THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE NEW CHAPEL AT BLACKLION
Tuesday, 26th April 1966


(source : WF /WS magazine,
August - September 1966)

The Bishop of Kilmore, the Parish Priest of Blacklion, the Reverend Father Provincial (Fr Andrew Murphy),
assisted by Fr D McComisky, in the blessing of the new chapel


Tony Smyth writes : "The Father Provincial of the day was Fr. Andy Murphy,
the uncle of our (Robbie, myself and many others) late confr?re Andrew Murphy
(see Obituaries page 5)."




(source : WF /WS magazine,
August - September 1966)

The New Chapel was the Completion of the College

New Chapel
Official Opening at Blacklion

by Fr J Byrne WF

Ten years ago our college at Blacklion was blessed and opened by The Most Reverend Bishop Austin Quinn of Kilmore. But it was not complete. It had no chapel and in all these ten years has had to make do with a converted classroom. As the whole working day of a student for the priesthood must centre round the chapel, the plans to complete our building by the addition of a worthy chapel were never forgotten, and a special fund to finance the venture was kept open during the years.


(source : Robbie Dempsey)

The new Chapel, nearing completion *

On Tuesday, 26th April, His Lordship returned to Blacklion to complete what he had begun ten years ago : to solemnly bless the new chapel. Among those present for this occasion were Mr Hilliard, the Minister of defence, with Mrs Hilliard ; Mr White the architect, with Mrs White, and Mr Kelly, the contractor, with Mrs Kelly.

First Mass
The blessing was followed by the first Mass in the new chapel, concelebrated by Father Provincial, the Parish Priest and Curate of Blacklion, and Fathers Maguire and Byrne. Many who had never assisted at a concelebration were deeply impressed. In his sermon at the end of this Mass, his Lordship recalled the words of the Vatican Council which stress the missionary duty of all, and in the first place of the bishops, and added that it was therefore a duty for him to be there on that day.

At the lunch, Father Provincial thanked all those who had helped in the realisation of our long delayed plans. He had a special words of thanks for His Lordship, the architect and the contractor. In his reply, the Bishop congratulated the White Fathers on completing their building and expressed the hope that the diocese would give effective help to the missionary effort, especially by providing many vocations for the Missions. God, he said, would not allow the diocese to go short of priests if it gave generously of its children to the missionary cause.

Guests
Our guests included a large representative body of the clergy of Kilmore diocese ; the Superiors General of the Columban Fathers and the Kiltegan Fathers, the Provincials of the Camillians and the Society of the Divine Word and representatives of the Mill Hill Fathers, the Passionists, the Canons Regular of Kilnacrot and the Servite fathers. The many congregations in and around the locality were also represented.

Open Days
Sunday, May 1st, was an Open day for all our friends living within a few miles of us, when almost 500 people came to spend the day with us. On May 8th we welcomed many of our good friends and benefactors from farther afield. Over 300 came for lunch and tea, representing practically every county in Ireland. We wish to take this occasion of thanking them all, once again, for their great kindness and charity to us and for the help they gave us in making our dream of a new chapel come true. We wish them all God's blessings.


*Robbie Dempsey writes (6th October 2005) :

" . . . Underneath the Chapel we had our Recreation Hall — quite a sizeable room — very bright, given those extensive floor-to-ceiling windows that you can see. Now here's a strange thing. I arrived at The Black in Sept 67 and the Chapel had just been built in 66. But the walls of the Rec Room were already in dire need of repainting so we duly got stuck into that job by the Autumn, (using old cassocks for painter's smocks). Master painter and 'artiste extraordinaire' was Pat McDermott. See top photo 'with Mondrian' [Gallery] page 167 thanks to Tony Smyth. " (included below)

On Gallery Page 167 Tony Smyth wrote : " The 'Submarine'  was a lower level room (not quite a basement but below ground level) that was mostly disused while I was in Blacklion so it was decided, if I recall correctly, to turn it into some form of alternative rec room. "

To clarify, he later wrote : "The 'Submarine' and the Recreation Hall were two separate rooms. The Recreation Room was, as indicated, immediately below the Chapel and featured the 'Mondrian Wall' , as per the photo, but the 'Submarine' which is mentioned in the text associated with this photo was at the north end of the building (pretty much directly below the main 'conference' room, where the stage was located.) — at an even lower level than the Recreation Room .

Gallery 167 features photos from both rooms. In addition there is a photo of the wall opposite the 'Mondrian' in the Recreation Room in Gallery 168 which shows the floor to ceiling windows that Robbie refers to."
(included below)


(Source : Tony Smyth)

St Augustine's Recreation Room, with Dick Moran and Pat McHale in the foreground.



(Source : Tony Smyth)

St Augustine's Recreation Room. Seated in the foreground, it looks like Chris Wallbank.
In the background standing Seamus McShane with Fr. Joe Mullen sitting in front of him.


Article taken from the WF /WS magazine, August - September 1966

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