Athea National School, First Communion Class 2020

St Bartholomew’s Church Athea

Mass Times: Sunday & Thursday mornings at 10.30am.

Friday & Saturday evenings at 7.30pm

Readers: Sat 12th Sept – Mary McGrath

Sun 13th Sept – John Redmond

Eucharistic Ministers:

Sat 12th Sept –  Mary O’Donoghue

Sun13th Sept – Siobhan Barrett

Mass Intentions this week:

Thurs Sept 10th 10.30am: James, Molly & Seamus Smith.

Fri Sept 11th 7.30pm:Jim O’Sullivan & his sisters Maureen Keane & Nan O’Sullivan.

Sat Sept 12th 7.30pm: Patrick Hayes. Bill & Mary Hayes. Tom & Michael Hayes.

Tommy Danaher.

Sun Sept 13th 10.30am: William & Mary Broderick.

Collections: August 29th & 30th    €650.00

Confirmation & Communion – We have now completed both sacraments for our parish. In total 50 children received sacraments. Fr Duggan and the Pastoral Council wish to once again congratulate all the children and their families and may god bless each one of them. All children participated in the ceremonies – they were well prepared and a credit to their families and their school .We also wish to thank the parents for their commitment, support and participation in both programmes. All four ceremonies were very special and family orientated. A special word of thanks also to the adult choir who performed at each occasion and to Hannah Mai Collins and Theresa O’Halloran for the beautiful altar arrangements and also to the stewards who helped with the smooth running of things.

Church Opening Hours – Due to the recent increase in the COVID 19 Virus the church will only be open during mass times for the next few weeks – we are taking this measure on health & safety grounds to protect each other. If you need to book an Anniversary mass etc. or get a mass card signed please contact Fr Brendan on 087-2600414 or Siobhan on 087-2237858. Please always remember to sanitize your hands upon entering and leaving the church. Once again we thank you most sincerely for your patience and understanding.

The Irish Way

by Domhnall de Barra

Ireland is famous throughout the world for its hospitality. It was the land of “a hundred thousand welcomes” and this has been portrayed in many plays and films, sometimes a bit patronisingly, but  no less true of what we used to be. There was a time, not all that long ago, when front doors in rural Ireland were never locked. Times were hard, particularly after two world wars and a savage war of  independence plus a civil war into the bargain, but it brought out the best in people. There might not be much  in the larder but whatever was there was shared out to all-comers. If you happened to call to a house at dinner time, a plate was put in front of you and a refusal would be taken as an insult though we all refused at the beginning and had to be forced to accept. It was thought of as a form of politeness to refuse at the start and I remember well being caught out by doing so on one occasion. Johnny Brick and myself were coming home from a wren party in Knocknasna, early on a cold, frosty morning. We were starving with the hunger as we trudged our way past Gurteens onto the Cratloe road. We knew that the Cusacks would be up early because Jim worked at the creamery so we called in, as passers by often did at the time. There was great welcome for us and we had to give an account of the goings on at the wren nigh but eventually Kathleen asked us if we would have a cup of tea and a bite to eat. Being well brought up we immediately refused saying we weren’t hungry at all. After saying so twice Kathleen disappeared out the back door and there was no more talk of food!

We argued on the way up the road, blaming each other for being too effusive in our refusals but we had to bear the hunger pangs until we got to our house and I put the kettle on. My mother heard the racket and took over, cooking a fine breakfast for us. You would think that would have taught me a lesson but no –  it happened to me again when I went to England to work during the school holidays. I was put working on a rockery in a country mansion and was told they would look after me. About 11am a grey haired lady stuck her head out the window asking me if I wanted something to eat or drink. Instinctively I said “no thanks” though I was warping with the hunger, being a growing lad of 16 at the time. That was the last I saw of the grey head but it was also the last time I refused something offered if I really wanted to accept it.

The open door policy meant that neighbours were always wandering in and out of each other’s houses.  As children we used to gather in a house or piece of land to play together. In the summer it was outdoors with football, hurling, running, jumping etc and all types of children’s games. When the winter nights came we learned how to play 41 and 110 and some of us learned a few tunes on the whistle or how to dance a polka set. As neighbours we really did grow up together and learned as much from the older members of our group as we did from parents. There was no age barriers. Fourteen year olds played games with six year olds and boys and girls mixed as well on occasion. We were welcomed by whatever house we descended on and usually got a cup of tea and a cut of bread to sustain us. There was a genuine welcome in those days but I wonder if there is a change in modern times. Doors have to be securely locked now with burglar alarms and cameras to deter intruders. It is a sad fact that there are those in our community who make a living out of breaking into houses and making off with the contents so we all have to be vigilant.

Nowadays you wouldn’t dream of opening a neighbour’s door and walking in uninvited. Life has changed and people do not congregate in each other’s homes as they used to. The advent of radio first and then television  meant that people had their own entertainment and did not need the social interaction that kept them up to date on current affairs. The lack of interaction is a bit sad for someone like me who was brought up in a very open community. I knew everybody living within a five mile radius of our home as I was growing up. Now, there are people living a few hundred yards away from me that I do not know and have rarely seen. We always acknowledged each other with a salutation, no matter how many times we met each other. Nowadays, neighbours children will pass you by and totally ignore you. They also have  kind of unwritten rules that determine who they “hang out” with. There is very little intermingling between different age groups. 16 year olds would not be seen dead with 14 year olds and so on. By doing this the younger age groups are denied the experiences of the older groups which might be a great help to their development. I am not being critical of young people. Just like us they have their own ways of doing things and, to be honest, I know very little about their world which is so influenced by modern technology but I do think they are missing out on the sense of community we had and shared with each other. I would encourage people to continue saluting those they meet. A smile and a “good morning” costs nothing but they can make people feel a little better and not feel isolated. Let us also continue to have a welcome for others, especially those from other lands who come to live amongst us. Remember all our relations who were forced to wander all over the world, to try and make a living, and treat our visitors as we would have had them treated. We still can be “the land of a hundred thousand welcomes”  Céad Míle Failte.