Homily – 200th Anniversary Mass of Rathmines Parish – 17th September 2023

Homily – 200th Anniversary Mass of Rathmines Parish – 17th September 2023

Today we mark the 200th Anniversary of the establishment of Rathmines as a Catholic Parish of the Archdiocese of Dublin.

The Parish is the presence of the Church in a given territory, an environment for bearing God’s word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration. As Pope Francis says, in all it’s activities, the Parish encourages and trains its members to be evangelisers. It is a community of communities, a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey, and a centre of constant missionary outreach. We are the local Christian community.

If you have ever watched a programme like Reeling in the Years, it documents a particular year and show the highs and lows of that year. Can you imagine just for a moment such a programme if it could document 200 years? It would be nothing short of extraordinary.

Why? Well simply, the Parish of Rathmines has been a vibrant Christian Community for 200 years and today, it is appropriate that we give thanks to God for the many blessings and implore his continual blessings upon us. We also remember and pray for all those who have gone before us, all those who formed part of the Christian Community over the last 200 years.

The first Parish Church was built in 1830 but soon became too small and so the second Church was built in 1856. Unfortunately, in January 1920 a disastrous fire destroyed most of the building but it was rebuilt and we have the privilege to assemble here because of the great sacrifices and generosity and vision of previous generations who have left us this beautiful Church as a place of living worship and prayer.

I thank too all our parishioners and friends of Rathmines who support that Parish today in so many ways, time, talent, and treasure.

This is God’s house, and we have a sacred duty of care to look after it for the future generations and to ensure that the Parish of Rathmines remains a living vibrant and pastoral Christian Community.

Our focus can never be solely on a building but rather on the living stones of this building which are the people of God.

Our primary focus must be on Christ and developing and nourishing our personal relationship with him – building up our Spiritual lives so that we in turn may give witness to Christ to those around us.

That is the challenge we all have as Christians, to proclaim Christ in our lives by our words and deeds.

Today I want to remember also the extraordinary people who over the last two centuries through many sacrifices, ups and downs, sweat and tears, sustained this Parish. May they all have the joys of heaven as their eternal reward.

Fr Andrew