St. Patrick’s Church, Corracrin, has for the past 200 years een a central part of the Christian worship in the area. It has close family ties with the people of Donagh parish but also with families of neighbouring parishes as well. This is very evident on the day of the Blessing of the Graves, when hundreds from other parishes attend at the graves of family relations in Corracrin cemetery.
Over the years it has changed in many ways from the church originally built in 1811 under the parish priest of the time, Fr. Daniel McMullin. The old road towards Monaghan passed by at the back of the graveyard and the entrances to the church were on that side of the building. Once the ‘new road’ came about the new doorway and bell tower were built and this happened in the 1820’s
There were few changes then until the Vatican Council in the mid-sixties, when the sanctuary was changed in keeping with the new liturgy of the altar facing the people. In 1985 the capacity of the church was increased to 550 by the addition of the side aisle and extension on the road side. Various problems with layout and construction manifested themselves and in 2008 it was decided to refurbish the church, renew the heating and services, and reorganise the sanctuary. It was formally reopened in June 2009 by Bishop Joseph Duffy . All during its history it has been the place of worship and sacraments for families in Donagh parish stretching from Golan to Rossarrell and from Edenisland to Emy but also for families from adjoining parts of Truagh, Tydavnet, Tyholland and Monaghan parishes. Requiem Masses and baptisms, reconciliation and Communion, Confirmation and Marriage, have all been celebrated there but I don’t think there has been a Sacrament of Holy Orders celebrated there yet.
This year on World Mission Sunday, October 23rd at 3pm the Bishop of Clogher, Most Rev Liam S. MacDaid DD celebrated a special Mass to mark the bi-centenary of this sacred place, which is integrated so deeply in the lives of so many people. In good times and in tough times our forefathers received their spiritual nourishment here and were able to hand on the faith to the next generation. We owe them a profound gratitude for that and they deserve that we show our appreciation to them by remembering them during this time.
The Mass was concelebrated by Fr. Sean Clerkin, Fr. Shane McCaughey, Fr. Cathal Deery, Fr. Tom Quigley, Fr. Paddy Marron, Fr. Stephen Joyce Fr. Sean Nolan and Fr. Hubert Martin, PP Donagh, with Fr. John McKenna as Master of Ceremonies., Parishioners were involved in the liturgy and the parish choirs provided uplifting hymns while the Blackwater School of Music played traditional Irish music. The Chapel was resplendent and belied its 200 years of service.
A big crowd attended what was a beautiful, homely and spiritual event. I have difficulty remembering an occasion in St. Patrick’s to match this one. Everything was simple yet solemn, low key yet powerful, relaxed yet reverent, prayerful and devout, a though-inspiring homily like a parable and an event which will linger in the mind. It was great to be there. Afterwards everyone was invited to the New Centre at Corracrin School and this another terrific success, as so many mingled, chatted, and enjoyed tasty and mouthwatering refreshments.
Well done to Fr. Hubert and his teams involved in planning, preparing and implementing the event which includes the lovely booklet produced for the day.