As part of the ongoing preaching mission of the Irish Dominican Province, Dominican friars, Fr Luuk Jansen, of Newbridge Priory, Kildare and Fr. Brian Doyle, of St Saviour’s Priory Dublin, recently undertook a preaching mission to the Parish of Glenravel, just outside the town of Ballymena, in Co. Antrim. Glenravel is a beautiful country Parish situated in the heart of the Glens of Antrim, and administered by Parish priest Fr. Gabriel Lyons. The mission in Glenravel consisted of a preached Novena from the Saturday the 29th of April to Sunday the 7th of May. The two Dominican friars preached at all of the weekend masses and at the two daily masses (11.00am 7.30pm) on alternate days and heard confessions after each mass. The daily themes for the weekend included preaching on the theme of forgiveness, on the Eucharist, on prayer, and on healing, including administering the sacrament of the sick on one of the particular days. Each day, the friars also undertook house visitation to sick members of the parish who were unable to come to St Mary, Queen of Peace Church for the Novena, chatted to them and promised to pray for their intentions.
During their stay, the friars were also fortunate enough to be invited to speak to the students at both St. Patricks Secondary school in Ballymena, and St. Killian’s in Glenarm. There the brothers celebrated mass for more than 200 students, spoke to the students about their own journey to the priesthood and tried to answer all of the student’s questions. At St. Killian’s they also met the teaching staff and had lunch with them. The friars also had the opportunity to speak to all of the classes in Our Lady Queen of Peace Primary school in Glenravel Parish and to take questions from the young children there – all of the strange and wonderful questions that only children think of! They gave out miraculous medals to the children who were delighted to receive them.
Overall, the mission was an extremely blessed experience and a wonderful success. The people of Glenravel and Fr. Gabriel were extremely hospitable and warmly welcomed and the friars would gladly visit the beautiful Glens of Antrim again at any time.