Lent began for the parishioners of Killucan Parish with a weekend retreat. At the invitation of the Parish Pastoral Council, Sr. Jacinta and Sr. Chiara of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal based at St. Mary’s Parish Drogheda, along with Fr. Robert McCabe C.C., St. Mary’s Parish Navan, lead the parishioners in reflecting upon the gift of God the Father’s merciful love in our lives. Much of this was based upon Pope Francis’s Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love).

During Friday the Sisters visited the parish schools where the children were surprised to see ‘young nuns’! It was a great encounter and who knows what spark Sr. Jacinta and Sr. Chiara may have ignited for future vocations! In the evening the Retreat began with the First Friday Mass remembering the Parish List of the Dead. On Saturday morning Mass was focused upon the example of Our Lady.

The children also received a special Calendar for Lent; however one little four year old couldn’t understand why there was no chocolate behind each day, unlike the Advent Calendar! At noon despite the prevailing mist forty hardy parishioners took part in a Canal Rosary Walk, along which the Sisters shared insights into St. Francis’s appreciation for the beautiful gift of God’s Creation! The mug of soup afterwards in Nanny Quinn’s was much appreciated too!

Later there was a gathering at 3pm in St. Brigid’s Church, Raharney for the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at which Sr. Jacinta give a talk on the legacy of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy which we celebrated during 2016.

From 7pm Saturday evening 24 hours of Adoration took place in St. Brigid’s Church, Raharney. The Hours were interspersed with a guided Holy Hour and with The Night and Morning Prayer of the Church. It was really inspiring to see so many of all ages come and spend time before the Blessed Sacrament. The usual Vigil and Sunday Masses were celebrated in St. Joseph’s Church, Rathwire and in St. Brigid’s by Fr. Robert and the new Parish Priest Fr. Mark English. The retreat concluded with a Reconciliation Service and Benediction on Sunday evening.

The Sisters were most grateful for the generous collection of non-perishable foods provided by the parishioners to assist with their ministry among the poor. It was indeed a blest retreat experience for all who participated over the weekend and it has sown the seed for the parish preparations for the World Meeting of Families next year and hopefully too Pope Francis’ visit!

(Fr Mark English PP)