Back in the Land of Nutella

Even after several semesters and a summer spent in Europe, I’ve found that it still takes a fair amount of time to be totally comfortable with a new home, especially one that comes complete with new language, new faces, new names (with spellings I couldn’t dream up if I tried), and cups of coffee that are….different tasting than the ones I’m accustomed to in the States. The question posed to me daily by one member of the parish or another is, “how are ya settling in?” At first, I thought I must just appear to everyone to be unsettled–hair barely atop my head, shoes on backwards, running amuck throughout the town. But as caring parishioners continued taking the time to ask about my impression of Wexford, I’ve felt totally welcomed into my new home for a good long while. And, as for getting to know the town, a combination of my running habits and my inability to stay in one place for very long has helped me see a great deal of the surrounding area. Here are some (SUNNY!) pictures of Wexford on a few (SUNNY!) runs I’ve had:

Somewhere in Wexford…near some tennis courts and a “petrol” station


Curracloe Beach! (Fun fact: Much of “Saving Private Ryan” was filmed on this very spot.)
We like flags in this town, okay?
Along the Quay…what’s this? Clouds in the sky? Well I never…..
If I were to write a song titled, “The Cutest Wee House That You E’er Did See”, ‘twould be about this here house.

Aside from getting acquainted with Wexford, we’ve already begun many of the programmes within the parish just this past week. Nick and I braved the sea of parents on Monday and Tuesday nights, giving a short presentation on the You Shall Be My Witnesses (we’ll call it YSBMW) program for 6th class students preparing for their Confirmation in the Spring. There will be classes taught in the schools throughout the year, but this program is unique in offering an opportunity for the students’ parents to be involved as much as they’d like. We wouldn’t be able to host YSBMW without the parents stepping in as leaders of student groups, but as we shared the significance of the Sacrament of Confirmation, the symbolism behind the candle at the Enrollment Ceremony, and the pile of sessions regarding how to be a good Christian, we were met with apprehensive, wide-eyed expressions that spoke volumes about the parents’ feelings.

Father Martin and Father James spoke softly and with great care as they said, “The important thing is that you’re wanting to walk with your children on this faith journey.” The faces relaxed. Lo and behold, despite a last-minute change of location for the info session and a powerpoint-less talk, despite Nick saying the cost of the program is $10 instead of €10, and despite me saying 7:30 instead of “half seven” and printing my notes on the parish’s BINGO paper, the parents were surprisingly eager to volunteer as parental leaders for the various sessions. Praise God! The parents pulled us aside afterwards asking variations of the question, “are you sure I can do this?” to which we smiled and said, “of course you can!” The beauty was seeing their loving care for their child in their small sacrifice of time throughout the year. And that love will travel leaps and bounds….even if you’re not a “Holy Joe.”

(Side note: I was wondering what a Holy Joe was so I Googled it. The Dictionary says it’s either 1) A Chaplain of the Troops or 2) A sanctimonious or pious person and Google Images showed me the following):

Cup o’ JOE with the G.I.Joes at Holy Joe’s Cafe

Speaking of Holy Joes, here are a few pictures from the BEAUTIFUL closing to the pilgrimage season on Our Lady’s Island:

As we set out around the island, rosaries and paper-cased candles in hand, feet sloshing in heaps of muddy bank
My candle fought valiantly against the mighty winds but alas….winds are strong.
And another view with “Ill Sing a Hymn to Mary” on the side


A mysterious Irish sky
The conclusion of the evening: a few more prayers, a shout-out to our community and “An Irish Blessing!” sung with added dips and turns. A lovely evening!

This week also saw the beginnings of our choir rehearsals, including Childrens’ Liturgy Group (CLG), Youth Choir (YC…New this season!), and the ever faithful Vigil Choir (VC). Wednesday evening we drudged up our best singing voices and Molly and I attended CLG, leading the children in prayer and singing along with them as they prepare for their first Sunday morning Liturgy. We sang through a few I didn’t know and then got to Set Your Heart on the Higher Gifts, which I may have heard once or twice. 😉 Molly accompanied much of it at the front and I sat behind the children, subject to many a curious backwards glance in my direction by the children. Then it was to the very first rehearsal of Clonard’s Youth Choir…well…3 youth anyway. We learned a few songs and mass parts amidst fits of giggles for an upcoming Vigil mass when they’ll join the Vigil Choir. We’re hoping for a few more brave young souls, but I suppose starting small can only mean going up in numbers as time goes on! Finally, we greeted the Vigil Choir members at 8:45pm for a brief rehearsal (9pm is airing a little on the late side for a few). Our friend Ruairi (I’ve taken to calling him “Roo-oww-arr-eee” because I tend to lose track of all the vowels) gave us a lift home and we all rewarded the almost three hours of rehearsals with bits squares hunks of dark chocolate and spoonfuls gallons of Nutella.

Lastly but not least…ly, Nicole and I visited Kennedy Park, the primary school where we’ll be this year for an initial meet n’ greet with the Principal, the Deputy Principal, one of the teachers and Father Martin. We talked all about the exciting, awe-inspiring plans forrrr…..guess you’ll have to wait until another post to find out more. 🙂

Thanks for reading! And if you were wondering, yes, I think I have eaten an entire jar of Nutella by myself. And no, I don’t regret it.

Blessings on your (probably warm and sunny) weekend. If you were looking for the rain, we have it here.


  • Steve Warner

    Brilliant writing! Just brilliant! Have another jar of Nutella on me!

    Thanks for keeping all of us in the loop, Em!

    With love and prayers,


  • Jessica

    Great pictures, Em! That wee little house is probably my favorite in Wexford 🙂