stand at the door of the church and impart a fond farewell to each person as they left the Church. Lighthearted banter was often mingled with news of a sick relative or some particular worry or concern discreetly shared.
The memory of one parishioner continues to be somehow etched upon my memory. No real reason, except that he always exuded warmth and friendliness, always the kind, affirming, and encouraging word. One of those people where you feel blessed by the encounter, by the crossing of life’s paths. His name was Séan. Sadly on the 1st May 2014, Séan lost his life in a freak and tragic farmyard accident. In the sorrow filled days that followed; both shock and tear-filled memory fused uneasily together. Over those days his family frequently mentioned Séan’s deep love for the month of May and most especially as a farmer, for the First Day of May. Now, each year as the first day of May dawns, I think of Séan! And I think too of that much loved hymn to Mary: ‘The Queen of the May’. Thankfully, RTE presenters, following tradition created by Uncle Gaybo (God rest him) still generously respond to the radio listenership clamour, to play yet again the Canon Sydney MacEwan famed song. This first day of May, Month of Mary, we place all our loved ones; living and deceased under her maternal mantle of care and protection. And so, with full hearts swelling and with glad voices telling… we’ll sing: O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today!