We’re in the midst now of a string of GORGEOUS spring days. Daffodils are out in full force, and cherry blossoms are starting to make themselves known, too. Lucky for us, then, that we’ve had commitments at Ballyvaloo retreat centre* for 5 of the last 7 days. Run by the St. John of God sisters (some of our favorite people ever), Ballyvaloo is situated right on the sea, with a private path down to some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll ever see. Fun Wexford fact: the D-Day scene in Saving Private Ryan was shot a different stretch of this very beach in Ireland. Anyway, the combination of gorgeous weather and beautiful beach has made for some very happy campers in the House of Brigid. 4 of those 5 Ballyvaloo visits have been the Confirmation retreats that I discussed in an earlier post. The remaining one, though, was a lovely Sunday afternoon spent with over 40 of Clonard’s parishioners who volunteer in a ministerial capacity. Nearly 100 people serve Clonard as Eucharistic ministers, lectors, music ministers, bereavement support volunteers, art and environment committee members, and hospitality ministers…which gives you a sense of how special Clonard is when it comes to involving the laity. Of those 100, we were able to gather nearly half for an afternoon retreat to reflect on what it means to be a minister. Fr. Willie Howell from Gorey gave some input on the Baptismal call to ministry, and then we had some time for tea, scones, and conversation with some of our partners in ministry. It was a great opportunity to meet people who maybe are regularly at a different Mass from yourself. After the break, we re-convened and our community led some reflection and discussion on the importance of self-care in ministry. The liturgist at Ballyvaloo then led us all in a beautiful ritual that centered around an anointing of hands to strengthen and confirm our ministries.
The whole afternoon was a lovely reminder of what we’re here to do, and it’s always great to be reminded that even in all the busy-ness we’ve been experiencing, we’re never alone in the work we’re doing and in the vision of the Church we believe in!
*MUST re-learn American spellings before returning in July.