This year the Season of Advent is the shortest possible as Christmas Eve is the fourth Sunday of Advent. How should we use these three weeks to prepare for Christmas?
Fr Tom Ryan launching this year’s Mercy on the Mall at SkyCourt with Bishop Fintan Monahan, Ann Moloney and centre manger Pat Kelly. The launch coincided with Ann’s last day before taking her leave from AIB Shannon where her humour and wonderful attitude will indeed be missed.
No doubt one or two Christmas parties and dinners will be on your programme as well as the usual round of Christmas shopping, cleaning the house and baking the puddings and cakes.
However, it is a time when we should try to prepare for the real reason for the season of Christmas when Christ’s first coming is remembered as the gift of God the Father to us all.
John the Baptist is the Advent character who prepared people for the coming of Christ. John told his followers as they prepared for Christmas: “Repent of your sins, ask the Lord’s forgiveness for your sins, pray for the strength to change, open your minds and hearts to his coming by making more time for prayer, forgive those who need our forgiveness, ask forgiveness of those whom we have offended, and show to our family and friends that Christmas for us is a joyful celebration of the Christ child”.
Mercy on the Mall first took place in 2015 and again last year and has been so successful that both management of the shopping centre and priests have received requests that it becomes an annual part of the preparation for Christmas.
The initiative comes from the call of Pope Francis for priests to bring the gospel to the marketplace and for priests to make themselves available to people who wish to avail of the Sacrament or just to make a connection with the Church.
One person who availed of the opportunity described it as “liberating” whilst another remarked that it for them it was a new beginning.
And so I invite you once again to prepare for this Advent season by coming to SkyCourt Shopping Centre this Friday 8th December, for the third year of Mercy on the Mall.
Bishop Fintan Monahan and 20 priests will be available from 1 pm until 6 pm in different locations in SkyCourt for people who wish to respond to the invitation of John the Baptist to prepare for the Lord’s coming.
If you would like to avail of the opportunity for confession, a chat, or a blessing on the day, the Bishop and priests will give you as much time as you need.
Welcome to Fr. Francis Xavier
In this season of Advent, Shannon Parish welcomed a new priest to the community last weekend. Fr. Francis Xavier is one of two priests who has come to work in the Diocese of Killaloe.
Fr. Francis Xavier will assist in our Parish until July 2018 when he will receive a permanent appointment. His colleague, Fr. Rexon, has been appointed to the Parish of Birr pending a permanent appointment in July 2018. Fr. Francis Xavier will reside in 10 Lios Darog.
Tradaree Cluster Christmas Carol Service
The Annual Carol Service for the Tradaree Cluster parishes of Newmarket-on-Fergus, Shannon, and Sixmilebridge & Kilmurry, will be hosted this year by the parish of Newmarket-on-Fergus.
The service, involving all of the choirs and schools from the three parishes will take place on Tuesday 12th December in Newmarket-on-Fergus Church at 7.30pm. All are welcome.
The Franciscan Friars from Ennis will lead the Christmas Penitential Service for both Newmarket-on-Fergus and Shannon parishes on Tuesday 19th December in SS John & Paul Church at 7 pm.