We’re getting the church painted by degrees. There has been ongoing restoration work done during my time as parish priest and before my time. Naturally, the cost of the work done has been great and we have developed ways for people to donate and contribute. We are one of the oldest churches in the diocese and indeed perhaps the oldest parish on the north side of the city, and people from all over the world have contacted us for information about their ancestry. This, among other initiatives helps us to continue to tip away with our restoration work.
Last year, 2016, as we looked towards the bi centenary of the parish, 1817 – 2017, we began to paint the walls of the church which were badly in need of cleaning and painting since the last time the church was painted was 1991. Because the lower part of the walls was quite marked and dirty, and because they were accessible with ladders, we painted them first. Before Christmas 2016, we painted the sanctuary; the high altar and the two side altars. A generous benefactor kindly offered to pay for this phase of the work which greatly helped us to plan for the third phase, which we’re at as I write. The third phase necessitates high scaffolding around the walls as we paint them all the way to the ceiling. Next year please God, we will see about phase four; painting the ceiling itself.
So, at the moment we have scaffolding around the front of the sanctuary and all along the walls of the church. It is a tight squeeze to say Mass on the altar although it’s a small sacrifice as we look forward to the completion of this stage. of the works. We look forward to the Archbishop of Dublin coming to celebrate our Mass of Thanksgiving on August 25th, the feast of St. Michan, the patron of our parish.
I was sitting in the church for a short while the other day as Stephen and John were on the scaffolding painting. As I looked around at the scaffolding, I was reminded that the scaffolding with its bars, and platforms, and its planks, and its pins and rivets, it just that, a scaffolding. The scaffold helps us to look beyond and make things new. As it stands along the high walls of our church on this two hundredth year of its opening, it tells a story of faith not just over two centuries but of a millennium since St. Michan called a people together in the name of Jesus Christ. The scaffolding also reminds us of the story of our parish from Capel Street to Parkgate Street and from the north banks of the River Liffey at the Four Courts to Constitution Hill. It also tells us of a people who were born here in this parish and who now live all over the world and who are part of the Christian community in all five continents.
The scaffolding assists us. It raises us to great heights safely and it helps us to see things in a new way. The faith story of the people of this parish down through the years is a scaffolding to support the parishioners of the future to carry of the message. The scaffolding is helping us to paint and refurbish the walls of the church. And indeed, the walls of the church are just bricks and mortar, but our church is more than that, it is family, it is community, it is young people, it is schools, it is neighbours, it is history. It’s heart beats with stories and prayers, and it’s blood courses through the very soul of the people here.