Saturday, 29 December 2018

Fr Simon Barlow 1718-2018 : A Parish Tercentenary


It was very late in the year that a parishioner (the writer, Donal McMahon) came across the copy he had made in 2012 of the inscription on the gravestone of Fr Simon Barlow, buried in Saggart cemetery (photo above). Part of it read: "departed this life on the 25th September 1794, aged 76 years."  So when was he born, he idly wondered, subtracting his age from the year of his death -- which gave the year 1718, three hundred years ago this year. We marked the bicentenary in 2013 of the building of St Finian's and, two years later, the bicentenary of the death of Fr Andrew Hart (buried in St Mary's). Now, even though it be at the very end of the year, let us mark the tercentenary of the birth of Fr Simon Barlow.

Fr Anthony Gaughan's volume on the clergy of Dublin for the 18th century (published in 2013) gives the following information on Fr Barlow: "PP Saggart 1777-1794. D. 25 Sept. 1794."  That's all we have. Maybe some diligent researcher from the "United Parishes of Saggart, Rathcoole and Newcastle" (a phrase used on the gravestone) can add to these bare facts.

As can be seen from the photo, the gravestone is split across the middle and badly needs repair. The grave can be viewed more closely in this Slide Show, while the Gravestone Inscription testifies to the great work he did for his parishioners -- and our predecessors.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Monday, 10 December 2018

Saggart Carol Service

You are invited to come and celebrate the story of the Nativity in word and song. The service will last approximately 45 minutes.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Let Us Pray for the Dead 2017-18

May He support us all day long, 
till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, 
and the busy world is hushed, 
and the fever of life is over,              
and our work is done.

Then in His mercy may He give us a safe lodging, 
and a holy rest,
and peace at the last.   (John Henry Newman)

Saggart Cemetery (New Section)
Amy Quinn
Richard Grace
Jennie Mansfield
Thomas Browne
Liam Russell
Patricia Timmins
Richard Walsh
Michael Kelly
Annie Timmons
Mary Hollingsworth
Thomas Molloy
Sean Fagan
Jessie Murray
Kathleen Walsh
Patrick Moriarty
Mary Kavanagh (Cooney)
Celine Delaney
Laurence Walsh
Richard Anthony Kenna
Sean Hackett
Brian McKee
Marie Kelly
Anne (Golly) Murphy
Denis Lawlor
Stephen Kenna
Kevin McGurk
Jeremiah Roche
Karen Plunkett
William Crofton
Sharon Middleton
Kathleen Attley
Richard Morton
Joanna Joy
Margaret Proctor
James Mullally
Margaret Stack
Bridget O’Rourke
Anthony McDermott
Christopher Lucey

New Cemetery, Newcastle
William Shorten
Robert Farrell
Patrick McGarry
Ann Coffey
Sean Fitzgerald
Joseph Blackmore
Colin Prendergast
Breda Heffernan

Also prayed for at the Remembrance Mass in Newcastle on Friday 23rd was an East European man called Agris (a Latvian first name) who.worked in Greenogue Business Park  He was found dead in the car in which he lived (located on the Village Green) in late May. The facts of this sad case were reported in the Tallaght Echo for June 1st.  A collection was taken up in Newcastle to pay for the funeral expenses. His son took the ashes home.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Farewell-Evening Photos

Fr Aloysius Zuribo,  Mr Matt O'Sullivan,  Fr Michael Shortall
Handing Over :
Fr Colin (incoming), Fr Aloysius (outgoing)
Susan Reid,  Doreen Murphy,  Mary McNulty  
Ann Murphy,  Pat Redmond

Monday, 22 October 2018

Farewell and Welcome

Farewell, Fr Mchael, and thank you for your twelve years' valuable service to the parishioners here, the more recent ones in a part-time capacity following your appointment to the staff of Maynooth College. Michael has written about his vocation and his work here. An example of his good work among us taken at random from the internet can be found in an article from the Irish Independent (22 July 2008) reporting on a funeral in St Mary's (see here).

Farewell, Fr Aloysius, and thank you too for your six years' valuable service to us here in the united parishes of Saggart/Rathcoole/Brittas and Newcastle. Read Fr Aloysius's very interesting vocation story here.

A Farewell evening will be held in St Mary's GAA Hall, Saggart, Friday 2 November, 8 pm. See newsletters (right sidebar).

Welcome, Fr Colin (Rothery), coming to us from St Peter and Paul's, Balbriggan. Fr Colin and Fr Aloysius were ordained on the same day in 2009. Fr Colin's equally interesting vocation story can be found in the Irish Independent under a photo of the two priests outside the Pro-Cathedral on their ordination day.

We welcome too Rev. Don Devaney, the first deacon to come to our parish.  He was ordained deacon on the 4th June this year (read a report here).

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Feast of St Francis, 4th October

Working in the garden with my trusty helper-supervisor

Tomorrow is the feast-day of St Francis. In thinking of him we all, no doubt, think also of nature, the Creator, and those most humble, serviceable and faithful of creatures, the animals we know -- whether on a farm in the country or in our suburban homes. Why these creatures 'speak' to us so powerfully must be because, unlike us, they do not have language. We speak to them while they can never reply except in their own unique non-verbal way -- which can, of course, express so much, be it bark, miaow . . . and all the other sounds they use to communicate their feelings. Human beings are just higher animals, we say, only to come up against some very complex questions: 'How are we "higher" exactly?  In what way are we different? What use have we made of language? What does our thought arrive at?'  These are the questions that are somewhere in my head as I (in the photo above) stroke the little head of my cat who has very kindly come out to help (and supervise) me in the garden.

The Blessing of Animals takes place on Sunday the 7th of October on the steps of the Presbytery at Holy Redeemer. Fr Dan [Nguyen] will begin the service at 3pm and we welcome all creatures great and small, furred, finned and feathered to join us in a celebration of the life of St. Francis of Assisi and our animal companions.  

This invitation can be found here in the newsletter (30th September) for the parish of the Holy Redeemer, Bray. We don't (yet!) have such a blessing ceremony in our parish. So, instead or in the meantime, let this corner here be where we think of and ask their Creator's blessing on all our animal friends, those wordless companions with us on life's long, sometimes joyful, sometimes weary road.

Readers are welcome to send in their own pet story or photo.
(PS  Photos of the Pets/Animals Blessing in Balbriggan Parish here.)

Monday, 20 August 2018

The Pope's Visit : A Parish Website Record

The photos and texts below will serve as our testimony to, and memory of, a unique event.  (With all photos, click to enlarge. Once one is enlarged, you can view the whole sequence in enlarged view.)

Sunday 19th   Read Fr Michael Shortall's sermon here.

Wed. 22nd      Mass in RDS during Pastoral Congress

Cardinal Kevin Farrell and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
Photo :  Newcastle Parishioner

Friday 24th :   Capuchin Day Centre, Bow Street                                                                              
This photo was taken around 5 p.m. on Friday and shows the entrance to the Capuchin Day Centre on Bow Street.  Opposite the doorway to the centre is a row of houses called St Francis Terrace. Look at the street on google maps. Donal McMahon (writer of this account) with his wife Mary went to see the film about Pope Francis by Wim Wenders, A Man of His Word, showing in the Lighthouse Cinema, Smithfield, that day at 6.30 p.m. We were in plenty of time, so we walked over to the Capuchin church on Church Street to see the preparations for the visit of Pope Francis the following day. We passed by the Day Centre on the way. Imagine, the central character in the film we were going to see would be coming up that very street tomorrow! The papal flags were out, as you can see, but otherwise all was quiet round the Day Centre. Pope Francis walked through that door about 24 hours later with the eyes of millions on him (in attendance and viewing on tv). See the video of that moment here (fourth video down). The photo below (taken next day) shows the Pope on his way to the Day Centre via College Green and Dame Street.

Sat. 25th    The Pope on His Way to the Day Centre 

Status Civitatis Vaticanae
City State of the Vatican - in Dublin City
Photo : Newcastle Parishioner

Saturday Evening   In Croke Park

Ronan and Deborah McDermott
With their children and Ronan's father Liam

Sunday 26th  Mass in Phoenix Park

The three fine photos above were taken by Matt O'Sullivan (Chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council) who attended the Mass with his family.

Before the Mass:   A Unique Fleeting Moment Captured for Ever here  (thanks to Tabitha Thompson, Newcastle)

After the Mass :

Everyone Happy 
Mairin Leonard  of Newcastle with Family and Friends,  

A Final Word and Summary 
(from a Newcastle Parishioner)

What a wonderful gathering of families and clergy from around the world! From the official opening in the RDS on Tuesday evening to the closing Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park on Sunday evening, anybody attending any of the events could not but be impressed by the good humour and sheer joy of all who travelled from around the world to attend this amazing event. 

In the RDS from Wednesday through Friday there was an incredible array of top-level speakers, experts in their fields, who spoke on a wide range of topics, pertinent to contemporary Christianity. In addition, each day there were programmes for children and teenagers, exhibitions, prayer spaces and a concelebrated Mass in the main arena. On Saturday, there was great excitement as Pope Francis made his way around the streets of Dublin in the popemobile, squeezing it in with all his other engagements on the day. Everybody was able to view on TV the once-off incredible Festival of Families from Croke Park. Then there was our second Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park – truly historic.

THANK YOU to that small organising group from the Archdiocese who worked relentlessly to provide us with this wonderful event. Thank you too to the thousands of volunteers. The photos above (and all those you took yourselves with your families) will allow us relive the personal, familial and communal joyfulness ('laetitia') that we were all blessed with over the course of those wonderful late-summer days.  

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Mass Times from Sunday 5th August

Please note that some changes have been made to the times of Mass in our three churches. You will find the new times either under 'Mass Times' on the menu-bar above or else here.

New times have also been brought in for the sacraments of Baptism (starting in September) and Reconciliation.  See under 'Sacraments' on the menu-bar above.

Sacramental High Points

Outside Tuam Cathedral, 23rd June
Rev. John Regan, Fr Gerard Quirke and Mr Donal McMahon 

Children embark on their preparation for First Holy Communion in September and, after a year of following the Do This in Memory programme in the schools and at Mass on Sundays, they reach their goal in May with the reception of the sacrament. Older children prepare in a similar way for Confirmation and receive that sacrament towards the end of the school year. Weddings, too, take place more frequently as the summer months approach. Finally, there is the far less common sacrament of ordination. In this case we have mature men studying hard over several years in the national seminary of Maynooth or in the Irish College in Rome, all the while discerning whether this is indeed the right road for them. At the end of the academic year, they are ordained in their parishes all over Ireland -- or in the cathedrals, as was the case with our own Seamus McEntee on 3 June 2014 in Dublin's Pro-Cathedral (let's recall the joyful occasion here). Robert Smyth from Knocklyon who studied in Maynooth and in Rome was ordained priest for the Dublin diocese on Friday, 29th June, in the Pro-Cathedral (read Archbishop Martin's homily here)..

Beyond our parishes but involving two people from them, the photo above shows Fr Gerard Quirke outside St Jarlath's Cathedral,Tuam, following his ordination on Sunday 3rd June as a priest of the Tuam diocese. On the left is John Regan who was ordained priest for the Pallottine order in St Mary's Westport on Sunday, 23rd June. On the right is Donal McMahon of Saggart who taught Gerard and John during their first and his final two years in Maynooth (2011-1013). They then proceeded to their studies of Theology, when they were taught by Fr Michael Shortall.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Cemetery Masses 2018

Newcastle (Ballynakelly)    Sunday 10 June, 2 p.m.
Mass in cemetery followed by blessing of graves
St Finian's                               Sunday 17 June, 10.30 a.m.
Mass in St Finian's Church followed by blessing of graves
Saggart                                    Sunday 24 June, 11.30 a.m.
Mass in St Mary's Church followed by blessing of graves

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

WMOF and Holy Family, Rathcoole

          World Meeting of Families 2018

Holy Family Church, Rathcoole, 1988-2018        

Click to enlarge
click to enlarge
The two occasions above having the family as 
focus,  one universal in scope, the other par-ochial (the 30th anni-versary of the church in Rathcoole), were the cause of celebration on Sunday afternoon 27th May in the Church of the Holy Family and, afterwards, in the Community Centre.

See photos here  (Newsletter, 3rd June, scroll to p.3)

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Thoughts on the Referendum

"How can you live and not know why the cranes fly, why children are born, why the stars shine in the sky?  . . . You must either know why you live, or else . . . nothing matters." These are questions asked by Masha, one of the three sisters in Anton Chekhov’s play Three Sisters (1901), and are those we all ask deep down at certain moments. Religious faith believes that each person born (or in the womb on the way to being) is destined by God as a unique being, sent as part of an overall purpose. Are the parents similarly destined, their meeting and falling in love "meant to be"? Following the same reasoning and extending the How and Why questions ever outwards and backwards, how much of what happens is "meant to be"?  All of it? Religious faith would answer, "Yes. All, though in an inscrutable way, unfolds according to the will of God."

Each of us is a child of our parents and holds to the idea that our coming into the world is also a being sent into it, willed by a divine power. But to actually know the reason why we are here for our short span, what exactly we have contributed to mankind (obviously parents have contributed their children), what all our contributions, all the successive generations, are adding up to in the ongoing process of history -- that remains the greatest mystery of all, as perplexing (even more so) to us today as it was to those three sisters at the turn of the twentieth century. 

It is autumn in the last act and the cranes are migrating. Masha says:  "They have flown every spring and autumn for thousands of years now, and they don't know why, but they fly and will fly for a long, long time yet, for many thousands of years -- until God reveals to them his mystery."

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

                    Heavenly Day                                   Sunday 6 May 2018

After First Communion in Saggart for Pupils of St Martin's Brittas 
Photo: Donal McMahon (click to enlarge)

Friday, 4 May 2018

First Holy Communion

In St Mary's, Saggart

As you can see from the Newsletters, we have arrived at the season for First Holy Communion in our three churches for the children attending the local schools:

Holy Family Rathcoole, Sat. 28th April (Holy Family NS)

St Mary's Saggart, Sun. 6th May (St Martin's NS, Brittas); Sat.12th May (St Mary's NS); Sun. 20th May (Citywest Educate Together); Sat. 26th May (Citywest and Saggart Community NS)

St Finian's Newcastle, Sun.13th May (St Finian's NS); Sun. 20th May (St Finian's NS); Sun. 27th May (St Finian's NS)

May it be a Great Day for children and parents and parish community!

Friday, 23 March 2018

Holy Week 2018

Church of St Cross Hospital, Winchester

The timetable for Masses and ceremonies during Holy Week can be read here.


Holy Saturday      Rathcoole, 2 p.m.    All Welcome!
Blessing of Polish Community's Easter Baskets

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Masses on St Patrick's Day

St Patrick Preaching the Gospel to Laoghaire, King of Ireland

Mass Times for St Patrick's Day

Friday (Vigil)           7 p.m.          Rathcoole        
Saturday 17th         9 a.m.         Saggart
                                 10 a.m.          Newcastle                  
                                 12 noon         Rathcoole

The photo above is of the meeting between St Patrick and King Laoghaire in the royal court of Tara (Teamair). The saint is preaching the Gospel to the king and his courtiers, holding up the shamrock, symbol of the Trinity, in his right hand.  This is the scene as depicted in a stained-glass window to be found in Sts Peter and Paul's church, Athlone, designed by Richard King of the Harry Clarke Studios which continued Clarke's work after his death in 1931. The photo is reproduced here by kind permission of the authors of the website Roaringwater Journal.

For more reading on Harry Clarke, see here and, for his illustrations for Ireland's Memorial Records 1914-1918 (published in eight volumes, 1919) giving information on 49,435 men killed in WWI, see here.  Vol 5 (K-McG) has been digitized by TCD and may be browsed  here. If you scroll down to the name McCann, Joseph William (p.282), you will find the following record for one of our parishioners, 

Reg. No. 52825,  Corporal Royal Engineers; d. Gallipoli 23 August 1915; b. Saggart, Co. Dublin, aged 26

Let us then remember on St Patrick's day all Irish people at home and abroad, both living and dead -- and that includes this young parishioner the Harry Clarke window has led us to. Joseph McCann lies far away today in the Portianos Military Cemetery on the Aegean island of Lemnos (see here  Note that in this Commonwealth War Graves Commission record his address is given as Keating's Park, Rathcoole).

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Masses This Weekend

From Communications Office, Dublin Archdiocese 

Where weather conditions make it unsafe or where road conditions make it dangerous, imprudent or difficult, there is no obligation to attend Sunday Mass this weekend.

When people are unable to attend Mass it is recommended that they view or listen to the Mass on-line, on television or radio or that they spend a time in prayer as individuals or as a family.

Where serious conditions of access or safety arise regarding a Church building, the Parish Priest or Rector may decide that a Church may remain closed even on Sunday.  

From Fr John Gilligan, Moderator                      
and                                                                                                 Matt O'Sullivan, Chairperson, PPC

Due to the state of the roads and areas around our Churches we are cancelling all Masses in Saggart, Rathcoole, and Brittas this weekend. Mass in Newcastle will go ahead (i.e. Saturday Vigil, 7 p.m. and Sunday, 10.30 a.m.). The diocese supports this decision in the interests of health and safety (see above communication). We hope you are all keeping warm and have enough food.  Please keep in contact with those who are housebound to see they are okay.


View of One Parishioner's Driveway, Corbally
See newsletter of 11th March here (p.4) for photos of our churches in the Big Snow.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Saggart and Brittas Confirmations

Saggart Confirmations: Bravo, Carandang, Fujardo and Lugares Families with two of their confirmed boys

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Confirmation Ceremonies

Tomorrow, Friday 2nd, 56 young people from St. Finian's National School will receive the sacrament of Confirmation in St Finian's Church, while next Friday 9th a grand total of 75 from The Holy Family National School, Rathcoole, will receive the sacrament in St Mary's, Saggart, Bishop Eamonn Walsh officiating on both occasions. Congratulations to each and every one of the 131 girls and boys. All of us adults can only hope and pray that they find their way in life by their own efforts and hard work, first of all, of course, but also by knowing that there is someone there beyond themselves that is guiding the world with them and through them. (And it's exactly the same story for us adults.)

Families are invited, if they so wish, to send a photo to this parish site (email address right sidebar) as a memento of the occasion. A group photo would be particularly welcome.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

The Holy Family

Icon of the Holy Family for WMOF 2018

We celebrated the feast of the Holy Family on the last day (31st) of 2017.  The Church of the Holy Family in Rathcoole will mark its 30th anniversary in 2018. The third and most illustrious mention we can make in connection with this topic as we embark on this New Year of 2018 is, of course, the World Meeting of Families which will take place in August. The above icon shows the wedding feast of Cana (right), the Holy Family in Nazareth (centre) and (left) the raising from the dead by Jesus of the daughter of Jairus (Matthew Ch. 9,  Mark Ch.5, and Luke Ch.8). We can read the panels, then, as taking in the complete cycle of life from marriage/birth to nurturing/education to end-of-life/resurrection. (For further commentary on the icon please see this week's newsletter (Sunday 7th), p.2.)