St Patrick’s switch on the Christmas lightsMonday 04 December 2017
St Patrick’s Ballymacarrett, has begun the Advent season by inviting the local community to join in their Christmas tree light switch–on.
Friday 1 December was a cold, crisp night but almost 200 people representing so many walks of life in the area came along. You can’t get more traditional than the Salvation Army band playing carols and a little choir of girls from the neighbouring parish, St. Brendan’s, singing, ‘Away in a manger’, not forgetting the mince pies, hot dogs and mulled wine!
Revd Pat Lennox, part–time curate in St Patrick’s said:
“We organised the tree and the light switch–on event to reawaken local interest in St. Patrick’s; to remind people that we’re there. It was also designed to be a simple and welcoming event that communicated the true Christmas miracle of God’s love for the world.
“Light was the underlying theme and St. Patrick’s has been a light in east Belfast for nearly 200 years. And our three switch–on people (above right) were not your regular celebrities but have for years shone their light in the world: Joe, 100 years old, from east Belfast and for 20 years a missionary in Nigeria; Mary, 95 years old and a long–time member at St. Patrick’s; and Ronnie, whose family bakery business, Jordan’s, has been synonymous with the Newtownards Road for well over 100 years. The beautifully lit tree is there to remind anyone who walks or drives past, that at the first Christmas the Light of the World was born.”
“A 20 foot tree is bigger than the normal trees you see outside churches but even 20 foot can look less dominating when next to such a big and beautiful church that is St. Patrick’s! However, when the lights are on, the tree grows up and takes command of this space on the Newtownards Road, whilst augmenting the grandeur of St. Patrick’s.
“The generosity of people who helped make it all work would have warmed Charles Dickens’ heart – ‘God bless us, every one!’”
Members of the Salvation Army, Revd Pat Lennox, Joe (100 yrs old), Bishop Harold, Mary (95 yrs old), Revd John Cunningham (rector), Fr. Peter Conlan (St. Matthew’s) and a representative from YWAM.