Stunning Renovation of St. Kevin's in Dublin

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I have to say one of the most enjoyable Holy Weeks of my life was spent at St. Kevin's on Harrington Street in Dublin. It has been a few years since I have been there, but nevertheless, the experience remains vivid. Such a vibrant parish community! St. Kevin's is home of the Archdiocese of Dublin's Latin Mass Chaplaincy -- going strong ten plus years. A very fine and vibrant parish, I encourage other dioceses to look to it as a successful working model to integrate the Extraordinary Form into the liturgical life of the diocese. The location is fantastic, just a short walk from downtown (on your way be sure to see where John Henry Cardinal Newman lived, now a private residence).

The church is attractive (the building is 150 years old), it is under great leadership (the pastor is an expert Latinist and a very kindly priest) and the parish has an amazing choir (Did I say amazing? They are truly divine.) With Easter coinciding with the spring tulips in St. Stephen's Green, it was a joy to rush here for Easter Triduum services.

In the postwar years on both sides of the ocean a lot of old churches were painted in drab institutional colors. Browns and greens were massively overproduced and overused, while statues were painted in garish, obtrusively bright colors. The effect was most dreadful. Fast forward to today. St. Kevin's is currently undergoing a phenomenal restoration process, slowly returning to its original splendour. 

This is something that everyone needs to be talking about. It can be done and should be done.

In 2013 the sanctuary was completely restored. This included redecorating the walls according to the original Victorian era stencil-work designs. This is a great thing to witness. The conservation work has been completed in the sanctuary while much work remains to be done in the rest of the church. A special fund called the St. Kevin's Heritage Fund has been set up to continue the ongoing heritage restoration.

Hopefully St. Kevin's will be able to continue and complete this bold and important project. There is a lot of work to be done, including repairs with traditional lime mortar and the repair of damaged soft bath stones.

A building this good is a gem of inestimable value, the home to untold spiritual graces. Let us believe it will continue strong. I cherish such a place. The pews are packed for Mass (and the choir itself is massive).

On a side note, I have to say how interesting it was to see a church with two communion rails, something I had never before seen in my travels. In addition to the Communion rail at the front of the church, there is an additional Communion rail strategically placed mid-way in the nave, to accommodate the crowds, I presume from the postwar baby boom, or even before. After all, Ireland, like Malta, Quebec, Poland and other Catholic lands, was like the Catholic Tibet, the Rock of Gibraltar.

I encourage everyone to make a stop here while visiting Ireland. It is a worthwhile visit.

Photo: Knox & Knox
Photo: Knox & Knox

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