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Parish Bulletin 4th January 2009
Holy Trinity Church, Ratoath4 January 2009
( 01 8256207

Opening hours for the Parish Office: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday from 9.30am– 4.00pm

 Please pray for Ann Byrne (Moulden Bridge), Michael Conway (Fairyhouse Road) and Fr. Martin Burke (former P.P. Ashbourne) who died during the week. May they rest in peace. Tuesday is the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord. It is a holy day of obligation.The Vigil Mass is on Monday at 7.00pm and Masses on Tuesday are at 9.00am and 11.00am Congratulations to Ben, Alex, & Sam Geoghegan (Seagrave Hall) and Munachi Nneoma (Steeplechase Green) who were baptised recently. Eucharistic Adoration will resume on Wednesday 7th January. Ratoath Folk Group CD for charity “Voices for Chifani” is for sale in the Parish Office for €15.00 and all proceeds will go to the Zambian Immersion programme. The Charity is building a training centre in Kasama for young girls. Your support will make a difference. Ratoath Heritage Group present their book “Ratoath Past and Present” which will be on sale from 19th January 2009. For more information see www.ratoathheritage.ie Children’s Liturgy Committee meet on Wednesday 7th January at 8.00pm in the Parish Pastoral Centre Ratoath Active Age will meet on Friday 9th January 11.00am-1.00pm in the Community Centre. Pilates classes commencing in Ratoath Community Centre on Wednesday mornings 28th January at 10.00am for 8 weeks. Classes instructed by qualified pilates/fitness instructor/neuromuscular therapist. To suit beginner - intermediate levels.  Book your place with Nicola on 087 6975207 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Following on from the success of our winter production "Comedy @ the Arch", Dunshaughlin Players are holding auditions for our Spring production on Thursday Jan 8th at 7.30 pm upstairs in the Arch Bar. 7 
4 JanSecond Sunday after Christmas 11 Jan The Baptism of the Lord
Vigil 7.00pmPaddy Kelly & Paudie Kelly& Christina & Christy RooneyVigil 7.00pmNoel & Theresa Scally& Maureen Walsh
9.00amThomas & Mary Wall& Laurence Fagan9.00amDeclan Hoare& Cyril Brennan
11.00amStasia Duffy (Ballybin)& Tom Murphy11.00am Elizabeth, Christina & Christy Nulty & Deceased Members of Nulty Family& Lily Cullen
12.15pmTom Coyne& Alex & Mary O’Neill12.15pmMary & Pat Reilly& Willie & Lotty McEvatt
 Monday          Brian Brazil (7.000pm Vigil)                    Wednesday    Special Intention  Christmas Message from Bishop Smith The words the angels spoke to the shepherds, recounted in St. Luke’s gospel, go to the very heart of Christmas ‘Listen, do not be afraid…today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you, He is Christ the Lord’. This Christmas as fear looms and time for listening is in short supply, Pope Benedict may offer some guidance in our search. Some time ago he put it simply and beautifully when he said ‘Heaven does not belong to the geography of space but to the geography of the heart. And the heart of God stooped down to the stable’.The events of the past year offer much scope for reflection. Many find the enormous and sudden change that has taken place hard to comprehend. From plenty, and even excess, we have moved rapidly to serious economic turmoil that is having a major negative impact on the lives of many. The voices – there were some – that kept saying it could not last were somewhat like St. John the Baptist ‘a voice crying in the wilderness’. About fifteen years ago there was a major attack by currency traders on the Irish pound. One enterprising journalist sought a comment from both the Church of Ireland Bishop of Meath at that time, Bishop Walton Empey and myself. To his credit Bishop Empey’s comments were more trenchant that mine. Both of us highlighted the lack of ethical and moral underpinning in financial trading. Profit seemed the only motivation – the welfare of people very much a secondary consideration. These comments evoked great amusement and hilarity in financial circles. One paper reported that in the major financial centres traders, when completing a deal, joked that there was a penance of three Hail Marys attached. I doubt they are as flippant or jocose in these times as they survey the bitter fruits of their greed, self-interest and stupidity. Many people are paying a heavy price because of their actions. Fear and insecurity is being experienced by many – everything ordinary good people have worked so hard to achieve, including their home and opportunities for their children, is in danger of collapsing.There is certainly much upon which to reflect and ponder this Christmas. Perhaps our present experience may impel people to ponder more on the underlying causes of how all can have changed so quickly and so rapidly. Pope Benedict has constantly spoken about the crisis of faith and culture that is being experienced in Europe, manifested by an absence of God from so much of life. His final words to the gathering of French intellectuals in Paris in November sum up his concern “To seek God and to let oneself be found by Him, that is today no less necessary than in former times.”The ‘scientific’ mentality that dominates so much of life and provides society with many of its values finds an echo with those who move away from belief. Because of this we are much more comfortable studying the ‘how’ than we are asking the ‘why’. This is not some esoteric debate among philosophers but one that has an immense impact on life and how we view life.The words of the Gospel ‘Listen, do not be afraid’ are an invitation to explore the ‘why’ of life. Heaven as the geography of the heart’ is best traversed by facing honestly the uncomfortable questions that mark our human condition and our life experiences. Why there is something rather than nothing; who do human beings exist, for what purpose and what is their destiny; why does our world exist?The clearest example of how this ‘scientific’ approach has impacted on life is found in the manner in which society, especially western society, treats life. Personal convenience now dictates whether the unborn should be allowed to come to birth. An increasing number of countries are now enacting laws allowing euthanasia – doctors being literally licensed to kill. Embryonic stem cells are destroyed in the hope that cures to a litany of diseases are found. To date no progress has been made in this area yet adult stem cell research has already benefited many. The destruction of human life in its earliest stage is judged solely in terms of research, possible benefits and funding. The recent decision by University College Cork to go down this road offers a good example of this mentality. If the most fundamental of all human rights – the right to life – can be treated is such a cavalier fashion how can we be surprised if ethical and moral values are absent from other areas of society.Science seems to be very uncomfortable with the ‘why’ questions. For the believer pondering the ‘why’ of life is at the very heart of the Christmas message. Salvation does not lie under the bright lights of personal convenience but under the rising star of a personal relationship with the one who ‘stooped down to earth’. It is not a belief to be hidden but one that must be taken to the pathways of life, offering a foundation not only for our personal lives but also for society. The parable of Jesus about the house being built on sand is one we can easily identify with in these times. Self-interest and personal convenience are not the foundations that bring stability or hope. Truth about life, about its purpose and destiny manifested in the ever demanding search for the ‘definitive that is beyond the provisional’ is central to the meaning of what we celebrate at Christmas.
 

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