After much discussion at the parish council and among the priests of the parish it has been decided to proceed with the provision of a new parish centre. In the past, the majority of people living in the parish were practicing Catholics and active in the parish community. This is no longer the case. We must now base our parish on community rather than geography.
Accordingly, it is becoming more and more necessary for the parish to develop an identity as a community in a way that goes beyond just attending Mass on Sundays. To allow this, the parish needs a place where we can gather, either for formal events, such as meetings and classes, or informally to meet and socialise. Ideally, this place should be near the church so that its identity as a parish centre is emphasised and so that where we worship and where we gather are closely aligned.
The new parish centre will be based in and around the vacant priest’s house behind the Band Hall and will be created in two phases. In phase one, the present house will be converted into rooms which can be used for classes or meetings, and an extension will be built to provide office spaces for parish administration. At present the parish runs evening meetings for parents of first communion children in the various schools around the town, plus classes for children who are attending non-Catholic schools which take place for now in the My Place centre at Mill Road. We also have Bible study groups and catechism groups. The new centre will also give us anumber of rooms to hold these events which will be under our own control. It’s also hoped that it might become a social space where people could gather after Masses. Target date for completion of this phase is June 2021.
The second phase will involve the building of a hall which can be used for larger gatherings or partitioned off into smaller areas as needed. The location of the centre also means that the church parking will be available to users and we won’t need to worry about providing a car park.
The plans, plus a model of the centre are on display Sunday 2nd February from 12noon to 3.00pm at Midleton Park Hotel. I’d encourage you all to come and have a look.
A project such as this will cost a lot of money. We estimate that phase 1 will come to about €800,000. However, by using some of the cash reserves of the parish and by selling some parish property, as well as donations, we may be able to fund this phase with little or no borrowing. Phase 2 will probably cost about the same, and we will need to do some serious fundraising to complete it.
I believe that in providing this parish centre, we will be building for the future, when the needs of our parish will be different from the past, and ensuring that Holy Rosary remains a vibrant parish long after we are gone. I encourage you to come and view the plans this weekend, and to support this project.
Monsignor Jim Killeen, PP