The sun shone on the congregation at the annual St. Doulagh’s Church Open Air Service which took place on Sunday May 29th in Balgriffin. The service was attended by
Archbishop Michael Jackson and was led by the Rector, the Revd. Dr Norman Gamble. Music was led by the Brass Band of the 1st Dublin Company of the Boys’ Brigade and by
the Male Voice Choir of the Dublin Conservative Club.
The service also saw the launch of the St.Doulagh’s Church Restoration Appeal. The appeal’s target is €300,000 which is needed to carry out substantial repairs to the ancient church.
Works include the cleaning and repointing of the stone roof and tower, the replacement of the Victorian tiling inside the church and the securing of retaining walls around the churchyard.
In his sermon, the Archbishop referred to the readings [Genesis 28: 10–19 and 1 Peter 2: 4–5, 9] observing that the authors of both wrote about stones. He said the connecting factor between Jacob and the hearers of 1 Peter was faith: faith in God, faith in a different future, faith in themselves as the carriers and vessels of such faith.
“The stone–built cluster of church–related buildings that forms St. Doulagh’s, as we know it and as thousands of people drive and cycle past it every day, put me in mind of these
two passages of Holy Scripture. If Scripture is to guide us, then Scripture needs to be our firm foundation. If St. Doulagh’s is to have an engaged, on–going spiritual life, it has to
nurture a new and an exciting role from within the life of Christian Ireland here and now for the future. The precious stones of St. Doulagh’s are in our custodianship and for our
partnering with others. I encourage you here, now in this quest and in this work. There is so much about which to be hopeful and positive here and there is no reason whatsoever
that you will not reach your target of €300,000. There is national and international support for this church of great beauty and this pearl of great price,” he said.
The Archbishop, concluding his sermon, suggested that in the future St. Doulagh’s could move into being a place of contemporary pilgrimage.
He stated “Its history of living through history along with its violent expression of history might enable it also to be a place for Reflection on Reconciliation, with an annual
gathering for peace and understanding of contrasting viewpoints, working with others”
who are committed to this tireless and essential work”.