Down and Connor Diocesan Newsletter
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Faith and Life Convention 2015

The Faith and Life Convention is a forum for people to gather together and to take part in a range of conversations about the meaning of faith and its relevance to our everyday lives. We invite you to join us for our second Faith and Life Convention on Saturday 26th September 2015 in Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Knock, Belfast beginning at 10am.
Perhaps the best part of the day is the pleasure of meeting up with a great crowd of committed people from all over the diocese and beyond!
At the inaugural Faith and Life Convention last September the well-known ‘Vaticanista’ John Allen Jr and the comprehensive range of workshops sparked a lot of interest and enthusiasm.
This year our Keynote Speaker will be Fr Brendan Comerford SJ.  A former Master of Novices Brendan has specialised in the study of Spirituality and lectures widely all over Ireland and across Europe. He is well known to groups in Down and Connor for his lectures on the Mystics which drew very appreciative audiences. Week on week the hosts found they had to put out extra chairs! He will speak to us on the theme: What hope for faith?
One change this year: In the afternoon each participant will have the opportunity to take part in two workshops from a range of twenty. The workshops fill up quickly so it’s best to book now! We look forward to seeing you in September.
Book Now To Register your Place
St Columbanus Celebrations 

On Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st, pilgrims from all over Europe, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland travelled to Bangor and Armagh respectively to take part in the 1400th celebrations for St. Columbanus.

Saturday morning began with a service in the Church of Ireland Bangor Abbey, with Canon Nesbitt, Fr Gunn, Bishop Treanor and Bishop Miller.

For the full text and photographs from the weekend click here
Pope congratulates Irish priests marking 55 years 

On Friday 8th May 2015, 6 Irish priests who were ordained 55 years ago (on 12th March 1960) con-celebrated Mass with Pope Francis in the Chapel of St Martha’s Residence in the Vatican.  Two of the priests, Rev Kevin McMullan and Rev Ambrose Macaulay belong to the Diocese of Down and Connor.

Canon Brian McCluskey, a priest of Clogher Diocese, has lived in Belfast for the past 11 years as a pastor emeritus helping out in St. Brigid’s parish.  The other 3 are retired priests of Kerry, Brooklyn and St Patrick’s Missionary Society. 

After Mass the Pope greeted all the con-celebrants of whom there were about 20.  He spoke briefly to each one and then met the laity who were present.  In his homily at the Mass which lasted 20 minutes, the Pope spoke of the power of the Holy Spirit and prayed that our Divine Lord would send the Holy Spirit on each and everyone, and that the Church would always be faithful to the movement of the Spirit.
Congratulations to this year's Silver and Golden Jubilarians.

Pictured left to right at the back are:
Fr Sean Dillon (25 years)
Fr Peter Carlin (25 years)
Bishop Noel Treanor
Fr Robert Butler (50 years)
Fr Anthony McHugh (50 years)
Bishop Emeritus Patrick Walsh
Fr John Joseph Murray (50 years)

Seated left to right:
Fr Gordon McKinstry (50 years)
Fr Henry Carlin (50 years)
Fr Peter Owens (25 years)
Bishop Anthony Farquhar (50 years)
Benemerenti Medal for Portstewart Parishoner 

Many congratulations to Portstewart Parishoner, Sheila Conway, who received the Papal Award, the Benemerenti Medal on Friday 19th June.

Sheila Conway, a parishioner of Star of Sea, was presented with the Benemerenti Medal during a special mass on Friday evening. She received the Medal for her services to the Star of the Sea Parish and other local charities.

The evening was a duo celebration, as Portstewart welcomed Bishop Farquhar back for his Golden Jubilee.
Parish of Killough, Mass Rock

On Sunday 28th June, the Parish of Killough held a Mass at the local Mass Rock in Conniamstown. It was the first time since 1988 that Mass had been celebrated at the Rock. 

The Mass was part of the series of events which is to fundraise for the refurbishment of the nearly 150 year old St. Patrick's Church. It was also to raise awareness of the Mass Rock so that it will be remembered by future generations.

Over £17,000 has already been raised by the Committee within the Parish.

Well done to all of those involved in the Parish who have accomplished this brilliant work.

For more photographs of the day click here

Full text available here
Upcoming Events
If there are any upcoming events that you would like to be promoted contact;
Ordination to the Priesthood of Rev. Conor McCarthy

On Sunday 28th June 2015, Rev. Conor McCarthy was ordained to the Priesthood for the Diocese of Down and Connor. The ceremony took place in St. Anne's Church, Derriaghy.

Fr McCarthy was accepted to study for the priesthood in 2009 and entered St. Malachy's Seminary in Belfast that year. 
In 2011 he went to the Pontifical Irish College in Rome and studied Theology in the Angelicum University at bachelor's level and progressed to a postgraduate, specialising in Moral Theology.

He was ordained as a deacon in April 2014.

More photographs are available here from the Ordination Day
Diocesan Mid Summer Evening

On Tuesday 23rd June, a great crowd turned out from all over the Diocese for the first ever Mid Summer Evening. The event began with a lovely BBQ and music, provided by young people from the Glengormley School of Traditional Music, outside of St Bernard’s Church in St Mary’s on the Hill, Glengormley. Afterwards, those in attendance made their way into the beautifully decorated Parish Hall. Here, volunteers from a number of parishes described initiatives they had introduced within their area, the process of doing so and the successes they achieved with them.

The evening concluded with prayer, led by members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, Diocesan staff, Bishop Farquhar and Fr Eugene O’Hagan.

Many thanks to all those who helped to organise and host the evening including, the Diocesan Pastoral Council, the Living Church, the musicians, the parishioners and priests of St Mary’s on the Hill.

Parish GIFT Annual Diocesan Celebration Day

On Saturday 6th June, Living Youth hosted the Annual Diocesan Parish GIFT Celebration Day in Newcastle, Co. Down.

270 young people from 10 different parishes arrived in Newcastle to participate in a wide variety of activities during the course of the day. The celebration culminated in a Mass, celebrated by Bishop Anthony Farquhar.

The parishes which were represented included:

Aghagallon and Ballinderry
Dunloy and Cloughmills
Holy Family
Holy Rosary
Newcastle (Maghera)
Newtownards and Comber
St Anne's
St. Colmcille's 
St. Michael's.

Well done to all the young people involved and to those who organised such an enjoyable and faith filled day.

Annual Pilgrimage to Saul, Sunday 14th June 2015
On Sunday 14th June, Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor celebrated the annual pilgrimage to ‘Slieve Patrick’, the National Monument to St. Patrick in Saul, Co. Down.
This historic site was given to the parish of Saul by two parishioners, Tommy and Dinny Hampton and was to become a site of the National memorial to the Patron Saint. Bishop Mageean blessed the site for the future memorial and when turning the first sod he renamed the mountain from Slievewillan to Slieve Patrick.

Sunday’s pilgrimage saw a large crowd, of all ages, attend the celebrations in the beautiful surroundings of Saul. The local children who had recently made their first Holy Communion were in attendance, as were the Knights of St. Columbanus and a local Scout group. With the sun shining down, Bishop Treanor described to those gathered the great risks that St. Patrick faced when he brought Christianity to Ireland and the impact of the legacy that he left behind. He commented that the history of Christianity in Ireland “… shows a sense of God, worship, prayer and oceanic missionary service of God and humanity.  It is a history of the civilising and developmental power of the Christian faith for life, for the economy, for society and state and for culture...”

In light of the work of St. Patrick and the celebrations that are occurring this year in memory of St. Columbanus, Bishop Treanor suggested that we might “… consider how we introduce our children and especially our teenagers to an understanding and an appreciation of faith in Christ and our great Christian heritage.”

Bishop Treanor continued that “Great work is done by our Diocesan Youth Commission and Living Youth, by the GIFT programme and other such initiatives and projects in our parishes. Veritas is currently launching its new catechetical programme “Grow in Love” which we should promote in our schools and homes throughout the diocese.  Bishop Treanor reinforced that these initiatives will require “support, interest and involvement” from parishioners, parents and grandparents.

The full statement is available here

Blessing and Dedication of New Pipe Organ at Holy Trinity

St Martin’s Church of Ireland on the lower Newtownards Road was dedicated as a Southern Church Mission in 1933. Demographics of the area since the troubles left a dwindling congregation and the church was sadly deconsecrated in November 2012.

The music in St Martins was renowned and the string of leading organists and choirmasters who served there is testament to this; as was the able and dedicated choir. Initially, when the church was built, they secured a second hand organ and later installed a small 4 rank organ in 1953. In 1983, after much fundraising, they embarked on a large project to install a new two manual and pedal organ of 13 stops built by Wells-Kennedy Partnership Ltd of Lisburn.

Read the full piece and to see more photographs here
Upcoming Events
4th Annual Summer Institute at Tobar Mhuire: Radical Hopefulness 1st-3rd July 2015. Full details available here
‘Living Faith Means Living Justly’- SMA Summer School 4th July 2015. Full details available here
Gala Concert in St. Patrick’s Belfast 4th July 2015. Details available here
National Eucharistic Congress Saturday 26th to Sunday 27th September 2015.
SAVE THE DATE Faith and Life Convention 2015
Saturday 26th September 2015 at Our Lady and St Patrick’s College Knock.
Diocese of Down and Connor
Diocese of Down and Connor
Diocese of Down and Connor
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