Date Published: 05-May-2011
It’s been a bad few years for the Catholic Church in Ireland. An institution that was already in decline, with fewer vocations and more members opting to ignore Rome’s decrees, has been rocked by child abuse scandals and terrible tales of official cover ups.
But the Lord works in mysterious ways and, in some areas at least, the Catholic Church is thriving, with new energy thanks to the involvement of immigrants from India, Eastern Europe and Africa.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the suburbs of Roscam and Doughiska on the eastern side of Galway city, where the Good Shepherd parish was established four years ago under the auspices of the Bishop of Galway, Dr Martin Drennan, to cater for this rapidly growing part of Galway.
A survey carried out in 2009 showed the area had a population of some 7,300 with over 70 per cent of the adults being Catholic. And the fact that the parish has 111 boys and girls for First Communion this year tells its own story
Seventy-six per cent of the Massgoers in the Good Shepherd parish are Irish. That’s followed by Indians, Africans, Polish and other Eastern Europeans. The mix is obvious at a packed Sunday Mass on May Day in the parish’s temporary accommodation at the Castlegar Sports Centre. The altar servers are African, one of the readings is given by an African, the other by an Eastern European, and the church ushers and Ministers of the Eucharist are Irish. It is a real melting pot, with people from 33 different nationalities in the parish. There are kids everywhere and the ceremonial dresses of the African women add a vibrant flash of colour to proceedings.
The hall where Mass is being said – rented from the Castlegar GAA – is spartan, with plain walls and tape markings on the floor that identify its intended purpose as a sports hall. But the atmosphere is upbeat, with everybody joining in the singing – the words of the hymns are projected onto a large screen beside the altar so everybody can take part.
Mary Okafor from Boireann Beag, is three years in the parish, having come here from Nigeria.
While Irish people celebrate Mass differently, “this is the nearest thing to home”, she observes of the Good Shepherd Mass. She is accompanied by a friend from another parish in the city. “I keep telling her this is best,” says Mary.
Certainly the Good Shepherd has an energy that many places would envy.
After Mass, tea and biscuits are served in an adjoining room and many people stay on for a chat, making Mass a real social event, which it traditionally was in Irish parishes. The difference here is that these Catholics come from all over the world.
“Faith brings people together; they share that common entity and they start to get to know each other,” says Nuala Keady, who is in charge of the rota for the Mass readings. She feels the Good Shepherd parish is playing a valuable role establishing a community in this city suburb.
The people charged by Bishop Drennan with setting up the parish were Fr Martin Glynn and Sr Laura Boyle. Fr Martin, who was initially appointed as chaplain to the area by Bishop Drennan’s predecessor, Bishop James McLaughlin is still here. For him, the defining aspect of this parish is the input of so many nationalities.
“The diversity of cultures is one of the big differences; people’s willingness to participate and their readiness to sing. For instance, there is no choir as such, it’s congregational singing.”
Another worshipper, enjoying the post Mass cup of tea thinks that Ireland’s newest Catholics “are a lot more religious than we are”.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.
That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.
The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.
Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.
Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.
Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.
A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.
Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.
Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.
Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.
Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action
Date Published: 12-May-2013
The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.
There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.
Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.
However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.
Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.