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Welcome New Parishioners
What a wonderful Easter Morning! The parents of immigrants, one from Ivory Coast, one from Congo and two from Nigeria, brought their children to St Patrick's Church for Baptism. It was my privilege to accompany them.
On Easter morning we arrived bright and early. Fr. Christy was there before us making sure everything was ready. He reserved the front seats for the families and friends of the children. The whole atmosphere showed that something of significance was taking place. An African told me once that preparation is a good indication of the respect that is shown to visitors. Maurice, the sacristan, was like a staunch pillar, giving us the assurance that all was well.
At noon the choir,
guided by the accomplished organist, Joseph Leake, lead us beautifully
in song, reminding us that Christ is risen today'. After the Gospel,
the parents with their four babies and sponsors were called to the Sanctuary.
The babies, Alan, Sarah, Naomi and Davina were welcomed into the Christian
family. Then water was poured on each child individually and our new little
brother and sisters got a round of applause from the congregation. The
white garment was wrapped around each child reminding us that they put
on Christ. The candles lit from the Easter Paschal Candle symbolising
that the light of Christ had entered each child's life, the flame telling
us of the flame of faith which will burn during the child's life.
During the Prayers of the Faithful we asked God that we may always protect the sacredness of life, respect the environment and as Christians, work towards a society which is based on equality and justice. We prayed too that we may welcome all people into the Christian family.
I think St. Patrick, who first brought Christianity to Ireland, was proud of his Church on that day, but more so of the priests and people who worship there. That night, as I reminisced and recalled similar experiences in Africa, it brought back precious memories of vibrant liturgies to which people trekked fifteen to twenty miles to celebrate the great Easter event.
Mairead Hickey is a native of Aughadown Parish, West Cork.. She is a Sister
of Our Lady of Apostles, Ardfoyle Convent. Sr. Mairead worked in Nigeria,
Ghana and Tanzania for many years, and now works with displaced immigrant
families in Cork.City.
We thank Sr. Mairéad for her contribution.
Photographs by kind permission of Mr. Thomas Nquessan