Weekly Bulletin 22nd March 2020

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Dear friends in the Lord,

With the message of our Novena Preachers still ringing in our ears, we made the painful but necessary decision to close the Church for public Masses. However, we will continue with Masses every day at 11:00am on the Parish Webcam and that includes Sunday.

Denice our organist and Margaret our singer have led us with their familiar professionalism and musical beauty into a prayerful space and will continue to do so as long as possible. Fr Leszek SJ is consulting as to whether Masses will continue in Polish and will advise us.

In the meantime, we’ve decided to take up a suggestion of Fr. Kieran O’Mahony’s to study Morality by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in a special Reading Group which will meet using the computer application ZOOM. Rabbi Sacks has some very interesting wisdom to share that touches on the very situation we are living through.

The Sunday night Lectio Divina group has used ZOOM successfully, as has the Gospel Choir for song practice!

Parish Secretary, Sonia, has written a thoughtful reflection on our situation the final words of which are:
God is here: harden not your hearts: God is here and now, acting, walking with us through this time of tribulation, trying to convince us again that we still have time to do His/Her will which is nothing different than living faithfully and radically the commandment of love preached by Jesus. It is up to us to recognize God’s call in this time and not to “harden our hearts” to His voice.

May God bless you and assist you in this difficult and challenging moment in the life of our faith community.

Fr. Gerry Clarke SJ, Parish Priest


In view of the present situation with the COVID 19 Virus we have decided to:

  • End all Masses open to the public at Gardiner Street Church.
  • Celebrate 11am Mass daily and on Sunday in a closed church via the parish Webcam. Access this through our website www.gardinerstparish.ie and click on the webcam button; then press the play button.
  • Anniversary Masses may be booked in our shop although on a reduced availability.
  • Fr. Dermot Mansfield will celebrate a Mass on 21st March at 11am to pray for the canonisation of Blessed John Sullivan and will offer a final blessing with Fr John’s cross.
  • The church doors will open for private prayer after the 11am Mass and remain open until approximately 4.30pm with the exception of MONDAY, WEDNESDAY and FRIDAY when the church will close from 2pm to facilitate a Webcam Mass in Vietnamese at 3pm.
  • Cancel baptisms until further notice.
  • We will continue to welcome funerals at the Church open to immediate family only but available on webcam accessible via our website www.gardinerstparish.ie
  • Parish Office remains open however, the Blessed John Sullivan Crucifix is not available until further notice.


This is a simple and loving act of Spiritual Communion we are called to make in these times, while we are unable to attend Mass and receive the Eucharist:


APPLICATIONS FOR BAPTISMS AND CONFIRMATION CERTIFICATES forms are now available online on https://gardinerstparish.ie/whats-on/baptism/ Please download, fill out and post your application form to
Parish Secretary,
Gardiner Street Parish,
Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin 1


O Mary,
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm.
You, Salvation of the Roman People,
know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.

Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.


Women religious across the globe call for a Day of Worldwide Solidarity and Prayer on Sunday, 22 March, to express closeness to those suffering from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Now is the time for each one of us to respond to the worldwide coronavirus crisis by being in solidarity with others, especially with those who are most vulnerable and most at risk. It is time to follow the directives provided by the World Health Organization and our respective governments.
It is a special time for prayer and for witnessing through practical solidarity and awareness, our responsibility to care for one another. This extraordinary time provides space for acts of generosity and expressions of gratitude especially to those who are in the front line caring for the sick and those engaged in research projects searching for remedies, and those at work in the public services. No matter who they are or where they are, they should know that they are in the thoughts and prayers of sisters worldwide.

We, therefore, invite all the member congregations of UISG to make next Sunday 22nd March a day of worldwide solidarity and prayer especially for all those directly affected.”

Sr. Jolanta Kafka RMI. President of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG)



Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,

Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM


Listening to music can lift the spirit, as can enjoying the arts of all kinds.
• The Berlin Philharmonic had made videos of its performances available for free. Click https://www.berliner-philharmoniker.de/en/titelgeschichten/20192020/digital-concert-hall/


A Pandemic that touches everyone

Over the last six months, we have seen different signs around the world; record-breaking bushfires, unusual floods in unexpected places, locust infestation of biblical proportion in Africa and a pandemic which takes us back to the times of the Spanish Influenza, a hundred years ago. Covid-19 has proven to be an real-life threat for everybody. It has hit top sportspersons, ministers, Oscar awarded actors as well as ordinary citizens, regardless of age, religion, nationality or any other condition.

All Masses cancelled

Many people are asking; Where is God in all of this? Why doesn’t God halt the galloping spread of Covid-19 and its appalling toll of death? Others proclaim the triumph of science over religion because modern medicine has performed “miracles” of healing that prayers couldn’t achieve and because of the cancellation of public religious services as recommended by healthcare authorities around the world for preventing infections. Some people proclaim triumphantly “A hundred years ago the Pope would have called every church in the world to double the number of Masses, today the Pope has cancelled all public religious services”

A Lenten call to conversion

Secularisation has relegated conversion to the museum of “oldfashioned ideas”. Speaking about conversion is not so popular these adays. For some is just rubbish, for others, including me,  the call to conversion is the usual discourse of Lent but has become something so ordinary that it has been emptied of any special meaning. However, in Lent 2020  I’ve experienced the strongest call for conversion ever. I think that Covid-19 pandemic has filled the phrase  “call to conversion” with a new and powerful meaning. Besides the terrifying news of the rapid spread around the world of the infection and the appalling toll of casualties, we have also learned about the drop in pollution levels in places where pollution has been an issue for so long. We have also seen how discipline and conscientiousness in complying with the self-isolation and protection measures (giving up unessential social interaction and crazy shopping) have played a key role in keeping the spread of the virus under control and therefore reducing the number of casualties in some countries. We have also seen health care professionals fighting the pandemic bravely and without selfishness, and proud rulers have dropped their heads given the magnitude of the crisis.

A call to real change

Is not all of this the strongest call to convert we have got in our lifetime? In other words, Is not all of this challenging our set of beliefs and all we took for granted? It is not an invitation to make a U-turn and change completely our lifestyle? For me, the answer is yes, this is a strong call to change the habits of our hearts, to exchange selfishness for solidarity and empathy, to change our habits of consumption and behavior for the sake of common good, to change our pattern of frantic activity for the sake of our common home, to change even our relationship with God for a more personal and meaningful encounter with our common Mother/Father rather than just complying with formalities and rites sometimes devoid of meaning or personal commitment.

God is here: harden not your hearts

God is here and now, acting, walking with us through this time of tribulation, trying to convince us again that we still have time to do His/Her will which is nothing different than living faithfully and radically the commandment of love preached by Jesus. Is is up to us to recognize God’s call in this time and not to “harden our hearts” to His voice.

Sonia Alicia Obregon

Friday, 20 March 2020