OUR PARISH CAROL SERVICE:
The long-running annual musical event known to all as the Carol Service, is organized by our Senior Choir, mainly by our organist, Brendan Frawley, and is eagerly looked forward to by many parishioners and even some outsiders. This year this seasonal event will take place on Thursday, December 10th, beginning at 7.30pm (check for certainty). From what I have been informed of thus far, Árd Scoil Mhuire Choir will be performing, as well as our Senior Choir, Parents’ Folk Choir, and a special guest soloist. But, of course our Carol Service would not be complete without the highly talented flautist, Derek Mulcahy who engages with organist, Brendan Frawley, and the result is pure musical magic! At this moment I am not sure if our Band will be there but they usually are present and when they are, they offer a great buzz to the entire event. Well done to our long-serving Musical Director, Jim Graham, for his tireless committed attention to our Senior Choir and also our loyal organist, Brendan Frawley. Appreciation also must be expressed to Helen Flanagan, Musical Director of the Parents’ Folk Choir. Of course there would be no choir without its committed members who put in the practice and to the members of both parish choirs we express our sincere thanks!
This year’s event will be tinged with it a certain amount of poignancy in light of the death of Peg Reville this past year. Peg was the Secretary of this 40 odd year old choir, which was initially begun by Fr. John Condon, and was I understand the chief organizer of the Carol Service every year. No doubt she will be remembered in a special way on the night.
ANCÓR TO THE FORE:
What promises to be a truly swashbuckling musical evening is set to take place at St. Mary’s Cathedral on next Thursday evening beginning at 8.00pm. Billed as Seasonal Carols, the soloists performing on the evening will be, Emma English, Sarah Ellen Murphy, Woodymyr Smishkewych, and Kevin Neville, with Director, Cecilia Madden. Tickets cost €18 and €15 for Seniors and Students. This will include a programme, mulled wine and mince pies.
This unique choir who hope to travel to Slovenia next year, do not appear often, but when they do appear, they pack a musical unforgettable punch, possessed of a certain reserve for the sacred pieces being sung, yet full of lively enthusiasm when singing the well-known joyous Christmas songs. We wish them all the very best on the night and for the future, and thank them for all their hard work, the results of which evolved into placing Limerick firmly on the international musical map!
CHRISTMAS MASS TIMES:
This year the Mass times in our church for Christmas Day are as follows: Vigil Mass 7.30pm Christmas Day 9.30am and 11.00am.
WOULD YOU BELIEVE:
Next year sees the 140th anniversary of our oldest Boat Club in the city and it is situated within the confines of our parish, behind the Potato Market and facing the magnificent rapid, rippling rolling Curraghgour Falls. Originally, it would seem that it had a connection with St. John’s Parish and as far as I can ascertain, was called by that name. One other snippet of information that came my way a few years ago concerning this age old Boat Club, is that it was originally used as a morgue for sailors who may have drowned. That room, I think, still remains and is situated closest to the Potato Market side. Hopefully, by next year I will find out more, or even be furnished with more information concerning this most wonderful aquatic based institution that lies comfortably and unobtrusively within our beloved parish. And best of all, it remains vibrant to this very day.
RNLI LIMERICK BRANCH:
A Coffee Day will be held at the Augustinian Church this Thursday, December 10th. Christmas cards will be on sale at that event. Your support would be very much appreciated. All proceeds will go to aid Irish Lifeboats.
COME AND SING CAROLS:
A Christmas Stall will be held in St. Mary’s Cathedral from 2.00-5.00pm, with light refreshments, this Saturday, December 10th at the Come and Sing Carols event, which begins at 5.30pm. Anyone who can help out with baking, gifts, Christmas gifts, cards or decorations etc. anything that might sell can contact Lindsay at 061-452649. Come and support this exciting annual event.
JOHN THE POET:
Perhaps better known as an engineer and latterly as an avid exponent of his native city of Limerick, John Garret is, as yet, a fairly ‘undiscovered poet,’ but that could very well be about to change. On the night of the launch of my latest publication, John recited a poem he had written by way of a tribute to the publication. It consisted of about fourteen verses and here I will cite but one, and in so doing to express my sincere appreciation to this man who has done so much for charity, not least of which was when he recently donated the proceeds of his book, €2,500 to Milford Hospice and the same amount to Pieta House. The book comprised of a compilation of pieces submitted by well-known Limerick people. Now here is that one verse I’ve chosen from the fourteen which went to make up the entire poem.
‘This book has great power
Stirring all our senses
Will make you laugh
Or maybe cry
Sight, sound and taste
Are used to touch our lives
Awaken smell the roses.’
FEAST OF ST. NICHOLAS:
Widely celebrated in Europe, St. Nicholas' feast day, December 6th, kept alive the stories of his goodness and generosity. In Germany and Poland, boys dressed as bishops begged alms for the poor, and sometimes for themselves! In the Netherlands and Belgium, St. Nicholas arrived on a steamship from Spain to ride a white horse on his gift-giving rounds. December 6th is still the main day for gift giving and merrymaking in much of Europe. For example, in the Netherlands St. Nicholas is celebrated on the 5th, the eve of the day, by sharing candies (thrown in the door), chocolate initial letters, small gifts, and riddles. Dutch children leave carrots and hay in their shoes for the saint's horse, hoping St. Nicholas will exchange them for small gifts. Simple gift-giving in early Advent helps preserve a Christmas Day focus on the Christ Child
THE JOY OF MUSIC:
Around this time of the year and with the approach to the celebration of the birth of our Saviour, our city comes alive to the sound of music. As cities go, we are more than blest with some excellent choirs and it would be unfair to mention any individual choir, as all are good in their own way. We have choirs whose output is classical, then others who are lively in their output, such as Gospel Choirs. There are male choirs, female choirs, or very often, a mix of both, and these are my favourite type of choir. Of course we must not forget the Folk type of choir. We have had the Parents’ Folk Choir here in our own parish for many decades now and they sing at the Vigil Mass every Saturday evening under the highly talented Director, and an outstanding singer herself, Helen Flanagan. What many of us forget is the fact that each and every choir, director and members, put in quite an amount of practice. Also the social side of belonging to a choir can be most rewarding, particularly for elderly people, and as everyone knows, the voice but improves with age and many mature people are extremely welcome to be a part of any choir. So, it’s well done to all our Limerick choirs who have provided us with an amount of joy for decades past and success to them one and all. As the saying goes, “Music wipes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
THE SPEECH OF ANGELS:
“If you learn music, you’ll learn most of all there is to know.” Edgar Cayne
“Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.” Beethoven
“Music is well said to be the speech of angels.” Thomas Carlyle.
“Music is the vernacular of the human soul.”
“Music is a beautiful opiate, if you don’t take it too seriously.” Henry Miller.
“Music helps you find the truths you must bring into the rest of your life.” Alanis Morrisette
“Music is spiritual. The music business is not.” Van Morrison
“Music is the key to the female heart.” Johann G. Seume
“In music one must think with the heart and feel with the brain.” George Szell
“For heights and depths no words can reach, music is the soul’s own speech.”
MARY FROM MURROE:
I don’t exactly know how the expression originated but when we were growing up and perhaps going out for an evening, the remark might be expressed, “Dear God, you look like Mary from Murroe!” and believe me the tone used, far from denoted admiration for whatever outfit you may have spent a while perfecting. So, a little shame-faced you marched yourself back up the stairs and rectified matters very quickly. Upon descending for the second time you just might be greeted with the words, “Now that’s much better!” No matter which, at least you were saved the demeaning glances of so-called ‘friends’ who would only talk afterwards. Still, poor Mary from Murroe, surely she can’t have been that bad in appearance, can she? Could just as easily have been Katy from Kilrush or Nora from Naas, or even Harriet from Herbertstown!