I celebrated Mass in my home parish on Sunday. The parish priest was away and asked if I could help. I was in Killaraght and Gurteen for Sunday Masses. It’s obviously been a while since I was there. I walked into the church in Killaraght and there was a man there, saying his prayers before Mass, and when he saw me he got up, shook my hand and told me I was welcome – then he added “I thought we were having Fr Sherlock today”!!! How much have I changed?????? 🙂
It was lovely to be there and to be in Gurteen as well. It was good to see people that I’ve known most of my life – some who have grown old now and some whom I knew in their childhood – there yesterday with their own children. It’s amazing how time marches on.
There has been a change in our parish at home insofar as there is now only one resident priest in the parish. He looks after the three churches – Gurteen, Cloonloo and Killaraght. It’s quite a change. There were three priests there when I was young and up to a few years ago – then two and now one. A definite sign of the times.
The churches in the parish look so good – a lot of work has been done on them all in recent years and now I think that was absolutely the right thing to do. Particularly so in Cloonloo and Killaraght since the people have two churches that would do any community proud. I think that will rally the people around the churches and they will be kept alive as places of worship. A decision could have been taken that since the time would come there would not be a resident priest in the area that the churches should be, in some way, wound down – maybe not to spend too much on painting, decorating etc but this would have been such a pity.
We live in hope that vocations might re-surface and that a priest might live locally again but, in the meantime, there is much to be proud of at home and two churches to be kept alive and warm so that worship may continue.
I was glad to be there yesterday ……………
Speaking of vocations, I was in Maynooth today (October 3rd) and was glad to meet three young men from the diocese who are studying there for the priesthood. Two of them are students for our diocese and the third for a Religious Order. “Hope springs eternal” ……