An open letter

letterWhen doing the bulletin this week I found we had a lot of empty space – mainly due to the fact that things are only getting back into swing and many of the groups that submit items for inclusion hadn’t done so this week.  I thought to put in a piece of clipart but then decided to write to the parishioners.  I read the letter at Masses in Urlaur and Kilmovee and thought I might include it here as well.  So here goes ……

Dear Friends,

There’s an empty space in this week’s bulletin – things haven’t fully got back to normal yet and I suppose that’s the reason. So maybe the empty space could be filled with a few thoughts –

I’m often asked “how do you like Kilmovee?” or “How are they treating you in Kilmovee?” and occasionally, by people in the parish, “Do you like it here?” My answers seldom vary and I am happy to tell people I am very much liking Kilmovee, that the people treat me very well and above all that I am happy.

I feel so lucky to have the support and friendship of Fr John and rejoice that our churches are well filled – as well as population allows – and that there is an amount of goodwill clearly evident in all that is done in the parish. The Parish Pastoral Council, the many voluntary and dedicated committees and individuals in the parish give such hope and reason to be at peace.

There is a kindness at work in this parish that is awe-inspiring. I have seen it many times, not least at funerals or parish gatherings. People have so much goodness in them – so much to give and give they do.

Yet, there are times I worry. I worry about those who are un-moved by the Gospel message and those who have stopped attending church. I fear, at times, lest anything I’ve said or done has led to, even one person, choosing not to worship in our midst or, worse again, not worship at all. I fear for those who maybe are going through life without any sense of connection with our parish, its Liturgy and life. It bothers me that, not just in this parish, young people who prepare so enthusiastically for First Holy Communion and Confirmation can, in a few short years, seem to lose that sense of wonder and belonging. It troubles me that people who marry in church, in the presence of family and friends, can seem to wander away and return to church just for occasions rather than as an on-going life choice. It puzzles me that a clear connection does not always seem to exist between Sunday Mass and weekday choices. I wonder what can be done? I wonder what can I do?

Deeply aware of my own faults, I remain committed to being a priest in this parish and diocese. I have never regretted becoming a priest though I regularly wish that I could be a better priest. Maybe it’s out of that wanting – that wishing, that I can call on all of you – all of us, to strive for holiness – to aim for the stars (surely that’s what this Feast Day is about; following the STAR) so that our church be fully human, fully alive and God centred.

So why then these lines? I’m not sure. There’s something in the start of a year that speaks to re-kindling and focus. What can we do, as parish, to kindle the flame of Faith? What can we do to enliven hope? What can we do to tap into the “LOVE” of God in all its fullness? There’s a buzz phrase going about these times – it speaks of “beginning a conversation” so maybe that’s the reason for these words. Let the conversation begin. …. What can we do as Parish to enrich our Faith, Hope and Love?

Blessings and thanks ….


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