The purpose and task of the Altar Society is to ensure that the Altar is suitably prepared, at all times, for the celebration of Mass.
The work involved is vacuuming and dusting the Altar, the Sacristy and the adjoining rooms. It also entails keeping fresh flowers on the Altar and decorating the Altar for the special occasions throughout the year e.g. Easter, Christmas, First Holy Communions and Confirmations and the major Feast Days like St. Patrick’s Day.
For these major occasions the flower arrangements are made by a few of our members who have special talents and skills in this area. All flowers are provided by the members except for the major feasts when they are paid for from Parish funds. In addition, flowers are donated, from time to time, by members of the congregation and occasionally are left after a wedding.
We are always very grateful for these donations.
The Altar linens are taken care of by one designated member and St. Anthony’s shrine is in the care of another two members.
All the work is voluntary and takes approximately 1 to 1½ hours each week, depending on the number on the team, usually 2-3 people. Each team does one month per year. Over the past number of years our numbers have dropped from 44 to 37 with the prospect of losing more members as we are all getting older.
We really do need some new, and younger, members.
If you think you could spare 1 hour a week, for 1 month of the year, please do consider joining the Altar Society?
The more members we have the less time involved each week.
ALL ARE WELCOME.
Fionnuala McManus. Mobile: 087 980 7710
Background & History
From the records we are able to establish that the ladies of the Parish have been caring for the Altar for a very long time. The first formal Altar Society was headed by Ms Weafer at the request of the then Parish Priest Fr. Joseph Killeen in the mid 30s. At that time Ms Weafer lived beside the Church and had a number of ladies assist her in looking after the Altar, laundering the Altar linen, cleaning and hoovering the Sanctuary and arranging the garden flowers donated by the parishioners.
She continued this work for over forty years until her retirement in 1977 and was the first parishioner to receive the Papal Benemerenti Medal in grateful appreciation of her outstanding commitment to St. Mary’s Parish and the Altar society in particular. Ms Weafer noted in the minute book of the Society, that work is voluntary and that members give very willingly of the most precious thing they possess – their time. Ms Weafer then handed over this responsibility to Betty Murphy (for 14 years). After her, others like Georgina Muleady, Imelda Desmond, Olive Guest and Anne Quigley continued this invaluable work down to the present. Nowadays the Presidency alternates every 3 years.
The main purpose and task of the Altar Society is to ensure that the Altar is suitably prepared at all times for the celebration of Mass. Other work undertaken entails hoovering and dusting of the Altar area. Flowers are attend to also, although during Lent there are generally no flowers on the Altar. The Sacristy and the adjoining rooms are also kept clean and hovered. In this regard Agnes Boyd deserves special mention for her meticulous attention to the cleaning and polishing of all the sacred vessels. Each month a rota of helpers is scheduled who are responsible for the maintenance and appearance of the Altar.
Floral decorations are also the responsibility of the society. Some Society members are highly proficient at flower arranging and so that particular task falls to them. Flowers are sometimes donated by Parishioners and these are very much appreciated. Many of the beautiful Wedding arrangements are also donated to the Church following the ceremony.
While our needs may be few, our resources can be stretched at times as there may be only two volunteers on a particular monthly rota. In order to relieve pressure more volunteers are required. Nowadays men are equally welcome as members. Understandably, Christmas and Easter are two very important occasions in the Church’s year when extra preparation and decoration are undertaken.
If anyone would be interested in helping at either of these times, please do not hesitate in putting your name forward. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated and I believe you would find your Church involvement very rewarding.
President: Fionnula McManus, Tel: 087 980 7710
Elizabeth (Betty) Byrne
St. Anthony’s Altar: Carmel Cummane Annie Simon