Statement on closure of Our Lady’s Church, Harryville, Ballymena
“The Church of Our Lady, Mother of the Church, was solemnly blessed and dedicated on 8 September 1968 by the Bishop of Down and Connor Dr William Philbin having been built on a site given to the parish of Kirkinriola. For over forty years together with our other church buildings it has served the spiritual needs of the people of the parish. Its distinctive architecture made it a special feature in Ballymena and its beautiful interior made it a place particularly suited to prayer and worship. Parishioners have many rich memories of the church. As well as the thousands of Masses that have been celebrated there it was the venue for numerous weddings, funerals and baptisms. The church had very close connections with the nearby St Mary’s Primary School. There were difficulties at both locations and these were borne by the priests and people of the parish with great strength and Christian charity.
The design of the building was very adventurous. However problems with water ingress were never fully resolved over the years. For some time now the building has been unsafe and has had to be taken out of use in February 2012. Now, because of the damage to the roof and the building and the consequent risk of electrical failure, the cost of repair would be prohibitive. The costs, coupled with an assessment of the current needs of the parish community, has prompted the parish authorities to close the church on a permanent basis. This decision has naturally been taken with regret on account of the fond memories and strong attachments that we all naturally have to a church building.”
Thankfully it has been possible to relocate the congregation to Crebilly, a fine Church capable of accommodating all who wish to attend Sunday Mass.
Media contact: Fr Edward McGee 0044 (0) 7811144268