Inauguration of St Mary's, Athlone as Interim Cathedral of the Diocese

ST. MARY'S CHURCH was inaugurated as the interim Cathedral of our Diocese by Bishop Colm O'Reilly when he celebrated the 11.30 Mass on Sunday 28th November.

In preparation, the Bishop's Chair was placed in the sanctuary. This chair was used up until the 1970's by Bishop Colm's four predecessors in St. Mel's Cathedral.

The choice of St. Mary's as the interim Cathedral is a very special honour for our Parish Church and we look forward to hosting various Diocesan liturgies and events until the reconstruction of St. Mel's Cathedral in Longford.

Updates on the progress of the restoration project can be seen on the Longford Parish website www.longfordparish.com.

The Bishop was joined in concelebration by Monsignor Bernard Noonan.

After the procession to the altar, Fr Liam Murray greeted the Bishop on behalf of the parish community. He gave a short address, and then Bishop Colm kissed a penal cross carried by Helen Breslin (Athlone Parish Pastoral Council), and sprinkled the congregation with holy water carried by Paul Blackie (also Athlone PPC). Bishop Colm then read a prayer of blessing, and was lead to the Chair by Fr Murray. He then led the assembly in the Opening Prayer. The readings of the day were read by representatives of two of the Deaneries of the diocese.

Following the Prayer after Communion, four representatives from the diocese were given a purple candle, which were lit from the Advent wreath, and they were sent 'to the four corners of our diocese from this new Pro-Cathedral as we await the restoration of our Mother Church in Longford.