Planning for 2017…………………….
It’s that time of year when things go quiet in our parishes, groups have shut down for the summer, schools are closed and many people are enjoying a welcome break. It’s also a time of year when planning for 2017 is in full swing. These past two weeks Fr. Tom and I have been meeting with our parish pastoral worker – Christopher Okereke to map out dates and times for Sacramental preparations in our primary schools. The logistics involved are quite something and poor Christopher who has three parishes to think of! In St. Mary’s parish alone over 350 children will be prepared for First Holy Communion, and an even greater number will be confirmed. Between the three Lucan Parishes close to a thousand children will celebrate these milestones on their faith journey. Much of the preparation will take place in the classroom where following the religion program of the Diocese the children will learn about the Sacraments and their meaning, but while knowing the content of the faith is vital, faith is not something that can be taught in the manner of maths or Irish. For faith to become a living life shaping force it needs the context of a family grounded in religious practice and a parish (Church) which supports the young people on their journey. Early in the new school year we will be holding meetings with the parents of those presenting for the Sacraments at which we will outline the practical supports they can give to their young people.
This year in St. Mary’s we established a family Mass – a child friendly celebration on Sundays at 9.45am, and we have seen the numbers gradually increase each month. Our sister parishes of St. Patrick and Divine Mercy also have these family Masses. They are a vital element in the preparation process; if the children feel welcomed and cherished and can develop a sense of belonging to the believing community this goes a long way in fostering their spiritual lives. Some weeks back we invited the children of the family Mass to what turned out to be a super party occasion in the parish centre, eats and drinks went down well, as well as a very entertaining Magician, The Family Mass has finished now for the summer but will be back in September. We are blessed that many parents have volunteered to help with the organisation of the Mass and we always welcome newcomers. When parents, schools and parish work together in the children’s interest we can offer the very best support and preparation.
Fr. Philip Curran