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Groups and Ministries
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 [Information and Contact details for all groups is available through the Parish Office – Phone:  01 8343149]


Ashbourne-Donaghmore Parish Safeguarding Representatives: Mary Deignan and Ethna Felten

The Parish Safeguarding Representative is required to:

  • Raise awareness of what safeguarding entails at parish level;
  • Offer information and advice on safeguarding matters to individuals and groups involved with children in the parish;
  • Ensure that all those working in the parish understand their responsibilities in relation to child safeguarding;
  • Ensure that church activities are provided in a way that ensures that all children are looked after safely and are protected from abuse;
  • Ensure that all contact details of the relevant civil and diocesan safeguarding personnel are widely publicised.

They may be contacted through the Parish Office at 01 8353149.

Volunteers are always welcome to assist with the children’s groups in the parish.  Currently, the groups involved are:

  • Altar servers
  • Junior Readers
  • Family Mass Group
  • Junior Youth Choir

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 Safe Guarding Team.

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.

Parish Pastoral Council (PPC)
Mission Statement: Our Parish Pastoral Council consists of a group of lay people and the priests of the parish. We strive to build a community that lives the Gospel message of love, hope and compassion and is welcoming, supportive and inclusive to all.
(See more on the Parish Pastoral Council page)

Finance Committee

Bethany Bereavement Support Group
Contact: 087 271 5222.
Meeting on the third Tuesday of every month 8-9pm in the Parish Hall or by appointment. 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 Bethany Bereavement support service is confidential and free.

Baptism Preparation Team organise the Pre-Baptismal Meetings for those who wish to have their child baptised.
The Pre-baptismal meetings are held on the 2nd Monday of the month in Ashbourne Church at 8pm.
Booking for Baptisms & Pre-Baptismal Meetings with Parish Office.

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)

Legion of Mary
Contact: Ray Heffernan – 087 2630166 / John Smith – 086 60001461
The name of our Praesidium is ‘The Immaculate Conception’.
Meetings in the Parish Office every Thursday at 8pm.
Our work in the parish is to promote the Catholic Faith.  We do this in the following ways:  Visiting the homes in the Parish and talking 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 tea/coffee and refreshments after the 11am Mass on Sundays. This allows us to invite new-comers to Ashbourne, whom we encounter during our visitation work and to meet some of the community after Mass.
The Legion members support the Polish and Lithuanian Chaplains who provide Masses for their community on the first Saturday and third Sundays of the month respectively.  We provide light refreshments for these people afterwards.
Some of our members pray the Rosary at 7.30pm each evening of the week at the parish church.

During May-August at 8pm each Wednesday we pray a public Rosary at the statue of Our Lady, outside Ashbourne Church.
The Legion members visit the residents at the Nursing Home at Ratoath on Tuesdays at 1pm where they talk to and pray with the residents.
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 in organising “the Novena of Grace” – a nine-day novena in honour of St. Francis Xavier.

We also assist with “the Novena of Divine Mercy” – a nine-day novena which begins on Good Friday and concludes on the Feast of Divine Mercy.  This devotion was very close to the heart of St. John Paul II and many of the saints.

Pioneer Total Abstinence Association (Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus).  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.

Saint Joseph’s Young Priests Society (Supporting Seminarians & Priests).  Meetings take place in the St John Paul II Chapel at 10.45am (after Mass & Rosary) on the last Friday of the month (no meetings June/December).
St Joseph’s Feast Days:                                                                                        19th March – St Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
1st May – St Joseph the Worker.

Saint Joseph’s Young Priests Society is a Catholic lay organisation which exists to help student clerics on their journey to priesthood.  The Society fosters vocations to the priesthood and religious life.  It assists students for the priesthood both financially and by prayer.  It promotes the vocation of the laity and fosters a greater understanding and love of the Mass.  The Society works through a branch group which is formed in the parish with the approval of the parish priest. Each branch meets monthly, to pray and to organise the Society’s activities in its community.
More information on Saint Joseph’s Young Priests Society can be found on their website:

Knights of St. Columbanus

Christian Meditation Group  takes place on Wednesdays at 8pm in the Saint John Paul II Chapel. All welcome. 

Ashbourne Church Choir participate in providing singing & music for the 11am Sunday Mass in Ashbourne Church.

Ashbourne Youth Choir participate in providing singing & music for some of the 6pm Vigil Mass on Saturdays during the year.

Donaghmore Church Choir participate in providing singing & music for the 10am Sunday Mass in Donaghmore Church.

Folk Group participate in providing singing & music for the 12.30pm Sunday Mass in Ashbourne Church.

Family Mass Group participate at 12.30pm Sunday Mass to help children understand the Mass and gain child friendly connections with the readings .Contact: Parish Office / Michelle Heneghan.

Hospitality & Altar Flowers Group

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

Apostolic Society

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 simply telephone the Parish Office at 01 835 3149.

Church Collectors/Counting Teams

Eucharistic Ministers
Shay Butler
‘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 Information:  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.

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.

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.

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