On Good Friday the 7th of April, almost 100 people gathered at the entrance to Ardmayle Cemetery from 2.00pm. This was a joint endeavour between the Parish Pastoral Ministry Team and Ardmayle Heritage Society to walk a section of one of the many Mass Paths in the parish. It was to remind ourselves of our own faith inherited through Jesus’ life on earth and his journey to Calvary for his Crucifixion and death.
Pat Maher, Chairperson of Ardmayle Heritage, welcomed everyone and gave a brief history of Mass Paths and, in particular, the different paths taken in summer and winter, important when we were a walking people.
Just as Jesus fell three times, we made three stops, and parishioners represented by a grandparent, a current parent and the children – our future – each had reflections on their role. The expression of faith was considered from three perspectives, the faith we inherited from our ancestors who walked the Mass Paths and that we want to pass on, our current faith journey in a very different busy world, and our hope into the future.
Grandparent Eleanor Dwyer, at our first stop at the Moate of Ardmayle, spoke of the changes in the Church from the certainties and authoritarianism of her youth and the changes that she has lived through. Our forebears endured many hardships in the practice of their faith but despite this, they persevered and passed on to us a rich belief in the message of Jesus. In a mainly peaceful society after the horrors of the great wars, we sensed a brighter future and the promise of a more open Church with the convening of Vatican 2 in the 1960’s. We try our best to pass on our Christian values, as do many parents today. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote:
“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.”
Parent Niamh McCarthy, at our second stop at the entrance to the field section, spoke of the difficult role of current parents, the myriad conflicts around the world, the secular world and the huge demands on parents’ time. These all make finding time for nourishing their own faith and that of their children challenging. It takes a real effort for us to make the time and space for our faith to develop and to pass on the Christian message. Every parent of a child will know that ultimately prayer is our great hope.
We have two major events in the parish in May, First Communion and Confirmation. At our third stop as we arrived at the church, children receiving these sacraments spoke of their role in the future. Spring being a time of rebirth, their faith journey will include playing an important part in protecting God’s Creation. All three parish schools were represented. Aoibh O’Dwyer, First Communion class, represented Dualla. Boherlahan students were Tom Purcell, Confirmation and Aislinn Ryan, First Communion, and Ballytarsna had Jack Maher, Confirmation and Luke O’Connell, First Communion.
Fr. Egan and other parishioners greeted us at the church before the Liturgy for Good Friday began. The Mass Path walk was a very worthwhile undertaking, appreciated and supported by the large attendance. Thanks to the Pastoral Team, to parents who contacted others, to the principals of our schools who notified parents and to Pat Maher for coordinating the event.