PARISHIONERS in Killeshin gathered on Sunday to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Holy Cross Church.
The May procession from St Clare’s Church in Graiguecullen to Holy Cross Church is a historic tradition and this year’s event was fittingly held in glorious weather.
Well over 100 men, women and children took part in the procession, including representatives of local groups and clubs, leading to the commemoration Mass in Killeshin church led by Bishop Denis Nulty.
A relic of the true cross, a piece of the cross on which Jesus was crucified, was also installed in the church during the service. Holy Cross previously had a relic, but it was stolen more than a decade ago.
“Ever since, we were trying to locate a new one,” said parish priest Fr John Dunphy.
Bishop Nulty sourced the relic from Fr Christopher of the Capuchin Order in Limerick, which was previously based in Carlow. The relic has been placed in a special case in the sanctuary and is open for veneration.
The choir at the commemoration Mass was led by Catriona Kelly and Karen Kelly. Local children, who had made their First Holy Communion on the previous day, were also present. There was live music and refreshments afterwards in Killeshin Hall, while outdoor games for children were organised by Pauric Bolton. Old photographs relating to the church were on display in the hall, while local school children had done artwork and clay models of the church.
Orla McHugh also baked a special commemoration cake, which was very much enjoyed by all.
Between 500 and 600 are believed to have participated in the day, including well over 100, who took part in the procession.
Fr Dunphy PP added: “The weather was lovely and there was a lovely atmosphere. People stayed around for a tea and a chat for the whole evening.”
Over Friday nights this month, special Masses will celebrate the connection of community and Holy Cross as part of the commemoration programme of events.
Fr Dunphy added: “The church is not about a building, but it’s celebrating the connection of people and the church.”
Local groups and clubs are invited to a Mass this Friday night, where local schools will be celebrated. And the final Mass, which is especially for families, takes place on 27 May. All Masses begin at 7.30pm.