4 Corners Networking — Weekly Feature on Faith Activism: Sacred Heart Parish, North Belfast

conversationsThis week’s featured organisation from the 4 Corners Networking events is Sacred Heart Parish in North Belfast. The description of the parish’s work is written by parishioner Rosemary McCloskey. Readers of this blog will also be familiar with Sacred Heart’s parish priest, Fr Martin Magill, who writes a weekly column on his ‘ecumenical tithing,‘ describing his visits to churches and congregations from other Christian traditions.

Sacred Heart Parish

Contact – Rosemary McCloskey,rosemaryjmccloskey@gmail.com

I work voluntarily in Sacred Heart Parish, in north Belfast, and have got involved with Joanmount Methodist Church community as a member of their Open Door committee. With them I look for ways to bring our two communities together to share in worship, meals and a bit of storytelling. I tried to start a reminiscence/life story group with their Friendship Club but made the mistake of going too fast and producing the written word when the oral work would have been more acceptable (I learnt from that.)

In Sacred Heart Parish Centre, on Fridays at 12.30pm, I hope to have a luncheon club for people 55+ who wish to avail of it. I have asked the people from Joanmount to join with us on Fridays for this, and it is open to anyone of any faith group and none, in the hope that it will serve a need to bring people together and promote mutual understanding.

I am also involved with another parishioner, in organising a film/ events/ activities afternoon on Wednesdays 2-4pm, especially for senior men. This is open to all of any and every faith or none, and the hope is that it will be a meeting place where all will feel welcome and comfortable in sharing their stories with one another over a cup of tea.

I live in a relatively “mixed” part of the upper Oldpark Road and my house is open for anyone to call in and share a chat and a cuppa and many of those around me feel welcome to come and do just that. I have brought some of them to assist me in fund raising events in Sacred Heart Parish centre and thus they have made new friendships, working alongside parishioners of their own age, and enjoyed the craic.

I have found cooperation, friendship and a willingness to share expertise, from Woodvale Methodist parishioners and their minister, who invited me to lunch in their church hall and gave me ideas about starting our luncheon club. I now have a standing invitation to have my lunch with them every Tuesday. It helps a lot when I  find support and encouragement for what I am trying to do from people of other churches especially the Methodists, who have been very helpful to me and I hope that we can work together in future projects bringing our communities together. The Burns’ supper in our parish centre should be a wonderful event in continuing the process we have already begun. (This event passed off very successfully during the 2014 Four Corners Festival.) It remains to be seen how many will come along from other communities all over Belfast.

There is more going on under the radar than we realise.

(Image from the 4 Corners Networking event by artist Patrick Sanders)

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