Christmas Newsletter

As we approach Christmas and the turn of the year, it is time to reflect on the change in the Union and to look to the future.

In January 2009, the Rev. Judith Hubbard-Jones, who left her distinct mark on he Union, returned to England, to continue her ministry in a new parish and be near her elderly mother. Sadly her experience in her new parish did not turn out as she expected and she has taken the decision to retire from ministry with effect from the end of the year. She remains fondly in the hearts and memories of the parishioners of this Union, and we continue to remember and pray for her.

And then, afer a 9-month vacancy period, the bishop announced his appointment of the Rev. Stella Jones as Judith’s successor. Stella, who will be instituted on 14th January 2010 writes of herself:

“I was born in Dublin, one of five siblings. I went to school in Sutton Park and then headed for Scotland where I trained as a nurse. I was married for 29 years and during that time I lived in Scotland, Cork, Saudi Arabia and then back in Dublin. While living in Jeddah, I taught French to expatriate workers and directed and produced amateur dramatics. Back in Dublin I worked at my old school as matron in charge of all foreign students. I was also in charge of the student’s spiritual welfare, which is how I got into ministry in the first place. As a very active parishioner in Howth Parish, I eventually applied to the Church of Ireland Theological College and went on to read Theology in Trinity. I served as curate assistant in Bandon Union of Parishes from 2002 to 2005 and then moved to the dioceses of Ossory, as Rector of Clonenagh Group of Parishes to the present day.

Because of my experience of moving from one country to the other, I am very interested in things intercultural and especially Interfaith Dialogue and am at present working on starting a branch of the World Congress of Faith here in Ireland. My two grown up daughters work in the medical field, one in Kabul in Afghanistan and one in Kilmacanogue in County Wicklow. As both of the them have very fond memories of their primary school days in Cork, the Cork School of Ballet and learning about the visual arts in Crawford Art Gallery, they are delighted that their Mum is returning to God’s own Dioceses!”

For my own part, I will have been with you for just twelve months by the time Rev. Stella is instituted. It has been a privilege to share in the life of the Kinneigh Union in so many ways. As Priest-in-Charge during the vacancy my tasks has not been to run the Union as if I were a full-time resident Rector, but to ensure that its essential life continue to be maintained. My priority, which indeed is the priority of any Parish, is to maintain the liturgical pattern and provide pastoral care. In other words to ensure worship remains central and that those in need of spiritual care are not neglected. But my task would not have been possible without the support and involvement of you, the people who make up the Church in this place. As I have said more than once, clergy come and go, but for you this remains your Parish and its future, with the help of God, lies in your hands.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ”

Gal. 6.2

We live in a time of great trying. If we had any doubts about climate change, the incessant rain and consequent disastrous flooding are clear evidence that weather patterns have altered dramatically. Equally dramatic and of more long term harm to many is the the downturn in our country’s economy, resulting in thousands of job losses and a reduction in the standard of living of most people. The release of the Murphy report on clerical child abuse in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin confirmed what we feared, that not alone were many, many young people horribly abused, the abusers were given protection by the highest authorities in that Church with evidence of connivance by State bodies. Sadly, we have not heard the end of this as the report on the Cloyne Diocese has yet to be produced and there may be other revelations to come.

Those directly suffering from these events need to feel they are supported by those who have escaped with minor difficulties. We have see evidence of this support in many ways, particularly in the generous outpouring of help towards those who have had their homes and livelihoods so badly affected by flooding.

But in all this there is a growing sense that we have behaved badly in recent decades, despoiling our environment, showing selfish greed in the Celtic Tiger years and allowing abuse of the vulnerable to remain hidden. Advent is a time of penitential preparation for the celebration of Christmas. Let us use it as it should be used, not as a time of self-indulgence and overspending, but as a time of serious soul-searching and repentance leading to a renewed commitment to Christ and his teaching so that we can with clean hearts celebrate the anniversary of his birth and at the same time prepare ourselves for his second and final coming.

The future, as always, lies in God’s hands. May he bless all you strive to do in his name for the benefit of the Church and the building up of the people in this place. I wish you, your families and friends every blessing at this Chistmastide and into the New Year.

Peter T Hanna – Priest in Charge

Parish Vacancies in the Dioceses

There have been more clerical movements in Cork, Cloyne and Ross this year than for many years before. First, Templebreedy (Crosshaven and Nohoval) became vacant when Rev. Daniel Nuzum took on full time hospital chaplaincy in the city. Then this Parish needed a new Rector following the departure of Rev. Judith (see above). This was followed by Kilgariffe (Clonakilty etc.) becoming vacant when Rev. Ian Jonas moved to Carrigrohane to fill the existing vacancy there. The Rev. Daniel Owen filled Kilgariffe by moving from Cobh and Glanmire – creating a vacancy in that Union. Ballydehob needed a new Rector when Rev. Paul Draper departed to Lismore Cathedral and the Youghal on the resignation of Rev. Michael Thompson.

As matters stand – at the time of writing – Kinneigh has seen the appointment of the Rev. Stella Jones, Ballydehob the appointment of the Rev. Stephen McCann and most recently the Rev. Isobel Jackson has been appointed to Templebreedy. This leaves vacancies in Youghal Union and Cobh and Glanmire Union. Please keep all these parishes in your prayers as new Rectors settle in to some whilst others continue to seek new pastors.

Births, Marriages and Deaths

Over the year it has been my privilege and joy to preside at three Baptisms – all in Kilmeen – Niamh Bennett, Noah Mortell and Anna O’Halloran, and to share in one wedding – David Beattie to Eileen O’Driscoll. To these new members of the Church and to the newly weds we offer our congratulations and prayers for their future.

There was one funeral, that of Major McCall at Desertserges and we offer our sympathy to his daughter, Sarah Gornall who lives in Kilcolman Rectory.


The recent confirmation of 10 young people was one the highlights of the year with St. Mary’s, Desertserges absolutely packed with families, friends and parishioners. Please continue to encourage those who made their commitment on 15th Novemeber 2009 – Mark Kingston, David Buttimer, Alvin Shorten, David Deane, Michelle Shorten, Alyson Shorten, Evan Shorten, Andrea Moore, Evelyn Deane and Edward Shorten.

Holy Communion for the Housebound

Over the coming weeks I will endeavour to bring Holy Communion to those who will be unable to get to church over Christmas. Whilst I have a list of “regulars” there may be others – perhaps family members on visits or parishioners recovering from hospital stays – who would like to receive at home. Please contact me at church or at home. Tel. 021 4775470 email:- [email protected].

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