Field of Dreams, Altar of Hope

I was in Knock yesterday for the Re-dedication of the Basilica.  An occasion worthy of the place and the “unspoken” message of Mary who stood with people, as she always does, when needed.  Cardinal Seán O’Malley (Archbishop of Boston) was the Principal Celebrant and homilist at the Mass.

He spoke very well about Knock, its meaning for him personally and its place in the heart of the Church. During the ceremony he anointed the Altar and, I have to say, this was a highlight for me.  There was something very moving in seeing him first pour oil on the four corners of the Altar and then in its centre.  Then with sleeves rolled up (a man at work) he rubbed the oil into the surface of the Altar.  It was a moment of offering something to God that God might make full use of it, in and through us all.

At Mass today, I shared a few words around this and about a local football event that took place in the parish yesterday, an annual event marking the life of a child who died eight years ago at age five.  She is remembered each day of course by her family and those who knew her best and annually in this gathering known as the “Aoife Regan Shield”.  Today she was remembered in our Parish Mass.  I thought it appropriate that she be remembered so seamlessly in both settings within a day of each other.  I believe that’s what parish life should be about, bringing what happens on the field of play to the Altar, anointed well over 100 years ago, in our Parish Church that, like yesterday’s rising incense, our prayers may be carried to the Heavenly Presence.

There may Mary, the silent but present Mary of Knock, whisper to Him afresh; “They have no wine” ….