Coláiste Mhuire, Ballygar recently held its annual Opening of the Year Mass and Fr Michael Breslin, our local parish priest, celebrated it. Our school was opened on 7th Sept. 1948, St Mary’s Day, and we endeavour to celebrate this important event annually by holding our Mass on, or as close as possible to that opening date.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions however, this year’s Mass was a unique occasion.
The Mass was celebrated in the music room in the school and was transmitted to the staff and students in each classroom. Usually we go to the local church, St Mary’s, in order to mark this important occasion but this year we had to draw upon all our creativity and technological resources to create an appropriate ambience in the music room and school. A backdrop of a church interior was shown behind the celebrant, an altar was created on what is normally the teacher’s desk, candles were lit in every room and we availed of the services of Zoom in order to transmit the Mass throughout the school. Our choir, who have made an enormous contribution to our school liturgies and to our school development, was unable to perform, again due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Nevertheless, our Leaving Certificate Music students enhanced the ceremony greatly by sharing their musical talent. These performers included Niamh Bury, (solo singer and pianist), Aimee Carty (violinist), Amy Coleman, Rachel Farrell and Avena Traynor (pianists) and Ciara Hannon (flautist). Our readers are usually representative of every year in our school. Once again, this choice was limited to our Leaving Certificate students but they ably represented our school community. They included Amy Kilcommons, Andrew Naughton, Frankie Quinn and Eamon Trayers. Our Ministers of the Eucharist included staff members Ms Hession, Ms Murray and Ms Fergus. The Liturgy was prepared by Ms Cunniffe while Ms O’Shea directed the music and co-ordinated the Mass.
The celebrating of this Mass is always a defining event in our school calendar as it serves to include our hopes and plans for the year to come as well as a renewal of new academic year resolutions. This year we can only hope that our school community and parish will be spared the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic which is plaguing our world.