Yesterday’s Confirmation Mass was truly a wonderful event, from so many points of view; so many people worked so hard on preparing and celebrating the liturgy, especially the Music Group (who were joined by two of the Confirmation candidates playing violin) who set the whole tone for the celebration: reflective, moving and certainly joyful. Candidates: were at the door to welcome the archbishop, entered the church in procession with him, proclaimed the readings and led the procession of gifts to the altar. The altar servers, in unknown territory serving an archiepiscopal Mass for the first time, and deprived of the senior servers (who were being confirmed) managed very well indeed.
The whole ambience was defined by the amazing decoration of the church — special flowers, arranged by parents of candidates, a huge projected icon of the Trinity (by Rublev), our Pentecost/Confirmation banner, made by Sonya, and by the hundreds of origami doves, all made by parishioners, which were suspended down the length of the church (the doves, not the parishioners, that is!). The latter work was a great labour, but had such a powerful effect on all who saw it. Père Évêque was very impressed (maybe helped by his love for all things Japanese, including, inevitably, origami?) and was fulsome in his praise. During the singing of the Veni Spiritu Sancte, a bowl of fire was lit on the sanctuary, symbolising the presence of the Holy Spirit, who appeared, on the heads of the disciples, ‘as tongues of flame’ at Pentecost.
It was impressive to witness the Confirmation of the 24 candidates, to see their sincerity, and to witness their level of participation throughout. If you missed the Mass and would like to see the booklet which includes the order of service, it is available to download.
The tea and coffee served afterwards were augmented by crémant, cup cakes and a variety of delights, served in the garden courtesy of the fine weather — and of the grand team that brought everything together, laid it all out, served it, and cleared up again afterwards. And to Brian Foy, who did all the necessary tasks at the back of the church.
Père Évêque’s homily began with a reference to the icon of the Trinity, and continued with how God’s regard for us is always one of love. God in Trinity draws us in, shares his life with us; God pours out the Spirit in Confirmation, a Spirit that will never leaves, no matter what happens in life. The homily is available to listen to here.
We must here repeat the thanks that were given at the end of Mass, to the scores and scores of individuals, families and groups who worked so hard and contributed so much to our celebrations:
To Père Évêque, to whom we addressed these words of welcome and thanks.
Marthese Lufi, for her dedication, her organisation and administration, her superb and thorough catechesis — and the rest. Without her….
Mr and Mrs Mc Nulty Seery for opening their home to us and providing hospitality (30 of us in all!) for our evening class on prayer.
Mr and Mrs De Burca/Mette for generously hosting our house Mass and music rehearsal — again, a great number of us. And Paddy de Burca, who organised the lunch after Mass for those who wished to avail of it.
Michele Brannigan and Mrs Marie Schintgen who organised the flowers for the Mass
Mr Arben Lufi (husband of Marthese), Dr Louis Galea, Mr Emilio Carretero, Miss Angela Gomez Fernandez and Mr Martin Arondel: The members of our parish who came to the Confirmation class to speak about their own faith
Heidi Barrett who gave a wonderful class on symbolism in prayer and worship, based on icons, who helped generously with refreshments, and who did so much more.
Marcella McCarthy, who gave the class on prayer and meditation
Teresa Rubaek, who organised the photographers and the multiple demands made on their services
Mary Jo Wall, Treasurer of the Confirmation Group
Catherine and Paul Stafford, Preparing and printing the booklet for the Confirmation Mass
Helen, Sonya & Kristina who were the backbone of the Music Group, choosing and rehearsing and delivering, along with every member of the Group. And Joe Schmidt, who at short notice worked with his friend Paul to enhance the sound system in the church before the Mass
John, Sonya and family, and Denise and Brian who somehow managed, over the course of a couple of days, to suspend a huge number of doves!
Marina Marin for arranging the cake/s
Liam, Gerri and all the tea/coffee team who revived our drooping spirits outdoors after the lovely (and long!) Mass, and who helped clear all away afterwards.
Ana Maria, Quinn, Niamh, Paul and Niamh who served Mass, and who had to learn new things at short notice!
To all who helped on the day, arranging chairs, attaching labels, giving out booklets, tidying up afterwards… and
Above all, to our newly-confirmed young women and men: who gave their time, who made their commitment, who witnessed to their faith; and as the archbishop said, whatever happens in life, the Holy Spirit never, ever leaves them, and they can always call upon him (/her?)
Photos published with parental permission
More photos to follow soon…