A wonderful day of ‘Family Faith, Fun and Food’ was enjoyed by a huge crowd of people, from all 55 parishes in Tuam Archdiocese at Ballinrobe Racecourse.
The weather was thankfully very favourable and the venue was superb.
Following a sad and difficult week in the archdiocese, when one of its youngest priests, Fr Patrick Burke died suddenly in Westport, it was encouraging for all to witness the enthusiastic response to our Family Celebration Day.
People of all ages turned up, including families from other countries who have made their home within our Diocese.
There were activities for all ages! Children were entertained with bouncy castles, face-painting, balloon modelling, frolics in the playground and the very popular Mister Majestic, the Magician.
Food and ice-cream were provided too. Many brought along their musical instruments and had the opportunity to perform with John Kilkenny’s Music Group.
Areas of great interest were the many stands and exhibits, showcasing the various groups and movements supporting family life in the West.
Beautiful stands were provided by Fr Frank Fahy and his team in Ballintubber Abbey. These included stands for Knock and all that happens there, the Family Centre in Castlebar, Faith and Light Group, a vocations stand, various religious orders, WMOF and Suzy the iconographer.
The central focus for the day was Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Michael Neary with concelebrants Fr Francis Mitchell, Diocesan Secretary and Fr Michael Gormley PP in Ballinrobe.
Recently ordained Fr Gerard Quirke received a warm welcoming round of applause from the congregation.
Ballinrobe Parish Choir, conducted by Richard Crumlish and accompanied by Fr Peter Gannon, were joined with choir members from other parishes.
Archbishop Neary spoke of the centrality of family and its power in creating a home, saying: “Home is where the seeds of hope are sown, where we recognise there is a safe harbour into which we can sail, as we take shelter from what can often be a very competitive, calculating and constricting culture”.