SHANNON CELEBRATE: Following their narrow defeat to Terenure the previous week it was very definitely celebration time for Shannon on Saturday last. Following a very close encounter with Belfast Harlequins in Thomond Park which resulted in a win for Shannon, the score 13-9, they had a huge celebration in the clubhouse in memory of that unforgettable three in a row success in the 80s.
HANDEL’S MESSIAH: I’m sure many readers will agree and particularly music loving readers that a vibrant performance of Handell’s ‘Messiah’ has to be the ultimate musical Christmas treat. The outstanding Limerick Choral Union has been performing this musical Christmas treat since their foundation in 1964 and in so doing they have delighted audiences in Limerick and in the Mid-West generally. On Sunday, December 8, 2013, there will be a performance of this great musician’s masterpiece at UCH. There will be more than a little history attached to this performance; don’t miss it. The tickets are €25 and €22. It is an event not to be missed, as it promises to leave a lasting impression on all who attend, as well as setting the ideal mood for the celebration of the feast of our Saviour’s birth.
PARISH CAROL SERVICE: Our Carol Service will take place on Sunday, December 15, 2013, in St Mary’s Church, beginning at 7.30pm. In former years this has always been a most enjoyable musical experience. Hopefully, the heating will have been switched on well ahead of the start of this annual event, so that all attendees and participants can enjoy this Advent musical treat in comfort.
OUR BAND PLAY IN CATHEDRAL: Come And Sing Carols will take place at St Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday next, December 7, 2013 at 5.30pm. St Mary’s Prize Band will perform at this service. Admission is free but a donation to the Retiring Collection would be greatly appreciated as this will go to aid Limerick City Parish.
BEAUTIFUL EVENING PRAYER: It was indeed a treat to hear our magnificent Senior Choir extend a perfect rendition of the beautiful Dylan Thomas poem, ‘Evening Prayer’ on Sunday last This is by no means an easy song to sing but our choir does it perfect justice without doubt. I first came across this lovely piece while teaching much further afield in the 60s and have loved it ever since. Another one I came across during those wonderful years was a piece entitled, ‘Fourteen Angels’ from the opera, ‘Hansel and Gretel’ by Englebert Humperdink. Though not specifically considered to be a Christmas Carol, some have made it so, and believe it or not it fits. During last Sunday’s Mass we also had an added treat with Seán Ó’Shea’s singing of, ‘Be Not Afraid.’ The one thing I notice about this choir is that they are so very well blended that no one sticks out, so that when we occasionally hear a soloist, it is always a treat; moderation in all things as the saying goes and I’m sure the same applies to music, choirs etc. We look forward to a soloist or two on the 15th, please God and don’t forget to contribute generously to the annual collection; they richly deserve it.
When at night I go to sleep
Fourteen angels watch do keep,
Two my head are guarding
Two my feet are guiding.
Two are on my right hand,
Two are on my left hand,
Two who warmly cover
Two who o’er me hover,
Two to whom ‘tis given
To guide my steps to heaven.
GREGORIAN CHANT AT CATHEDRAL: Thursday, December 12, 2013, St Mary’s Cathedral will resound to the dulcet tones of Sionna, as they sing 10-13th century Gregorian Chant, medieval polyphony, some traditional Irish Carols, as well as a few well-known Christmas musical staples. The five candelabra positioned in the centre aisle and which hang from the ceiling, will be lit for this special musical occasion. To reserve your seat for Sionna by Candlelight contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets €12 with concessions €10.
KEVIN NEVILLE AT LOFT: The young base baritone, Kevin Neville, will perform at ‘The Loft’ overhead ‘The Locke’ on Saturday at 2pm and on Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are €10.
A COSY CANDLELIT CATHEDRAL: The melodious bells rang out their joyful knell from the belfry of our ancient St Mary’s Cathedral on Sunday last about 6.45pm as many people made their way there to honour the first day of Advent in anxious anticipation of our Saviour’s birth. The Cathedral was packed for what promised to be a meditative time listening to sacred music and hymns to the accompaniment of some powerful organ playing by Peter Barley.
Four of the five candelabra shone brilliantly, dispelling the darkness, while the sanctuary came alight with upwards of almost 100 candles, generating a most haunting ambience.
The favourite Christmas hymn, ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel,’ heralded the Cathedral Choir, who were joined by a number of visiting clergy as they processed from the Vestry. On this particular night they were truly Angels from Heaven, both male and female voices blending magnificently in the praise of the Lord. They processed noiselessly about the Cathedral quelling all darkness with their soulful singing. Both male and female soloists were beautifully effective with their individual input. Dean Sandra Pragnell read some appropriate prayers in a voice that is always clear as a bell. The various other readers were also excellent as they read with clear diction and the attendees did not have to strain to hear. This event was a most fitting and memorable beginning to the Advent season, and it’s well done to all concerned with the organization of same. We now look forward to Carols for the City at 8.00pm on December 22, 2013. (see above re this Saturday).
BRILLIANT BROTHERS’ BOOK GUIDE: The launch of yet another local book took place at the Hunt Museum on Sunday afternoon last. It proved to be the ideal venue with restaurant manageress, Helen O’Donnell, being her usual welcoming self as she distributed food and wine to the vast assemblage. The book entitled, ‘Discover Limerick,’ is the combined effort of brothers, Tomás and Dominick Moloney, two parish men originally from Assumpta Park, (Island Road). Their late father, Paddy, worked for CIE all his life. Their late mother, Philla, could well have performed any aria in many an opera had she not been so busy in the rearing of nine children. Their late grand-father (whom I knew well), Michael Collins, had a highly successful mini sweet factory on Nicholas Street, next door to where Al Ryan Printers is now situated. Truly, theirs is a proud and hard-working heritage.
Kieran Lehane, representing City Hall, spoke briefly and effectively at the event. Labour TD, Jan O’Sullivan, launched the book and was fulsome in her praise of Dominick, a professional photographer, and Tomás, a consummate landscape artist of note. The book is a dream and a literary sparkling visual creation that has been highly intelligently devised. Not a trick, so to speak, has been missed; its contents, consisting of no less than 500 coloured pictures. The main thrust of this quality production is the portrayal of nine various walks within and a little outside the city, where you will encounter some unique artifacts etc of certain local interest which heretofore has remained somewhat sequestered. The reader is provided with the distance and possible duration of each walk, together with the amount of calories a person might burn up en route. Nor is bird life, plant and flower life and insect life forgotten in this book either.
BARD FEATURES IN BOOK: Naturally, our Bard (pictured below in his younger years) features in the book, together with a quotation from that marathon poem, ‘Drunken Thady.’ In actual fact, I think that the artistic impression by artist, Tomás, of this epic tale is just brilliant altogether. I just love the colour the artist chose, red, for the ‘wicked’ Bishop’s Lady’s cloak. The swirling snow against a deep dark blue (more like a navy), foreboding sky is pleasantly atmospheric and eye-catching. Yet another ghost appears in this book, that of the ghost of Troy Castle. One is spoiled for choice. However, I think my favourite has to be the painting of Famine times down the old docks; it simply has to be seen to be believed. It is lavish in its pathos. And where would you ever come across a double page of knockers, yes, simply knockers, together with a double page of really old fashioned doorbells as well as mud scrapers? (There was no paving way back then). In this book, of course. I actually have the latter in front and back of my house. However, all of the paintings in the book are a visual delight, while the pictures taken by Dominick bear the mark of a true professional. So now we have two more names to augment the growing list of Parish literary achievers. It now only remains for me to wish these two brilliant sons of our proud parish all the very best with the sales of their delightful book. I predict that if there is an award for non-fiction, specialized subjects, this book will win hands down. An amount of Trojan work went into its creation.
THANKS: Gratitude to all who contributed to the fund for the extremely sad plight in the Philippines was expressed by the clergy at Mass on Sunday last. The collection amounted to €2579.
LIAM LAWTON CONCERT: It was also announced at that same Mass that there will be a Concert by Liam Lawton at St Munchin’s Church over the bridge on Monday, December 16, 2013.
OUR LOCAL PIGEON FLYERS: For sure people who have an avid interest in pigeons and the keeping and racing of the said bird, rarely feature in the local newspaper but they certainly did last week in this very newspaper. Mike McCormack and Mike Slattery were presented with the highest award, a silver cup each. Well done to him! Also well done to the following pigeon lovers who received awards: Mike Cran, G Kerley, Mathew O’Regan, and Liam Fitzgerald. Our local racing pigeon club is situated on Mary Street just beyond the three red-brick houses and behind a two-storey vacant house. What a unique and wonderful interest to be involved in.
THE WORD OF THE LORD (YEAR A): St Mary’s Cathedral is grateful to the Rev’d Jane Galbraith, who has presented the cathedral with a copy of The Word of the Lord (Year A) which includes all the Sunday readings, including for second and third Sunday services. This is a very thoughtful gesture from Jane, who gave it in gratitude for her ten years of ministry in the cathedral.
CATHEDRAL CHOIR NEWS: It was a great pleasure to be able to welcome the choir of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork to St Mary’s Cathedral last Sunday afternoon. This was for a special evensong at which Royal School of Church Music Voice for Life Awards were presented to successful candidates from both St Fin Barre’s and St Mary’s. Bishop Trevor Williams presented certificates to those who gained Bronze and Silver Awards in the examinations earlier this year. This included two choristers from St Mary’s. Emily Howes and Lauren Hannon. Lauren gained a distinction in her Bronze exam whilst Emily obtained distinction in her Silver Award. Congratulations to them both and to all the successful candidates. The combined choirs were conducted by Malcolm Wisener, Organist and Director of Music of St Fin Barre’s whilst the officiants were the Dean and Rev’d Ted Ardis, Dean’s Vicar of St Fin Barre’s. This was a return visit; St Mary’s having visited Cork in the autumn of last year for a joint evensong.
PARISH MURAL: As a matter of interest, there is a very fine mural of a wonderful parish depiction down by Nolan’s Cottages (of very happy memory) to be seen outside Cummin’s Art shop in Post Office Lane. Seemingly it was painted by a strolling artist and has been there for two years but as I don’t often go through that lane, I only saw it recently. Due to the material used by the talented artist, I understand it will not last for many more years.
QUAY BOOKS: In addition to the local bookshops I mentioned in recent notes, you will also find books by many Limerick writers at Quay Books in the Arthur’s Quay Shopping Centre. This book venue is run by a parish woman and she deserves to be supported. Here you will find an eclectic array of books and stationery. You will also find Denis O’Shaughnessy’s latest publication at our local Post Office and there’s a possibility that you might come across our parish writer at the market.
NOTES ARE WELCOME: Anyone is welcome to submit matters of interest concerning the local or church scene to this column; pictures to complement a submission are also most welcome. People love to know what is going on. Our rowing and rugby clubs have been particularly attentive in this regard and I am very grateful for their input which succeeds in reaching far and wide. I actually know of a parish man who is domiciled in Canada who manages to receive a copy of the ‘Limerick Leader,’ every week and he relishes reading sports matters very much. At this point I would also like to express my appreciation to Peggy Carey, Secretary of St Mary’s Cathedral, for diligently and without fail sending on all matters of interest concerning happenings in that Cathedral, which of course is situated in the heart of our local community.
HEALING RETREST: Maranatha Prayer Ministry invites you for the Healing Retreat with Praise and Worship, Word of God, Confessions, Laying on of hands, Holy Mass through the Ministry of Fr. Ger Fitzgerald, Ennis and Noel and Aiden Byrne, Carlow on next Sunday, 15th December, 2013 from 2.30pm to 7pm at St. Paul’s Church, Dooradoyle, Limerick.
SYMPATHY: We express our deepest sympathy to the families of the following parishioners who have recently passed away: Patrick Griffin, Lee Estate and late of Church Street: and Teresa Tobin (nee O’Shaughnessy).
WISE WORDS: ’Better the foot slip than the tongue.’ ‘An old ox makes a straight furrow.” “Painters and poets have liberty to lie.” “When an old person dies it is as if a library goes up in flames.” (in other words, exit a vast amount of knowledge).