The theme of this year’s Carol Service in Dalgan on Friday 13th December was ‘Caring for God’s Creation’ writes Fr Pat Raleigh.
The service was led by the Kilmessan Church Choir and the Treble Children’s Choir also from Kilmessan with Choir Director Linda Rooney Smith and Conductor Erika Goggins. In the adult choir there are sixty members and thirty members in the Treble Children’s Choir.
We had a full Church and we also utilised the gallery. The Church was beautifully decorated by the members of the very faithful Committee. It was symbolic that the Carol Service coincided with the Pope Francis’s Golden Jubilee of his ordination.
My thanks to Ray Husband for his words of welcome and for his very relevant message on Climate Change and Caring for God’s Creation. Cyril Lovett selected the three readings, mostly from Far East articles which were very much connected with the theme of the night.
In the first reading written by the late Oli Kennedy, he outlined through his encounter with a leper how people on the periphery have an important message for us.
In the second reading, written and read by Sean McDonagh, and titled, ‘Dorothy Stang: A Martyr for the Earth’, represents a new kind of martyr for our times who was willing to die for the poor and for the well-being of the planet.
The third reading by Columban Sr Redempta Twomey illustrated that there is room for everyone and for all Creation at the Crib of the Infant Jesus.
The selection of hymns were very appropriate, and people joined in the singing. There was a very reflective atmosphere to the evening.
In my words of thanks, I paid tribute to the prophetic stance taken by Pope Francis in his encyclical, Laudato Si on caring for the environment and by convoking the recent Pan Amazon Synod.
The future of the planet and God’s Creation affects and challenges all of us. Young people are playing a very important role by calling on world leaders to act. It is a pity that the COP25 meeting in Madrid did not go far enough due to wrangling among countries like the USA, China, India and Brazil.
Sadly, the destruction of the Amazon, renowned for its natural beauty, has surged under the current President of Brazil, following his easing of environmental protections. Those who benefit from the so-called development projects are the big corporations and landowners.
Our thanks to all who attended for their generous donations on the night which will be shared between St Columban’s Retirement Home in Dalgan and the Happy Worm Project in a very poor area of Lima, Peru.
It is a project that promotes a culture of respect for the environment and very much in keeping with the theme of the night ‘Caring for God’s Creation’.
In October of this year I had the pleasure of visiting the project with my fellow Columban, Napa from Tonga who is working in Lima.
A very sincere thanks to both Choirs who through music, song, story and prayer guided us in our Advent preparations to welcome into our hearts Emmanuel, God-with-us.
They called forth in each of us our inner child and encouraged us to once again to wonder and rejoice at this most ancient feast which never ceases to engage and inspire us.
The future of the environment is in all our hands. God has given us the earth as a gift that needs to be cherished and preserved.
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