Pastoral Council

We your Parish Pastoral Committee exist to enhance and nurture the pastoral life of our parish community through prayer and action.

St. Colmcille’s Parish Pastoral Committee first met in April 1991. It consists of the Parish Administrator and nine parishioners, with the ability to co-opt others on to the Council when required, for two consecutive three-year periods of service. Following a reformation process facilitated by the Diocesan Living Faith Office St. Colmcille’s Parish Pastoral Committee identified four pastoral themes for the period 2019-2022:

Pastoral Theme 1: Building our relationships with God

Pastoral Theme 2: Vibrant Liturgy

Pastoral Theme 3: Encourage Participation in Parish life

Pastoral Theme 4: Building our relationships with others

The members meet on a six-weekly basis with an Executive meeting prior to the full Pastoral Committee meeting. All meetings commence with an Opening Prayer and Scripture Sharing.

Communications and suggestions would be welcome on any aspect of the Committee’s ministry by contacting any member of the Committee personally or by writing to the Committee through the Suggestion/Bulletin box or email us at

  • President: Parish Priest
  • Chairperson: Vince Murphy
  • Vice-Chairperson: Rose Byrne
  • Secretary: Patricia Kernaghan

Other Members:

  • Raju Varughese
  • Paul Campbell
  • Leo O’Reilly


Family Ministry is an initiative of the Diocese of Down and Connor, which aims to support families in developing their relationship with God. Within our parish family, the work of Family Ministry aims to help families to recognise the presence of God in the midst of family life, to enjoy good relationships through God’s loving presence and to grow in awareness of families within the parish as a community of love.

Family Ministry does this by: organising programmes which help participants deepen their understanding of family relationships and of faith; working with parish groups to organise liturgies to affirm the importance and value of ordinary family activity; reaching out to the elderly and housebound within the parish; and developing home, school and church links for pre-sacramental preparation.

There is no active ministry in parish currently …. however should a parishioner be interested in any aspect of Family Ministry, the Pastoral Council would welcome their query.

For further details, contact the Parish Office:


The Living Faith Committee creates opportunities for members of our Parish family to renew and rediscover the richness of their Christian faith.

Aware of the diversity within the parish family, in age, circumstance and commitments, we provide opportunities varying in style, content and scheduling.

Our aim is to encourage and reflect parish as faith community, and to support and encourage everyone on their personal faith journey.

Some of our recent activities include the Alpha Course, Advent Family Event at Streamvale Farm and the Lenten Talks series. Our most recent new event, Coffee@Colmcille’s, is a once a month invitation to relax and enjoy some excellent coffee and treats, and listen to a short presentation, with something for the children as well.

We warmly welcome everyone who would like to join us or to help in any way with our service to the parish community.

For more information contact: Celine Molloy:


This committee of the Parish Pastoral Council was set up to act as a bridge between the two main strands of ecumenical activity in the parish – the Belmont and District Council of Churches and the St. Colmcille’s / Gilnahirk Group – and to promote and encourage the involvement of parishioners.

In its Decree on Ecumenism, the Second Vatican Council exhorts that a coming together for “reunion among all Christians is a course which the Council has set itself as one of its principal aims.”

The Belmont and District Council of Churches was established in 1971 and St. Colmcille’s has been one of the member Churches since 1972. Three representatives from each of the eight contributing churches (Belmont, Garnerville and Stormont Presbyterian, St. Columba’s and St. Mark’s Church of Ireland, Knock Methodist, Christian Fellowship Church and St. Colmcille’s) meet about six times per year to plan our programme of joint services, education programmes, discussion groups, social events, fund raising for charities and setting up help schemes in the local area. The Council also sponsors youth weekends at Corrymeela.  The clergy from the churches plan the church services.

The St. Colmcille’s/Gilnahirk Group has been in existence since 1995. Its aim is to build relationships between the congregations of the two churches through a range of religious, cultural, social and sporting activities.

The annual Family Weekend at Corrymeela, usually around the first weekend in Advent, is now attended by over 100 people. This continues to be a vibrant and energising weekend for all age groups. there are programmes for the children, the teenagers, the adult group… it is a wonderful preparation of Christmas! Paula Sheils continues to coordinate this weekend with Gilnahirk Presbyterian Church, on behalf of St Colmcille’s.

For further enquiries please contact the Parish office :


The Irish Bishops recommended the setting up of a liturgy group or committee in every parish.  This is necessary because the task of celebrating the liturgy pertains to the whole people of God, priest and people alike.

St. Colmcille’s Parish Liturgy Committee is a committee of the Parish Pastoral Council.  Its membership is representative of all the parish organisations whose missions are of a liturgical nature, for example Ministers of the Eucharist and the Word, the Choir, the Children’s Liturgy Group and our Teachers.

The overall purpose of the Liturgy Committee is to promote a more worthy, fruitful and prayerful celebration of the Church’s liturgy in the parish.  It does this by encouraging and facilitating a more full and active participation by all in the celebration of the liturgy.

Planning and preparation for the Sunday Eucharist is vital for its proper celebration. The celebration of the liturgies of Easter and Christmas as well as other events such as Lenten exercises and days of directed prayer are arranged at the appropriate season.  The committee also trains and commissions lay ministers and organises days of reflection for existing lay ministers.

The Constitution issued by the Second Vatican Council tells us that our “liturgy is the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed.”  And again “the liturgy is the outstanding means by which the faithful can express in their lives, and manifest for others, the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the Church.” For more information contact Father Fitzsimons on 9065 4157 .


The Children’s Liturgy Ministry provides children with their own special version of the Liturgy of the Word.  It takes place at 9.30 am mass every Sunday during termtime.

At the beginning of the Mass, the children and leaders leave the church and go to the Parochial Hall. Everyone returns for the Offertory of the Mass.

Our aim in Children’s Liturgy is to simplify the gospel and make it meaningful in the children’s lives today. We strive to undertake this in a variety of stimulation ways, including discussion; role-play; games; singing; powerpoint slides; video clips and interactive activities.

All children from 3 years of age to P7 are welcome. Parents do not need to accompany the children when leaving the Church.

Volunteer helpers are always needed to assist with activities, leading the liturgy or completing the weekly registers. Teenager helpers are also welcome to join the team.

For more information contact Noeleen Dunn: phone text 0789498131 or email


The Choir meets on Wednesday evenings in the Church from 7.30 pm to prepare the music for the 11.30am Mass on the following Sunday and to practice new music. The function of the choir is to add beauty and solemnity to the liturgy and to assist and encourage the singing of the congregation.

During November we sing at the Requiem Mass for deceased parishioners of St. Colmcille’s and for deceased teachers of the Diocese.

We prepare special music for Christmas and Easter and any other events which occur during the year. Our Cantors sing at weddings and, when available, members of the Choir sing at funerals.

Our membership at present is 23.  The organist is Colin McShane and the choir is directed by Jacqui Vance.

We finish the year at the end of June with a dinner and a social evening, returning in September refreshed for another year. If you are over 16 and can sing why not come along and try out an evening or two with us?  You don’t have to be able to read music! Contact Jacqui Vance on 02890 207545 for more details.


The Folk Group exists to serve the Parish Family by leading the congregation in song at the 6.30pm Saturday Vigil Mass every second Saturday. In order to enhance the liturgy the Group also provides music for prayer services and Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.

The Hymns are sung in a way which encourages congregational participation. These include traditional Hymns, Taize chants and contemporary Hymns.

New members are always needed so if you are interested in joining us please contact Karen Diamond or speak to any member of the Group after the 5.30pm Mass.


The custom of lay persons distributing the Holy Eucharist has been a well-established practice in our parish for some time.

Eucharistic Ministers assist in the distribution of Holy Communion not only on Sundays and Holy Days but at weekday Masses and on special occasions such as weddings and funerals. On a regular basis the Eucharistic Ministers also bring Holy Communion to those in the parish who are house-bound and sick and to those who are in residential or nursing homes.  This is a very important aspect of their duties  and many friendships are made as a result.

For further details contact Parish Office on 9065 4157.


“The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy,” gives the laity the right to participate actively in the liturgy and not just to receive instruction. A Minister of the Word reads approximately once every two months at a Mass of his/her choice.  In preparation he/she studies the appropriate passages of scripture, trying to understand the messages contained therein and finally has the honour of giving his/her interpretation to the congregation.

For further details on the Ministry of the Word, please contact John Barry on 02890 655436


Fr. Enda Lyons, in his book ‘Partnership in Parish’, says that the parish is made up of a community of people who are enriched by the experience of Jesus of Nazareth, who associate with others who have the same experience and interest, and who avail of all the means which help them to follow him.

The liturgy provides a real opportunity for creating and celebrating community and, the Ministry of Welcome acknowledges everyone who comes into the church and assures them that we value their presence as the People of God.

For any further information contact Paddy Donnelly on 9065 1351.


The Outreach Committee is a Committee of the Parish Pastoral Council. It promotes and maintains good communication between the Parish Pastoral Council and all members of our parish family.

The Parish Outreach Ministry is a group of over 80 parishioners, eacf whom visits a maximum of 10 homes in the parish twice a year to bring important parish news and to have a brief, friendly chat with the parishioner.

Because of the large number of newcomers to the Parish, from the Philippines, India and other countries, a special sub committee of the Outreach Committee, the Cultural Group, has been formed.

If you have any thoughts or ideas as to how we can perform our role better please let us know.

The members of the committee are: Brendan Byrne, Jim Carroll, Paddy Donnelly, Richard Duffin, Pat Feenan, Damien McCorry, Stephen McLaughlin, Artie O’Neill, Florabel Sison and Raju Varunghese.


Youth ministry in our parish revolves around PYG (Parish Youth Group) which meets in the Parochial Hall on alternate Saturday evenings. PYG provides a place for young people from Year 7 to 11 both inside and outside this parish, to come together, meet friends both old and new, and enjoy themselves in an informal atmosphere.  Activities include group games, arts and crafts, Playstation and Nintendo Wii. Young people from the parish youth group participate in charity fund raising and in parish liturgies including the Stations of the Cross service on Good Friday.  The Faith Development Worker responsible for Youth Ministry is involved in: Working alongside parishioners to plan creative liturgies for young people Pre sacramental preparation for children attending non Catholic primary schools GIFT (Growing In Faith Together) programme for 11 year olds Revolution inter church project. Young people from churches in east Belfast meet together during August to worship in the mornings, carry out practical service work in the afternoons and socialize together at night.  If you require any further information about any of the above activities or if you are interested in volunteering as a leader in our Parish Youth Group, please contact Noeleen Dunn on 07879 498131.


St. Colmcille’s Parish Safeguarding Committee was formed in May 2003 when the Hall Committee had identified the need to ensure good child protection practices in the parish premises.   The first task of the group was to draw up a Child Protection Policy for the parish and introduce a recruitment process for all volunteers working with young people. In 2005 the Diocese of Down and Connor introduced its own Child Protection requirements for all parishes and St. Colmcille’s Ballyhackamore fell in line with these.   The group now fulfils the same role as all Parish Safeguarding Committees in the Diocese which is:

1. To disseminate the Child Protection Policies and Procedures within the parish 2. To have a general overview of the all parish activities that may require to comply with the Down and Connor Child Protection Policy and Procedures 3. To advise all parish organisations on their responsibilities in relation to:

Child Protection (dealing with disclosures or the discovery of Child Abuse Best practice in partnership with other parish bodies Recruitment and selection 4. To liaise with the relevant Diocesan Personnel for Child Protection 5. To inform parishioners of the role and function of the Parish Child Care Committee 6. To ensure that all requirements of the Child Protection Policy and Procedures are met.

For further information, please contact the Parish Office: 90654157

TAP GROUP (Tanzanian African Project)

The TAP project began as part of St Colmcille’s Centenary celebrations from 2006-2009. It twins St Colmcille’s Parish with Moita Bwawani Mission in Tanzania, which is run by Fr John Gallagher SMA. The people at the mission are Massai. Although the Centenary Committee has stood down, the parish is keen to continue to support Moia Bwawani and a team of parishioners will continue to co-ordinate this project.

Contact:  Liam Dowds