For the first time in over sixty years, major renovations to St Mary’s church in Castleblayney (Muckno parish) have begun. As a result, St Mary’s will be closed for a period of one year.
However, thanks to the generosity of the local Church of Ireland community at both parish and diocesan levels, the Catholic community will have space for their liturgical celebrations in the nearby St Maeldóid’s Church of Ireland Church for the duration of the works. This gesture also means that the Catholics of the parish will have only minimal disruption to their religious services. As a result, and respecting the existing arrangements of the Church of Ireland community, Mass times in the parish have been adjusted (see below).
This means that both Catholic and Church of Ireland communities in the border parish will be worshipping under the same roof for the next year. The arrangement has received the approval of Church of Ireland Bishop of Clogher, Right Rev John McDowell, and was also approved under Canon 933 of the Code of Canon Law by Catholic Bishop Liam MacDaid before his retirement last October.
St Mary’s Church is located on the Dublin Road in Castleblayney, on a site adjacent to St Maeldóid’s. The original church at St Mary’s was built on the site around 1805 and was replaced by the present building during the years 1856-61. It was extended in length in 1956-57.
Both communities trace their origin to the early centuries of Christianity in the area. St Maoldóid was a member of the Hanratty clan who were rulers of the local medieval kingdom of Uí Meith. He founded a monastic site at Muckno in the second half of the 7th century. Muckno and its surrounding territory had strong links with St Colmcille and the monastic settlement at Iona in Scotland.
Rev Neal Phair, Church of Ireland Rector of Muckno, Ballybay and Clontibret parishes, said that he was ‘absolutely delighted that we can be of assistance to our brothers and sisters in Christ at St Mary’s by offering St Maeldóid’s Church as a place of worship while the renovations to St Mary’s take place till June next year. We celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity together and it is wonderful that we can further the unity we share by worshipping under the same roof for the coming year’.
Commenting on the generosity of the Church of Ireland community, the Parish Priest of Muckno, Fr Pat McHugh said, ‘Our parish is blessed by the generosity of Bishop Mc Dowell, Rev Neal, the members of the Select Vestry and the congregation at St. Maeldóid’s Church. Their invitation to use St. Maeldóid’s during the closure of St. Mary’s is yet another example of the exceptional goodwill and wholesome spirit of Christian solidarity which we experience with our local Church of Ireland community’.
In order to accommodate the move to St Maeldóid’s, Mass times and other celebrations will be as follows, from Monday 19 June:
Mass Schedule: >Mon -Thurs 10am St. Maeldóid’s
Friday 7.30pm St. Patrick’s Church, Oram.
Saturday 11am & 7pm (Vigil Mass of Sunday) St. Maeldóid’s
Sunday 9am St. Patrick’s Church, Oram & 11.45am St. Maeldóid’s
Weddings & Funerals: by arrangement.
Baptisms: 3rd Saturday: St. Patrick’s & 4th Sunday St. Maeldóid’s.
Eucharistic Adoration: Wednesday afternoon 2pm—6pm in the Parish Centre &
Friday evening 4pm—7pm in St Patrick’s Church, Oram. –
Please Note: Times and venue may change occasionally.