Bulletin: 3rd December 2023

PARISH BULLETIN – 1st SUNDAY OF ADVENT – 3rd December 2023





Holy Rosary, Ballinascreen:                6 pm [webcam]

St. Patrick’s, Keenaught:               7.30 pm



St. Columba’s, Straw:                         9 am

St. Mary’s, Coolcalm:                  10 am [webcam]

St. Patrick’s, Sixtowns:                       11 am

St. Eugene’s, Moneyneena:                12 noon





St. Mary’s, Coolcalm:  Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday ~ 10 am. [webcam]


St. Patrick’s, Keenaught:  Thursday ~ 7.30 pm.


Holy Rosary, Ballinascreen:  Wednesday ~ 10 am; Thursday ~ 6 pm; Monday and Friday ~ 7.30 pm. [webcam]


St. Eugene’s, Moneyneena:  Friday ~ 11 am.



All Masses in St. Mary’s, Coolcalm are transmitted live via the Desertmartin parish webcam:


All Masses in the Holy Rosary Church are transmitted live on the Ballinascreen parish webcam:




Fr. Peter Madden P.P. V.F.                                    

31 Sixtowns Road, Draperstown

Phone:  028 7962 8376

Email:  ballinascreenparish@gmail.com


Fr. Dermot McGirr C.C.

50 Tobermore Road, Desertmartin

Telephone:  028 7963 2196

Email:  desertmartinparish@gmail.com


Desertmartin Parish Office:

Tel. 028 7939 7047.  Wednesday and Thursday, 10.30 am to 3 pm.

Email:  desertmartinparish@gmail.com


Christenings:  To book a baptism, contact Fr. McGirr on 028 7963 2196


Parish Anniversary and Month’s Mind Masses:  If parishioners wish to have their loved one prayed for at any Anniversary Friday Mass, please email their name to the Parish Office by noon on Thursday of the relevant week.  Email:  desertmartinparish@gmail.com.

Notices for First Anniversary and Month’s Mind Masses should be received before the Thursday of the previous week so they may be printed in the Bulletin the weekend before the Anniversary Mass.


SVP Helpline:  077 1083 8050




Please remember in your prayers:


Mary McCullagh, 25 Moorside Villas and Johnny McKenna, Kerry whose funerals were held during the week.


Jim McGuigan, Francie Shields, Jim Costello and Marie Mullen who died recently.


Eileen Mitchell, Keenaught Road; Canon Patrick Kelly, Glasgow and Desertmartin and Anne O’Hagan, Ballymaguigan whose First Anniversaries occur at this time.


Nellie McGovern, Annie Henry, John Joe O’Hagan, Tommy O’Kane, Patrick McGuigan, Kathleen McKenna, Michael Trainor, Baby Roseanne Molloy and Maggie Donnelly whose anniversaries occur at this time.



The First Anniversary Mass for Anne O’Hagan, Ballymaguigan, will be celebrated on Monday 4th December at 7.30 pm in the Church of our Lady of the Assumption, Magherafelt.




There will be 10 am Mass on Monday 4th December in St. Mary’s Church, Coolcalm.


THANK YOU for your generous contributions to the Parish.

Last Week:  Sunday/Priest’s Collection envelopes:  £889.50.

Retired Priests Collection envelopes:  £67.00 (total so far £1,031.00).

Thank you to those who contribute to the parish by direct debit.



1973-2023 ~ 50th ANNIVERSARY


Today the Parish celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Dedication of St. Patrick’s Church, Keenaught, and you are a part of our celebrations.  Our Mass of Thanksgiving to mark the occasion is being celebrated by Bishop Donal McKeown and priests of the parish today.  There are light refreshments afterwards in the Desertmartin G.A.A. Club.




Adoration in Holy Rosary, Ballinascreen on Monday 4th December from 12 noon until 7.25 pm.



Monthly Mass in honour of St. Pio, including the blessing of the new Shrine containing the First Class Relic of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, will be celebrated on Monday 4th December at 7.30 pm in The Holy Rosary, Ballinascreen.  Novena prayers and Rosary will commence at 7.10 pm.  Please note the collection at this Mass will be forwarded to the Capuchin Day Centre for the Homeless in Dublin.



This is a Holy Day of Obligation.  Masses are as follows:


Thursday 7th December Vigil Masses:

Holy Rosary, Ballinascreen:               6 pm [webcam]

St. Patrick’s, Keenaught:             7.30 pm


Friday 8th December Masses:

St. Mary’s, Coolcalm:                   10 am [webcam]

St. Eugene’s, Moneyneena:                11 am

Holy Rosary, Ballinascreen:               7.30 pm




Mass and Vigil of Prayer for Vocations in St. Patrick’s Church, Dungiven, on Friday 8th December from 8 pm to 9.30 pm.  May be viewed on the Dungiven parish webcam.





The Parish is having its CHRISTMAS DRAW again this year.  There will be draws every day of the 12 days between Christmas Day and Friday 5th January 2024.  As before, everyone’s ticket will be in for All the draws, which means you have 33 chances to win prizes.  Total prize fund is £5,000.  TICKETS are £20 each, available from:

  • the Churches before and after Mass

  • Desertmartin Parish Office on a Wednesday and Thursday between 10.30 am and 3 pm

  • from McGirr at the Parochial House, 50 Tobermore Road

  • Heron’s Gift Shop, Draperstown

  • Moneyneena Post Office

A ticket would make a nice Christmas gift to send inside your Christmas cards to members of your family and friends this Christmastime.


If anyone anywhere would like a Ticket Posted to them, please contact Fr. McGirr on 028 7963 2196 or email desertmartinparish@gmail.com

PRIZES ~ on the first 10 days there are 3 prizes each day of £100.  On 11th Day the draw will be for 2 prizes of £500 and on the 12th and last Day of Christmas there is one final prize of £1,000.  Please let your family and friends know about our special Christmas Draw.


Thank you for all your very generous support of the Draw last Christmas.  This year’s Draw will be essential to helping with the basic running of the parish into 2024 and with maintenance work being done at both our parish churches.  Good luck to everyone who enters the Twelve Days of Christmas Draw.




We would like invite all members to the Annual General Meeting, which will be held in the office of the Credit Union on Tuesday 12th December at 7.30 pm.  The Board of Directors will report to the meeting on the progress of your credit union for the year ended 30th September 2023.



Anyone wishing to receive a silver, gold or diamond pioneer pin should email either parish offices this week to give their name and details.  If you have done this before, please do it again in case someone gets overlooked.  A Pioneer Mass for both Ballinascreen and Desertmartin Parishes will take place on Wednesday 13th December at 7.30 pm in Holy Rosary Church.  The 2024 Pioneer calendar is available from Pioneer Central Office (00353 1 805 4226).  It is designed to offer spiritual support and encouragement to families which are being impacted by alcohol and addiction.  Cost €5.



As we prepare for the coming of Jesus at Christmas, a family prayer booklet has been created by the diocese in conjunction with the Northern Pastoral Network.  This booklet contains a Gospel reading for each Sunday of Advent with a reflection, prayers and links to music.  It can be downloaded at:  https://www.derrydiocese.org/advent.



SPRED Group on Monday 4th December.

Social Dances:  Friday 8th December, 9 pm – Midnight.  Music by Colin Harney.

Tuesday 26th December.  Boxing Night Dance, 9 pm – Midnight.  Music by Country Sounds.

Chair Exercises with Thomasina on Tuesdays at 10 am followed by a short walk.  Come along to help improve your fitness, health and wellbeing.  Admission £4.  All welcome.

Knit and Natter on Tuesdays at 7.30 pm.  Bring your own project or you can help with knitting for local charities.

Line Dancing on Wednesdays at 7.30 pm.  Admission £4.

Bowling Club on Tuesdays, 8 pm to 10 pm.  New and past members welcome.

Flower Arranging on Sunday 17th and Monday 18th December with Mary supported by Public Health Agency.  Need to bring your own materials.  Registration is necessary.

Yoga Classes starting on Monday 8th January 2024 at 10 am.  Numbers limited.  Registration is necessary.

Come along to any of the above actives and enjoy a fun way to exercise, keep fit and improve your health and wellbeing.

Read Yourself Well.  Books by wellness experts and doctors are available to borrow for free at the Parish Hall during any of the above activities.

Come along to any of the above actives and enjoy a fun way to exercise,  keep fit and improve your health and wellbeing.  Contact Olive on 078 8761 4094, Kathleen on 077 6427 7809 or Anne on 028 7964 2711 to register.

Sarsfield’s Band 2024 Calendar now on sale, £7 each, can be bought from any band member.  Monthly Draw for 2024, £1 a month, £12 for the year, £50 prize every month.

Band Practice continues every Thursday at 7.30 pm.  New and past members welcome.



Friday 8th December:  Variety Concert of all local artists, music, singing, harp, violin, dance and a very funny sketch.  Anyone interested in taking part in the concert, contact Eileen on 079 5519 1890.  A great night of entertainment not to be missed.  Admission £5 payable at the door.  Doors open at 7 pm.  Show starts at 7.30 pm.



Prospective Primary One parents and pupils are warmly invited to our Open Night on Thursday 7th December at 6.30 pm.  Your child will have the opportunity to play and explore in their new classroom and meet our hard-working and wonderful staff along with our Primary Seven pupils.  You will have the opportunity to tour the school, hear the principal’s address and ask any questions you may have.  Open Night is expected to conclude at approximately 7.30 pm, following a ‘flying visit’ from a very special visitor.  Looking forward to seeing you all on the night!



Week 5

£30 Ben Murray (Collector-Rian McKee)

£50 Michelle McKenna (Collector-Oisin Murray)

£100 Caitlin Martin (Collector-Hannah Martin)

Week 6

£30 Maria McKenna (Collector-Cúnla Maguiginn)

£50 Joe Heron (Collector-James Heron)

£100 Tracey Bradley (Collector-Erin Bradley)



Christmas Gift Wrapping Demonstration followed by a design and print your own wrapping paper or Christmas cards workshop on Monday 4th December, 10 am – 12 noon.  £5 includes all materials and festive refreshments.

Christmas Cookery Demonstrations and Tasting, all 10 am – 12 noon.  £7 weekly or £20 for all 3 weeks – Tuesday 5th, 12th and 19th December.

Christmas Door/Grave Wreath workshop on Monday 11th December, choose either 10 am or 11.30 am.  Bring own oasis ring.  All greenery and materials supplied.

Christmas Faux Table Arrangement on Friday 15th December at 11 am.  All materials supplied.

Places per class are limited and must be booked.  Festive refreshments will be served.  Text/WhatsApp/ring 078 2196 3749.  Kilcronaghan Gift vouchers also available to any value and can be used for classes in 2024.



Youth 2000 Ireland is having its annual Christmas Retreat in Dominican College, Newbridge, Co. Kildare on 8th – 10th December for ages 16-35.  This promises to be a special retreat.  Excellent Speakers, Inspiring Talks and Workshops, Fantastic music, Group activities, Youth Masses, Adoration, Reconciliation, prayer, Drama, Games and plenty of time to chill out, meet new people and find out what it means to be young and Catholic today.  There are Free buses leaving from all over the country to the retreat.  Donation only.  Find out more and register now on www.youth2000.ie.



Anam Cara Donegal, the organisation that supports bereaved parents, is holding its monthly Parent Evening for bereaved parents on Thursday 14th December at 7.15 pm in the Raddison Blu Hotel, Letterkenny Co. Donegal.  This event is free and open to all bereaved parents regardless of the age your child died, the circumstances of their death, or whether their death was recent or not.  We also offer an online service.  For more information, tel. 00353 1 404 5378.



Totus Tuus Magazine is a Catholic magazine, full of articles from Irish priests and laity, which aims to highlight the beauty and joy of our faith.  It is going into its 7th year and is run by donations.  If you haven’t come across Totus Tuus Magazine and would like a free copy, please contact Fiona Kiely on 00353 86 876 0058.



Guest speaker for the Historical Society meeting on Tuesday 5th December will be Edward Montgomery, London Livery Companies.  This very informative and well illustrated talk will commence at 8 pm in the Community Hub.  At this meeting the society will also launch their 49th publication.  This is the 4th in their ‘Ballinascreen Gravestone Inscriptions’.  Everyone welcome.



Wooden Christmas Decoration Workshop on Wednesday 6th December, 11 am – 1 pm, in Workspace Community Hub.  Limited places.  To book, contact Workspace on 028 7962 8113.

Health Matters Session on Wednesday 13th December, 11 am – 1 pm in Workspace Community Hub.  Winter Wellness and Multi-Vitamins information session with Aine from O’Kane’s Pharmacy at 11.30 am followed by Chair Exercise Session with Thomasina.  Places limited so booking is essential.  Call Workspace on 028 7962 8113 to book.



Foodbank operates Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm.  If you or someone you know requires assistance, please call 075 4342 0639.  No questions asked or criteria to meet.  Follow them on facebook at Sperrinfoodbank or email foodbank@theworkspacegroup.org.



‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ at the Millennium Forum, 30th November – 31st December.  Accessible Performances.  Signed Performance – Wednesday 6th December at 7 pm.  Relaxed and Dementia Friendly Performance – Saturday 9th December at 2 pm.  Audio Described Performance – Sunday 17th December at 2 pm.  All performances will include a song using Makaton.  Tickets for these performances are on sale through our box office (028 7126 4455 choose option 1) or on our website www.millenniumforum.co.uk.



Mary’s Meals is keeping the promise of a daily school meal to over 2.4 million children in 18 countries.  Our ‘Double the Love’ Campaign has launched and all donations made to Mary’s Meals until 22nd January 2024 will be doubled by a group of generous supporters, up to £1 million.  Amongst the many challenges we see in today’s world, from conflict to the cost-of-living crisis, your little acts of love can go further thanks to ‘Double the Love’, bringing hope to desperately hungry children and their families.  Please pray that we can reach even more children around the world with our life-changing school meals this Christmas.  Find out more and browse our Christmas gift cards at marysmeals.org.uk or freephone 0800 698 1212.



‘Preparing for Christmas’Weekend Retreat at Ards Friary, Co. Donegal, 8th – 10th December.  Led by Philip McParland.  In the weeks leading up to Christmas there is usually a lot going on in our lives.  This weekend will offer you an opportunity to focus on your spiritual preparation.  It will be both reflective and practical, suggesting ways to keep in touch with Jesus.  To book, contact Ards. Tel: 00353 74 91 38909.  Email: info@ardsfriary.ie.



The Derry Diocesan Catechetical Centre, working in Partnership with Saint Mary’s University, Twickenham, offers the Masters in Catholic School Leadership.  This is a post graduate degree dedicated to the professional development and spiritual formation of Catholic school leaders.  It is a great opportunity for those currently in leadership roles and those who aspire to, or have an interest in, leadership roles within the Catholic School system.  There is still time to sign up for the Academic Year 2023/2024.  If you require any further information, please contact the Derry Diocesan Catechetical Centre on 028 7126 4087 or email tferry@derrydiocese.org.



‘Aspire to Serve, Inspire to Lead’.  In partnership with Saint Mary’s University Twickenham, the Derry Diocesan Catechetical Centre is hosting an information session on the Shepherding Talent Programme, ‘Aspire to Serve, Inspire to Lead’ on Monday 4th December at 3.30 pm via ZOOM.  ‘Shepherding Talent’ is a pioneering programme in which teaching professionals with leadership potential are challenged to explore their vocation to lead.  Aimed at all teaching professionals in Catholic schools, this programme is delivered in the context of Catholic school education.  It will be delivered over five weeks, with each session taking 2 hours and the total cost is £250.  If you would like to register for the Information Session, please email: tferry@derrydiocese.org or Tel: 028 7126 4087.



Help Accord help you support your marriage and relationship.  If you feel your relationship is in crisis or you need a little guidance and help, either face to face or online, contact your local Accord centre.  Accord NI counsellors are professionally trained in the specialism of couples and relationships counselling.  Every year Accord helps thousands of couples rebuild and sustain healthy relationships.  For support, tel. 028 9023 3002 or visit accordni.com.



The Catholic Chaplaincy at Queen’s University Belfast will lead a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land for alumni and friends.  Departing 9th February 2024 for 8 nights with half-board accommodation in 4 star hotels in Jerusalem and Nazareth, this promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip.  The Pilgrimage’s Spiritual Director will be Queen’s Chaplain, Fr. Dominic McGrattan, with music and song provided by the Chaplaincy’s Director of Sacred Music, celebrated soprano, Marcella Walsh.  In addition to a rich itinerary which includes visits to the principal sacred sites, we will also visit the Holy Family Maternity Hospital in Bethlehem and the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem.  If you would like to know more information including price, itinerary and how to book, please email Chaplaincy Director, Shannon Campbell, at catholicchaplaincy@qub.ac.uk



If you have any concerns with regard to Safeguarding children or adults in need of protection within the Church, contact Marie Gormley, the Diocesan Designated Liaison Person (DLP), on 075 9650 0793, or at mariegormley@derrydiocese.org.

Additional contact numbers:  PSNI Tel. 101 or Social Services Western HSC Trust on 028 7131 4090 (ask for Duty Social Worker).




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