A busy year at Gardiner St Church

December 5, 2023 in Featured News, News

It’s been a busy liturgical year for the staff and parishoners of St Francis Xavier Church, Gardiner St, Dublin. And for the many who have come from further afield to attend the various events hosted in the parish. Read the account of what’s been going on from Christine Halloran, spiritual director, and faith development worker there.

Seasonal Endings and Beginnings

Sunday, the 26 November, marked the end of the liturgical year with the celebration of the Feast of Christ the King. However, in St. Francis Xavier Church on Gardiner Street, the opening of the annual Advent week of Guided prayer on Sunday, 3 December, heralded the arrival of the sacred Season of Advent leading to the celebration of Christmas and the birth of the Christ child on 25 December.

The opening prayer service for the week of guided prayer began at 5pm and was facilitated by visiting Jesuit priest, Fr. Ted Penton. He led those in attendance through an Ignatian imaginative gospel contemplation before starting their week of scripture-centered prayer. Directees will continue to meet with their guides throughout the week to discuss, and unpack, the fruits of their praying with sacred scripture.

The week of prayer will conclude at the 6 pm Vigil mass on Saturday, 9 December, and parish priest, Fr. Niall Leahy, SJ, says that he “is greatly encouraged with the uptake by local parishioners this year, and by
others from further afield!”

2023 has been yet another busy year in Gardiner Street and the newly refurbished John Sullivan Room served as the venue for several workshops, courses, and events over the past three months. Up to fifty people have been turning up every Saturday for Brendan Comerford SJ’s series of talks on seven mystics.

Christine Halloran and Brendan McManus SJ ran their very popular course, An Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality over 6 Saturdays in September and October (see photo). Christine is a spiritual director and volunteer pastoral worker in Gardiner Street and Brendan is one of the team members in Belfast Jesuit Centre.

Based on Brendan’s book, Channelling the Inner Fire, the course synthesizes Ignatian Spirituality into 15 concrete points. Over the 6-week course, participants discover how God is communicating with them in a dynamic relationship that is alive and working in the “inner movements” of their everyday lives.

Feedback from the course attendees was extremely positive with several requests that a more in-depth follow-on course be offered in the future. One participant commented, “The course gave us a great understanding of basic Ignatian tools like the Examen and these tools will help to free us up to
be guided by our own Inner Compasses.”

Christine and Brendan will be facilitating a follow-up day on 7 January on the theme of ‘New Year New Direction’ (see the Gardiner Street website for details »).

Finally, the New Year at Gardiner Street will kick off with a 16-week course, The Pilgrim Road. The course begins on Saturday, 6 January from 10.00 am – 12.15 pm and the venue is the John Sullivan room. The
course is based on the 19th annotation of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius and participants commit to praying with scripture for at least 30 minutes every day over the 16 weeks.

They will also attend an input session given by Brendan Comerford, SJ every 2 weeks and they will be
accompanied spiritually employing group spiritual direction provided by Brendan, Iva Beranek, and Christine Halloran, spiritual directors at Gardiner Street Church.

Detalis of this and all upcoming events will be available on the Gardiner Street website »

Christine O’Halloran

Gardiner St Church,

5 December 2023