Sunday 5th April 2020 Palm Sunday
Today we celebrate Palm Sunday: Holy Week begins on this Sunday. During this week we celebrate the central creed of our Christian faith. Christ has died. Christ is Risen. Christ will come again! We are celebrating these days when we are in the midst of a pandemic. We are all in lock-down. Pope Francis described our situation in vivid language when he gave his blessing "Urbi et Orbi" to the world on Friday 27 March in an empty St. Peter’s Square in Rome. He said: “Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by….We feel it in the air, we notice in people’s gestures, their glances give them away. We find ourselves afraid and lost.” He went on to compare Christ’s followers today like the disciples in a storm-tossed boat on the Sea of Galilee with Jesus at the helm asleep! Pope Francis calls us all to faith and trust in these stormy dark-filled days of fear and anxiety. He relates how the disciples called Jesus to wake up! (Mark 4:39) Pope Francis went on to say: "The Lord awakens so as to reawaken and revive our Easter faith. We have an anchor: by his cross we have been saved. We have a rudder: by his cross we have been redeemed. We have a hope: by his cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love. In the midst of isolation when we are suffering from a lack of tenderness and chances to meet up, and we experience the loss of so many things, let us once again listen to the proclamation that saves us: he is risen and is living by our side. The Lord asks us from his cross to rediscover the life that awaits us, to look towards those who look to us, to strengthen, recognise and foster the grace that lives within us. Let us not quench the wavering flame (cf. Is 42:3) that never falters, and let us allow hope to be rekindled."
These are powerful words. We are living during these days when the traditions of our faith are being turned upside down. We honour the Sabbath by means of staying at home and we honour our elderly fathers and mothers by means of keeping our distance! All of these actions are in order to stem the spread of the coronavirus. We know that love is shown in deeds, not words, and today social distancing is one concrete way of loving one’s neighbour. Strange days! During these days, our vulnerability and fragility is on display for all to see. These days also uncovers those false and unnecessary certainties around which we have constructed our daily lives! In the midst of all that is happening may we call on God to come to our aid - the psalmist cried out: “O Lord, listen to my prayer and let my cry for help reach you” (Psalm 101). Despite all that we are going through let the words of Pope Francis touch our hearts:" ..let us once again listen to the proclamation that saves us: he is risen and is living by our side.”
Thanks to the many people who have phoned, emailed, posted letters of support to our community here in the Graan. Thanks especially to those who sent in donations and their usual contributions for the upkeep of the monastery. We are so grateful for your prayers, good wishes and generous support. Many have asked how they could support us financially during these days. We have set up Standing Order forms with the First Trust Bank in Enniskillen - and if you wish you could send your offering into us by these means. I am so conscious that many people are also finding it difficult to make ends meet, because of the current situation. If you can help, we would be so indebted. Our benefactors are always remembered in our prayers and Masses.
You can download the Standing Order Form - HERE
The Church here at The Graan will remain open from 9.30am – 4pm each day for private prayer.
Guild Mass Cards: We have Easter Mass Bouquets, Deceased, Mass Bouquets, Get Well, Birthday, Special Occasion, Thinking of You & Exam Mass Bouquets which cost £2 / €2.50 each.
The Anniversary Masses for Saturday Vigil & Sunday will be celebrated privately by the priests here.
Monica Mc Cauley, Graan Abbey NH formerly Rigg Rd, Enniskillen
Martin Mc Caffrey, Brookeborough
The Stewart Family, Ross, Springfield
James & Teresa O Doherty, Belmore St, Enniskillen
Margaret O Doherty, Belmore Street Enniskillen
The Donnelly Family, Fintona & Jimmy Carters Enniskillen
James Curran, Carrigallen
John Cathcart, Kinawley
A poem gone Viral by Kitty O’Meara
And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully,
as they had been healed.