The preparations and the excitement surrounding the opening procession of the Castleisland Parish Mission were epic enough to trigger a leap of imagination and a hint of the music of Ennio Morracone.
St. John’s Hall is attached to St. Joseph’s Presentation Secondary School and only across the lane-way from the Church of Saints Stephen and John.
For those chosen to represent their clubs, schools and organisations, the path of the procession of a hundred yards or so was paved with the honour of association and of being the chosen one.
There was a palpable pride among the emblem and flag bearers of all ages as they prepared to play their parts in the huge, overall occasion which was about to unfold in celebrated community spirit in the nearby parish church.
Castleisland Parish Council Chairman, Jack Shanahan addressed the gathering within the church as the procession made its way along the lane and into the church grounds on the cold, crisp but dry evening.
The theme for the opening ceremony was in celebration of community and Mr. Shanahan got the evening going with a look at what that means in the context of the parish of Castleisland.
The theme was taken up by Mission team leader, Fr. Brian Nolan and I hope to have his contribution to add it here soon.
Here is the text of Jack Shanahan’s address.
A Celebration Of Community
For those of us above a certain age, a lady called Peig Sayers loomed large in all our teenage years.
While much has receded into the distant past, a phrase echoes as loud today as it did when we first came across it.
“Ar scáth a chéile a mhairimid”. It always sounds way better than the English equivalent of “no man is an island”.
It reflects one of the building blocks of all human beings, the fact that we all depend on each other. While each one of us are individuals, we share much together.
We live in the same area. We pray le chéile. We share common interests. These are all part of the definition of community.
When we sat down to look at some of the parts of the community of Castleisland, we started by trying to list all the various organisations and groups.
While it may not be a surprise to all of you, it was genuinely amazing to discover that, between voluntary and by
virtue of their work, there are well over 100 that fit this description and are active in this parish.
Spanning spiritual, educational, charitable, self-help, sporting, cultural, heritage and development aspects of our community, all these groups express aspects of our lives.
Tonight we welcome representatives from many of these groups, each bearing a token or symbol of their group, organisation or interest. We also acknowledge and appreciate the immense contribution that they make to creating the great parish of Castleisland.