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Abbeyleix, Ballinakill & Raheen – Celebrating the Year of Mercy

Celebrating the Year of Mercy  


Celebrating God’s mercy….

….on our Lenten journey!


Each evening will consist of prayers, music and song with a guest speaker.



Friday 12th February—Ballinakill

Speaker: Fr. John Horan SDB

Friday 19th—Abbeyleix

Speaker: Richard Moore

Friday 26th—Raheen

Speaker: Kathleen Chada


Abbeyleix Fri 4th\Sat 5th March

‘VIGIL MASS’ – Saturday 5th March 7.30pm

Heywood Community School

Celebrant: Bishop Denis Nulty

(No Mass in any other Church that evening)

All welcome!

As we mark the Year of Mercy people are encouraged to participate in any or all the evenings. People might choose this as a Lenten exercise as we prepare for Easter.

The words of Jesus, “Knock and the door will be opened to you (Lk.11:9) assure us that none of us is far from the mercy of God. The door is open, come right through!

Year of Mercy

Compassion and pardon have been central messages of the papacy of Pope Francis. He has said that he “thought often about how the Church can make more evident its mission of being a witness of mercy”. In Lent 2015 he announced an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy for the whole Church. The Jubilee of Mercy opened on December 8th and will continue until November 20th, 2016.

The Pope has chosen ‘Merciful like the Father’ as the motto for the year, reminding us that “the mercy of God is not an abstract idea, but a concrete reality through which he reveals his love as that of a father or a mother, moved to the very depths out of love for their child”. The motto is also an invitation to follow the example of the merciful Father in our own lives. “Let us not forget that God pardons and God pardons always. “Let us never tire of asking for forgiveness”, Pope Francis.


In 2014 Pope Francis launched a prayer action called ’24 Hours for the Lord’ to encourage people to return to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Eucharistic Adoration and the Sacrament of Reconciliation would be available in St Peter’s Basilica and three other Roman churches.

The hope was that the action would be replicated all over the world, and that at least one church in each diocese would remain open for the full 24 hours to offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) to those who wished to celebrate it.

In 2015 it took place in three churches in the diocese. This year (4/5March) the Church of the Most Holy Rosary, Abbeyleix will be one of the churches to remain open with Eucharistic Adoration from 5pm on Friday to 5pm on Saturday with priests available for Confession throughout the time.

There will be a Penance Service at 7.30pm on Friday during which the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be celebrated.


Fr. John Horan SDB is a Salesian Priest. He was twice elected Provincial of the Salesian Priests and Brothers in Ireland, Tunisia and Malta and was Parish Priest in Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in Milford, Limerick. He taught and was Principal of the Salesian School in Ballinakill, Co. Laois. He directed the Salesian School Retreat Team and presently directs the Salesian spirituality centre in Milford, Limerick.

Richard Moore was born on 12th July 1961, in Derry, and grew up in the Creggan Estate, the second youngest in a family of 12. He was shot and blinded by a rubber bullet fired by a British Soldier on 4th May 1972 whilst on his way home from school. Yet he later went on to receive a Bachelor of Science in Social Administration (Hons) Degree. Married to Rita they have two children. His uncle, Gerard McKinney, was shot and killed on Bloody Sunday. In 1996 he founded the charity “Children In Crossfire” setting up projects in Africa, Asia and South America focusing on issues affecting children.

Richard might well have been expected to grow up to be an embittered and disillusioned young man. Driven by an ever growing desire to convey his lack of resentment towards the soldier that shot him, he eventually tracked him down and met with Charles Innes in 2006. Today, they are firm friends

“I encourage people across the World to hear what Richard has to say”
Dalai Lama

Kathleen Chada is from Ballinkillen, near Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow. Married to Sanjeev Chada they had two sons. In July 2013 their father drove the boys Eoghan (10) and Ruairi (5) to Ballintubber in Co. Mayo where he strangled them. Since then he has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Kathleen’s faith has helped her cope with the tragic loss of her sons. She has said: ‘I don’t feel on my own. I have a very strong sense of the boys. I am very lucky and very blessed to have been their mother.”