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A LITTLE SMALL VILLAGE  IN COUNTY KERRY CALLED FINUGE

This story is FICTION. The names, places, photos and situations
which arise are not historical facts. This story aims to portray to some
extent, the spontaneity, love and humour of our Irish ancestors.

Cre’ad Mile Fa’ilte

A Thousand Welcomes!

By Fr. Comagh Brannagh


Chapter 1. Introducing Maureen and James Walsh

Chapter 2. The Parish Mission at Listowel.

Chapter 3. James Walsh gets his blocked ear syringed out…a prayer to St.Jude.

Chapter 4. St. Kieran’s  Parish Fundraising Dinner.The people of Kerry
know how people think!

Chapter 5.  The end of the Novena, and the Fundraising Dinner at the Ballybunion Beach Country Club

Chapter 6. The Parish Fundraising Dinner – no one will ever forget it.

Chapter 7. Will the prayers of the people of Finuge be answered?

Chapter 8.  Maureen Walsh visits old Rosie at the corner shop.

Chapter 9.    Local romance;  Ethan and Coleen…are they made for each other?

Chapter 10. Prepration for the Wedding Day

 Chapter 11. At last, the Wedding!

Chapter 12. The Wedding Reception that rocked the Ballybunion Beach Country Club.

 Chapter 13. The Parish Priest and Vicar, share the Pulpit!

  Chapter 14.  Fr. Williamson goes to God.

Chapter 15. Who will take Father dear Father’s place?

Chapter 16. The Bishop Appoints Fr.Jack Cowmeadow as the new Parish Priest of Finuge.

+ + + + + + + + + +

Chapter 1. Introducing Maureen and James Walsh

There is a little small village in County Kerry called Finuge, it is situated between Tralee and Listowel; well that’s where it was the last time that I looked on the map, and it seems that Fr.Kev’s Dad’s ancestors came from this quaint little place at Number 7 River Road, and the House was named ‘Tuam’. Maureen and James Walsh lived next door to the Robinson’s. Now, poor old Jack Robinson was somewhat prickly by nature at the best of times, and on most occasions he looked as pale as a ghost! Now, it so happened that poor old Jack was taken off to Heaven by the Angels on a Friday at 3.00pm. This day of the week and time was not lost on the family! As was the custom in those parts around the 1920′s and well before, it seems, the neighbours would gather around the deceased for a ‘Wake’ before the Undertaker would take the dead person away to the Funeral Parlour. It has always been the custom at an Irish wake to have some firewater to drink, in the form of Glenfiddich Whisky, some Guinness of course, as well as good strong Irish Breakfast tea, plus a few sandwiches, some black pudding, and some kippers (Herrings & Salmon) and some Sourdough. Now, Maureen and James Walsh were a little late in arriving at the wake, and of course dear old Jack was laid out in state on the kitchen table, with his head resting on his special pillow, which had not seen the clothes line for maybe 30 years! All the locals were around poor old Jack, and his beloved wife Kitty. All the ‘carry-on’ that was happening in that kitchen had really nothing to do with poor old Jack…..however, this all came to a sudden halt when dear old Maureen and James from next door, made their appearance in the Kitchen…….you see the two family’s had not been on speaking terms for about 10 years due to Jimmy Walsh’s goats who used to get into poor old Jack’s Veggie patch, and especially polish off all the potatoes and cabbages….James never really minded this, because it saved a little bit of his money for other things, like a little flutter on the Pokies at the Ballybunion Beach Country Club, and a Pound or two on the Gee Gees’( Horses) at Tralee or Listowel. In the silence of the Kitchen, with all eyes fixed on Maureen and James…..with a loud voice James looked at Maureen and Kitty and said, ‘ My goodness, I haven’t seen Jack lookin’ so well for years….’

Chapter 2. The Parish Mission at Listowel

Now, Finuge is a beautiful little Village, in County Kerry, Ireland; enough people to make it worthwhile…about thirty families; the last census was taken in 1540. The count happened because Cromwell and his men were supposed to be commin’ our way, but they never made it, thank the Lord. So, it really hasn’t changed much since then, but there has been a turnover of personnel, so I’m told! You see, Finuge is far enough away to be as close as you would want to Tralee. We all know what is goin’ on here and there, because God gave us two ears, and a mouth…so news does get around.

Speaking about news!! Well, at present so I’m told, and I believe the chap who told me ‘cause he is not prone to telling lies; there is a Parish Mission at the nearby Town of Listowel. Well, what would you want to go to Listowel for? Except the Races, I suppose! Parish Missions are good for the body and soul….I guess that the soul has to be accompanied by the body for it to be good. Now Maureen and Jack Walsh thought that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go along to the Mission for the Week of preaching…..yes! A solid week of it! Well, apart from the graces which ya never turn down if they come your way, it gave Jack and Maureen a chance to catch up with a few folk whom they haven’t seen since the last Mission four years ago to the date. The previous Mission was given by the Redemptorist Fathers, and by goodness they gave the people a hiding. On the last night of the Mission the people were lined up from McDougal’s Bakery to go to Confession. This time the Mission will be preached by the Passionist Fathers from Mt.Argus in Dublin. I just hope that they know they are in Kerry, and not back there in the big smoke….The people in these parts are a little different, ya know!

What a wonderful Mission! Fr.Fabian (the big man, a bit like Friar Tuck) and Fr. Leon (a young skinny man, who needed feeding up) gave forth! Oh my goodness! Could they Preach, and tell stories! The Church was packed every night; it was a bit like the Circus coming to town! Maureen and James Walsh sat in the front seat every night. At times you could hear a pin drop during the Sermon; tears would roll down from the people’s eyes…well, most of them! A real feeling of repentance swept through the community night after night, as the people were moved by the words of the Mission Fathers.

It seems that Fr Fabien, the big man, was somewhat perplexed by the non plus looks on Maureen and James Walsh during the Sermons. It was like that every night! After the last night of the Mission when the big man
preached a mind blowing lively Sermon on death! Maureen and James seemed not to be perturbed one bit! This got the better of both the Mission Fathers, and after that final night of the Mission, Frs. Fabien and Leon made a bee line to catch up with the middle aged couple, before they went to the Parish Hall for a Cuppa. When they did, O my goodness, this is what happened, “And what would your names be?” said Fr Fabien. James spoke up for them both…. “James and Maureen Walsh, Father”. Now you two seem to be the only people in the Church
who seemed not to be moved by our preaching…..can you give an answer for that?” said Fr.Fabian. With a gentle voice, like that of a Lamb, James spoke up and said,” O, the Sermons were very good Father, but you see, we are not from this Parish, so they don’t apply to us”……….

Chapter 3. James Walsh gets his blocked ear syringed out…a prayer to St.Jude.

Well, the last night of the Parish Mission was splendid! The Parish was truly renewed. The old PP (Parish Priest) was delighted with the efforts of the Passionist Fathers; however, it was a little strange that poor old Fr.Robinson in the Notices said that when the Mission Fathers return to Dublin, the Parish will get back to
normal…… Then there was the incident with Frs. Fabien and Leon, questioning Maureen and James as to why they did not seem to be engrossed and moved in the Mission like the other people. Maureen came up with an answer to that……it was because James seems to be a little hard of hearing these days. Maureen thought
that her dear old husband might need to have his ears syringed out by the local GP. But how could she bring this up to her husband, she thought to herself. James is somewhat a proud man, and does not take too kindly to any of his faults being brought to the surface…Anyhow, maybe this was one of the ‘graces’ from the Mission…so she thought that she would raise the ticklish subject when James would smoke his Pipe, while sipping his favourite Tawney Port (McGeehan’s – bottled in 1842, during the great potato famine) after Supper one night,
sooner rather than later, she thought to herself.

Maureen needed Heavenly help to bring this awful subject up to her Husband….so she prayed to St.Jude!

‘O beloved St.Jude, helper of the hopeless, you know how hopeless my Husband is,
you know that he is prickly by nature; Come to our aid, so that his heart will be softened, as well as the wax in his ears. May he be a man of good cheer when we see Dr.McGuire this week….and may Dr.McGuire be as sober as a Lamb when we visit him; you know that he has a liking, and a weakness for the ‘firewater’. May my husband’s hearing be increased as much as it needs to be….but not too much, just in case he hears too much, especially when Margaret and I are on the ‘phone….O thank you St.Jude!’

A couple of days later, old James had got a win and a place on his favourite Horse, ‘Lucknow’ at Ballybeggan Park in Tralee. Maureen thought that this will surely be the night to broach this ticklish subject about his hearing. So after a nice Supper of Pig’s Trotters, Cabbage and Bacon; old James seemed to be in the right frame of mind. So, while James was sipping his exotic Port, Maureen braced herself for the possibility of a Civil war. ‘Listen darling’ she said, as she looked so innocently into his eyes, ‘ I have sometin’ to tell you’, ’Well, get it out if it’s the truth, otherwise keep your peace.’ Oh Jimmy, it’s about your hearing’ she said quietly. ‘What’s that, I can’t hear you,’ he said tersely. ‘It’s about your hearing’ she said in a louder tone.’ Well, what’s wrong with it’ he said, looking a little perturbed at her. ‘I think that there is a problem with your hearing’. She said. ‘Well, how long have you noticed this?’ he said, as he took a longer sip of his Port. ‘Oh, darlin’ it’s been getting worse for months!’ ‘Well, why the devil have you waited this long to tell me?’ Let’s get to see old McGuire tomorra.’ With a sigh of relief, Maureen said to Jimmy, ‘Would you like a cup of tea, love’…he said with a soothing and loving voice…’ I never thought you’d ask’.

Next morning, Maureen and James were first in line to be seen by old McGuire…Maureen always likes being very early for everything….they had made a 9.00am appointment, but they were sitting in the car outside the Doctor’s at 6.30am! Just in case there was a crowd! If they had seen anyone even thinking of getting in first, Maureen would have dived out of the Car, and placed herself right at the front door. Old James was not as fast on his feet, poor man. Dead on 9.00am, with not another person in sight, old Dr McGuire waddled along the
footpath, and unlocked the front door…Poor old McGuire, he was a big man, about 28 stone; he loved cream cakes; especially the ones made by Sr.Joseph Mary RSC.  After a suitable amount of time; lest McGuire might have thought that James and Maureen may be a tad impatient…he called them into the Surgery. Taking out the syringe; a huge stainless steel water pistol, McGuire filled it up with saline water; and he said to old James, ‘which ear is the troublesome one?’ The right ear’ said James…’well that’s according to Maureen.’ ‘I don’t care who it’s according too, as long as we do the job.’ Grunted old McGuire. ‘Now James, hold this dish under your right ear so that the water can spill into it!’ ‘Oh don’t be so dam stupid McGuire,’ said James. ‘I’ll hold it under the left one, so that the water can go straight through, and into the dish………’ mumbled James, with a smile on his face!

Chapter 4. St. Kieran’s Parish Fundraising Dinner…the people of Kerry know how people think!

Now Finuge is a Parish, but not a Parish in itself. You see, it is called a station church, and the local people are fortunate to have Mass on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month. On the 2nd and 4th Sundays, Mass is celebrated in a nearby church, 8 miles away called St.Colum’s at Bealkelly. But the people from Finuge, as a rule, never go to St.Colum’s on the other Sundays, because it is not their Church. Maybe the odd Funeral would be held at St.Colum’s for a Finuge person, but that person would have to be very odd not to wait till the priest could say the Requiem in Finuge. So therefore, it needed to be made clear that this Dinner was for the Finuge people, and they could invite people from Bealkelly, but it was by invitation, not presumption, that they could attend the festivities; and it would be proper to bring a little extra cash with them.

Funds have been running a bit low at St.Kieran’s, and there is much work to be done on the old church; the shingle roof needs to be replaced. To tell you the truth, the Parishioners are not too worried about the roof; they want heaters in the Church. However, poor old Fr.Williamson is a little tight from time to time, and he feels that the locals need to do some extra penance for all the people who do not come to Mass. That penance is done by putting up with the cold weather and the drafty church. Many people can’t understand the P.P’s logic; if the Church was warmer, maybe more people would come to Mass. So, the Parishioners got together in private, a bit like what they would do in times of persecution.  They needed to get a plan in place, and spring it on the old PP at the right time…..most probably at the Parish Dinner!

James Walsh had a few contacts around the area, in fact, if anyone needed to know any information, it was far quicker and reliable giving old Jim a call, rather than to go through the automated Telephone Directory, which everyone hated like the plague! So, encouraged by a some of the people who knew a few of Jim’s skills, they asked him after Mass one Sunday if he knew  someone who could get a few heaters for the Church at a discount rate….they would never expect it for nothing, but that did not stop the them from hoping.

Maureen Walsh knew the best time of day to ask her husband to do something….everyone knows that, he can be a little prickly from time to time. Yes, his favourite Horse, ‘Lucknow’ got a win by a neck and a whisker at the Tralee Races. Jim was in the highest of spirits in more ways than one. Maureen then suggested that he might contact Jack O’Malley, a young man, with a beautiful wife, and two kids, who recently moved into River Rd, Finuge. He is the owner of that new shop in Listowel, called: ‘Snug as a Bug in a Rug’…Central heating for Homes and B & B’s (Bed & Breakfasts, which are very common in Ireland)

Elated by his special Horse’s win, Jim was easily enticed to call on Jack, who he had met from time to time at the Briar’s Inn, at Finuge, and at Church, of course!

The chin-wag (conversation) for Jack and Jim was to take place on Friday evening around 5.00pm when most of the locals called it a day; and to an end of the week, with a few pints! A couple of games of Darts, and some advice as to who would be the winning Horses the next day at the Races in Listowel and Tralee. To Jim’s surprise, after mentioning the coming Fundraiser Dinner, and the need to bolster up the Planned Giving Programme, Jack said that he would love to donate a decent heating system for his new Parish Church, and install them himself, with the help of a couple of others who knew what they were doing.  Miracles do happen! Thought Jim to himself! So, Jim had done his bit, it was up to the committee to work out how Fr.Williamson would welcome, and accept this wonderful donation because of his thoughts on penance! O St.Jude, we need your help! A Novena; a secret one, was to be made by the Parishioners, without the PP knowing, concluding on the day of the Parish Dinner.

‘O St.Jude. Hope for the
hopeless, we once again find ourselves in a difficult situation with our Parish
Priest. Bend his mind and heart, so that the minds and hearts of the people
will be warm in the Church. May he forget about Penance at this time, because
we are not in Lent; may he be open to the generosity of our dear Jack O’Malley,
and may we get the heaters installed as quick as possible, in case
Fr.Williamson, changes his mind. Amen’

Chapter 5.  The end of the Novena, and the Fundraising Dinner at the Ballybunion Beach Country Club.

The Novena to St.Jude finished on Friday, the 13th of February; the people of Finuge were a little uneasy about the date, although none of them would say that they were a tad superstitious. The Parish Dinner was to commence with Drinks and Black Pudding around 6.00 for 6.30PM in St.Brendan’s Room at the Ballybunion Country Club. You might say; ‘well if it was for St.Kieran’s Parish, why is this function held in the Auditorium called St.Brendan’s?’ Well, it’s a long story, but to keep it short; legend has it, that the great  St.Brendan, and his companions called into  Ballybunion Beach to fetch water, as they began their long passage of discovery across the Atlantic in their Curragh( an ancient leather boat) in search of the new world to the east…namely present day Newfoundland.  Maureen and Jim had the privilege of picking up poor old Fr.Williamson from his House in Coolagowan.  Maureen Walsh always likes to be very early for everything; they had arranged to pick up the old PP at 4.30PM, much to the annoyance of her Husband Jim. But what could he do?

Many people have said that over the last 60 years, with some surety, that Fr.Williamson will be late for his own Funeral if and when it happens! He has never been on time for anything or anyone; not even for the Apostolic Delegate, Cardinal Giuseppe Masaratti, who made a special visit to the PP back in 1955. The local Bishop who was accompanying the Visitor from Rome, found Fr Williamson cleaning out the chicken shed at the very time of his special  appointment….Fr.Williamson’s response to the irate Bishop was…’ He can wait, the chooks can’t!’

At 5.10pm, Fr Williamson staggered out of the house to the Walsh’s car saying, “O, all the Angels and Saints in the Heavens, it is not my fault that I am late, but my Dog Rex who was chasing the local Vicar’s cat, Regina, and thank God, Rex caught it, and gave her one hell of a scare”…I had to see it finish the job, and give Rex a bone for being such a good dog. A true catholic dog! That will teach the Vicar, to let his cat come into my garden. Maureen and Jim understood, and forgave the Priest for his lateness, due to these unusual and legitimate circumstances.

The County club at Ballybunion Beach is spectacular; the views are glorious of the extensive Beach, but they could not see it, because it was dark at this time of evening. Oh! The keen wind took no short cuts either…it was bitterly cold. The Walsh’s had made good time…it was only 5.55 pm; the Function was to commence at 6.00 for 6.30pm; the car park was empty, so there was no trouble finding a parking spot. Quickly, the threesome made a dash for the Foyer; they then made their way to the Auditorium, post haste! St.Brendan would have been proud at the way his room was decked out for this occasion. Fr.Williamson looked aghast at Maureen and Jim, and said,” Oh my goodness! Look at all the people who aren’t here”…with little grins on their faces, Maureen and Jim beckoned Fr.Williamson to join them for a hot toddy (a warm drink of Brandy and Milk) while waiting for the others to arrive.

Chapter 6. The Parish Fundraising Dinner – no one will ever forget it.

Well, you wouldn’t believe it, unless it were true, and it was, because Maureen, James and Fr.Williamson saw it with their own eyes….we are pretty sure that they didn’t borrow anyone else’s. All the people came at once! You’d think that they had been on a Bus! At 6.25pm, just five minutes to the dot, everyone who was supposed to be there were there. If any others were with this lot, and missed the turn off, they would be out in the cold Atlantic by now. You see this tells you something else about Kerrymen; we can be relied upon, even though we might have people thinking the opposite.

Fr Williamson, was a good priest, because he always mingled with the people, and even though he has his ways, which we all have, thank God they are different, when push comes to shove, he is liked by the people by and large…one or two others have their doubts, but we are sure that Heaven will not be right for them either.

At about 7.00 pm a ginger headed young man, most probably from the North somewhere; we can guess at this by the way he speaks; we think that he hails from somewhere on the Antrim coast…we can tell that, because his hair is always all over the place, and we are led to believe that it is generally windy up on the North coast, so that makes for his hair being so dishevelled all of the time. We can handle that, but no one has ever plucked up the courage to ask him if he is a ‘mick’…. (A Catholic) no one has ever seen him at Mass, but that is hard to prove.

The young man with the ginger hair, bordering on orange, gently but forcefully called us to order! A thousand welcomes to you all, he said in fluent Gaelic! He had won their hearts in that instant! Come, and find a place at any table, but none in their right mind would venture to the top table. We all know so well the word from Our Lord….’choose the lower seats’, so that being the case, even when invited, the people refused to move to the higher table….so the PP, who decided to sit at the top table, could not handle the loneliness, and all eyes were fixed on him! The locals felt that if anyone could sit at the top table it would be Father! So, suddenly, with a move and a shout, he beckoned the ginger haired lad, and said in a voice that could well be heard in Dingle, ‘take the bloody table out of here, ‘cause I’m not fit to sit on it by myself! So, everyone held their hearts in their mouths….as they watched the old man, go and sit at the bottom table….an enormous applause took place, which vibrated the tables so much, that some of the older folk thought that it might cause an earthquake, and a tsunami, and that they would all be doing the St.Brendan’s Voyage, and not in a leather boat, but on a plank of wood…….Oh my goodness, this sent shivers down the spines of the local fishermen, and their wives, and their kids ……………….

Chapter 7. Will the prayers of the people of Finuge be answered?

The food at the Parish Dinner was fantastic! For starters, everyone was looking forward to Lamprey
(little small eel-like-fish) garnished with local edible seaweed, with a sprinkle of black pepper, and salt to taste. There were three types of soup; some of the folk thought that they could have three bowls of soup, but sadly
that was not the case. The main course had an option of two dishes. The first being Pigs Trotters, Cabbage & Bacon, the option was meatloaf, mash of course, and broad beans, and cabbage, with the most beautiful gravy, which really gave the flavour to the meatloaf. For desert, there were two choices: Aunt Molly’s Trifle, which will cure anyone with a sore throat! Or Sticky Date Pudding with delicious custard, touched up with what the locals call, ‘the doings’ (Cream Sherry).

The entertainment was wonderful, a local Kerry band from Killarney called: ‘The Goblins’ entertained us in between the speeches. Of course, there would be no catholic function without a Raffle. It was hoped that the visitors from St.Colum’s would dig deep for that!

The people were encouraged to add a little extra into their planned giving envelopes each week, and if they forget their envelopes, not to be backward in coming forward with some notes on the 2nd collection loose. As the
Parish Finance man suggested at the Dinner, perhaps we have the 2nd collection first, and then the first collection at the time of the second, because the first collection is for the Diocese; the second collection went to the parish. However, at this suggestion, all eyes were on the PP and the expression on his face would have stopped a clock! During his speech, the finance man didn’t pull any punctures or mince his words in what he had to say, and some of the people thought that he was speaking about them; but he wasn’t for sure to
be sure. However, if some of the people thought that he was having a ‘go’ at them, well he probably was. He kept on saying, if the cap fits, and then ware it! This really went over the people’s heads, because in these parts, they don’t ware caps, they use hats…so that at least got them off the hook.

The speech which they were all waiting for was kept to last; so they thought! Sitting on the bottom table as he was, the old PP had had his share of liquid refreshment during the evening. There were some astute people on his table who kept filling up his wine glass as soon as he turned his head; so in fact Fr.Williamson thought that he had only one drink that night. My goodness, some of the people will burn in hell for what they did to poor Father.

The dreaded time for the Parish Priest to speak about the coming expenditure for the church, and the state of the nation, was to happen right now. Oh my goodness, the whole crowd were waiting to hear if their Novena prayers had been answered.

When the Priest finally made his way to the Lectern….he seemed to be in some difficulty. With a crackle or two in his voice, he commenced by thanking the people for coming to this wonderful Dinner, to celebrate who they were as a community. ‘But, as for my speech, I have lost it!’ You see while they were topping up his wine, the priest felt a little warm, and took his coat off…one of the lads spotted the speech in the inside pocket, and very quickly nicked it out. As he did that dreadful deed, he was wondering if he will ever get to see the shine on the pearly gates of Heaven. But he justified himself by saying…’O Lord, it is for the good of the people that I do this….O Lord, forgive me!’

Fr Williamson has never been lost for words, but this time he was…he kept looking for them in his pockets; out of sheer frustration, he said, ‘Well, I’m going to tell you as it is from what I can remember, and that’s not very much.’ Firstly, my dear people, I couldn’t give a dam about the roof of the church, it’s too blooming cold, and we must get some heaters! Hang the expense! The Lord will provide, just see if you can put an extra Pound on the plate once a  week…..with that one of the Parishioners stood up; it was a young man new to the Parish; yes, it was Jack O’Malley. There was a hush over the crowd as young Jack took centre stage with the PP. ‘what can I do for ya son?’ said the priest…half expecting that he was being asked to anoint someone on his table who had eaten a double serving of Pigs Trotters… ‘Father’ replied Jack, ‘you already do so much for us, and as a new Parishioner, I would like to donate the heating system for St.Kieran’s Church’ You could have knocked Father’s eyes off with a stick! ‘But Jack!’ said the priest, ‘I have been praying a Novena to St.Jude for the last 9 days, asking for something that I thought was hopeless in our Parish, and that was for someone to donate the heaters, so that we can get the roof repaired with what little money we have in kitty!! My prayers have been answered’. Said the priest….with that there was a sigh of relief among the crowd, and sheepishly looking from side to side, nodding to each other…there was only one thing on their minds…..’God works in strange ways, His ways are not our ways, and His ways are far better’. Do you know that to this day, Fr Williamson does not know that the people of the Parish had also been praying a Novena to St.Jude for a slightly different intention….Amen!

Chapter 8.  Maureen Walsh visits old Rosie at the corner shop.

The Parish Dinner at Ballybunion was the talk of the Village and many of the surrounding places as well, even though it was none of their business, but I guess it is News that sells papers. However, there seems to be a little
downside to the miracles which have been happening in Finuge; it is with the people from St.Colum’s, they seem to feel that they are second rate! Well, when it is all said and done, that’s really their problem, Finuge has always been stronger in faith, and that’s been evident way back to the times of persecution. The people of Finuge are made of good stuff! Maybe it has something to do with the Walsh’s, the Ryan’s, the Stack’s, the Madden’s, the McCarthy’s and Fr.Williamson. As we come to think of it, there is a very telling motto inscribed above the entrance to our Church, which says: ‘Transfixus sed non mortuus’ Pierced, but not dead! It is the same coat of arms at the beginning of Chapter 1…..it has something to do with the Walsh’s/Brannagh in Gaelic. But as a people, way back we have suffered, like the Potato famine in the 1840’s and then the Black & Tans (English troops who were sent here during the uprising in the 30’s, and they would have preferred to be back home in England, and the people of Ireland would have preferred that, let it be said!) So, the motto says it all for everyone, and if some people don’t like it, well they should. That’s that; as the locals say, when they put their foot down with a firm hand!

Maureen and Jim woke up to a beautiful sunny morning…it is always a time of rejoicing when the suns comes out at this time of the year. It seemed that the weather and the elements were also rejoicing in Finuge’s good fortune.

Maureen thought that she would pop down to Rosie’s General Store to pick up a dozen eggs, or maybe a Baker’s Dozen, (13 eggs) for the price of a Dozen, depending on the mood of Rosie.

As Maureen walked down the River Rd., she saw Jack O’Malley driving his Lorry (Truck) up to the Church; ‘I bet they are the Heaters’ thought Maureen to herself. ‘Good morning dear Rosie’ Maureen exclaimed as she opened the little door of the shop, to the ringing of the cow bell attached at the top to let Rosie know that someone was coming into the shop.  Poor Rosie was a little blind, so by hearing the bell, she could see that someone was in the shop! ‘How would you be this fine mornin’ welcomed Rosie in her very broad Kerry brogue. (Accent)  ‘As good as I can ever be, at my age, dear Rosie’. ‘What do you think of the good news about the Heaters being installed into our Church, Rosie?’ ‘Oh, Maureen, methinks that it is wonderful, I am now considering going back to church.’ ‘Oh thank the Lord for that,’ sighed Maureen. ‘In fact a little bird told me that the Heaters are going into the Church today!’ ‘You must be kidding Maureen; nothing happens that fast around
here.’ Well, Rosie, after the outcome of the Parish Dinner, anything is possible’. ‘Good on poor old St.Jude, if the rest of the people in the world who are fortunate to know this Saint, he must be a tad busy…’ By the way,
Rosie, I’ve just been thinkin’, how long now is it since your husband died?’ ‘Oh, Maureen, if he were alive next Thursday, he would have been dead three years’…….with a little cheeky smile on Maureen’s face, she knew exactly how long poor old Pat had been with the Angels and Saints…….

The next enthralling chapter…..stay tuned! Others to follow!

Chapter 9.    Local romance;  Ethan and Coleen…are they made for each other?

Now young Coleen, (we use only one L in these parts, we don’t believe in being extravagant) is known to everyone around Finuge, and if someone doesn’t know her, they must be living with their eyes closed, and something in their ears. Coleen Crowley comes from a medium sized family of 12 children, and two good parents believe it or not; yes Dympna, is a really fit woman, and her red haired husband, Alroy, are truly outstanding parents. They have done it tough, as the old saying goes, ‘when the going gets tough, it is the tough that keep going’.  They live on the other side of the River Feale, in a little place called Killocrim.

They have a nice little Farm of about one thousand acres, with some Horses, Cows, of course, plenty of Chooks, and a huge Potato plantation, and a good sized garden for Cabbages, and one or two pigs….well they must have more than one Pig as I come to think of it, because one of them, the female I suppose, had a litter of Piglets the other day, so I was told by Rosie at the Corner shop. The Farm has been doin’ very well ever since the famine of 1842; However, there has been a turnover of family members during that time, which I believe, but old Aunt Maysie looks as though she survived the famine, but I sharnt go into that here and now. Old Rosie tells us that…she knows everything around Finuge, which is a Blessing, and a Curse! Coleen, like many of the younger folk these days is not terribly interested in Farming. She works in a well to do Fashion Shop in Ballybunion…she seems to be doing all right; always lookin’ extra smart, I might add when she comes to Mass and when she and some of her friends follow the Gee Gees ( Horses) at Tralee and Listowel.

As for Ethan, he is small, dark and handsome! But, from a distance, he looks rather tall.  Well he has to be somewhat small; the good Lord was very kind to him, because his main occupation is a chimney sweep! He could never manage the chimneys around Finuge, Listowel and other places, if he was a giant and plump. He lives up at Ballinruddery, just off the Bridge Rd. He comes from a rather little small family of 8 children, his mother Mary, works in the shop at the Bakery in Listowel, which is rather fortunate, because she can take a little extra home for the kids, especially loads of Sodabread and a couple of other tits bits like Pastries, Danish Rolls, Apple Rollovers, Scones, Tea Cakes, Chelsea Buns, which I might add were introduced here by the Black and Tans ( British Soldiers) back in the 20’s; the only good thing that they brought to our Country!  Her Husband Peter manages a rather large Peat Bog at Grogeen, and naturally their family will never run out of fuel for their combustion stove, hot water system and fire places. The picture below shows some of their reserves in the backyard!

Now you might be thinking, why doesn’t Ethan work in his Dad’s business…..well the short answer is that it is none of our business. So, that’s that! However, Ethan has a part time job at the Ballybunion Country club as a waiter. He works there every second Friday and Saturday, but never on the last Friday or Saturday of the month. Now it just so happened that on one of the last Friday’s of the month, when Ethan was not rostered on, he had been asked by Managemnt to fill in for one of the lads who was taking a sickie. We heard later that Ethan hummed and harred when asked at the last minute to go to the Country Club, because he was due to play some very important games of Dominos at the Briar’s Inn. But being the good lad that he is, and was, and still is,  he struggled in to work that night!

That particular night there was a Hen’s/Tupperware party (Young women’s group; it’s the female version of a Buck’s night. Tupperware is a super dooper array of Kitchen products, far superior to Decor) from Ballybunion; there were about 30 young ladies at two long refectory type tables. Now, as all these young ladies came into St.Brendan’s Function Room, Ethan who was in the middle of making a Brandy Alexander spotted this bevy of beauties! With that he poured ten nips of Brandy into the Mixer; the Lord only knows how the receipent would be able to walk to the car after the Dinner that night. He thought to himself, what a lucky ‘break’ to be working that Evening! To cut a long story short, he made a bee line towards the young ladies; surely they would like  pre Dinner drinks….They did! And they wanted all kinds of drinks;now there was one of the young ladies that took his fancy, so he kind of moved closer to her place….she was sitting at the top of the table, and that was rather fortunate. So, taking their respective orders, he went back to the Bar and prepared the Drinks. I might add that a couple of other fellas were a tiny bit jealous of the ‘big win’ for Ethan.

Our man Ethan, seemed to be in a hurry as he prepared the drinks; however, he thought that the women deserved some Munchies like Cracker Barrel Extra Tasty Cheeze, and little small toasts, Peanuts, Cashews, Potato Crisps, Twisties, home made sausage, and some Black Pudding to top it off ‘on the house’ of course! ‘What Management didn’t know, never hurt them’, we say around here. It was as though Ethan was riding a Flying Fox, he got so quickly to the young ladies table, making his point of contact with the rather special young lady at the top of the table. Unfortunately, he was not good at Physics, but a great Chimney sweep; hence he did not calculate that if he stopped suddenly, the drink tray would keep going, perhaps even into the Atlantic! Oh my goodness, what a disaster! All the Drinks went over, and all over young Coleen; she was absolutely drenched in Vermouth, Gin and Tonic, Bacardi and Coke, Jack Daniels, Guinness, and a number of other alco pops! With that, a tirade of names and complaints came from the young ladies, and particularly from Coleen…poor Ethan was beside himself, and all he could do was laugh! Within this unusual mixture of drinks, wet cheese and soggy little toasts, Ethan fell on his hands and knees and pleaded with Coleen to beg her forgiveness! Being a person who could see the funny side of things in a serious moment…she said to Ethan with a twinkle in her eye;’ you owe me!’ His response was, “I’m taking you out to Dinner tomorrow night”, and that’s how Coleen and Ethan met!  ‘Love is stranger than fiction’; my great, great, great, grandmother once told me before she died   🙂

Chapter 10.  Preparation for the Wedding Day.

Now Maureen and James Walsh were regarded by most people as the pillars of the Church. But according to Fr Williamson, there are two types of Pillars to the Church. The stronger ones, are up-to-date with their Planned Giving Envelopes, and then the others are those who put their offerings in the 2nd collection loose. In other words everyone who is part of the Parish Community is a Pillar of one kind or another. Now back to Maureen and James; if there was anything to be done here and there in the Parish, and around the Church, the PP (Parish Priest) would call on them…generally he would walk to their place from the Presbytery, instead of making a ‘phone call, because he liked to save money as we well remember about the Heaters in the Church episode. Maureen was in charge of the Flower Ladies, under the patronage of St.Rose of Lima, and she had held that position since Adam was a boy….in order words, a very long time. However, it seemed that no one was really hoping to take over the position, so Maureen was on safe ground. Although, it was on some of the minds of the women that if the Angels took her to God, who would be landed with the job? It was really a thought to be put aside at the moment; surely the good Lord would not even think of taking Maureen away before the Wedding Day.  James had always been an active member of the St.Vincent de Paul Society, as well as his father, poor old Mick Walsh who we believe is with the Angels and Saints. Well we know for sure that he would be giving St.Brendan an ‘ear bashing’ about the great Voyage to the new world, and whether Brendan and his companions did land on the back of a huge Leviathan and make a fire and have some Irish breakfast tea….we’ll all find out one day.

Now, everyone knew that Coleen and Ethan were going to get married on Saturday the 21st of June. How did everyone know about it, you might be thinking?? Well, it certainly was not from Father Williamson when he read out the bands of Marriage for the first time in Church…Oh no! It was dear Rosie at the corner shop who got the news around allot faster than Father dear Father could ever do! Now, Maureen had been in touch with Coleen about the kind of flowers that she wanted for her big Day. Seeing that Coleen lived in the parish, she or rather
her mother would not have to ‘dig deep’ into the Piggy Bank to pay for them…however, it was an unwritten principle, that one would offer a sizable donation to the Church to cover the costs….and maybe a tad more to cover the expected little donation for the Altar boy who would ring the Bells after the Nuptial Mass. Moreover, it was the done thing to leave the flowers in the Church for the weekend Masses….no one would ever dare to ask the PP, if they could take the Flowers to the Wedding Reception afterwards. My goodness, even if the thought had crossed one’s mind…it would have to be a troubled mind at that, because the old PP would give one a troubled mind for the term of their natural life if this unmentionable thing were even whispered. It is still like that in Finuge to this day; but it has happened once or twice at Listowel, so Rosie told us recently. Oh my goodness, I am sure that the people concerned will have to spend a little extra time in Purgatory for that unmentionable act!

Now of course, you might be wondering why is the Wedding on June 21st? Apart from the custom of having Weddings in summer, it seems that Coleen and Ethan want to be sure to be sure (that is not a typo) that it will be a fine day, so that is why they picked date of the summer solstice. Time will tell !!!!!

We understand that the Wedding Reception will be held at…come on, you name it! Yes, you are right, the Ballybunion Beach Country Club….the place where this lovely romance began!

Oh, guess who is making the Wedding Cake? Well, to cut a long story, as short as possible under the circumstances; there have been two special requests made by Coleen for the Wedding Reception. The first one is rather special….Maureen Walsh has been asked to not only make the wedding cake, using a magnificent Recipe which she will not give to anyone, until she is dead, so Rosie says at the Corner shop. But also to decorate it.  It makes sense because she is such a wonderful decorator of flowers in the Church, that she also can put her expertise to cake decorating. Blind Freddy can see that they do go hand in hand!

 You see the Recipe is said to have been put together by St.Brigid of Kildare in about the year 520 AD, shortly before her death, and it seems that this precious manuscript has been handed down from generation to generation, and finally got into the hands of Maureen and James Walsh. It seems  that even poor old Oliver Cromwell way back in 1538 had heard about the recipe for this extraordinary fruit cake, and he ordered a search in all the homes in Kildare and Kerry…but the Walsh’s were too smart for him, they had it hidden inside a big stature of St.Kevin which adorned the Lounge room.

The second appeal was made to James Walsh; he has contacts way out in Australia, who it is believed are distant relatives, but James does not want to go into that, just in case they are not; it was to provide the most exquisite Walsh’s Tomato Relish which is made at Walsh’s Country Kitchen, 33 Campbell St., Boorowa NSW 2586 Australia. Everyone around Finuge and beyond knows that this Relish beats anything that is made in Ireland. Coleen especially wants this to be available for the little party pies and sausage rolls, which will be handed around with the pre Dinner drinks prior to the main meal.

An unusual custom was also held in the Parish of Finuge at Weddings. The St.Vincent de Paul Society would give a food hamper to the newly married couple. It has been said, according to Rosie, that in the past some people have even had the audacity to make a few suggestions as to what could go in the Hamper. Lord save us! One would think that the dear Lord would take their speech away, like what was done to St.John the Baptist’s father, if they should make any suggestions whatsoever. When you think of things like this, one
wonders what the world is coming too?

 

Chapter 11. The Wedding Day finally comes around!

The week of the Wedding seemed to be a busy one for nearly everyone in Finuge. Maybe the only ones who were not affected by the coming Nuptials were two black cats that belong to the Robinson’s next door to Maureen and James Walsh…these two cats belonged really to poor old Jack who is deceased…well, the locals
are pretty sure that he has gone to God or somewhere else, because he hasn’t been seen for three months to the day. These cats have been a cause of great distress for Maureen and James over the years..their names are Tinker and Taylor, but James has one name for the pair of them, and we can’t repeat it here….the locals say that these cats know more about the goings on in the village than dear old Rosie at the Corner shop, and that’s saying something!

The weather man on the T.V has given up providing a detailed forecast after the 9.00PM News…he just says; it’s the same as last night’s..If you missed out on that, just look out the window…..rain, rain and more rain! The locals were starting to think that they had better start building an Ark as in Noah’s day…however, he used timber; the people of Kerry would never use that, they would go for Leather like the Carraghs of old! Tuesday night was to be the rehearsal in the church for the Musicians. Now, we think that having a Guitar Band for the
Wedding instead of just the Organ was the P.P’s way of saying that all the rain was because of these Musicians! …..there will be no electric Guitars, Drums, and other kitchen ware in the Church for any Wedding, the old PP thought to himself; poor old Miss Finn had been playing the Organ since the Black and Tans
came our way in the 20’s; she is now in The Rose of Tralee Hospital, being treated for a suspected heart attack. The reason, it seems is because she was not asked to play the Organ at the Nuptial Mass. She had heard on the grape vine; yes, from Rosie, that she would not be needed, because of this group of Musicians who call themselves” The Goblins”, and they are from Killarney.

The P.P was not at all happy about these arrangements, but he knew that Coleen came from a good family; and they were up to date with their envelopes, so he reluctantly went along with it.

Wednesday night was the Wedding rehearsal in the local church, and honestly we know why River Road was named a River and not a Stream, because it had been flooded all week.

The P.P had said that this was not to do with climate change, it may be something else; everyone kind of guessed what his real thoughts were and why the deluge had come their way, this week…… Thursday was called the Duck’s Night at the Briar’s Inn; generally these nights we are told, are called Hen’s nights, but the Hens could not handle the weather, so it was renamed the Duck’s night for Coleen, and the girls. The Bucks party was to be held on the Friday night in the same venue; so it was a bit of a windfall for the local Pub! Coleen had confided with her friends on Thursday night that she was a tad worried as to what the boys might do to Ethan.

 

Saturday, June 21! The sun was shining; my goodness all the Angels and the Saints must have changed the mind of the Parish Priest, because it turned out to be a glorious day. The Mass was to be at 2.00PM, and Fr.Williamson had made it clear on the rehearsal night in the Church, that the Bride was not to be late! He had
stated to the Bridal Party that if the Bride was fifteen minutes late, he would leave out the Sermon in protest. So, behind the scenes, and it was the same people who took Father’s prepared talk out of his coat pocket at the
Fundraising Dinner, un-be-known to him, they made sure that the Bride would be sixteen minutes late….where there is a will, there is a way, or as old Les O’Doherty said, to James and Maureen, there are many ways of skinning a cat! With that James, missed the point and suggested that he try that out on the two cats that live next door to his place…..no more was said…….

The Church was full to overflowing; we know that the P.P wished he had the opportunity to have a collection taken up, because a lot of work now needed to be done on the drainage system for the church; thanks to all the rain!

It was strange to see old Fr.Williamson warming up to the Music; even the most conservative of minds would have agreed that the Music and Hymns were very tastefully presented, and the people sang louder than they did with dear old Miss Finn, when she played the organ, and led the singing at the same time…..Food for thought!!!!!

Poor Fr. Williamson told everyone after the Gospel, that he would not be giving a Sermon because of the Bride’s lateness; without much ado, the community broke into an applause! The old PP looked dumbfounded; he then said, well he might even consider doing that on Sundays as well, providing the collection did not suffer. There were alot of grins on the people’s faces…..My O My, the people of Finuge are a strange lot, but when the chips are down, they mean what they say, and say what they mean, and a wonderful community is alive and well in that quaint little Village, and they are so fond of their Parish Priest, because deep down they know that he is a good man!

At the rehearsal, Father dear Father had made it very clear to the Bridal party that there was to be no rice, confetti, or anything else that might be an OH & S issue. Lo and behold, as the Bride and Groom left the church, Fr.Williamson could not understand all these bubbles entering the Church, and in the afternoon sun, they shone with the beautiful colours of the rainbow……at this extraordinary event, the PP was going to call the weather
man at the Television Station in Tralee, to let him know that the rain has finally gone, and he had received a biblical sign in the Church after the Wedding, of the glorious bubbles glistening in all the colours of the spectrum. It was a truly wonderful wedding! A Wedding blessed by God!

Chapter 12.  The Wedding Reception that rocked the Ballybunion Beach Country Club.

Well, the Nuptial Mass was well and truly over by 3.30PM, some of the locals still thought that it was a long time, especially when the PP left the Homily out because the Bride was sixteen minutes late. But the Bridal Party stayed around the Church yard for Photos upon Photos. My goodness, it will take their whole married life to look through the Wedding Album. Word had got around that Fr.Williamson was keen that they move on because Confessions were to take place at 5.00PM, and then the Vigil Mass was at 6.00PM. A newly ordained Priest from Listowel was filling in for Fr.Williamson because he was going to the Wedding Reception at Ballybunion. However, the PP was a little unsure that things would go alright while he was away, because the young fella coming to say Mass was really only learning the ropes, so Fr.Williamson thought he would stay a little longer and make sure that the Mass got underway, and that the Church Wardens would make sure that the young Priest would not forget the two collections. You see, the newly ordained man might be still full of ferver and he might forget some of the practical things in running a Parish.  Fortunately, old Stan Higgins will be locking up the Church as he has been doing for the last sixty one years, so the young man will be able to get on his way and return to Listowel after the Mass.

Oh my goodness, St.Brendan’s Function Room at the Country Club was decked out as if Royalty were coming to the West Coast. Of course, that would be out of the question; because the people of Kerry would prefer them to stay in the North, and maybe take the liberty to look over the Border with Binoculars, but not to venture one inch into the Republic.

The afternoon turned out to be absolutely beautiful. As you  looked towards the Sea from the Country Club, the view was absolutely spectacular. It was a far cry from the last week or so, when the whole place was drenched. Oh we are lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the Emerald Isle.

Now, the pre Dinner Drinks, and Finger Food were being served in the beautiful Entrance Hall named after a very fine family who originally owned this wonderful Mansion; hence it was called The Crowley Hall. As one entered The Hall, the aroma of Party Pies, Sausage Rolls, and other delightful tit bits, invited people to ‘feel at home’ and mingle.  Mind you, there were are couple of families invited to the Nuptials who had not spoken to each other since the outbreak of World War II, in fact a number of the locals feel that the anamosity which caused this rift, could have been a contributing factor to one of the many causes of WWII. Maybe, this might be the time when the feud could be ended.  Many people hoped for it; lots of others said that it would be impossible to mend…who knows what graces may be hovering around the gathering tonight; one thing is for certain, there will be alot of Spirits!

In a corner of the Crowley Hall was a wonderful Harpist; it was the kind of Music that did not intrude, but it provided a glorious ambience as the people arrived for the festivities to the delightful tunes from Enya.

By 6.30PM the Hall was crowded and the people were enjoying themslves immensely. The keen eye picked out a few of the local Police, so that was a good sign that the people would not have to take the back roads to get home, of if their teenage kids were driving, none would be the wiser. It looked like being a great night!

Where was Fr.Williamson? He is generally on time, especially if there is food involved. Some of the people were starting to get worried if he was alright; had he collided with some stray Cows? This can be a bit of a worry around these parts or even he may have hit some goats!

The Bride and Groom arrived into the Crowley Hall to the blast of Trumpets and Drum rolls! Some of the people got quite a shock at this fanfare; some dropped their half eaten Party Pies, dripping with that sensational Walsh’s Tomato Relish into their Drinks! Some others who had a little more of the spirit to drink thought that it might be the second coming of Our Lord! Well, for all of this, everyone knew that the newly Weds had arrived.

The Music in St.Brendan’s Function Room was a bit too loud for some, even though the Public Address system did have a Loop network for the use of those with hearing aids, but it did not take long for some complaints to be sent to management, because some of the people thought that they were going to Loop the Loop!

While the Entree’s were being served…there was another drum roll and blast from the trumpets….in walked Fr.Williamson! He looked as pale as a ghost! Everyone could see that he was not happy; he was escorted to the top table, and he was very apolegetic to the Bride and Groom. He made his way to the Mic, and the Music faded to allow him to speak! Many people thought that he was going to tell the assembled multitude that poor old Miss Finn had gone to God! Or that poor old Stan Higgins had dropped dead during the Vigil Mass, and it was too much for the young priest! These are some of the thoughts that were going through the people’s minds. There was a hush over the crowd, not a sound of knives and foulks hitting the crockery…” My dear people, I must apologise to you all, and especially to Ethan and Coleen for being so late…I have something terrible to tell you, and I am lost for words……yes, I know, some of you are probably thinking that would be unusual for me, but a tragedy has hit me….” then he paused, some of the people were sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to hear the news…holding back tears, and the old PP is not prone to showing emotion, ” Poor old Rex is dead!” There was a sudden rush of air in the Function room, people were expressing their shock….what would it be like for the  Parish, now that the PP’s dog has died?

The whole atmosphere at the Reception had changed, it was as though a person in the Parish who has been much loved had gone to the good Lord. So, the band gently played,’ Nearer my God to Thee’, and then moved sensitively into a medley of instrumentals like, St.Louis Blues, Sentimental Journey, Now or never, Thanks for the memories, and, I only have eyes for you…..This music so beautifully played had most of the people in tears; Box’s of Tissues were brought to the tables. The last song was just too much for Father dear Father; After you’ve gone……..How was this Wedding Reception going to be transformed from a Wake, into a celebration of life?

To the amazement of everyone, and with a stroke of magic, it was the band who turned it all around, and with some humour, and fun filled ways of working up a crowd….it was line dancing time!!!!!!

Never has the Ballbunion Beach Country Club rocked so much as the way this Wedding Reception turned out. The amazing transformation from total sadness to absolute joy and fun will never be forgotten. No one wanted the deserts! They just wanted to dance and dance, and the leaders were Ethan and Coleen. As the clock struck midnight, everything had stop for the Speeches, and the Cutting of the Cake.

A miracle happened during the line dancing; old Don Madden, happened to be in the right place at the right time, because Trudy McGarry got the heel of her shoe caught in her dress, and fell backwards into the arms of Don…..you see the Maddens and the McGarry’s had not been speaking to each other for years…dear old Trudy, in a state of alarm and shock, looked up into the eyes of her foe and said with a twinkle in her eyes, ” Well, Don you could have let me fall to the ground…” In reply, Don said to Trudy with a cheeky grin on his face, ” You know, the thought did cross my mind….” from that time, the two families have been the best of friends, and they put it down to the death of old Rex!

Chapter 13.   The Parish Priest and Vicar, share the Pulpit!

At a recent Deanery Meeting of the local clergy at St.Mary’s Listowel, (this is a bi-monthly Meeting of the Priests from the 10 Parishes in the area) the PP and Dean of this Group has particular interest in the wellbeing and welfare of the Parish Priests within the group; see the photo of a few of the local Priests, and Miss Turner, the Housekeeper at St.Mary’s.

The locals thought that she was really one of the priests, if you get my drift?) one of the items on the agenda for the Priest’s Meeting was the implementation of an important Ecumenical venture which is being promoted by the Catholic Bishops of Ireland;that  is to invite a local clergyman to preach an occasional address at a specific Feast of the Church, which would be held during the week, and not on a weekend. The day which was decided upon was the Feast of St.Augustine on the 28th of August, the great Bishop of Hippo in North Africa, born around 430AD. This being a great Saint and Doctor of the Church which most Christian dispensations admire, respect and know of the tremendous contribution his life, and works have made in the building up of Christianity, this seemed to be a most suitable time.

It was decided that a Liturgy of the Word, would be appropriate to be held in each Catholic Church, and that the local Minister would be invited to preach! During the Deanery Meeting poor old Fr Williamson, gave a shudder at the thought of the Vicar preaching at Finuge! He raised the issue with the Fathers and Miss Turner, that the local Vicar is known to preach very long sermons! Fr.Williamson has cut his sermons very short; the collections have even gone up, and the people seem to be happy about his decision. Fr.McNamara from the Parish of St. Columcille  at Tarbert, interjected by gently informing the Meeting, that the Local Vicar from Finuge is more
interesting to listen to than Fr.Williamson….to which, Fr.Williamson agreed with Fr.McNamara wholeheartedly. Old Ned Williamson congratulated the PP of St.Columcille’s for not beating around the bush! (In other words, telling the truth) Fr.Williamson was really an amazing man; he had an idea about some of his limitations, and lately, he has been hinting that he might be going to God soon. Now, this was something that the poor old PP had said to Rosie recently at the corner shop. You see, we all know that Fr.Williamson looks as white as a
Ghost at the best of times, but apparently Rosie said in her straight forward way, ‘Father dear, you are looking like death warmed up!’ His reply was,  ‘you have hit the nail on the head; you’re right Rosie, but I think that someone will be turning the gas off soon…..’ her reply was, “ Oh no Father, what with all the drilling for oil and gas off our coast, there will be plenty of gas for you….’ Fr.Williamson smiled and quietly walked out of the shop…Poor old Rosie thought to herself that she had been somewhat insensitive, because he is probably suffering untold grief at the recent death of his old dog, Rex! ‘Oh, life can be cruel’, she thought to
herself, and muttered under her breath…

Each Parish had been given a Liturgy of the Word to be followed for the coming Ecumenical Services in the Deanery, it had been prepared by the Diocesan Liturgist; Fr. Maurice Cowmeadow…strange surname; we think that it is an English name, because the only cowmeadows around these parts, have real cows in them! Fr.Cowmeadow is not really liked by a good number of the priests because he seems to be so prim and proper, and when he came with the Bishop to Finuge for the Confirmations, he seemed to be a bit hoity toity (meaning a little above the rest of us) The most recent example of this was at the last Confirmations. We had sixteen young people to be presented for the Sacrament, and in this part of Ireland, Confirmation is celebrated from the age of 15 upwards, and the young teenagers who are being prepared by the Catechists, also sponsor them in Pastoral works of mercy and teaching, by way of a practical way of understanding Confirmation as a major part of the missionary nature of the Sacrament. So, these ‘Teens’ assist with the 1st Reconciliation and 1st Holy Communion classes which are held on Sundays after Mass. Some of the teens visit a number of our golden oldies in the Garden of Roses Nursing Home, which is staffed by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, and then undergo group work in reflective groups guided by the Sisters. Anyhow, I am getting off the track here: During the Confirmation Liturgy, which is within the celebration of Mass, because the Teens had made their First Holy Communion when they were younger; the MC (Master of Ceremonies, Fr.Cowmeadow) asked one of our Finuge Altar boys to fetch the Crosier for the Bishop….the timid Server, went as red as a beetroot, and said, ‘I beg your pardon.’ Fr.Cowmeadow, sternly spoke in a little louder voice, ‘Go get the Crosier for the Bishop’….Sorry Father, but what is it?’ With that, old Fr.Williamson said in his usual quiet voice so that
the whole church could hear….’Get the bloomin’ Crowbar in the corner!’ With that, young Patrick knew exactly what Fr. Cowmeadow wanted for the Bishop. The old PP whispered to Cowmeadow….our children are from farms…not Monasteries!

When Fr.Williamson showed this Liturgy of the Word to the Parish Council, it was then to be looked after by the Parish Liturgy Committee, which meets three times a year…..the rest of the Meetings of this nature are held at the Briar’s Inn, but no minutes are taken….it is a task orientated Meeting, and the four people in the Committee know what they are doing, and do what they know best! Fr.Williamson places all his trust in them.

The Vicar, was a very friendly person, and actually lives next door but one to Fr.Williamson. Miss Finn, lives in between the two clergymen and, as we know is the Organist for St.Kierans, and also the Organist for St.Mel’s, the Church of Ireland in Finuge. It seems that un-be- known to the local Bishop of the Catholic Diocese, Finuge has been a very Ecumenical Village for many, many years, several of the locals think that Miss Finn has been playing the Organ in Finuge since St.Brendan was about….but more people than you think ,actually don’t know when she came to Finuge, and because she is a bit of a talker when she gets goin’, it is wiser not to ask her any questions if you don’t want to be late for milking the cows! Even though the Finuge people got a bit of a scare when poor Miss Finn was admitted to The Rose of Tralee Hospital prior to Coleen and Ethan’s Wedding  due to a suspected heart attack, because she wasn’t asked to play the Organ for their Wedding. All the people in Finuge think that is the case, but poor Miss Finn has no idea of it, and what’s the point of putting the idea into her mind, because she will probably end up with a heart attack, and woe be tide, they would have trouble finding another Organist for the PP, and the Vicar. She is not blessed with personality, in fact the old PP once said to Maureen and James Walsh, that she had the personality of a dishcloth, but she plays the Organ very well, and has never been late for a Mass; so as Fr.Williamson says with a grin on his face, “you take the good with the bad” and any misgivings that one might have, you keep it to yourself, and pass it on to the good Lord.’

One or two members of the Parish Council suggested that to make a really good success of the Ecumenical Liturgy of the Word that they invite the great musical group, ’The Goblins’ to lead the Singing; the ones that played in the Church for Coleen and Ethan’s wedding. My O my, at the very suggestion of it, poor old Fr.Williamson nearly went off his rocker! It is believed that he turned from his usual ghostly white complexion to blood red! Straight away, the people that suggested it thought that their lives would be terminated when Father recovered from whatever was going on with him. All, eyes were on the PP; he sat up straight in his usual chair, that always creaked when he was upset. The Parish council always made sure that Father sat in that chair because it would always give them warning if he didn’t like this or that in the Meeting. When he came too, he starred at them all and said, ‘who the devil are you looking at?” With one voice they said, “You!” He then grumbled to himself, so that they could all hear him by responding, “I thought you were….do you want me to have an appointment with St.Peter before my time is up?”

The chairperson, Jack Spratt said,” we would never want that to happen Father…” The PP responded by
saying, “well if we put off dear old Miss Finn this time, she would surely kick the bucket (that means die), and before that, the whole of the Republic would hear what is going on! No! We cannot ask the Goblins to come along, besides I’m not all together sold on them for the Church, and as you might not know, because I haven’t told you so, a report had been sent in to Fr.Cowmeadow, to see if we had received a clearance from the Liturgy Office to have them for the Wedding.” The Parish Council members all looked shocked and puzzled; who would
be the dobber? They thought to themselves, but it was all written on their faces. “You see, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Parish Council, I couldn’t give a dam about asking Cowmeadow for a clearance; I am the Parish Priest, and the buck stops with me; this I told  him to his face last week when I was at the Diocesan Office in Tralee to pick up the new Charitable Works Envelopes. Besides I told him that he could make himself
more useful by going to the foreign mission, on a permanent appointment! I think that he got the impression that he would not be one of my favourite Presbyters!  So, to Molly, Frank, Topsy and Turvy, go ahead and make any changes you feel fits our parish for this coming Ecumenical Service.

(Topsy and Turvy are an unmarried brother and sister combination, their proper names are: Gertrude and Aidan….but those names have never suited them.)

August 28 came around faster that one would want, but as we know, we cannot ever put the calendar ‘on hold’ like we are put ‘on hold’ when want to speak to someone at Directory Assistance. Poor old Fr.Williamson told us during the Notices last Sunday, that he reluctantly called Telecom for the Phone number of one of our old Parishioners; dear old Amy Holland; do you know they gave a ‘phone number in Dingle, and when he called, he got a terrible ear bashing over the phone from her Husband, because Amy had been dead for ten years! As Fr.Williamson confirmed his deepest thoughts on this subject; why call Directory assistance at all, at all, (this is not a typo) when one can walk to the corner shop, and ask dear Rosie! Apparently, the people at Mass gave a spontaneous applause in approval!

Now back to the Ecumenical Service….for the four Sunday’s prior to the Service, there had been extensive advertising about this coming important event. But Fr.Williamson stated each Sunday that the Parish should not get over excited about this Service even though it is the first of its kind, but wisely he invited the people to see this Prayer time together was a culmination of all that has happened Ecumenically since the Black and Tans left our District, and our Country in the late 20’s. The PP invited his Parishioners to think back over the last fifty years or more and see how the people of Finuge, and there about, have been charitably involved with their Protestant sisters and brothers, he implored the people to see that in the Country, and in this part of the world, that the core of Christian living is Christ, and even though Catholics and Protestants are continually labelled as at war against each other, let’s never forget the political motives. The people of Finuge loved their PP, like a fine wine he has matured with age.

On the other hand, the Rev John O’Connell had been saying similar things to Fr.Williamson, un-be-known to both of them. Ah, yes, the good Lord works in wonderful ways.

Well Friday August 28th came upon the community, and the three days before the Service it had been raining cats and dogs; Lord save us! Will it be fine on the big day? Friday morning was glorious; the sun was shining, even with summer’s warmth, Fr Williamson thought to himself, “ My goodness this is a day like Coleen and Ethan’s Wedding; yes there even was a rainbow in the western sky; the good Lord is smiling upon us”, he muttered to himself. But within that muttering, there was sadness; yes, the loss of Rex in death was hard to get used to. With that, a smile came to his face; he remembered back to the night that his dog had it out with the Vicar’s Cat, Regina!

Oh, yes that was a blessed night, and here we are, he thought to himself, having a Prayer Service
together, but the PP was still happy that his dog Rex, gave the Vicar’s cat a hiding!

The Service began at 7.30Pm and the Church had never been so full! It was wonderful to see all the people from both congregations together, the old PP thought to himself, ‘wouldn’t it be good if it was always like that?’ The chairperson of the Parish Council welcomed everyone, and of course the Vicar, and the theme for the service was, ‘May they all be One.’ Fr.Williamson proclaimed the Gospel from John 17, the Priestly Prayer of Jesus, and this was followed by the Vicar’s Sermon. Even though he went on for thirty minutes, it was
riveting!

Prior to the Sermon, Fr.Williamson did catch a late comer sheepishly walking into the church…..’Be blowed,’ he thought to himself, but as we know, the PP cannot whisper; so those on the Sanctuary, and in the front seats heard him exclaim! Yes, it was Fr.Cowmeadow, the Diocesan Liturgist! ‘What the devil was he doing here?’

After the Bidding Prayers, Fr Williamson got up to share a few words; but firstly he said to everyone,” this has been a marvellous night, a magnificent ‘turn-out’ and it would only be right to have a collection, and we’ll split it down the middle!” an enormous applause took place, and the Vicar, and the PP gave the Sign of Peace to each other. ‘That was a Sermon in itself’, said dear old Rosie who was sitting next to Mildred, the Vicar’s wife.

A tremendous Supper had been organised by the people of both Congregations, and it was a time to mix, and share stories and consolidate what they had celebrated in Liturgy. It was decided there and then that next year the Service will be held at St.Mel’s! Fr.Williamson publically applauded the idea, and said in true Kerry style, “My goodness, if St.Brendan were alive, he would turn over in his grave with happiness, at what has happened in Finuge this night!”

Chapter 14.  Fr. Williamson goes to God.

It was Saturday September 21, and the Parish of Finuge will never forget it! The flower ladies were working hard in the Sacristy preparing the floral arrangements for the weekend Masses, when Fr.Williamson strolled into the work sacristy as he usually does on a Saturday morning around 11.00am, to have a chat with the Ladies, and a cup of Tea. There was a kind of spring in the PP’s step, although he looked a little flushed, according to Maureen Walsh.  ‘Good mornin’ to ya Ladies’, said Fr Williamson, and in unison, the response was….”Good morning to ya Father on this day with a chill in the air.” “You are right ladies, the chill is official today; this is the beginning of Autumn, and I have just had my say on local Radio TR 3, that the 1st of September is not the beginning of Autumn, today is!”. “How is that Father, because it has been chilly for the last five weeks?” “Oh, Maureen, surely I don’t need to tell ya that today is the Solstice!”

 “Good heavens” replied Maureen “is it also a Holy Day of Obligation?” “Oh, Lord save us”, grunted the PP, it is the official and true, and right beginning of Autumn, woman; all these commercial places like to get a head start with the fashions by saying that the first of September is the beginning of Autumn”. “Ohhhhh, I never knew that” said Elsie Brosnan. “Well, you do now”, muttered Fr.Williamson.”So tell your Hubby Tiernan, to back “Lucknow” on the 4th Race at Tralee today, because being the Solstice, he is sure to win”. “Of, Father, I know how keen you are on Lucknow, and I am sure that with the help of St.Brendan, he will bring us a great prize…” “To be sure, to be sure dear Elsie, with the grace of God, and half a pint of Guinness, he will make the distance in record time, you wait and see, but I may not!”

They were strange words, thought Elsie to herself; also, this was the first time that Elsie had spoken to Father in years…you see they had a little ’falling out’, not a big one, on over the fact that Tiernan had told Fr.Williamson years ago that his precious favoured Horse had only three legs…..so this was a turn up for the books! But Father’s response was a little strange; maybe it is just one of those things that people say……

Confessions in Finuge on Saturday afternoons began at around 4.00PM till 5.00PM, or however long it took for the last penitent to complete their Confession. There was a strange custom here in North Kerry, which goes back to who knows when, that the Parishioners from the other Station Church, St.Colum’s at Bealkelly, would come to Confession at Finuge which was on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays, because they preferred to go to confession outside their Parish. Then on the other hand, the locals at Finuge would go over to Bealkelly on the
2nd and 4th Saturdays for their confessions, for the very same reason! But the strangest thing was that they would not travel to Mass at the other station Church on the Sunday. Some people do some strange things, and
who would know the reason? May be the good Lord might even be scratching his head about this one.

The Vigil Mass starts at 6.00PM winter and summer…some Parishes change their times to suit the change in daylight saving, but the people of Finuge and Bealkelly, they did not want the cows to be more upset than they were because of daylight saving, so the people decided  not to change the Mass times, lest they become terribly confused. Poor old Kitty who lives next door to Maureen and James Walsh has been complaining for years that ever since day light saving was introduced, her lounge room curtains have faded.

Poor old Stan Higgins always used to get the Altar ready, put the collection plates out, and have the appropriate 1st and 2nd Collection money bags ready for the Wardens, plus other odds and ends around the Church at 5.30PM on the dot! Now, one of Stan’s special jobs was to check to the two clocks in the Church; one in the Sacristy and the other at the back of the Church so that the Priest could see it, but the people could not. No one else dared touch the clocks, lest they be struck with lightening! This was for a very important reason…..’We don’t like people clock watching during the Homily, do we?’ says Fr.Comagh. However, when Stan got into the Church this day, the first thing that he noticed was that the Clock in the Church had stopped at 4.50PM….and
then in the Sacristy, the Clock was also stopped at 4.50PM. But, Stan also noticed something very strange…the red minute hand was still going around on both clocks, but they had not budged a minute past 4.50PM. Stan thought to himself, “am I starting to lose my marbles, and am I on the way around the twist? Could be, I am 98 years old, so it’s on the cards!” Stan quickly went out into the Church to see if the confessional lights were on…..maybe there is someone with Father who has allot to say…..he thought to himself. Well, if it is a Bealkelly person, they probably would have more to say than a Finuge person…… But, only the Green light was on, which means that there was no one in the Box with Father, except Father! “Oh my goodness, is Father dear Father alright?” Poor old Stan immediately started to get some pains down his left arm, and he thought to himself “O know I don’t want to go to God just yet, because I have not fed my Cat, Tibby” With that, for some strange reason, dear old Rosie from the corner shop had decided to come to Mass this weekend. As she went down to the statue of Our Lady of Knock to light a candle, old Stan called out, “Hey Rosie, would you have a minute or two to help me?” Rosie thought to herself, and said it out loud…”do ya want me to help you make ya Confession
Stan?”  “No” said Stan, “but I have a feeling that Fr.Williamson might be asleep in the Confessional, or, or he might be……I can’t say the words, Rosie” “So”, do you think that he would need two people to wake him up?” “Rosie, I have a strange feeling about Father…..come on, let’s open the door together?”  They both tried to open the door, but it was locked fast! “Why on earth would he lock himself in the Confessional, Rosie?” “Maybe to get some peace; I don’t know,” said Rosie. With that Stan got a brain wave! “For goodness sake Stan,” said Rosie, “let’s go in as if we were going to confession?” “O Rosie, we can’t do that, only one person can go in there at a time” said Stan. “Well, go inyourself,” grunted Rosie. “But I don’t need to go to confession, Rosie; I went last week at St.Colum’s”. “O Stan, leave it to me, I’ll go in” said Rosie. Suddenly, there was a shout! “O my Lord, and my God!” With that, Stan went in…By now the Church was starting to fill up, the Acolytes had arrived, and the Servers, poor old Miss Finn was playing: Nearer my God to Thee! “Rosie said to Stan, “If he’s not dead, he must be in a deep sleep”. Stan put his hand onFather’s forehead, yes, he had gone to God!

James Walsh was one of the Acolytes on that night and Stan and Rosie told him their story; with that old Dr.McGuire and his wife came into the Church, so James asked Doctor, to go to the Confessional….which he did, and confirmed that he had gone off to God.

According to James’ watch it was dead on 6.00PM, but the clock in the Church, and the Sacristy was still on 4.50PM. James, in consultation with Dr.McGuire, Stan, Rosie and Ethan Kenny had a quick Meeting, and it was decided to have a Communion Service under such circumstances, but not to tell the community that the PP was dead in the Confessional Box! From that time onwards, Finuge would be a different place without Fr.Williamson. The people loved their Parish Priest, they forgave him his funny ways, and it was agreed by all that Father
dear Father died at 4.50PM on the dot, on the first official day of Autumn. There was a very nasty nip in the air after the Communion Service that night, and the community made for the Briar’s Inn after the Service to be together around the huge log fires…three fires in fact! James was the unofficial MC for the night; they shared their stories about Father, while they ate Barley and Veggie Soup, with Sourdough. It was Elsie Brosnan who having had a couple of pints, had the Dutch courage to get up to the Mic, and relate the story of Fr Williamson in the Sacristy that morning, and how he Father spoke of his favourite Horse “Lucknow” and how he had encouraged her to ask her Husband, Tiernan to back it at the Tralee Races….well, it was 20 to 1, and having such faith and trust in Fathere dear Father, Tiernan let his head go and put 20 Pounds on a win and a place! My goodness, a small fortune came their way! But she also told the crowd that Father had hinted about his coming death, so she thought, when he said that he might not be there to get the winnings!!!   Very strange; what with that, and the clocks stopping at 4.50PM, this all caused the people of St.Kieran’s to pause! As well as it being another windfall for the Briar’s Inn.

 

Chapter 15. Who will take Father dear Father’s place?

Well, of course with the shortage of Priests, and the fact that they don’t grow on trees, the Vicar General said that it would take at least a month before another priest could be appointed. You see these days, a profile is sent to all the Parish Priests in the Diocese about the Parish in question, and the Priests are invited to apply
for the position of Parish Priest of the two Churches in the Finuge Parish. The locals in talking among themselves were saying that they felt that they were up FOR SALE! Of course the town talk at the Corner shop and the Briar’s Inn was. ‘Who will take Father dear Father’s place?’ Many were very forth coming in the ones that they did not want; others were just as vocal about suggested names of the Priests that they would want as PP. I think that dear old Molly Milstead, who has lived on the River Road for five generations…and we might
add, she looks like it, said very profoundly the other day at the Tralee Races, ‘that not even Jesus himself would be a suitable PP for all’….and so it goes on and on; we wait and see!

The weekend after dear old Fr. Williamson died, and we celebrated his Funeral in fine style, it behoves us to mention that the people of Finuge do not like to be pushed to the side when it comes to Liturgy in their church. On the day of Father Williamson’s Funeral poor old James Walsh had a few words with the Diocesan Liturgist about the concluding Hymn and Music as Father’s Coffin was to be carried out. Fr.Cowmeadow insisted that the playing and singing of Danny Boy was un liturgical, and the answer was no! It seems that the Liturgist put his foot down with a firm hand! But, that made James and the Parish Council all the more insisted that Father always liked Danny Boy, and it brought tears to his eyes, whenever it was sung because his mother loved it, and it reminded him of Home. It seems that according to what James Walsh said to Father Cowmeadow brought the argument to a halt! James, in full gusto told Fr Cowmeadow that his understanding was that Liturgy is the work of all in the Eucharistic Assembly, and the song Danny Boy would elevate the hearts and minds of the people, but not necessarily the Clergy, that this song would mean that the faith desire of the Parish would be that Fr.Williamson would be welcomed into his eternal home, and taken to the Lord Jesus by his Mother! Therefore, and on that basis, George Carmichael will sing Danny Boy assisted by Miss Finn the Church Organist, and that was that! James told us all later at the wake, that maybe Fr.Cowmeadow got to learn something about our people today.

Anyhow, we are off the track a bit; yes, the following week after the Funeral, Mons Jeremiah Ahern

celebrated all the Masses in the Finuge Parish over two weeks and told the people that one of the Passionist Fathers from Mt.Argus Monastery in Dublin would take care of the Parish until a new man is appointed.

 But, you wouldn’t believe, he never told the people who it was…..the locals were thinking to themselves, ‘would the Passionist Fathers have to pick straws, and the one that got the shortest one would go to Finuge? Or would one of the Fathers be told to go to Finuge for what is called ‘a supply’ and perhaps he had no choice in it, and hence he might be a bit grumpy when he comes, because he didn’t want to come in the first place? It seems that everyone had an opinion on how this choice would be made, but no one really knew it at all, at all.

There was a little rumour going about the Parish, and the people were not too sure who started it, that perhaps one of the Mission Fathers who gave the Parish Mission at Listowel might be the ‘fill in’ Priest.

It was Friday afternoon about 3.00PM, and Rosie at the Corner shop always had the Kettle on for afternoon tea, and scones…..a fairly big crowd would turn up because it was also the opportunity to catch up on the ‘local news’…..ha,ha,ha, no one wanted to miss out on that. So, there were about 20 people crammed into the shop……by the way, it was expected that everyone would contribute at least 50 Pence into the small white bucket marked SOAKING. This bucket came from Rosie’s Laundry, and it really was an Icon in the Corner shop. Well the chatter was all about the future of the Parish, and who would be saying the Masses for the next few weeks, until some prospective Priest put an offer into the Bishop for the Parish. With that, in walked this young, tall, dark haired man, in sports clothes, with a nice dark blue corduroy jacket. He was a stranger….but on the
lapel of his jacket was a small Heart with a Cross on top of it, and the words in the heart were: Jesu Xpi Passio! All eyes were on the new man, and suddenly there was a silence in the shop! With that the young man said, ‘Hi everyone, my name is Father Leon, I am a Passionist from Dublin, and I am here to be with you till you get your new Parish Priest is appointed!’ With that, there was a hearty applause, and everyone wanted to shake his hand. Then to the surprise of all he said, ‘Hello, James, and its Maureen Walsh, isn’t it?’ ‘That’s right’, they said in unison! The Walsh’s were amazed at his memory from meeting them at the Parish Mission at Listowel so many months back. The local people didn’t know about all of this, and it gave all the locals something to ponder on…..’ How did the Walsh’s know this priest?’

 

Fr.Leon won the people’s approval immediately; and many were saying that they would build him up with good country food while he was with them…..a couple of others said; he needed some Guinness! While a few more said that God has sent them a special gift in Fr Leon.

Word literally raced around the Parish, and beyond like the lightening that happens in a decent Atlantic storm. In conversation at Rosie’s, Fr.Leon said that his brother Finnian had been to a Wedding here in Finuge, because he is the Band Leader of the Goblins! My goodness, it was getting better and better. Poor old Denis O’Leary  who has always been in the Parish, and a great old man, said that there is one person who we will have to win over in the church so that we can get the Goblins back into the Church, and that is our dear Organist, Miss Finn!!!!! With that Denis said to all….’allow me to deal with Miss Finn on this matter!’ Everyone knew that Denis had a way with her, because 65 years ago, Miss Finn turned old Dennis down when he proposed to her, and hence he always said that he had a few scores to settle, and this will be one of them. You see Dennis knew all about Miss Finn’s reaction to the Goblins being asked to play at the Wedding of Maureen and Ethan. Dennis was at the Wedding, and he thought that it was about time that there should be a bit more life into the singing, and music in the Church. It was he who could always get Fr.Williamson to think the proper way if he kind of went off the track, and got too conservative, and not being daring. Many, many people in the Parish knew that Dennis was one of the most important people in the Community in creating opportunities for development, growth and embracing new ideas. Yet, he was a very humble man; and to look at you would think that he had spent all his years out doors, and you would be right because he was a real craftsman in repairing and creating new stone fences, so that every stone would find its correct place; he was a gifted man in lots of ways.…..he was an expert, and his face was ruddy, and had as many creases in his skin as in a picture of the Nile Delta! His heart was that of pure gold!

Chapter 16. The Bishop Appoints Fr.Jack Cowmeadow as the new Parish Priest of Finuge.

The Parish of Finuge enjoyed a short lived springtime with Fr.Leon. He was a breath of fresh air, and in many ways he was like dear old Fr.Williamson RIP, but there was just something about him; he was full of life. In some ways the people had forgotten that a Parish Priest was going to be appointed; however that all came to a sudden end!

It was the first Sunday in Advent, when Fr.Leon celebrated Masses in both Churches on the same day, that he broke the news as to who the new man will be…….It happened firstly at the Vigil Mass in Finuge during the Notices, when Fr.Leon started saying how much he had enjoyed being with the people in the Finuge Parish, and that he would be returning to Dublin on Wednesday. When he had said that, there was a real strong murmur and groan….’Ohoooooooooooooo!’ Then in the next breath, he said that the Vicar General had telephoned him that afternoon with the news of the new appointment…..You could see the people sitting on the edge of their
seats, waiting in a true Advent way for the News. Fr.Leon then went on to say that the new man will be coming on Monday, and his name is Fr.Cowmeadow, the Diocesan Liturgist!!!!’ Oh, my O my, there was a very uneasy feeling in the Church, and the groan of disapproval reached 6.5 on the Richter scale for earthquakes! Everyone could see that poor young Fr.Leon did not what to say or do…..with that poor old Denis O’Leary got up from his seat, and politely asked Fr.Leon if he could share a few words….Fr.Leon cheerfully handed him the portable Mic. ‘Dear Fr Leon, and my fellow Parishioners, it is with sadness that we say a temporary Good Bye to Fr.Leon, for all that he has been to us during our grief as a result of the Angels taking Fr.Williamson to his Heavenly Home…..and he went on and on, in conclusion, we will have two buckets at the entrance to the Church, so that we can show our appreciation to Fr.Leon. However, he does have a vow of Poverty, so he won’t be able to keep the money for his own use, and it will need to be handed into the Superior of the Monastery. However, I have a suggestion to put to you all…namely that we don’t give all the money to the Monastery, but the Parish, I am sure would love to give Fr.Leon an Apple ipad! With that there was a tremendous applause!!!!
Poor Fr.Leon was in tears…’ With that old Denis looked at Leon and said, “Is that alright with you my Boy?” And to make matters right, I will telephone your Superior and tell him what we are doing and why.’ There will be some money over, I am sure for Fr.Superior, but we are going to give the Monastery a boot full of Farm Produce to feed the rest of them up, like we have had to do for you, young Fr.Leon……

Finally, we heard the news about the new appointment, and I know how you all feel, especially myself and making sure that Danny Boy was sung for the Recessional of our Father dear Father’s Funeral. In charity we must welcome the new man, and let’s say that we will have to train him in the ways of Finuge, and Bealkelly, and we must never forget that the precious spirit of our deceased Parish Priest will be guiding us, because he knows what we are thinking, and some of us know what Fr.Williamson was thinking when Fr.Cowmeadow was here for certain ceremonies. I suggest that we have a Parish Meeting at the Briar’s Inn tomorrow evening after the 6.00PM Mass as a Farewell to Fr.Leon. With that there was a thunderous applause, and nods of approval………..Thank you Fr.Leon.

Chapter 17. A thousand welcomes to our new PP!

Chapter 18.  Dr. and Mrs. Molly McGuire’s House is up FOR SALE!

Chapter 19. New arrivals in Finuge; a new modern Doctor!  😦

 

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