I’m sure we have all spent some time during the week wishing the weather was better, praying for some sunshine, asking God to banish the dark clouds, heavy rain and bring us some of the blue skies and gentle breezes that we need so much. The weather of course is one of those things we can’t change, even with fervent prayers, but we adapt to the conditions, grabbing brollies and jackets, we watch for a break in the clouds and go out, we get caught in a shower and shelter under a tree, the sun comes out, we sing.
There are many changes in the life we share together as church too, things that we have little control over. Just as we adapt for the weather, I imagine we will change our church habits and behaviours too.
Of the three parishes in our grouping, Clonskeagh has the smallest attendance at Mass since Covid 19 made its unwelcome appearance. The numbers at Saturday evening Mass had shrunk back to about 50 people and Sunday mornings around a 100. The church is vast, the back seats seem to be the preferred place to sit and gosh but it is difficult to celebrate Mass joyfully. So, for the summer we combined the two celebrations at 10.30am on Sunday.
I arrived for Mass at 10.15am the choir were rehearsing and their laughter and music were immediately uplifting. As the congregation gathered and spread through the church the 152 people present felt like just enough. At the end of Mass a cluster of white haired parishioners gathered with an Indian family, new to the parish, to extend the hand of friendship and as that congregation was leaving a whole family were coming in for a Baptism. When I left at 12.15pm, the two hours had flown by, Sunday had been well celebrated and it felt good.
As you can imagine the first reaction to the ‘dropping’ of the evening mass and the combining the parish celebration into a single viable Mass was met with some negative comment, which is entirely understandable. Yet the change is effective, but only works if priests and parishioners adapt willingly and with a sense of purpose. That’s the challenge of the present moment, for us all, and I am sure we will not be found wanting.
Here’s to hoping for some sunshine this week!