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Reflection on Augustinian Faith Formation Day in Finglas by Seamus Ahearne OSA


‘Bringing Faith to Life’ was the topic. The venue was Finglas South, Rivermount Parish. Some of us in Finglas expected forty to fifty. By the evening of Wednesday (18th January), we were shocked (delighted ) and fearful – the numbers had risen to almost 100. In fact, I believe 118 turned up on Saturday 21st January to Oliver Plunkett’s church.
What was it about? It was above all an opportunity to bring people together from the Augustinian houses/Churches in Dublin and Drogheda. They came to be led into a Reflection on Faith today. The Eucharistic Congress added to the idea and suggested a focus on the Eucharist. The challenge was to ‘inspire’ the group through the programme (led by the Orlagh team ) into a sharing on our own experience and into a reflection on our way ahead.
The situation is obvious: Many people in Ireland are tired with the state of the Church and Country. Most of us hang in there by the strength and companionship of the people in our Community. That supportive community happens around our Churches. We sometimes want to close our ears, eyes and minds to what is happening more widely in the Church and simply celebrate where we are. But Church and life is always bigger than ourselves.
People came from Orlagh, Ballyboden, John’s Lane, Meath Street, Drogheda, Rivermount (Finglas South) and we even had a few spies from Limerick. In a strange way, the setting in the church in Finglas was appropriate. Why? The room where we met is a section of the Church cut off from the main church. While we were meeting in the cut-off section of the Church; a funeral was happening in the main Church. And then later in the day – Baptisms were happening in the main Church. The sound outside didn’t bother us or our sound within – didn’t really distract those in the main church. However the two points are interesting – we were in a sense,  a crowd gathered,  almost cut off from main-line Church and yet not allowed to do so! That is also right. We can always go away a little while,  to think or talk, but we cannot ever see ourselves as a separate clique.
The Room was packed (we call it the Jubilee Room). But the place and the gathering was very homely. Kieran O Mahoney with his team,  led us into our Reflection through the podcast. This worked very well with inputs of 25 minutes. These were presented by Kieran, Bernadette Toal, John Byrne and Sean Goan. Then we broke into groups as best we could and shared with each other and spoke back to the floor. The Inputs were based on what we know. There was nothing overly highbrow. They related to what we are used to and were in the language most of us speak. They provoked us into thinking of our own lives and how we approach Mass. The three sessions – took up the early part of Mass. Why do we gather? How do we forgive or what does this part of Mass mean? And then we centred on the Gloria and what is going on at that stage of Mass. It stirred up much in all of us and the chatter was intense and lovely.
Dinner then occurred. The locals here wondered and worried how this would work. But everyone cooperated and Kathleen (our cook) with her helper Paddy was brilliant. Food was served and eaten with great enjoyment and quick movement. The hospitality was excellent. All the locals helped. We believe here in Finglas that the Community is host and hostess always – people see what has to be done and do it. That has to be the core of Eucharist. We returned to work then in the afternoon – possibly overfed and less able to listen more and talk. But it was good.
It was a delightful gathering. It was great to meet with people from all our Communities. It was good to listen, learn, share and laugh . It was a great occasion. We look forward now to the 11th February which will talk about the Readings at Mass. My last word – we even managed to cope with the toilet needs of everyone and that was in itself a mighty challenge. We thank Kieran and the Orlagh Team for their excellent work and of course all the Company for their presence. It was most encouraging for everyone. The inspiration happened.  
 Seamus Ahearne osa. (Rivermount).

Article posted on 22nd of January 2012

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