“As we dedicate this church for the community of Killyon, we pray for those who built, funded it and provided for it. And we pray, too, for those of this and future generations that will come to pray here. May they find an answer to their prayers and may this church and our efforts keep the flame of Faith alive”.
These were the words of Bishop Deenihan on Sunday 21 October 2018, at the concelebrated Mass and the dedication of the extensively refurbished Church of Our Lady and St Dominic, Killyon, part of Longwood parish, previously known as the Church of the Assumption, Killyon.
Bishop Deenihan was in Killyon for the formal dedication of the church under its new name after its refurbishment and rebuilding, necessitated by the passage of time since it was opened originally 61 years ago, in 1957.
All ages – from recently born infants, to children, teenagers, young adults, adults and the elderly – were in attendance for the occasion, and to see for themselves the transformation of the church which had served the community for 61 years into, in effect, a new church, to serve the locality and its wide catchment area for decades to come.
For the concelebrated Mass, Bishop Deenihan was joined on the altar by Mons. Seán Heaney, formerly Vicar General of the Diocese of Meath, and Fr Michael Kilmartin, PP, Longwood and Killyon parish, assisted by Very Rev. Fr. Mark English, PP, from the adjoining Killucan parish, who was Master of Ceremonies for the Mass and dedication, assisted by Fr Paul Kangkai, Kinnegad, who is studying for his Doctorate in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth.
ROLES OF THE FAMILY
Bishop Deenihan told the congregation that the day of the reopening of the church in Killyon was Mission Sunday this year, and he pointed out that all Christians are missionaries in different ways. “All of us are either setting up a mission or maintaining a mission”, he said, referring to the documents of the Second Vatican Council. He said that “there is always a temptation on hearing the Gospel to associate it with others and more often than not with priests, brothers and nuns.”
“A family with parents bringing up a child and teaching that child about Christ, about religion, and putting that into practice in everyday lives, is as much missionary in the Church as anyone else anywhere.”
WE CAN ONLY IMAGINE
Bishop Deenihan spoke of the significance of the church being dedicated and reopened on Sunday of last week. “In blessing this church, we can only imagine the numbers who will come here to entreat the Lord in times of difficulty and sickness, those who will come here on Sundays and Feast Days to give Him praise, those who will receive Jesus in the Eucharist here, and those who will come here to receive God’s mercy and be forgiven of their sins”.
Bishop Deenihan spoke of “the numbers who will marry here and ask that Christ be a part of the love that they have for each other and to ask that He will be a presence in their families”. Continuing, Bishop Deenihan commented that “we think of the children who will be baptised here and those who will spend their last night on this earth here before they go to the grave and await their resurrection”.
A FOCAL POINT
Bishop Deenihan observed that “this church is a focal point and a centre for this faith community.” He said that in many ways “this new church will make the work of mission easier in this place and give it focus.”
HEROIC MEN AND WOMEN
Bishop Deenihan said that “today, as we dedicate and bless this church in honour of Our Lady and Saint Dominic, we must focus on the missionary work that must continue in this place”. He said that it is only right that “we remember the heroic men and women who have left, and still leave, kith and kin for the sale of the Kingdom. In remembering them, we remember those they left behind and those they work with, and we pray that their labours will be successful.”
MORE PERSECUTED AND MARTYRED THAN EVER
“We are living in a time where it can be difficult to express ones faith”, Bishop Deenihan told the Congregation in the Church of Our Lady and Saint Dominic. “It is remarkable that there were more persecuted and martyred for their faith in each of the recent years than at any time in Church history, including the Roman persecutions.”
But, said Bishop Deenihan, “faith, if it is real, must be celebrated, must be professed, and must be shared”.
He said that “it must be part of what we are and it must be evident and taught in the home. “It must be evident in our way of engaging with others, be they friend or foe, and how we treat the vulnerable. We cannot hide our faith or produce it just on Sunday morning! Our Faith must make a difference!”