• Third National Collection for World Meeting of Families 2018

    The World Meeting of Families Third National Collection is scheduled to
    take place in parishes on the weekend of 24-25 February 2018.

    Dublin, Ireland has the great joy of hosting the 9th World Meeting of
    Families that will take place in just under seven month’s time from the 21
    – 26 August 2018. The sense of excitement, expectation and anticipation is
    building by the day as we prepare to welcome families from across Ireland
    and across the world to our family gathering.

    The World Meeting of Families was established in 1994 when Pope Saint John
    Paul II asked the Pontifical Council for the Family to establish an
    international gathering of prayer, catechesis and celebration that would
    draw participants from around the world and that would help to strengthen
    the bonds between families and bear witness to the crucial importance of
    marriage and the family to all of society.

    And, so the World Meeting of Families was established and to date it has
    been hosted in Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Milan, Valencia, Mexico City and
    Philadelphia. Now it’s our turn here in Ireland because Pope Francis has
    personally chosen Dublin to be the host city for the next World Meeting of
    Families and he has invited us to reflect on the theme ‘The Gospel of the
    Family: Joy for the World’.

    The main events of WMOF2018 will take place in Dublin but it is also
    anticipated that related events, including the hosting of international
    groups, will take place all over the island of Ireland.

    The following key moments make up the 9th World Meeting of Families:

    · A National Opening on Tuesday 21 August which will take place
    simultaneously in each of the dioceses of Ireland;

    · A three day congress from 22-24 August in the RDS, Dublin;

    · A Festival of Families on Saturday 25 August, comprising a reflective
    concert style event within a prayerful and joyful atmosphere, in which
    personal stories of faith will be shared by families from all continents;

    · A Closing Mass will be celebrated on Sunday 26 August with thousands of
    people from Ireland and across the world.

    Pope Francis has asked us to prepare for the 9th World Meeting of Families
    by reflecting on ‘Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love)’, his apostolic
    exhortation released in 2016. Pope Francis believes that the family is good
    news for today’s world. The Amoris: Let’s Talk Family! Let’s Be Family!
    Programme is a response to this request from Pope Francis.

    We are inviting families in our parish to join us on our journey of
    preparation for the World Meeting of Families and to be part of the events
    in Dublin from 21-26 August 2018. Please support us by volunteering,
    registering to attend and donating at our parish collection.

  • Ash Wednesday Masses and Service, 14th February 2018

    Mass Times for Ash Wednesday, 14th February 2018



    Lay-led Service


  • The WMOF Team Prepare The Lenten Spiritual Fitness 7-Pack

    The WMOF team prepare the Lenten Spiritual Fitness 7-Pack

  • The History of Lent: Fr. William Saunders

    Lent is a special time of prayer, penance, sacrifice and good works in
    preparation of the celebration of Easter. In the desire to renew the
    liturgical practices of the Church, *The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy*
    of Vatican Council II stated, “The two elements which are especially
    characteristic of Lent — the recalling of baptism or the preparation for
    it, and penance — should be given greater emphasis in the liturgy and in
    liturgical catechesis. It is by means of them that the Church prepares the
    faithful for the celebration of Easter, while they hear God’s word more
    frequently and devote more time to prayer” (no. 109). The word *Lent*
    itself is derived from the Anglo-Saxon words *lencten*, meaning “Spring,”
    and *lenctentid*, which literally means not only “Springtide” but also was
    the word for “March,” the month in which the majority of Lent falls.

    Since the earliest times of the Church, there is evidence of some kind of
    Lenten preparation for Easter. For instance, St. Irenaeus (d. 203) wrote to
    Pope St. Victor I, commenting on the celebration of Easter and the
    differences between practices in the East and the West: “The dispute is not
    only about the day, but also about the actual character of the fast. Some
    think that they ought to fast for one day, some for two, others for still
    more; some make their ‘day’ last 40 hours on end. Such variation in the
    observance did not originate in our own day, but very much earlier, in the
    time of our forefathers” (Eusebius,* History of the Church*, V, 24). When
    Rufinus translated this passage from Greek into Latin, the punctuation made
    between “40” and “hours” made the meaning to appear to be “40 days,
    twenty-four hours a day.” The importance of the passage, nevertheless,
    remains that since the time of “our forefathers” — always an expression for
    the apostles — a 40-day period of Lenten preparation existed. However, the
    actual practices and duration of Lent were still not homogenous throughout
    the Church.

    Lent becomes more regularized after the legalization of Christianity in
    A.D. 313. The Council of Nicea (325), in its disciplinary canons, noted
    that two provincial synods should be held each year, “one before the 40
    days of Lent.” St. Athanasius (d. 373) in this “Festal Letters” implored
    his congregation to make a 40-day fast prior to the more intense fasting of
    Holy Week. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 386) in his *Catechectical Lectures*,
    which are the paradigm for our current RCIA programs, had 18 pre-baptismal
    instructions given to the catechumens during Lent. St. Cyril of Alexandria
    (d. 444) in his series of “Festal Letters” also noted the practices and
    duration of Lent, emphasizing the 40-day period of fasting. Finally, Pope
    St. Leo (d. 461) preached that the faithful must “fulfill with their fasts
    the Apostolic institution of the 40 days,” again noting the apostolic
    origins of Lent. One can safely conclude that by the end of the fourth
    century, the 40-day period of Easter preparation known as Lent existed, and
    that prayer and fasting constituted its primary spiritual exercises.

    Of course, the number “40” has always had special spiritual significance
    regarding preparation. On Mount Sinai, preparing to receive the Ten
    Commandments, “Moses stayed there with the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights,
    without eating any food or drinking any water” (Ex 34:28). Elijah walked
    “40 days and 40 nights” to the mountain of the Lord, Mount Horeb (another
    name for Sinai) (I Kgs 19:8). Most importantly, Jesus fasted and prayed for
    “40 days and 40 nights” in the desert before He began His public ministry
    (Mt 4:2).

    Once the 40 days of Lent were established, the next development concerned
    how much fasting was to be done. In Jerusalem, for instance, people fasted
    for 40 days, Monday through Friday, but not on Saturday or Sunday, thereby
    making Lent last for eight weeks. In Rome and in the West, people fasted
    for six weeks, Monday through Saturday, thereby making Lent last for six
    weeks. Eventually, the practice prevailed of fasting for six days a week
    over the course of six weeks, and Ash Wednesday was instituted to bring the
    number of fast days before Easter to 40. The rules of fasting varied.
    First, some areas of the Church abstained from all forms of meat and animal
    products, while others made exceptions for food like fish. For example,
    Pope St. Gregory (d. 604), writing to St. Augustine of Canterbury, issued
    the following rule: “We abstain from flesh, meat, and from all things that
    come from flesh, as milk, cheese and eggs.”

    *Nevertheless, I was always taught, “If you gave something up for the Lord,
    tough it out. Don’t act like a Pharisee looking for a loophole.”*

    Second, the general rule was for a person to have one meal a day, in the
    evening or at 3 p.m.

    These Lenten fasting rules also evolved. Eventually, a smaller repast was
    allowed during the day to keep up one’s strength from manual labor. Eating
    fish was allowed, and later eating meat was also allowed through the week
    except on Ash Wednesday and Friday. Dispensations were given for eating
    dairy products if a pious work was performed, and eventually this rule was
    relaxed totally. (However, the abstinence from even dairy products led to
    the practice of blessing Easter eggs and eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday,
    the day before Ash Wednesday.)

    Over the years, modifications have been made to the Lenten observances,
    making our practices not only simple but also easy. Ash Wednesday still
    marks the beginning of Lent, which lasts for 40 days, not including
    Sundays. The present fasting and abstinence laws are very simple: On Ash
    Wednesday and Good Friday, the faithful fast (having only one full meal a
    day and smaller snacks to keep up one’s strength) and abstain from meat; on
    the other Fridays of Lent, the faithful abstain from meat. People are still
    encouraged “to give up something” for Lent as a sacrifice. (An interesting
    note is that technically on Sundays and solemnities like St. Joseph’s Day
    (March 19) and the Annunciation (March 25), one is exempt and can partake
    of whatever has been offered up for Lent.

    Nevertheless, I was always taught, “If you gave something up for the Lord,
    tough it out. Don’t act like a Pharisee looking for a loophole.” Moreover,
    an emphasis must be placed on performing spiritual works, like attending
    the Stations of the Cross, attending Mass, making a weekly holy hour before
    the Blessed Sacrament, taking time for personal prayer and spiritual
    reading and most especially making a good confession and receiving
    sacramental absolution. Although the practices may have evolved over the
    centuries, the focus remains the same: to repent of sin, to renew our faith
    and to prepare to celebrate joyfully the mysteries of our salvation.


    *​Dear Brothers and Sisters,*

    Once again, the Pasch of the Lord draws near! In our preparation for
    Easter, God in his providence offers us each year the season of Lent as a
    “sacramental sign of our conversion”.[1]

    Lent summons us, and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly
    and in every aspect of our life.

    With this message, I would like again this year to help the entire Church
    experience this time of grace anew, with joy and in truth. I will take my
    cue from the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: “Because of the
    increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold” (24:12).

    These words appear in Christ’s preaching about the end of time. They were
    spoken in Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives, where the Lord’s passion would
    begin. In reply to a question of the disciples, Jesus foretells a great
    tribulation and describes a situation in which the community of believers
    might well find itself: amid great trials, false prophets would lead people
    astray and the love that is the core of the Gospel would grow cold in the
    hearts of many.

    *False prophets*

    Let us listen to the Gospel passage and try to understand the guise such
    false prophets can assume.

    They can appear as “snake charmers”, who manipulate human emotions in order
    to enslave others and lead them where they would have them go. How many of
    God’s children are mesmerized by momentary pleasures, mistaking them for
    true happiness! How many men and women live entranced by the dream of
    wealth, which only makes them slaves to profit and petty interests! How
    many go through life believing that they are sufficient unto themselves,
    and end up entrapped by loneliness!

    False prophets can also be “charlatans”, who offer easy and immediate
    solutions to suffering that soon prove utterly useless. How many young
    people are taken in by the panacea of drugs, of disposable relationships,
    of easy but dishonest gains! How many more are ensnared in a thoroughly
    “virtual” existence, in which relationships appear quick and
    straightforward, only to prove meaningless! These swindlers, in peddling
    things that have no real value, rob people of all that is most precious:
    dignity, freedom and the ability to love. They appeal to our vanity, our
    trust in appearances, but in the end they only make fools of us. Nor should
    we be surprised. In order to confound the human heart, the devil, who is “a
    liar and the father of lies” (*Jn* 8:44), has always presented evil as
    good, falsehood as truth. That is why each of us is called to peer into our
    heart to see if we are falling prey to the lies of these false prophets. We
    must learn to look closely, beneath the surface, and to recognize what
    leaves a good and lasting mark on our hearts, because it comes from God and
    is truly for our benefit.

    *A cold heart*

    In his description of hell, Dante Alighieri pictures the devil seated on a
    throne of ice,[2]

    in frozen and loveless isolation. We might well ask ourselves how it
    happens that charity can turn cold within us. What are the signs that
    indicate that our love is beginning to cool?

    More than anything else, what destroys charity is greed for money, “the
    root of all evil” (*1 Tim* 6:10). The rejection of God and his peace soon
    follows; we prefer our own desolation rather than the comfort found in his
    word and the sacraments.[3]

    All this leads to violence against anyone we think is a threat to our own
    “certainties”: the unborn child, the elderly and infirm, the migrant, the
    alien among us, or our neighbour who does not live up to our expectations.

    Creation itself becomes a silent witness to this cooling of charity. The
    earth is poisoned by refuse, discarded out of carelessness or for
    self-interest. The seas, themselves polluted, engulf the remains of
    countless shipwrecked victims of forced migration. The heavens, which in
    God’s plan, were created to sing his praises, are rent by engines raining
    down implements of death.

    Love can also grow cold in our own communities. In the Apostolic Exhortation
    *Evangelii Gaudium
    I sought to describe the most evident signs of this lack of love:
    selfishness and spiritual sloth, sterile pessimism, the temptation to
    self-absorption, constant warring among ourselves, and the worldly
    mentality that makes us concerned only for appearances, and thus lessens
    our missionary zeal.[4]

    *What are we to do?*

    Perhaps we see, deep within ourselves and all about us, the signs I have
    just described. But the Church, our Mother and Teacher, along with the
    often bitter medicine of the truth, offers us in the Lenten season the
    soothing remedy of prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

    By devoting more time to *prayer*, we enable our hearts to root out our
    secret lies and forms of self-deception,[5]

    and then to find the consolation God offers. He is our Father and he wants
    us to live life well.

    *Almsgiving* sets us free from greed and helps us to regard our neighbour
    as a brother or sister. What I possess is never mine alone. How I would
    like almsgiving to become a genuine style of life for each of us! How I
    would like us, as Christians, to follow the example of the Apostles and see
    in the sharing of our possessions a tangible witness of the communion that
    is ours in the Church! For this reason, I echo Saint Paul’s exhortation to
    the Corinthians to take up a collection for the community of Jerusalem as
    something from which they themselves would benefit (cf. *2 Cor* 8:10). This
    is all the more fitting during the Lenten season, when many groups take up
    collections to assist Churches and peoples in need. Yet I would also hope
    that, even in our daily encounters with those who beg for our assistance,
    we would see such requests as coming from God himself. When we give alms,
    we share in God’s providential care for each of his children. If through me
    God helps someone today, will he not tomorrow provide for my own needs? For
    no one is more generous than God.[6]

    *Fasting* weakens our tendency to violence; it disarms us and becomes an
    important opportunity for growth. On the one hand, it allows us to
    experience what the destitute and the starving have to endure. On the other
    hand, it expresses our own spiritual hunger and thirst for life in God.
    Fasting wakes us up. It makes us more attentive to God and our neighbour.
    It revives our desire to obey God, who alone is capable of satisfying our

    I would also like my invitation to extend beyond the bounds of the Catholic
    Church, and to reach all of you, men and women of good will, who are open
    to hearing God’s voice. Perhaps, like ourselves, you are disturbed by the
    spread of iniquity in the world, you are concerned about the chill that
    paralyzes hearts and actions, and you see a weakening in our sense of being
    members of the one human family. Join us, then, in raising our plea to God,
    in fasting, and in offering whatever you can to our brothers and sisters in

    *The fire of Easter*

    Above all, I urge the members of the Church to take up the Lenten journey
    with enthusiasm, sustained by almsgiving, fasting and prayer. If, at times,
    the flame of charity seems to die in our own hearts, know that this is
    never the case in the heart of God! He constantly gives us a chance to
    begin loving anew.

    One such moment of grace will be, again this year, the “24 Hours for the
    Lord” initiative, which invites the entire Church community to celebrate
    the sacrament of Reconciliation in the context of Eucharistic adoration. In
    2018, inspired by the words of Psalm 130:4, “With you is forgiveness”, this
    will take place from Friday, 9 March to Saturday, 10 March. In each
    diocese, at least one church will remain open for twenty-four consecutive
    hours, offering an opportunity for both Eucharistic adoration and
    sacramental confession.

    During the Easter Vigil, we will celebrate once more the moving rite of the
    lighting of the Easter candle. Drawn from the “new fire”, this light will
    slowly overcome the darkness and illuminate the liturgical assembly. “May
    the light of Christ rising in glory dispel the darkness of our hearts and

    and enable all of us to relive the experience of the disciples on the way
    to Emmaus. By listening to God’s word and drawing nourishment from the
    table of the Eucharist, may our hearts be ever more ardent in faith, hope
    and love.

    With affection and the promise of my prayers for all of you, I send you my
    blessing. Please do not forget to pray for me.

    *From the Vatican, 1 November 2017*

    Solemnity of All Saints



    Roman Missal, Collect for the First Sunday of Lent (Italian).


    * Inferno* XXXIV, 28-29.

    is curious, but many times we are afraid of consolation, of being
    comforted. Or rather, we feel more secure in sorrow and desolation. Do you
    know why? Because in sorrow we feel almost as protagonists. However, in
    consolation the Holy Spirit is the protagonist!” (*Angelus*, 7 December 2014



    *Evangelii Gaudium

    BENEDICT XVI, Encyclical Letter *Spe Salvi

    PIUS XII, Encyclical Letter *Fidei Donum*, III.


    Roman Missal (Third Edition), Easter Vigil, Lucernarium.

  • Balally Lenten 7-Pack 2018

    The Seven Pack: The Lent you always wanted…
    LENT is very close. It is going to be a special lent in preparation for the World Meeting of Families.
    We want you to be spiritually fit so we offer a spiritual fitness programme: “The Seven Pack” for families.
    We want lent to be a special time for families. So what does the “Seven Pack” contain?
    * It asks families to see a family movie together (and some suggestions are included)
    * It asks families to visit a special place in Dublin or Ireland during lent (a list of fascinating Pilgrimages will be included)
    * It will include the Trócaire box and asks families to bring it back to the Church at 15.00 on Good Friday and place it at the foot of the Cross.
    * It will include the readings for every Sunday of lent and asks families to read them together at some time during the week.
    * It asks families to choose a few words that will not be used in the family during lent.
    * It asks families to choose a time every week when they will sit with each other, chat and not look at any devices.
    * And finally it will include a list of “Works of Mercy” and each family can choose one it will do during lent.
    If you want to sign up for the “Seven Pack” please use the sign-up sheets at the Parish entrance or on the Parish web site.
    If you are alone .. you are not alone. You can invite some of your friends to be your spiritual family this lent and do the “Seven Pack” together.
    If you are a widow or a widower you could join up with other people in you same circumstance and do the “Seven Pack” together.
    If your family is not interested you might join up with another family and do the “Seven Pack” with them ….
    So, what are you waiting for? Sign up now, below!

    Registration Details

    Please enter your details below so that we can get the 7-Pack to you and your Family or Group.

    Please click one of the boxes above to choose whether you will do the 7-pack as a family or whether you'd like to be assigned to a group

  • Teen Hope 2018 – A Positive Start !

    Our Parish Youth Club, Teen Hope got off to a very positive start on Sunday evening last, 28th January. There was a great buzz around the new Sandyford Pastoral Centre – and young people appeared to enjoy the varied menu offered on the evening – which included pizza, short movie and Christian meditation . We look forward to welcoming them back – and their friends – on Sunday 11th February and for the other Sundays in February and March .

    Venue : The New Pastoral Centre at St Mary’s , Sandyford Village

    Dates : Sundays 11th & 25th February, Sundays 11th & 25th March

    Time : 7.00 to 8.30pm

    Who : 1st & 2nd years

    Contact: or phone 01 2956414 or Ed Burke 087- 6334644

  • Lenten Night Prayer 2018

    A sung form of Night Prayer will take place in St Mary’s on the Fridays of
    Lent @ 8pm. -This short service will be include music, candlelight,
    silence, scripture, reflection and stillness to end the day. We encourage
    as many of you as possible to commit to attending for Lent.

  • Parents Information Night for Teen Hope: Sunday 21st January

    Parents Information Night for Teen Hope with details as follows:

    When : Sunday 21st January, Time : 7- 8pm
    Where : New Parish Centre at St Mary’s, Sandyford Village
    Who : 1st and 2nd Years

    Start date for Teen Hope Youth Club will be Sunday 28th January, 7 –

    Contact : Or Phone 01 2956414

    The Wisdom Of Pope Francis, Quoted
    Married couples joined by love speak well of each other; they try to show their spouse’s good side, not their weakness and faults. In any event, they keep silent rather than speak ill of them. This is not merely a way of acting in front of others; it springs from an interior attitude.

    Dear parishioners, to date we have received 22 suggestions in the boxes…
    a new world record (in the category the most suggestions ever received in
    Balally Parish Suggestion Box).

    1. All the suggestions were very relevant and have been read and reviewed
    at the Parish Pastoral Council.

    2. Several of the suggestions have long term implications (heating,
    lighting, parking) and are under consideration through the PPC, the Finance
    Committee, the Parish office and the Fundraising group.

    3. Health & safety concerns are being dealt with immediately.

    4. Some of the ideas are very practical and can be dealt with straightaway,
    in fact a few things you might notice around the Church already:

    Have you noticed that the microphone on the reader’s side has changed

    Have you seen the hand sanitizer around the Church and the new candle
    lighters (all arising from suggestions)?

    There are many other details arising from the record breaking suggestion

    5. Other ideas are specific to Christmas and have been noted for next

    6. Finally, a few of the suggestions revolved around behaviour in the
    Church: all of us are entitled to consider the Church as a *Sacred *Space,
    our *Spiritual *home and our *Christian *community.

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