Community comes together for Carol Service in shared church


Revd Neal Phair and Father Pat McHugh share in the Carol Service.

St.Maeldoid’s Church in Castleblayney, hosted a community Carol Service with a difference on Thursday, 21st December 2017.

Not only was it an interdenominational event, but the Church of Ireland parish at St.Maeldoid’s are sharing the church premises with their Roman Catholic neighbours of St. Mary’s for a year while their own church is undergoing extensive renovations.

On Thursday night, the Church of Ireland parishioners of St. Maeldoid’s welcomed St. Mary’s Choir to sing a number of Christmas Carols and their Parish Priest, Father Pat McHugh joined with the Rector, Revd Neal Phair during the service including giving the Blessing at the end of the service.

Both church congregations have been using St. Maeldoid’s for their own services of worship since June.

Revd Neal Phair said the arrangement has been working well.

“It’s been going like clockwork and there’s a wonderful atmosphere,” he explained.

Father McHugh echoed his words.

“It’s been going seamless and from our experience the welcome could not have been more wholesome. Everything that is possible has been done for us,” he said.

He said the Church of Ireland congregation had accommodated their needs on a day to day basis extremely well.

The congregation sing carols in St. Maeldoid's Church Castleblayney

During the past six months, the congregation of St. Mary’s have held baptisms, weddings and funerals in St. Maeldoid’s.

St Mary's Choir sing at St. Maeldoid's Community Carol Service

Among the guests at the Carol Service was Heather Humphreys, Minister of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and who is from Co. Monaghan.

She praised the co-operation between the denominations.

The Minister stated: “This is a great example of churches coming together and when there was a need identified by the Roman Catholic church, the people here(St.Maeldoid’s) very graciously asked them to use their premises. It shows there is room for everyone.

“I would commend Revd Phair and Father McHugh for taking this step. It absolutely reflects Christian values what they have done,” she added.

The Carol Service took the form of nine lessons and carols with a number of the carols sung by St. Mary’s Choir, conducted by Colette Gallen and accompanied by their Director of Music, Gary Carville.

Father Pat McHugh and Revd Neal Phair read the Blessing together in St. Maeldoid's Church.

The organist for the congregational singing was Charlotte Adair, from Castleblayney Presbyterian Church.

On Christmas Day, St. Mary’s will have their Mass at 8am and St Maeldoid’s parishioners will hold their service at 10am.