Down and Connor Diocesan Newsletter
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Christmas Message 2015
by Bishop Noel Treanor

“No ear may hear his coming; but in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.” (Hymn, Phillips Brooks, 1835-93)

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Christmas, the annual celebration of the perilous journey to Bethlehem, the fruitless search for shelter, and the birth of the Christ-child within the manger, alleviated only by the loving embrace of Mary and Joseph, is a paradigm for the precarious human condition within which God’s plan of salvation is fulfilled. This mystery of the Nativity demonstrates the merciful embrace of God who reaches out unconditionally to each person in the realities of our everyday lives. God fully revealed himself in the humility of a manger.

To read the full Christmas Message click here

Announcement of the Jubilee of Mercy

"I have decided to announce an Extraordinary Jubilee which has at its centre the mercy of God. It will be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live in the light of the word of the Lord: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (cf. Lk 6:36). And this especially applies to confessors! So much mercy!"
Bishop Anthony Farquhar,the longest serving Bishop in the country, resigns on age grounds

On Thursday 3rd December, Pope Francis accepted the resignation on age grounds of the longest serving bishop in the country – Bishop Anthony Farquhar, Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor diocese. Bishop Farquhar was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor in 1983 and many of his years since his priestly ordination have been sent against the backdrop of the Troubles.

Read the full statement on Bishop Farquhar's retirement here

Holy Door at St. Patrick's Church Belfast

WATCH: On Sunday 13th  December, Bishop of Down and Connor, Most Rev. Noel Treanor opened the Holy Door for the Year of Mercy. 

Parish of Kilmegan
Every year in Kilmegan, on the third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete or Rejoicing Sunday), and more particularly this year at the beginning of the Jubilee of Mercy, the children from St. Malachy’s Primary School assumed charge of the Vigil Mass at St. Malachy’s Church in the Parish of Kilmegan.

These very accomplished youngsters, particularly of Primary 3, those preparing for their First Confession, offered readings and while a choir made up of students from all school years, add to the liturgy with carols and Christmas music.

The parish is most grateful to all the staff and governors of St. Malachy’s Primary School in Castlewellan and to all those who in whatever way helped organise our Mass.

Read more about the Vigil Mass here
WATCH: Pilgrim's journey of St. Patrick's Church, Belfast
Baroness Nuala O’Loan leads us on a tour of the Holy Door in St. Patrick’s Church, Donegall Street, for the Extraordinary Year of Mercy. The Holy Door, which Bishop Treanor will open on  Sunday 13th December, will be open throughout the Year.

Diocesan Refugee Support Initiative
There has been an incredibly generous response to the ‘Funds for Food’ Refugee Support Appeal across the Diocese. A big thank you to all who contributed and to all those who helped to take up the collections. The funds continue to be used by the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul and Trócaire to provide immediate aid to people fleeing persecution and war in Syria and Iraq. Details of the total amount collected are being gathered and will be announced shortly.

There has also been a wonderful response to the appeal for clothes and other items that continue to be urgently needed. The Parish of St. Agnes on the Andersonstown Road in Belfast has generously allowed their Parish Centre to be used as a storage point. De Paul shops around the Diocese are continuing to take in any spare clothes and other goods you may wish to donate. Volunteers are also required to help sort out the clothes for distribution. If you have a few hours to spare and can help, please contact your local SVDP group.

The Diocese continues to work with officials in Stormont who are making arrangements for a group of some 50-100 refugees expected to arrive before Christmas. There is an urgent need for some good quality, low rent accommodation in the south Belfast area. If anyone can help in this regard, please contact Fr Bartlett at the Diocesan Office on 028 90776185. Further updates will be provided as more information becomes available.
Upcoming Events
If there are any upcoming events that you would like to be promoted contact;
Parishioners from Kirkinriola Parish, Ballymena, joined with other local Christian Churches for a Carol Service organised by the Ballymena Clergy Fellowship in the Tower Shopping Centre
Upcoming Events March 2015
Introduction to Theology of the Body
Holy Rosary Parish 19th January to 8th March 2016. More information available here
Diocese of Down and Connor
Diocese of Down and Connor
Diocese of Down and Connor
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