A renewal in our parish activity

This week I’ve been 3 years in my current position as Moderator of the parishes of Clonskeagh, Mount Merrion and Kilmacud. When I was asked to undertake this role I really did wonder if it would be possible to manage and minister in three parishes effectively, and I’m still trying to work that out! I was appointed by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, now long retired. I came here before Covid with no idea that within a few months of starting that the
other priest colleagues would be cocooning, that the only Mass for the parishes would be an online offering and that all the funerals would fall to me.

During those early months the schools were closed, the sacramental preparation stalled and the very few meetings were on the new ZOOM platform. When parishioners remerged all were masked, the church was partitioned, the offices had glass screens and we still didn’t have any face to face meetings. While the current situation is far from normal it’s a lot better than it was. Of course, some new realities have begun to impact the parishes, the war in Ukraine and the rising cost of living affects us all and in the winter months energy costs for heat and light will increase greatly.

For three weekends in October we counted the numbers attending the weekend masses and very predictably it is clear that we only have between half and two thirds of our preCovid numbers. Definitely better than the empty churches, but still a cause for concern. On the positive side, I continue to be impressed with the number of people who come for special occasions, for baptisms, funeral, communions and confirmations. It seems when people have a personal connection, intention or celebration that they are happy to be here.

Yet we are a Sunday people, our faith tradition is built on coming together as a community of believers, both saints and sinners, to share in the praise and worship of God and to be fed by Word and the Eucharist. So, I pose this question, for you to share as Advent approaches, “Are you coming back?” I hope the answer is yes and that little by little we can see a renewal in our parish activity, energy, volunteering and social connections.