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Laois community to celebrate 50 years of their church by hosting a camino

Our Lady Queen of the Universe Church in Erril

In November, the 50th anniversary of the opening of Our Lady Queen of the Universe Church in Errill will take place.

To mark this Jubilee celebration, the parish of Rathdowney are planning a number of events over the next few months – the first of which gets underway this Sunday September 19.

According to Parish Priest Fr Martin Delaney, the easing of Covid restrictions allows the community to plan in the knowledge that they can accommodate greater numbers safely at both indoor and outdoor events.

The centre-piece of their celebrations is a Camino or walking pilgrimage which will take place over four stages.

Each of the four stages will be inspired by the routes and locations associated with the faith history of the community during the three centuries leading up to the building of the church in Errill village in 1971.

The First Stage of The Camino is Errill to the Little Derries which takes place this Sunday at 3pm.

The pilgrimage walk will begin at 3pm in the grounds of Errill church and progress on the two mile route on the Templemore road and then turning right at The Lea Bridge, walkers will travel through the bog to the little island site where mass was celebrated all in the mid-17th century.

On arrival at The Little Derries, mass will be celebrated before those taking part return to Errill village for refreshments.

The Second Stage of The Camino is from Graigueavallagh to Errill on Sunday October 3 at 7am.

With an early morning start, the second stage of the Camino leaves the site of the Chapel Pit in in Graigugeavallagh through Kylemalawn and Borahan Lane.

Revellers will pause for prayer at the monastic ruins of St Kieran and the local cemetery. They will then arrive at Errill Church for a short service of reconciliation and healing and the conclusion of the second stage of the Camino.

The Third Stage of The Camino is from Graigueavallagh to Grogan and takes place on Sunday October 10 at 9.30am.

While the Fourth and final Stage of The Camino is from Grogan to Errill on Saturday November 20 at 12pm.

The church built at Grogan in 1826 remained in use until 1971. In November 1971, the new church dedicated to Our Lady Queen of the Universe was opened in Errill village.

The beautiful stained glass windows from Grogan are now to be found in two churches in Kilkenny, The Rower and Glenmore.

Two of the Grogan windows remain in the parish, one depicting St Colmcille which is over the altar in Errill and another window dedicated to St Virgilius (Fergal) is erected in the Religious Studies room of St Fergal’s College, Rathdowney.

For our fourth and final stage of the Camino, those in attendance will gather for a short prayer in the grounds of Grogan church at 12 noon and then walk to Errill Church.

Fr Delaney explained: “Later in the evening of Saturday 20, we will have a mass to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the church and this mass will be celebrated by Bishop Denis Nulty, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Ossory.

“Following the evening Mass there will be refreshments for everyone.

“We would particularly love to welcome those who were, baptised, received First Communion, Confirmation or were married in Errill during the last fifty years to come and join us for this celebration.”

Our Lady Queen of the Universe Church in Erril

Our Lady Queen of the Universe Church in Erril

SEE ALSO – In Pictures: Emotional scenes as championship title dedicated to the late Tom Delaney

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.