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Golden Jubilee of an Airport Parish

On 28th June 1966, Bishop Joseph Rodgers, Bishop of Killaloe, wrote a letter to Canon Patrick Barry, Parish Priest of Newmarket-on-Fergus, informing him that he proposed to canonically create a separate Parish of Shannon and appoint a Commission to mark out boundaries of the new parish. Twelve days later, Bishop Rodgers died suddenly and his death delayed the formal establishment of the Parish. In the interim, boundaries of the new parish were defined. The boundaries of the new parish were to include the airport and all lands under the control of the Development Authority. These boundary suggestions were open to revision in the future, if deemed desirable. Within a month of the ordination of Bishop Michael Harty the Parish of St. Senan Shannon was created on 16th December 1967. Fr. Tim Mullaly C.C. Nenagh became Parish Administrator and later the first Parish Priest assisted by Fr. Eamon Gaynor as Curate.

In the past fifty years, the parish has been served by 22 priests. It has seen the infrastructure build two churches, six primary schools,(five of which are Catholic), two secondary schools, priests’ houses and the Adoration Chapel. The religious presence in the parish was laid first by the Dominican Sisters and for the last 43 years by the Sisters of Mercy. The involvement of parishioners in the life of the parish has been an essential part of the growth of this Christian community. Before the Parish of Shannon was established, parishioners took ownership and have worked in harmony with both priests and religious in sharing the Good News of the Gospel.

Shannon Parish is the only Parish in the Diocese of Killaloe that the successor of St. Peter has set foot. On the 1st October 1979 the now St. John Paul II left Ireland from Shannon Airport. On his visit he blessed the foundation stone of the soon to be built new church appropriately dedicated as the church of SS. John & Paul. The past fifty years have seen the growth of this local Christian community in our parish. It was fitting to gather last weekend on the pitch of Wolfe Tones to remember with joy and pride the faith that has fuelled the life of this community over the past fifty years. We remembered those who lit the flame of faith and those over the past five decades who have kept the flame lighting and those who provided from their limited financial resources. We gave thanks for the faith, hope and love that has made this parish the great parish that it is today.

Bishop Fintan Monahan, the fifth Bishop of Killaloe to be associated with the parish of Shannon, was the chief celebrant of a concelebrated Mass in which he was joined by priests who served in the parish over the past fifty years, Frs, J Minogue, Peter O’Loughlin, Seanie Murphy, Pat Mulcahy and Tom O’Gorman as well as Shannon native Fr Fergal O’Neill. The combined choirs of the parish came together to provide inspirational music and song. Sheamus O’Donoghue who recorded the story in pictures of the Silver Jubilee of the Parish was there to record the Golden Jubilee. The album of the 25th anniversary is currently on display in SS. John & Paul Church.

For a parish to be successful, it must have activity. It needs to be well organised and have people with a knowledge of finance. It must have ambition and take risks. Our remembering and our celebrations in this Golden Jubilee Year serve as an invitation to all of us to prepare the next generation to carry the flame of faith far into the future. In the times we live in despite the challenges of living faith it’s a great privilege to be part of a vibrant parish.

St. Senan's Parish | Tel : 061 364 133 | Fax : 061 364 516 | Email : office@shannonparish.ie
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