By Marian Harnett

PROLOGUE:  In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.

We offer our sympathy to the families of Tom Aherne, Glenashrone.  David McEnery, Dromtrasna Collins. Margaret O’Carroll, 8 Cryle View Manor and Paddy Doran, Hillview Drive whose funerals took place during the week.  May they all rest in peace.

SHOCK AND HORROR:  The shocking murder of Ashling Murphy on Wednesday afternoon has been shattering news not just for Aisling’s family and community but for the whole of Ireland. An estimated 150 people, young women and men, children with their parents, grandmothers and grandfathers, people who live locally and as far away as Tournafulla, Listowel and Knocknagoshel  walked to the Light on Stone Sacred Space in Abbeyfeale’s Town Park on Friday last at 4pm.  There they stood in silence before reciting the first Glorious Mystery of the Rosary and lighting candles as Ryna O’Shea, a member of the Active Retired Group, played two slow airs on her violin.  The lit candles were placed around the perimeter of the sculpture to show solidarity with Ashling’s family and friends and pupils. At weekend Masses Fr. Dan Lane, our resident retired priest, spoke for all of us in his homily when he said:  “We are all horrified and appalled by what has happened to Ashling.  I ask you all, to remember her heartbroken family, her Mum and Dad, and, brother, her sister and all her extended family. May God give them comfort and strength”.  He went on to say:  “During the last couple of days, I reflected on the words of Bishop Brendan in Kileedy at the St. Ita’s Day celebration. I feel that they are very powerful words that we all need to hear and heed at this time. So, I have decided to share them with you:  “It is beholden on all of us to ensure that Ashling Murphy’s death marks a turning point in violence against women. We need to shout from the roof tops across all organisations and communities, from schools to sporting organisations, in church and in our families that violence against women is unacceptable”.  Referring to his presence at the Graduation Ceremony at Mary Immaculate College last October, he spoke about how “as he watched the graduates pass by, while applauding their achievement, he thinks of  them, their family and the future ahead of them. I would have thought of Ashling in the same way”, he said, “But little could I have thought that in a few short months, that this shining star would have been eclipsed with such darkness on Wednesday last.” But even in the midst of the overwhelming sadness and shock that has gripped the nation, there is an unmistakable sense that Ashling’s light is breaking through, that it is not something ‘going out’ but, instead is leading to a turning point. We owe it to her memory, to ensure her journey did not end on Wednesday, but rather marked a new and better beginning for how women are treated, how they are respected and, indeed, protected.  Bishop Leahy went on to say that the shock and grief that has overwhelmed the nation these past few days has not just been because of the horrific circumstances of Ashling’s death, but because Ashling could have been someone we all knew, and was obviously someone very, very special.  She was clearly an all-rounder – bright, good at sport, at music, a people person, a person of integrity, so much promise ahead of her”. Bishop Brendan reminded us that as we marked the feast day of St. Ita, one of Ireland’s great female saints, and conscious of the appalling violence that Ashling suffered, we should acknowledge to one another just how vital it is to promote a culture that is clearly and unambiguously opposed to violence, especially violence against women. “We need to shout this message from the rooftops and that message needs to be promoted and heard at all levels, in our schooling, in our sports clubs, in our churches and in our families”. Inviting St Ita to intercede for us, Bishop Brendan urged that we will all do our part always, to promote a culture of respect and care and protection of one another, especially of women, and that all men will recognise the unique dignity of each woman, and that the  motto;. ‘’no to violence and abuse of any type’ will be written deep in our heart.” Fr. Dan then continued with the prayers of the faithful and in them he prayed for women trapped in coercive relationships, women who are manipulated and controlled, women who have to hide bruises, who live in fear of the next attack, women who are bullied, underpaid and undervalued and he asked  that we ourselves will be vigilant and sensitive to signs of anxiety or distress in our own community and may we always have the courage to stand in solidarity with those who may have no one else to turn to.

GLÓRACH BINGO:  Committee member and PRO Lorcan Curtin has filed the following “Incredible weather and it showed with the large crowd who turned up at the GAA grounds on Sunday afternoon. No difficulties with the sound system, it had been reported that it was heard the previous week as far as Ballybehy South!  And word must be spreading across the valleys that we’re doing something right, with a couple travelling all the way from Cork city.  Good vibes all round, another couple of days like this and the winter will be very firmly in the rear view mirror.  No resting on our laurels, see ye all at the usual starting time of 1.30 pm on January 23.”

BLOOD Donors wanted especially O-, A- and B-, due to covid restrictions, supplies are low.

WRITE A SHORT STORY:  If you are a member of the ICA you might consider entering their competition to write a short story entitled “The Window” max 2,000 words, the closing date is January 28 for entries.

MEDJUGORJE PILGRIMAGE: on June 15 – 22 flying Cork to Dubrovnik (morning flight) with Aer Lingus staying in Hotel Leone. Spiritual Director Fr. Ted Sheehan. COVID insurance cover included in cost. Contact Sean at 0862959380.

SIAMSA TÍRE:  Learn traditional Irish music, song, and dance with a range of online and in-person classes starting at Siamsa Tíre at the end of January. These classes will be taught by four members of Siamsa Tíre’s professional cast of performers: dancer Jonathan Kelliher, musician and composer Tom Hanafin, and singers Joanne Barry and Martina Ryan Murphy. More details (