Looking back to Holy Week and Easter Day in Cork, Cloyne and Ross

The Octave of Easter – the eight days starting with Easter Day which introduce the 50 days of Easter celebrations – comes to an end on the second Sunday of Easter, known also as Low Sunday. These days give us an opportunity to look back at our Christian pilgrimage in recent months.

Easter Week 2021 in Cork

In spite of the level 5 pandemic restrictions, Lent, Holy Week and Easter were a splash of imagination, reflective spiritual and thoughtful liturgies in Cork, Cloyne and Ross.

Bishop Paul Colton said:

I want to thank everyone in the Diocese for the many and varied ways they faithfully and imaginatively journeyed through Lent, Holy Week and celebrated Easter Day this year. There was a lot of ingenuity and everyone put in a lot of hard work and effort. I’m now in my twenty-third year as Bishop of the Diocese and never before have I received so many messages, – emails, cards, letters – from people asking me to pass on their appreciation and gratitude for everything that was done for Holy Week and Easter, both online and through pastoral contact in the Diocese. It has all been very much appreciated and, to those messages, I add my thanks to everyone.

Lent and Holy Week ‘On the Gate’

With church buildings closed for public worship, some parishes found ways to draw people into the Christian disciplines and celebrations by reflecting the seasons on the street, such as on on their gates in images and prayers. One such parish was Cloyne Union in East Cork. The experiment worked well there in Advent and so it was repeated in Lent, Holy Week and at Easter. The parish kindly gave permission to the Diocese to use them throughout the recent seasons also. Here they are – first Lent, and then Holy Week and Easter.

Setting the scene for Holy Week and Easter

Two groups of young people in Cork, Cloyne and Ross set the scene for Holy Week and Easter: sixth year students from second level schools read the Passion Gospel and the members of the Cork Diocesan Youth Council created 5 ZOOM dramas/dialogues entitled ‘Unmuted: what they said about Jesus’. They were joined by the Bishop who set the scene by retelling the story of Holy Week and Easter using the windows from Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork. Parishes from Gougane Barra to Cork created on an online pilgrimage in the steps of Saint Fin Barre.

The Passion Gospel

Led by their school chaplains – Drew Ruttle (Ashton School), the Reverend Anne Skuse (Bandon Grammar School) and Canon Andrew Orr (Midleton College) – sixth year students of the three second level schools associated with the Diocese recorded the traditional reading of the full Passion Gospel; this year as told by Saint Mark. You may still view it HERE

‘Unmuted: What they said about Jesus’ – a ZOOM drama in 5 episodes with a contemporary twist

The young people of CDYC (Cork Diocesan Youth Council) spent the first three months of the year in ZOOM groups writing and putting together dramatic dialogues to tell the story of Holy Week and Easter. Entitled ‘Unmuted’, the drama is the Easter story from the point of view from the the Pharisees, the Crowd, Jesus’ followers and the Roman Soldiers, all with a modern day element!

You can still view the episodes at these links:

Episode 1

Where’s the donkey? Click HERE

Episode 2

Who’s in charge here? Click HERE

Episode 3

When he said, it he meant it Click HERE

Episode 4

Why is this one different? Click HERE

Easter Day, 4th April from 8 a.m.

What now? Click HERE

The Bishop told the Story of Holy Week and Easter using the Stained Glass Windows of Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral

The Bishop, Dr Paul Colton, returned to Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral in this its 150th anniversary year to tell the story of Holy Week and Easter using the stained glass windows in the Cathedral. The message was viewed by all school children and second level students and school staff in the Diocese before the end of term and by many others since.

You may still visit the Holy Week and Easter windows with Bishop Colton HERE

Holy Week Pilgrimage

A number of parishes in the Diocese collaborated within the Level 5 restrictions to retrace the steps of Saint Fin Barre (in this 150th anniversary year of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral) from the place of his monastery at Gougane Barra (and the source of the River Lee) to the Cathedral in Cork City.

It was entitled ‘The Way of the Cross with Saint Fin Barre: from Gougane Barra to Cork’.

You may still join that pilgrimage HERE

Palm Sunday

In Kilgariffe Union of Parishes, Coco the donkey was up early at 6 a.m. on Palm Sunday and was brought on a tour of the town while the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was retold and committed to video for use later in the day.

Palm crosses were available for collection at the gates of a number of churches or in church buildings that were open for private prayer.

At Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork the entrance gates were again decorated with palm crosses – an emerging popular tradition because in 2020, at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, passers-by assumed, at first, that this was an impromptu memorial to those who had already died of Covid-19 around the world.

Many of the online liturgies incorporated the annual blessing of the palm crosses on Palm Sunday.

Children in Holy Week

The Children’s Ministry Group in the Diocese provided parishes with resources for children during Lent, Holy Week and Easter, and many parishes created opportunities for children’s activities online and at home. For example, in Carrigaline Union of Parishes there was an online crafts workshop:

Maundy Thursday

The first liturgy of Maundy Thursday in the Diocese is usually the Chrism Eucharist held in Saint Fachtna’s Cathedral, Rosscarbery. That was impossible again this year but the Bishop created an online Service during which there was the opportunity for people to renew their commitment to ministry, and the oils for use in ministry were blessed.

People from around the Diocese tuned in on Maundy Thursday to the Chrism Eucharist online. By Low Sunday 462 households had viewed it on the Diocesan YouTube Channel.

You may still view it HERE

The Eucharist of the Lord’s Supper

Throughout the Diocese on Maundy Thursday, the Eucharist of the Lord’s Supper was held online and broadcast, following which the stripping of the altars took place and vigil was kept.

Tenebrae

The ancient Service of Tenebrae – a Service of Shadows – was available online for those who wanted to keep vigil into the night on Maundy Thursday, waiting for Good Friday.

That liturgy is still on the YouTube Channel HERE

Good Friday

The Liturgy of Good Friday with the proclamation of the cross is typically stark.

Good Friday in Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork

In addition to the Passion Gospel and pilgrimage already mentioned, the Stations of the Cross were available online again this year especially for use on Good Friday.

You can still view those HERE

In one parish, Carrigaline Union, the parish drama group re-enacted the story of Good Friday online, and in their outdoor representation of the story, the unfolding Easter Garden focussed on the crosses on Golgotha.

Easter Eve

Easter Eve – the Saturday known also as Holy Saturday – is a day of quiet waiting. For the first disciples it was a day of nothingness, grief and terror. When darkness fell churches began to keep vigil and the first hints of Easter light and proclamation began to glimmer.

Light through the darkness of the night

As they did last year, a number of churches, while closed for public worship, left their lights on after the Easter Eve proclamation of ‘The Light of Christ’ as a signal of Easter hope and joy to the surrounding communities.

Easter Day

Easter Dawn

Easter Dawn 2021 in Cork
Easter dawn at Templebreedy in 2021: the entrance to Cork Harbour

Dawn Services

Some parishes broadcast Easter Dawn Services online for people to join.

Sun-Up on the Beach – but not this year

Each Easter the Cork Diocesan Youth Council and their friends usually meet at dawn on the Warren Beach near Rosscarbery where the Dean of Ross celebrates Holy Communion for them and then they have a barbecue breakfast afterwards. This year, once again, it was all online, but many got up early to celebrate.

Easter Dawn in West Cork

700 Year Old Easter Sepulchre in Youghal

You can read about the traditions associated with the 700 year old Easter sepulchre in the Collegiate Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Youghal, County Cork HERE

Christ is risen!

Easter Day at Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork

Easter Gardens

Easter gardens of all varieties continued to be a bright and wonderful tradition throughout the Diocese in 2021.

Easter Crosses

The stark crosses of Good Friday made way for beautifully decorated crosses on Easter Day, many also with the traditional white cloth to represent the resurrection. ‘He is not here. He is risen!’

A Beautiful Easter Day 2021 in Cork

It was a beautiful Easter Day this year. A number of churches remained open throughout the day for personal prayer.

Cathedral Choristers Online

Easter Day was tuneful too. Having been only able to rehearse at home for the last year, the young choristers of Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork recorded ‘This joyful Eastertide’ at home – a difficult thing to do – and then their individual recordings were amalgamated to create one performance. This was the final offering of Easter Day in the Diocese first broadcast at 1 p.m. and sending us into the Easter season with a spring in our step.

You can view it and listen to it HERE

Choristers of Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral sing online from their homes

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Celebration of Easter 2021 began in Youghal at 700 year old Medieval Monument

The celebration of Easter at the 801 year old St. Mary’s Collegiate Church in Youghal began this year at the ‘Easter Sepulchre’: a medieval structure built into the wall of the Church, and one of very few left in Ireland. 

Priest in charge Canon Andrew Orr said,

 It was only when I attended an online lecture on St. Mary’s by Fr. Colmán O Clabaigh last January that I discovered the true purpose of this beautiful monument.

It is an Easter Sepulchre or tomb. It dates back to the extension of the church in the 14th century and was a central feature of the Easter celebrations in St. Mary’s (and every church) in medieval times.  A wooden structure would have been built out about two metres into the sanctuary and covered with cloth hangings to look like a cave.  On Good Friday, after the services were finished, a consecrated Communion host,  the wooden cross and perhaps other symbols of the passion, would have been brought into the Cave and symbolically buried by placing them either inside the stone tomb or on the shelf in a wooden box. 

Parishioners would then have stood guard all through Easter Eve until early Easter morning when the host would have been symbolically raised from the tomb and elevated for all the people to see.  

This ceremony was  followed by a sung drama in which the women (the three Marys)  come to this tomb and find it empty. A script written for this play in Dublin in the 14th century still survives, and reminds us of the drama and spectacle that the ceremonies of Holy Week and Easter would have been in those times. 

There are very few of these Easter Sepulchres still left in Ireland and the one in Youghal  is by far the best preserved. 

Canon Orr continued

So it seems appropriate, and a link to our long history, that, at this spot,  we should have lit our Easter Paschal candle this year and welcomed the resurrection.

Posted in Church Art, church buildings, Church History, Church Services, Churches in Cork, East Cork, Easter, Easter Eve, Liturgy, Local History, Worship, Worth a Visit! | Comments Off on Celebration of Easter 2021 began in Youghal at 700 year old Medieval Monument

Easter Sermon by Bishop Paul Colton in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork ~ Easter Day 2021

Sermon preached on Easter Day

4th April 2021

in the Cathedral Church of Saint Fin Barre, Cork 

by the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton,

Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross

You may either view the sermon preached on Easter Day 2021 by Bishop Paul Colton, or you may read it below.

View the sermon (with illustrations)

To view the sermon preached on Easter Day by Bishop Paul Colton, please

CLICK HERE

or, if you prefer to read the Sermon,

Here is the text of Bishop Colton’s Easter Sermon 2021

The Suez Canal has been much in the news over the last two weeks.  That artificial and essential sea-level waterway  – completed in 1869 – was blocked for a week by a container mega-ship: the MV Ever Given when it veered off course on 23rd March.  On Apps such as MarineTraffic and on the news, ships could be seen queuing up in their 100s at both ends of the canal: in the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. In fact, according to the news, the last of over 400 of those stranded ships was only going through the canal yesterday.

This regional hiatus was yet another reminder of how interdependent we are on this planet; of how an incident on the interface of two continents – Africa and Asia – of just one ship’s length, in a specific place,  albeit on a stretch of waterway 193 km long, can affect us all, everywhere – disrupting international supply chains and raising costs.  12% of global trade, I’m told,  goes through this nautical shortcut every year; goods worth about $1 trillion; fifty ships a day carrying cargo worth between $3 billion and $9 billion.

I was intrigued by all this; but for me it brought back another memory.  In 1985 Susan and I were part of a team of voluntary workers who travelled to Egypt, to work at the School for the Deaf in Old Cairo which had at that time, been only recently, set up by the Anglican Diocese there .  On one day off, we were driven out to the Isthmus of Suez, to stare into the desert: to Sinai, the triangular-shaped peninsula, part of Egypt that links Africa with Asia.  I remember staring and staring at what to me, at any rate, coming from this green island, was the nothingness of desert – to my eye, arid, hostile and unwelcoming.  And then a ship cut though both the desert view and my dreaming – like a mirage. It was, of course, navigating the waters of the Suez Canal, which from my vantage point were not visible.

I remember thinking that day of the biblical epic when the Israelites escaped from slavery in Egypt and, whether or not it was indeed that place, they  ended up spending a generation wandering in that desert, in that wilderness.  Sinai conjures up for believers ideas of hardship and endless wandering, of  dislocation and uncertainty, of separation and grief.  But it was also a place where the future was shaped; where the law was given, where they encountered God, and a covenant was made between them and God.

These are events which are called to mind every day in the Morning Prayer of the Church in the words of Psalm 95 – Venite – ‘Today if only you would hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as you did in the wilderness.’  (Psalm 95.8)

For many people, for many of us,  this past year of pandemic has been a wilderness time; and we don’t like it, far from it.  We have searched for and longed to hear the voice of God.  Both hardness of heart and softness of heart have shaped our fluctuating moods and emotions, our resilience and our vulnerabilities, our hopes and our anxieties.  

For many people the days of lockdown at home have been times of disruption, rupture of routine, and, as those times were for the faithful in that biblical epic,  these for us too have been days of dislocation and uncertainty, separation and grief. One hour, one day plods after another.  For many there have been distressing days of illness and grief, and the calling to many  to work at the extremes of professional capacity and human endurance – all a whirlwind, a maelstrom of wilderness that like that ship so recently in that place has thrown us all off course.

It is in such a distressing place – a place of wilderness of emotion, distress, grief and uprootedness – it is in such a place where we see the women in today’s Gospel – the story of Easter told in St Mark.  This is the version of Easter that is announced in the stained glass of this 150 year old Cathedral.  The three women approach the tomb early in the morning: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome.

In our rush to get to the joyous proclamation of Easter – to shout out Christ is risen! – to make that new beginning, it’s all too easy to forget the nothingness – the nothingness of yesterday, the wilderness of the Sabbath, the Saturday, the day before, and the day before that, that Friday that we can now call Good, with hindsight. They had been witnesses to the execution, death and burial of their inspiring friend, but this was more than grief.  The day and nights those women had since he was killed were hell.  It seemed to them that they had lost everything, everything that they had invested in during the past three years.  And as a group, the disciples, their fellow disciples, were in chaos and disarray.  

It is those women – tormented, grief-stricken, bereft, anxious, afraid, not knowing what lay ahead – those were the women who came early that morning.  To them they had lost everything.  They hadn’t even had the opportunity to give him proper funeral rites. And haven’t  curtailed funerals have been such an element in our current times for far too many people?  Now the women were coming to make up for it that morning, with the spices to anoint the body of Jesus.  On top of everything else they were worried – ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’  As they approached, it was the first thing they noticed; someone had already moved the large stone.  

As they went into the burial chamber they were startled to see a young man, dressed in white, already sitting there on the right hand side. The young man tried to calm them down.  He knew they were looking for Jesus.  ‘He has been raised; he is not here.’ he said ‘Look, there is the place they laid him.  But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ 

And all this was yet another shock to the system. We are told they  ‘…fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.’

There, Saint Mark’s account of this day ends abruptly.

But we are invited, in the middle of these wilderness times – during this pandemic – to draw strength and hope from it. To carry it on and through into our own lives and our living even now centuries later.  As the wandering people of God encountered God in that desert, in that wilderness all those centuries ago, during these times we are invited to meet God again this Easter, in the solidarity of his suffering and sacrifice on the cross, in the painful not-knowing of the day in between, and in the hope, joy and triumph of his resurrection. 
‘You will see him,’ said the young messenger to the women that day in the Gospel. And they did and we still do.  Jesus is in the present; he’s not confined to the past. This has been the experience of Christians in every age; and even in these demanding times – demanding, to say the least – we are invited to draw strength from God’s presence, and from the hand of God and the voice of God, reaching out to us in others around us, who are responding to the new command he left them that night before he died, when he say down with them at that memorable supper and said to them:  ‘Love one another….  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.’ (John 13.34)  Dear friends, Easter gives us hope to journey on and to do what we need to do, as we too pray and work for these times of pandemic to be unblocked and to pass.

Posted in Bishop, Cathedral, Corona Virus, COVID-19, Diocese, Easter, Sermons | Comments Off on Easter Sermon by Bishop Paul Colton in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork ~ Easter Day 2021

Christ is risen! Today is Easter Day. What’s on in Cork, Cloyne and Ross?

What’s on in Cork, Cloyne and Ross today – Easter Day?

Christ is Risen! – especially for Easter Today:

A Message for Holy Week and Easter from Bishop Paul Colton HERE

4th April 2021 – Easter Day in Parishes

Live Services

6.30 a.m. Sun-Up Easter Dawn Service organised by CDYC on ZOOM

09.15 a.m. Chapel of Christ the Healer Cork University Hospital: on radio CUH 102FM

10.00 a.m. Clonakilty: Easter Service of Holy Communion Online

10.00 a.m. Rosscarbery: Easter Celebration Online and by ZOOM

10.30 a.m. Midleton: Easter Eucharist Facebook and YouTube (from 2 p.m.)

11.00 a.m. Ballincollig: A Celebration of Easter Day with Holy Communion Online

11.00 a.m. Carrigaline: Easter Eucharist Online

11.00 a.m. Dunmanway and Ballineen: The Easter Story Online

11.00 a.m. Mallow: Easter Celebration Online and by ZOOM

11.00 a.m. Youghal: Easter Eucharist Online

Recorded Services

Bandon (from 7.00 a.m.): Service of Holy Communion for Easter Online

Crosshaven and Nohoval (from 11.30 a.m.): Service of Holy and Spiritual Communion Online

Douglas Union with Frankfield (from early morning): The Eucharist of Easter Day Online

Durrus (from 6.00 a.m): Holy Communion Online

Moviddy Union (from 9.00 a.m.) Holy Communion Online

Skibbereen (from 10.00 a.m.): Easter Day Eucharist Online

Printed Services available Online

Kinsale Union: Easter Reflection HERE

Full Listings for the remainder of Holy Week and Easter

You will find complete listings for Holy Week and Easter HERE and HERE

Children and Families

You will find materials for children and families this week HERE

Other Parishes and Chaplaincies

For information about Holy Week and Easter in parishes and chaplaincies not listed above you may

General information about Services is available on the Diocesan Website HERE

Some parishes make other provision for worship for their parishioners including by email, by post, or by hand delivery. Again, for more information about this, please contact the local clergy.

Posted in Announcements, Bishop, Cathedral, Church Services, Clergy, Corona Virus, COVID-19, Diocese, Easter, Lay Ministry, Liturgy, People from Cork, People from the Diocese, Readers, Spirituality, Voluntary Work, Worship | Comments Off on Christ is risen! Today is Easter Day. What’s on in Cork, Cloyne and Ross?

Easter Day – Sunday 4th April – What’s on in Cork, Cloyne and Ross?

What’s on in Cork, Cloyne and Ross on Easter Day?

Christ is Risen! – especially for Easter Today:

A Message for Holy Week and Easter from Bishop Paul Colton HERE

4th April 2021 – Easter Day in Parishes

Live Services

6.30 a.m. Sun-Up Easter Dawn Service organised by CDYC on ZOOM

09.15 a.m. Chapel of Christ the Healer Cork University Hospital: on radio CUH 102FM

10.00 a.m. Clonakilty: Easter Service of Holy Communion Online

10.00 a.m. Rosscarbery: Easter Celebration Online and by ZOOM

10.30 a.m. Midleton: Easter Eucharist Facebook and YouTube (from 2 p.m.)

11.00 a.m. Ballincollig: A Celebration of Easter Day with Holy Communion Online

11.00 a.m. Carrigaline: Easter Eucharist Online

11.00 a.m. Dunmanway and Ballineen: The Easter Story Online

11.00 a.m. Mallow: Easter Celebration Online and by ZOOM

11.00 a.m. Youghal: Easter Eucharist Online

Recorded Services

Bandon (from 7.00 a.m.): Service of Holy Communion for Easter Online

Crosshaven and Nohoval (from 11.30 a.m.): Service of Holy and Spiritual Communion Online

Douglas Union with Frankfield (from early morning): The Eucharist of Easter Day Online

Durrus (from 6.00 a.m): Holy Communion Online

Moviddy Union (from 9.00 a.m.) Holy Communion Online

Skibbereen (from 10.00 a.m.): Easter Day Eucharist Online

Printed Services available Online

Kinsale Union: Easter Reflection HERE

Full Listings for the remainder of Holy Week and Easter

You will find complete listings for Holy Week and Easter HERE and HERE

Children and Families

You will find materials for children and families this week HERE

Other Parishes and Chaplaincies

For information about Holy Week and Easter in parishes and chaplaincies not listed above you may

General information about Services is available on the Diocesan Website HERE

Some parishes make other provision for worship for their parishioners including by email, by post, or by hand delivery. Again, for more information about this, please contact the local clergy.

Posted in Announcements, Bishop, Cathedral, Church Services, Clergy, Corona Virus, COVID-19, Diocese, Easter, Lay Ministry, Liturgy, People from Cork, People from the Diocese, Readers, Spirituality, Voluntary Work, Worship | Comments Off on Easter Day – Sunday 4th April – What’s on in Cork, Cloyne and Ross?