Bishop Noel Treanor’s Visit to Tyholland:

Bishop returns to his Alma Mater

On Monday, 15 December, Most Rev Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor, paid a return visit to Scoil Bhríde, his former Primary School, in Tyholland.  He was greeted on arrival by Mr. John McKenna, Chairperson of the Parents Association and the School Principal, Mrs Marie Coyle.

When he joined the assembled school body there was a formal address of welcome by Mr. Micheal McQuaid, Chairman of the Board of Management.  He thanked the Bishop warmly for making time for his visit in the midst of a heavy responsibility and workload in the care of such a large diocese.

There followed a ceremony of commemoration of the school’s fiftieth birthday.  It was officially opened by Mr. Blaney Rice, an attorney in the U.S.A., in 1958 and blessed by the Parish Priest of the time, Canon Drumm.  Bishop Teanor came as a pupil to the school in the same year.  This time he returned as a Bishop to bless an extension to the school.  He was assisted in this by Rt. Rev. Mgr. Liam MacDaid, Adm., Tyholland.

Mrs. Betty Kane, former Principal of Scoil Bhríde, gave a most interesting historical perspective on schooling in Tyholland from 1835 onwards.  The original local settlement and schooling was in Knockboy.  After the Penal Laws Time and the period of hedge schools a school was built in Leitrim by the men who were working on the construction of the Ulster Canal.  This later became a Community Centre and is now derelict.  The school moved to Drumgoole in 1958 but is still referred to as Leitrim N.S.

Bishop Treanor unveiled a plaque to commemorate the occasion.  The children under the direction of the teachers Ms Una McNally, Ms. Dervla Finnegan, Mrs Angela Turley and Mrs. Marie Coyle, presented a medley of items of entertainment which included a Christmas Play, a Ballad, Recitations and tunes on the Tin Whistle and Flute.

Bishop Treanor was presented with an ornate carved mahogany chair by Roisin Treanor of the Parents Association and the pupils presented him with a commemorative candle and photograph of the school.

In his address to the sixty-five pupils of the school Bishop Treanor thanked and complimented them.  He urged them to always respect their school and their teachers and to use well the marvellous opportunities for development offered to them.  He thanked the members of the Board of Management and the members of the Parents Association who were present.  He expressed how delighted he was to meet again past teachers and Mrs. Bridie Rooney, the wife of the late John Rooney who taught him while he was a pupil at the school.  He presented Mrs. Coyle, Principal with a pictorial book on the Diocese of Down and Connor for use by the pupils in the school library.

Bishop Treanor pays a home visit to his native parish
On Monday evening there was a full church in Tyholland when Most Rev Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor, returned to his native parish to offer Mass with the parishioners.  He was assisted by Mgr. Liam MacDaid Adm., Tyholland.  Among the concelebrants were local Parish Priests Very Rev H. Martin PP, Donagh and Very Rev S. Nolan PP, Errigal Truagh.  Also present were Rev P. McKenna CC, Carrickmacross, a native of the parish, and priests who had served at one time or other in the parish:  Mgr Sean Cahill, retired Parish Priest of Enniskillen, Very Rev. Denis Dolan PP, Aghavea and Brookeboro; Rev Shane McCaughey and Rev D. Harkin from St. Macartan’s College as well as Rev. Joe Glover, the Financial Administrator of the Diocese of Down and Connor.  Apologies were received from Canon Vincent Morris and Rev. Brendan McCague, who were indisposed.

Music for the Mass was provided by the Parish Junior Choir under the direction of Mrs. Phyllis Mackle and organist Gabrielle Mackle.  The psalm was sung by Ms Catherine Mackle and the readings were by Mrs. Geraldine Evans and Mrs Pauline Connelly.  Mrs Anne Kane, Mrs. Ita Keenan and Ms Maureen Rice took up the Offertory Gifts and Mrs. Margaret Farrelly and Mrs. Margaret Mohan acted as Eucharistic Ministers.

In his address of welcome Mgr. Liam MacDaid spoke of the great joy which Bishop Treanor’s appointment had brought to the people of Tyholland.  He explained that the Bishop’s heavy workload since had not made it possible until now to find a suitable date for him to visit his native parish to meet and greet those among whom he grew up.  In choosing a theme for the Mass, it was decided to focus on what is probably the greatest need of the Church at present – vocations to the priesthood and the religious life.  Mgr. MacDaid said it was among the people of the parish of Tyholland that the seed of Bishop Noel’s call to service in the priesthood and in the episcopate was sown.  He hoped that the Bishop’s presence among them and their celebrations today would inspire some of the young people present to consider giving their talents and energy to the service of their people offering them the word of life and the food of love.

Bishop Treanor acknowledged the strength and resilience of the faith of the community in which he was born and grew up.  He referred to the social and economic progress of the past thirty years which had enhanced and enriched the lives of local people and provided opportunities, previously unknown, to the young people.  He reminded the congregation that these changes accentuated rather than diminished the need we have for guidance and direction in our personal lives and in our relationship with God.  He encouraged and challenged young people present, men and women, to give thought to the possibility of a life of service to meet that need.

Tyholland Community Honours Bishop Treanor

The banner at the back of the stage in Tyholland Community Centre spelled out in red lettering “Tyholland welcomes home Bishop Noel Treanor”.  By 8.30pm. on Monday evening 15 December, approximately three hundred and fifty people were seated in the Centre and about to enjoy a buffet meal prepared and served by local volunteers under the direction of Finbarr and Tracey McNally.

After the meal the Stage Presentation Party consisted of Mr.Damien Treanor, Chairperson of the Community Centre Committee; Mr. Sean McCoy, classmate of Bishop Treanor; Mgr. Sean Cahill, retired Parish Priest of Enniskillen; Rev. Margaret Pringle. Curate of the parish of Tyholland, Donagh and Errigal Truagh; Mrs. Grainne Moen, President of Tyholland Branch of St. Joseph’s Young Priests Society; Mr. Seamus McQuaid, Chairman of Tyholland G.F.C; Most Rev. Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor and Rt. Rev. Mgr. Liam S. MacDaid Adm. Tyholland.

Mr. Damien Treanor acted as M.C. and welcomed all.  He gave some biographical details on Bishop Treanor’s life and welcomed him back to Tyholland. Sean McCoy, a classmate of Bishop Treanor’s at Primary and Secondary School, elaborated on the biographical details and related tales from in and out of school as well as confirming signs of promise for the future on all fronts.

Mgr. Cahill took up the story after ordination to the priesthood in 1976.  He talked about the Bishop’s studies in Rome and his work on the staff of the Irish College there.  He recounted stories of the Bishop’s ministry as a curate in the parish of Enniskillen and how his talents had been a stabilising influence in the aftermath of the bomb on Remembrance Sunday which claimed eleven lives.  He spent some time dealing with his work in Brussels as Secretary of COMECE.  The scope and range of his work there was most impressive and involved dealing with all faith groups.  The experience gained would be invaluable as a foundation to his work in the Diocese of Down and Connor.

The Rev. Mgt. Pringle spoke of how happy she was to be present as a representative of her parishioners.  She assured Bishop Treanor of the support of her prayers and presented him with a metal Prayer Cross as a remembrance of the occasion and of good wishes.

Two presentations were then made on behalf of the people of Tyholland.  Mrs. Grainne Moen presented Bishop Treanor with a Cavan Crystal Lamp for use in his residence in North Belfast.  Mr. Seamus McQuaid presented the Bishop with a painted etching of St. Patrick’s Church in Tyholland by Nelius Flynn, Artist and Teacher of Art in St. Macartan’s College in Monaghan.

Bishop Treanor expressed his gratitude for both gifts which he would treasure.  He acknowledged his debt of gratitude to his parents, family, teachers and local community.  He praised the entrepreneurial spirit of local people which has brought economic prosperity to the area and inspired many local developments such as the Community Centre and Sports Complex.  He praised the spirit of neighbourliness which was so evident on occasions such as this and suggested the community could look forward to the future with hope and confidence.

Mgr. Liam MacDaid concluded the speeches by thanking all the local organisations- the Community Centre Committee, the Gaelic Football Club, the Community Employment Team, the ICA, St. Joseph’s Young Priests Society, the Board of Management, Teaching Staff and Parents Association of Leitrim N.S., the Altar Society, the Junior Choir – and a host of individuals too numerous to mention who worked willingly and generously to make the day such a splendid one.  He thanked Bishop Treanor for giving the community so much to celebrate and for bringing the people together and giving them a reason to bond, to work together and giving them a sense of how much they depended on one another.  He expressed the hope that the people of Tyholland would always have days of celebration like this to keep the community as one would want it to be.

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