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UNUSUAL NEW CHURCH BLESSED IN NEWTOWN

Leinster Leader 12 December 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 concelebrated 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 artists, 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 thanked the architect and his collaborators for the simplicity and warmth which created the 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 and Very Rev. Fr. Brophy, the new parish priest.
The church was a generosity and sacrifice of the people and it counciled them to cherish what they had built. During Mass in the prayers for the departed Most Rev. Dr. Lennon invoked Gods mercy on the soul of Miss Brigid Doyle whom he said had worshipped in the old Church far beyond the normal span of life. She died the previous day. She was 105.
Fr. Brophy thanked the architect, artists, builders and all others involved for their work in building the Church. He sensed already that everybody felt very much at home in the building.

An article from the Leinster Leader of 12 December 1975 on the blessing of Kilcock parish’s new Church of the Nativity at Newtown


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