UNUSUAL NEW CHURCH BLESSED IN NEWTOWN

by jdurney on December 21, 2011

Leinster Leader March 12, 1975

 

Unusual new Church blessed in Newtown

KILCOCK parish’s new Church of the Nativity at Newtown – the  birth of a modern, unusual building richly spiritual in atmosphere – was blessed by the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Most Rev. Dr. Lennon, on Monday in a ceremony and con-celebrated Mass personally involving all concerned with Gods work in this pleasant, intimate rural area.
Physically the church is a far cry form the nineteenth century Gothic edifice it replaces, a new building for new days designed with a freshness of approach, modest of line and denied the grandeur of the old Church’s noble proportions. Instead there is a compartmentalised simplicity capturing a living awareness. It speaks of the presence of God, as Most Rev. Dr. Lennon said. One relaxes in the uncluttered surroundings, more acutely aware of the Divine presence.
Irish artist including Michael Biggs, Brother Benedict Tutty, Bernadette Madden and Patrick McEllroy gave their expertise to its decoration, after the design had evolved from, as the Parish Priest, Very Rev. P. J. Brophy, commented, a great amount of thought and theological reflection.
There is no attempt to conceal the materials used. Statues and other representations are at a minimum, and stained glass totally absent. In many other respects there has been a rejection of traditional church building and fitting without being totally revolutionary. Care was obviously taken that the transformation did not defeat its purpose.
And the past is not altogether forgotten, for the old square tower has been retained. The designer has given a rural community a church in a modern setting using today’s resources and expertise. He is Mr. Richard Hurley who has presented the dove over the baptistery as an added gift.
The Brass Band came from neighbouring Maynooth to play sacred tunes in the Church before the ceremony, and one of its trumpeters sounded the Royal Salute at the elevation in the Mass. Later the Band entertained the congregation in a marquee across the road while a light meal was served.
Chief con-celebrants of the Mass were the Bishop, Father Brophy and the Vicar General of the Diocese, Right Rev. Msgr. Conway, Bagenalstown. There were 14 other con-celebrants. Many clergy were in the congregation also. Newtown choir was accompanied on the organ by Mrs. Marine Ennis, and she had the advisory and local assistance of Rev. Ian Kelly, English mission, native of Tiernoghan, Donadea. Mr. Hurley, the architect, read the first Lesson, followed by Michael Connolly. The applicatory prayers were read by Bernadette O’Donoghue, Mrs. M. Devine, Mrs. P. Dillion and Mrs. H. Sheridan – brought the offerings to the alter.
His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Lennon said that the building of a church was an act of faith by the people, that the present and future generations would remain true to their great Christian heritage which had come down from St. Patrick whose feast-day they observed that day. Christ still lived; he was present among them, in their homes and schools and above all particularly present in His church. When they came to church on Sundays it was Christ who would receive their offering and return it. It was Christ who spoke when they listened to the word of God.
Did the new Church speak of the presence of God? Did the atmosphere bring a conviction that God was present? The answer was decidedly yes. It evoked a prayerful response from his heart and he was sure, from the hearts of all present. His Lordship thanked the architect and his collaborators for the simplicity and warmth which created that atmosphere, the contractor and workers for their skills, and the priests under whose direction the work took shape: the Very Rev. Fr. O’Meara, Rev. Fr. O’Reilly. Rev Fr. Phelan and laterally Very Rev. Fr. Brophy, the new Parish Priest. The church was a tribute to the generosity and sacrifice of the people and it counselled them to cherish what they had built, using it for the glory of God, as a house of prayer, a place in which to thank God for the Patrician heritage of their Catholic faith in the tradition of biblical piety and Eucharistic devotion.
During Mass, in the prayers for the departed, Most Rev. Dr. Lennon invoked God’s mercy on the soul of Miss Brigid Doyle who, he said, had worshipped in the old Church far beyond the normal span of life. Miss Doyle, who lived at Killeighter, Kilcock, died the previous day. She was 105. Very Rev. Fr. Brophy, in thanking the architect, artists, builders and all others involved, said the building was a magnificent expression of the fundamental truths of the Catholic faith, and dwelled on the amount of thought and theological reflection in its conception. He sensed already that everybody felt very much at home in the building.

 

An article from the Leinster Leader March 12, 1975 about the blessing of a new church in Newtown, Kilcock. The church of modern design replaced a nineteenth century Gothic one. Retyped by Aisling Dermody.

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