AFTER a €1.1 million renovation, the Church of St James in Kilbeggan was rededicated last Sunday.
At a special Mass to mark the occasion, Most Rev Tom Deenihan, Bishop of Meath, was the chief concelebrant, assisted by his predecessor, Most Rev Michael Smith, and Fr Brendan Corrigan, the Kilbeggan parish priest who oversaw the project.
The renovated church was first opened in 1976, replacing an older church across the road, and the refurbishment project saw substantial work take place on the roof and also involved the construction of a new main entrance.
Inside, the stations of the cross, which previously hung in the old church, were restored, and two oil paintings by the renowned artist PJ Lynch have been placed on either side of the sanctuary.
At the rear of the church stand two statues, one of the Sacred Heart and one of Our Lady of Lourdes, both donated by the Convent of Mercy, Kilcormac.
In his homily at Sunday’s Mass, Bishop Deenihan stressed that the parish is a community and thanked the Kilbeggan community for how much they had generously given to fund the church project.
He praised the energy and passion and dedication of the parish priest, Fr Corrigan, and looked forward to all those who would be baptised, will receive commmunion, will seek forgiveness, will be married and will have their funerals in the rededication church.
“This church is a focal point and a centre for this faith community,” said Bishop Deenihan, stating that in contemporary society it can be difficult to express faith.
“Political correctness or inclusion seems to exclude faith-specific aspects to our culture,” he said, adding that some of that “is our own fault”.
“Faith should make a difference, and a positive difference, to society and that sadly has not always been the case,” he told the congregation.
“Faith, if it is real, must be celebrated, it must be professed and it must be shared. It must be part of what we are and it must be evident and taught in the home.
“It must be evident in our way of engaging with others, be they friend or foe, and in how we treat the vulnerable. We can’t hide our faith or produce it just on Sunday mornings.”
The Mass was streamed on a live webcast to additional people gathered across the road in the parish centre, which was also built under the supervision of Fr Corrigan.
Local community groups and organisations were involved in the ceremony and all gathered in the parish centre afterwards for refreshments.