Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



St Joseph's Church now restored to its full glory


The re-opening of St Joseph's Church and dedication of the Altar al Glenavy. Bishop Patrick Walsh saying Mass. Picture William Smyth. US22-804SP

The restored St Joseph's Church in Glenavy. US22-789SP

The re-opening of St Joseph's Church and dedication of the Altar al Glenavy. Bishop Patrick Walsh saying Mass. Picture William Smyth. US22-804SP

THE beautifully restored St Joseph's Church in Glenavy was re-opened and dedicated last Sunday (May 28) at a special service attended by Bishop Patrick Walsh.

Parishioners, clergy and invited guests joined Bishop Walsh and Parish Priest Father Luke McWilliams for the service to give thanks for the church that has served Glenavy for almost two centuries.

Amongst the distinguished visitors were the Deputy Mayor of Lisburn, Councillor Trevor Lunn, former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Reverend Dr John Dunlop and Mrs Rosemary Dunlop, Church of Ireland Rector of Glenavy and Crumlin, the Reverend John Rutter and local Methodist minister, the Reverend Leslie Spence and Mrs Irene

Speaking about the history of the church and its renovation, Father McWilliams said: "Our present church was dedicated under the invocation of St Joseph and consecrated by Bishop Dorrian on September 13, 1868.

"Its existence was the result of the vision and drive of a very dedicated and popular priest, Father Pye, who was parish priest from 1848-1890. It replaced an older church, built on the site by Father Crangle some 60 years earlier."

Father McWilliams went on to say: "To meet the requirements of the modern liturgy and the growing Catholic population of the area, restoration and re-ordering were undertaken and an extension added.

"To the credit of all involved, the design and use of materials, so sympathetic to the original, have ensured that the new harmonises perfectly with the old.

"There is no doubt that the restored St Joseph's Church is now a fitting place to be a house of prayer and a centre for the Eucharistic Liturgy, which binds the parish into a community of God's people."

He concluded by paying tribute to helped to restore the church to its former glory. "1 would wish to pay tribute to all those whose work, advice, expertise and prayerful support have contributed in so many ways to the final result of which the parish can be justly proud."

Offering his congratulations to everyone involved with restoring the church, Bishop Walsh during Sunday's service, said: "I thank Fr McWilliams and Fr Feeney for their leadership and I thank you, above all, my dear parishioners, for the support which you have given to your priests and for the enthusiasm with which this work has been undertaken.

"It is a great achievement. You are handing on a worthy legacy to the generations who will come after you and who will continue to worship God in this sacred place.

"There is so much that you should be proud of, so much for which to thank God, so much to make this day a day of great joy for your parish. It is a day of renewal, of renovation. You each have a place in the mission of the church, in the mission of the Christ, here in Glenavy and Killead."

Ulster Star