02 Oct 2022

Kiltoghert Pioneer Centre looks back at 2020

Kiltoghert Pioneer Centre looks back at 2020

The Kiltoghert Pioneer Centre’s review for the past few years usually started off with the good news story of the centre’s success at national level in the Gradam Na Réadoirí merit awards under the auspices of the Pioneer Association.
We were just about to be assessed for what we hoped would be our 6th consecutive title when the Government announced the country was going into lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gradam, along with a host of pioneer activities planned throughout 2020 was cancelled along with many fundraising events, leaving the association’s finances in an even more critical situation and a source of concern.
The financial situation at Central Office was a cause for concern prior to Covid-19. It has since worsened. As a charitable organisation, operational without state support, we depend solely on the generosity and goodwill of our loyal members and supporters all across the country.
Without your help, we could not serve our fellow Pioneers here at home and overseas or present temperance and sobriety in the use of alcohol as an optional lifestyle enjoyed by so many of us who are members of the PTAA.
Míle buíochas for your on-going support at centre level here in Kiltoghert and at our Dublin’s Central Office as well.

With the Pioneer Association going through a lot of changes at the moment, we appreciate the co-operation and support we have received as we navigate through these unchartered waters to drive the Association into a new era.
With that in mind, be assured that the mission of the Pioneer Association to promote temperance and sobriety under the loving care of our Patron, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, remains unchanged and the central point of what we Pioneers strive to achieve through our prayers, actions and, hopefully, our good example to others. Your encouragement and enthusiasm for the PTAA are as appreciated, as it is needed.

During 2020 and in the space of just five months, we were devastated to mourn the loss of two of our most distinguished pioneers, Brendan Kieran (January 11th) and Tommy Phillips (June 5th). Both were long serving members, loyal and staunch, right up to their deaths.
Brendan and Tommy were honoured with Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilarian Pins & Certificates over many years and their final accolade was in receiving the Father James Cullen Memorial Medal & Diploma simultaneously, “in recognition and appreciation of their distinguished service as lifelong members of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association,” at a special Pioneer Mass celebrated in Saint Mary’s Church, Carrick-on-Shannon on February 9th 2013. The sole surviving member of the 15 recipients from the centre to have received the Father James Cullen Memorial Medal over many years is John James McKenna, Gowel.
Brendan was one of the driving forces behind the Kiltoghert Pioneer Centre’s Centenary Celebrations and Centenary Booklet launch in July 2014. Tommy was very supportive of this celebration as well. We in the Kiltoghert Pioneer Centre have lost two valuable members who gave so unstintingly and unselfishly to a cause dear to both and all our own hearts. Their devotion to the Pioneer movement, along with their commitment as community activists in so many fields in Carrick-on-Shannon was enormous. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha uasal.
The Centre extends sympathy to all pioneer families who suffered bereavements during 2020. We also sympathise with those bereaved as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic

The Kiltoghert Pioneer Centre would like to thank everybody who helped them in any way during a most difficult 2020. During the past year we endeavoured to play a positive and fruitful role in encouraging moderation, especially where the use of alcohol was concerned. We hope to be in a position to promote enrolments in the Juvenile and Young Pioneers groups sometime in 2021, if and when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted and the virus defeated. We would also like to honour those eligible for Diamond, Golden and Silver Jubilarian Pins, as well as the Father James Cullen Memorial Medal & Diploma.

We appreciate the financial assistance of all who purchase our monthly magazine and all who contributed so generously to the Church-Gate collection last February (just taken up before the lockdown). We are indebted to our loyal centre members who ensure the centre survives by their dedicated involvement and commitment, and for their attendance at the First Friday monthly meetings which this year were restricted to ones just held in January & February 2020. We thank our Spiritual Director, Fr. Mark Bennett, CC, for his spiritual guidance throughout the past year.

Our wish for 2021 is that more pioneers will become active in our centre and that we can increase the sale of the monthly magazine, “The Pioneer”, which is an excellent read and of interest to non-pioneers as well. The magazine is in its 72nd year. It is the flagship magazine of the Pioneer Association encouraging a temperate lifestyle and promoting peace in family life – one of the first casualties of alcohol abuse. We encourage more subscribers from among local pioneers.

The Centre would like to say a big “Thank You” to all those who responded to our special appeal to join (50 plus) the Pioneer Private Members’ Draw (2020-2021). €2,000 was raised from this appeal which will help to maintain a steady level of income to sustain the PTAA at central level as it battles with a number of financial hits caused by Covid-19. Good luck to all subscribers in the draw.
Thanks also to all who promoted and bought tickets for the National Pioneer Annual Raffle and to all who purchased Pioneer Christmas Cards and the 2021 calendars.
We would like to extend a special thank you to the editor of the Leitrim Observer Claire McGovern and the secretary in the Parish Office, Dolores Flynn for publishing our notes during the past year.

We join with her family and fellow pioneers in wishing Maura Miney, formerly of Saint Mary’s Close, Carrick-on-Shannon and resident in Saint Phelim’s Nursing Home, Dromahair for the past number of years, a happy 101st birthday which she celebrated on December 8th 2020. Maura, a lifelong Pioneer, has been the recipient of Silver & Golden Jubilarian Pins in recognition of her outstanding commitment, loyalty and devotion to the Pioneer ideal during her lifelong membership of the PTAA. We in the Pioneer movement extend our heartiest congratulations and best wishes to Maura on yet another milestone birthday.

The Longford Regional Pioneer Dinner-Dance due to be held in The Rustic Inn, Abbeyshrule last October had to be cancelled due to Covid-19.

The Kiltoghert Centre’s Annual Mass for deceased members was celebrated privately, and streamed live on the internet, in Saint Mary’s Church, Carrick-on-Shannon on Friday the 6th of November; the Longford/Carrick Regional Mass (celebrated privately and streamed live too) was also celebrated in Saint Mary’s Church on Friday the 27th of November 2020.

The former Central PTAA Spiritual Director, Fr. Bernard J. McGuckian, S.J., has asked pioneers who are not in the habit of wearing the Pioneer Pin to do so because it is not much help to anyone if it is hidden or locked away in a drawer. The pin is an unspoken witness but it is meant to be seen in public.

We are unlikely to resume our monthly meetings for the foreseeable future and we will miss out as well on our Annual Church-Gate Collection which usually takes place the first weekend of February.
May the Sacred Heart of Jesus keep us all under his protection during this pandemic. We pray for a successful roll-out of a vaccine(s) to eliminate the scourge of the Covid-19 virus during 2021.

We wish all Pioneers and their families in Kiltoghert and surrounding parishes, together with the many non-pioneers who support us as well; a peaceful Christmas and the choicest blessings of the Prince of Peace in the New Year.

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