Dia is Muire Dhuit! (Hello, God and Mary with you),
After four weeks of getting oriented in our new Irish home I think it’s safe to say that the Wexford fellows have officially settled into the busyness of parish ministry life! As I reflect on my experience thus far I am thankful to all those who have welcomed Teach Bhríde with openness and enthusiasm. No matter what part of Ireland we are in, the word fáilte has been present both literally and in spirit. This Irish word meaning welcome is written on shop windows in downtown Wexford, on posters in the parish, and in the schools Teach Bhríde has visited. Fáilte, Fáilte, Fáilte! From the minute we arrived in Ireland we have been welcomed with extreme generosity, first from the parish team, then the parishioners, and now from Kennedy Park and Scoil Mhuire, the schools Teach Bhríde have begun to work with.
In turn, we have started to reciprocate this welcoming attitude. Last week Jena and Brendan welcomed Scoil Mhuire’s 600 students into Clonard parish and joined them in song and prayer for their first all-school mass. Laura and I also had the opportunity to take part in this liturgy as Eucharistic ministers. Since this was my first time serving as an EM I directed my attention to the simple yet humbling act. As I held up the host to the children standing before me and stated “the Body of Christ” I looked into each person’s eyes and was able to partake in the welcoming of God into their bodies, into their lives. This intentional welcoming of Christ in each of our lives is powerful and transformative.
This week Kennedy Park will have their first all-school Mass. After our final rehearsal today I am confident that the 6th class choir will welcome and invite their fellow classmates to participate fully in the mass through song and prayer. In addition to working with the schools, we have joined the community at daily Mass and rosary, learned new chants with the Vigil Choir, participated in the first Family Liturgy Group Mass of the year, and cheered Ireland to victory over Canada in the Rugby World Cup!
Looking ahead, the Wexford Fellows will be joining the rest of Teach Bhríde in Dublin on Sunday. From there Teach Bhríde will be traveling to Galway where we have been invited by Notre Dame to perform a few musical selections welcoming the commencement of work on the new Education Centre at Kylemore Abbey. Teach Bhríde is greatly looking forward to this opportunity, and more on Kylemore will be sure to follow! As Teach Bhríde continues to carry out our various ministries each day, I look forward to encountering each person, challenge, and opportunity with the same intentional fáilte that this experience has demonstrated so far.