Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches
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And here we have another almighty bit of gushing:
The Cathedral of St. Colman at Cobh is the Mother Church of the Diocese of Cloyne and that from which the Bishop presides over his diocese. As such it is the Church which unifies all the parishes of the Diocese. Each parish is represented in the Cathedral by a window depicting its Patron Saint.
Thirty years ago each parish modified its own churches to celebrate the Mass in a way that reflected the new understandings of the Second Vatican Council. These requirements were spelled out in the Documents issued after the Council, especially in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, issued by Pope Paul VI in 1969 and the Instruction of the Congregation for Divine Worship of 1970. For most people the changes to their Parish Church meant parting with some of their memories. It also meant that the manner of celebrating the Mass allowed greater involvement of the People of God, as called for by the Second Vatican Council. Few would now regret the exchange of a silent Latin celebration for a celebration that involves the members of the congregation in the Mass around God�s table and in a language that makes that involvement more meaningful.
The Cathedral of St. Colman at Cobh is a building of such extraordinary architectural beauty that, when the first winds of change were blowing, it was decided to put a temporary arrangement in place for celebrating Mass until a detailed study could be made on how to adapt the setting for the Mass most sensitively and in keeping with the new norms. Thirty years later the temporary arrangement is still in place.
When the task of conserving the Cathedral began nine years ago, it was indicated that, as part of the programme, this outstanding need would be addressed. As the completion of the programme of conservation came into view, Bishop Magee established a group to study the issue, keeping in mind both the requirements for best practice in celebrating the Mass and the delicate architectural heritage of the building.
The group which was established numbered fifteen and involved a mixture of lay and religious representatives of the diocese and of Cobh parish and some specialists in heritage, liturgy and architecture. Six options were identified and examined. One emerged as the proposal most acceptable to the majority of the members, including the heritage specialists and the liturgical specialists. The Committee presented this proposal to the Bishop as their recommendation of the way forward.
The proposal involved restoring the Sanctuary to the original design and removing the “temporary” plywood altar in use since the 1960�s. For the celebration of Mass the Sanctuary would be extended. A new Altar, Chair, Ambo and Cathedra would be placed on the extended Sanctuary. The Pulpit would be kept and possibly used as an Ambo. To ensure that the extension to the Sanctuary be an integral part of an overall enlarged Sanctuary, incorporating totally the original sanctuary, 14 feet of the 100 ft. of altar-rails would be opened.
The proposals, with the approval of the bishop, were first communicated to the parishioners of Cobh through the showing of a computer-generated video of what the proposed changes would look like. Some parishioners had understandable fears that “destruction” would be done in this beautiful Cathedral Church. A further leaflet of explanation was distributed to every house in Cobh parish to dispel fears. It clarified the following misconceptions.
Original Cathedral Altar might be removed
Altar Backdrop (reredos) might be destroyed
Tabernacle may be taken away
Blessed Sacrament might be put elsewhere
Sanctuary Light would be removed
Altar Rails would be removed
Pulpit could be removed
Timber screens might be removed
Mosaic floor could be dug up
Extra cost incurred
Original Cathedral Altar remains untouched
Altar Backdrop (reredos) remains untouched.
Tabernacle remains exactly as it is and where it is.
Blessed Sacrament remains in existing Tabernacle
Sanctuary Light remains where it is
Of 100ft. of Altar Rail presently used (including side-gates), 86ft. would remain in use for the distribution of Holy Communion. Fourteen feet would be re-used elsewhere within the Cathedral
Timber screens remain as they are
Flooring covered by extended Sanctuary is protected
The cost of Re-ordering the Interior was included in original budget for restoration in 1992
Since then, some concerned people have organised opposition to the proposals. At their request, people have signed a petition that the proposals not be implemented. Many who were asked for their signature had not seen the proposals. Some were under the erroneous impression that the original altar and sanctuary were being destroyed, or other damage caused to the building.
The proposals are designed to restore the Sanctuary to its original appearance and extend it to accommodate new requirements. They are fully acceptable to the Bishop, and to the Heritage and Liturgical specialists who were consulted and are in keeping with the existing norms of the Catholic Church for the celebration of Liturgical Ceremonies. The Cathedral authorities had previously signed an agreement with the Heritage Council on the protection of the heritage aspect of the Cathedral and this agreement will be respected in full.
St. Colman�s Cathedral is the concern of the people of the whole diocese. Bishop Magee wishes that the people of the diocese would accurately understand both the proposals and the reasons for them. A poster is on display in your church and we invite you to view it. Further information is available from Fr. Jim Killeen at Cloyne Diocesan Office, Cobh.