Office: 028-22828, Open: Tues, Wed, Thurs from 10.00am to 12.00.

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Catholic Faith Communities of Skibbereen, Rath and the Islands

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The priests of the parish are available to visit the sick and the housebound on the first Friday of each month.  If you would like a visit or you know someone who would like a visit, please make contact with the parish office on 22828.

The heating has recently been turned on in the Cathedral. Let’s try to keep the place warm by closing doors as we leave. It’s a gesture towards conservation of energy, not to mention saving a few euro and a nod, at least, in the direction of climate change and the environmental crisis looming. We’re all in it together!!


Dates of Polish Masses in Clonakilty 2020: January 12th, February 9th, March 8th, April 12th and May 10th,

Please do not park on the double yellow lines OUTSIDE THE CATHEDRAL – It is dangerous, it obstructs emergency services and it can be expensive….

The Annual Senior Citizens Christmas Party will be on Sunday 26th January at 2.00. at the GAA Club.  Contact Pat Fitzgerald in advance 086 824 8305 if you require transport.

Feasts this week

20th: St Sebastian may have been a soldier and was martyred in the persecution of Diocletian. He sustained many others in their trials.

21st: St Agnes, wealthy and beautiful, was martyred for her virginity in the last persecutions in Rome, in the early fourth century. Patron of betrothed couples, gardeners and young girls

22nd: St Vincent, deacon of the church of Saragossa, Spain, martyred in 304 in Valencia after prolonged torture.

24th St Francis de Sales, St Francis de Sales, 1567-1622, bishop of Geneva, founder of the Visitation Sisters. He worked with gentleness and love to rebuild the Catholic faith after the Reformation. Patron saint of writers, editors and journalists.

25th: St Paul preached the power of God at work in the lives of each one of us. His own conversion shows that power in his life. Out of a persecutor God made a preacher and teacher of the peoples. Paul never ceased to express thanks and wonder for this grace. But he still prayed for perseverance.

Review of Safeguarding in the Diocese of Cork and Ross

The Diocese of Cork and Ross has invited the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) to conduct a review of safeguarding practice.  This review will take place from January 20th – 23rd 2020.

If you have any views about Safeguarding in Cork and Ross, we invite you to come forward to Ms. Cleo Yates, Director of Safeguarding, Diocesan Offices, Diocese of Cork and Ross, Redemption Road Cork (021 4301717) or to the NBSCCCI (01-5053124).

If you wish to report a child safeguarding concern, please contact Ms. Cleo Yates, An Garda Síochána or TUSLA.

 Recently, Fr Chris’ uncle, Fr Eddie Collins died in Clonakilty.  His father was Michael John Collins Lislee Court Courtmacsherry and his mother was Ellen Barry from Cork City.  He was the second boy in a family of five.  Michael, Fr Eddie, Fr John, Joan (O Donovan) Mary (Dineen) and Barry.  He served in Castlehaven from 1975-79, and many people would remember how involved he was in the community at that time, and played football and hurling for the club. He went from Castlehaven to Dunmanway and thence to the Cork and Ross mission to Peru for 8 years from 1981. After coming home from Puru he served in Kilmurry, then Enniskeane and Desertserges. His last appointment in the Diocese was Clonakilty in 1999. On January 5th 2020 he died peacefully in the priest’s house in Clonakilty, in the presence of his family. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord; may he rest in peace, Amen.


WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY ® 18-25 JANUARY 2020: They Showed Us Unusual Kindness (cf Acts 28:2)

The theme chosen for 2020, 'they showed us unusual kindness,' finds its origins in the Acts of the Apostles (27:1 8-28-1 0). The initial work was prepared by members of the Christian Churches in Malta and finalised by the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The scriptural reference is focused on the shipwreck of St Paul believed to have occurred off Malta.

The theme stresses the unusual kindness given to St Paul, something that must be seen in the quest for Christian unity. Through unusual kindness towards one another, Christians are drawn closer together, heeding the prayer of Jesus, 'that they all may be one. There must also be an awareness of the need for hospitality to the many migrants and refugees who today embark on journeys as dangerous as that of St Paul.

St. Agnes of Rome was born in 291 AD and raised in a

Christian family. Agnes was very beautiful and belonged to

a wealthy family. Her hand in marriage was highly sought

after, and she had many high ranking men chasing after her.

However, Agnes made a promise to God never to stain her

purity. Her love for the Lord was great and she hated sin

even more than death! Whenever a man wished to marry

Agnes, she would always say, "Jesus Christ is my only Spouse."

According to legend, the young men she turned away became

so angry and insulted by her devotion to God and purity that

they began to submit her name to authorities as a Christian follower. In one incident, Procop, the Governor's son, became very angry when she refused him. He tried to win her for his wife with rich gifts and promises, but the beautiful young girl kept saying, "I am already promised to the Lord of the Universe. He is more splendid than the sun and the stars, and He has said He will never leave me!" In great anger, Procop accused her of being a Christian and brought her to his father, the Governor. The Governor promised Agnes wonderful gifts if she would only deny God, but Agnes refused. He tried to change her mind by putting her in chains, but her lovely face shone with joy. Next he sent her to a place of sin, but an Angel protected her. At last, she was condemned to death. Even the pagans cried to see such a young and beautiful girl going to death. Yet, Agnes was as happy as a bride on her wedding day. She did not pay attention to those who begged her to save herself. "I would offend my Spouse," she said, "if I were to try to please you. He chose me first and He shall have me!" Then she prayed and bowed her head for the death-stroke of the sword. Other accounts of Agnes' life hold the Prefect Sempronius responsible for her martyrdom. It is said he condemned the young girl to be dragged through the streets naked. Some versions of the legend state that Agnes' hair grew instantly to cover her entire body and all the men who attempted to rape the beautiful virgin were immediately struck blind. The stories go on to explain that another man presided over Agnes' trial after Sempronius excused himself. The new man sentenced Agnes to death. At first, Agnes was tied to a stake, but either the wood would not burn or the flames parted away from her. This prompted an officer to draw his sword and behead the girl. It is believed that her blood, which poured out to the stadium, was soaked up with cloths by Christians.

The earliest account of St Vincent's martyrdom is in a carmen (lyric poem) written by the poet Prudentius, who wrote a series of lyric poems, Peristephanon ("Crowns of Martyrdom"), on Hispanic and Roman martyrs.  Vincent spent most of his life in the city of Saragossa, where he was educated and ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Valerius of Saragossa, who commissioned Vincent to preach throughout the diocese. Because Valerius suffered from a speech impediment, Vincent acted as his spokesman.  When the Roman Emperor Diocletian began persecuting Christians in Spain, both were brought before the Roman governor, Dacian in Valencia. Vincent and his bishop Valerius were confined to the

prison of Valencia. Though he was finally offered release if

he would consign Scripture to the fire, Vincent refused.

Speaking on behalf of his bishop, he informed the judge

that they were ready to suffer everything for their faith,

and that they could pay no heed either to threats or promises.  

His outspoken manner so angered the governor that Vincent

was inflicted every sort of torture on him. He was stretched

on the rack and his flesh torn with iron hooks. Then his wounds

were rubbed with salt and he was burned alive upon a red-hot

gridiron. Finally he was cast into prison and laid on a floor

scattered with broken pottery, where he died. During his

martyrdom he preserved such peace and tranquillity that it

astonished his jailer, who repented from his sins and was

converted. Vincent's dead body was thrown into the sea in a

sack, but was later recovered by the Christians and his

veneration immediately spread throughout the Church.

Volunteers Needed: Do you have one day per week.? Volunteers needed in Bantry Citizens Information Centre.  Full training will be provided. Please call 0761078390 email for further information.

Fr Peadar Queally RIP – there will be a Months Mind Mass in Courtmacsherry Church, on Friday 31st January at 8.00pm. All welcome!

Baptisms in 2019: You may be interested to know that last year there were :

Skibbereen Cathedral Baptisms    Total 46,  boys25, girls 21.

Rath Baptisms,                            Total 12,  boys 6, girls 6

Baltimore and Rath Community Council are organising a short Community Walk in Ringaroga each Sunday from this weekend, until St Patrick’s weekend from 11.15am until 12 noon.

MEDJUGORJE IRISH CENTRE PILGRIMAGES APRIL - OCT 2020: 7 Night Stay and Airport Shuttle service from Dubrovnik or Split for €266 per person sharing. Book any flight - any time and we provide guaranteed airport shuttle service. Call us for further info and book the dates that suit you. Tel. 01 4434510 or email

Baltimore First Responders receive calls from the Ambulance Service where cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED) or where manoeuvres to deal with choking might be required locally. The attendance of these volunteers enhances the treatment while the Ambulance service arrives. This local community service is in need of new volunteers or it will cease to operate. If you want to do something about this, come to a meeting on Wed 5th Feb at 8pm in Baltimore Community Hall.