Father Patrick Delargy and Father Aloysius are set to leave All Saints’ Parish Ballymena very soon.
In the following article, Fr. Delargy shares some reflections of his time in Ballymena.
He writes: “Over the last thirteen years it has been my privilege and joy to celebrate the daily Eucharist with this committed and enthusiastic congregation of All Saints. I feel like Paul writing to thank his close friends in Philippi for the good memories, the sharing of the gospel, the confidence that the good work will be completed one day in God’s presence. It’s wonderful to be able to rejoice in the Lord together.
“Within this very cohesive and supportive parish community so many parishioners have been willing and eager to take responsibility for preparing Church ceremonies; I am thankful to God for their many blessings. I especially appreciate the Folk group singing hymns of praise and those accompanying the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist with commitment and enthusiasm. Parishioners rightly expect special attentiveness at times of baptisms and final farewells and words of comfort and visits to houses are much appreciated. It is gratifying that families are thankful for the support given.
“Contacts with other Christian Church communities depend on the goodwill of so many convinced Christians. I am especially appreciative of Bishop Sarah Groves of the Moravian Church for her joyful perseverance in calling ministers together for prayer and conversation and to Jennifer Mc Lernon in the Ballymena Church Member’s Forum for the many cross community initiatives she has animated.
“The business community has been hit hard by Covid-19 and by the downturn in the economy but they are resilient. I am sure that business people could more efficiently solve the Protocol issue which longwinded politicians have often exacerbated. Despite the austerity, projects in missionary countries are generously supported as Fr Aloysius can happily verify.
“Parishioners have always been remarkably generous to those in need here in the town and wider afield. The Saint Vincent de Paul care for all without discrimination, with competence, skill and personal attentiveness, qualities that show they are co-operating in sharing the love of God with all-comers.
“Volunteers and expert staff manage the facilities like the Boxing Club, Youth Club, GAA, Toddler Groups, Scouts and Laudato Si garden group, Early Years, Wednesday Club, Men’s’ Club.
“Both Pastoral Council and Finance Committee appreciate the support and guidance from diocese to help develop our sense of accountability and co-responsibility. We have wonderful staff, secretarial, housekeeping and liturgial. Some decisions like the closure of Harryville Church were regrettable but inevitable. Yet the parish is still rich in resources. The wonderful Parish Centre caters for the parish and the wider community especially the Northern Trust where nurses and carers are trained, children in need are given expert support, those with addictions helped on the way to recovery, prayer groups, bible studies, faith development courses are well attended. The Centre houses the Accord Marriage Advisory Service, Spred, Child Safeguarding, Order of Malta and the Entertainment Committee provides for happy gatherings and togetherness.
“Even now recalling all these enterprises and activities gives me confidence to welcome Fr McGinnity and Fr Davies to a thriving, happy community where they can rejoice in doing the work of the Lord.”
Read more news from All Saints’ Church Ballymena on the Ballymena Parish website.