St Mary’s marks 200 years of founding father’s death

CELEBRATIONS to mark 200 years of St Mary’s Church in Maguiresbridge, and to mark the death of the man who founded it, continued this week.
Bishop of Clogher, Larry Duffy, was the principal celebrant of a special Mass at St Mary’s on Sunday, marking the two century milestone. It also commemorated Fr Andrew Magonnel who was parish priest in 1822 and who died during its construction.
Storyteller and historian Seamus MacAnnaigh, gave a special talk in Maguiresbridge to mark the 200th anniversary.
In it, Mr MacAnnaidh will focus on the life of Fr Magonnel, and the changes in the Catholic Church at the time St Mary’s was built, resulting from Catholic emancipation in 1829.
Aside from being known to be the founder of St Mary’s Church, Fr Magonnel is somewhat of an ‘illusive figure’, with little known of his background and journey to becoming the curate in Maguiresbridge.
He died in November 1822 and was interred under the floor of the church.
For last Sunday’s celebrations, Bishop Durry was joined by former curate of the parish Fr John Halton and by four of his native priests, Fr Francis Gilbride, Monsignor Peter O’Reilly, Fr Pat Hannigan and Fr Joseph McGuinness, as well as current parish priest Fr Jimmy McPhillips.
Bishop Duffy recalled ministering Kitui province in Kenya where people felt there was a need for a church where people could pray together.
“This is obviously what happened here,” he said.
He thanked those who supported the building of St Mary’s and gave generously along the way and also the many people who supported St Mary’s over the years.
All three local primary schools took part in the liturgy and the singing.
Meanwhile, a special book covering the 200 year history of St Mary’s, jointly written by Nuala Martin and Oonagh McAvinney, has been released to mark the milestone.

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