As Christians we are a people of ritual, a people of memory and hope

Holy Week is the highpoint of the Church year. As we have already witnessed this year with the transfer of the St. Patricks feast day, there is no other celebration that takes precedence. All over the diocese people will gather in great numbers to mark the unique rituals of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil. In many parishes, these celebrations move outside the Church with special processions or walks to follow the Way of the Cross.

Holy Week has a special quality, we think of the reading of the Lords Passion, the washing of the feet, keeping watch with the Lord in the Garden, the veneration of the Cross, the empty tabernacle; followed by the blessing of the fire, the Paschal Candle, the sharing of the light of Christ, the Good News that he has risen, the waters of Baptism and new life.

As Christians we are a people of ritual, a people of memory and hope. We choose to mark out our year with ceremonies that teach us who we truly are and how we are called to live. It is sad that in our modern society, these great moments and traditions are being forgotten and that more and more each day is treated like any other day.

Bishop’s statement

At their Spring general meeting in Maynooth the Irish Bishops Conference issued a statement for the attention of parents and guardians, parishioners, and all people of goodwill, asking them to keep Sunday mornings as a sacred time.

In their statement the Bishops said that Sunday is a day different in character to the other six days of the week, a day when we set aside all non-essential work so as to be free to devote time to family, to religious practices, visiting the sick and the elderly and to leisure and recreational pastimes.

Respect the Spiritual Needs of Children

Until recent times we maintained a good balance between these elements of Sunday life. One of the essential ways by which this balance was maintained was the tradition whereby sporting and leisure activities for young people on Sundays did not begin until early afternoon. This enabled families to attend Mass and other religious services together and to regularly share the Sunday meal as a family unit. Now, however, there seems to be an ever-increasing frequency in the scheduling of under-age training sessions and competitive games for Sunday mornings.

In their statement the Bishops went on to highlight the concern they share with healthcare experts about the increasing numbers of children who do not engage in any physical activities or pastimes. The Bishops went on to compliment the very many adults who voluntarily give of their own free time to promote sporting and other creative pastimes among the children and young people in our parishes and local communities. In addition to making a valuable contribution to the wellbeing of the youngest generation they also build a sense of belonging, identity and community spirit among families and all age groups.