The report about Sacred Heart was written by Rosemary McCloskey, a retired teacher who is very active in parish life. Rosemary has since been in touch with updates on what’s been happening in Sacred Heart and in partnership with other churches in North Belfast. With her permission, I’m sharing these activities as an example and encouragement to others who are involved in similar work – or who are looking for ideas about how to put their faith in action in their local area.
Guest Post by Rosemary McCloskey
Sacred Heart is a very busy place and also a very needy parish, but there are such tremendously generous people of good will in it that with a bit of persuasion many good things can happen. One man – such as the parish priest – cannot do it alone and this is where we need to include as many as possible in using the gifts and talents God has given us for one another and the greater good.
Since I wrote the report for the 4 Corners Networking event the Senior citizens have been enjoying their Friday dinners, but we have suspended them for the summer months since many go away and things wind down a bit in the parish during July and August. Wednesday 25th June was our last coffee morning until September, too for the same reason. Our willing volunteers also need a break and a rest.
The Men’s group has continued with the men now running it themselves. We hope to get a day out together one of these days.
The Burns Night in January, part of the 4 Corners Festival, was a great success with a large crowd of folk from lots of other places. We hope to have another one in January 2015 if time, energy and funds allow.
The parish centre has been well used and hopefully, with a bit of forward planning, we might get others activities on board come September. I am hoping to have a meeting with regard to the needs of our people and see where we can put something in place to cater for those needs.
I would dearly love to see our parish move forward with life, hope and joy and this can only come from God our Father and a closer relationship with Him and with one another. Christian community is of the essence.
A few weeks ago some of us had a lovely bus trip and day out to Derry with some folk from Joanmount Methodist courtesy of Laura Coulter and the Irish Churches Peace Project. I believe this could lead to future events with perhaps other local people coming on board to avail of social history talks.
We had a wonderfully enlightening and balanced talk from Seamus Farrell in the Junction Centre in Derry. It opened my eyes to the common denominators between the leaders of 1912 and 1916. It also awoke me to the nature and thinking of society of that time and what their aims and objectives were in the context of a country which was completely under British Rule. Seamus gave a very fair informed and revelatory talk and many of us agreed that we would like to hear a lot more from him and learn about the past which has shaped us all.
This year we also hosted Pentecost celebrations in Sacred Heart, which were supported by people from other churches including Joanmount Methodist and Good Shepherd Monkstown (which is already twinned with St Oliver Plunkett in Lenadoon), and others. The Lord Mayor, Nichola Mallon, also attended and the local ministers of the churches in this area came along and prayed with us and it was a lovely evening together.
Fr Martin Magill, our parish priest, has a few plans and ideas up his sleeve and he is gathering information about the viability of them. He is at present holding these thoughts close to his chest!
I am always looking for ideas for events where we can bring folk together, so if anyone has any please let me know.
Building relationships with one another and with our neighbours is the foundation of our Christianity and it takes time and effort. I find that I get very tired– Old age of course –but I hope to continue to serve God in His People in Sacred Heart and north Belfast as long as He gives me the strength to do so. The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak!!!
(Photo after the Pentecost service taken by Fr Martin Magill. Pictured are Sister Patsy and Sister Nuala with Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon.)