Bishop visits Clontead parish and sees its move from ‘bricks to living people of faith’

Bishop Fintan Gavin recently made his first pastoral visit to the Parish of Clontead, which takes in the villages of Belgooly, Riverstick, and their hinterland of 87 historical townlands, and 12 new neighbourhoods and his visit over two days was welcomed and appreciated.

During his visit, Bishop Fintan, in four ceremonies, conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation on 57 young people in two ceremonies, gave their First Holy Communion to 28 children; and

Over a September weekend, celebrated three Masses, with their congregations, in the Sacred Heart Church Belgooly, and St. Joseph’s Church, Riverstick.

[Above images supplied by families with consent to publication.]

Bishop Fintan, over a four hour span, met with and listened to upwards on 25 parishioners drawn from all strata of parish life at the Parish Life Hub on the closing day of his September visit.

He heard how the challenge of lifting ‘Parish’ from being understood as a passive geographical / administrative area, to becoming a vibrant community and caring congregation was being undertaken locally, and how work towards ‘Parish Life’ as a ‘living out of’ experience rather than a ‘living in’ address, was progressing.

Bishop Fintan saw how the Church of The Sacred Heart, Belgooly, is not just bricks and mortar, but a centre of empathy and compassion; and how the Church of St. Joseph, Riverstick, is not just a Ro-fab building, but a centre for community creativity and work.

Photos by O’Brien Studios, Cork

Speaking of the extended visit, Fr. Michael Regan said that if these churches were just concrete blocks, steel girders, wooden panels and glass panes, they present an almost insurmountable challenge right now.

“But if the church is flesh and blood, people of faith, making the transition from ‘parish’ to ‘parish life’, enormous possibilities and potential await awakening,” he said.

“In bringing the Sacrament of Confirmation; in celebrating Parish First Communions; in sharing weekend Masses with their congregations; and in engaging with up to 25 parish life participants, across all strata of parish life, Bishop Fintan brought a message of challenge, hope, and courage in his invitation to build our shared future together.”