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Holy Family Church

A A Brief History

Serving Parishioners from Rockspring

Terrace to Willis Square, Scoil Mhuire to Farleigh Place

This building, now known as Holy Family Church, within the St. Patrick's Parish, has accommodated Christians of many hues over the years. For its first 54 years it was a Methodist Chapel, then since 1949 it has served Roman Catholics on the north western portion of the parish. Its history makes this one of the most unique chapels in the province

The original Methodist Chapel was put in place as a chapel-of-ease to serve the officers and soldiers at Victoria Barracks, which was built on the top of this hill overlooking Cork City. Work began on the chapel in 1894 and its opening took place on 25 September 1895. It might not have been remarked upon at the time, but its opening day was actually the feast of St Finbarr, whom Christians in Cork honour as their first bishop and founder of the city.

Photos were recently donated which depict the church as it looked in 1905. The outside looks much as it does today, but the interior picture shows an enormous organ with choir stalls and minister's desk filling all of this space.

When the name of the barracks changed from Victoria to Collins Barracks early in the last century, this chapel was used less and less. Eventually it closed and local people convinced St Patrick's Parish to buy it, paying for it themselves. Some changes were then made to the church, with the organ being removed, its whereabouts unknown – which is a great pity, given the church's fine acoustics: it's made for music! The altar and statues were added and the Stations of the Cross, but apart from these additions the building is recognisably the same as the Methodist Chapel it once was. Locals look at the heads holding up the pillars and wonder if these indeed are the faces of John Wesley and his wife, as a local tradition insists.

In 1949, on Sunday 23 October, the building was blessed by Bishop Coholan of Cork and has been used for the worship of God in the Roman Catholic tradition ever since. But acknowledging that, we also rejoice in the church's Methodist heritage and invite Cork's Methodists to remember its role in their story too.

A welcome is extended to all who are lucky to visit Cork and the parish, to continue the 110-year-old tradition of praise and worship within this Church's walls, by the holy Church of God.

Welcome to St Lukes!

You are very welcome to St Lukes, a long-established community on the hills overlooking Cork city centre. Our area got its name from the splendid Anglican Church building near St Lukes Cross. This Church of Ireland place of worship, which closed in 2003, is now in the care of Cork City Council.
The area known as St Lukes is centred on St Luke's Cross, one of Cork's best-known urban villages, with its own pubs, post office, shops, pharmacy and other services. The historic tollhouse still stands at the heart of the crossroads, where payments were once collected from road-users. Nearby stands a horse trough, a reminder of a more leisurely age. Holy Family Catholic Church is just five minutes walk from St Luke's Cross (west on Wellington Road, then right and up Military Hill: the church is on your left above St Patrick's Hospital/Marymount.)
Our church is called after the Holy Family, which makes a link with St Luke: after all, the Holy Family and the birth of Jesus is beautifully described in St Luke's Gospel.
He is a suitable patron for the area for other reasons too. The poor are tenderly portrayed in his gospel, and St Luke's Cross has always welcomed the poor. Its post office has the ancient Irish-language name of the area over the door: Crosaire na mBocht (the crossroads of the poor).
St Luke (a physician) is also the patron saint of doctors, butchers, pharmacists, painters and sculptors - many of the professions and skills associated with St Lukes. His feast day falls on 18 October each year.

You are welcome!
You are invited to worship God in the Roman Catholic tradition at Holy Family Church:
Sunday Mass 11.00
Monday to Friday 9.30 am
Holydays & Bank Holidays 10.30 am
Saturdays & Eves of Holydays 7 pm.

St Patrick's Church
Visitors are also welcome at our parish church, St Patrick's , Lower Road (near the Railway Station):
Monday to Saturday daily Mass at 10.15 am
Saturday (Vigil Mass for Sunday) 6 pm.
Sunday Masses 12 noon and 6 pm.
St Patrick's is one of the city's oldest churches, having been built as a chapel-of-ease to the North Cathedral in 1832.

The Sacraments
Baptisms and marriages are celebrated at Holy Family Church. Application forms for both sacraments can be picked up in the Sacristy, before or after Mass.

Communion for Coeliacs
One in every 200 people in Ireland has the Coeliac Condition and cannot tolerate gluten (which is part of the bread used for Holy Communion). Coeliacs are invited to receive from the chalice. Please mention this to the priest before Mass on Saturdays and Sundays.
On weekdays, there is no need to alert the priest beforehand, as Communion from the chalice is available for everyone.
New parishioners welcome
People who move into our area are invited to become Holy Family parishioners. Come along to Mass any Sunday and make yourself known to the local clergy after Mass. The priest may visit your home to bless it, on your invitation. He will also help you become a part of the local community.
If you are not already a baptised Catholic, you are invited to join the RCIA in our parish. This way of initiation into the Catholic faith is for any adult who has never been baptised, anyone who was baptised in another Christian Church or any adult who was baptised Catholic but has not received the other sacraments (Confirmation etc). You might know somone who wants to be initiated: please make the personal contact yourself. Use the numbers below for further information.
All are welcome in our church!

Cork's Religious Communities

Church of Ireland (St. Anne, Shandon)
Rev B.J.G. O'Rourke, Ardnalee, Montenotte
Phone 021 4502456

Methodist (Ardfallen Centre, Douglas Rd)
Rev Laurence Graham, Epworth, Woolhara Pk
Phone 021 429 2503

Presbyterian (Trinity Church, MacCurtain St) Rev John Faris, Rochestown Rise, Cork
Phone 489 1437.

Cork Hebrew Congregation, 10 South Terrace Phone 487 0413

For further information about Holy Family Church, please ring the church at (021) 450 9311.
The priest-in-charge, Fr Dan Crowley PP, may be also contacted on (021) 450 2696.

Introduction of New Missal on 1st Sunday in Advent 2011 at the Holy Family Church

Sacristan David O'Dwyer and Fr. John hold the 'Old' and 'New' Missals

Sacristans Oliver O'Sullivan & Jacinta Kelly-Fitzgerald present new Missals at Mass to Canon Dan Crowley

Patsy French and Georgina O'Brien hand out Collection Envelopes

Canon Dan says the first Mass with the New Missal

L to R : Oliver holds the Latin Missal used when Holy Family Church opened in October 1949, Canon Dan holds the Missal used from 1971 to present and Jacinta holds the 'New' Missal.

Holy Family group, Oliver, Canon Dan, Jacinta, Pat O'Shea, Cecily Lynch and Kitty O'Sullivan holding up the new Peoples Response Sheets.

Opening page of the New Missal 2011


Holy Family Church's story

Holy Family Church has been used for Christian worship for 114 years. It started its life as 'Military Road Methodist Church', before being acquired by the local Catholic parish in 1949. Our Methodist friends opened the church for worship on 25 September 1895. By coincidence, this is the date on which Catholics celebrate the feast of St Finbarr, the patron saint of Cork city.

Methodist & Roman Catholic
This Methodist place of worship was built primarily for the benefit of military personnel in Victoria Barracks. When the name of the barracks changed from Victoria to Collins Barracks early in the last century, this chapel was used less and less. Eventually it closed and local people convinced St Patrick's Parish to buy it, paying for it themselves. Holy Family Church began its life as a Roman Catholic chapel on 23 October 1949, when Bishop Coholan of Cork consecrated it.

How the building changed
When the church passed from Methodist to Catholic hands, some changes were made to its design. The fleur-de-lis which topped the roof was replaced with a cross, a feature of Catholic churches in Ireland. Inside, the great organ which formerly filled the sanctuary was removed. The altar, statues and Stations of the Cross were added, but apart from these changes, the building is recognisably the same as the Methodist Chapel it once was.

Whose heads are these?
When the local Catholics first entered their new church in 1949, they were fascinated by the statues of male and female heads suppporting the roof. Some thought John Wesley, the Methodist founder, was being honoured here, along with his wife and family perhaps.
However, recent research by Reverend Colin Gracie points to a link with ancient times. The Patriarchs are most likely depicted here:Abraham & Sarah at the top of the church, then Isaac & Rebekah, Jacob & Rachel. Closest to the back are two of the 12 sons of Jacob, possibly Judah and Benjamin.

Christy Ring lookalike
There is a link with Cork's great hurler Christy Ring in our churchyard. The sculptor of the Nativity scene near the gate (erected for the Great Jubilee 2000) also sculpted the image of the sportsman on the forecourt of Cork Airport - and it's said that our St. Joseph bears a great likeness to the hurler!

Enter by the royal door
The east wall of Holy Family church has four carved heads, each of them a mystery. At either side of the main door are two crowned heads, one elderly, one fresh-faced: possibly King Solomon and King David, welcoming you to our church!
High on the the wall are placed two more heads, at each side of main window: Adam and Eve perhaps. Come and see...

Holy Family News is published every weekend from September to June. It is available after weekend Masses and at local businesses. News and notices always welcome. Drop a note in to Holy Family Church or phone the church (021.450 9311), or email stpatricksparishoffice@eircom.net.

Local Heroes

Our area has its share of famous natives and residents, and others associated with the area:
Frank O'Connor, Cork's famous author had local links; Harrington Square (off Ballyhooley Road) features in his short story An Only Child. He went to school nearby in the old St Patrick's School near St Lukes Cross (now demolished). There he met his literary father-figure Daniel Corkery, a teacher at the school.
Another famous attendee of this school was the sculptor Seamus Murphy: his family lived at Wellesley Terrace, Wellington Road. Holy Family is proud to house his image of the Mother and Child, said to be modelled on his own mother and a young member of his family who died.
The 200-year-old barracks at the top of Military Hill was home to the British Army until 1922, named Victoria Barracks after the late queen. Officers stationed there included Wellesley (Duke of Wellington), Lord Cardigan, who led the Charge of the Light Brigade and General Montgomery ('Monty') the World War II hero.
Our area treasures the memory of a great Irish hero also: General Michael Collins. After independence, Cork Barracks was renamed in his honour. Among its famous visitors was the American President John F.Kennedy, who travelled from there down Military Hill in 1963. Present-day visitors to Collins Barracks enjoy its museum.
Nearby Dillons Cross was once the home of Brian Dillon, a leader of the Fenian Movement who was imprisoned in England for his efforts for Irish freedom.
Ireland's only Cork-born Taoiseach (prime minister) Jack Lynch lived for a time on Summerhill with his wife Maureen.


 

The Golden Jubilee of Fr. Vincent Kelly sac at Holy Family Church, 3rd. May 2009

Fr. Vincent concelebrates Mass with his friends, Canon Michael Crowley, Ballinlough, An tAthair Tomas O' Murchu, Riverstick, Fr. James McSweeney, Chaplain, Colaiste Choilm, Ballincollig, Fr. Pat O'Mahony, Mayfield, Fr. Paddy O'Donovan, Pallottine Fathers, Fr. Eugene Lynch, Pallottine Fathers, England and Bro. Stephen Buckley, Pallottine Brothers, San Silvestro Church, Rome, (originally St. Joseph'sPark).

Fr. Vincent came from Lr. Glanmire Road and celebrated his first Mass at St. Patrick's Church

The Offerings

Fr. Vincent (middle, bottom row) with the Ordination Class of 1959 at St. Patricks College, Thurlas, Co. Tipperary.

Subsequently, Fr. Vincent ministered many a varied path including, St. Patrick's College, Mercedes, Bs. As. Argentina, El Instituto Fahy, Moreno, Bs. As. Argentina, Chaplain at Bishopstown Community School, Cork, Director of Vocations and School Retreats, Ireland, Church of Annunciation, Blackpool, Cork, Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Ballinlough, Cork, St. Patrick's Church, Dunmanway, Co. Cork and Chaplain at Haven Bay Care Centre Kinsale, Co. Cork.

Congratulations Fr. Vincent.