When I recently went to Spec Savers, and got fitted with stronger glasses, the world seemed so different to me. I could see the writing on the signposts again; the grass appeared much greener, and I could recognize peoples’ faces again, even when far off.  My new glasses brought a different and enhanced focus to my vision.


Something else that has enhanced our focus here in the Kerry Services was the recent purchase of a Webcam for our chapel here at St Mary of the Angels. It came about as a result of the onset of the Corona Virus, which resulted in the closing of the doors of our Chapel, and myself being the only person at our Mass for over two months.


I came to see how the men and women who attend our services, or who live in our houses, really missed coming together as a community to say their prayers, and to celebrate Mass, and other special events. What could we do about this, we wondered? Through fund-raising and the great generosity of so many people, we decided to buy a ‘Webcam’.


Not being technically minded {I rely so much on Mike and his team}, I wondered how could I manage the use of the Webcam? My fears were ill founded. The Webcam has brought new life to how we celebrate Mass, and to how we reach out to so many people


People from as far away as America and England, and from closer to home in Dundalk, Derry, Listowel, and other places, have written or phoned to say how they feel part of  the small community of 5 or 6 people that gather together every day for Rosary, Mass and prayers in our chapel. One person wrote to say that, although far away, they felt that they were actually present in our chapel, praying with us.


The Webcam has also helped parents and families of our men and women to feel connected to our services again, and to other people. Often ‘cocooning’ in their own homes, they often felt isolated and alone, but now they could experience a message of hope coming to their own homes again. The men and women of our services could see on the Webcam some of their friends again; they could send in their own prayers which would be read out, and they found that their participation was eagerly sought after.


Because of the Virus, certain special events were not able to be celebrated. One of these was the great season of Easter, but now– because of the Webcam reaching out into our homes– we can again celebrate special events which give life to our community. Recently our Hospitality Committee organized the celebration of the lives of our deceased people on All Souls Day, and future celebrations are planned. Although only 5 or 6 people can be invited to attend each celebratory occasion in our chapel, a large group of people can now celebrate in their own homes and workplaces– all due to our Webcam


Much more could be said about our Webcam, and please God over time it will. The Webcam has shown us that whilst the Corona Virus is not good, it has nevertheless brought good, and one of these goods has been the purchase through fundraising of our Webcam. When times are better, more people can use and more uses can be made of our Webcam, because it is OUR WEBCAM, a Webcam of the people, for the people.


I thank all who helped me in the purchase and running of our Webcam. I thank the Lord for leading us to new ways of reaching out to, and of including people.


The Corona Virus has called us to use all our ingenuity and strength. In a strange way, it has taught us not to allow ourselves to be overcome. We are durable people.


We thank the Lord for helping us to respond to a virus that is not good, but that has brought good, and that has taught us many things.


Thank You and God Bless

Fr. Derek O’ Connell



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