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Parish ready for Pope and new bishop

Story by Brian O Loughlin

Thursday, 9th August, 2018 5:08pm

Parish ready for Pope and new bishop

Bishop Michael Smith and Archbishop Jude Thaddaeus Okolo (Apostolic Nuncio) with Bishop-elect Tom Deenihan at the announcement of his appointment as Bishop of Meath on June 18.

It’s a busy summer in Cathedral House, Mullingar, between hiring buses for the Papal visit and making arrangements for the ordination of the new bishop.

“Busy but exciting,” Fr McMahon said. “It’s great to be doing these things during the summer months and while the schools are closed.”

Papal visits and new bishops seem to happen only every few decades. The last Papal visit was in 1979, Fr McMahon explained, and the last time a bishop was ordained here was five years later, in 1984.

“No one under 40 years old in Mullingar has any experience or memory of these events so, being rare, they are special occasions and we want to get them right,” he said.

Pope Francis will visit Ireland on the weekend of August 25-26, and Mullingar parish will have an important participation in the World Meeting of Families.

Just last week it was announced that the Mullingar Cathedral Choristers, together with the Lynn Singers, have been asked to perform at the international event in the RDS.

“It’s a massive tribute to their director, Dervilla Maloney, that our Choristers and Lynn Singers have been singled out for this event,” Fr McMahon pointed out.

Several buses will take Mullingar parishioners to the various celebrations at the RDS, Croke Park and the Phoenix Park.

In addition, a young couple from Mullingar, Janine and Stephen Moreton, who were married by Fr Paul Crosbie last month, will be among a number of newly married couples to attend a ceremony with Pope Francis in Dublin’s Pro Cathedral.

Bishop-elect Tom Deenihan

Bishop-elect Tom Deenihan will be ordained at the Cathedral in Mullingar on Sunday 2 September. “Everyone is welcome,” Fr McMahon said, “and everyone is welcome to get involved.

“We’ve had a massive response to our call for volunteers. Bishop-elect is keen for us not to be making a big fuss about him – but it is an opportunity for us to put the best foot forward to welcome our new bishop warmly to the town.”

Fr McMahon explained that he will be contacting local businesses in the town through the Chamber of Commerce to discuss the possibility of decorating shop fronts for the Papal visit and the new bishop’s ordination.

Music for the ordination will be performed by the Cathedral Choir and Cathedral Choristers, under the leadership of William Woods.

Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh will be the principal celebrant with Bishop Michael Smith and Bishop John Buckley from Cork.

Twenty Bishops, several mitred Abbots and 150 priests have indicated they will attend; however Fr McMahon is eager to ensure that the all parishioners are welcome to the ordination. “The new bishop is parish priest of Mullingar and hopes that people will join him on the day,” Fr McMahon said.

A ‘Cathedral clean-up’ will take place on Saturday 18 August. “All helping hands will be appreciated,” Fr McMahon said. He asked parishioners to donate flowers for the ceremony. “Yellow and white are the papal colours,” he said, “but we should include some red flowers too to make the Cork man feel at home!”

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