Annual Mass of Remembrance St John’s Cemetery, Ballinrea.

St John's Cemetery

Death creates a heartache which in time will heal, love creates memories which death cannot steal.

On Wednesday, 7th August, at 7.30pm we celebrated our annual Mass of Remembrance in St John’s Cemetery, Ballinrea. Although we had a disappointing summer, the weather stayed dry during the Mass. It was a little chilly but this is only to be expected as the cemetery is vast and is situated on top of a hill. The mourners came well prepared with their jackets, and those who needed to sit down during the celebration of Mass brought their own folding chairs.

With every passing year the number of bereaved parishioners attending the Mass increases as more of our loved ones, and those of our neighbouring parishes, are called to God. 

Fr Kevin, our parish priest, con-celebrated the Mass with Canon Teddy from Douglas parish. He welcomed everyone to the cemetery and prayed for all who mourn the loss of their loved ones. He asked the Lord to comfort all those who are in pain at this time. Members of the parish choir sang Lay your hands gently upon us for the entrance hymn. Kieran read the lesson from the Prophet Isaiah while the choir sang The Lord is my Shepherd for the responsorial psalm. Canon Teddy read from the holy gospel according to John. For his homily, Fr Kevin spoke about the pain, heartache and tears associated with the passing of a loved one and that our prayer is be for them to be at peace with God, and for us to be reunited with them in heaven. He went on to say our loved ones are never forgotten. During the different wars in countries and nations soldiers perished and died, their families – generations down – would seek out the place where their great grandfather, grandfather, great uncle or relative was killed on the battlefield so they could get a sense of their loved one and feel connected. As a Christian people we believe death is not the end, but rather a passing into a new life God has prepared for us; we will share in the glory of the resurrection. We look forward to the day when our deceased loved ones will rise again and be reunited with us.

Kieran read the prayer of the faithful and the church choir sang All That We Have for the offertory hymn. Several Eucharistic Ministers helped Fr Kevin & Canon Teddy distribute Holy Communion while the choir and the mourners joined in the singing of the hymn Be Not Afraid.

At the end of Mass and before the blessing of graves Fr Kevin once again thanked everyone for their prayerful attendance. He thanked Canon Teddy for con-celebrating the Mass with him, Marion in the parish office for all the work she did in advertising the Mass and assisting  members of the parish assembly to organise the Mass, Kieran for reading the lesson and prayer of the faithful, members of the parish choir for enhancing the ceremony, the Eucharistic Ministers for their help in distributing Holy Communion. He also thanked the staff of St John’s cemetery, especially Mick, the cemetery caretaker, who went above and beyond the call of duty to assist in any way he could to facilitate the celebration of the Mass, and of course Finbarr, the sound engineer, who made it possible for the Mass to be heard around the cemetery. The choir sang How great thou art as the Mass was ending.

Fr Kevin asked that the mourners stand beside the grave of their loved ones so they could bless the grave. He pointed out that not everyone buried in St John’s was of the Christian faith and it was important that this was respected. He and Canon Teddy then proceeded to bless the graves of our loved ones.





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