Fr Michael O’Leary SMA reflects on 29 years of Wilton Parish Centre
“As the Church, and indeed our Society, seeks to be relevant to the needs of our world today the SMA Centre is sending out a clear message of its intention to be a partner in this regard.”
The SMA Parish Centre at Wilton embarks on its 29th year in operation this month (October 2016). Prior to my taking up the job of Parish Priest at St Joseph’s SMA parish, Wilton, a year ago I had no idea of what was going on at the Centre. It was there!!
However in this one year I have come to see the Centre as an interesting focus for the relevance of the church today, and indeed of our Society. The daily schedule of events taking place at the Centre is amazing. It can vary from yoga, to meditation, to Bingo, to Bowls etc. etc. Such a wonderful variety of events that nurtures the mind, body and spirit!
The life of the Centre relies upon the assistance of Community workers. These are wonderful people. I am impressed with their sincerity and dedication. But I am glad that the administration of the Centre looks to the needs of these people by encouraging them to avail of opportunities to further their education while with us by identifying courses for them.
The array of programmes now being offered by the Centre reflects the changing nature of society today.
Some of the long standing events, like Bingo, which were a major source of income for the Centre, are now declining. Popular requests for space at the Centre today are for programmes on Mindfulness and Dietary concerns and the new language groups in the Cork area.
But perhaps the greatest challenge for the future of the Centre will be its ability in terms of available space and resources to tap into the rising demands being experienced by the expanding Cork University Hospital (CUH) across the road from the church. The hospital is urgently seeking more and more reliable accommodation to host its enormous expansion. It will be important for our Centre to be seen as a reliable partner in this development.
As the Church, and indeed our Society, seeks to be relevant to the needs of our world today the SMA Centre is sending out a clear message of its intention to be a partner in this regard.
Great credit must be given to the administration of our Centre. They are giving the parish of Wilton and the SMA an opportunity to be Church.
Fr. Michael O’Leary SMA