By Marian Harnett

DEATH:  Sincere sympathy to the family of the late Dan Gleeson, Mountmahon whose death occurred during the week.  May he rest in peace.

ABBEYFEALEGOOD:  There was a very enjoyable programme on RTE1 last Monday night filmed between the barbers and hairdressers in town.  It was bittersweet to see the late Canon Neville who was interviewed while he was in Flurry’s for a haircut – he died two days later.

HELP NEEDED:  Local volunteers are making fabric face masks in West Limerick and are looking for fabric, 5mm wide elastic, thread and bias binding.  The fabric must be 100% cotton only – sheets, duvet covers, curtain fabric but no clothes please. New fabric would be ideal but used is ok if it is washed and clean to use.   Local Link will pick up all donations at Abbeyfeale church car park on Thursday, April 23 between 2-3pm.

Bishop Leahy reaches out to First Holy Communion and Confirmation children as sacraments postponed

Sunday 19 April 2020:  Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy has admitted the pain and sacrifice that the public has to endure due to the COVID-19 impact on Church services and sacraments, including now First Holy Communion and Confirmation, is difficult but stressed that ‘the Church is very much alive’ in these times.

In a statement read out after 12 midday Mass today at St. John’s Cathedral, Bishop Leahy said that the postponement now of First Holy Communions and Confirmations, on top of the many other

restrictions with funerals, weddings, baptisms and other services, is, sadly, unavoidable to help curtail the spread of the virus at this critical time.

 

Bishop Leahy will write this week to children preparing for the sacraments to encourage them following the postponement of these special moments in their young lives and spoke today also of the support he has received from young people at this difficult time.

 

And he also said he was encouraged by the coming together in prayer that is happening with families across the diocese in a way they did not experience for years.

 

He said: “As we move towards the end of April, an increasing number of parents are understandably asking – ‘what’s going to happen to the First Communion and Confirmation ceremonies?’. Clearly because of where we are now in this critical stage of the battle against COVID-19, we can certainly say they are not going to happen in April or May. But, after that?

 

“Like all others, we must adhere to public authorities and what advice they give regarding large public gatherings.  So, right now, it is impossible for us to re-schedule First Communion and Confirmation. And this is also true for Baptisms and Weddings.

“The postponement of the First Holy Communions and Confirmation will come as a disappointment to some. Though understandable given the Covid-19 crisis, it is a further sacrifice not least for the children.”

He continued: “I hope to write tomorrow to the children preparing for their First Communion and Confirmation to offer them words of encouragement. This week I got a lovely drawing of the Risen Jesus from eight-year old Carmel. I would invite girls and boys preparing for either First Communion or Confirmation, if they want, to send me in a drawing or write to me to let me know about what they are learning about Jesus or the Holy Spirit. I would be very happy to receive such drawings and letters. Maybe you have a question for me. I can try to get back to you with an answer.

“I am grateful to our Diocesan Advisors who have put resources up on our Diocesan Website for the children preparing for First Communion and Confirmation. As well as thanking all school principals and teachers for continuing to keep such great contact with children, teaching on-line and providing resources, I want to thank the teachers of the children preparing for First Communion and Confirmation for keeping them in touch with the Grow in Love lessons. It is great that the Grow in Love on-line resources have also been made freely available for parents by Veritas on their website.”

Bishop Leahy said it is a “strange time for us all, not least because of the uncertainty at all levels”.

“It is indeed a topsy-turvy time.  What can we say about all that’s going on for the Church? No Masses, churches closed, no Eucharistic Adoration, the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation postponed, and even pastoral visits to the sick and dying curtailed… All of this is painful. None of us have ever experienced anything like it. Though we understand why, nevertheless, some wonder what is it saying to us about the Church and our regular Church practices.

“I read recently about a humorous cartoon of God talking to the ‘enemy.’ The Devil is saying, ‘With COVID19 I have closed your churches’, and with God answering, ‘on the contrary, I have opened a church in each house. This is something to really reflect on. Churches may be closed and the celebration of sacraments postponed but the Church is not closed. It is very much alive.

“I have heard of whole families coming together, in a way they haven’t for years, to participate in Mass being transmitted on Television or online in one way or another. I have heard of people looking up online how to pray the Rosary as they want to do so with loved ones who are dying or in their homes or mortuaries alongside the deceased.

“Covid-19, strangely, is helping bring about a new recognition that the Church exists not only in church buildings or when we celebrate the sacraments, essential as these are in the overall, but it exists in every family. For

the Church as a whole, this could be one of the great learning outcomes from Covid-19.

“Let’s think about it. We can pray as a family. Yes, we love our Church buildings but we don’t need them for prayer. Prayer can happen around a table or sitting together in a sitting room or privately on our own.”

He added that there are, of course, many other ways for the family to be Church, above all by loving one another. “So, Covid-19 is indeed an enemy. It has closed your church and postponed celebration of the sacraments. But, paradoxically, it is also prompting you to recognise in a new way that God has opened a church in your house.”

TROCAIRE:  Now that Lent is over, you can forward your contribution to www.trocaire.org, or to Trocaire, St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, or keep the box and contribution until the current restrictions cease and return to the parish office.

 WORLD EARTH DAY ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22:  International Earth Day is celebrated to remind each of us that the Earth and its ecosystems provide us with life and sustenance.  It also recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration, to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity.  International Earth Day provides an opportunity to raise public awareness around the world to the challenges regarding the well-being of the planet and all the life it supports.

ESSAY:  World Vision Ireland extends essay deadline for children at home during COVID-19 shutdown.  World Vision Ireland has extended the deadline for their Climate Change Essay Competition so that children can write essays in their homes, while schools are closed during the

COVID-19 shutdown. The charity is calling on children across the country to put pen to paper and enter their Climate Change Essay Competition, which will be judged by Ryan Tubridy. The winner will get the chance to meet Ryan Tubridy in the RTE studios (when schools and businesses reopen) and will also win a €500 Smyths voucher. World Vision Ireland’s Climate Change essay competition 2020 is opened until the 30th April for children between the ages of 8 and 18.  The entries will be narrowed down to the final 10, and celebrity judge Ryan Tubridy will choose the winning essay.

MESSAGE FOR THOSE WHO ARE COCOONING; If you are living alone and need assistance or advice phone one of Abbeyfeale Community Council Helpline Numbers any day 9-5pm on 068 31169, 068 32080 or 087 7571144.  The Gardai are also available on 06830010 and they too will pick up medicines, messages etc.

ABBEYFEALE COMMUNITY ALERT:  Wash your hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds every time you leave the house, re-enter the house, do the shopping, unpack the shopping and any time you think you should.   There is a really dirty cruel horrible scam on the go these days where the crooks send out a text stating that they are the HSE:  “Someone who came in contact with you tested positive or has shown symptoms for COVID -19 and recommends you self – isolate/get tested.  More at COVID – 19 anon.com/alert.  IGNORE Do not click on the link, they can steal your credit card and personal details in seconds.  This is not how you will be contacted if you have been in contact with someone. Another one is where they ring you up( mar ya) from the HSE to send you a supply of face masks, sanitizers etc to keep you safe(!) and then they look for your bank card details.  DROP THE PHONE.   Avoid ‘opportunities’ to work from home with no interview, no previous experience and a heart stopping remuneration package.  They’ll be looking for a fee in order to begin work/training.  Remember that all the shops have designated times in the early morning for shopping for the elderly or if you are cocooning and  need shopping or messages, contact the local committee who have been set up by Abbeyfeale Community Council on 068 31169/068 32080/ 087 7571144 any day between 9-5pm.  The Gardai are also available to help vulnerable people and will call to people, collect shopping or medicines so if you want help ring them.  Do also  ring Abbeyfeale Gardai on 068 30010 (Three hundred ten) if you have concerns over callers/ travelling salesmen, if the phone is unattended the call will be answered in NCW and the local squad car will be notified.  Don’t entertain callers offering to do jobs around the house. When you reach the age of 65 and live alone or with a person/s aged over 65 you are entitled to receive a monitored alarm system. But if you have younger people living in the house who are out for long periods of the day then,  because you are spending hours alone you are also entitled to the system provided that you are over 65.  The free equipment is provided by Pobal following an application from Abbeyfeale Community Alert, there will be a monitoring fee to be paid from the second year of installation to the installing company of €72.  If you fulfil the criteria for a panic button the installing company will drop the gear to your door and then let you set up the connection yourself with assistance over the phone from their staff.  I have been assured that it’s only a matter of connecting a cable and anyone can do it.   I have not included the phone numbers of the committee in this notice but if you want to get a panic button then ring Abbeyfeale Garda Station on 068 30010 and they will contact one of us. Should you not have a landline the installing company Task provide a sim card at a rate of €7.50 per month payable from day one.  Then, in year two you will also receive a bill for the monitoring fee so in year one the bill will be €90 and in year two and every other year after it will €162 approx.  Committee members are Michael O’Kelly N.T., Seamus Stack, Mossie Gleeson, Kathleen Collins, Mary McArthur, John O’Sullivan, Billy Quirke N.T., Cllr. Francis Foley, Catherine Daly, Marian Harnett.

HELPLINES:  Men suffering domestic abuse operates 36 hours a week on 1800816588.    Men’s Aid (Amen) 01 5543811 Monday – Friday 9-5pm.   24 hour helplines for women suffering domestic abuse 1800 341900 or Adapt 1800 200504.  Limerick Social Services:  061-314111.    AA    061/311222 Al-Anon 086/8143425. Parent Support worker 068/31019.  Accord NCW 069/61000.   Samaritans Freephone 116123 or text 087/2609090 or email jo@samaritan.ie Aware (Depression & Anxiety) 1980 303 302 National Suicide Helpline (Pieta House) 1800 247 247 Irish Advocacy Network (Peer advocacy in mental health) 01 872 8684 Pieta House (Suicide & self-harm) 01 623 5606 IACP (Counselling & Psychotherapy) 01 230 3536 Shine: (Supporting people affected by mental ill health) 01 860 1620 061 – 412111 or Free phone 1850609090 A.A. 061-311222.  Al-Anon 086-8143425 Bereavement Support: 068 / 31203    068/ 31262    068/51984    St Vincent De Paul    Tel 087/1213560 .  Counselling Appointment    061/314213.  ALONE; has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Professional staff are available to answer queries and give advice and reassurance where necessary.  The support line is open Monday to Friday, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024. Hours may be extended to meet the demand.

CHURCH SERVICES:  Mass is being celebrated every day in the Church of the Assumption and broadcast on churchservices.tv and Monday to Friday,  the Stations of the Cross are also being broadcast at 3pm.  RTÉ will air Mass every weekday at 10.30am from St. Eunan’s and St. Columba’s Cathedral,  on RTÉ News Now. West Limerick 102fm will broadcast Mass on Sunday morning from Abbeyfeale at 10am.   Radio Kerry will also broadcast Mass on Sunday mornings at 10am.. On Sunday mornings RTE 1 broadcast either Mass or Christian worship prayer at 11am . If you have Sky or one of the other TV packages, check out EWTN Catholic religious station for broadcast Masses and prayers. On the RTE Saorview channels, if you keep moving up through the tv channels you get to the radio channels coming through the TV, and on them there is Saroview channel 210 that broadcasts Radio Maria Ireland – a lovely station of Mass, Rosary, prayers and conversations on religious topics.