The meaning of Dawn Mass

The piercing sound of the phone’s alarm clock popped my bubble of sleep bright and early this Easter Sunday morning. I rolled out my arm to hit ‘snooze’ or ‘OK’ flashing 04:20am. Groaning into my lovely soft pillow I would have loved nothing more than to snuggle back into my warm nest but instead found myself hitting ‘OK’ and throwing off the duvet and hopping down the hall to the kitchen. I had more hours in bed than usual without the 10k the day before but there were scones to be made. All the sad happenings of the previous few days took over my thoughts. Then I wondered if John Joe was putting the final touches to the lighting & sound system for the mass and if the Hynes family were boiling burcos of water for the copious teas to be served in the hospitality gazebo afterwards. As I swept the tiredness from my eyes I wondered more so whatever possessed me to agree to all of this. An hour later however, as everyone put their shoulders to the wheel, I joined with Fr. Raymond, John Joe, Mike, Ger, Adrian, Olive, Andrea, Irene, Ruth, Pairic & the boys & Co. The altar under the tree at St. Kerrill’s bed had to be prepared while I stood at various places in the cemetery thinking of those lying there. The morning was very dark but slowly but surely the darkness lifted unknown to me. My sleepy slumber was well gone and my opinion had definitely changed.

What another beautiful celebration of dawn mass by Fr. Raymond Sweeney as John Joe had a special CD complied just for the occasion. It echoed around the cemetery as the congregation arrived in dribs and drabs. His Tommy Fleming renditions carefully chosen added to the celebration. ‘Morning has broken’ certainly etched in my head and then we heard the live version of it from Tony, Marie, Clare, Olive, Kevin, Anne & Frank. It touched a chord. It was lovely to see so many people celebrate their faith in such a lovely way. There were echoes of silence. By the time the candles were lighting the cemetery was almost as bright as daylight. From darkness to light…..There’s something there for us all. Beauty is a word that is commonly thrown around everyday. Your dress is beautiful, your hairstyle is beautiful…… Well at daybreak on Easter Sunday morning, although the morning was overcast, everyone present witnessed true beauty. The drizzle slowly vanished to somewhere and was completely gone by the time dawn mass had ended. Not for the first time this week two robins waltzed across the sky and perched on top of the wall adjacent to the altar. These robins which are said to be symbols of our loved ones have been residing in Cloonkeenkerrill cemetery this past while. I knew who these robins were; numerous names & faces sprang to my mind but these robins were different names and faces  to other members of the congregation.  At one stage after mass the backdrop of 1 peak in the horizon balanced the sun as it appeared for a very short while. This was no once- off performance or occasion; This was a routine morning, a celebration of dawn in the cemetery. True nature at its best as the birds sang their tune aloud.

After mass, the ladies committee of Andrea, Ruth, Irene led by Olive & Anne provided heart warming tea and coffee and freshly made mouth-watering scones which were very welcome indeed. In a nutshell, it was a beautiful celebration.  Easter is a time for new beginnings, new life, new starts, summer begins, days get longer. As Fr. Ray said “Roll over that stone” – whatever that means to you, it is something different to us all. Get every ounce of peace, joy & happiness from your family, friends, community, Church, nature and our world. There’s enough agony out there and lets all try to be like our world was this morning & every morning at dawn, a wonderful celebration of life!