St Attracta’s Church, Kiltartan was the scene of a joyful outpouring of faith last week as the parish celebrated the 175th anniversary of the opening of the church. The clergy, led by four Mass servers, walked in procession from the old church while the large outdoor bell was rung by Tommy Nolan. The faith journey of the parish was recalled by the chief celebrant, a native of the parish, Canon Martin Downey.
He recalled the years when the church was severely flooded – 1994, 2009 and 2015 – and how the resilience of the people ensured that all these obstacles were overcome. Canon Downeywas joined in the con-celebration by the diocesan administrator Canon Michael McLoughlin; Dean Patrick Callanan,Kilbeacanty; Mons. Colman Cooke, Gort; Canon Tommy Marrinan P.P. Gort, Fr. Barry Horan P.P. Clarinbridge; Fr. Michael King C.C. Gort and Fr. Colm Nilan, S.M.A.
Sr. de Lourdes Fahy gave a short resume of the history of the church, including its restoration by the architect Professor Scott in 1916, who then went on the following year to restore Thoor Ballylee for W.B.Yeats. This summary was followed by the presentation of symbolic gifts : water from St. Colman’s Well, Corker; a stone from the Mass Rock, Poll an Aifrinn; a plate of potatoes to recall the Great Famine which devastated the country just three years after the opening of the church; a Rosary Beads ; an old Penny Catechism, a hurling ball and The Guardianship of Galway, written by the late Fr. Martin Coen. They were presented by Michelle Fahey, Hubert Diskin, Dick Burke, Eileen Quinn, Rian Forde, Peadar Burke and Nora McLoughlin, respectively.
A passage from St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians was read by Liam Nolan and meaningful Prayers of the Faithful were recited by Anne Burke, Ellen Egan, Micheal Cahill, Rena McAllen, Gavin O’Sullivan and Rena Regan.
It was fitting that the two longest-attending members of the congregation, Tom Nolan and Colman O’Shaughnessy, carried up the chalice and paten for the Offertory Procession.A special word of praise was accorded to the members of children’s choir who were led by Marie Nolan and Majella Piggott and accompanied by the organist Marie Diskin.
The celebrations concluded with a buffet in Kiltartan National School which was organised by Carmel Kelly and Marion Collins, who were ably assisted by willing helpers.