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The Seagull and Pigeon families of Lucan
July 28th issue of the newsletter mentioned seagulls nesting on roofs in Hillcrest. In the last month, 4 seagull fledglings left their nest on my roof. At first, they had some falls from the roof, might kill us, but not them. When a fledgling falls, its mother calls and makes a racket, other gulls come to her aid and increase the racket, swooping in protective circles around the newly hatched. I brave the swooping and take it back up and put it out the attic window. I expect mother gull to fuss and comfort it but no, she is wiser than many humans. She moves away from it. She is not encouraging that kind of thing. Thankfully she calls the swoopers off. Excellent communication all round without a single mobile phone.
I do not gladly return them to the nest. When I came to live in Hillcrest over 40 years ago, the evening sky would fill with murmurs of starlings weaving amazing patterns. October skies filled with Vs of geese returning from Greenland. Bluetits, thrushes, blacktops, wrens, siskins, and others, whose names I never knew, visited and nested in my garden. Still some dunnocks, finches and warblers at the feeders and of course there is a robin. Their numbers are way down because the big birds -- sea/herring gull, pigeons /collared doves, crows/rooks and magpies -- are taking over. But especially the gulls and pigeons. The morning sounds like a fishing village, which would be nice if it were one. Evening bundles of monotonous (five-note by four times) pigeon calls drown out the small bird's song.
This is not good news. These are city gulls who do not know the sea. They left that country many gull generations ago. Our throwaway habits and lack of predators have made city life easier. They are intelligent and aggressive, and their numbers are increasing. Soon, if not already, they will be a talked-about nuisance. Also, the pigeons unless a hunger drives us to live off them. Our small birds will become fewer and fewer in numbers and in kind. The loss will be ours. Times are changing and this time it's not technology that is causing the change.
I suggest less weed-killers, pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilisers. Allow the ladybirds, and bumblebees and other insects to live. Less perfect gardens could be a good thing.
So why do I put the fledgling seagulls back on the roof?
The Pathways Programme
The Pathways Programme is geared towards those who wish to explore issues and questions of: faith; ministry; the Church today and the nature of belief, in an environment appropriate to Adult Learning and Adult Faith Development. This course is suitable for men and women of all ages and from all walks of life who are looking for an opportunity to consider questions about belief and Church today. The main entry requirements are: a desire to explore faith; openness to participation; a willingness to listen and an interest in new ideas and approaches to ministry. No academic qualifications and no previous study in theology or spirituality are necessary. There is no required written work and there are no exams.
The programme runs over two years from late September to late May each year. It takes place on Thursday evenings from 7.00p.m. – 9.30 p.m. in Clonliffe College, Clonliffe Road. The programme this year will be starting on Thursday 27th September
The course values the life experience which the participants bring and, accordingly, group sharing is an integral part of the learning process each year. The course also offers the spiritual and theological formation which will enable participants to explore their faith with greater confidence. It also helps assist people to prepare themselves to respond to the needs of the Church and community and to work in partnerships and parish teams. Participants have an opportunity to take part in various liturgies and times of Directed Prayer during the year.
Fees are €400 each year. Fees may be paid in a full at the beginning of the year or in instalments throughout the year. Part-sponsorship may be available from some parishes.
In the first year the emphasis is on the personal experiences and the faith journeys of the participants. Subjects include: How Adult Learn; Stages of Faith; Images of God; Introduction to Scripture; Celebrating the Church’s Year; The Person of Christ; Personal Journey; Sacraments; The Moral Life; Spirituality and Prayer. The focus of the second year is on Christian living, the Gospel call and how we respond to it. Subjects include: Visions and Models of Church; Approaches to Ministry; Bereavement and Loss; Family; Pastoral Issues Today; Justice and Peace, Ecumenism; Ecology; Caring for Yourself.
For further information please contact:
Eileen Houlahan, CHF, PhD Director, Pathways Programme, Office for Evangelisation and Ecumenism, Holy Cross Diocesan Centre, Clonliffe Road, Dublin 3, D03 P2E7. Tel: +353 1 8379253 Ext 294 Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org