Clergy

Parish of Kirkinriola

“When you see a priest, think of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – St. John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests.

Monsignor Patrick Delargy
Parish Priest

“Welcome to our parish website. Ballymena is a large market town in the middle of County Antrim, one of the most northern counties in Ireland. We’re in the shadow of Slemish mountain.  In this area our means of communication have changed radically since Saint Patrick’s day, but the message remains the same:

Christ be beside me
Christ be in the heart of everyone who thinks of me
Christ be in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ be in every eye that sees me
Christ be in every ear that hears me”

Fr Delargy grew up in the nearby village of Cushendun and was ordained to the priesthood on 7th July, 1973. Upon his return to the diocese he was appointed as a lecturer within St Mary’s College of Education and dean of residence in St Joseph’s College of Education (1974 to 1989). In August 1989 he was appointed as president of St MacNissi’s College, where he ministered until his appointment as administrator of the Parish of St Colmcille’s in Belfast in August 2002. Since September 2009, Monsignor Delargy has served as Parish Priest of Ballymena and also as Vicar General since August 2017.

In His Own Words

“The Gospel of John stresses that eternal life is present now: ‘Truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life.’ We look forward to the final coming of Jesus but His hidden glory already appears with his coming into the world. The last hour is already present. The voice of victory is already sounding: it is the word of Jesus. It makes a difference to the way we act. It prepares us to recognise Christlike love in others no matter who they are or where they come from.”

“Prayerful worship of God is a delight in itself and a stimulus to unselfish charitable activity because we are living in Christ’s presence in eternal peace.”

“Ask yourself what gives you most satisfaction? Is it not seeing someone else grow and flourish? Forget yourself, that’s the best way to find happiness. Love of neighbour is what really makes the difference between riches and poverty. No price is too high to get the reward of discovering God’s will in the midst of everyday living and helping others to follow that way.”

What made you want to become a priest?

I had a conversation with a priest- vocation was greatly esteemed. Experiences at school. I also liked the prospect of a challenge. 

What is your favourite line or verse in the Bible?

God loved us first. 1 John 4:7

Who is your favourite saint and why?

St. Francis de Sales. He was thoughtful, a great communicator and lived what he believed.

Do you have any specific goals in mind for the next 2 years?

Influence more people for the good. More challenges. Be more prayerful.

What specific advice would you give to Catholics, who want to follow God in today’s world? Advice can be on prayer, relationships with others, or how to ‘live in the love of God.’

Search for or see opportunities to meet Christ in every situation. Explore very difficult notion of “encountering Christ.”

What is the best thing about being a priest? 

It’s not something I think about. I like opportunities to influence others and being with inspirational people.

What book would you recommend for people who want to live more joyful, meaningful lives? 

An Introduction to the Devout Life

David Copperfield

If you could do things in your life differently, what would they be?

Write short summaries of literature I have read in my own words.

Practise public speaking/communication.

Fr Aloysius Lumala

Fr Aloysius was born in Mpigi, Uganda on 16th September 1979. He was ordained a priest on 9th August 2008. at Lubaga Cathedral, Kampala, by Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga. He came to Belfast in 2012 to study and has been working as a curate in St Teresa’s parish since then. Fr Aloysius recently received his PhD in Theology from Maynooth University.

In His Own Words

“If you want God’s mercy, be an instrument of mercy yourself through humility and honesty.”

What made you want to become a priest?

As a young boy I was inspired by our parish priest at the time and over time I felt called to serve God and his people.

What is your favourite line or verse in the Bible?

Ps 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Who is your favourite saint and why?

St. John Paul II. He is a contemporary saint with inspiring teachings that speak to all categories of people.

Do you have any specific goals in mind for the next 2 years?

To serve with renewed vigour.

What specific advice would you give to Catholics, who want to follow God in today’s world? Advice can be on prayer, relationships with others, or how to ‘live in the love of God.’

Always to put God first in all they do, that is by being honest, loving, kind and hopeful regardless of the challenges of life.

What is the best thing about being a priest? 

Priesthood is a fulfilling vocation since the ministry itself is so enriching in many ways and also parishioners are always very supportive.

What book would you recommend for people who want to live more joyful, meaningful lives? 

Success God’s Way: Achieving True Contentment and Purpose, by Charles Stanley

Fr. Patrick Mc Kenna PE

Fr. Paddy was born in Derry City in 1944. The family moved to Ballymena in 1953 . He was educated in  Ballymena Boys Primary School and afterwards at St. Mac Nissi’s College, Garron Tower. He was ordained for the Diocese of Down and Connor in 1970 and taught in Garron Tower until 1984 when he was transferred to Our Lady and St. Patrick’s College, Knock in East Belfast (1984-1999). In 1999 he became Parish Priest of Dundrum (1999-2008). In 2008 he was appointed PP. of Holy Rosary parish in Belfast. (2008-2019.) On retirement he returned to All Saints Parish in Ballymena as priest in residence.

What made you want to become a priest?

My love of daily Mass as a teenager and my awareness of one or two priests who encouraged me to think seriously about priesthood. That love of the Mass was given to me by my parents esp. my father who encouraged me to go to Mass and receive the Eucharist. The priests who touched my life had a way with people that made them loved and respected. They were very pastoral in their relationships with people as well as being holy men. I wanted to be like that.

What is you favourite line or verse in the Bible?

“I will go on to the altar of God, on to God who gives joy to my youth”. It reminds me of my days as an altar server and reminds me of the great privilege it is to celebrate Mass. I usually recite those words silently on leaving the sacristy or at the foot of the altar.

Who is your favourite saint and why?

St. Patrick. He reminds me of what mission and evangelization is all about. I think he was a very human person and I have been much influenced by his “Confession” which begins with those words, ‘I Patrick a sinner’. St. Augustine as a philosopher, St. John Bosco as an educationalist, and St. John Henry Newman as a writer and philosopher have a special place in my list of favourite saints.

Do you have any specific goals in the next two years?

I would like to write something about my own personal experiences as a priest involved in Catholic Education for 50 years, whether as a teacher, a school Principal or as a member on various Boards of Governors. I would also like to collate the various homilies I have written and saved in the last 20 years as a priest in parish ministry.

What advice would you give to Catholics, who want to follow God in today’s world?

Take to heart the fact that we are all children of God and at the same time flawed human beings. Hold on to the fact that that the grace of sacraments are God’s way of helping us cope with life and enhance our relationship with him. Never forget the two commandments; love God and love your neighbour with all that it entails.

What is the best thing about being a priest?

The countless opportunities afforded to help people in need and the gratitude expressed when one makes the effort to be of help. Priesthood is an ideal way of following  in the footsteps fo the Good Shepherd.

What book would you recommend for people who want to live more joyful meaningful lives?

Undoubtedly the New Testament. I would also recommend “Prayers of Life” by Michel Quoist as a guide on how to pray and how to live out one’s life in a meaningful life as a follower of Christ. My favourite book is called “Paradise Alley” written by an Irish Writer, John D Sheridan. It is a about a teacher who lived his life coping with poor families in Dublin.

Prayer for Priests

Gracious and loving God, we thank you for the gift of our priests.

Through them, we experience your presence in the sacraments.

Help our priests to be strong in their vocation.

Set their souls on fire with love for your people.

Grant them the wisdom, understanding, and strength they need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

Inspire them with the vision of your Kingdom.

Give them the words they need to spread the Gospel.

Allow them to experience joy in their ministry.

Help them to become instruments of your divine grace.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest.

Amen.

All Saints’- what does it mean to be a saint?

Kirkinriola parish celebrates the richness of our great faith, especially through the lives of the saints, which are a great guide for us all. Our churches contain many stained-glass windows of the saints who have lived up to the great potential for which God made them.

But who is a saint? The Catholic Church says that a saint is someone who has demonstrated heroic virtue, someone who is a friend of God, someone who is in heaven. Virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do good. Jesus is Absolute Goodness, pure love. Although we can sometimes view saints as other-worldly creatures, they are simply their most loving selves. St. Paul describes love in his Letter to the Corinthians: “love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” So each time we are more patient, kind and less self-seeking, we become more like Jesus, more like the saints which he invites us to be. We can begin today with simple acts of love.

Saints are those who have allowed Jesus to thoroughly transfigure them from within. Paul understood this when he observed, “yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). In one part of the Bible, Jesus gets into Peter’s boat and says, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch” (Lk 5:4). For a Galilean fisherman, his boat was everything, his livelihood, his link to the wider world, his key to survival. Jesus’ uninvited boarding of the vessel represents the invasion of grace, the incoming of the divine into someone’s life. We presume that Peter had been successful enough as a fisherman, but now, under Jesus’ direction, he goes out into the deep and brings in more than he could ever have imagined. This is what happens when we invite Jesus into our lives. The saints are those who have allowed Jesus to get into their boats and who have thereby become not superhuman or angelic but fully human, as alive as God intended them to be.

The entire purpose of the Church is to produce saints. Scripture, tradition, Liturgy, and the sacraments are all means to this end. And this is why being aware of the saints is so essential to our lives in Ballymena. We need the saints in order to come to a richer understanding of God, for each saint in his or her particular manner reflects something of God’s perfection. We might think of God as an absolutely intense white light that, when refracted in creation, expresses itself in an infinite variety of colours. The saints reflect particular colours, and that is why their variety is so important in our lives. We all have the potential to become saints, and only God knows how we are doing on our journey. So it’s best not to compare yourself with other people, but start by focussing on who you were yesterday and steadily improve day by day through God’s grace. St. Mother Teresa sums up her identity and mission well, “By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.”

Just as the magnificence of a stained glass window can only be seen when the light shines and when we are on the inside, so we can only fully appreciate the beauty and richness of our faith when we are inside, in the churches of All Saints’ and St. Patrick’s, Ballymena! We are pleased to welcome you into our spiritual home.