Castletown Church reopens

The first Mass since the end of June was celebrated at St. Joseph’s Church, Castletown Kinneigh, in the parish of Enniskeane on Sunday September 10th at 10.30am. The church had been closed for refurbishment and other essential works for 10 weeks.

The church is now fully accessible and has accessible toilets and is fitted with a T-loop system for people with hearing impairments.

It has a new entrance, with an interior glazed porch. It also has a quiet room which is welcoming for parents with young children.

The church has also been completely redecorated. Many historical artefacts have also been restored.

Front entrance of St. Joseph’s Church, Castletown Kinneigh.

The new extension at St. Joseph’s Church, Castletown Kinneigh.

St. Joseph’s Church, Castletown Kinneigh. The view that welcomes the visitor.

Original timbers preserved and painted.

Old and new blended at at St. Joseph’s Church, Castletown Kinneigh.

The quiet room at St. Joseph’s Church, Castletown Kinneigh.

New front doors at St. Joseph’s Church, Castletown Kinneigh.

The traditional Stations of the Cross have been restored and hung at St. Joseph’s Church, Castletown Kinneigh.

As well as restoring the original Stations of the Cross, a set of reflections with one corresponding to each Station has also been designed by Annette Millard to hang in St. Joseph’s Church, Castletown Kinneigh.

Our Lady’s shrine at St. Joseph’s Church, Castletown Kinneigh.

The sanctuary area at St. Joseph’s Church, Castletown Kinneigh., including the newly restored 1860s painting of the Crucifixion and the 1845 altar carved by John Hogan.

The newly decorated interior of St. Joseph’s Church, Castletown Kinneigh.

New glazed lobby at St. Joseph’s Church, Castletown Kinneigh.

New glazed lobby at St. Joseph’s Church, Castletown Kinneigh.

Stairs to the gallery at St. Joseph’s Church, Castletown Kinneigh.

Exterior of St. Joseph’s Church, Castletown Kinneigh.

Remember and revere

The Bible tells us that its “a holy and wholesome thought” to pray for the dead. It’s also an important part of our Christian and Irish tradition that we honour and respect the burial places of people who have died. And this includes the graves of people who no longer have relatives among us.

Recently, the burial place of of one of one of the priests who served the Parish of Desertserges during the Great Hunger has been restored.

Fr. Thomas M. Haynes was ordained the priesthood at Bayeux, France, and came to this parish from Lower Glanmire – which would correspond to all of the present day Glanmire Parish. Local legend maintains that Fr. Haynes died soon after an exorcism  – expelling an evil spirit from a terrible woman – ”Maire  Gaedhlach”, who lived locally. In fact, he died at the height of the Famine on 6/6/1847.

The Cork Examiner of June 14th carried the following report:- “On Sunday, 6th inst., of fever caught in the faithful discharge of his arduous ministerial duties, Rev. T. Haynes, P.P., Deserserges, near Bandon, beloved and respected by all who had the pleasure of his aquaintance. He lived the poor man’s friend and died the faithful devoted priest of the Altar to which he was so long and worthly attached.”

Until recently, his gravestone looked like this:-

Grave of Fr Thomas Haynes before restoration. The inscription reads (but in Latin) “Here lies Reverend Thomas M Haynes. Rest in Peace. AD 1847.”

The original limestone headstone has been preserved but carefully cleaned and restored by Charles O’Sullivan, Clonakilty. It is 170 years since Fr Haynes died. New kerbs and chips have also been laid.

May Fr Haynes and all who have gone before us rest in eternal peace.

First Permanent Deacons in Cork

Two Cork city men will make history this September 10th because they will be the first to be ordained to the Permanent Diaconate in our diocese.

They have completed a part-time four year formation programme which is designed to prepare them to serve in the diocese in an appointment which will be given to them by the bishop.

Everyone who trains to be a priest spends part of their final year as an ordained deacon. Their ministry may include assisting at Mass with the priest, preaching, ministering Baptism, assisting at funeral rites, and other forms of service. After a suitable period as a deacon, a candidate for the priesthood goes on to be ordained a priest.

The early Church also had people ordained as deacons who continued to be deacons without becoming a priest. Hence the person is referred to as a Permanent Deacon.

Bishop Buckley says that while many of the functions performed by deacons may be undertaken by lay people, nonetheless, the Permanent Deaconate has a special place, too. “Many of the functions which deacons perform can also be carried out by the lay faithful. The restoration of the diaconate is not intended in any way to change that situation. Deacons who perform some of these functions would be strengthened by the grace of ordination. Deacons are not intended to replace lay people; on the contrary, they can play a key role in the development and coordination in the work of lay people and will minister in close cooperation with priests and lay people who are involved in parish work.”

A permanent deacon serves the parish to which he is assigned while continuing to fulfil the responsibilities of the rest of his life, e.g., family, work, etc. 

A new Formation Course will begin in September this year. So the bishop asks us to think of who might be a suitable candidate. The diaconate is open to married and single men alike: married men must be at least 35 years on applying; celibate men can be accepted at 25. The upper age limit is 63 at ordination.

Those interested should contact their local priest or the Diocesan Director of the Permanent Diaconate, Canon Bertie O’Mahony, PP Ballineaspaig. Tel: 021- 434 694

* An explanatory leaflet with much more information is available here: Among You as One Who Serves.

Founded on faith in Mary

The parish church of Enniskeane and Desertserges was the dream of Father Daniel Coveney who was parish priest in the parish from 1867 until his death in 1877. Fr Coveney grew up in Tracton Abbey Parish and studied for the priesthood at the Irish College in Rome. He was ordained there in 1839 so he returned to serve in Ireland as a priest in what was to be the most difficult time in Irish history — the Great Famine was about to unfold its devastation on the land and its people.

When Fr. Coveney came to Enniskeane, the people went to Mass in a chapel which stood just north of Enniskeane on the right of the road going up to Gurteenroe. This chapel was probably built in the late 1700s and was by then in disrepair. Fr Coveney persuaded the then Duke of Devonshire to donate land for the new church. He donated 17 acres which were intended to accommodate the church, a presbytery, stable, and grazing for the priest’s horse. The Duke also contributed a generous donation of £250 towards the cost of the building.

Fr Coveney entrusted the design of the church to Richard Evans of Cork. Evan had just completed building a church for Crosshaven parish (near Fr. Coveney’s native parish). History doesn’t record who the builders were but, in all probability, it was built under the oversight of Evan by local labour. The stone was drawn by horse and cart from a “nearby quarry”.

On Sunday, May 7th, 1871, the foundation stone of the new church was laid and blessed by Bishop of Cork, Dr William Delany. This stone is on the external wall of the church — behind the altar.

Foundation stone of Enniskeane Church

The inscription on the stone is in Latin and it echoes two aspects of Fr Coveney’s life. His experience in Rome and his devotion to Our Lady. It reads: (more…)

Ah, that’s brass!

It’s good to give thanks! That’s not original because the bible and the Christian tradition are peppered with this motif. But we don’t always heed it.

A few days ago I collected from a craftsman in Cork city a Missal Stand belong to our parish which I had left in to be repaired several months ago – indicating that there was no hurry with it. [A missal stand is used to support the missal on the altar, ie the book which contains all the prayers for each Mass.] It is a good few years since it was used. It had been put to one side because it was damaged as a result of a bad fall which snapped off the ledge that supports the book.

It was repaired by what is now the only form in Cork working with brass. Murphy & Quinlan is based off Douglas Street in the heart of the South Parish and John and Barry have kept alive a craft which was once practised by up to four firms in Cork. John is lamenting the fact that when they retire, it will probably mean the end of this great skill in Cork.

But back to our missal stand. John did a lovely job of cleaning it, polishing it, replacing the ledge for the missal and then lacquering it – making look as new. He commented, in passing, that it must be very hold. I asked him if he thought the beautiful shapes and engraving were cut out of the brass plates. He said, no, the main part was hot moulded — probably in the 1800s when they had no electric tools — and then the ornamentation was engraved on the other side by hand.

This gave me a renewed appreciation of the beautiful workmanship that created this stand, the time it took to make it, and the spirit in the hearts of the people who made it, commissioned it, polished it down through the years and all the people who prayed near it — as well as all my former colleague priests who have offered Mass beside it.

The engraved face of the Missal Stand at Enniskeane Church

I used it at Mass in Enniskeane Church again today. I also prayed a prayer of thanks for all the people who have helped maintain and adorn our churches through the ages in praise of God. I also gave thanks for the gift of the craftspeople who help us to see that God is beauty.

The reverse of the missal stand

‘New’ altar for Castletown Church

In discussions in recent years about St. Joseph’s Church, Castletown Kinneigh, we were unable to say precisely when was it dedicated. Browsing the Fehily Chalice story and local lore in recent years I had surmised that it was sometime in the 1860s or 70s.

I was in the church today when the team from Hickeys Headstones, Ovens, took apart the altar that was constructed in 1991. And to confirm that date, inside the structure we found bundles of a newspaper which was used to hold the plaster of Paris while it dried to bond the bits of marble!

1991 Newspaper found embedded in the altar in 2016

Newspaper found embedded in the altar in 2016

As you can see, it dates from Jan 7, 1991.

I don’t think the workmen expected the altar to be taken apart again! Inside the cavity in the altar we also left this:

Cigarette pack from 1991 found inside the altar!

Holy Smoke! Cigarette pack from 1991 found inside the altar!

But, thankfully, they also left something precious.
Leaning against the block work which they built in the centre — and around which they then built the altar with marble slabs –– and down on the ground, I found the original altar stone for the church.
Canon Law stipulates that a permanent altar in a church must have a first class relic of a saint embedded in it. (This continues the link between the Universal Church and the local church building.) These relics were, in the past, almost always brought from Rome for a new altar. The small relic is then embedded and sealed in a stone – or a slab of marble – which was then placed into the altar.

When they disassembled the Castletown Altar in 1991, they put the altar stone into the new altar. A blessing.


The stone itself is a blessing — but maybe as important is that it confirms when the church was dedicated.
The inscription on it reads:
R(ight) Rev(erend) W(illiam) Delany
Bishop of Cork
A. D. 1859

So there we have it — written in stone!

The church and altar were dedicated 157 years ago. Thanks be to God.

— Fr. Tom Hayes PP
Parochial House, Enniskeane, Co Cork