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Peace in Portadown

portadown_01AMDG Express seldom features the small Jesuit community in Churchill Park, Portadown, which was started in the days when Garvaghy Road and Drumcree were synonyms for sectarian tensions. Quiet, sustained ecumenical work on both sides has brought real change. Good relations have developed between Jesuits and leaders from the mainline churches who meet regularly. They held joint ceremonies at Christmas, Easter, Church Unity Week and a day of quiet and prayer together. Summer recess was declared at a shared meal hosted by the Catholic parish priest. Michael Bingham SJ devotes a lot of time to the prisoners in Maghaberry, which houses more than 1,000 people, rife with political dramas and personal tragedies. Davy Byrne SJ keeps in touch with the local people especially in times of distress and ill health.