Leixlip Parish Cells
of Evangelisation
Below are a number of personal Testimonies
submitted by members of Leixlip, Confey and Celbridge
Parish Cells of Evangelisation.
While I always believed in God, through the Cells I came to KNOW Him, and it has taken my relationship with God to a different level.

God is just like one of my best friends and I treat Him this way, talking to Him in normal words and telling Him about my day and sometimes asking Him for something or other.
The Cells made me aware that Gods love is available to ALL of us , whether we think ourselves to be worthy of it or not.

The Cells have made me aware of Gods presence in all that I do every minute of the day.
He is at work in the things we know about, the little things, that we sometimes take for granted. Gods love and support is there for us all, and He is just waiting in the wings
for us to open our hearts and welcome Him in.

The Cells opened that door for me.

Joan Scanlon. Leixlip

It is now almost twelve years since my first encounter with Cells.

It all came about from one visit to a cell meeting in Ballinteer together with three other parishioners. I came back from there that very night knowing I had awakened something within me but wasn't sure what. The journey with Cells since then has been wonderful.

Each day now as I go about my daily work and family life I am confident that God is taking this journey with me. I am now living my faith. I am no 'HOLY JOE', neither do I feel to need to visit the church on an on-going basis.

Yes, of course I go to visit God in the church and we chat, but as a TESTIMONY to the Cell Meetings we can indeed talk to God anywhere anytime. Our meetings give me the opportunity to come to God in thanksgiving for my new found faith, and ask him for the help and courage to share this faith with others.

Finally it is because of my involvement with Cells that God is now my friend and a real part of
who I am.

Ann Barnes. Leixlip

What has cells meant to me? That is a question I have often asked myself over the past eleven years.
It is hard to put feeling or conviction into text, but cells have changed those two aspects of my life, and for the better.

Prior to my knowing of or involvement in cells I had an arms length connection with my faith. I was not christened Thomas for nothing. If I could not touch it, taste it, see it then I doubted its existence. Not to put all my eggs in the one basket I kept the door ajar just in case this religious thing was true. I firmly believed in asking for help when in difficulties whether at exam time or other trying experiences. My conviction consisted of, maybe or perhaps, but for the sake of soul and body, I played along and did my weekly duties, pretty thin ice on which to build a relationship with God.

I would like to say that I got a blinding flash and everything changed over night, the first time I encountered cells, but not so.

What I got was a slow broadening of my thinking, a chance to discuss my faith, secure in the knowledge that others were in the same boat as me, either too private to admit their doubts or too disinterested to do anything about it. Cells gave me the freedom to ask questions, to tell others I had a very poor knowledge of the bible and never read a page from it.

When I was a young person, living in a rural border community, I was assured that the Bible was a Protestant book, and it was not allowed in our family home. As a student or business related subjects, in particular personnel management, I became aware or the Protestant work ethic and the altruism of the Quaker's in particular towards their workers.
Firms like Jacobs, Peeke Freenes, Cadburys and Guinness cared for their staff beyond the call of duty. This was a revelation as those firms firmly believed in living by the code of the Bible and Gods law. It occurred to me that their Bible was also our Bible and a huge source of good that we in the Catholic Church should be using publicly. But I still held on to the idea that it was not a book for me.

Cells put an end to that confusion and outdated thinking, and placed the Bible and the word of God at the center of my beliefs. Cells gave me the freedom to talk about my ignorance of my own faith. Prior to cells I saw God as a record keeper who documented our faults and carried the balance over at the end of each page, a God who punished and kept grudges and settled old scores at the end of life by a wag of his finger.

I now see God in everyone whom I meet; I see his smile in that of a baby.
I see his tenderness in the interaction of a mother and child.
I see his strength in parents trying to pass on their values to their children.
I see his compassion in the voluntary social worker trying to help the less fortunate in our society.
I see his love in the bare hands of the earthquake worker trying to dig out a stranger from under the rubble of a natural disaster. Put simply I now see God everywhere and everyplace and all around us.
I see God as a friend to turn to ask for help. I see God as our Saviour.

On a much simpler note, our cell night is one and a half hours out from the ordinary struggles of life and a time to meet and spend quiet time with true friends. There is no judging, pretending or bossing. There is silence, singing, scripture reading, teaching and informal prayers. There is quiet discussion with no know-all's present. It is ok to say I don't understand. It is ok to ask for prayers to help in difficulties, knowing that I don't have to explain myself the next day should I meet someone whom I asked to pray for me the night before.

Cells are a new beginning, a new dawn and a great source of comfort to me.

Thomas Clancy. Leixlip

I had Faith. I believed in God. I believed in Jesus.

I had the faith of my childhood, what you might call my inherited faith, and nothing wrong with that. It was neatly packaged and readily to hand for Sundays, Holy Days, First Communions, Confirmations, Weddings and Funerals and always in times of trouble.
It hadn't changed a lot from my school days.

Yes there were times when I felt God very close to me. On reflection , this was on the occasions when I turned to Him.Other than on these rare occasions, my Faith was dormant. I felt this. I knew there was something missing.

About ten years ago I was invited to attend a cell meeting. At first I was doubtful but was prevailed upon to give it a bit of time. During this experience, I learnt that, one of the stated purposes of a Cell is: "To Grow in Intimacy with the Lord".

This was a revelation to me.
It went against my perception of who God was, the all seeing, judgmental, fearful God.
Intimacy with the Lord!
Intimacy implies Love.

Love is a lot of things brought together in a relationship. Forgiving, sharing, giving, receiving, supporting, nurturing, the list is as endless as True Love itself.
How could I get to know Jesus that well?

I had to learn how to pray. Not just words. Prayer from the heart. I had to learn to trust. To trust unconditionally in Jesus and all that He promised.

With Prayer and reading the Scriptures, over time, that intimate relationship with Jesus developed, and is still developing. An intimacy, wherein Jesus is a friend, who I can talk to, who I confide in and who comforts and guides me.
All that I ever needed to do was to answer God's call and say "Here I am Lord.

Jesus calls us all, at some point or other in our lives.He knows when we are ready, not only ready to hear Him, but, ready to listen to Him.

I am so grateful that ten years ago He invited me to Come and See. To Hear and to Listen

Dan Kelly. Confey

My journey with cells, began with an invitation during a "Come and See" program in our Parish Centre in Leixlip, to come to one of the homes, to a cell meeting.

At that time I was living life in a fast lane, like many of us do. I found being there in this cell a wonderful opportunity, to take some time out for myself. To reflect, just to BE, and not feel I had to say or do anything.

As time went on I found myself placing greater trust in the Lord. As I now understand it, the Holy Spirit was coming into my life, and I was allowing time to develop my Spiritual growth, and guess what, I was enjoying this new found growth.

Today, while I still have the usual challenges that one encounters in the journey of life, I value the quiet sacred space and time that the cells afford.

I also realize that I am not the Executive Manager of the Universe, and I am still learning each day to hand over and let God help.

Mary Hanlon. Leixlip

In November 2003 I stumbled across two books written by Fr. Michael urley,'Transforming your Parish' - Building a Faith Community, and 'Transforming your Life'. One of these books outlines a five week programme entitled 'Come & See' and explains the Parish Cell System of Evangelization. The other one is a handbook which accompanies the 'Come & See' program and can also be used as a personal prayer resource.

These two books were, for me, a revelation. Catholic Parish Cells (small home faith groups) had been active in Ireland since 1990 and were interlinked to cell groups all around the world. This was something I had wished to be part of during the previous twenty five years.

I grew up in a strong catholic community in Co. Leitrim. Neighbours got together on a very regular basis to rejoice in good times and to support each other in sadness. There was a great sense of caring for each other. We were all part of a bigger family and this was affirmed by the prayer and example of the adults. Because of distance and lack of transport it was not always possible to attend church services but this did not weaken the faith that was witnessed through the example of peoples' daily lives.

This was the type of environment I rediscovered through Parish Cells. The story of salvation was once again brought alive in homes, opportunities opened up to carry it on through daily living. I became part of a living church.

Thomas and I have hosted a cell meeting in our home since July 2004. Initially it was daunting, maybe even frightening to consider opening our home to strangers. In the firm belief that a 'stranger is a friend we do not know' and that the Lord has promised "Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among you". (Matt. 18:20), we embarked on the wonderful journey of cell. Now six years on, and still at the embryonic stage we have received blessings too numerous to mention and have enjoyed it beyond our expectations.

On a personal note, I have learned that God, through Jesus, is always by my side.
My faith is moving from a link with an institution to a link with the word of God. Through cells I am beginning to use scripture as a prayer resource simply by looking for Jesus on every page and trying to hear what He is saying to me. During the past twelve years when I have been faced with some very difficult situations I didn't need to sit in a church alone, I texted or emailed my cell friends for prayer support with the expectation of the Lord's promise - "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my father in heaven" (Matt. 18:19-20).

While listening to stories and testimonies from others I came to know that the words 'Our Father' are a relationship, not a title. This experience has helped me to realise that I need to do my best in any given situation and then hand the rest over to God as He has promised "Ask, and you will receive"(Matt. 7:7) For me, this means less stress, less worry, and a reason to live joyfully as encouraged by the Lord's promise". I have come in order that you might have life - life in all its fullness"(John 10:10)

I believe that words cannot describe the Spirit awakened by participation in cell groups. I have tried to explain something of what it means to me. If you would like to know what it could mean for you I invite you to "Come and See"(John 1: 46)

Bridie Clancy. Leixlip

I find great peace in my life after my time with my prayerful friends and I wish that everyone could have the opportunity to listen to Fr. Michael's teaching, so that their faith could be reaffirmed and enriched.

Bridie Flynn. Confey

My name is Maura Duggan and I am from Celbridge. I am a member of the Parish Pastoral Council in Celbridge.
I met Bridie Clancy at an area meeting of Parish Pastoral Councils about three years ago and Bridie told me about the Cell prayer groups in Leixlip. I had seen some adverts in the Church newsletters and it sounded interesting. Through talking to Bridie I mentioned that I really could only attend morning meetings due to having young kids and being involved in another Parish group in the evenings. Sometime later Bridie and I met again and got to talk about the Cell prayer meetings and she mentioned the morning Cell group that had recently started in Leixslip. So I got Mary the leader of that groups telephone number and decided to start going to the group each fortnight, just to try it out initially. I liked the small group and the friendly athmosphere. Mary is a great hostess and very down to earth, which appealed to me. I rarely missed a meeting with Mary and the group.

I always felt uplifted after the prayer meeting, as if I had shared out my burden and also reached out to the other members in friendship and Christian unity. Sharing became easier as the months went on and trust grew with the team. Everyone was a valuable member, and we prayed for each others intentions during the weeks. I really liked the simple approach of the Cell, no great theology needed, human stories shared both from the bible and from our person lives.

Then as time went on I felt I could lead a group myself in Celbridge but left it to God to decide the right timing. During that time my Dad passed away so I missed a few meetings and then Summer holidays also came so when Autumn came last year my group started. It was hard to leave Mary's group as I felt very at home and relaxed there.

I did however feel as time went on that more people I knew would enjoy and benefit from the Cell so I invited 12 ladies that I knew in Straffan and Celbridge and between 5 and 12 have been coming regularly to the meeting each fortnight.

It was a little challenging at first being a leader but now I'm ok with it and the others all share the talking and sharing which for the first few meetings can be slow. Bridie came to one of our early meetings and really enjoyed it! We meet on a Wed. morning and so far its all ladies but all are welcome.

I feel the Holy Spirit brings those who are meant to be there. Our group is relatively new but has lots of potential to grow and further multiply in the future. I would really like to reach out to young and middle aged people in their 20's, 30's and 40's who I know would like this simple but Christian approach to prayer (of course age is only in the mind, so all are welcome.) My 90 year old mum is the best example of being young at heart and faith.

The Cell groups are like mini families where we accept and look after each other.

Maura Duggan. Celbridge

EMail: leixlipparishcells@gmail.com