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 suffering for 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