Sad­ness turns to joy on Peter’s con­fir­ma­tion day

June 1986

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS -

A County Wick­low mother told this week how sad­ness turned to joy for her 11-year-old son af­ter a bit­ter struggle with the Catholic Church to have him con­firmed.

Mrs Rose Townsend said that she would have never for­given the church had they not al­lowed her son Peter to ac­cept the sacra­ment in New­town where all his friends were be­ing con­firmed.

The trauma started last April when Mrs Townsend asked lo­cal cu­rate Fr Sean Smith to con­firm Peter, who at­tends a Church of Ire­land school in New­cas­tle.

Fr Smith re­fused on the grounds that they had al­ready missed two prepara­tory meet­ings so it would not be pos­si­ble to con­firm him, ac­cord­ing to Mrs Townsend.

‘We brought the mat­ter to higher church author­i­ties but were up against a stone wall at the time. Nobody seem­ingly wanted to over­rule Fr Smith’s de­ci­sion,’ she said.

Mrs Townsend ex­plained that the Parish Priest, Fr Re­gan, of­fered them a place in the Round­wood cer­e­mony at an ear­lier date but they de­clined on two main grounds.

Firstly, they felt that even though Peter was be­ing pre­pared for the sacra­ment by a priest friend, he was not quite ready, and any­way, Mrs Townsend and all her fam­ily had been con­firmed in New­town and she wanted the same for her child.

‘We lived in Eng­land for 16 years and I brought Peter back spe­cially when he was only a few weeks old so that he could be chris­tened in New­town,’ she said. ‘I could not ac­cept a re­luc­tance to con­firm him here.’

Mrs Townsend, whose hus­band is a mem­ber of the Church of Ire­land, sus­pected that the real rea­son be­hind the re­fusal was be­cause Peter at­tended a Protes­tant school.

She con­tacted a Sun­day news­pa­per and two days before the story ap­peared, she re­ceived a phone call from Bishop Donal mur­ray giv­ing con­sent for Peter’s con­fir­ma­tion to go ahead.

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