The Bishop of Derry has hailed a faith-based camp in Limavady as “a wonderful sign of hope” for the future and as an example to other parishes.
Rev. Dr. Dónal McKeown was among special guests at a packed St. Mary’s chapel in Limavady for the launch of the third annual HOPE summer camp.
The week-long camp is faith-based and offers a host of sporting and leisure activities. This year 300 youngsters have registered, although organisers say they had to turn away hundreds more. Guest speakers at the launch were former BBC political reporter Martina Purdy and former barrister Elaine kelly who have joined a convent of nuns called the Adoration Sisters in west Belfast.
Rev. Dr. Donal McKeown said: “I think it’s a wonderful sign of hope for the future for this parish, and for many other places, and if we can package the message of the Gospel well and ensure our people can sense community it really can be a very positive experience for everybody, which is why I think so many want to be a part of it (HOPE).
“It’s a time when there are lots of small seeds beginning to burst onto the scene with people like Martina Purdy and Elaine Kelly joining the (Adoration) Sisters and, really, have given me a great sense that there is hope for the future because so many of our young pople are dying for want of a reason for living. Anything we can do to offer hope, and to be full of hope for them, I think is very important.”
Both Elaine Kelly and Martina Purdy told a captive audience about their decision to become a nun, about the careers in journalism and law they left, and why. They both said their calling had developed over time.
Martina spoke about her BBC job and how it was “exciting”, and how for 25 years she had been in a “privileged position to witness history”.
“But the greatest privilege of my life is being at the Lord’s table, in Eucharistic adoration, as an adoration sister,” said Martina, adding with humour: “If you had told me a few years ago that I would be quitting my job to wear brown and live on the Falls Road two doors down from Sinn Fein headquarters where I used to go to interview Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, I would have said ‘impossible’ but there is one piece of scripture that I quote often, and that is Luke One 37 - ‘For God nothing is impossible.’”
Limavady Parish Priest, Monsignor Bryan McCanny: said: “It’s a wonderful community effort. The committee doing this have been meeting and organising plans since the 1st of January and underlying it all, of course, is prayer.”