|At St Patrick's pastoral centre are Pearse Lawlor, Peggy Agnew, Fr Dermot McCaughan, Eileen O'Neill, Pat Catney, Maura Lowery, and John McArdle, volunteers at the centre. US4609-512cd||Eileen O'Neill, Maura Lowery and Peggy Agnew enjoying a cup of tea at St Patrick's parish centre. U54609-511cd|
A NEW cross community pastoral centre will be officially opened beside St Patrick's church on Chapel Hill this Saturday by the Bishop of Down and Connor, the Most Rev Dr Noel Treanor, at a gala concert.
It replaces St Joseph's Hall, a landmark building at Chapel Hill for 120 years, that played a valuable part in the social life of the parish. Making a special appearance at the new St Patrick's Pastoral Centre will be BBC television personality Donna Traynor who will act as compere. Other highlights of the evening will include Sean Crummey, the writer of 'Folks on the Hill' with a showcase of local talent from Starburst Theatre School, the Depo McGuigan Irish Dancers, the Cleland Memorial Pipe Band and Fusion Theatre which will feature 'Songs from the Shows'.
Hillsborough Drama Group, Lisburn Youth Dancers and Pat Catney who will give a rendition of songs as a tribute to Josef Locke, will all be making an appearance.
Parish Priest the Very Rev. Dermot McCaughan said: "The Pastoral Centre will fully restore the social life within the parish following the closure of the old St. Joseph's Hall that previously stood on this site.
"It provides an excellent social facility which is by no means exclusive to the parishioners of St. Patrick's parish. I am delighted to see that drama, theatre and youth groups are among those from all communities in the city of Lisburn that are already making good use of the Centre. The Pastoral Centre has proved it can successfully cater for wedding receptions and large birthday parties as well as funeral functions. The Old School Café in the complex, which is open to the public, is to extend its range of food to include lunches.
"This is a first class resource which I hope will contribute to the social life of Lisburn."
Dr Treanor said: "This magnificent new pastoral centre is an outward sign of the growing confidence within the parish of Blaris and is a valuable adjunct to the religious life of not only St Patrick's here in Lisburn but the other churches that make up the parish."
Manager of the hall, Patrick Catney, is urging groups of all denominations to contact them to make use of the new hall. There will be a Christmas Food Fayre to help raise money for overseas parishes on December 8. Patrick can be contacted on 92-607110. St Patrick's Pastoral Centre opened in September following a major project that included the renovation of the church and the construction of a new parochial house to replace one built in 1920.
The former centre had originally been but by the 1880's the building had become dilapidated and in 1889 a new parochial hall incorporating the new school was built. Work to the church was also completed ten years later and formally opened in 1900. In 1902, the girls moved to the Sacred Heart of Mary, at Castle Street, and the school became an all-boys school with an enrolment of 300 in 1930.
The hall was dedicated to St. Joseph and in the early 1950's major renovations were carried out. It not only had a library but each weekend events such as Guest Teas and Whist Drives were held.
In 1960, a Grand Variety Concert was held to raise funds for a new Boys Primary School and St Aloysius' was opened in 1968.
For the next few years the hall was used for bingo, badminton, bowls and billiards. During the Troubles many of the activities were curtailed but events such as the Irish Dancing Feis continued. In recent years the hall had stood empty before it was finally demolished in 2009.