Bi­cen­te­nary for St Mary’s and golden ju­bilee for Church of the Res­ur­rec­tion


Dur­ing the mass, Bishop Crean re­called how, be­tween 1780 and 1845, the Catholic Church in Ire­land went from be­ing techi­cally il­le­gal to be­ing ac­cepted as a cen­tral part of Ir­ish society. It was dur­ing this pe­riod that St Mary’s was built, and in­au­gu­rated in 1818.

“This church of St. Mary’s here in Mallow, the Bi­cen­te­nary of which we cel­e­brate, is an elo­quent wit­ness to that new-found con­fi­dence and de­sire,” Bishop Crean said in his homily. “Its lo­ca­tion, set back from the streetscape, is a for­tu­itous fruit of that his­tor­i­cal con­text. When de­signed and built it was on a side street as re­quired by the reg­u­la­tions of the times. Only later would those houses be de­mol­ished to re­veal its fine façade and struc­ture.

“As we mark this Bi­cen­te­nary, we also mark, with no less grat­i­tude and cel­e­bra­tion, the Golden Ju­bilee of the Church of the Res­ur­rec­tion. Its plan­ning and con­struc­tion also marked a con­fi­dence and de­sire to have a house of prayer to serve the grow­ing needs of the Mallow par­ish com­mu­nity.

“My friends, both th­ese houses of prayer make no sense with­out a com­mu­nity of faith, prayer and Chris­tian liv­ing. The coun­try­side has many ru­ins of once vi­brant places of prayer – we re­vere and value th­ese places as con­stant re­minders of our roots in civil­i­sa­tion, cul­ture and Chris­tian her­itage.

“For all th­ese places both old and new they have one thing in com­mon, the foun­da­tion that is the per­son of Je­sus, Son of God. Our Lord and Saviour, the Christ, the Anointed One of God. This di­vine pres­ence has made and con­tin­ues to make all th­ese places tem­ples of God through our shared pres­ence.”

Bishop Crean went on to speak about some of the chal­lenges fac­ing the church to­day.

“My friends, there are many visitors who visit our Churches and are some­what taken aback by the beauty and ar­chi­tec­tural qual­ity of the build­ings – they know they do not come cheap and main­te­nance is a con­stant cost – so why so much in­vest­ment in bricks and mor­tar?

“Ev­ery gen­er­a­tion has its own chal­lenges in the midst of them is the great de­sire of the hu­man heart for hope – not to look into a pit of de­spair or dark­ness. Our Churches are a shel­ter from the storm when it rages and the serenity and calm that comes to us when we heed the ad­vice “to be still and know that I am God”. This is the price­less pearl in an era of anx­i­ety,” said Bishop Crean.

The Bishop later re­ferred to both the Mallow churches at ‘ tem­ples of hope’.

“To-night, we cel­e­brate both the 200 years of this Church and the half cen­tury of the Church of the Res­ur­rec­tion,” he said. “You know bet­ter than I how richly the peo­ple of Mallow have been and con­tinue to be served by th­ese tem­ples of hope. It has been pos­si­ble over all the decades by the many priests, re­li­gious and peo­ple who nur­tured this Chris­tian Catholic faith com­mu­nity.

At the bi­cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tion, St. Mary’s Church choir pro­vided the singing while pop­u­lar Pa­tri­cian Academy stu­dent Eoghan Kenny per­formed the read­ings. Af­ter Mass, parish­ioners were in­vited to the Hiber­nian Ho­tel for a so­cial evening to mark the oc­ca­sion.

The Mallow born priests who at­tended were Fr. Donal Roberts, Fr. Jim Killeen, Fr. Jimmy Greene, Fr. Paddy Buck­ley, Fr. Donal O’Ma­hony, Fr. Pat Win­kle, Fr. Co­mor Mur­phy, Fr. Gayer and Fr. Jimmy Stubbs.

Later, in Oc­to­ber, Mallow Par­ish pre­sented the Three Tenors in con­cert at the Church of the Res­ur­rec­tion to mark the 50th An­niver­sary of the Church.

Joan Barry and Michael O’Sul­li­van cut­ting the cake at the an­nual Se­nior Cit­i­zens Christ­mas party watched on by Mallow Gar­dai, who sponsored the event, Coun­cil­lor Gearòid Mur­phy and So­cial Ser­vices staff. Photos: Eu­gene Cos­grove

St Mary’s Church in Mallow was orig­i­nally built in a laneway be­hind the main street, which was re­quired by the rules of the time. In­set: The Church of the Res­ur­rec­tion.

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