Kilkenny Senior Hurling Manager Brian Cody gave an inspiration speech to the young people of Carrick-on-Suir, who gathered at St Nicholas Church last Thursday to celebrate the town’s annual Youth Mass.
The Mass was a colourful, vibrant celebration with many of the children and young people attending the ceremony came dressed in the colours of their sports clubs and brought along their club banners and flags.
The St Nicholas Parish Youth Liturgy group organised the Mass, selecting readings, prayers and music; and they, and many other willing helpers, participated with prayerful seriousness in the Liturgy.
They joined the entrance procession in much good-humoured disarray, were blessed with the life-giving waters of the River Suir, proclaimed and mimed the readings.
They read the Prayers of the Faithful in Mandarin, Swahili and English, sending their prayers heavenward with loud bursts of clapping, brought the gifts to the altar in solemn procession, passed down through the congregation offering a handshake of peace, distributed communion and read a powerful, thoughtful communion reflection.
Then, Mass over, the much looked forward to Brian Cody spoke, simply, directly and with obvious sincerity.
The Mass for him had been an extraordinary experience, prepared with such care, and celebrated with such enthusiasm by so many young people, a clear indication of their willingness to be involved, and of what can be achieved when they put their minds to it.
He went on to encourage them in their work and play, in their dealing with the high points and low points of their lives, in coping with disappointment, in continuing to strive when things weren’t going their way, and yes, in not treating First Communion Day and Confirmation Day as just once off high points of their lives, but as days to be revisited for the remainder of their lives.
He also praised and encouraged all those who give up their time to help in the running of all the sports clubs and youth groups in the area.
Sincere thanks is due to all those who helped to make this such a wonderful evening: to Brian Cody, to the celebrant, Fr. Richard Geoghegan, to the Suir Valley Choir, to the four wonderful girls who mimed so meaningfully to the readings from St. Paul, to the foreign nationals who took part in the Prayers of the Faithful, to those who served tea and refreshments at the end.
Thanks also to those who helped with in-depth publicity beforehand, to all club leaders who got their members to the church on time, to the members of the Youth Liturgy Committee, to all, for making this an extraordinary experience.