Jessica’s Post from November 28, 2011

This day last week, the four of us spent our regular evening prayer time reflecting on the work that we’ve accomplished so far this year. We’ve now passed the quarter-year mark for our stay here in Ireland, and so we took time to examine where we’ve been and where we’re still going. I find it appropriate that this quarter-year point nearly coincides with both Thanksgiving and the first week of Advent. In those two moments of our year, we have a time when we look back to give thanks for what we have and a time when we look forward to what is still to come. In that spirit, then, here is a summary of how I see the evolution of the House of Brigid at this point in the year.

We continue…
Much of what we’ve done this year has built on the foundations laid by the first two years of this community. We’ve continued to provide music for the parish’s Vigil Mass, and to be part of two other music groups. We’ve continued to provide liturgical experience to schoolchildren through their Class Masses and other programs. We’re continuing to serve as coordinators for the parish “You Shall Be My Witnesses” program. We continue to join the ACE community in Dublin for their monthly Masses. We continue to offer twice-yearly workshops for musicians from around the diocese. We will continue to serve the diocese on the Confirmation retreat team. We continue to record radio shows with a Christian message that are broadcast throughout the Southeast of Ireland. We’ve continued to serve as part of the Diocesan Liturgy Group.

We build…
Many pieces of this year’s ministry have had their roots in last year’s work but have taken on new dimensions this year. We spent several weeks immersed in the New Translations of the Mass, doing everything we could to help our community make the transition smoothly: we prepared radio shows on the topic, we designed leaflets and powerpoints with the responses, we gave a workshop on the music of the new Roman Missal. We’ve had the opportunity to reach out to new groups that need catechetical and liturgical experience, and we continue to explore how to minister to the adults in the parish and the young adults of the diocese. We’ve welcomed the questions and conversations that come with those age groups. We’ve served the parish as sacristan. We’ve provided new resources for the parents of those making Confirmation and First Communion this year. We’ve worked to make our home a place of rest and welcome not just for us but for those who have helped to make this place our home.

We dream…
And there is much yet that we hope to accomplish. In recent weeks we have researched how to get involved with the youth club that meets in our parish’s community center as well as how to help minister in secondary schools. Opening the door to adult faith formation has gotten the attention of priests in other parishes, and we’ve already found ourselves with a request to catechize not only the Confirmation students of another parish, but also their parents. A father with children our own age has recently asked us what we can do for that age group, our own age group, whose members so often fall completely away from Church as they face the difficult questions that come with these transition years. We’ve been asked to help prepare parents for their children’s Baptisms, so that they might further understand what they are committing to in that ritual. We’ve just in the past week been asked to run religious education classes for three students who attend a non-religious school but who wish to make their First Communion this year.

And so, in this weekend of Thanksgiving, we give thanks. We give thanks for all these things, the joy-filled moments and the frustrating moments, for all of them have made this place home. We give thanks for the people here who have touched our lives, and we pray that our presence might touch theirs. We give thanks for the experiences with which we’ve been gifted. And we give thanks, above all, for the presence of God in whatever we’re doing, even when that presence is clouded by our own expectations and impatiences. 

And in this first week of Advent, when we joyfully await the coming of Christ, we offer ourselves as servants to bring about that coming in whatever way we can. We have many exciting prospects on the horizon, but with them come many unknowns. Throughout all this evolution, in being part of a new program that is ever-finding its place, our flexibility is and will be, at times, put to the test, but we pledge to continue to give our time, talent, and hearts to the community that has given so much to us. We trust that God will be our guide as we move forward, even if all we can see is one step at a time.

See more House Directors’ reflections:
Molly’s post from April 15, 2013
Carolyn’s post from March 19, 2011

Catholic young adults serving the Church in Ireland