President visits restored St Mel's for rededication
'Faithful to the past, building for the future' was the motto chosen for the five-year multi-million euro restoration of the fire-stricken St Mel's Cathedral in Longford which has marked its formal rededication, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
At a special Mass attended by President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina yesterday, as well as 24 bishops from across Ireland, including the Primate of All Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin, the retired Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise Dr Colm O'Reilly paid tribute to the biggest Church restoration project in Europe of its time.
He said the cathedral square had been redesigned to reach out and 'welcome' all and bigger congregations were now attending on Sundays than for many years.
"Now we want to see this sacred space filled with young and old, natives of Longford and people who are natives of other countries who have come to live here," Bishop O'Reilly told the packed cathedral.
St Mel's, which was gutted by fire on Christmas Day 2009, was originally rededicated on May 19 1840.