Renovations to Clane Parish church were completed following a fire in August and the church reopened. Fr. Paul O’Boyle, Parish Priest of Clane gives details of the work involved.

Also members of the Clane Parish Team spoke of their role in the parish. Maura Fogarty, a member of the New Funeral Ministry Team, Tommy Lavelle, Kildare Youth Services and Aidan Farrelly, Youth Worker for Clane Parish.

This interview was broadcast on ‘God Send Sunday’ on KFM on 23 Nov 2008

Clane parish church, in the heart of the Kildare village, reopened last weekend after an eleven week closure due to fire.

While parishioners were appalled to see the devastation wrought by the fire on 28th August, the change for the better in the church might almost be said to have made it all worthwhile.

The whole interior of the church has been lightened by tasteful redecoration in shades of cream and gold. A new lighting system throws the beautiful arches and 61 ft ceilings into relief, while a deep burgundy carpet in the aisles and trancepts, improves the silence and stillness in the church and the acoustics.

There is a new sound, heating and fire detection system, and the stone pillars have been shot blasted back to their original pale granite colour.

Clane was in the throes of a huge building project, turning the adjoining old Presentation Convent into a state of the art parish and retreat centre, when the fire broke out. That project, costing around 2.5million and due for completion in 2009, was the subject of a major funding drive in the parish. It included too the landscaping of the front of the church and the provision of a new 60 car space park behind it.

While insurance money covered the damage caused by the fire, the parish is funding the additional cost of the new lighting and amplification system.

The reaction to the new look church has been enthusiastic.

We are delighted to be back, parish priest Fr Paul OBoyle told ciNews. We were out for twelve weeks. Clane church has a constant flow of people calling in through the day to pray, light candles or attend Mass, and so to have barricades keeping people out was a foreign experience.

Fr OBoyle said he deeply appreciated the support he had got from the people of the parish while they were out of the church, and their ongoing financial support, especially through the weekly lotto.

While the church was being refurbished, Sunday Masses took place in the local GAA and in Clongowes Wood chapel. The weekday Masses were in a small parish hall on the main street an intimate venue which created a great atmosphere of comraderie in the congregation.

“The community spirit at the daily mass in the parish centre was fantastic,” sacristan Michael Wallace told ciNews.

Fr Denis Harrington, former PP, who is now curate in Clane, commented on the improvement in the liturgy because people were sitting close to each other, close to the altar, and participating fully in the mass through prayers of the faithfuletc.He has appealed to the people of the village to keep using the front rows now that they are back in the main church again and not to retire to the back pews, as was their habit.

I beg you to keep up the practise of filling the front rows for at least the next fifty years when we move back to the main church! he said during the last mass in the parish centre.

To which a wag in the congregation shouted up And what about Jesus parable about the Pharisee and the Publican?

Sometimes I dont agree witheverything Jesus says! was the laughing response of the popular priest.

However, so far the campaign to get people up near the front has been successful, adding to the intimacy and prayerfulness of liturgies.

Bishop Jim Moriarty will officially bless the parish church during the 11.30am mass on December 7th. That night Liam Lawton will be in concert in the church.

(CI News)