ST AGNES PARISH 29TH MARCH 2020

Parish News…

THE PARISH OFFICE IS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE STAFF WILL CONTINUE TO WORK FROM HOME, SO YOU WILL BE ABLE TO CALL KATE ON 07850685870 FOR QUERIES OR YOU CAN E-MAIL TO: st.agnes.belfast@gmail.com.

The best communication now is via our website where  it is updated each day www.stagnesbelfast.com 

You can give an anniversary intention for this section of the bulletin by calling me or e-mailing.

The public celebration of Mass is suspended in all Churches in the Diocese. This includes all religious houses where the public may attend and special gatherings of the faithful. All the faithful are dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and Holy Days of obligation.

However Fr Thomas will continue to celebrate Mass behind closed doors to an empty Church at 10AM- MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAY, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY  EACH WEEK. THIS MASS WILL BE BROADCAST VIA THE PARISH RADIO SO PLEASE TUNE IN. IF YOU KNOW ANY PARISHIONERS WITH PARISH RADIOS PLEASE  INFORM THEM OF THIS SERVICE AS THEY MIGHT NOT KNOW THAT IT IS AVAILABLE .

Pastoral Letter from Bishop Noel Treanor regarding measures taken in response to COVID-19 25 March 2020

My dear people and dear friends, today I wish to address a word to you all -the people, priests, deacons, religious and monks who live in our Diocese of Down and Connor. As you know only too well, we and the entire human family are confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic. It has already taken the lives of some of our neighbours. With you, I extend my sympathies to the families of those who have died due to the virus. We assure them of our prayers. Sadly, it is thought by clinicians that this virus will end the earthly lives of others in our community in the coming days and weeks. Over the past week and more, following on the advice and guidance of government and our public authorities, and having consulted with fellow clergy and others, I have issued guidance and directives to be implemented in our parishes. These directives have, of course, limited the work and outreach of the pastoral work and services of the diocese, its offices and agencies. Regrettably, we decided to close our Churches first for the celebration of Mass with congregations. This morning we closed them completely until further notice. The sole aim of these measures is to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, to save lives and to enable us all to protect each other. They were put in place to protect and save our lives – the lives of all of us, the elderly, youth, priests and people. These measures were issued after much thought and prayer and indeed with a very heavy heart. I realise they upset some. Some find them hard to accept. I have received some pleas to re-open Churches. I know the pain of these measures. But we must all stop and take clear stock of the threat to life of this “invisible virus that transmits easily and kills” and of which you and I can be carriers without knowing it. Today, I wish to let you know of a further decision that I have taken after much thought and prayer. This decision concerns the funerals of our dead, of our beloved deceased. As of today, our sisters and brothers in Christ, who die will be taken directly to the cemetery for burial. In the cemetery, a short funeral prayer service will take place, respecting the determinations of the public authorities in regard to inter-personal social distancing and any other provisions deemed necessary. Requiem Mass will be celebrated in memory of the deceased person at a later date, when this pandemic has passed and when the conditions permitting gatherings of people in buildings and in Churches prevail. It is, however, necessary to recognise that if arrangements have been made at this point and time for funerals, those arrangements will be honoured and carried through. It is simply too risk-laden to gather inside buildings even in small numbers. We must proactively exercise extreme care for each other and for ourselves. To do otherwise would be unchristian. I realise the pain this will cause to many, to many families, to many individuals. I ask for your forbearance, for your charity and for your care for others. And as I do so, on behalf of all of us, I wish to salute the heroism of all who work in our hospitals, nursing homes, in health care services, in the administration of our health care systems and in the National Health Service. I thank all who support the Nursing and Medical teams in the front line, the Ambulance and Paramedical teams and the chaplains, and all who work from laundry to laboratory in and around our hospitals. We salute their heroism, their courage and their dedication. May God protect us all and may the Risen Christ sustain hope in our hearts and minds as we face together the circumstances that will test our courage and bring out the heroic best in so many already exemplified by the initiative taken by so many in our neighbourhoods to support those who are housebound and lonely, those who need help and to provide foodbanks for the service of many. Thank you. + Noël Treanor Bishop of Down and Connor

COVID-19 Support Line for Older People  ALONE  has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Professional staff are available to answer queries and give advice and reassurance where necessary. The support line is open seven days a week, 8am – 8pm, by calling 0818 222 024.

ACCORD MARRIAGE PREPARATION We regret that due to the worsening situation being created by the spread of COVID-19, we are unable to resume Marriage Preparation Courses for the foreseeable future.  We will continue to monitor the situation, and when we have been advised that it is safe to recommence our normal service we will be delighted to convey the good news to everyone. For the present time Accord Marriage Preparation Courses are suspended until the end of July 2020.

Remember in Prayer…

Recently Deceased:

Maureen Cunningham

(Funeral occured Wednesday 25th March)

John Mc Mullan 51 Riverdale Gardens

(Funeral 10am Saturday 28th March)

Those whose anniversaries occur at this time:

Danny & Kathleen Mc Allister

Doris Robinson

Patricia, James, Jim & Kieran Maxwell

Rory Fennell

Terry Gillen

Marie Birch

Rachel O’ Rawe

Frank Drain

Dermot Mulholland

Dermot & Mona Mc Guigan

Tom Mc Quillan

Margaret Thornton

Micky & Teresa Monaghan

Albert Weir

Brian Monaghan

Vincent Hynes

Susan O’Neill

Marie Foley

Sally O’Gorman

Emma Groves

Fifth Sunday of Lent

29 March 2020

Come forth Lazarus

In today’s Gospel Jesus is surrounded by a culture of death. The disciples are afraid to go back to Bethany, the Jews want to stone Jesus to death, Mary and Martha are distraught over the death of their brother Lazarus, and Lazarus himself lies bound in the darkness of the tomb. It appears as if there is no hope. Jesus weeps for his friend and for those around him.

Yet, surrounded by a culture of death and despair, Jesus gives compassion and new life to those in turmoil. It is easy to say that nothing can be done when we are faced with difficult situations in our own lives. Yet Jesus says ‘Lazarus, come forth’ and to the people he says ‘Unbind him, let him go.’ It is a message for all of us to come away from a culture of death; to help unbind one another and to allow ourselves to emerge from the tomb. We are called to take away the stone. Today’s Gospel is a story of liberation. Jesus gives a new insight into the power of faith over death. It is an active faith, one that urges us on to work for change and new life.

‘What did you do while the planet was plundered? What did you do as the earth was unravelling? Surely you did something as the seasons started failing? Surely you did something as the mammals, reptiles and birds were all dying? Did you fill the streets with protest when democracy was stolen? What did you do once you knew?’

Eternal rest grant unto them , O Lord!

 

Prayer to Our Lady, Health of the Sick O Mary, you shine continuously along our journey as a sign of salvation and hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who at the Cross were near to the pain of Jesus, keeping your faith firm. Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the will of the Father and to do what Jesus tells us, He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and took up our sorrows to bring us, through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen. We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God. Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test – and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Pope Francis. 

Update From Southern Trust re Hospital Visitation – Friday 27th March 2020

To protect our patients, their families and our staff, we have to suspend all visiting to our hospitals with immediate effect.  

There are some exceptions to these restrictions however these remain subject to further review.

We understand that this may be upsetting for some families however it is absolutely necessary to protect everyone.

 (exceptions in the attached)

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