3rd Advent Talk – From Addict to Counsellor

Oisin McConville, one of the greats of Armagh football, made the long journey to Scariff Community College on Tuesday 5th December to speak to a large gathering of people from the parishes of the East Clare Cluster about his harrowing experiences as a compulsive gambler, about his ongoing recovery and about his work as a counsellor. Born in Crossmaglen in 1975 , Oisin’s early memories are of the joys of playing football and of the towering presence of the huge British Army barracks in his town. Something changed for him on Grand National Day in 1989 when as a 14 year old he entered a crowded bookmakers and placed his first bet. He was hooked and went on to be a compulsive gambler by the age of 18 , getting a buzz from both winning and losing, and being prepared to beg, borrow and steal to fund his gambling.

Second Advent Talk-Power of Community

Eugene Hogan travelled from Ogonnelloe to Tulla on 28th November to deliver the second in the 2017 series of Advent talks for the East Clare Cluster.Eugene spoke movingly of events surrounding the accidental death in 2014 of his brother Dermot and particularly of the community support that the extended Hogan family experienced at that very difficult time. Dermot, who was Eugene’s protective older brother, died following an accident on his farm in Co Offaly and after that tragic event the whole family was instantly wrapped in a blanket of care by the parish and GAA communities. Dermot had been manager of the Offaly U-21 hurling team and was very involved in his local community and that community was not found wanting at a time of great need.

Changed Times in Diocese of Killaloe

Fr Ger Nash, a native of Glendree in our neighbouring parish of Tulla and currently Director of Pastoral Planning for the Diocese of Killaloe, celebrated both Masses in our parish on the final weekend of the church year. Fr Ger spoke of the changes in the 58 parishes of the diocese down through the years and said that, because of the dwindling number of priests, several more parishes  will be, like our own, without a resident priest. He said that the available priests will selflessly do their best to serve the 120,000 Catholics in our diocese but that it will not be possible to have Mass in every single church every weekend. The hope is that all members of local communities will engage in serious conversations about how all of these beautiful churches can be kept open and prayerful every weekend.

First Advent Talk- Spirituality and Mount Everest

John Burke came from Spanish Point on Tuesday 13th November to speak to people of the parishes of the East Clare Cluster about his experiences as a Mount Everest summiteer and about the founding of Elevate , a charity that promotes youth wellness. Several people from Bodyke & Tuamgraney were among the near-capacity audience in Scariff Community College that listened intently to John’s vivid descriptions of acclimatization, of the harrowing ascent of the great mountain in May of this year and of the huge preparation that had preceded the climb. He spoke of his training, of mental preparation, of the building of confidence and of the importance of learning from every setback that he experienced.

Harvest Thanksgiving Mass in Bodyke

As people gathered for Mass on Sunday 29th October they admired before the altar a colourful display that represented the bounties of the harvest season and of the past year. The display had been carefully assembled by Biddy Hogan and her team of helpers. Before Mass symbols of the harvest  and of achievements in the parish since last harvest were brought to the altar by young parishioners. These symbols included earth and water, plants, fruit, vegetables, firewood and sods of turf as well as trophies won by parish hurlers and musicians.

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