The Manresa Centre for Spirituality, in Dollymount, Dublin 3, wrapped up a very successful programme of events for 2009 last Saturday, 19 December, when it hosted a Christmas Preparation for Children. According to Cormac McConnell, Communications Director for the Centre, this annual event is among the most enjoyable of Manresa’s activities, and this year the attendance was bigger than ever. It was led by one of the local teachers, Paul Maguire, and consisted of a mixture of carols, prayers and readings, all performed with great gusto, reverence and good spirits by the children themselves. Parents and children enjoyed two hours of festive fun and gentle reflection away from the all the hustle and bustle of shopping feaver and traffic jams, as Cormac McConnell outlines below.Families began to arrive up the avenue shortly before 3.00pm, and soon the Arrupe Chapel was so full that additional seating had to be provided. There were also solo performances of ‘O Holy Night’, ‘Silent Night’ and other favourite carols by some local boys who are members of the Palestrina Choir. At one point, Mr. Maguire brought the children into the Evie Hone Prayer Room and talked to them about the wonderful Nativity window there – seen at its best at this time of year in the bright, low sunlight – and then asked them to pray quietly for someone they knew who needed their prayers. While the children were in the prayer room, Fr. Paddy Carberry, Director of Manresa, spoke directly to their parents to thank them for their attendance and to draw their attention to some events that are coming shortly to Manresa, particularly Movies that Matter, the lay retreat at the end of January and The Pilgrim Road. He encouraged them to visit the Manresa website www.manresa.ie where they can find further details.After the service, there was a lively party in the dining room, where everyone – families, team and staff – mingled together to bring the event to a joyful conclusion.
— Cormac Mc Connell