Our Lady Help of Christians parish was formed in 1981 to cater for the growing housing developments in the area and the expanding college campuses of the National Institute of Technology and Thomond College, which is now the University of Limerick. This parish was the first parish in Ireland to be administered by priests of the Salesian Order. The land on which the church stands was purchased from the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary at Milford House.
Before 1981, this area of Limerick city was part of the parish
of Monaleen. The population of the parish is around 1,200 people, but several
thousand students live in the parish here the college year.
In Medieval Limerick, there were five parishes in Limerick City; St John's, St Mary's, St Michael's, St Munchin's and St Patrick's.
In recent times, the boundaries of these parishes have been altered to form the following parishes:
St Mary's was divided into St Mary's and St Nicholas' (1991).
St Michael's was divided into St Michael's, Our Lady of Lourdes (1963), St Joseph's (1973) and St Saviour's (1973).
St Munchin's was divided into St Munchin's, Our Lady of the Rosary (1964), Christ the King (1970) and Corpus Christi (1976).
St Patrick's was divided into St Patrick's, Monaleen (1971), and Our Lady Help of Christians (1981).
St John's parish has not been altered.
St Paul's was formerly part of the parish of Mungret/Crecora and was created in 1971.
Our Lady Queen of Peace (1961) and Holy Family (1970) were formerly part of the parish of Donaghmore/Knockea.
Building commenced on Our Lady Help of Christians' church in 1979. It was opened for worship on November 15 1981. The church was renovated in 1997 after severe flooding the previous year.
To the right of the church, there is a stone the inscription on which states that the church was dedicated to Mary and was opened by Bishop Newman and Fr Gerard O'Neill SDB P.P. Near this, is the foundation stone of the church, which was blessed by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Limerick on October 1 1979.
There is a statue of St Don Bosco talking to a schoolchild at the back right of the church. Don Bosco is the founder of the Salesian Order. Also at the back of the church, there is a statue of Mary, Help of Christians. Between these two statues, there is a plaque to the memory of Fr John Doran SDB. Fr Doran was a curate in the parish from 1981 until his death on March 21 1995, at the age of 48. His parishioners and friends erected the plaque.
Limerick artist Anne Fitzgerald painted the Stations of the Cross, which are on the left wall of the church. These Stations of the Cross are unusual in that they include a fifteenth station, which shows the Risen Christ. Over the baptismal font, which is to the right of altar, there is a painting of Christ's baptism, also by Anne Fitzgerald.
In addition, on the left hand side of the church there is a crying chapel. The chapel contains a hand painted tapestry from Zimbabwe, which shows creatures of the land, air and water and serves as a reminder of the story of Creation in the Book of Genesis. Also, within the chapel there is a tapestry celebrating the Jubilee year of 2000. There is also a stained glass window of Mary in the chapel.
The tabernacle is to the left of the high altar. There is
an icon of Pope John Paul II by
Desmond M. Kyne to the right of the altar. Near the right side door, there is an icon of St Patrick. According to the parish priest, the stained glass windows on the right hand side of the church are based on the Franciscan theme of Brother Sun and Sister Moon
Also in the parish there is a church at Kilmurry. The church is no longer in use. There has been a church on this site for over 1,000 years. The original Celtic church was believed to have been founded by St Muchoróg (also called Mo-chuaroch).
By 1615, the church was in ruins and rebuilt around 1625.
However, this church was destroyed during the Williamite wars in 1690/1. It
was rebuilt by Colonel Kilner Brazier in 1812 and dedicated to St Mary Magdalene.
There is a graveyard adjoining the church.
Beside the church in Kilmurry, a large graveyard that is divided
sections. The older section of the graveyard is around the church. Both Roman Catholics and Protestants are buried in the graveyard. The graveyard is kept in good condition and there are a number of tombs in the graveyard.
The oldest headstone that we came across in the graveyard
was to the memory of John Neagle who died on 23 March 1760, aged 69. Another
old headstone of mention that we found in the graveyard was in memory of Thomas
Franklin who died on 15 June 1766 at the age of 104 according to the inscription
on the headstone.
|1982||Gerard O誰eill||Patrick McGinty|
|1983||Gerard O誰eill||Patrick McGinty|
|1984||Gerard O誰eill||Desmond Campion|
|1985||Gerard O誰eill||Desmond Campion|
|1986||Gerard O誰eill||John Doran|
|1987||Gerard O誰eill||John Doran|
|1988||Gerard O'Neill||John Doran|
|1989||Gerard O誰eill||John Doran|
|1990||Patrick Egan||John Doran|
|1991||Patrick Egan||Michael Egan|
|1992||Michael Smyth||Michael Egan|
|1993||Michael Smyth||Michael Egan|
|1994||Michael Smyth||Michael Egan|
|1995||Michael Smyth||Michael Egan|
|1996||Michael Smyth||Michael Egan|
|1997||Koenraad Van Gucht||Michael Egan|
|1998||Koenraad Van Gucht||Michael Egan|
|1999||Koenraad Van Gucht||Michael Egan|
|2000||Koenraad Van Gucht||Michael Egan|
|2001||Koenraad Van Gucht||Raymond McIntyre|
|2002||Koenraad Van Gucht||Raymond McIntyre|
|2003||Koenraad Van Gucht||Raymond McIntyre|
|2004||John Horan||John Campion|
|2005||John Horan||John Campion|
|2006||John Campion||Robert Swinburne|
|2007||John Campion||Robert Swinburne|
The list of Priests is compiled from the Catholic Directories. Information contained in a directory of any given year refers to what happened the previous year, For example if a priest is recorded in the 1954 directory as being in a particular parish, this would mean that he was actually there in 1953.
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