In 1976 I joined St. Agnes’ Folk Group to play for Christmas masses with my very good friend Father Joe Benson. In October 1977 Sister Odran Doyle OP brought Joe and I to Gort Muire Retreat Centre in Dublin where we experienced at first hand a ‘folk weekend’. Afterwards I thought wouldn’t it be good to have a weekend in Belfast because in those days it was not as easy to get to Dublin and it was very expensive.
The first weekend was held in St. Clements’s Retreat House in Belfast in October 1978 led by Father Eltin Griffin O. Carm. And the music was lead by members of a resource group from Gort Muire called Folk Gort Muire (FGM). They returned the following year with Father John Wall from Dublin.
Gradually folk groups began springing up in many parishes in Belfast and further afield. It quickly became apparent that they needed help and guidance with the sourcing of new music and becoming aware of the place of music in the liturgy. In the early eighties a few members of folk groups in some Belfast parishes gathered together to learn new music and then organise a few day seminars in places like St. Joseph’s Training College, St. John’s parish and St. Michael’s.
Eventually it became apparent that a group would have to be formed to lead music and organise folk weekends in Belfast. The first weekend was in St. Clements’s in September1983. It was a memorable weekend for all who attended and marked the official start of DCF a name given to the group by Father Eltin Griffin.
The main reasons for DCF being set up was
- to guide Folk Groups in the selection of appropriate liturgical music,
- to show the place of music in the Sunday parish mass,
- to demonstrate good liturgical experiences in mass and other sacraments and prayer services.
This still remains the role of DCF and 30 years later it is still fulfilling this role and more with an annual weekend and 3 day seminars in different parts of the Diocese.
Paul Mc Crossan