Wexford parish concludes year of service
The faith community of St Martin, Piercestown and St Catherine, Murrintown in Co. Wexford came together last weekend to mark the conclusion of a successful Year of Celebrating Service.
The idea for the special year came from the joint pastoral council formed in 2009 who were looking at ways to build parish and community. Taking into account the large number of clubs and organisations serving the parish, this was an opportunity to thank people for their willingness to dedicate their time and energy in the service of the community.
”The pastoral council came up with the idea to try to give the people a vision of Church as community rather than just the building and the hierarchy,” said Fr John O’Reilly PP, who is very pleased with the success of the project and how it has ”brought the whole community together in faith”.
”The life of most rural communities revolves around three groups; the family, the Church and the clubs and organisations within the community. When these three interdependent groups are playing their role, the community is alive and active and people feel a sense of pride and belonging,” he said.
During the year, one Sunday liturgy each month was organised and prepared in turn by voluntary groups of the community, from the Scouts and ICA to the local Gardai and school teachers, all followed by a social cup of tea. The variety of displays, prayers, reflections, music and dance provided each month gave everyone an overview of the gifts and talents to be found in the community.
”Over 500 people were involved in the different liturgies,” said Fr John. ”We had special celebrations for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, for the Harvest and for remembering the dead in November.”
Some of the other significant events that happened during the Year of Celebrating Service include the ordination of Fr Brian Doyle, a native of Murrintown; a parish pilgrimage to the Holy Land; the founding of the parish conference of the St Vincent de Paul and the launch of the Parish Newspaper.
”We had a very good reaction from parishioners, and we have more readers and Eucharistic Ministers as a result of it too,” said Fr John.
At the launch of the Year of Celebrating Service in January, Bishop Denis Brennan presided at Mass in Piercestown and joined the community in Murrintown at the key moment of lighting the celebration candle. He again joined the parish last weekend to mark the conclusion of the special year when he attended Mass in Piercestown to present Paddy Rossiter with a Bene Merenti Medal in recognition of his years of service as sacristan and promoter of Eucharistic Adoration in the parish, and he then celebrated Mass in Murrintown followed by a social gathering.
”The great strength of parish is that it harnesses the energy and the enthusiasm of the community and it makes it possible for us to do together things we could never do on our own,” Bishop Brennan said.
”This is what we celebrate today, the pride of place and sense of identity that you possess here in Piercestown/Murrintown. Over the past year you have seen this sense of community expressed in many different ways, in the network of people who give the parish its energy and its life. Over the past year you have brought belief and belonging together and in doing so you have energised and enriched your community,” he said.