Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Rathkeale and Kilnaughtin
Group parish notes in
‘Newslink’ June 2020

‘Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring’ … ringing the bells on Sunday mornings at Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton

Rathkeale and Kilnaughtin Group of Parishes

Rathkeale, Askeaton, Castletown and Kilnaughtin

Priest-in-Charge: Revd Canon Patrick Comerford,
The Rectory, Askeaton, Co Limerick.

Parish Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RathkealeGroup/

Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
That’s how the light gets in


Leonard Cohen’s song ‘Anthem’ was written at a time of great difficulties and challenge: 1989 saw Chinese troops move against the protesters in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, and also saw the fall of the Berlin Wall.

This too is a difficult year none of us could have foreseen or imagined. But the bells continue to ring in the tower at Saint Mary’s Church in Askeaton as a sign of hope every Sunday since Easter.

Nor has the parish forgotten its ‘perfect offering’: the Parish Eucharist continues to be celebrated every Sunday morning … first behind the closed doors of Saint Mary’s Church, and then every Sunday in the Rectory.

The Parish Eucharist continues every Sunday in the Rectory in Askeaton

There are constant signs of hope in the parish: many parishioners, in their own ways, took part in the ‘Darkness into Light’ dawn walk in support of Pieta House. There have been home deliveries and phone calls, texts and emails. The church doors may be closed, but the hearts of parishioners have remained open and generous.

There have been Zoom meetings of the school board, Zoom meetings of the cathedral chapter, the Parish Facebook page gets hundreds of ‘hits’ each week, and the planned sermon and planned intercessions go ‘live’ every Sunday on Patrick’s blog (www.patrickcomerford.com) and on the Parish Facebook page, and they are available, by request, in an email posting every Sunday.

Darkness into Light … dawn light above the Friary ruins and the River Deel in Askeaton

The Sunday intercessions recently remembered Rosemary Eacrett of Doonard, Tarbert, who died in Killarney, and was buried in Lea Churchyard, Portarlington, Co Laois. She lived in Tarbert for almost 50 years and was a valued parishioner of Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin. She served as Treasurer for many years and as a vestry member. She later lived in a nursing home in Killarney, close to her daughter Valerie. Her husband George, who died in 2009, was a churchwarden for many years. She is survived by her daughter Valerie Hilliard and her son Peter.

In the midst of the bewilderment and uncertainty brought in with this pandemic, the light keeps breaking through. To symbolise this, candles spelled out the word ‘Hope’ at midnight recently in the Rectory garden.

At the end of his song ‘Anthem’ Leonard Cohen sings:

There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
That’s how the light gets in


This may be a reference to the Aaronic blessing imparted by Jewish priests or Cohanim, and which he sometimes pronounced as a Cohen at the end of his concerts:

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace
(Numbers 6: 24-26).

Tradition says the light of God pours through the five gaps of the upraised fingers of the priests in this blessing. In our cracked and broken world today, the light of God keeps pouring into our lives in abundance and in generosity.

Hope in the darkness … candles at midnight in the Rectory Garden

Photographs: Patrick Comerford

This is an edited version of the Rathkeale and Kilnaughtin Group of Parishes parish notes in the June 2020 edition of ‘Newslink,’ the Limerick and Killaloe diocesan magazine, pp 31-32.

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