St. Mary’s Cathedral – a living centrepiece to the lives of so many people,
a landmark for generations, built by our forebears
and passed down through generations.
Members of the clergy, religious and lay faithful gathered at the newly restored St Mary’s Cathedral Chapter Room recently to witness Bishop Séamus Freeman S.A.C., Bishop of Ossory, launch a fundraising draw to enable the diocese to embark on the restoration of St Mary’s’ Cathedral, the Mother Church of the Diocese of Ossory. In launching the draw Bishop Séamus described St Mary’s Cathedral as “a living centrepiece to the lives of so many people, a landmark for generations, built by our fore bearers and passed down through generations.”
Describing the cathedral as “an important place of worship, a great source of comfort for many, from near and far” and referring to the unmatched “beauty and potential of the sanctuary area” Bishop Séamus appealed to the people of the Diocese of Ossory to nurture and protect our inheritance for future generations: “St Mary’s Cathedral belongs to each one of us – that is – to every baptised member of the Catholic Church in Ossory.” St Mary’s Cathedral, which opened on 4th October 1857, was built and paid for by the people of the Diocese of Ossory during Famine times; a time of severe poverty and distress in Ireland. It was also built following the Penal Laws, which was also a period of great difficulty and persecution for Catholics. The cathedral, then as now, is a symbol of our faith, and perhaps too, is a promise of a better and more confident future for all of us. Bishop Séamus said “Our cathedral is more than just an historic building: it is and should continue to be a vibrant place, playing a significant role in the lives of countless people from near and far. It is a place of worship and prayer, a sacred place of refuge, a place of comfort. It is ours to nurture and to protect as an inheritance for future generations.”
Fr Pat Dalton, Vicar Forane and Parish Priest of Gowran, is the draw coordinator and leader of the Draw Committee which is made up of priests, religious and laity from the diocese. Appealing for the active support of all in the diocese Fr Pat underscored the importance and influence of St Mary’s Cathedral in his own life and referred to its influence on the lives of so many people in Ossory. “I would love to see this cathedral restored to its former beauty. To this end I appeal for the active support of my fellow priests, religious and laity of our diocese.”
While acknowledging that many parishes are raising funds for local projects at the moment Fr Pat said there is a need to get all parishes on board with subscribers and promoters to help the conservation and restoration. He hoped that every Catholic family in the Diocese of Ossory would be willing to do “some little bit” for the St Mary’s Cathedral Restoration Fund. Adapting a slogan used by U.S. President Barack Obama Fr Pat concluded “Together we can do this job of restoration and renovation.”
Tickets for the Diocesan Draw are available from parochial houses throughout the Diocese of Ossory, from priests and volunteer promoters in parishes and from the Chapter House Bookshop at St Mary’s Cathedral. Tickets cost €10 per month and there is an annual prize fund of €60,000. The first draw will take place at St Mary’s Cathedral Chapter House at 8.00pm on Wednesday, 25th March 2015 and thereafter on the last Wednesday of each month. All are welcome to attend.