DVD premiere for Columba community

Father Neal Carlin.
Father Neal Carlin.

The sign outside said ‘Poltergeist’ but it was a very different film they were showing inside Buncrana cinema on Wednesday night.

The cinema was packed for the first ever screening of “Wait on the Lord,” a documentary looking at the work of the Columba community and Father Neal Carlin since the early 1980s.

Filmed by Danny Kelly and Rory McSwiggan, the documentary heard powerful testimonies from local people who said they had been healed at Masses celebrated by Father Neal Carlin.

One woman said she continues to attend healing Masses with her family years after she was cured of breast cancer while another revealed she was completely cured from crippling injuries caused by a car accident when Father Carlin laid his hands on her head.

The early part of the documentary focussed on the vocation of Father Neal Carlin.

He said after he entered the seminary he became “hooked”.

“I remember looking at a crucifix my grandmother gave me and I felt a great unity with Christ. I felt a peace and a personal relationship with God,” he said.

Father Neal said he felt the Lord sending him a message in the form of Isaiah 40, verse 31 - “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Father Neal found this message reappearing to him at several points in the life - in houses of prayer in America and at a prayer meeting in El Paso.

But he said the strangest message came when he was driving through a loyalist estate in the 1980s on his way back from a visit to Long Kesh prison.

“I stopped and a man in the estate asked me to come to his house. It was a strange day. I had just been saying Mass with the provos and then I was in this loyalist estate in this man’s house. On his table was a book with the words from Isaiah 40, verse 31.

“The Lord was telling me to wait on him. This is the foundation on which the community was built.”

The film heard testimonies from many members of the Columba community, as well as people who have been through the Whiteoaks rehabilitation centre.

Arylene, a former resident said: “This was the first place I felt looked after as a person.

“I was met at the door and told - welcome to the rest of your life.”

Father Neal said the real dynamic that keeps the ministry going is the community of prayer and reconciliation.

“This is a faith walk with a group of people,” he said.

The DVD ‘Wait on the Lord’ is now available to buy.