Archbishop Eamon Martin and pastoral volunteers gathered earlier this week to celebrate the work provided by the Armagh Diocesan Pastoral Centre since its opening in May 2008 by Cardinal Seán Brady.
The Pastoral Centre, located in Dundalk, provides pastoral care to families that would not be otherwise available, particularly in the key area of bereavement support. In the eight years the Pastoral Centre has been open in Dundalk, over 2,200 families have availed of the services provided. More than 350 people have volunteered at the centre, undergoing extensive training in their respective programmes and in safeguarding methods.
The celebration was organised by Sister Rhoda Curran RSM, Director of the Armagh Diocesan Pastoral Centre. Speakers at the event included representatives of bereavement support programmes Rainbows, a programme to help children and young people cope with the loss of a parent; Beginning Experience, a programme specially designed to help people deal with the loss of a spouse arising from death or separation; and a member of the walk-in support team, along with some who had received support from these groups.
Drawing inspiration from Pope Francis’ message, ‘Communication and Mercy: A Fruitful Encounter’, ahead of World Communications Day, Archbishop Eamon said, ‘”How beautiful when our words help to heal wounded memories, build peace and harmony; communication filled with a language of hope”. He said that the work of the volunteers in the Pastoral Centre was the work of mercy and that in their work the volunteers not only brought mercy to others but also received the fruits of mercy themselves through their actions.