November 2020

Remember our dearly departed

Each November we gather as a Christian Community to remember those who have gone before us and to offer our consolation and support to those among us who have been recently bereaved. In Ireland, death is encased by prayer and rituals that for generations have become part of the rich heritage of our faith tradition.

In March 2020, the traditions upon which we drew solace were snatched from us as we sought to keep our communities safe in the midst of a pandemic. There are many families who by necessity had to relinquish the opportunity to be with their loved one in their final moments of this life, to hear the stories and words of sympathy at the wake house and to experience the gathering of the community at a Requiem Mass. Family life is challenged by the death of a loved one, the challenge can feel all the greater when we cannot access support in the usual way. At this time of challenge, we offer the light of faith as a support to families in their time of loss.

The grieving process takes time. Each stage of grief has its own demands and the process is unique to each one of us. When we look to the Gospel, we see how Jesus was deeply moved and began to weep at the death of a close friend. (Jn 11:33-35) Each of us can understand that there is great anguish felt by those who have lost a much-loved person. With a sincere and patient process of prayer and interior freedom, peace returns. “Love is as strong as death” (Song 8:6). We are invited to love those who have departed from us in a new way. Love involves an intuition that can enable us to hear without sounds and to see the unseen. This does not mean imagining our loved ones as they were, but being able to accept them changed as they now are. The risen Jesus, when his friend Mary tried to embrace him, told her not to hold on to him (cf. Jn 20:17), in order to lead her to a different kind of encounter. It consoles us to know that those who die do not completely pass away, and faith assures us that the risen Lord will never abandon us. Scripture tells us that God created us out of love and made us in such a way that our life does not end with death (cf. Wis 3:2-3). And that with Christ, after death, there awaits us “what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9).

The above message is taken from “November, a month to remember our dearly departed”.

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The Rosary

By tradition, the Catholic Church dedicates each month of the year to a certain devotion. The month of October is dedicated to the holy Rosary, one of the best known of all Catholic devotions. According to an account by fifteenth-century Dominican, Alan de la Roch, Mary appeared to St. Dominic in 1206 after he had been praying and doing severe penances because of his lack of success in combating the Albigensian heresy. Mary praised him for his valiant fight against the heretics and then gave him the Rosary as a mighty weapon, explained its uses and efficacy, and told him to preach it to others.

The Holy Rosary, also known as the Dominican Rosary, or simply the Rosary, refers to a set of prayers used in the Catholic Church and to the string of knots or beads used to count the component prayers. The prayers that compose the Rosary are arranged in sets of ten Hail Marys, called decades. Each decade is preceded by one Lord’s Prayer (“Our Father”) and traditionally followed by only one Glory Be. Many Catholics also choose to recite the “O my Jesus” prayer after the Glory Be, which is the most well known of the seven Fatima Prayers. During recitation of each set, thought is given to one of the Mysteries of the Rosary, which recall events in the lives of Jesus and of Mary. Five decades are recited per rosary. Rosary beads are an aid towards saying these prayers in the proper sequence.

The Rosary draws its mysteries from the New Testament and is centered on the great events of the Incarnation and Redemption with each decade referring to an event in the life of Jesus and Mary. The Mysteries of the Rosary give us “thumbnails” of the life of Christ and his Mother.

  • The Joyful Mysteries are taken mostly from Saint Luke’s Gospel in the New Testament. They involve the joyful events of Jesus’ childhood.
  • The Luminous Mysteries bring a deeper understanding to the public life of Jesus. They fill in the blanks between the childhood of Jesus and His suffering and death on the cross.
  • The Sorrowful Mysteries remind us of how much Jesus loves us. They recall how He suffered and died just for us.
  • The Glorious Mysteries tell us what happened after Jesus died-His Resurrection, the descent of the Holy Spirit and the love Jesus had for his Mother.

The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is on October 7. The best way to celebrate the month is, of course, to pray the Rosary.

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