As spring touches this city and seems to begin to scatter the winter darkness, I hope that you are enjoying this welcome sunshine!
Our pilgrimage Mass in Notre Dame de Paris will be the major event of this year and it will mark both the Year of Faith and the Irish Presidency of the European Union in a very poignant way. In addition, the fact that we hope to celebrate just as the Church will be getting ready for, or in the first days of, a new pontificate will allow for a special focus for our prayers and our celebration.
I write to give some details of that week-end of March 16-18:
We will welcome a large number of pilgrims who come from Ireland in groups or as individuals that week-end. In particular we welcome the Kildare and Leighlin Choir under Liam Lawton and Marian Gaynor whose music ministry will enhance our liturgy. Msgr Brendan Byrne of Kildare and Leighlin will preach on this historic occasion while Bishop Noel Treanor, responsible for the Chaplaincy on behalf of the Irish Episcopal Conference, will preside at the Mass. Senior representatives of the Irish government will also be present.
On Saturday, March 16, a small group assemble at the College at 9h00 for Morning Prayer and will walk as pilgrims to Notre Dame, making stations at Saint Etienne du Mont and the Eglise Saint Ephrem, wherein are buried the founders of the College and some of the Penal Day bishops. The pilgrims will arrive at Notre Dame c.10h00 and will pass through the Door of Faith and perform the outdoor stations of the pilgrimage. Choir members will then join the KL choir and prepare for practice, assembling at the gate on the right hand side of the main entrance at 10h15.
Those who want to simply join us for the celebration of the Mass are welcome to arrive at any stage from then onwards. I would like to remind people that numbers of tourists and pilgrims in Notre Dame have been very high of late and it is best to arrive in good time. Officials from Notre Dame and some of our own stewards will welcome people and show them to their seats. Mass will begin at noon. After the Mass, there will be time for the final staions inside the Cathedral. Please join us for this historic occasion which will be the main event of our St Patrick’s celebrations.
On Sunday, March 17 we celebrate Mass for the Fifth Sunday of Lent in the Chapelle at 11h30. Again, many of the pilgrims will join us on that occasion. After Mass we hope to have some refreshments and people are invited to bring cakes or confectionery for the cup of tea. In the evening, we have final prayers at 18h00.
On Monday, March 18, the pilgrim groups will be invited to Mass at 10h00 in the Chapelle Saint Vincent de Paul, 95 rue des Sèvres, followed by a short walk to the Chapelle de la Medaille Miraculeuse on the rue de Bac. Again this will be a moment to pray with the pilgrims for our country, for France and for Europe.
Please feel welcome to any of these events. The most important is, of course, the first Irish Mass in Notre Dame on Saturday, March 16 at noon. Please spread the word of this event. I look forward to seeing you there!
Details of all events, and updates as necessary, will be posted on www.irishchaplaincyparis.fr — if you have not already seen the gallery with the images of the Presidential visit, it is worth the visit!
Later in the month, please remember that Easter Sunday is March 31 and Mass will be celebrated at 11h30 as usual!
Fr Sean Maher
THE IRISH CHAPLAINCY
THE IRISH CHAPLAINCY