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.