Here is a message from Archbishop Dermot Farrell to all the parents of children due to receive the sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation this year 2021. Archbishop Farrell explains the broad approach which is being taken: that there is no pressure to celebrate the sacraments by any given deadline, he suggests we should use this time of uncertainty to support all members of our families and to nurture our children as they journey towards the sacraments whenever they can be safely celebrated.

Psalm 139

O Lord, you search me and you know me,
You know my resting and my rising,
You discern my purpose from afar.
You mark when I walk or lie down,
all my ways lie open to you.

O where can I go from your spirit,
Or where can I flee from your face?
If I climb the heavens, you are there.
If I lie in the grave, you are there.

If I take the wings of dawn
and well at the sea’s furthest end,
even there your hand would lead me,
Your right hand would hold me fast.

For it was you who created my being,
knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I thank you for the wonders of my being,
for the wonders of all your creation.

Already you knew my soul,
my body held no secret from you
when I was being fashioned in secret
and molded in the depths of the earth.

A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. John (10:3-5, 11-16)

The Good Shepherd calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.  When He has brought out all his own, He goes on ahead of them and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.  But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognise a stranger’s voice.  I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.   I am the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.  The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd;  I know my sheep and my sheep know me just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Prayer

Jesus,

You are the Good Shepherd
and I am your lamb.
and though I can’t see you,
I know you are always very near me,
guiding me, helping me, teaching me,
picking me up in your arms
when I am tired or lonely or frightened,
looking after me every minute of every day
and, above all,
loving me with the great strong love of your Heart.
Keep me always close to you, Jesus,
all the days of my life.

Amen.