Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.


“There’s a time to remember, a time to recall

The trials and the triumphs, the fears and the falls;

There’s a time to be grateful for the moments so blest:

The jewels of our memory where love is our guest,”

2013 was certainly a year to remember, to recall and to be grateful in the church community of Garrafrauns. It has been hailed as a year of joy, prayer. hope and togetherness as we celebrated the centenary of the dedication of St. Patrick’s Church. Preparations for this wonderful occasion began in 2012 when our Parish Priest, Fr. Fergal Cunnane, arranged some exploratory meetings and discussions as to how best to commemorate this event. We got a really encouraging start when we were chosen to participate in a Fás Training Scheme which culminated in the provision of a centenary garden in the church grounds- a garden which has enhanced the appearance of the entrance area. Many thanks to the workers and supervisor who brought this project to fruition. In December 2012, Garrafrauns Heritage Group launched “A celebration of Christian Faith and Worship”. This publication gives a wonderful insight into the contribution which our small close-knit community has made to the faith story of our place, and also the work and service of our priests and religious in spreading the Gospel all over the world. 

We greeted the arrival of 2013 by lighting a centenary candle and reciting our centenary prayer-a practice we continued all through the year. This was a definite reminder to all of us that we were preparing for a faith celebration. Renovations began in earnest with the upgrading and installation of heating, lighting and sound systems. Seats were shortened; the baptismal font was relocated closer to the front door area; both the interior and exterior of the building were painted; sacristy redecorated; new marble fittings; brass lettering; new carpet and the Stations of the Cross were removed for cleaning and restoration. All of this work was carried out with such care and thought that the unique prayerful, sacred and intimate atmosphere of our church was not compromised in any way. Meetings were now taking place on a weekly basis and sub-committees were formed to deal with specific areas for the main event on June 16th.

While all of this work was continuing Fr. Fergal and his committee were also focussing on the spiritual and liturgical aspects of the occasion. So June 1st. was a very special evening when the annual Parish Corpus Christi Procession took place in Garrafrauns, the first time since 1954. At this stage we had just 2 weeks to finalise arrangements for the Centenary Mass on June 16th. This took place at 6pm and what a joy it was to have our Archbishop, Most Rev. Dr. Michael Neary to celebrate mass with us.  He was assisted by our Parish Priest Fr. Fergal Cunnane;  Canons James Quinn, John Flannery, Michael Goaley, John Cosgrove, Frs. Paddy Mooney, Tommie Commins and Francis McGrath (from our Parish cluster) Frs. Martin O’ Connor, John Kenny, Michael Farragher, Francis Mitchell, Karl Burns , and Patrick Burke. Apologies were received from Frs. Benny McHale, James Ronayne, J.J. Cribben and Brendan McGuinness.

The sense of joy and pride felt by the whole congregation was reinforced as our choir, under the direction of Monica McWalter, moved all of us to join in and sing ”All are welcome, All are welcome , All are welcome in this place.” The welcoming address, given by Orla Ryder, was followed by a very moving re-enactment of our Christian story, delivered through mime and music by pupils from Garrafrauns Primary School and completed by a presentation of symbols which were taken to a sacred space in the sanctuary area. These symbols included a rowan tree(later to be planted in the church garden), a bell, Baptismal Register, holy oil, 1913 photograph of the church, samples of tools used in the building of the church, copy of our publication Christian Faith and Worship, and soil from each of the 14 villages  of our half parish. Before the final blessing, our church caretaker and sacristan May Dooley, was presented with the Papal medal Bene Merenti, in recognition for her long and faithful service-an award which May has well earned! At the end of mass we all proceeded to the garden where a rowan tree was planted by Dr. Neary and a centenary stone was unveiled. Now after all the formalities were completed it was time to go to our Community Centre where all were treated to a very tasty variety of refreshments and where friendships were renewed, stories shared  and cameras clicked!

In November, Fr. Fergal celebrated a special Mass of Remembrance for the deceased from our half parish and a memorial stone was unveiled which indicates the location of the Children’s Burial Grounds in our area. The final event in our special year was on December 15th when we hosted the annual Parish Carol Service.  Again, the church was packed to capacity as together with the nine choirs from the parish we sang, prayed,reflected and focussed  on the coming of the Christ Child. As we reflect now on this wonderful year of renewal, memories and gatherings, I think it is appropriate to once again repeat our Centenary Prayer-a prayer for all time, not just this year.

“Loving Father, we give you thanks for the gift of faith which St. Patrick brought to our land and for the witness of our ancestors in successive generations. Inspire us with hope as we celebrate the Centenary of Garrafrauns Church. Renew our community as we pass on the light of Christ in our time. Give us courage to proclaim the Gospel anew so that St. Patrick’s Church may continue to serve as a meeting place for generations to come”

Críost liom, Críost romham,

Críost I mo dhiaidh, Críost istigh ionam.

Christ be with me, Christ before me,

Christ behind me, Christ within me.