Newry.ie

Mulți dintre membrii comunității de români din Newry, o comunitate mică dar în creștere, se adună în fiecare weekend la Altnaveigh House pentru slujba de la biserică. Aceștia sunt o congregație a Bisericii Române Penticostale și, precum în cazul altor religii, muzica are un rol foarte important în cadrul slujbelor.

Biserica, singura din Newry în momentul de față care oferă slujbe dedicate românilor, funcționează aici de patru luni, iar numărul enoriașilor este în creștere. Biserica este condusă de preotul Gaspar Covaciu. Acesta este în slujba Domnului de 20 de ani, continuându-și profesia atunci când a ajuns în Newry, cu trei ani în urmă.

The Service in progress at Altnaveigh House. Photograph: NewRayPics.com
The Romanian Pentecostal Service in progress at Altnaveigh House. Photograph: NewRayPics.com

“Oamenii care vin aici, familiile, nu au parte de beneficii, de nimic, și încercăm să îi ajutăm”, a declarat preotul Gaspar. “Dar nu este suficient spațiu. Avem nevoie de o locație mai mare pentru că numărul celor care vin este în creștere.”

Stugureu Lovaciu, un interpret al preotului, a declarat că biserica este o locație vitală pentru romanii din zona orașului Newry, numărul acestora deși mic, fiind în continuă creștere.

“Majoritatea românilor, aproximativ 90%, sunt creștini”, precizează acesta. “Biserica îi ajută pe toți și de aceea numărul nostru este în creștere aici.”

Stugureu a declarat că mulți români și-au părăsit țara natală din cauza lipsei banilor și a medicamentelor. Precum majoritatea imigranților, au venit aici în căutarea unei vieți mai bune.

Deși acesta recunoaște că bariera lingvistică reprezintă o mare dificultate, el spune că simte a sa comunitate integrată și primită cu brațele deschise de oamenii din Newry. “Oamenii sunt prietenoși”, spune acesta. “Întâmpin foarte puțin rasism. Este bine aici.”

Florin Covaciu, un adolescent membru al bisericii, declară că biserica și credința lui sunt de foarte mare importanță pentru el. “Biserica este importantă pentru că toată lumea Îl iubește pe Dumnezeu și toți avem nevoie de el”, a precizat el. “Ne întâlnim cu toții, cu familiile noastre, și cântăm împreună, ceea ce este important. Cântatul este minunat.”

Teofil Covaciu. Photograph: NewRayPics.com
Teofil Covaciu. Photograph: NewRayPics.com

El a adăugat: “Suntem creștini. Nu fumăm, nu bem alcool, nu consumăm droguri. Suntem oameni buni.”

Florin, un elev de 14 ani de la liceul din Newry spune că se simte ca acasă în noile sale împrejurimi. “Newry este un loc bun” a adăugat Florin. “Unii oameni, nu toți, spun lucruri despre mine pentru că sunt din România. Nu este plăcut, dar nu mă întristează. Se mai întâmplă. Noi mergem înainte. Nu toată lumea e așa.”

Florin încă mai are membri ai familiei rămași acasă. Îi este dor de ei, dar este fericit aici și își dorește să studieze pentru a deveni mecanic, o oportunitate care ar putea să nu fie disponibilă pentru el acasă.

Dar totuși spune că românii din comunitatea aflată aici încă au nevoie de ajutor. “Avem nevoie de mai mult spațiu”, a adăugat acesta.

Teofil Covaciu, fiul preotului Gaspar, este de asemenea elev al liceului din Newry. Băiatul de 14 ani spune că îi place viața de școlar. “Materia mea preferată este mecanica”, spune Teo. “Vreau să devin mecanic atunci când voi crește.”

El spune că viața unui adolescent care locuiește departe de casă poate fi dificilă, dar adaugă : “Îmi place Newry. Este casa mea acum.”

---------------

The sound of music can be heard on the Belfast Road every Saturday night.

Many of Newry's small but growing Romanian community gather each weekend at Altnaveigh House for their weekly church service.

They are a congregation of the Romanian Pentecostal church and, like many religions, music plays a huge part in their services.

The Church - the only Romanian service currently in Newry - has been operating here for four months - and numbers are swelling.

It is led by Pastor Gaspar Covaciu.

He has been a minister for 20 years, continuing his ministry when he arrived in Newry three years ago.

''The people that come here, the families, have no benefits, no nothing, and we try to help them,'' said Pastor Gaspar.

''But there is no room here. We need bigger premises, more room, because our numbers are growing.''

Stugureu Lovaciu, an interpreter for the pastor, said the church is a vital facility for the small but growing number of Romanian families living in the Newry area.

''Most of the people of Romania, maybe 90 per cent, is Christian,'' he said.

''The church helps everyone and that's why our numbers are growing here.''

Stugureu said many people from Romania left their homeland due to a lack of money and medicine.

Like most immigrants, they came in search of a better quality of life.

While he acknowledges the language barrier presents huge difficulties, he said he feels his community have been largely welcomed by the people of Newry.

''People are friendly,'' he says.

''I find very little racism. It is good here.''

Teenager and church member, Florin Covaciu, said his faith and his church is of upmost importance to him.

''Church is important because everybody loves God and everybody needs God,'' he said.

''We meet each other, our families, and we sing together, which is important. Singing is everything.''

He added: ''We are Christian. We don't smoke, we don't drink, we don't take drugs. We are good men.''

A 14-year-old student at Newry High School, Florin said he feels at home in his new surroundings.

''Newry is so good,'' added Florin.

''Some people, not everyone, say things about me being from Romania. It isn't nice, but it doesn't make me sad. It happens. We get on with it. Not everybody is like that.''

Florin still has family at home.

He misses them, but is happy here as he wants to learn to become a mechanic, an opportunity that may not be available to him at home.

But he says the Romanian community settled here still need more help.

Pastor Gaspar Covaciu. Photograph: NewRayPics.com
Pastor Gaspar Covaciu. Photograph: NewRayPics.com

''We need more space,'' he added.

Teofil Covaciu, the son of Pastor Gaspar, also attends nearby Newry High School.

The 14-year-old said he is enjoying school life.

''My favourite subject is mechanics,'' says Teo.

''I want to be a mechanic when I grow up.''

He said life can be difficult for a teenager living away from home, but he added: ''I like Newry. This is my home now.''

 

Romanian Pentecostal Church in Newry Romanian Pentecostal Church in Newry Romanian Pentecostal Church in Newry - Pastor Gaspar Covaciu. Photograph: NewRayPics.com Romanian Pentecostal Church in Newry - Worshippers at the Romanian Pentecostal Church service in Newry. Romanian Pentecostal Church in Newry - Teofil Covaciu. Photograph: NewRayPics.com Romanian Pentecostal Church in Newry - Teenager with church member, Florin Covaciu, Photograph: NewRayPics.com Romanian Pentecostal Church in Newry - Pastor Gaspar Covaciu  and Gheorghe Seres at the Service. Photograph: NewRayPics.com Romanian Pentecostal Church in Newry - Friends at the Romanian Church service. Photograph: NewRayPics.com Romanian Pentecostal Church in Newry - Pictured in Altnaveigh House at the PEntecostal Church Service. Photograph: NewRayPics.com Romanian Pentecostal Church in Newry - The Service in progress at Altnaveigh House. Photograph: NewRayPics.com Romanian Pentecostal Church in Newry - Children at Altnaveigh House for the Romanian Pentecostal Church Service. Photograph: NewRayPics.com Romanian Pentecostal Church in Newry - The Prayer Service underway at Altnaveigh House. Photograph: NewRayPics.com

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