Thank You

The photo shows John transporting the tree for erecting at Markievicz Park. A huge thank you to John Hunt who provided us with a Christmas Tree again this year.

Athea GAA 

Our Annual General Meeting will take place on Sunday 20th December 2020 at 7.30pm by MS Teams. Nomination papers and Club Motion forms have now been e-mailed to all registered members. Club Nominations and Motions should be emailed to [email protected]  by Wednesday December 2nd.

Our next Club Draw is due to take place on Saturday December 5th outdoors. The draw will be streamed live on facebook for anyone who would like to tune in!

Ballyhahill NS Parents


Our annual school raffle is coming up. Lots of great prizes are up for grabs so we would very much appreciate any lines bought. €2 a line and cards are in all local shops and with all school kids also. Thanks.

Graveyard Collection

We will be unable to hold the Graveyard Collection as usual but we will distribute envelopes to everyone in the parish in the coming week.

The envelopes can be handed in to the Credit Union where a box is available for them or they can be dropped in toe the Community Council Office.

St. Bartholomew’s Church, Athea

Mass Intentions next weekend

Friday Dec 11th 7.30pm                        John Dalton.

Saturday Dec 12th 7.30pm   Paudie Mulvihill. Mary Denihan.

Mary Larkin (1st Anniversary)

Sunday Dec 13th 10.30am   Fr. Gerry Roche

Church opening

The Church resumed Masses with parishioners present this past weekend and we are delighted to welcome you back to Mass again. Please note that Sunday Mass time has reverted back to 10.30am.

The obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains suspended. While people are welcome to attend, we suggest that attendance at Mass once a week is sufficient. Any person who is unwell, carrying an underlying health condition should only attend if necessary.

Numbers allowed in the church are restricted and social distancing applies. People attending Mass must wear a face mask, sanitise their hands both entering and leaving the church. We ask for your co-operation in following the guidance of the stewards at all times. During communion we ask people to remain seated until directed to come forward by the stewards. Finally, we advise parishioners who plan to attend Mass to wrap up well, as some windows will have to be opened during mass to allow for ventilation.

The Church is open daily from 9.30am to 1.30pm. If you need to book an Anniversary mass, a wedding date, a baptism date or get a mass card signed please contact Siobhan on 087-2237858 or Fr Brendan on 087-0562674.

Christmas Mass times and Christmas Mass Bouquet Cards.

It is hoped to have three masses on Christmas Eve (one of which will be for families with children and one for the elderly) and two masses on Christmas Day. The details will be finalised at a meeting of the Pastoral Council on Wednesday Dec 9th and will be available in next week’s bulletin.

Christmas Mass Bouquet Cards are available at the back of the Church, inside the front door. Please write your intention in the book provided and leave a donation in the box.

Prayer in the time of the Corona Virus (by Fr Brian Grogan SJ)

Dear God, in 1879 the Apparition at Knock gave hope and courage to the people of Ireland in difficult times.

We ask that Our lady may now protect your beloved people from the Corona Virus.

May its victims be strengthened by the spiritual support of the Christian community and restored soon to full health.

We also pray for the medical personnel who deal with the virus.

This we ask in confidence through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Our Lady of Knock pray for us.

Saint Joseph pray for us.

Saint John the Evangelist pray for us.

The Importance of Singing

By Domhnall de Barra

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica describe singing as:

“The production of musical tones by means of the human voice. In its physical aspect, singing has a well-defined technique that depends on the use of the lungs, which act as an air supply, or bellows; on the larynx, which acts as a reed or vibrator; on the chest and head cavities, which have the function of an amplifier, as the tube in a wind instrument; and on the tongue, which together with the palate, teeth, and lips articulate and impose consonants and vowels on the amplified sound. Though these four mechanisms function independently, they are nevertheless coordinated in the establishment of a vocal technique and are made to interact upon one another.”

There are very few people who cannot sing. No doubt that some are better than others but those that were referred to as “preacáns” in school long ago are few and far between. Some singers are actually quite good but don’t think so but there are others who aren’t quite as gifted as they think they are and insist on sharing their “talents” at every opportunity.  What is singing and how old is it? The following extract from Otto Jespersen, Language, Its Nature, Development and Origin explains a little

“Men sang out their feelings long before they were able to speak their thoughts. But of course we must not imagine that “singing” means exactly the same thing here as in a modern concert hall. When we say that speech originated in song, what we mean is merely that our comparatively monotonous spoken language and our highly developed vocal music are differentiations of primitive utterances, which had more in them of the latter than of the former. These utterances were, at first, like the singing of birds and the roaring of many animals and the crooning of babies, exclamative, not communicative–that is, they came forth from an inner craving of the individual without any thought of any fellow-creatures. Our remote ancestors had not the slightest notion that such a thing as communicating ideas and feelings to someone else was possible.From what I can gather people were making singing noises before they could communicate in speech but eventually it developed into a method of story telling that showcased the work of poets and rhymers.  As time went by it became more sophisticated  and different modes of singing appeared. There were two main divisions: folk singing, or the singing of ordinary people,  and classical singing. Classical singing required a really good voice that had to be trained to interpret the highly intricate works of the opera and concert hall. It had a very rigid structure and a vast range of octaves so it is easy to see why the numbers who performed this art style were small and remain so to this day. Folk singing, on the other hand, was far less demanding on the voice and originally had no beat to the music. From it came the singing of ballads that became so popular and still remains so in certain circles today. As musical instruments became available, folk songs could be accompanied and sung with a rhythmic beat. The minstrels of old made their living performing for the nobility of the day, making sure to compose songs of praise about their paymasters especially their prowess in battle. Our own songs can be traced back to nomadic singers and musicians who accompanied themselves on harps mainly and did the rounds of the big houses. As time went by it became the norm for songs to be composed about local and national events, victories and defeats in sport and battle, tales of lost or unrequited love, emigration and any topic that would get attention. Sometimes the composer used his skill to verbally attack an enemy or a political opponent and some of these were quite funny.  Folk singers  have collected and saved many of these songs and perform them. They are like pages of history recalling for us a moment in time that informs of the lives of the people who lived in that era. When I mentioned that folk singing wasn’t too demanding on the voice I didn’t mean that the technique used by good folk singers is any less skilful than their classical counterparts. The singer must have a reasonably good voice, capable of ornamentation where necessary, and the ability to convey a message. Good singers are really storytellers who can hold their audiences spellbound by the way they raise or lower their voices or instil emotion into a particular phrase. I remember realising this a long time ago when I was at a late night session in America. Liam Clancy, of the famous Clancy brothers, was in the gathering and we were having every second song and tune. When it came to Liam’s turn he said he would give a song from my part of the world and proceeded to sing, with his concertina for accompaniment, “The Valleys of Knockanure”. Now, I had often heard that song sung at many the wren night and pub, more often than not murdered, but until that night I had never heard it delivered in a way so emotional that it would make the hairs stand on the back of the neck. Christy Moore has the same ability as had the great Luke Kelly and more singers in the traditional style such as  Seosamh O’hÉanaí and Nell Ní Cróinín. Indeed we are blessed to have some great exponents in our own area such as  Donie Lyons of  Dromerisk who has won All-Ireland and World titles singing the great traditional songs, some of them from our own locality, and represented Ireland on many foreign tours. The Broderick family in Cratloe have more titles for singing than I can count and, like Donie, they are always willing to perform at sessions and concerts when requested. There are many other styles of singing of course that emanated from jazz and the blues as sung by the slaves in America. Rhythm and Blues developed into Rock ‘N Roll and that spawned other styles such as pop, disco music and rap. They all have a place and their own followers but I think it is vitally important that the singing of traditional and folk songs is preserved and nourished. Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann is doing great work by organising singing classes for young people in its branches. We had started such a class here in Athea but alas it fell to Covid this year. There were some really good young singers coming through so I hope that, with the advent of a vaccine, it won’t be too long till we get back to the classes and the sessions  and once again we may hear “ a bit of ciúnas now please for a singer” at one of our sessions