“A great day for the parish of Kilbeggan,” was how Fr Brendan Corrigan, the town’s parish priest, described the opening on Sunday of a new parish centre, opposite the church.
And in agreement with him, was Most Rev Dr Michael Smith, chief celebrant at Sunday Mass in Kilbeggan, who performed the official blessing of the centre following the religious ceremony.
Fr Corrigan extended his thanks to all those involved in bringing the project to fruition, listing off all the organisations in Kilbeggan who had given so much help, and especially the parish council, and, adding that this week he has also moved into the new presbytery, Fr Corrigan thanked the parishioners for making him so welcome since his arrival in the parish.
“It’s great to feel your support and practical help every day,” he said.
Fr Corrigan said the new centre was aimed at catering for faith development locally into the future, and for the current needs of the parishioners, young and old.
Bishop Smith also extended his thanks to the parishioners – and mentioned that Fr Brendan was himself due thanks: “He wasn’t inactive!” he said, as he asked the congregation to continue to “look after him”.
The opening of the new centre was, the bishop said, a special moment in the history of the parish, one of importance and of significance.
It was one of the great occasions he remembered in that particular church: one being the opening of the church itself, and the second having occurred eight and a half years earlier, when the ordination of Rahugh man, Fr Shane Crombie took place. Fr Crombie participated in Sunday’s ceremonies.
“Keep praying: we might get another one,” he told those gathered, speaking of the need for more priests.
Bishop Smith thanked Fr Barney Maxwell for his work in the parish in the past, and Fr Heneghan for his work with the Brazilian population of Kilbeggan, before going on to thank Fr Benny Bohan for his work in Castletown Geoghegan.
“I would like to acknowledge the work of Fr [Lauri] Halpin, whose health would not allow him to join us here today,” he said
The bishop noted that the new centre has three patrons – Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II and Our Lady of Lourdes.
He spoke of the relevance of those three choices, pointing out that Mother Teresa who gave witness to Christ’s word through her work with the dying on the streets of Calcutta, showed how “to reach out and touch those that are broken, those that are suffering, and trying to give that message that there is a purpose and a meaning to life”.
Of the late Pope John Paul II, he said that there were two chief parts to his message – the dignity of every person, and his refusal to be cowed by anyone in his bid to spread the message of Christ.
Bishop Smith went on to speak of the relevance of Lourdes in the lives of those who are suffering and in pain, and Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, was there, he said, as “a gentle companion in the journey of life”.
As part of the ceremony, there was a blessing of rosary beads, and of a special souvenir memento for all who attended.
During the ceremony, the gifts were brought to the altar by members of the Junior Liturgy Group from the parish, who selected items of relevance to the parish and to the project – the plans for the centre, a spirit level used in its construction, the spade used to turn the first sod last year, a bible, a prayer memento, the baptismal register, and the motto of the centre, ‘Make love your aim’, as well as the bread and wine.
(Reprinted with permission of The Westmeath Examiner)