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The Church of the Real Presence, Curraheen Road, Cork.

(from The Fold. Oct, 1973)
On September 29th, 1973, His Lordship, Most Rev.Dr.Lucey, opened another new church. This time it was at Curraheen Road, Bishopstown. Exactly a year before he had blessed the site and named it as the Church of the Real Presence.

The site for the new church had been offered some years ago by Mr.&Mrs. Daniel Kenneally. It is situated on an elevated position. As a result, the graceful steel spire can be seen from most parts of the area. It also has a public road on three sides of the site, which should make it easy of access.

It has seating for over 850 people, yet even those standing inside the door should feel that they are near the altar.

The altar itself, the ambo and the Baptismal font are in chiselled limestone.

At the back of the building you have a well-equipped priests' sacristy, a combined work sacristy and altar boys' room, toilet facilities, a mortuary and a large meeting room.

To have the grass around the church in such fine condition on opening day is an indication of the planning and team work and attention to detail that went into this fine church.

In order to get a simple, modern and economic church that would be in keeping with the housing development of the area, the architect decided on a basic square shape.

As you can see from the photograph, the roof is raised in the middle and this gives three large triangular windows. These are fitted with anti-glare glass, but still admit ample natural light.

The ceiling of the church is covered in Parana pine, which gives a warm and pleasant effect. The inner walls are finished in coloured bricks and will need no maintenance.

Fr. Fachtna O'Neill. R.I.P.

(from the Parish newsletter of the 7th January, 2001.)
Fr. Fachtna O'Neill was a native of Caheragh parish and was ordained a priest in 1966. He spent the first few months as a priest working in London with Southwark diocese before being appointed a chaplain to the Reparation Convent in February 1968. In 1970, he was appointed curate in Murragh and Templemartin parish and also was assistant diocesan inspector for primary school catechetics. He was appointed curate in Ballinspittle parish in 1972 and in 1976 moved to Cork city to become curate in Turner's Cross. He was transferred to Douglas as curate in 1979. In June 1984, he began a long association with Mahon when he was appointed priest-in-charge. It was then part of Blackrock parish. In 1987, when Mahon became a parish in its own right, Fr. O'Neill became its first parish priest. He served there until June 1998 when he was appointed parish priest of Curraheen. He died suddenly on Sunday, 31st December - the feast of the Holy Family.
At his funeral Mass on Wednesday last, Fr. Tadgh O'MathĂșna, a classmate of Fr. Fachtna's said:
"We are gathered in sadness but we are also gathered to celebrate a life dedicated to preaching the gospel and to give thanks for his dedicated work as a priest. His priestly work led him to share many moments of joy with people - Baptisms, First Communions, Weddings and Community Celebrations. But he also shared moments of grief and sadness - in times of illness, suffering, family difficulties and death of a loved one. Administrating the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, Marriage and the Anointing of the Sick and of course the Mass were special to him. Expressions of his love for the Mass and the Mother of God are seen in the Adoration Chapel and in the Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. People found him to be a welcoming presence - a greeting with a smile, a story, a hearty laugh and a sense of humour."

Mary O'Donovan, Chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council, on behalf of the Parishioners said:
"In his short time among us, Fr. Fachtna left a deep impression. Pleasant and smiling, he was full of enthusiasm for his work. We have only to look about us for evidence of his energy and decisiveness. It is his sermons which will undoubtedly remain in our memories. He was a master story-teller, and in simple, direct language, with a smile and a touch of humour, he delivered a message which went to the heart and was remembered and discussed. In a way which he could not have foreseen, Fr. Fachtna teaches us that lesson again today: that death, for all its sadness, is the beginning of a new and glorious life. We thank him, and pray for his eternal happiness.


(from the booklet at the official opening of the Church of the Real Presence).

On the feast of the Archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, the Church of the Real Presence will be blessed and opened by His Lordship, the Bishop of Cork and Ross, Most Rev. Dr. Lucey. For the people of this district it is an auspicious occasion as the Lord Himself will come to dwell among them in a home fashioned for Him by His creatures. Here He will dwell permanently, give audience to His people, and welcome all who come to worship. Here, too, He will give new life to the infant in Baptism and provide for us "the food which endures to eternal life".

The church itself is of simple yet aesthetic design. It is modern in its conception and suited to the new liturgy. It can seat over 850 people, yet nobody will be far removed from the altar. It is designed in such a way that the Church's ceremonies may be carried out with reverence and dignity in an intimate way.

A well-designed heating and lighting system, together with an efficient public address system, should also help in this respect.

At the back of the building there are priests and altar-boys' sacristies, a mortuary and a large meeting room.

To His Lordship the Bishop we owe a deep debt of gratitude for his permission to build, for his advice and generous financial help.

It is right to pay tribute also to the donors of this very suitable site - Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Kenneally. It is due to their benevolence that the church stands here today.

To Messrs Petit and Partners (especially Mr. Aidan McElhinny, chief architect); to Mr. D.J. McCarthy (contractor) and his staff; to all the sub-contractors, and all who helped in any way we offer our best thanks for work well done.

Finally, we say a special word of thanks to all who contributed, to those who have given gifts and, above all, to the men and women who have given such faithful service in the distasteful work of fund-raising.

To one and all we say: "May God reward and bless you".

The presence of Christ.
Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of His minister, "the same one now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formally offered himself on the cross", but especially under the Eucharistic species. By His power He is present in the sacraments, so that when a man baptises it is really Christ Himself who baptises. He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the church. He is present, finally, when the Church prays and sings, for He promised: "When two or three are gathered together for my sake, there am I in the midst of them" (Mt. 18:20).
Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Vatican Council.

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