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Diocese of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory

Snow Sunday

It’s snow joke what’s been happening!
Storm Emma certainly hit in earnest and here in south County Wexford – home of the Diocesan Communications Officer and many more parishioners – the drifts were reminiscent of the Big Snow in 1947, those who were around at the time tell us. I’m sure it’s a scene that has been replicated in many parts of the Diocese, from here to Portlaoise, from Dungarvan over to the Rock of Cashel.
1982 was only in the ha’penny place to what we’ve had in 2018 but thankfully it is thawing very quickly and while the drifts have been extreme – silage trailers disappeared here under mountains of snow – it hasn’t lasted as long, thankfully, as 2010 and 2011 where roads between here and the N11 were treacherous for at least 10 days.
Who’d have thought we’d be so glad of rain?  It is clattering on the roof as I write and it’s a joy to hear.
The photo above shows a snowbound farm yesterday and the reason why the DCO wasn’t going anywhere for a while!  The central area is our lane way where snow reached the tops of the ditches and as I write is still hugging them over half way up. An alternative gap way has since been made at a road ditch in order to get out to get fodder for animals today and we can now reach a car that has been moved across the road (before the field turns into a bog with the thaw) by donning wellies and splashing forth.
Roads have been cleared by kind neighbours with track diggers and loading shovels, reducing stress for many in our area including a couple with a child due tomorrow…
The photo to the right is one taken in 2010 when snow was deemed romantic, possibly because it was seldom seen. How feelings can change but electricity is now back thankfully and the phone line – hence the ability to now update the Diocesan website.
Now that the crisis is over, bar possible flooding, and we can hopefully think of daffodils blooming again, is it time, though, given the extreme weather we are now often experiencing, for us all to pay more attention to climate change and the work that our Environment Committee is doing to educate us all in making a difference?
Or it might be good to remind ourselves to participate in the Lenten Jars for Journeys Bishops’ Appeal project that highlights the impact that using fossil fuels is having on our world, if we’re not putting our 10 cent piece contribution for each journey powered by diesel or petrol already!
In the meantime if you weren’t able to get to church today because of the weather you may like to watch the bilingual Eucharist broadcast on RTE Television today, March 4th, as Bishop Burrows mentions in his email below.
You can view it on RTE Player for the next few weeks. Here is the link if you’d like to watch it now:  Bilingual Service on RTE Television this morning 
Due to lack of power it wasn’t possible to upload this message on Friday when it was available but here it is in case you missed it:
A number of you have been in touch re our worship obligations for next Sunday . . . and I realize that predicting the weather at this stage is a very inexact science. However, we are a largely rural diocese, with many of our churches on minor and therefore particularly dangerous roads.
During the great snow of 1982, I remember an encounter between my late father and a parishioner perhaps inclined to make unthinking assumptions. The parishioner said something on the lines of a cheerful  ‘Well, I suppose church will be cancelled on Sunday‘. My father, with the moral righteousness perhaps more typical of the clergy of that generation replied – ‘The homage of worship is always due to Almighty God’!
To be serious. Those of us who can safely access churches, perhaps because we live beside them, should ensure that the voice of prayer is never silent – and we should remember especially in prayer the cold and the homeless and the vulnerable. It may be that few will be able to join us; so be it. We should not ourselves take risks in getting to more distant churches, nor should we encourage others to take risks in striving to attend. There can sometimes be an element of bravado about these situations. The important thing is the use of local common sense. There may be cases too where, even if the rector cannot get to a particular church, lay people who live nearby might still wish to gather there and perhaps pray briefly and informally, and even sing a hymn or two. Such initiative is a good thing at these moments.
I notice the archbishop of Dublin has provided on social media some guidelines regarding prayer and reflection for lay people who cannot get to church this week, much as they might wish to do so. At the risk of sounding vain I can do better!! It so happens that the RTE 1 Tv broadcast on Sunday at 1110 is a bilingual Eucharist. I preside in my role as patron of Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise, and the deacon is the Revd Trevor Sargent. The service marks not only Lent III, but also the eve of the Feast of Ciaran, patron of the see of Ossory. For those whose Irish is modest or rusty, I assure you the liturgy will be accessible. So on Sunday – as it happens – the faithful of CFO can be part of the worship of the diocese, without leaving their firesides!
Having said all that, warm greetings to you all in your several places. Unexpected family time is for many of us something of a gift, and I am glad to see agencies such as Protestant Aid are helping us to help those who may be under particular pressure in keeping warm
As Ever
Michael CFO