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150 year Celebrations

150 year Celebrations This Sunday 7th August 2016,
the people of Carrickmacross and the entire South-
Monaghan parish of Machaire Rois will celebrate the one
hundred and fiftieth anniversary of their beautiful parish
church of St Joseph’s, dedicated in 1866. The highpoint of
the anniversary will be the celebration of the Sacrament
of Eucharist – a Mass of Thanksgiving at 6pm on Sunday,
for one hundred and fifty years of worship and prayer.
The chief celebrant of the Mass will be the Bishop of
Clogher, Most Rev Liam S MacDaid, who will also deliver
the homily. The priests and parishioners of the parish will
extend a warm welcome to all who wish to attend and
participate in the liturgy.
The foundation stone of St Joseph’s church,
Carrickmacross was laid by Bishop Charles McNally of
Clogher on 3 July 1861 and it was dedicated to the
service of God on Sunday 22 April 1866 by the then
Bishop of Clogher, James Donnelly. The preacher on that
occasion was the Dean Michael Kiernan PP, Dundalk, later
to be Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland
(1867-1869). The church was dedicated under the
invocation of St Joseph by special indult from the Holy
See. St Joseph’s replaced another church located nearby,
St Marys, which was dedicated in 1786 and served as
parish church for eighty years. The parish priest who
commissioned the building of St Joseph’s and who led the
parish throughout the project was Right Rev James
Joseph MacMahon, a native of Aghabog, Co. Monaghan,
PP of Carrickmacross 1854-1884 and Dean of the Diocese
of Clogher 1862-1884. He had previously been the first
principal of St Macartan’s College Monaghan from its
opening in 1848.
St Joseph’s is described as ‘a noble Gothic structure’
designed by the famous architect of that form, J J
McCarthy (1817-1882). He was an associate of the
renowned English architect Augustus Welby Pugin and a
close friend of the Monaghan-born Young Irelander,
journalist and politician Charles Gavan Duffy. Among
McCarthy’s many other works of note are St Macartan’s
Cathedral, Monaghan, St Patrick’s church, Dungannon, St
Patrick’s College Chapel, Maynooth, Holy Cross Church at
Clonliffe College, Dublin (his only work in Romanesque
design) and the completions of St Patrick’s Cathedral,
Armagh and St Brendan’s Cathedral, Killarney.
Artistic features of St Joseph’s include some windows by
the Harry Clarke Studios, one of which, the St Ceara
window dating from 1925, was designed and partly
created by Harry Clarke himself. Other Harry Clarke
windows depict saints associated with Clogher diocese,
Macartan, Tighernach, Fanchea and Enda. A set of
Stations of the Cross by Richard King (1907-1974) were
commissioned for St Joseph’s for the Holy Year of 1950.
A history of St Joseph’s, by local historian Larry
McDermott, is forthcoming later in August. ‘The Face of
Suffering’, a short book of reflections on Richard King’s
‘Stations’ in St. Joseph’s first written in 2009, is being
updated and a limited number will be available in August
to coincide with the celebrations. This year 2016 marks
the 65th year of the first blessing and hanging of ‘The
Stations’ in St Josephs. In addition, a small group of
parishioners are working with local photographer Pat
Byrne to record the life and history of the Parish on DVD.
This is a very exciting project which will be available for
viewing later in the year.
In honour of the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph’s,
we wish to tell the story of our church in a documentary
film. You are invited to travel back with us in time to trace
the roots of Catholicism in Carrickmacross from penal
times to the present day – from mass rocks and caves to
the awe inspiring St Joseph’s church with its many
priceless artistic features and magnificent
architecture.There will be a public launch of the
documentary DVD titled: St. Joseph’s Church,
Carrickmacross – a Sacred Place 1866 – 2016 in Hotel
Nuremore, Carrickmacross on Sunday 25th of September
2016 at 7.00pm. All are welcome to this free showing.
Copies of the DVD will be n sale at €15 each on the night.