ST MATTHEW'S PARISH ~ A VERY SPECIAL PLACE
St Matthew’s Parish is a small
Catholic enclave close to Belfast city centre. It is one
of the oldest
parishes in the city. The first Church of St Matthew
was built in a field between present day Bryson Street and Seaforde Street.
Since it was consecrated in March 1831 until the present day, the parishioners
have been engaged in a continuous battle for survival against poverty, unemployment,
sectarianism and redevelopment.
Despite its proximity to the city centre, the close-knit nature of the community
has ensured that the little corner of Ballymacarrett retains a village-like
atmosphere. Older residents will tell you that St Matthew’s parishioners
are special. Perhaps they are right. Certainly, generations of hardship and
their faith have forged a tough but resilient and caring community.
The story of St Matthew’s Parish and its people is beautifully told in
an excellent little book by Patricia Kernaghan. Watching for Daybreak: A History
of St Matthew’s Parish costs £5 plus postage
and package. Copies are available from: St Matthew’s Parochial House, Bryson
Street, Belfast, BT5 4ES.