Bishop Donal Murray of Limerick will be the principal celebrant for the final Mass of Thanksgiving to mark the closure of the Jesuits’ Sacred Heart Church in Limerick on Friday 30th June at 8pm. Fr John Dardis, the Irish Jesuit Provincial, and Fr Dermot Murray, Superior of the Sacred Heart Church Jesuit Community, will be among the concelebrants. Many other Jesuits from across the country will attend.
Acknowledging that closing the church was a very difficult decision to make, Fr Dardis said: “The Sacred Heart congregation have been loyal church goers, and the church has been their spiritual home for many years. The relationship is not only one of priests and people but of friends, and that friendship is deeply valued.” And Fr. Dardis went on to reiterate the commitment of the Jesuits to the people of Limerick: “We are opening a new Centre for Spirituality in the autumn, along with a Jesuit Refugee Service centre beside it. And of course the very successful work of the Crescent College Comprehensive will continue and develop”. Fr Dardis continued: “We have kept the faith, we have passed it on to generation upon generation and you have responded a hundredfold. So let us move on together to work in new ways to serve the faith of future generations”.
Fr Dermot Murray, Director of the new Spirituality Centre said it will be situated not far from the Crescent Shopping Centre in Dooradoyle, beside the Jesuit residence there. “We hope to offer a variety of ways in which people can come to know God more deeply and to understand better how to put their love into action in their daily lives.” Acknowledging that many people felt deep sadness at the Church closure, he added, “I share their sadness, but I believe the Lord is calling us to continue to serve in different ways as new challenges for Christians emerge”.
According to Eugene Quinn, Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service, which will open its doors in the autumn, the arrival of asylum seekers and refugees to our shores is one such challenge. The Limerick centre will work with refugees and asylum seekers in the area of health, education, emergency assistance and integration in the local community. Mr Quinn commented: “JRS offices are located in over 50 countries and more than 376,000 people benefit directly from JRS projects. I’m delighted to be director of this new centre for Limerick, and JRS Ireland looks forward to extending its services both here and at national level.”
A special brochure to mark the memory of the Sacred Heart Church will be distributed at the Mass of Thanksgiving on Friday night.