St. Paul’s Oratory
The opening of St. Paul’s Oratory in February 2009 for daily Mass marked a brave step by the Priests and Parish Council. In a way it is fitting as it comes at a time when we are all experiencing change in our personal and professional lives with the recession. We are being asked to embrace change, to become eco friendly and protect the environment by going back to the basics. I feel that mass in St. Paul’s Oratory encapsulates this move. For me I can easily sit and close my eyes and imagine myself in the upper room with Jesus and the disciples in a spirit reminiscent of the first Mass.
As Winter approaches I will not miss trying to get a vantage seat under a heater in the parish church where we were scattered around for the week day Mass. St. Paul’s is situated in the heart of the Parish Centre; it is a warm comfortable room where we as Christians assemble in faith to offer God an act of thanksgiving for the things he has done, to listen to His Word, and to be nourished as a family at the table of the Lord.
The Oratory lends itself well to this purpose. The responses are wholehearted and all sing the praises of God. We then receive the final blessing and some of us go on our way while others who have an extra few minutes remain for the Rosary which is recited after daily Mass. If you have time, there is a Cead Mile Failte to the kitchen where Margaret has a cuppa and biscuits for all.
For many people who live alone I’m sure that this daily chat and interaction is very welcome. During the Summer when we had visiting priests from Uganda and Rome, it was lovely to have a place to meet and chat, to hear their stories and for them to get to meet and know the parishioners. On Fridays we now have a holy hour of Exposition after Mass where all pray in an atmosphere of stillness for the hour.
Our move back to basics has helped us to become closer to God and to one another. I think that it has been a wonderful addition to our parish. Well done to Fr. Tommy and the Parish Council for taking this brave step.