Dear Editor, What a blessing we have at a time with churches closed to have Mass celebrated daily on the web cam in many churches throughout the country and on RTÉ Now. We owe a debt of gratitude to all involved in this ministry. I write this email on Wednesday, May 6, following this morning’s Mass on RTÉ Now from St Eunan’s Cathedral, Letterkenny. The celebrant was Fr Damien Nejad, a native of Glasgow.
Fr Damien delivered a homily on the importance of the Rosary and referenced the background of the prayer of St Michael, Archangel composed by Pope Leo XIII. The reason for the prayer is seldom mentioned since the Second Vatican Council but is as important today as it has been since October 13, 1884. Fr Damien spoke of what occurred on that date. After Mass Pope Leo XIII was witness to an encounter between Our Lord and Satan in which Satan boasted that he would destroy the Church within 100 years. Fr Damien Nejad in his Homily encouraged the viewers to combat evil and the reality of the existence of Satan with our daily Rosary. It was so refreshing to hear the history that instigated the prayer to St Michael.
Fr Damien recited the prayer of St Michael in his reflection: St Michael, Archangel, defend us in our hour of conflict; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God restrain him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God thrust Satan down to hell, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.
Terenure, Co. Dublin.
Virtual Mass can never replace the real thing
Dear Editor, There is no practicing Catholic who is not greatly missing the sacraments in these times, and having the ability to engage with online liturgies at least allows us to continue as a community in some vein. However, we need to proceed with extreme caution before we send out the wrong message here. ‘Virtual’ versions of the Holy sacrifice of the Mass, liturgies, and the Sacraments, can never replace our personal attendance and obligation.
There have already been alarming calls for discussions such as whether confessions can be simply done over the phone, and we have seen the beauty of the Sacrament of first Holy Communion reduced to a TV style show. I am sure that those who are looking for innovative ways to celebrate the Sacraments have good intentions at heart, but is this the message that we want to send to our young, and to the secular world? While we all appreciate the advantages of modern technology in this time, it is important that our leaders send out a clear message that the sacred can not be compromised for convenience. In a world where everything is instantaneous at the flick of a button, can we not afford Christ the same patience as he affords us?
Castleabar, Co. Mayo.
Right to life must be ‘respected and restored’
Dear Editor, We congratulate all our medical staff, doctors, nurses, etc. for working so hard to save the lives of our people who have been infected by coronavirus and our acting Government assisting us all the time.
We think somewhere there is a message conveyed that while we are struggling to save lives, abortion (certain death) can be allowed and is encouraged to kill our own people who are unable to speak for themselves. Please God the right to life will be respected and restored.
Seán and Monica Hassett,
Mooncoin, Co. Kilkenny.
Parishes should regularly change committee members
Dear Editor, Your editorial [IC 14/05/2020] made the important point that our parishes need younger parishioners to offer time to support the running of the parish and all the various ministries and activities.
Depending on the over 70s to take on most of the parish duties has resulted in a shortage of volunteers now during our pandemic. But there are other lessons to be learned too. All committees within parishes need to have a change in membership at regular intervals if they are to remain effective and open to new ideas.
Being on a committee for more than 10 years can be counter-productive, not only does one’s enthusiasm diminish but the opportunity for others to join is stymied too. Most well-run voluntary groups have policies in place that require time limits for anyone on a committee. One of the tasks for someone planning to step down from a committee could be to encourage other suitable people to get involved.
Templeogue, Co. Dublin.
Parishioners can help facilitate early return of church services
Dear Editor, The news that the bishops are considering an early return to church services before the government’s recommended reopening date in late July is very welcome news [IC 14/05/2020].
The hierarchy must be seen to show leadership and responsibility. Most churches are ideal for social distancing and by providing perhaps more Masses on Sunday mornings (one per hour 9-12) plus the usual evening Mass and evening vigil Mass would cater for most Church-going parishioners. Parishioners should also play an active role in ensuring that the area they/their family occupy is sterilised before they take their seats in the church and very importantly that their area is re-sterilised when leaving. One of the big issues causing the closure of churches even for private prayer was the difficulty in ensuring a sterile environment but each parishioner can sterilise surfaces touched, etc. Doors could be left permanently open during service. No problem is insurmountable.
Pope Francis has called for priests to be creative in finding ways of safely providing the Sacraments especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation during this pandemic. Some priests are doing just this but alas too many are not offering any opportunity for Confession by appointment with appropriate social distancing. Again, this is not an insurmountable problem. Where there is a will God will find a way.
Castleknock, Co. Dublin.
Irish dancing should feature during Mass
Dear Editor, The Holy Mass is, first of all, a holy celebration, because it is Christ who acts in the person of a priest. Jesus Christ offers himself for us, as he offered on the Cross at Calvary.
The first purpose is to give glory to God, our creator, on whom we depend for everything. Acknowledging Him as the Lord, God, we need to praise and glorify Him. In the Old Testament we read that David danced for the Lord (2 Samuel 6:14): “And David danced before the Lord with all his might…”
The first purpose of the Eucharist is to give glory to God, our creator, on whom we depend for everything. Acknowledging him as God, we need to praise and glorify him. When Pope Francis visited Africa, the locals danced enthusiastically during his last Mass there. So why not have some of our younger Irish dancers do this every Sunday during the main Mass.
Surely this is something every parish could do? What a great way to give glory to God and celebrate the Eucharist using our own culture. Indeed, such a service would attract a bigger attendance and thereby give even greater glory to our God.
Liam de Paor,
Carrickane, Co. Cavan.
Let’s bring back the Sacrament of Reconciliation
Dear Editor, I was delighted to read of Fr Pat McGinley’s Car Park Confession initiative in the Deanery of Tallaght [IC 07/05/2020].
I am shortly going out to do my 10-day grocery shop to keep my family alive for the next 10 days and limit my contact with others.
In the supermarket I will encounter and chat a bit with a checkout person behind a plastic screen at the end of my shop.
I would also very much like to avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation having been away for so long as I feel it would both help me and the people I live with.
That would involve a one to one relatively short encounter that with a suitable screen would be in circumstances that could look very like my encounter with the checkout person.
Indeed, this could surely be offered in every parish car park as groups of four are already allowed to meet outside observing social distancing.
A little bit of creative thinking around issues like this would go a long way.
For me this is an essential ‘service’ that I and others are missing badly and as a scientist myself, science could help us get over the hurdles here and open up nourishing spiritual pathways currently blocked off. And it could be an ideal teaching moment on the value and efficacy of the sacrament for everyone.
Windy Arbour, Co. Dublin.
Follow Christ – pray and repent to keep Satan at bay
Dear Editor, I beg to write as I will be judged here and hereafter how I developed my talents. I either use them right or lose them. We only pass this way once and Jesus tells us: as you sow – so shall you reap.
At 81 years and after a long life of work and prayer, it does not make sense in the context of Covid-19 for it to be legal to protect the born and not the unborn.
Prayer and repent will help to keep Satan at bay. Follow Christ like Mary – no conditions.
No coincidence NI churches reopen on JPII’s centenary
Dear Editor, On many occasions since our churches were closed due to the Covid-19 restrictions did I recall the inspiring words of St John Paul II at his inaugural Mass in St Peter’s Square in October 1978, when he urged us to: “Be not afraid, to open and even to throw wide the doors to Christ!”
Surely it is no coincidence that it was on the special centennial anniversary of his birth on May 18 that the Northern Ireland Executive announced the reopening of our church doors.
Derry City, Co. Derry.
The comfort of Mass in God’s house
Dear Editor, I think the worst thing that happened during this pandemic was the closing of churches. I still can’t believe that at a time when we most needed to go to church and pray, we found that the churches were locked.
I am 80 years of age and all my life if we were worried or anxious about anything we would go to the church and ask God to help us.
God does not change, for his help all we have to do is put our trust in him. So please open our churches and return to morning Mass. Those who pray together will stay together. I am lucky I can go to our next parish about seven miles away, I did get Mass there on St Patrick’s Day and the following Sunday then the priest was told not to say any more public Masses.
However, he still opens his church every day for a few hours to give people the choice to pray and thank God it’s great to see so many people will travel to that church to pray.
People say that they can hear Mass on the internet but that’s not much use to people like me who do not have internet.
There is no comfort to compare with the comfort we get from going to God’s house to hear Mass.
Finglas, Co. Dublin.
True love is not TV show’s ‘portrayal of empty souls’
Dear Editor, Maria Byrne’s succinct summary of the television adaptation of the Sally Rooney novel Normal People [IC 21/05/2020] showed it up for what it is: a portrayal of empty souls, attempting to fill their emptiness with more of the same!
Connell and Marianne’s active embracing of the culture of death confirms this, whilst having reviewers salivating over the last goodbyes of Catholic guilt.
Contrast these soulless persons with the princely examples of holiness offered by Italian millennials such as Blessed Chiara Bandona; the servants of God: Chiara Petrillo and Guilia Gabreilla (who died in 2011) as well as the soon to beatified Carlo Acutis.
It was Carlo who stated that sadness results with us looking at ourselves, whilst to be happy we need only to look to God.
This, Ms Rooney, is what true love looks like, the love that endures for eternity, not a 12-part sex romp that is both vacuous as well as tedious.
Fr John McCallion,
Keeping Church alive during Covid-19 storm
Dear Editor, I must commend Fr Kevin McNamara in Moyvan, who has thought of a creative solution in this time of pandemic which allows people without the facility to watch online Mass to be able to partake in his car park Masses, which you covered in a recent article [IC 21/05/2020]. This is a disheartening time for Catholics in many ways, it’s so uplifting to see people stepping up and doing their best despite the obstacles.
It’s so easy to give up and do nothing, of course we should all be staying at home as much as we can and following the guidelines set out by the health authorities but that doesn’t mean we can’t think of different ways of doing things. This is a time to take initiative and be brave, be creative like Fr McNamara, let’s find a new way of doing things rather than sitting on our thumbs and waiting for this pandemic to be over. This storm of Covid-19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so rather than sitting below deck, let’s make sure the ship doesn’t sink, let’s keep Church life alive and vibrant at a time when it’s more important than ever to do so.
Cork City, Co. Cork.