Bishop Gerard Clifford and Irish Jesuit Provincial Fr John Dardis will attend a cross-community service to mark 25 years of a Jesuit presence in Portadown. Brian Lennon SJ will give the main address and long-time cross-community worker Norma Copple will speak about her work with the Jesuits over the years.
Fr. Brian Mac Cuarta, a present member of the Jesuit Community in the Garvaghy Rd. has been in Portadown for over seven years and says, “The Jesuits came to here in 1981 to be with the people, to work with them in finding ways to develop their community, and to extend the had of friendship to our fellow protestant citizens of Portadown. We were warmly welcomed by the people and we hope we have been able to repay some of their goodness and hospitality through our presence here over the years.”
Fr. John Dardis, Jesuit Provincial will also address the congregation and says “Reconciliation had to be based on mutual respect and we’ve all come a long way down a sometimes hard and challenging road. But we must keep looking forward and new challenges present themselves. The Churches must be aware of the great need to work together as a welcoming presence, witnessing the virtues of hospitality and generosity toward the many new immigrants coming to our shores”.
Fr. Brian Mac Cuarta acknowledges that there have been many dark days in Portadown over the years but adds, “This day of cross- community prayer on the Garvaghy Rd. is full of the light of hope particularly in the present time as leaders and politicians try to move closer to an agreed future where all people here can live in peace working for each other and for the good of the whole community”.