By Finian Coghlan
AFTER the tumult of the last year, nay two, 2022 will be gentled into by a new group being set up in Clane to try and redress this, by helping to offer a pathway to “stillness and silence through contemplative practices”.
John Farrelly, a special needs assistant at a local school and a spiritual director with the local parish, is the brainchild behind ‘Suaimhneas’ (‘Peace’). “There are a few of us behind this,” he said. Suaimhneas will host its first gathering at the Parish Centre in the village at 9.30am on Saturday 22 January.
“Suaimhneas aims to create a safe, supportive and inclusive contemplative space, where you can come to cultivate peace in your life so you can pour peace back into your piece of the world,” said John.
The new group finds its home in the parish centre on Clane’s Main Street, but “offers you an equal welcome whether you’re someone who comes from a faith tradition, whichever one, or have no religious affiliation at all”.
Suaimhneas will offer workshops on different contemplative practices like mindfulness, meditation or centering prayer throughout the year, as well as weekly, drop-in practice opportunities.
“This is aimed at anyone who finds themselves in a place where they’re not at peace in their life, and we’d like to be able to offer this support, within mindfulness or meditation, alone or within a group,” said John.
“When the pandemic hit, lots of people lost their avenues of support, and we now hope to offer this within the parish,” he said.
“We are not trying to recruit, we’re operating outside of the church building, there’ll be no evangelizing,” he promised.
“All will be welcome, and hopefully will wander away without feeling pressures. “To create that sort of space, where it’s completely open to all, that’s the aspiration,” he said.
“We’re creating a space where people can learn to be silent, can learn how to bring some peace and quiet and meditation in their lives, and perhaps then bring this into their private lives,” he said.
“We’d hope to do a workshop twice a week, and then perhaps bring in the [mindfulness] practitioners, that sort of thing.
“We’re not about providing a professional counselling service, that’s not what we’re about.
“People want more peace in their lives, and hopefully we can offer a little bit of this, but who knows!” he smiled.
However, John was quick to point out that this new group was not affiliated in any way with the Vincent de Paul programme of the same name which offers step-down, small-scale, female-only, homes for women who have successfully completed a residential drug rehab treatment, and are looking to return to society.
“There might be other projects out there with the same name, but this is a parish-based movement in Clane – not what you’d be finding online!” he corrected your reporter at the off.
Suaimhneas invites you to a ‘Morning of Peace’ on Saturday 22 January between 10am and 1pm where you can hear more about what we do, learn about contemplative practice and find some peace while practicing in the company of others.
Drop-in practice sessions will begin in their dedicated ‘Peace Room’ on Monday (24 January) at 9am, and Wednesday (26 January) at 7am and 7.30pm, and will take place at the same times each week thereafter. Booking is required and we invite a donation of €5.
For more information or to register for the ‘Morning of Peace’ contact:
John Farrelly on 0872466892 / [email protected]