Fire 12.2.04 - Killeigh Parish

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Fire 12.2.04

INFO & NEWS > Local News > Ballinagar Church

St Joseph’s Church Ballinagar
Built 1837
Partially Destroyed by Fire

Thursday February 12th 2004

St. Joseph’s Church, Ballinagar

With shock and a feeling of disbelief, we learned of the partial destruction by fire, of St. Josephs Church, Ballinagar, on Thursday 12th February 2004.
The sadness is all the more poignant when we remember that the people of this area have worshiped on this site since before Penal Times.
The present church [the oldest in the parish] was built over and around the original thatched church, while people continued to go to Mass there. The year was 1837.
The church has a chalice dating from 1847 {year of the Famine} which fortunately was saved from the fire.
The Stations of the Cross blessed by Bishop Thomas Keogh in 1938, had been presented to Fr. Tom Burke, the Dominican preacher, by the Irish Community of New York, “in recognition of his able championing of their cause during a wave of calamitous teaching in America against the Irish Race”. The stations had frames of Austrian Oak, and the figures were in relief on a background of leaf gold. Their erection and the consecration of the ‘New Altar’, was the occasion of the first official visit to St. Joseph’s by Bishop Thomas Keogh. Sadly these Stations and the Altar have been destroyed in the fire.


Thanks to the efforts of many local people who came to the scene in large numbers, to the Fire Officers and to the Gardai, we were able to recover the Tabernacle containing the Blessed Sacrament, the Sacred Vessels, including the chalice donated by the people of the parish in 1847. We also saved the Mass Vestments, Servers Gowns, the Figures from the Crib, and some Candlesticks.
In our prayers today, we remember in a special way the Community who worship each Sunday in St. Joseph’s, and whose ancestors have worshiped here since Penal Times.
Fr. John Stapleton, P.P. [Killeigh]
Mgr. Tom Coonan, V.G. [Geashill] Feb. 15 2004

We acknowledge with gratitude this letter which we received
from Revd. J. Leslie Crampton, The Rectory, Geashill

To: The Very Reverend J. Stapleton P.P. and Msgr T. Coonan

Parochial House,
Co. Offaly 13th February 2004.
Dear Fr John and Mgr. Coonan,
On Behalf of the Church of Ireland Community I write to extend to you and all your Parishioners our sorrow on hearing the news of the devastating fire in Ballinagar Church last night.
We extend to all of you our sympathy in your loss.
If there is any way we can help you please do not hesitate to let us know.
May God guide you and your Parish Council in all the decisions you will have to make.
Yours sincerely in Christ
J. Leslie Crampton

Ballinagar Church as it was in 2000.

St. Joseph’s Church was re-ordered according to the requirements of the Second Vatican Council, and the new altar consecrated by Mgr. Tom Coonan, C.C. & V.G. on 7th April 2002.

Thanks to John Conroy for these pictures of the fire in St Joseph’s Church, Ballinagar, on the night of Thursday, 12th Feb. 2004

10.15 pm

10.30 pm

The aftermath !

Wooden Statue of St. Joseph lost arm in the fire,
and is the only Statue to survive the fire

Registered Charity, Number 20015848
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