I had my usual Monday off, but I’ve decided to join the Clonard community in Monday Eucharistic Adoration. I have started to head over for a half hour of time each Monday with the Blessed Sacrament. This was my second week of restarting that habit, and I’m hoping it will bring some added stability and peace.
Monday evening, our friend Therese, who sings in Folk Group with us, invited the four of us and Ruairi over to her home for dinner. She served us some lovely food and drink, and the six of us chatted long into the night about everything from singing in choirs to life in Clonard. We were talking and laughing deep into the night, and before we knew it, four hours had passed! Good times.
Tuesday evening, we had Fr. Sean and Sr. Mary to our home for dinner for our periodic check-in. It’s nice to bring the parish team into our home. Each Friday, we eat with them at one of the priest’s houses and have AMAZING food served to us by our friend, Angela. So, these dinners in the House of Brigid are a nice way for us to return the favor and bring them inside the home that they have helped us to build.
That night, I headed out to St. Michael’s Hall in town where the local St. Vincent de Paul societies meet. Clonard, Rowe Street, and Bride Street churches each have their own conferences that provide support to local people in need that live within their boundaries. This was my third time sitting in with the Clonard conference on Tuesday evenings as they receive visitors and review the call sheets from the week. People mainly request assistance with their budgets, from electricity bill debts to gift cards for groceries, and they bring stories that can really hit you hard. The SVdP group is strongly committed to visited people’s homes, making personal meetings rather than mailing out help, so in the future, I hope to get involved with those home visits.
The Confirmation season is still a few months away, but we are already in demand. A priest from Ferns visited us on Wednesday to discuss the format of an evening retreat for his community’s confirmation group. We shared our ideas for holding simultaneous programs for kids and parents and the prayer service we drew up to bring them together at the end of the night. He was pleased with our input and was very inquisitive as to where we were coming from in deciding to come to Ireland and do our ministry. We really enjoy the chance to have a mutual exchange with the people we meet.
That theme continued on Thursday when we were collected by our new friend, Pat, for tea and sandwiches. He invited us to his home while he was at Clonard for an Adoration retreat, and we are so glad that he did. We joined his wife, two of his sons, and one of his fellow legionaries from the Legion of Mary in his farmhouse. We talked about the House of Brigid, the Legion of Mary, and the Church environment here in Ireland. His younger son was delightfully candid and honest in engaging us and trying to understand what motivates us to come here and try to help the Church. He gave us great insight into the indifference toward being religious or even emotionally open and vulnerable. The conversation was fantastic as it was a truly mutually enlightening exchange for the four of us. It was a thoroughly delightful night, and Pat invited to come back during Christmas time. We will certainly be seeing them again, and I think we’ve found a great new friend for the House of Brigid.
Meanwhile, our work in the schools continues. Kurt and Jess are working feverishly with the Scoil Mhuire kids on their Christmas carols, and Molly is accompanying the Kennedy Park kids on piano as their choir prepares. Class masses continue as well: Kurt and Jess have a 5th class from Scoil Mhuire working toward a mass while Molly and I are working toward a mass for the Body and Blood of Christ with a 5th class in Kennedy Park. AND! This morning was Scoil Mhuire’s first ever penance service, while Kennedy Park’s first ever penance service comes on Tuesday morning. We are very grateful to the priests who came in from other parishes to hear the children’s confessions.
And there’s always more around the corner! At lunch today, we looked forward to preparing our adult leaders for You Shall Be my Witnesses (Confirmation program), our fourth weekend of preparatory programming for the Eucharistic Congress in summer 2012, and Kurt and I are hatching a possible series of evening prayer nights in Advent. Stay tuned!