Thursday, October 12, 2017

Parishioners Who Died in WWI

John Nolan, b. Saggart (sixth name from top left) 
Click to enlarge

Archbishop Eamon Martin paid tribute to his grand-uncle Edward Doherty at  the unveiling of a plaque on the 22nd September last in St Patrick's Church, Iskaheen (in the Inishowen peninsula near Muff), to honour men from the area who died in World War I. Gunner Edward Doherty (Royal Garrison Artillery) died 19 September 1917, aged 33. Archbishop Martin had visited his grave last year where, as he says in the address he gave at the unveiling, '[I] knelt down and prayed at the white Portland headstone'. Read the text of his address and view a video of his visit  here.  

Today, 12 October 2017, is the day John Nolan from Saggart parish died a hundred years ago near Ypres (in Belgium), like Archbishop Martin's ancestor. He enlisted at the start of the war and was sent to France on 17 August 1914. On 18 June 1917 he was awarded the Military Medal and his name entered in the official London Gazette -- but, regrettably, without any accompanying citation. He was killed in action during the Third Battle of Ypres on 12th October, his body never being recovered. He is remembered on the memorial in Tyne Cot cemetery. (Thanks to David Power, South Dublin County Council Library, for this information.)

The 1901 census tells us (see link herethat he lived in a thatched cottage on Fortunestown Lane with his mother (55 and head of the family), his two sisters (23 and 22), and his brother Peter (17), he being 20 years old. The family were all Roman Catholic. Mary, a widow, lived in no.4 in a line of five houses. It was a 3rd class (i.e. thatched etc.) house, while their next-door neighbours lived in 2nd class ones. The other families describe their occupation as farmer/farm labourer, while Mary didn't enter any occupation for the females and 'general labourer' for the males. Ten years later, at the time of the next census, the Tippers of No.2 were in the Nolans' former home, while the Nolans themselves were gone out of Fortunestown.

William Newsom in No.5 was a horse trainer, as was his son John. He is down as owner of No.4, the Nolans' house. Our John no doubt learned a lot about horses from these neighbours and, having no land, went to work eventually for the Royal Horse Artillery/Royal Field Artillery, his regiment in the British army. That would explain why he didn't stay at home and find a job in the paper mill like the other young men in the area. He married later and, after his death at the age of 36, the official register of soldiers' effects tells us that Florence Emily inherited his -- a rather ironic word in this case -- estate.

We can visit Tyne Cot cemetery here at the website of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Follow the link after his name to see more details about him (i.e. his name included in the list of the dead (but with no indication of place of birth) and his (downloadable) certificate of honour). In our own Memorial Book to be found in the Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge (with illustrations by Harry Clarke) we find his name recorded along with his place of birth (see photo above). As we see, he is one of ten men of the same name who all died in World War I.

Maybe we too could kneel, if only symbolically, and whisper a prayer for John Nolan today : in the words of the Mass, 'Remember, Lord, those who have died' -- in John's case, in a tragically violent way in World War I.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Farewell, Fr Aidan. Welcome, Fr Kevin

After seven years of dedicated service to the two parishes of our pastoral area, Fr Aidan is moving to the parish of Castledermot. Newcastle parish where he was mainly based will be holding a farewell reception in his honour. This will take place on Wednesday, 13th September, in St Finian's Hall,  8 p.m,  All parishioners welcome.


Fr Kevin Doherty has been appointed as Co-Parish Priest of our two parishes. He was previously in Celbridge parish.  


See Fr Aidan's own words of farewell in the last here, bottom of p.2) of the newsletters he has put together himself week by week for a long number of years. For that and for all he has done for our joint parishes, on my own behalf and on behalf of whoever visits this site, I thank him. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Suggested Reading/Viewing

Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth (+Moon), Mars,  Jupiter, Saturn, Urnaus, Neptune

Starting from the here and now, you might like to read a recent interview with our own Fr Seamus McEntee which appeared in the Irish Catholic, 24 August 2017 (see it here).

Then, maybe wondering further about the here and now and where we fit in and where we are going, you might like to watch a recently released Irish-made film that raises these vast questions. The Farthest tells the story of the Voyager I and 2 spacecraft that were launched forty years ago in 1977 to find out more about the remote regions of the solar galaxy. Read about the making of the film here and view a trailer (and watch it in full screen!) here.  This film is being broadcast tonight on RTE 1 (10.15 p.m to 12.30 a.m.). I suggest you record it if you can't view it.   

The heavens declare the glory of God, says the Psalmist (Ps. 19.1). On the other hand, 'the silence of those infinite spaces terrifies me,' says Pascal.   We today try to see how we may really say out those words of the psalmist in praise and with real conviction. Newman (Apologia pro Vita Sua, Ch.3) says how he had, before his conversion to Catholicism, 'an habitual notion that my mind had not found its ultimate rest and that in some sense or other I was on [a] journey'. Is not mankind also on a journey towards its 'ultimate rest', a journey of discovery that takes the form of space exploration today, a continuation of those voyages of discovery of the 15th/16th centuries? It may be said that 'Voyager' refers to those who launched it as much as to the spacecraft itself. 'Fare forward, voyagers,' says T.S. Eliot (Four Quartets) and adds later: 'We shall not case from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time.' New statements and observations are being made today as mankind continues its efforts to know the purpose and truth about life on earth, the truth about itself as the inhabitant of the little blue ball in the photo above. Knowing that would indeed make us agree wholeheartedly with the psalmist and, looking around us and above us, 'declare [today too] the glory of God'.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Summer Flowers, Outside and Inside

A small photographic tribute to our flower planters and flower arrangers, in the great world outside and inside where we pray for that world, i.e. the church.  The occasions are the Tidy Towns preparations and, below, the decoration of the main altar in Saggart for Cemetery Sunday Mass, 25th June.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Upgrading Our Churches

A new Finance Committee was announced in the newsletter of 7th May (here, p.2). This committee has identified some renovation projects for our churches, as outlined in the newsletter of 4th June (here, p.1). Parishioners are invited to suggest ideas for further projects and a Suggestion Box has been provided in each of our churches to receive such suggestions. In the words of the newsletter:

SUGGESTION BOX   A suggestion box has been placed in each of our churches. Its purpose is two-fold:
1.  Suggestions for other projects that you would like to be considered. Each project will be reviewed carefully and prioritized.
2.  Suggestions for any input / support that you may be able to provide in order to support the completion of the suggested project(s).