As schools come to the end of a challenging and demanding academic term before Christmas, and as 2020 heads towards its close, the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Dr Paul Colton, has singled the education work of the Diocese and everyone involved in it, for special mention, praise and thanks.
‘Everyone involved in running our schools in these extraordinarily demanding times is truly a frontline worker’ he said. ‘I am thinking not only of principals and teachers, but also of special needs assistants, secretarial, maintenance and cleaning staff, local clergy, as well as the voluntary support given by members of Boards of Management and Parents’ Associations. Without the huge extra effort being put in by all these people our schools would not be open. I have seen it first hand in my own home and in my on-going regular contacts with our schools.’
Bishop Colton said that he wanted to single out the children and young people for special mention:
I want to make special mention of the children in our primary schools and students in our second level schools and to thank them for the way they have adapted and entered into an education process that has been far from normal.
Bishop Colton, who is involved either as Patron or in others ways in 20 primary schools and 3 second-level schools in County Cork said:
I know that in recent days schools have had messages of support and gratitude from the Minister for Education and Skills, from the Chief Medical Officer, and from Dr Ken Fennelly in our own Church of Ireland Education Office, but I wish to add my local voice as Bishop or as Patron, as appropriate, to say that I am full of admiration and praise for what our schools have been doing and I want to thank everyone involved in them.
The fact that the work of education continued from home earlier in the year at no notice, for which huge credit is also due to parents and guardians, the work put in throughout the summer months in preparing the school buildings for re-opening, and the day to day exploration of the far from normal realities in the school setting have all been truly inspiring.
Thank you all so much.
Last week, Bishop Colton also recorded a Christmas Message for schools in the Diocese.
Christmas approaches and, more than ever this year, in Advent and beforehand, a lot of planning is going in to the practical arrangements for our joyful celebration of the nativity of our Lord.
In spite of the challenges we all face during the Coronavirus Pandemic, worship at Christmas remains the focus and at the heart of all the planning. In addition to the Church Services listed below, there are many opportunities to join acts of worship online from your home.
Online Services – live and recorded – from Cork, Cloyne and Ross, are listed HERE.
Listed below – Cathedrals first, and then parish by parish and chaplaincies – is the schedule of Services planned in the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day only.
It is a challenging Christmas to organise as each local setting is obliged to take account of all the regulations published recently by the Government concerning Religious Services. You can read those regulations HERE
The HSE has issued detailed guidance and it is HERE
Numbers permitted in church buildings, with social distancing, are limited, and it is a requirement that the ‘numbers permitted to attend’ be displayed at the entrance of church buildings. Those numbers are publicised in relation to each church building in this list also for your information.
Consultations locally have resulted in decisions as to whether or not places should be on a first come basis, or if booking is possible or required.
Speaking about the arrangements, the Bishop, Dr Paul Colton said:
All of this is necessary in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic, but it is also heart-breaking for clergy and parishioners to have to limit the numbers attending Church. It goes totally against the grain. The instinct of our vocation and our approach is always open-armed and to say “All are welcome’ .
The Coronavirus is even thwarting that this year. It is new but it is not normal.
‘Booking’ for church also goes completely against the grain, but pragmatic approaches have had to be found locally by clergy in consultation with the people of the parishes about how best to face up to the limits that have been imposed by the Level 3 regulations.
I ask everyone to cooperate with the voluntary churchwardens and stewards without whom it would not be possible to hold public worship at all this Christmas. In thanking them I thank also all the volunteers in our parishes, not least those who will do the cleaning between the extra Services as required by the regulations.
I appeal to everyone, therefore, to understand and to work within the challenges faced by parishes and to see the practical dilemmas being worked through as part of our solidarity to ‘protect each other’ and to ‘stay safe’ as we continue to fight this virus together.
Unless otherwise stated the Service in each case below is a celebration of Holy Communion/The Holy Eucharist.
Where the Service is Holy Communion by Extension (the sacrament being brought to a church for distribution by a Deacon or licensed lay person from a previous celebration of Holy Communion) this too is indicated.
Cork was a cauldron of violence and conflict one hundred years ago during the War of Independence. One of the objectives of the Cork, Cloyne and Ross Diocesan Commemoration and Reconciliation Project, established by Bishop Paul Colton in 2018 and supported by the Diocesan Council and Diocesan Synod, is to create moments of local shared commemoration.
Tuesday, 15th December marked the centenary of the murders in Dunmanway, County Cork of Canon Thomas Magner (70) and Tadhg Crowley (22) causing outrage in Ireland, Great Britain and internationally.
On Sunday 13th of December at the Morning Service in Saint Mary’s Church, Dunmanway, Canon Thomas Magner and Tadgh Crowley were remembered and their story was told. Two candles were lit.
Later that day, the rector, the Reverend Cliff Jeffers, was invited to attend the 12 noon Mass in St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, Dunmanway where he was involved in the offertory procession. He presented the minute book of the Select Vestry from 1920 where the minutes of a special meeting of the Select Vestry of 100 years ago were read expressing
… our deep abhorrence at the dreadful murder of the Very Rev. Canon Magner P.P.
The parish priest today, Father Ted Collins, quoted those vestry minutes as part of his sermon, noting the ecumenical relations at that time, and which have been nurtured since and continue today.
The Reverend Cliff Jeffers was asked to speak and to say a prayer at the gravesides of Canon Magner and Tadgh Crowley. Father Ted Collins used Canon Magner’s Rosary beads to say a decade of the Rosary.
Dr Meryvn O’Driscoll of the History Department in University College Cork gave an oration, with details of what happened on that dreadful day. Wreaths were laid at the graves and also at the memorial cross at Ballyhalwick by members of the Magner and Crowley families. Former MEP Brian Crowley, who was also present, is a great grand nephew of Tadhg Crowley.
One of the traditions of Christmas is the children’s Nativity Play; telling the story of the birth of Jesus. Schools in Cork, Cloyne and Ross have been putting on their plays during the current pandemic with children performing within their classroom bubbles.
Parishes present a different dilemma as the children are not necessarily all at school together. A number of parishes have been finding ways around this.
In West Cork, Ross Union of Parishes is one such parish, and you are invited to view their Virtual Nativity. The children recorded it in their homes and it was put together by Play it by Ear.
Many people are missing the usual round of Christmas Carol Services this year. In addition to the innovative initiative of broadcasting carols on a big screen from the back of a truck around Cork reported HERE a pre-recorded Diocesan Service of Seven Lessons and Carols from Satin Fin Barre’s Cathedral Cork is now available online.
You, if you wish to take part in a Carol Service click below for