It is a frequent topic of conversation, ‘how are you going to celebrate Christmas?’
To be honest we don’t have any particular blueprint to follow. It will be a Christmas like none other ever experienced in our lifetime. However, this year we have adapted to, and coped with so much change, beginning with the first lockdown. From our experience of being on call to the hospital, and the patients and staff whom we encounter, we appreciate that we are still in a delicate and fragile place with the virus. It is vital that we continue to be on our guard and take note of all the advice offered by those in leadership. The months of repeated lockdown have not been easy, how wonderful it was to see regular parishioners return to Mass on Tuesday 1st December.
As Christmas approaches we need to plan carefully, and the arrangements we outline here will require from all of us, patience and understanding. Please God with vaccines on the way, we might look upon this Christmas as the one Christmas when we all had to make sacrifices. It is clear from NPHET and Government that attendance at Masses is drastically reduced. Each year in our pastoral area, we celebrate 19 Masses both on Christmas Eve/Day. Given the amazing crowds of people who attend our Masses each Christmas, to cater for everyone, we would probably need to treble/quadruple that number; it simply isn’t humanly possible! Therefore with this in mind we propose the following:
1. Please give serious consideration to joining us for Mass on the webcam from your home via Naas Parish App or on www.naasparish.ie. Mass will be available from Ballycane Church on Facebook Live. We wish to remind Parishioners that the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days remains suspended during the Pandemic.
2. Choose to attend just one Mass over one of the following days; Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, St. Stephen’s Day, Sunday 27th December. There are 33 Masses to choose from in our four Churches, please click on the link above to view this schedule of Masses. Times of Masses can also be viewed on the back page of the current Parish Newsletter.
3. On Christmas Eve morning why not consider visiting the Church of OLSD, between 10.30am and 1pm, to take the opportunity to receive Holy Communion only (NO Mass) and conclude with a prayer at the crib.
This option would be suitable for families and older people, a time of quiet and ease of movement.
Confessions will also be available.
4. Attendance at Mass for Christmas will be on a first come basis, when capacity is reached, you may unfortunately be refused entry to the Church (Hard to believe!).
5. Depending on weather and wrapped up with thermals, you might brave it by remaining outside, focusing on the ‘outdoor crib’, and Christmas tree, a new initiative for this year! Alternatively you could return to your car to listen to Mass on the radio from the Parish Church (107.3FM) or use a smart device to follow the Mass on webcam or in Ballycane on Facebook Live. After the ‘Our Father’ come forward to the designated outdoor station to receive Holy Communion.
6. Please consider making St Stephen’s Day or Mass on Sunday 27th your Christmas Mass.
We decided ‘right or wrong’ not to go with tickets, perhaps this way we avoid disappointing many regular and faithful parishioners. Please note that the Church doors will open 20 minutes before each Mass and close again after each Mass for sanitisation of seats etc. The stewards who help us so generously did not make the rules so please be patient, kind and understanding.
And thank you for your kind and faithful support to the Parish and to each of us on the Parish Team.