Christmas approaches and the year has seen some great innovations at Gardiner Street like the Book Club and the Autumn series of talks.
A big challenge for next year will be raising funds to save the church.
Get your tickets for the Gospel Choir concert as early as possible. It promises to be as good or better than ever.
Gardiner Street School passes to Jesuit trusteeship
At a ceremony of lively music, song and inspirational text a lighted candle was passed by Sr. Úna O’Neill the Leader of the Religious Sisters of Charity to Fr. Bruce Bradley SJ representing the Jesuit Provincial. Fr. Leonard Moloney SJ. had been asked to celebrate the funeral of broadcaster Gay Byrne at the Pro-Cathedral at the same time but Fr. Bradley kindly stepped in.
The Jesuits inherit an extraordinarily lively school of immense ethnic diversity with an energetic staff and devoted Principal in Eileen O’Doherty. The school holds multiple awards and we pray that Jesuit trusteeship in the missionary spirit of St Francis Xavier will continue the work begun by Mary Aikenhead foundress of the Sisters of Charity.
Don’t let them rob you of Christmas!
Time to listen is a retreat in daily life” which started in November. It’s about preparing for Christmas and based on a commitment to some short daily prayer with scripture and meeting for Mass weekly. This year it is offered to the Polish community by Fr. Leszek SJ and a team of Jesuit prayer companions and in Lent 2020 it will be open to all.
And there is another option every Tuesday evening at 7.30pm. For one hour you are invited into a quiet space to focus on the Gospel story for the following Sunday. “Stay awake” means notice what you’re following as you get up in the morning: your ego or the Spirit. “Repent” might mean listening to a challenge from a friend (like John the Baptist) and remember that Jesus surprised with his gentleness.
Don’t let them rob you of Christmas!
Saving Gardiner Street Church …
Reports from our architect have confirmed that Gardiner Street Church is facing a major challenge. Described as the most elegant church of its period, the building is in urgent need of repair.
The presenting issue is the peeling of the paint in the upper reaches of the interior. You will notice this with a casual glance upwards. But this is only a symptom of a more radical problem with the build-up of moisture in the plaster and the walls.
It looks like the building will need a major makeover to ensure its life for the next generations. This will begin with work to renew the roof: the replacement of corroded iron nails, the roofing felt and the drainpipe system. Next will be the repair or replacement of the windows and this will be followed by the stripping of the external walls and re-pointing with a lime-based mortar. Finally, any necessary repair work on the internal plaster and paintwork will hopefully bring the
The general work will probably begin in May and we intend to continue to use the church throughout work to completion. You may notice that we have sealed off Our Lady’s Chapel owing to the discovery of dry rot in one of the walls. We are advised that this is under control.
Gardiner St. Church is described in Pevsner’s The Buildings of Ireland as “The most elegant Catholic church of the period in Dublin”.
Fundraising Committee …
Recruited from all walks of life and from different ministries at Gardiner Street, the Fundraising Committee has had three meetings to date and is beginning to understand the scope of the work needed in the church and the funds required. The Jesuits in Ireland have pledged substantial support but it is our task to ask for help in reaching our target. We are waiting for the final word from our architects before we can name a target sum but the fundraiser launch is planned for the new year. Some great ideas have already been explored and we are taking some professional advice as to the “how” of fundraising. It’s not the first time that the Jesuits have put out an appeal at Gardiner Street but to judge by what the architects are saying this may be the most urgent. Our hope is to prepare the website for online donations as well as promotional materials including a short video. Help has been offered in this for which we are most grateful. We invite all ideas and contributions and look forward to providing updates as the campaign develops.
Safeguarding vulnerable adults: a new policy
The Dublin Diocesan Child Safeguarding & Protection Service published a new Safeguarding Vulnerable Adult policy last July. This policy is binding on all Clergy, volunteers and staff who work with vulnerable adults in all parishes of the Diocese.
The policy describes a vulnerable adult as a person over 18 “who lacks or has seriously impaired capacity either to make informed decisions or to defend him or herself from harm” and establishes procedures and actions to be set in place for creating and maintain a safe environment for vulnerable adults who participate in the activities of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Dublin. It also contains guidelines for dealing with concerns for the protection of vulnerable adults.
Gardiner Street Parish is implementing Diocesan policies on Safeguarding both for children and vulnerable adults in order to create a welcoming and safe space at St. Francis Xavier’s Church.
A copy of the policy is available in our Parish Office and on our website https://gardinerstparish.ie/about/safeguarding/
Pope Francis calls for “a continuous and profound conversion of hearts in response to the crimes of sexual abuse that have offended Our Lord and caused immense damage to victims and to the community of the faithful”
Habits of the Heart …
Following a year-long process, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) named 4 “habits of the heart” which will help us orientate our ministries over the next ten years. They are apostolic preferences and they apply across the Jesuit world. Therefore, everything we do as Jesuits and partners in mission will need to acknowledge these preferences, these habits of the heart.
The parish pastoral council at Gardiner Street decided to devote the Autumn series of talks to each one of these preferences and our reflections yielded rich and lasting fruit. This was thanks to the creative interventions of Jesuits like Fr. Brian Grogan, Fr. Brendan McManus and Fr. Peter McVerry along with partners in mission Ciara Murphy, Padraig Swan, Callum Douglas and Sr Bernadette McMahon.
Four images will be displayed in the Pope Francis Corridor once they have been completed in January as a lasting reminder of these “habits of the heart”.
- To show the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment
- To walk with the poor, the outcasts of the world, those whose dignity has been violated, in a mission of reconciliation and justice
- To accompany young people in the creation of a hope-filled future
- To collaborate in the care of our Common Home
A new mobile Display stand …
You may have noticed our new “Mobile Display Stand” at the back of the church. The idea is to centralise all our handouts and brochures in one place to avoid the scattering of paper on shelves at the back of the church.
The stand was crafted at JJ Garvey Joinery Works just outside Portadown, Co. Armagh. John Joe and his son John are master craftsmen and they tell us that the wood will mellow over time to match the surrounding timber colour.
Here the mobile stand is delivered by John Joe and his son John, Fr. Gerry and Fr. Dermot received the finished piece.
In the Autumn Series… There but for the grace of God go I …
Despite it being a bank holiday weekend, a fairly large group gathered on Saturday morning for the third talk in our autumn series. We were privileged to have Fr. Peter McVerry SJ, and Sr. Bernadette McMahon DOC, from the Vincentian Partnership relate some of their experiences with regards to their walking with, and working for, people in poverty and the homeless.
Peter and Bernadette we discovered have quite a lot in common. Both contend that our lives are shaped by God and their work emanates from a deep spirituality rooted in the gospel values of Jesus as espoused by the Jesuit and Vincentian communities to which they belong. They believe that they were called to bring the ‘Good News’ to those who are most in need. Peter understands that being a Christian today means that we share Jesus’ dream of building a world of justice and peace. By helping those in need we open our hearts and so become more like God. Bernadette sees God as never being alone; He is always surrounded by the impoverished and less fortunate among us.
This was yet another hugely rich and insightful morning where two inspirational and unbelievably humble social activists shared the knowledge and wisdom that they have garnered over the years from working with the marginalised. Over time they have come to regard everything in life as gift and so operate from a place of deep and heartfelt gratitude. They have also come to the realisation that we are neither in a position to, nor do we have the right to judge anyone. Most importantly of all they have learned that regardless of life circumstances we need to value all people, and we should afford everyone the dignity and respect that all human beings deserve. We are all God’s children, belonging to the one big family. People end up homeless, addicted to drugs or living in poverty for many reasons and it is our responsibility as Christians to do what we can to help our brothers and sisters in their need. In truth, when all is said and done, it is simply, yet profoundly, a case of “there but for the grace of God go I”!
Gardiner Street Bookclub … was transforming for me …
Gardiner Street Parish reading club was launched last June as a space for people interested in reading about spirituality and sharing thoughts with other people with similar interests. Since then we have read three books with different approaches and flavours. We started with “Alone and on Foot” (by Brian Grogan SJ) which introduced us to the biography and spiritual journey of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order. Then we immersed ourselves in “Etty Hillesum: A Life Transformed” (by Patrick Woodhouse) the fascinating story and reflections of a young Jewish woman whose life was transformed by a deep experience of God. Finally, we read “God Ever Greater” (Brian O’Leary SJ) that deepened our grasp of Ignatian Spirituality with the contribution of the author himself, who was present in one of our meetings.
“The reading club was an excellent idea of yours… It is a wonderful way of exploring our faith together with other people who are interested in sharing their thoughts and ideas about the future of faith in a world which is becoming increasingly more secularized”; “I have enjoyed the experience very much. The challenge of meeting each week has made me sit up and be more attentive to what I’m reading”; “A life transformed was ‘transforming’ for me”. These are some of the enthusiastic comments from people that have joined Gardiner Street Reading Club.
In January we will continue with “Universal Christ” by Richard Rohr so be encouraged to join us. All are welcome!
For your information:
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