23rd September 1999

FR. LIAM'S HOMILY at the weekend.


Welcome home. Itšs a great day for us all. We are back at last in our beloved St. Columba’s. And isn’t 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. Columba’s 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 God’s 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 life’s 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; Sunday’s 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. That’s why we need St. Columba’s. Here in St. Columba’s 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 O’Driscoll 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. Columba’s long continue to be Teach Phobail De, the People of God’s house, for the next Millennium and well beyond.

Fr. Liam .

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