Over the past number of years, while we are constantly hearing about the decline in population in rural communities, we have to acknowledge what is fact in our parish. Great efforts have been made to address the regeneration of our rural community. To mention but a few, we see a new parochial house, a new community playground, a new clubhouse (which will be open God willing in the Spring), the total refurbishment and extension of Culfadda national school, the upgrading of Keash national school and its grounds, the new walkway to the Caves, Community First Responder Group/Defibrillators and indeed our new parish website. Keash Village Enhancement are presently working on further development on the parish site of the playground.
While many new projects have been realised in the past few years; we know they have been built on the foundations of old and longstanding parish organisations. We take this opportunity to thank God for all the blessings people in our parish have brought about. All of these projects came about because people in our parish have made commitments and honoured them. We salute the good people of our parish and we thank them. It is marvellous for us as a parish community to look back over the past number of years and see how blessed we are. It is with this in mind and conscious that we stand at this particular time in history that I invite you all to begin a conversation about the care and upgrading of our places of worship.
We realise that 60 years ago, the very Rev. Nicholas O’Rafferty in honour of his parents Patrick and Honora, who worshipped in Culfadda donated through his Will, funding to build in part a new church, which the people completed and have been privileged to worship in, for the past 60 years. Perhaps with this in mind, as we celebrate in 2019 the Diamond Jubilee of Culfadda church, we should give some thought to how we could mark this occasion to enhance and upgrade this special place of worship, for the glory of God.
Moreover, St. Kevin’s Church, Keash is now the oldest church of its original form in our diocese; built in 1809. It is hard to believe but it has been 40 years since this church was renovated last. Because of its age and condition, it is hard to attend to any aspect of its upkeep without taking the needs of the whole church into consideration. By this I mean, we are aware that the roof has leaks and temporary measures have been put in place for the moment, but greater work would require for it to be scaffolded properly for safety. Also can one replace or fix lighting without rewiring the church. Is the community happy with the heating as it is? Going forward, it appears that it will be very difficult to attend to any aspect of the church without attending to the churches core issues.
Our churches are held in great affection by the people of our parish and beyond. As parish priest I do want us to begin a conversation so that we will together make good decisions for the future. Personally, I feel a great sense of responsibility and I am very committed to what the people want for their churches. Whatever monies we would ever spend, we have to be sure that it is money well spent. That is why it requires serious thought and discernment.
So I do ask you again to talk about this and to pray about this. I know all of this will require funding and I do not want to burden the people or generate ill will but I have to say, I would be neglecting my role in leadership if I do not alert us that this needs attention. I will give the people all the help and support I can give but this has to come from you, the people. I hope from the conversations that you will have in your homes and in the community; seeds can be sown with the guidance of The Holy Spirit as to how to proceed.
My role here is to help the people but I am also aware that the culture of our time does not want the church to breath and it will be a difficult but worthwhile journey. Whatever we do to enhance our places of worship is always for the greater glory of God and will bring many blessings upon our people.