Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Last weekend we learned the sad news of a church building in one of the parishes I’m based, will no longer have Mass celebrated there after the 3rd September.

This news was very hard for the community to take and many people were visibly emotional as they left the building, socially distanced. And that is very understandable as it is a building which holds many emotional landmarks in peoples lives. Parishioners were baptised there, made their First Holy Communion there and were married there. And the same can be said for some of their parents, too.

In the short one and half years I’ve been associated with that church community, it also holds emotional memories for me too. It was first place I celebrated Mass following my mother suffering a heart attack and being treated in hospital. So it was first place I prayed with people around me. I will keep that attachment forever.

But following the announcement last Sunday, a friend told me these words which gives me hope. He said “Sometimes we need to lose something in order to grow.”

Thankfully there is hope, as the church building will still be used in a faith capacity. And it will provide people of the community and wider area an opportunity to get in touch with their faith or explore their faith deeper.

The Irenaeus Project will take over the building in the near future to provide these opportunities. Please have a look at their website for further information on what they do.

Out of sadness and a sense of loss, comes hope for the future and new ways of reaching out to people in the community. Please keep all those people and the Irenaeus Project in your prayers during this time of transition.