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Bethany Group

Contact: Gaye Riordan, 087 271 5222
Parish Offices, third Tuesday of every month 8-9pm in the Parish Office or by appointment.

The Bethany Bereavement Support Group is a voluntary parish based ministry which aims to help the bereaved and grieving. The name Bethany recalls the visit of Jesus to Mary and Martha on the death of their brother Lazarus.

In today’s world, people tend to be unaware of the grief associated with bereavement. It is not widely understood that the grieving process may be long and severe.

Understanding the stages of grief can be helpful and reassuring. Although Grieving is a natural process which can be helped by sympathy and understanding of friends, sometimes one may need support to work through the grieving process in a positive way. Friends do not always know how to help, they may feel embarrassed by one’s grief: they may even avoid meeting one in the mistaken belief that a meeting may increase distress.
Bethany Support group members can provide:

  • One to one support.
  • Group support and Home visits.

The support service is confidential and free.

Eucharistic Ministers

Contact: Shay Butler, 087 295 4026 or 086 967 9117
The first group of ministers formed by Father Fintan Cassidy commenced duty on Christmas Day 1981 and served for three years.

All subsequent groups served for a period of five years and in addition to distributing Holy Communion at Mass, the members assist in the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday and the veneration of the cross on Good Friday.

Many of those who served as ministers have commented on just how much their faith has been deepened and enriched and it was a special honour and privilege to be selected as a Spiritual Minister of the Eucharist.

Pioneer Total Abstinence Society

Contact:  (01) 835 3149
The Pioneer Total Abstinence Association of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was established by the late Mrs Margaret Condon of happy memory on the 16th June 1953. The centre is attached to the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Ashbourne affiliated to the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association of the Sacred Heart, 27, Upper Sherrard St, Dublin.

Our members are faithful in shouldering whatever difficulties may arise so that we may achieve the happiness which blesses labours of love and Christian charity. We believe the pioneers can meet the formidable challenge of today’s world through the support of pour members.

Here we can see reason to thank the people for the magnificent generosity and support in the pattern for the building of better world especially to build bridges of love, peace and understanding.

We cannot allow this occasion to pass without a joyful exchanging of greetings and congratulations to all our friends. May our future D.V. be as bright as the past has been distinguished.

Ministers of Holy Communion

‘The mystery of the Eucharist is the true centre of the sacred liturgy and indeed the whole of Christian life. Consequently, the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, continually seeks to understand and live the Eucharist more fully.’ Eucharisticum Mysterium

Historical background
The Church has always had great devotion to, and reverence for the Eucharist, (the Mass) and for much of early Christian history, it was normal practice for the faithful to take home the consecrated bread from Mass for distribution to the sick, both family and friends, and to reserve the sacrament in their homes for communion during the week (Eucharist was on Sundays only). These practices were the norm until the eighth century. From the ninth century onwards, the handling of the sacred species by the lay faithful was strictly forbidden.

In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, respect for the sacrament had become so great that the prohibition on touching the sacrament was absolute; no exceptions were made. In the 1900s, Pius X’s promotion of frequent Communion and Pius XII’s abolishing of the long fast before Communion, encouraged more frequent reception. Many liturgical changes stemmed from Vatican Council II, including the recovered understanding of the Mass as a sacred meal. The Council opened up the possibility of receiving Communion in the fullness of the body and blood of Christ. It was in this context that the 1973 Roman proclamation Immensae Caritatis authorised lay ministers to distribute Holy Communion. This privilege resulted from a teasing out of the implications of the extraordinary dignity and vocation of the baptized. Other reasons for the introduction of lay (extraordinary) Ministers of the Eucharist were pragmatic and liturgical. The growth in the Catholic population, the increased numbers receiving communion and the declining numbers of priests mean that extra ministry is needed both within Mass and in ministering to the sick.

“In every celebration of the Eucharist there should always be a sufficient number of ministers for the distribution of the Eucharist. Priority is always given to ordinary ministers (bishops, priests, deacons) and auxiliary ministers (instituted acolytes) meaning that the ministry of communion is considered a usual, intrinsic part of their role in the Church. When there are large numbers of the faithful present and there are insufficient ordinary and auxiliary members at hand, special or extraordinary ministers properly appointed beforehand should assist in the distribution of Communion.” (HLS, #29). Because the ministry of communion is not considered an ordinary, intrinsic part of the lay minister’s role, they are referred to as extraordinary – outside the ordinary – ministers of communion.

Being called to serve as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, reflects not only response to our Baptismal call to serve the people of God, but a commitment to Christ as we share in the preaching, teaching and leading aspects of the church. Extraordinary Ministers offer the Eucharist, recognize the Body of Christ in those to whom they offer Eucharist and ultimately act as the Body of Christ by fully participating in the life of the parish and the wider community.

The first group of Ministers of Holy Communion in Ashbourne were commissioned by Fr. Fintan Cassidy for service on Christmas day 1981 and served for three years. All subsequent groups served for a period of five years and in addition to distributing Holy Communion at Mass, the members bring Communion to the sick and housebound, assist in the imposition of ashes and the veneration of the cross on Good Friday. Most recently the Ministers of Holy Communion have led the parish community in Eucharistic Services in the absence of the priest.

In our parish, there are usually four Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist assigned to each of the regularly scheduled week-end Masses and Holy Day Masses in Ashbourne and two extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion during the weekend Mass in Donaghmore. During daily Mass one minister assists the priest in the distribution of Holy Communion.

Meetings take place every three months to arrange rosters for ministers for Masses at 6pm (Saturday), 9am, 11am, 12.30pm Sundays in Ashbourne.

Commitment is approximately one or two Masses per month to assist with the distribution of Holy Communion. Full training will be available to those who may wish to embark on this ministry in the life of the Church.

For further details contact Shay Butler on 01 8351123

Altar Servers

Contact: Fr. Ciarán, (01) 835 0406

Further details on altar serving can be found on the Altar Servers page.

Legion of Mary

The name of our Praesidium is “The Immaculate Conception.” We meet at the Parish Office Buildings on Monday evenings at 800pm. except when there is a bank-holiday, when we meet after the 10a.m. morning Mass (10.45am).

Our work in the parish is to promote the Catholic Faith. We do this in the following ways:

  • We visit the homes in the Parish and talk to the residents about the importance of taking part in the sacramental life of the Church.
  • We talk to non-Catholics and encourage them to visit our church in the village, particularly if there is no church of their own denomination near Ashbourne.
  • We arrange for a cup of tea/coffee for Mass-goers after the 11.00am Mass on Sunday mornings. This allows us to invite new-comers to Ashbourne, whom we encounter during our visitation work, to meet some of the community after Mass.
  • The Legion members support the Lithuanian and Polish Chaplains who provide Masses for their community on the first and the third Sundays of the month respectively. We provide light refreshments for these people afterwards.
  • One of our members recites Our Lady’s Rosary at 7.30pm each evening of the week at the parish church.
    Throughout the summer we recite this Rosary at different locations around the Parish every Wednesday evening at 8.00pm.
  • The Legion members visit the residents at the Nursing Home at Ratoath on Tuesdays at I.00pm where they talk to and pray with the residents. Some of these people don’t have any other visitors.
  • Some of our members visit the Morning Star Hostel in Dublin on Saturday nights where they assist with the evening meals, talk to the residents and sometimes arrange a sing-song. This is a Legion of Mary facility.
  • In March we assist Fr. Derek in organising “the Novena of Grace” – a nine-day novena in honour of St. Francis Xavier.
  • On Easter Week we help Fr. Derek with “the Novena of Mercy” – a nine-day novena which concludes on the Feast of Divine Mercy with a special evening of prayer and Solemn Benediction. This devotion was very close to the heart of John Paul II.

For further information contact:

  • Ray Heffernan — 087 2630166
  • John Smith — 086 60001461
  • Pat Reynolds — 087 2732877

Liturgy Group

“There are different gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served. There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives ability to all for their particular service. The Spirit’s presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all“. (1Cor 12:4-7)

Vatican II’s “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” states: the Liturgy “enables the faithful to express in their lives and show forth to others the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church”(SC 2). From the Liturgy “grace flows upon us as from a fountain, procuring with the greatest possible effect the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God which are the end of all the other works of the Church” (SC 10). It is “the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the fount from which all her power flows” (SC 10).

The word liturgy comes from the Greek word leitourgia meaning the work of the people”. It identifies any planned gathering of people to worship God using specific written works designed for public services of worship. Christopher Webber describes liturgy as “the response of the created and limited human mind and heart to the unlimited Creator, who is sensed but never fully known. Worship is a response to beauty, to love, to all that is best and most creative in the human spirit”. Therefore, all that we do and say in liturgy is our response to a loving Creator God. For it is through Liturgy, especially the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, “the work of our redemption is accomplished”. Liturgical services are not private functions but celebrations of the Church, the ‘sacrament of unity’, that is, a holy people gathered together and drawn up in order under the bishops (SC 26).

Liturgy is the action of Christ and the Body of Christ, the community. The Church desires “that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy, and to which the Christian people, a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people” ( 1 Peter 2:9) have a right and obligation by reason of their Baptism” (SC14).

Ashbourne Liturgy group seeks to draw together the different ministries and gifts in our community in an effort to support the ministry of our priests and enhance our liturgical celebration. In doing so we strive to bring expression to people’s lives in the context of faith. Some of what we celebrate in liturgy comes from ancient sources as we listen to the wisdom of the ages. Other aspects of worship have a more contemporary flavour as we respond to the world we live in today. During the liturgical celebration (Eucharist, prayer services etc), we encourage active participation through actions, words, song, signs and symbols facilitating peoples’ experience of God’s presence among us, how he speaks to us in the world today and how we respond to him with worship and praise.

The Liturgy Group meets every two months from September to May at 8pm. The Sub Groups (Groups who have a particular interest in planning a particular aspect of the liturgy associated with an important feast in the life of the Church [e.g. Immigrant Sunday, Harvest Mass, Lent, Advent etc]) meet approximately once per month.

For further details contact the Parish Office at 01 8353149


Readers for Ashbourne Church are arranged on a monthly basis with different areas taking responsibility for a month at a time. Reading leaflets are delivered to readers well in advance of the date of reading.

The arrangements are flexible to take into account times when extra readers are needed and also the times when individual readers are available. Training and refresher days are held from time to time in the Parish. The Parish is also in contact with organisers of training courses in other areas.

The organisers are delighted to welcome new readers all the time. All you have to do is complete the application form and return it to the Sacristy or Parish Office, or simplay telephone the Parish Office at 01 835 3149

Child Protection Group

There is an active Child Protection Committee in our Parish. This group monitors the implementation of the Ashbourne-Donaghmore Child Protection Policy. They may be contacted through the Parish Office. Volunteers are always welcome to assist with the children’s groups in the parish. Currently, the groups involved are:

  • Altar servers
  • Family Mass Team
  • Junior Choir
  • Rainbows

Anyone wishing to offer their services to any of these groups must first read, understand and agree to comply with the requirements of the Parish Policy Document at all times and also complete appropriate documentation available from the Child Protection Committee.

Compliance with requirements as outlined in the Parish Child Protection Policy serves to ensure the safety of children and volunteers.

If you would like to work with children in the parish please contact the parish office at 01 8353149 for a copy of the Child Protection Policy Booklet.

Suicide Outreach Support

In the Meath region a number of trained volunteers are available to offer confidential and practical support to families or individuals, who have experienced a death by suicide.

The Suicide Outreach Support person, at the request of the family or individual, can call to the home or meet at a location appointed by the family. The outreach worker can provide support concerning the following areas:

  • The Funeral
  • The Inquest
  • Entitlements
  • What to say to the children
  • How to deal with neighbours
  • Help you to clarify your personal grief
  • Connect you to other support services in your area
  • Provide information on suicide and attempted suicide
  • Be there for you as a friend

Please contact the Meath “Living Links” Support Co-ordinator
at 046 9021407

Living Links — providing practical help and support to persons bereaved by suicide.

Other Parish Groups

Sunday Tea/Coffee
All welcome in the meeting room beside Parish Office
after the 11.00 am Mass on Sundays. An opportunity for those
new to the parish to meet and make friends in a welcoming
environment over a cup of tea or coffee.

  • Ray Heffernan — 087 2630166
  • John Smith — 086 60001461

Finance Committee
Contact: Office, (01) 835 3149

Buildings Committee
Contact: Office, (01) 835 3149

Baptism Preparation Team
Contact: (01) 835 3149

Flower Arranging Group
Contact:  (01) 835 3149

Family Mass
Contact: Michelle Heneghan 018353149
The family Mass group are seeking new helpers to assist at the 12.30 Mass on Sundays. A monthly meeting is held to plan and organize activities related to each Sunday’s Gospel.

Multi-Cultural Awareness Group
Contact: Ray Heffernan 018353149

Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics anonymous is a voluntary, worldwide fellowship of men and women from all walks of life who meet together to attain and maintain sobriety. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. For information on local meetings, call 01 8420700.

Health & Safety Group
Contact: Rita Gilsenen


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