Three collectors conferred Papal medals
THREE collectors with 140 years’ service between them are the toast of St. Joseph’s Parish. They are conferred with a Papal Bene Merenti medal by Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich.
Before a packed congregation Mattie Scollan, Gerry Gray and Frank McCusker receive medals during a special Mass held in their honour.
The cardinal is the chief celebrant, assisted by Fr JP O’Riordan, Superior; Fr Michael Clancy, Adm. and Fr Brian McGrath.
Cardinal Ó Fiaich refers to each recipient individually and the long service they give to the parish and states the three men present a fine example of how the laity can play a role in the church.
The readings are given by Hughie Higgins and Tom McAleavey and the choir is in great voice for the occasion.
Another factor which adds significantly to the Mass is having the bells in fine tune again after their recent restoration.
Following the ceremony, the crowd makes its way to the adjacent St Gerard’s community centre which is officially opened and blessed by the cardinal.
The former St Gerard’s hall is given an extensive facelift at a cost of £25,000 to turn it into a drop-in centre for parishioners to come for a cup of tea and a chat during the day.
It is already proving popular, and is also used by a number of groups at night.
A concert is held in conjunction with the official opening and blessing and Nicky McCourt acts as master of ceremonies.
There is traditional Irish music from the JJ Gardiner group and the McMahon family and Mona Roddy’s dancers perform.
Among the vocalists are Seán and Laura Coleman, Gearóid Ó Conlúain, Paul Connolly, Susan Doyle and Kevin McElherron.