Bishop Michael Smith of Meath concelebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving to mark the completion of the bell tower and spire of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Kingscourt, Co. Cavan, last Sunday, with a number of former parish priests, natives, friends and neighbours of the parish.
Fr Padraig MacMahon, administrator of Mullingar Cathedral, gave the homily, although as a native of the parish he said he was under strict orders from his mother to keep it short!
Fr MacMahon gave a history of the church building which was designed by renowned architect William Hague in 1872, and said that it is ”a talking point far beyond the boundaries of Kingscourt”.
”In time to come, I have no doubt that there will be appreciation of the courage that it has taken to complete today what began 140 years ago,” he said.
A County Cavan man, William Hague was a prolific designer of Catholic churches, particularly in Ulster.
His original plans included a bell tower for the church, but the most common theory is that the construction project ran out of money.
The €1m renovations have now been completed, over a nine month period in which the parish celebrated Mass in the local community centre, by Thomas Mulvanny contractors and architect Niall Smith, a Kingscourt parishioner.
The parish held numerous fundraising initiatives throughout the year for the project, including a ‘sponsor a slate’ appeal which received a huge response.
Parish priest Fr Gerry MacCormack thanked all parishioners at the Mass for their ”huge generosity, wonderful support and constant encouragement” throughout the building works.
Bishop Smith said it was an historic moment in the life of the church and the new spire gives a ”majestic definition to this beautiful church”.
The whole community was involved in the celebration in a variety of ways, and many came together for tea after Mass.
(Niall Smith, architect; Bishop Michael Smith; Thomas Mulvaney, contractor and Fr Gerry MacCormack PP in front of the new bell tower and spire at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Kingscourt, Co. Cavan.)
Music was provided by the combined choirs of the parish and St Mary’s Brass and Reed Band, and children from the three parish primary schools read multilingual Prayers of the Faithful.
As well as the packed church, thanks to a webcam 100 people were also able to watch the service live on the parish website.