway. The younger children spotted him first and with shouts of “John, John” ran over and embraced him. His mother soon followed and then, for the first time in his life, he got a big hug from his father. John hadn’t long fled the house on the night of the fight when his father, who had only been unconscious, came to. He said it was the shock he needed to turn his life around. He had given up the drink and was at last the husband and father he should have been. After Christmas John returned to England in a different frame of mind. He worked hard and prospered and eventually married and had his own family. He was happy with his lot but he would never forget the joy of that Christmas he spent with the whole family, especially the father he thought he had killed.