(These words, I placed on the front page of our Parish Bulletin this week. I hope they reflect something of the truth and the desire to reach out to and be involved with our younger people ….)
The bus pulled in at Kilmovee Community Centre around 5pm on Friday and as its door opened, I saw many of our young people step to the street. “Where were ye?” I asked and the reply was around three days spent in Achill. It was the Foróige Club and its members and some of the leaders were coming home. It was lovely to see you all – so happy together and full of life. I spoke to some of you as I went to post a letter and your responses were gracious and your smiles infectious. As I sat back into my car, I was pleased that you had this time to enjoy your youth and share your friendship.
At the same time, I felt a little sad because increasingly I feel at a remove from your world. As a priest in your parish, I want you to have the fullest and most enjoyable life imaginable and want our shared “Faith” to be part of that experience too. I’m often at a loss to know how to connect with you and accompany you, insofar as you want or need, during these years. That said, I believe you are a central part of my calling to be a priest. I realise we have different tastes (try listening to some of my music!!) and that our Church may seem out of touch to many of you. Yet, it is a church of and for the young. How evident this was in the wake of the Berkeley Accident when the ringing of a parish church bell in Dublin, brought people – young people in abundance to pray and sing their way through shock and grief.
The Church – lived in the day to day life of our Parish, seeks to welcome and encourage its people. Many of you are deeply involved in parish life, from sport to various clubs, among you too, are members of our choirs, readers and former Altar Servers. All of you have a place in our midst and a part to play.
So, a favour! Please give some thought to how best we can be “Parish” for you. Please give some thought to how best Fr John and I can be “Priest” for you. Maybe there’s something we can do together to sustain or deepen the Faith that is in you and to bring to our parish, your vibrancy, enthusiasm and obvious goodness.
Enjoy the summer!