Published 30/10/2013 | 05:36
BISHOP of Kerry Ray Browne was in Cromane on Sunday to celebrate a special landmark anniversary of the local church.
It's a century since Fr Tom Lawlor founded Cromane's Star of the Sea Church and on Sunday locals gathered for a centenary Mass with a reception afterwards in the community centre.
It was an informal affair as Bishop Browne set the scene by personally greeted the congregation as they arrived and the Mass began with a procession into the church.
Marking the occasion were some 22 altar servers who sat at the front of a packed church and joining the celebration were Fr Fleming, Fr O'Brien and retired local priest and former curate Fr Sheehan. The choir was led by choirmaster Jerry Murphy and included sixth class students from Scoil Realt Na Mara.
Afterwards, the rain stayed away but the wind was strong and blustery as Bishop Browne unveiled a plaque in memory of Fr Tom Lawlor and planting an ash tree to mark the many ash trees that once proudly stood in the church grounds.
With photographs taken, it was off to the community centre led by the Killorglin Pipe Band where inside there were refreshments, home-made of course, and memorabilia of the church on display. But before joining those inside, Bishop Browne had a special visit first.
"He went into the nearby marquee to visit the children and sit with them," Centenary Working Group member Mary Roche said.
"It really was rather wonderful to watch. He was sitting down with a glass of orange and was so much at ease as the children showed their paintings of what they thought he looked like."
Back in the hall there were sing songs and recitations as the celebrations continued deep into the afternoon. "It was a fantastic day and it was made all the better by Bishop Browne who met with parishioners first hand and enjoyed the day," Mary added.
Father Lawlor was the parish priest of Killorglin from 1884 until 1916. He is responsible for the building of six schools and several churches in the parish, including the school and church in Cromane. Star of the Sea involved a complete renovation of a church first built by Fr James Kearney in the 1860s.