This year marks the 150th anniversary of the dedication of St Joseph’s Church, Carrickmacross in April 1866. J J McCarthy’s gothic masterpiece occupies a special place in the spatial landscape of the town but most especially in the present and lived history of its people and those of the surrounding districts of South Monaghan. Added to this is the range of artistic craftsmanship which endows the building, including Harry Clarke’s stained-glass windows, Richard King’s Stations of the Cross and the range of marble and other stone used throughout. To mark all of this in terms of history and human memory, a DVD has been produced locally to provide an outlet for people’s memories of this historic building. St Joseph’s Machaire Rois: A Sacred Place 1866-2016 will be launched on Sunday 25 September at 7pm in the Nuremore Hotel, Carrickmacross. Everyone is welcome!
The launch of the DVD, which begins with an interview with the Bishop of Clogher, Most Rev Liam MacDaid, will allow you to realise the sheer historical value and relevance of St Joseph’s. The story of the church is told in the context of the journey of Christianity in the area over the past 1,500 years. Local historian, Larry McDermott tells of the earliest references to the church of Machaire Rois and from there through the decades of persecution, to a time of slow revival towards the late 1700s when a new church of St Mary’s was built; leading to a period of incremental gains for Catholics following Emancipation in 1829, the effects of the Famine and social change in the 1850s; all of this leading to circumstances prevailing at the time when it was decided to build St Joseph’s.
The patron of the church, St Joseph, features prominently in the DVD, Three St Louis sisters take us through some of the architectural features. Sr Mary Jo Hand brings to us the Harry Clarke windows, commissioned in 1924 by the then PP of Carrickmacross and Dean of Clogher diocese, Dean Patrick Keown. Many of these windows feature saints associated with Clogher diocese. Sr Marie Byrne provides some interesting interpretations of the Stations of the Cross, the work of artist Richard King. These were erected in 1951. Sr Enda McMullen talks about other artistic features such as the pulpit. Local photographer Pat Byrne has meticulously captured the craftsmanship of much of these. Local man P J McCabe is interviewed about the history of the church and his model of the former high altar. Local church music and choir directors Pat Cotter and Tom Clarke are also interviewed. Music continues to form an important part of the life of St Joseph’s. Two young people, Raphael Balthasar and Shauna Marron give their perspective on what it means to be a practising Catholic. Finally, the last word goes to the parish priest, Fr Larry Duffy. He tells us: ‘Faith is a gift that needs to be cherished and looked after…’.
The DVD costs €15 .
In addition, the parish has also recently published a history of St Joseph’s, written by local historian Larry McDermott. It is a very informative, lively and interesting read, with some memorable photographs. The reader certainly captures the spirit of the times in which St Joseph’s was built and the dramas that surrounded its completion and the decades after. The book is available in local newsagents, at the Carrickmacross Parish Office (Tel. 042-9661231 during office hours) and also through the Clogher Historical Society office in Monaghan or via http://www.clogherhistory.ie/Bookshop . Cost €10.