Celebration of Parish Family and all in Ministry
Quin Church, 22nd of June, 2019
A warm word of welcome to you all today to the Celebration of Our Parish Family and All in Ministry.
One couldn’t but be in good form on a day like today and at this time of the year.
The heart of the weekend.
Yesterday being mid-Summers day.
The fair of Spancil Hill just around the corner.
The feast of St. John, Bonefire night hot on the heals of that.
The spectacle of carnival type community fun for this occasion with good food, music, face painting, games, a bouncey castle perhaps and all that goes with mid-Summer outdoor events.
All making for a great time to celebrate what is at the heart and core of what holds things together here in the parish, being family, the community, Pobal Dé.
It’s a special family day.
Reflection on what family means for us
Last year was a special year for families with the international gathering of World Meeting of Families and that gave us so many opportunities to reflect on the treasure that family is to us all.
The Importance of Family
Family is so important to us as Church.
Family celebrations are at the heart of so many of our sacred rituals, Baptism, First Holy Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, Funerals, weekday and Sunday liturgies.
Family is a basic and essential and treasured unit of our society.
Family is a place of welcome, a place where people are at home, accepted, loved and cherished no matter what their situation is.
Family is a place where people first learn of God’s tremendous love for us.
I know from this gathering and from previous visits here that this love, warmth and welcome is the experience of anyone who approaches the Parish of Quin, Clooney and Maghera and I would hope this would be the experience of anyone in the Church of the diocese of Killaloe and the family of families that the world wide Church of 1.2 billion Catholics all over the world.
Today we celebrate with joy, friendship and fun what it means to be family, the family of the parish of Quin, the Abbey Pastoral area and the Church of Killaloe diocese.
We celebrate the bond today that is particular to the family that gathers in communities around Quin Church, Clooney Church, Maghera Church and the ancient ecclesiastical site of Quin Abbey. For generations here in this sacred location this has been a treasured unit of the family of God’s people for many people living out and celebrating their faith.
There is certainly something very special about the family atmosphere in the parish. I got a sense of that for the golden jubilee celebtations in Clooney in December last. I captured a glimpse of that in Mahera when I visited there in January and got a profound sense of that for Confirmation in Spring on daffodill day!
Today we mark and celebrate the glue that holds the family of Church together in the various ministries that people exercise each day, every weekend in each of the Churches.
These ministries offer their talents and services so generously in so many ways to build up the Body of Christ, to put flesh on the Word of God, proclaimed in today’s readings.
These ministries…. Are so many and it is only when we put them together in an event like this we realise the extent of them:
Pray and Play
St. Joseph’s Young Priests
Boards of Management
Charitable and prayer organistations
Many other important roles that help to make things special…
Ní neart go cur le chéile. It’s only when we are together that we can be strong.
Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine. We live in each others shadow as I mentioned several times at the Confirmation ceremonies this year.
There is something wonderful about the role of service and especially voluntary service in our communities. People giving freely of their time in the service of others to bring about the Kingdom of God…
Kahil Gibran 1883-1931
I love the wise words of the spiritual poet Kahil Gibran who reflects on what can and will and does give us joy in life: “I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.”
In the service that we celebrate and fete today, I see evidence of a lot of joy and may the Lord continue to bless the efforts of so many people in so many ways in the parish, the pastoral area and the diocese.
May God continue to bless us on this great day, this great day of marking the family that is the parish of Quin and the genuine efforts of so many who continue to minister in so many ways…