Well, here’s a sign of the times in Ireland. One of the largest Catholic churches in the country, with a capacity for 3,500 people, now receives only a fraction of that attendance. So it’s being demolished to make way for a smaller church that requires far less maintenance, with the extra space to be used for housing for the elderly and other social services. A win-win for everyone!
The Church of the Annunciation in Finglas West just held its final Mass. Now it’s time to move on.
Whatever the reason, I doubt this will be the only Church to close shop or shift gears. We saw with the recent visit of Pope Francis that many Irish Catholics no longer wear that label as a badge of honor. They don’t want to be associated with the Catholic Church and all the scandals that come with it. Many who still call themselves Catholic do so in name only.
Led by Parish Priest Fr. Eamon Cahill, a consultation process with parishioners, carried out over the last number of years concluded that a new, smaller, modern Church and pastoral centre would be the best option to accommodate the changing needs of the parish for the years ahead. With the support of the Diocese and in consultation with Dublin City Council, the Parish endorsed proposals to demolish the larger Church and redevelop the site in a manner, which will sustain the local Catholic Community well into the future.
Whilst some might think of today as being a sad day, in some ways maybe it is. However, we need to look forward with a sense of joy and anticipation of what the future will hold for us. We are very lucky that Finglas West has such a strong sense of community spirit. The people make a Parish.
By the way: If you go to Google Maps to look at the Church, the image must have been taken just before Irish citizens voted to overturn its ban on abortion. There’s a perfect shot of a bright pink “Vote Yes” campaign poster just outside the building. Just in case you needed a reminder of why the Church is dying.