'A FAMILY UNITED'
IT MAY have been over 650 years since the last such international gathering, but it certainly was worth the wait for 17 local people to be affiliated to the Augustinian Order for their work in the community and for the Church.
Anne Russell, Anne Tallon, Kathleen Matthews, Catherine Doolan, Eilish Collins, Tony and Anne Tracey, Denis and Margaret Balfe, Maureen Morgan, Timmy (Regan) and Elizabeth Goggins, Martin and Laura Burke, Paddy and Breda Dwyer and Geraldine Doggett all received special letters and parchments from Fr. Franz Klein OSA, Assistant General.
The awards were presented at a special Mass in the church last Thursday, with beautiful music from the Augustinian Church Choir and Drogheda Male Voice Choir.
The unique occasion was part of a five-day visit of the European Augustinian Provincials, who were treated to a tour of Drogheda by Phil Conyngham before the Mass.
A highlight of the event was the presentation of a new chalice by Timmy Goggins on behalf of the male choir, to replace one recently stolen from the altar.
Concelebrating with visiting friars Fr. John Hennebry, Fr. Luis Marin Fr. Wieslaw Dawidovski, as well as Fr Francis Anherne, before affiliatiing the members, Fr. Franz said it was his pleasure to recognise people who have worked so hard on behalf of the local community.
'In making you all a member of the Augustinian Order, you are a family united with our community – sisters and brothers with us – and as such, we will all benefit from the same spiritual guidance,' he told the packed Church.
Fr. Francis introduced each recipient, outlining their wonderful contribution over the years.
Anne Russell, Anne Tallon, Kathleen Matthews, Catherine Doolan all helped to organise the hugely successful Augustinian Penny Bank for many years.
Eilish Collins has been the housekeeper for the Drogheda Augustinians since 1986, just like her mother before her.
Tony and Anne Tracey have worked tirelessly for 38 years, counting the money collected at each Mass.
Denis and Margaret Balfe were described as the 'most senior Mass servers in Drogheda', as they have looked after the 11 a.m. Mass for decades.
Thanks was given to Maureen Morgan, who has decorated the Church, and taken care of the printing, for over 40 years.
Glorious music has been provided for over 40 years from Timmy and Elizabeth Goggins, with Tommy still singing in the new Drogheda Male Voice Choir.
For over 30 years, Martin and Laura Burke have looked after the morning and evening prayers.
Paddy and Breda Dwyer were honoured for loyal service to the Church, and being wonderful neighbours, with their award collected by their daughter Sarah-Jane.
Finally, Church organist Geraldine Doggett has lead the Masses in song and music for 18 years, and was delighted to be affiliated as a member.