Killenaule celebrates 150th anniversary of its church - an ‘extraordinary treasure’

Archbishop Kieran O'Reilly blessing a plaque to mark the 150th Anniversary of St. Mary's Church, Killenaule.
St Mary’s Church in Killenaule was a kaleidoscope of colour on Sunday afternoon last as the local community marked its 150th anniversary in fitting style.

St Mary’s Church in Killenaule was a kaleidoscope of colour on Sunday afternoon last as the local community marked its 150th anniversary in fitting style.

Festooned in a variety of appropriate flags and bunting, St Mary’s looked resplendent as hundreds of Killenaule-Moyglass parishoners were joined by many neighbouring communities gathered on a pleasant Sunday afternoon for the celebration of Mass at 3pm.

On a momentous day for the parish of Killenaule-Moyglass, when the community rolled back the pages of history, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Kieran O’Reilly, SMA, and Archbishop of Pretoria, Liam Slattery, OFM, a native of the parish, led the sesquicentennial ceremonies.

The founding of Killenaule can be traced back to 6th century when St Naul established a monastery, around which a village was formed. Killenaule (Cill Naile) means the Church of St Naul. St Naul became known as the Abbot of Killenaule.

St Mary’s Church, founded in 1859, and dedicated by Most Rev P Leahy, D.D., Archbishop of Cashel in 1865, has evoked many precious and blessed memories and recollections of special days for generations of local families.

On Sunday last the feeling of joy and thanksgiving in the congregation was palpable as it joined Fr Jimmy O’ Donnell, PP, Killenaule-Moyglass, and Fr Danny O’Gorman, CC, Killenaule-Moyglass, in welcoming Archbishop O’Reilly, Archbishop Slattery, and visiting clergy, to the anniversary mass.

Members of U.N.V., Clonmel, and O.N.E., Carrick-on-Suir, provided a fitting guard of honour as the Bishops and Priests entered the Church for the ceremony.

In the course of a wide-ranging homily, Archbishop O’Reilly referred to the special day in the history of the church as “a moment of joy and thanksgiving for all.”

Referring to its history, he described the large church with its beautiful stained glass windows as “an extraordinary treasure” and “a precious cornerstone in the community.” He said the parish of Killenaule-Moyglass can be rightly proud of the tradition of faith that extends back into the earliest times and St Mary’s as a place of prayer and devotion is “a great gift to the community.” Archbishop O’Reilly complimented Fr O’Donnell, Fr O’Gorman, and all who participated and assisted in what he described as “a beautiful ceremony” to mark the anniversary.

He was delighted, he said, to have received a copy of the newly published book (St Mary’s Church, Killenaule-150 years, 1865-2015) on the history of the Church. “I want to congratulate the Killenaule-Moyglass Parish Journal Committee and its chairman Cllr John Fahey on an excellent production” the Archbishop said.

The special ceremony on Sunday, after which a fitting reception was held in St Mary’s Hall. provided the perfect culmination of a week of celebrations in the parish to mark the anniversary. The community put its best foot forward in staging a series of appropriate events to mark the special chapter in the history of the town and Fr O’Donnell extended his gratitude to the very many groups and individuals for their hard work and kindness.

He said he was especially grateful to Archbishop O’Reilly for “leading us in our celebration and inspiring us with his words.” He also expressed special words of gratitude to Archbishop Slattery for his participation in the ceremony and for launching the church book on the previous Sunday.

Fr Jimmy summed up the tangible feeling of joy and thanksgiving in the community when he told the congregation- “It has been a very proud week in our parish and we thank God for this wonderful day in our lives.”