By Ann Marie Foley - 02 October, 2013
Abbeyleix, Ballinakill, and Shanahoe parishes join together from 8 – 12 October for a Gathering in Faith culminating in their first Mass with Bishop Denis Nulty. He was ordained Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin in August.
The joint vigil mass for the three parishes is to be held in Heywood Community School which in 1990 amalgamated three religious schools (the Salesians, Brigidines and Presentation Sisters) and one vocational school.
The activities lined up include adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Friday night, as well as speakers in each of the three parish churches, and a youth programme.
The idea was first raised in a parish liturgy group and it grew from there. Now the invitation has gone out and all are welcome to the churches during the celebrations.
“Whether they believe or not, whether they have issues with the Church or not, or go to mass or not, the door is open. We would be hoping that they might find their way in,” Fr Gerard Ahern, PP Abbeyleix parish, told CatholicIreland.net
“The idea was that we would have a liturgy each night with a common element as well as a common prayer and hymn,” Fr Gerard Ahern said. Each night a different parish will host a different speaker to share their own faith story. The themes are Sowing the Seed, Living the Faith and Handing on Faith.
“It is a mission with a difference in that there is an element of pilgrimage. We are pilgrims going from one parish to another and we come together on Saturday night and that vigil mass will bring together the three themes,” Fr Ahern explained.
The initiative marks the Year of Faith 2012 – 2013 and is seen as a chance for all to participate as one. It is an opportunity for people to gather in faith, reflect on their lives in the light of the Gospel message, pray as a Christian Family, celebrate and rekindle their faith and deepen their sense of belonging to the faith community.
The special youth event will be held on Saturday 12 October, and it is facilitated by NET (National Evangelical Teams) Ministries.
Its members give a year of their time to NET and visit schools and parishes to run retreats and workshops for young people.
The programme for the Gathering of Faith is as follows:
8 October: Prayer Service Abbeyleix with speaker: Robert Norton, K&L Faith Development Services
9 October: Shanahoe with speaker: David O’Flaherty, Permanent Deacon for Kildare and Leighlin. David will be among the first group ordained as permanent deacons for the diocese.
10 October: Ballinakill with speaker: Fr Paddy Byrne, Portlaoise Parish. Fr Paddy writes a blog and articles for several newspapers
11 October: Abbeyleix, Shanahoe and Ballinakill: Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
12 October: Abbeyleix: Faith Alive – for post primary youth
12 October: Vigil Mass Heywood Community School: Celebrant – Bishop Denis Nulty.