centenary

St Cronan’s Centenary

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‘This day was made by the Lord let us rejoice and be glad’ is a line taken from the Psalms.  It could well sum up the celebration taking place within our parish this Sunday May 27th.  We celebrate the centenary of our beautiful St. Cronan’s church. It is indeed a noble structure with its many outstanding features. It is a truly fitting place of worship and today we celebrate and honour the people who in very hard times funded and built the it.

We think of our many emigrants in the United States and elsewhere who donated hard earned money to ensure that St. Cronan’s became a reality.  We honour and give thanks for all those who worked hard and long hours to build it. We thin too of all those who have gathered within its hallowed walls to pray over the decades, those who were baptised here, those who were sealed with the oil of chrism on confirmation day, those who committed themselves in love through the sacrament of marriage, those who prostrated themselves before the altar on ordination day and all those who welcomed the Lord’s mercy in the sacrament of reconciliation and His presence in the Eucharist. We also commend to the Lord today all whose funeral liturgies have taken place here. We pray that they now rejoice in the halls of heaven .We think too of all those who have sat in these seats and lifted up their hearts to the Lord in times of petition and likewise in thanksgiving.

Today we give thanks for all who have passed on this beautiful building to us. As a community let us commit to ensuring that this sacred place is maintained as a fitting monument to generations past. Let us pray also that we will be true to our faith and ensure that it is passed on to those that come after us.  Faith inspired the people of Balla to build this church 100 years ago. May our faith enable us to appreciate it and ensure that it remains a place where we continue to lift up our hearts in prayer to God.

On this day of celebration I would also like to remember all the priests who have ministered in this parish over the years and the priests and religious who have left here to share the Christian message with other people at home and abroad, and to acknowledge the tremendous work that over 300 people do in various ministries in both Balla and Belcarra. Without their generosity of service our parish could not operate.

On this centenary celebration day I thank all who are helping to make it a happy and positive occasion for everyone and I pray that God will pour down many blessings on us and on our parish as we give thanks for the past, celebrate the present and pray for the future.

‘This day was made by the Lord let us rejoice and be glad.’ Psalm 117:V24/

Denis Carney,

Parish Priest.

27th May 2018.

Photos courtesy of Colin Redmond, Kathy Lyons and Michael Durkan.

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Blessed Well on Palm Sunday

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As part of the centenary celebrations the blessing of palm took place at the newly restored Blessed Well at 10.30 am followed by a procession to St.Cronan’s Church for Mass.   Sincere thanks to all who facilitated this special event in  our parish in this a very special centenary year.

Church Restoration update

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WORK ON ST CRONAN’S

The raking out of all joints on the east gable has begun after permission was granted by the Mayo County Council Heritage Office. Some of the coping on the gable will be lifted to see if there is any water ingress there. This is very slow work.

When this is done the repointing will start and work on the window externally can commence. At the end of that work a full conservation plan for the entire church will have to be drawn up.

As the work progresses we will keep everyone one fully informed. A sincere thank you to allwho have increased their weekly contributions and to those who have made specific donations.

It is much appreciated I can assure you.

Sincere Thanks to Michael Durkan and John McEllin for their photos to keep us all updated on the fabulous work being done to preserve St Cronan’s for its next 100 years.

Conservation & Restoration Works

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Conservation and Restoration Works

As you are aware we will mark the centenary of this church next year. As I mentioned to you some months ago conservation and restoration work needs to be carried out on the main window over the altar here and also the toilet facilities in the sacristy need to be seriously upgraded with some renovation also needing to be carried out on the sacristy itself. The fire alarm system has to be upgraded to comply fully with insurance demands on a listed building.

The Parish Finance Committee over the last few months have been working away on these projects under the guidance of Michael Horan of Axo Architects in Castlebar and in close consultation with Siobhan Sexton, Heritage Officer with Mayo County Council. Because the building is listed we have to adhere to the stipulations of the Heritage Officer.

Today I have a mixture of good and bad news. Three companies were asked to tender for the work on the window and the reports that they gave us were very varied- you could say totally opposed to each other. The good news is that the window does not have to be taken out. The conservation and restoration work can be done on site over a period of about seven weeks (depending on the weather) about three weeks inside and four weeks outside. We have also been able to secure a saving on the cost of the window works. It will now cost €45,000. Still a substantial sum of money but considerably less than we had feared. The work will start in the next 10 days or so.

As you can see in the newsletter we are now starting the tendering process for the essential works in the sacristy and toilets. For those of you not familiar with the sacristy there is only one very small toilet with very basic facilities and at the time of weddings and funerals you can have people queuing up out the yard or indeed coming over to my house to use toilets. The sacristy itself needs some decorating and electrical works carried out.

I had mentioned that work to you when I spoke a few months ago but unfortunately we have received some bad news about the building itself. When the company that will be carrying out the work on the window Aria Stained Glass from Galway were surveying the window they noticed that water was getting into the gable through cracks in the pointing. After consulting with the Heritage Officer we had the entire building investigated by a qualified person and we have been told that the same thing is happening all around the church and that the only remedy is to re-point the entire structure.

As the conservation and renovation work begins on the altar window we pray that all will go well with this phase of the work. It will take about three weeks internally and then the work will move outside. It is at this stage that work on the pointing of the gable will begin.

Centenary of St Cronan’s Church, Balla

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Homily by Fr. Denis
on Sunday February 19th 2017

2018 marks the centenary of St. Cronan’s Church. Over the coming months both the Pastoral Council and Finance Committee will discuss how best the centenary can be celebrated. Today I would like to invite the views of you and all parishioners on that. If you have any suggestions on how we might mark the centenary please contact me and I will bring it to the discussions.

Everyone  agrees that St. Cronan’s is a beautiful church building. It was built in very difficult times.  It started in 1913 and was dedicated in May 1918. At that time the First World War was taking place. Yet despite  the difficulties of the time when money was scarce the people of the time spared no effort in building a very fine church which 100 years later we can be proud of.

Some years ago when renovations were being planned the Architect asked me what I would like to do. I told him that I would like to honour those who put it here. I would like to do that again next year as well as celebrating the faith that has been witnessed to in this building for the last 100 years and which please God will continue to be celebrated here for many years to come. I would also like to see the centenary celebration as an inclusive community event.

As regards the building itself some work needs to be carried out on it. The priority is the conservation of the beautiful window over the Mass altar that depicts the Crucifixion scene. The window now urgently needs attention and at the moment some companies who specialise in stained glass work are engaged in a tendering process. While I do not have exact figures I would expect it to be anything up to €80,000.  It is very specialised and detailed work that will take a number of months. Some works on upgrading the toilet facilities also needs to take place. That means money has to be spent and while we have money in the account we will need to do some fundraising.  Over the last 30 years very few demands have been made for funding for the church. It is a topic I do not like discussing but at this time I have to. Fundraising will have to take place over the coming year but it will not be major. I would hope that most people within the parish community will respond in a positive manner.

While not everyone comes to Mass virtually every family in the parish uses the church at some time or other for a Baptism, a First Communion, a Confirmation, a Marriage or a family Funeral.An appeal will be made to all, seeking help and please God many will contribute Also some families might like to make a particular donation and that too would be most welcome.

At this time the new boxes of envelopes for the coming year go out.  I would like to thank those who deliver them. I thank all of you who contribute week in and week out towards the upkeep of the church.  It is your continued support coupled with so much voluntary work that keeps our heads above water.  If any of you are in a position to put a little extra into your envelope it would be of enormous help. Every euro adds up.  I would also like to mention that I have a weekly envelope myself. I do not say that as self praise . I have a weekly income and therefore have a responsibility to do my bit in the same way as everyone else.

We have a church that we can be very proud of. I have every confidence that this community will respond to its needs at this time and over the coming months as plans for the renovations and the centenary develops I will keep you informed and if anyone would like to help in any way or make any suggestions please contact me.