Pastoral Area Mission – Radharc na nOileán
Welcome to the Radharc na nOileán Mission – Autumn 2023
Come As You Are!
Caravaggio is among the most popular of baroque painters. People enjoy his use of light and shade and relate to the realism of his painting. Much of his art is inspired by scenes from the life of Christ. Even today, four centuries after his death people still identify with and see themselves in his painting. In his day, some were shocked that he depicted the disciples as having dusty feet. It lacked reverence, they said. But would clean feet have been credible on people who walked the grimy roads and hills of Palestine?
Light and darkness, dusty feet, joy and pain, good days and bad, tranquillity and chaos, hope and fear, sickness and health, busy days and restful days and so much else besides all combine to make up our lives. Caravaggio’s own life contained its own share of life and shade but yet his legacy is one of beauty.
Bríd Meaney, our volunteer pastoral worker in Radharc na nOileán has organised a mission that seeks to reflect the light and shade that is at the core of our lives. The title we choose for our mission is ‘Come as you are’. We can only start from where we are now. We have no other option. Equally, we can only come as we are. We can never hoodwink God or indeed fool ourselves. But the hopes and dreams that dwell in our hearts are also part of us and we invited to bring them also.
We have seven churches in our pastoral area and we will hold one evening in each. Seven evenings, seven speakers, seven churches at 7pm. We will pray, listen, talk, reflect, share and hopefully go home with hearts that are a little lighter. There will be an invited speaker in each church who will share his/her experience of life, love, prayer and so much besides. On some evenings we will have the celebration of the Eucharist and others will consist of prayer led by members of that particular community. As our church evolves, lay led liturgy is becoming an ever more prominent part of our life of faith and perhaps for some people this might be their first experience of that form of prayer.
On some evenings during our mission, people will have the opportunity to engage with the speaker by sharing their own thoughts or perhaps asking a question. We don’t often get the opportunity to express our views in Church, so hopefully that will be enriching. Each gathering will last no more than 45 minutes. On some evenings there will be the opportunity to chat to the speaker and each other over refreshments afterwards.
The speakers and topics that each church community has chosen will take us to many sides of the wonderful adventure that is life. We begin in Kildysart on Thursday, 30 November where our guest will be Aisling O’Connor, Clare’s representative in the 2023 Rose of Tralee who will reflect on community. The following evening (1 December) we will gather in Lissycasey to hear a member of the Clare Volunteers offer their thoughts on celebrating volunteering. Cherishing family will be Olive Foley’s topic in Coolmeen on Monday, 4 December. Fr Pat Hogan from Moyross in Limerick will speak on bereavement in Labasheeda on Tuesday, 5 December. Bishop Willie Walsh will reflect on the fulfilment of life’s journey under the heading of ‘Celebrating Age’ in Cranny on Wednesday, 6 December. Two Dominican priests will travel from the Claddagh in Galway to Kilmurry McMahon on Thursday, 7 December to share about their ministry of healing. On our final evening, Friday, 8 December Éoin Keane, a successful young businessman will speak in Ballycorick about our youthful community.
Our mission is taking place as Advent, our season of preparation for Christmas begins. Christmas is a wonderful, blessed time for so many people but not for everybody or at least not every year. Our seven evenings in seven churches at 7pm might well be what we need to raise our gaze above the glitter and commotion so that we may experience God’s love as we look forward to the birth of the saviour.
Everyone is welcome. Light, shade, dusty feet, whatever. We hope that people from the different parts of our pastoral area will travel around to the other churches. If you are not from our pastoral area or if you don’t know our communities, you are even more welcome. If it is a while since you were in any church, you are especially welcome. Christ welcomes everyone of us as we are. If you can’t physically be present, five of our churches (Ballycorick, Lissycasey, Cranny, Coolmeen and Kildysart) have webcams which will allow you to join us from home, wherever you may be.
Come as you are!
Fr. Albert McDonnell
Radharc na nOileán Pastoral Area