We have officially been in Clonard for two weeks. While it may not seem like we have done much yet, we are feeling settled in our new community, and we have set the foundations for much of our work this year. First of all, we all went down to the Garda office and the bank to take care of our visas! That takes care of quite a bit of our foundational work, since we wouldn’t be able to do much if we were deported. Kurt and Jess introduced themselves to the teachers of Scoil Mhuire, and Jess and I attended the first rehearsal of this year’s Family Liturgy Group. This group is led by six adults, all parents, who direct the children’s choir and provide a children’s Liturgy of the Word at 10:00 Mass on Sundays. The director said that the choir’s numbers were down, but at over 30 children from ages 6 to 12, I think the core group is pretty solid. I’m looking forward to working with them this year! We also worked on a powerpoint, hand-outs, and catechesis for the new translation of the Roman Missal. The Irish bishops have instructed their parishes to begin using the new translation of the people’s responses this Sunday, and we have resources ready for Clonard.

On Thursday, we met with Fr. James Murphy, who works on programming for CMT radio. Teach Bhride Season 2 hosted some short programs last year. It looks like we’ll be on the air even more this coming year! We laid plans for short programs dealing with the new translation of the Roman Missal and others for Advent. Such a full morning deserved a generous lunch with Fr. Martin, and we balanced out the day by attending the closing of the pilgrimage season at Our Lady’s Island with some of Jess’ friends from World Youth Day. Bishop Dennis Brennan gave a wonderful homily, much of which struck a chord with my experience these two weeks in Clonard. He talked about how pilgrims are travelers with a special purpose, and how we can see people we haven’t met and yet know they belong to our family in Christ. If that does not describe Teach Bhride in the community of Clonard parish, I don’t know what does! At the end of Mass the bishop blessed holy objects. We each held up the rosaries we pray every morning: Dan’s and Kurt’s made by mentors at ND Vision, Jess’ from Raquel, and mine, which used to be my dad’s. The evening ended with the crowd praying the rosary in a candlelit procession around the island. (That is, as long as we could keep our candles lit… it was a tad windy.) Happy birthday, Mary!

Now, we have just returned from our first trip to Dublin! This was my first trip to Dublin in which I was not trying to fly somewhere. We were lucky enough to see the Book of Kells, and we even had a personal tour from Fr. John-Paul. At the end of the day, we celebrated Mass with the ACE community in O’Connell House, and joined them for a lovely dinner afterwards.