23rd September 1999
FR. LIAM'S HOMILY at the weekend.
ST. COLUMBA'S RE-OPENS!!
Welcome home. Itšs a great day for us all. We are back at
last in our beloved St. Columbas. And isnt it looking
well. Our last gathering here was on April 25th, the day our
memorable Mission ended....148 days ago. Itšs good to be back
after our 5 months in exile. But it didnšt seem like exile,
because we were well looked after during our time away. I wish to
thank all in Douglas GA.A. club for the warmth of their
hospitality for our 10 am Mass on Sunday and Saturday. May God
reward them for that. I wish also to thank very sincerely the
Principal of Douglas Community School, Bernard Horgan, and the
Board of Management there, for facilitating us so well. Our
thanks to one and all. St. Columbašs holds very special
memorises for the people of the Parish. It is the Mother Church
of the wider Douglas community....having given birth to two other
churches - one at Frankfield (built in 1976) and one at
Rochestown (built in 1991). It was built in 1814 - 185 years ago.
It was showing its years. St. Columbas has a proud history.
This restoration that we have done, is our Millennium gift to
this venerable church. The Irish name for a Church is Teach
á Phobail - the peoples house...pobail De....the people of
Gods house. This has been the gathering place for
generations of Douglas people. They came here to worship God, and
to say aloud that Jesus is Lord of their lives. Here your
families were Baptised, Confirmed, Received the First Sacraments
of Eucharist and Reconciliation were Married and when your loved
ones had completed lifes journey, they were brought here
for their final visit as you helped them on their way to heaven.
1814 was not the easiest time to build a church. That was 14
years before we had Catholic Emancipation (1828); and 30 years
before our people suffered the ravages of the Famine. So you can
picture what sacrifices the people made to build their Church. It
has stood the test of time well. During the restoration work we
found a tram ticket under the boards in the gallery. It showed
how much times have changed. It cost 1 penny to travel from
Douglas to Langford Row or Cross Douglas Roads to the Statue.
(The Trams also ran from Ballintemple - Temple Hill to the
Statue; Sundays Well to the Statue; Tivili to Berwick
Fountain; Blackpool to Berwick Fountain and Summer Hill to Gaol
Cross). The ticket said All trains stop at 80 Patrick
Street on request! This was a village Church in a country
parish. There was a time when people journeyed to Mass by horse
and cart, and they tied up their horses to the surrounding
railings. But times have changed and Douglas has changed
dramatically. It is now the fastest developing area in the whole
country But no matter what development happens around us, peoples
need for God is as great today, if not greater, than ever before.
Thats why we need St. Columbas. Here in St. Columbas
we can gather to show our need for God in our lives. Long may
this Church be loved by the people of Douglas; long may the
people continue to make sacrifices to make sure that God has a
worthy dwelling place among them. I congratulate everyone who was
involved in the work of restoring this Church so
beautifully....especially Jerry ODriscoll our builder, John
Keating, his Foreman; the many workers and sub contractors.
Painters, carpenters, plumbers, plasterers, roofers, scaffolders;
public address/sound specialists; carpet and pavement layers,
electricians; restorers of statues, structural engineers and
quantity surveyors, general workers and tradesmen, cleaners and
many more. They all played their part in their own special way. A
special word of thanks to John Sheehan of James Sheehan and
Associates, Quantity Surveyors, who took such great interest in
the work, and who gave so much of his time here, far far above
the call of duty I also thank Dermot Nestor, the Structural
engineer. whose work is much appreciated. I thank my fellow
priests and so many others, for the support and encouragement
they have given me. I needed it badly. I am confident that we can
rely on the great good will and continued support of the people
of the parish. May St. Columbas long continue to be Teach
Phobail De, the People of Gods house, for the next
Millennium and well beyond.
Fr. Liam .
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