Thursday 24 October 2019

Celebrating 30 years of Mornington church

Great memories of the Star of the Sea Church in Mornington were relived recently when the 30th celebration of the church took place.

Planned in the 1970s, the new church was solemnly blessed and dedicated to Mary, Star of the Sea, by Most Rev. Michael Smith, Coadjutor Bishop of Meath, in a ceremony presided over by Most Rev. Dr. John McCormack, Bishop of Meath.

That great 'opening day' saw the 500 seats or so, full to capacity, as Miss Brigid Weir, a stalwart member of the parish and sacristan of the old church for 30 years, gave a history of the Colpe, Donacarney and Mornington area. The two bishops and concelebrants made the customary entry to the new building and walked in procession to the altar as the choir sang "Praise the Lord, all you nations." Right Rev. Monsignor John Hanly, PP, welcomed the two bishops, visiting priests, Rev. Canon Jim Nelson and the congregation to the new church. The church, he said, was a credit to the many people who were giving to Mornington a handsome successor to the old and much loved chapel down the road, which dated to Famine times.

He paid a warm tribute to Rev. Paddy Dillon, the man who for the previous 14 years had patiently guided the people of Mornington to the realisation of their dream. He introduced the architect, Turlough McKevitt; the builder, Frank Duffy, and the sacristan. Miss Brigid Weir, who represented the people as the keys were formally handed to the bishop.

A relic of St. Oliver Plunkett was carried in procession to the altar and sealed into a prepared aperture.

The homily was given by Very Rev. James Bird who when a curate in St. Mary's, Drogheda, had looked after the spiritual needs of the Mornington people for many years.

He outlined the earlier churches in the parish - the first a 12th century building which was looked after by the Canons Regular of St. Augustine at Colpe, the second, the church of Marinerstown in the old cemetery down the road. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when churches were taken over by the State, Fathers Reilly and Cusack said Mass in different houses in the district.

The project had taken less than 10 months to complete and is on a site donated by the Connolly family of Donacarney.

According to Fr Dillon, the old church was in a very dangerous condition owing to a "quite perceptible spread" in the supporting walls. Fr. Dillon added that many were glad that the old and once much favoured cruciform design was used.

Drogheda Independent