Find your parish Donate

Bishop Denis’ Homily at Mass honouring the closure of Shalom Nursing Home

Mass to honour the closure of Shalom Nursing Home:                          10.08.23

Shalom Nursing Home, Kilcock @ 12noon


I am delighted to join with you this Thursday for your regular weekly Mass, and in doing so to acknowledge the Presentation Sisters who established this care facility in 1991. While I recognize the doors will close on this chapter of its existence later this month, a huge amount of care, of attentiveness, of accompanying older and more vulnerable sisters has been the hallmark of Shalom for close to thirty years. We gather to give thanks, and also to intercede to the Lord, the healer for healing for our own brokenness, our own pain, our own vulnerabilities, our own sins …


I grew up in County Meath. The parish of Slane lays claim to much including St. Patrick, lighting the flame of faith on the hill, the Rock Concerts that have followed in more recent decades and of course the neolithic tombs known as Newgrange, Dowth and Knowth. We all have pride in where we are from. Identity, Aithentas, is critical for us all. When I think of Newgrange, my mind goes to the triple spiral on the entrance stone. I am always intrigued by the genius of the neolithic craftspeople who honed out that interlocking spiral thousands of years ago.

It reminds me of how care has many elements to it. The spirals are interlinked. There is nursing care, essential to any Nursing Home. Good quality nursing care, understanding the patient, rather than simply dispensing tablets. There is attendant care – the cup of tea, the biscuit, the newspaper, the little chats. There is administrative care, making sure all our needs are met and respected. There is spiritual care, ensuring the celebration of Mass, the provision of a Prayer space, the saying of the Rosary. Shalom has had all of that.

I often used this place as an example to other religious congregations of how the Presentation Sisters looked after their own. The heart of Christ draws us with him into a free and generous response to the call of his Father’s love, even when that call beckons us through a valley of darkness into the light where all will be made new. The flame of Venerable Nano Nagle’s lantern has been keep lit in this building since 1875.

The establishment of the Nursing Home, of the Care Facility was providential. It was splendid that Sisters could spend their more tender years among their own. At its peak 33 Sisters could be cared for here. I know the Sisters had put in place a most dedicated lay staff, all who have made a much valued and appreciated contribution. And while the last remaining Sisters will in the coming weeks move to new accommodation, I am certain the care that was simply known as ‘Shalom’ or ‘Kilcock’ will remain in the living memory for long to come.

The Universal Church honours Laurence the Deacon today. He died a martyr during the persecution of 258AD. He was known as a cheerful giver. As one of the seven deacons of Rome, he had charge of caring for the material needs of the poor. His death is the seed of new life, new beginnings. My prayer is that as Shalom closes its doors, a new door opens, a door full of the memories of the care that was always so wholesome here in Shalom.