Welcome to the website of St Matthew’s Parish, Ballyfermot. We hope you will find any information that you may require on our site, but should you need any help, please don’t hesitate to contact us in the Parish Office.
As you are probably aware, we have installed a webcam to allow parishioners and others to view our celebration of the Eucharist and other services in St. Matthews. If you would like to see the webcam, you’ll find a link in the menu above, or else just click here!
Shortened letter from the Archbishop
In the last fifteen months, we have been unable to do the things we normally do to express our faith and our solidarity with each other. This is not to say that the life of prayer and charity have ceased, but life’s usual patterns have been disrupted…. Communities and parishes have shown resilience and imagination in their responses to the challenges of the pandemic…. The necessary restriction of public worship has profoundly affected the two essential Sunday Mass collections on which parish funds depend. The first collection—as you know—supports clergy ministering throughout the diocese as well as sick and retired priests and priests working in other ministries throughout the diocese. The second collection—the ‘Share’ collection—supports diocesan services to parishes especially disadvantaged parishes. In the last financial year, the clergy collection decreased by 54% and the ‘Share’ collection decreased by 65%. This year the situation is even more grave—with a decrease of 80% and 86% respectively for the first quarter (January to March 2021 That this would have happened, given the character of the necessary lockdowns, is not surprising. I am grateful to all who have continued to give so generously in the past 15 months. I have approved the proposal to hold a new Summer Dues collection to support priests of the diocese. This initiative will follow the pattern of the Christmas and Easter dues collections giving parishioners an opportunity to contribute to the income that supports priests. The Summer Offering collection will be launched on the weekend of the 20th June…. While great strides have been made in getting the virus under control, there is still a way to go before our country and other nations are out of the woods… May the Holy Spirit lift our hearts, and renew our hope so that in ‘our common home’ we may share the life for which God created us.
Dermot Farrell, Archbishop of Dublin.
Welcome back, Monday, 12th May.
It’s great to think that we are finally getting back to celebrate Mass together. So many have told me how badly they missed doing so and at a time when they especially felt the need to do so. We will be following the same procedures as we did when the Church was last open, and we will need volunteers to help again. Alas, we will be bound by the same restrictions and number allowed at each Mass as before, but that is understandable as the virus is not yet under control and we still need to be vigilant. Thank God most of us have come through reasonably well, but we don’t know how different people have been affected by the virus, or may still be, and we have to keep up the prayers. Yes, so much has changed and we are all trying to deal with that and so it is important that we continue to support each other and reach out to others as Jesus Christ would want us to do. (Further information regarding reopening of Church below.)
WELCOME SURPRISE VISIT
His Grace, Archbishop Dermot Farrell came to celebrate 10.30am Mass online last Sunday 9th May. This Mass was recorded in case anyone missed it.
The Archbishop has courageously taken on his ministry in the diocese in a time of great change with diminishing number of priests and fall off in Church attendance. He sees the need to act swiftly to enable the Church to continue into the future with confidence. For that reason he has set up a Taskforce with an emphasis on Building Hope. The membership consists of a broad group of people with various backgrounds whose main work will be to stimulate conversation. Instead of beginning with what is broken, it’s about looking at the good and positive things being done, and examining the possibilities. The most important part will be the gathering of information from parishes quickly as the report from the taskforce is to be fully completed by the end of August!
Mission Sunday 2020
Letter received thanking parishioners for donation of 530 euro towards the Missions. “Your support helps to share the light of Jesus’ love, to train tomorrow’s sisters and priests, and to give hope to the world’s poorest children. Your kindness also supports the building and maintenance of churches, hospitals, schools, nurseries, and community and pastoral centres overseas. Please continue to remember the challenging work of overseas missionaries in your prayers. They remember you.”
Closing Church Gates
Regretfully, due to disturbance and lack of respect for Church grounds, I have to lock the gates. They will however be open for private prayer in the mornings and whenever any services are taking place in the Church. Sorry for the inconvenience caused.
Pope Francis’ Prayer for the Year of St Joseph (starting Friday 19th March)
Hail Guardian of the Redeemer, Spouse of the Blessed virgin Mary. To you God entrusted his only Son; in you Mary placed her trust; with you Christ became man. Blessed Joseph, to us too, show yourself a father and guide us in the path of life. Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage and defend us from every evil. Amen
Day of Prayer The annual Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of Sexual Abuse is an initiative by Pope Francis and was first marked in Irish dioceses and parishes in 2017. As a gesture towards this initiative we have placed a candle and prayer at St Matthew’s statue as St Matthew was a sinner before Jesus called him. The following which was sent to us is the prayer that you might say:
Lord, forgive us our many sins. We grieve and repent with all our hearts for having offended you, for our great failings and neglect of the young and vulnerable. We place all of those who have been hurt by the Church in any way into your loving hands and under the protection of Our Blessed Mother. Lord, bring peace to their broken lives and show us all the way out of darkness and into the light of your Word. May we as the people of God be more fully human, more fully Christ-like and more fully your people, that we may see the errors of the past and go forward with renewed hope and faith in Christ and in our Church. Amen.
Opening arrangements for St Matthew’s Church:
Now that we are back open, Mass times are back to normal with Weekday Masses at 10am, weekend Masses, Saturday 6.30pm & Sunday 10.30am and 12 noon. No congregational singing allowed. Church open for private prayer on weekdays 10.30am till 12 noon and everyone is encouraged to pray for end of pandemic. Maximum of 50 people allowed at weddings and funerals. Parents, godparents and grandparents will only be allowed at baptisms when they take place after 5th July.
The obligation to attend Mass on a Sunday does not apply during these times of the pandemic and those who are vulnerable or who have been in touch with those affected by the virus should not attend. Confessions may be heard on Saturdays 6pm till 6.25pm. However, these are not normal times, and some see the danger of going to Confession, where you may have to queue with others, who may be carrying the virus, and then meet face to face with the priest, as daunting. In these circumstances it is not necessary or obligatory to go to Confession to receive absolution before you may receive Holy Communion. All you need do is to say a sincere act of sorrow and know that your sins are all forgiven. On the other hand, it is good to go to Confession if you can, just ask or call.
Now that many people have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, social life is coming back to normal, but we still have to be vigilant as there is the danger of transmitting the virus will be with us for some time yet and the virus can have a very serious effect on people’s health as we know. The pandemic has hit us hard, because until this pandemic arrived, we as a country were doing so well. Please God we will continue to do well, but it is such a different situation now that we cannot expect that everyone will be as well-off as before, and there will be more need to take the needs of others into account.
I am very grateful for all the support and co-operation. As the Church re-opens we will again have the same necessary restrictions as up till now. They include measures like sanitising your hands, social distancing, and wearing facemasks. Entry only will be by the front doors and Exit only by the back doors. Exception will be made for those in wheelchairs. Toilets will be open, but those who use them will be expected to use hand sanitisers and clean the toilet furnishings after use. Only priest and sacristan will be allowed in the sacristy at Mass-times. The collection baskets will be brought to the people in their seats. Similarly Holy Communion will be brought to the people and they may receive only in the hand. People will not be allowed to gather outside after leaving the Church.
Finances: All the Church collections have fallen, though some people have been more than generous. The Common Fund Collection has dropped by almost 70%. This is the fund that is divided to provide fairly for all the priests of the diocese. Besides the 1st Collection at Sunday Masses, the money given as Easter Dues (Offering) goes into that fund. So we would appeal to all our parishioners to remember in this way to send whatever they can afford. This is better than making private contributions to priests.
If you know of anyone interested in finding out more about a vocation to the priesthood within the archdiocese of Dublin you can direct them to the website: dublindiocese/vocations
A Prayer to Mary during the Coronavirus Pandemic (given to me by Sr. Anne Marie)
O Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Our Lord Jesus, with confidence we come to implore your unfailing help. We think of you Mother, at the foot of the cross. Your heart must have bled to see your Son in agony. But your joy was great when he rose from the dead, victorious over the powers of evil.
Mother of sorrows, pray for us in this time of trial. Help us not to lose heart.
Intercede for your people who are afflicted with the coronavirus. Comfort your people who are vulnerable and anxious.
Protect healthcare workers who put their lives at risk. Inspire our leaders to make good decisions. Change our hearts that all may act responsibly.
Teach us to trust in God’s love and mercy, and so share the joy of having courageously faced up to all the challenges of life. Amen.
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.
Covid 19 Funeral Arrangements in St Matthews Church (These to be changed).
We offer our condolences to all those who are mourning the loss of a loved one at this time. We understand that this is a difficult time for you. We do not wish to make it any more difficult for you. However, to safeguard the wellbeing of all who attend the funeral in St Matthew’s Church we ask everyone to respect certain arrangements.
If you arrive before the hearse, do not gather outside the Church. On arrival enter through the front door of the Church and take your seats.
All we can allow in the Church at the moment are 50 people. So sit only in the places where there is a yellow marker. (We have installed outdoor microphones so that those who are outside can follow the Mass, but they must observe social distancing.) Two people from the one household may sit together, and no more.
Leave the front seats available for the chief mourners who will arrive with the hearse.
Those who are doing readings or bringing up symbols (mementos) of the deceased should sit at the end of seats so that they do not have to pass anyone on leaving their seats.
For the distribution of Holy Communion everyone should stay where they are and Holy Communion will be brought to you.
At the end of Mass the priest and coffin will go out first, and then starting from the seats nearest the Altar, people will leave the Church by the same door by which they entered. So stay in your seat until the people in the seat in front of you have moved 2 meters past you.
Transmission of the ceremony through our website will continue until the singer has finished her singing.
Move away from the Church when you come out. Social distancing will not allow people gathering in front of the Church.
We would be very grateful if people would co-operate with the stewarding and follow these necessary arrangements.