Parish centre open for business

by Gazette Reporter
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A €5.8m parish centre in Malahide is set to become the heart of the local community after it announced that it is officially up and running.
The parish centre at St Sylvester’s Church has taken 10 years of planning and two years to build, with final touches set to be put in place over the coming months.
The brand new centre opened its doors in recent months and is now available for local community groups, events and meetings to be held, as well as offering space to local fitness classes and community services.
The development is testament to the generosity of Micheal Gaffney, a local resident who left over €3m to the funding of the project and in his memory, a hall on the ground floor – which is a refurbishment of the old parish hall – has been named, Gaffney Hall.
“It is the only hall that hasn’t been named after a saint,” explained manager of the parish centre, Sharon O’Sullivan
“He left a substantial contribution in his will and this is the result.”
The centre has a number of rooms available for rent and halls to host community and church events, and each room has been named after a saint.
“We’re still really at the very start of everything. We are hoping it will be the hub of the community and we’re in a very good position because the church is the centre of the village; it’s certainly the basis of it. [The parish centre] is a place for the whole community to use, not necessarily just for people who use the church,” she said.
According to Sharon, the parish centre is already getting positive feedback from members of the community, and an official opening is planned for November 16, when the archbishop will bless the new building.
The centre also plans to host a series of open days for Malahide and surrounding communities to view the new facilities.
Before the new development, St Sylvester’s Church only had a parish hall, and the land used for the new centre lay vacant.
“The parish hall that was here before was damp and the windows were boarded off, so it has been completely refurbished and now there is a Montessori in the parish hall every morning and it is used in the evenings,” said Sharon.
The centre also features prayer chapels, and a cylindrical room where members of the whole community can go to think or pray.
“It’s a space that people can come and go, whatever religion they are. Anyone can come and sit down and just enjoy the space. It’s an alternative idea and a lovely space. When you sit in it, it’s very hard to leave.”
Striking features of the new centre include the stained glass windows located within the prayer chapel and in the interior of the Parish Centre.
The panes of glass featured in the windows have been sponsored by different members of the local Malahide community.
“They won’t have names written on them, but people will know that they helped in the development,” said Sharon.
While the centre is almost complete, the remaining debt of €1m is yet to be paid off. It is the centre’s plan to pay off the debt over the course of the next 10 years. As a means of raising funds, the centre has set up the 1,000 Club Draw, which will be limited to 1,000 participants and will take the form of 12 monthly draws. Each year, there will be a grand prize draw. The cost to enter the draw is €120 or €10 per month.
Forms are available from the parish centre or by contacting Sharon on 086 0492369.

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