KILCULLEN REFLECTED ON CENTURY OF CATHOLICISM

by ehistoryadmin on May 4, 2017

Leinster Leader 9 September 1972

Kilcullen reflected on century of Catholicism

As if with one heart, such was the fervour and reverence of the occasion, Kilcullen’s parishioners joined in the celebration of the centenary of the Parish Church of the Sacred Heart and St. Brigid on Sunday. The well-laid plans ran smoothly and the town was splendidly decorated.

All of this enhanced Kilcullen’s reputation as a model parish in the huge Dublin Archdiocese.

As hundreds waited to greet His Grace the Archbishop, Most Rev. Dr. Dermot Ryan, the band of the Curragh Training Camp, under Commdt. Denis Mellerick, B.Mus., played in the grounds, and a display of gifts, later presented during the thanksgiving Mass, lent emphasis to the significance of the joyful ceremony.

The Archbishop was chief concelebrant of the Mass, and the other concelebrants were Very Rev. Vincent Kehoe, P.P., Kilcullen; Robert Walsh, P.P., Saggart; Finbarr Mathew Kelly, O.P., Prior, Tralee; Lorcan Foley, P.P., Ballyfermot Lower; Sean Collier, C.C., Moneenroe, and Enda Lloyd, Maynooth. Three generations were represented amongst the participants in the ceremony: Mr. J. Kelly, Kilcullen, the senior reader, his son, Fr. Kelly, O.P., concelebrant and Mr. Kelly’s grandsons, Brendan and Martin, altar-boys.

Other readers were: first Lesson, Mrs. Loreto Ginnity; second Lesson, Mr. Brian Keyes, N.T., Mrs. S. Gallagher, Mrs. M. Bathe, Sr. Carmel, Cross and Passion Convent; S. Landers, N. Collins, F. Murphy and M. Cardiff. Rev. C. Price, C.C., was master of ceremonies.

During the Offertory procession gifts were offered for the Mass, the church, the Archbishop and the poor. These included chalices, candelabra, crucifixes, vestments, and gifts symbolic of community life, comprising of products manufactured locally.

At the most solemn moment of the Mass, honours were rendered by ten army officers – all resident in Kilcullen district – under Commdt. Ambrose Brophy, while army trumpeters and drummers sounded the Royal Salute.

Amongst the clergy present were: Most Rev. Dr. Cronin, Philippines; Right Rev. Msgr. Hurley, P.P., V.G., Harrington St., Dublin; Right Rev. Msgr. Maurice Brown, P.P., Ballymore-Eustace; Very Rev. Fr. Dufficy, P.P., Valleymount; Very Rev. M. Leahy, P.P., Eadestown; Very Rev. P. Corridan, P.P., Sandyford; Very Rev. Brian Kelly, P.P., Bohernabreena; Very Rev. J. English, P.P., Raheny; Fathers John Smith, J. Curley, M. O’Sullivan, S. Malone and Thomas O’Shaughnessy (formerly of Kilcullen parish).

In a homily during the Mass, the Archbishop welcomed the parishioners and said he was happy to join with them in celebrating such a great occasion in what one might describe as an outpost of the archdiocese. He said the religious history of the district was a very distinguished one, stretching back to the time of St. Patrick and sharing also in the glory of St. Brigid.

“So fruitfully did St. Patrick plant the seed of the faith here that Kilcullen monastery became a centre of learning which exercised an influence throughout the surrounding countryside. With the coming of the Danes and later the Normans the glory of Kilcullen was greatly diminished. In 1774 the people of this parish marked the beginning of its existence by building a chapel at New Abbey. This was succeeded by the present building in 1872.

“This church now stands as heir to the great traditions of Kilcullen and as a monument to the faith of its people. This church was built in a time when people were not as prosperous as they are today, when they were just emerging from oppression. Through building it they made it clear what they stood for. It was a statement in stone that Christianity provided them with their ultimate values . . . .”

Before the Mass ended the Archbishop expressed his personal thanks to all who put such dedication and effort into making the arrangements for the occasion. He prayed that God would continue to bless the Kilcullen community and imparted his blessing. The occasion was marked by a celebration dinner attended by hundreds on Sunday night at Hotel Keadeen, Newbridge.

The Kilcullen community magazine “The Bridge” included a centenary supplement in the September issue. It traced the religious history of the parish and of the present church.

The foundation stone was laid by Cardinal Cullen on August 9, 1869. The architect was Mr. J. J. McCarthy, R.H.A., Dublin, son-in-law of the noted architect, Pugin. Mr. John Wrafter, Portlaoise, was the main contractor and he completed the construction in three years. Again Cardinal Cullen was welcomed to Kilcullen where he solemnly dedicated and opened the church on September 6, 1872, and gave a memorable sermon.

Re-typed by Jennifer O’Connor

 

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