St. Patrick’s celebrates 175

May 4, 2010

On Friday evening a special ceremony was celebrated in St. Patrick’s Church, Crossmaglen by Cardinal Sean Brady to mark the 175th anniversary of the church and to acknowledge the outstanding contribution to the church of nine local parishioners.  Two veteran aides – Bridgie McMahon and Hughie Carragher – whose contribution to parish life is immeasurable, were awarded the Benemerenti medal.

The church’s celebratory occasion spanned the weekend with ceremonies, Masses, Eucharistic Adoration, an all-parish football challenge, a commemoration of the dead and a fine exhibition of school project work to mark its 175 year’s anniversary since first opening in 1835.

Mass of Thanksgiving

The weekend began with a special Mass of Thanksgiving concelebrated by Cardinal Brady with local parish priest Fr Joe McKeever, curates Fr. Liam McKinney and F. Barney King. Other special concelebrants included Monsignor Raymond Murray, Fr Kevin Cullen ( PP Lower Creggan), Fr McGuckin and Fr M. McArdle. Apologies came from Fr. Tommy McGeough (retired parish priest) and Fr Tom Daly (PP Togher, native son). Other native sons Fr Michael Murtagh (PP Dunleer) and Fr Martin McArdle (PP Moneymore) are to lead liturgies on other occasions.

Combined parish and school choirs linked with local musicians for a fitting choral programme at the Mass.  These were under the direction of Mrs Attracta Clarke of St. Patrick’s Primary School and Mrs Tracey Gibbs of St. Joseph’s High School.

The welcoming party, readers, ushers and gift bearers were all drawn from an active pastoral council and its sub-committees led by chairperson Rosemary Barry and vice-chair Michael McCreesh.  The ceremonial details were overseen by Fr. Liam McKinney.


Both Cardinal Brady and Fr McKeever praised the many pastoral groups and volunteers who animate the lively faith community of St Patrick’s, as have their forbearers since 1795, firstly at the old Chapel at Mobane and then at St Patrick’s Crossmaglen (since 1835), Sacred Heart Church, Shelagh (since 1838) and St. Brigid’s, Glassdrummond (since 1932).

Stained Glass Dedicated

New stained glass windows were commissioned for the church porch by Fr McKeever and these were installed and blessed to mark the anniversary.  They feature patrician motifs inspired by a St. Patrick window in the Cathedral at Armagh and St. Patrick’s Bell Shrine at the National Museum in Dublin.


The Mass concluded with conferral of the special Armagh Diocesan award (the Medal of St. Patrick’s) on nine parishioners. The Cardinal was pleased to present these on the nomination of Fr. McKeever for outstanding support to the parish’s ministry and maintenance.  Recipients were rewarded for the three special ministries of Child and Vulnerable Adult Safeguarding (Rosemary Fitzpatrick, Dora O’Neill and Gerard Callan) of Pre-Marriage Course direction; (Pat and Noreen McCreesh, Martin and Mary Murphy, Thomas and Sally McKenna) and parish buildings advisory committee (John Fee, Seamus Murphy and Michael McArdle) who have assisted with an extensive programme of repairs at all three churches over recent years.

In addition for a lifetime’s service in many ways in the parish, His Eminence conferred the papal award Benemerenti on two worthy veterans of the parish community: Hughie Carragher and Brigid (Bridgie) McMahon.

These awards were enthusiastically welcome by a packed congregation.  Following the ceremony, the congregation availed of a community supper in Crossmaglen Rangers Hall.

Commemorative Magazine

Fr. McKeever thanked his colleagues on an editorial board for their weeks of research and labour which resulted in an impressive commemorative magazine of high production quality published to mark the occasion.

The magazine (available at a cost of £5) is a written and photographic record embracing parish life, past and present. It includes a history of the beautiful St Patrick’s Church and its clergy, a history of the parish’s four vibrant GAA Clubs, reminiscences on Úir Chill and Chreagáin and Art McCooey, on Cardinals O’Fiaich and Daly (both RIP) and on some thirty priests native of the parish. Many contributors wrote a fine collection of articles and accounts of parish/community life combined with some fifty photographs of historic and current note. There are also notes on feeder schools and care groups in the local community.

Other Events

The weekend also included special periods of Eucharistic Adoration on the high altar at St. Patrick’s, a hugely attended cemetery service at St Patrick’s and a celebratory challenge ‘friendly’ match at St. Oliver Plunkett Park between Crossmaglen Rangers and a combined team of Naomh Malachi, Shelagh, Culloville Blues GFC and Silverbridge Harps GFC, all thriving clubs in the historic cross-border parish of Upper Creggan.

The parish is truly grateful to the many who made this so memorable a weekend of celebration.

Guimid rath Dé ar obair an Pharóiste agus go mbeadh siad faoi idirghui Phadraig Naofa go brách na breithe.

See Gallery for photo’s of awards