News & Events

150th Anniversary of St. Patrick's Church, Kilnavart

The church of St. Patrick, Kilnavart, was dedicated on 20th April 1868 by Bishop Nicholas Conaty, assisted by Bishop McCabe of Ardagh. The church was erected to the memory of Fr. Thomas Maguire, a famous preacher and apologist who was curate in Templeport from 1816-1818 and is buried in the adjoining cemetery. The Parish priest at the time was Fr. Patrick Smith.

The architect was William Hague. The building materials are mainly limestone and sandstone. The sand came from Cooleague and the stones were given free by a local church of Ireland family, the Wilcoxes of Toberlyan. Among the features of the church interior are short red marble columns, corbelled heads of saints and the ceiling divided into panels. The belfry was added later.

The church was renovated recently. The renovations include a new roof,  new doors, new gallery and new light fittings. The sanctuary has been rearranged and a reredos restored. The architect was David Cullivan, Cavan and the main contractor P. McGovern & Son, Bawnboy.

The church was rededicated on April 19th 1998 by Bishop Francis McKiernan, with Rev. Thomas Murray PP.

The 150th anniversary of St. Patrick's Church was celebrated in January 2019.

Parish Mission

Mission Invitation

Fr. Phair and the Parish Pastoral Council would like to extend a warm invitation to you and your family to our Parish Mission 2018 (14th-22nd April).

It has been many years since a Mission has taken place in our parish, so this will be a very special week for us all.

If you have drifted away, please consider coming along. All will receive an very warm welcome. This will be an opportunity to come together as a community and it is also a time to renew our faith, a time to seek and to know Christ, who desires a relationship with each one of us.

Ní neart go cur le chéile.

There is no strength without unity

Diocesan Assembly Report on proceedings

The Diocesan assembly was held over the October bank weekend. This event takes place every 7 years and its primary purpose is to review the issues and challenges facing the parishes of our Diocese today and to try to find ways to tackle these challenges.

6 Pastoral Council members attended over the 2 days and it was an interesting and thought provoking few days. The assembly was centered around 4 modules on Sacramental Practice, Young people, the age profile of the priests in our Diocese and the results of a listening survey. The listening Survey result was most interesting and gave a very honest and forthright view of how the Church is perceived among a cross section of Catholics.

It was conducted during the 18 months preceding the assembly and the groups interviewed for the survey were - the 18-35 year olds, young parents, married couples, the over 65's, teachers, emigrants, business people and residents of housing estates.

The views of younger people, married couples and parents were broadly in agreement. These groups highlighted that the church, at its best, is a positive force and there is a huge regard for Pope Francis. Young adults would like to see the priest in a role as a teacher as opposed to a dictator and they felt that the liturgies need to relate more to people's lives.

These groups felt that the role of women is devalued and they see the Church as ageing, out of touch and male orientated. Common concerns were the day to day struggle to make ends meet, children with high expectations, and fears around youth culture involving drink and drugs and the influence of the social media was also mentioned as a cause for concern.

The results from the over 65 age group showed them to be more resilient and with lower expectations. Again there was huge support for the local clergy and Pope Francis and a genuine concern for the future of the church.

What stood out, however, was that this grouping was not entirely uncritical of the church. There was huge dismay at the damage done by the abuse scandals. This group was also open to the idea of married priests and felt that there was a need to rethink the priesthood and give women a greater role. This was a view that was strongly supported by the delegates at the assembly. They also felt that there was a need to be more understanding of real life issues and show more compassion in situations involving broken marriages and people in second relationships.

The next module covered was Sacramental Practice.

Most people are well aware that participation in the sacraments and liturgies is well down in comparison to previous times. It was pointed out however that participation rates have fluctuated hugely over the decades and centuries. Delegates were reminded that Ireland is coming from a period of massive participation in the 50's 60's and 70's where rates were in the 80-90% range - these were among the highest rates ever in the world.

Now rates have fallen back to 25-30% but generally higher in some rural areas, Templeport being a case in point. Some stark statements were made - how First Communion can also be the last, how Confirmation which is meant to signify formal entry into the church can, in fact, signify exit from the church.

Fr Drumm's presentation did not skirt around the issues. One of the feedbacks was for fewer but more meaningful and sensitive liturgies spoken in a language of the people. There was also a call made for a greater role for the sacrament of reconciliation.

An image described by Fr Drumm was of a Church that is always open but it is not very full and this sums it up really.

Regarding Youth ministry Clogher Diocese made a presentation outlining how they have engaged very successfully with the younger generation. They have a number of very successful initiatives underway but the key thing that was picked up by many delegates was the level of resource provided. The view of the assembly was that urgent action is needed, resources must be provided and a comprehensive youth ministry program must be started.

The last presentation on Saturday was at the request of the priests of the Diocese and focused on the age profile of the priests in the diocese now and what that figure will look like in the year 2020.

The diocese of Kilmore has 35 parishes with 95 churches. There are 76 diocesan priests, of those 60 are in active ministry. The rest are retired. The average age of priests in the diocese is 64. In 6 years' time that average will rise to 70. These figures cannot be ignored. The consequence of this is that over the coming years, and it won't be that far off, a review of the number of Masses as well as the use of Church buildings will have to take place. This will require close consultation with parishes and communities throughout the diocese but the only thing to be said is that significant change is on the way.

The tone of the conference was not in any way negative and there was an active participation by all delegates in the discussion groups. Though some of the findings were undoubtedly difficult I have to say that the clergy who made the presentations were completely upfront and philosophical on all matters. Bishop Leo was in attendance through-out and gave his full endorsement to the proceedings in his closing address.

There are many challenges to be faced but judging by the active participation and enthusiasm of the delegates there is a strong and vibrant church in our diocese. There a bright future for the church but it will be different

Templeport-born priest appointed Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois

There was a parish celebration marking the ordination of Templeport-native, the Most Reverend Francis Duffy, as the new Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois on Friday evening, 17 January 2014. The celebration began with concelebrated Mass in St. Mogue's Church, Bawnboy at 8:00p.m. at which Bishop Francis was the principal celebrant assisted by Fr. John Phair, PP Templeport; Fr. Gerard Cassidy, PP Castletara; Fr. Tom McManus, PP Corlough; Fr. Patrick McHugh, Priest-in-residence, Killesher (who was ordained at the same ceremony as the new bishop); as well as by other priests who are natives of the parish - Fr. Killian Mitchell O.Praem, Kilnacrott; and Canon John Murphy, PP Bailieboro. Mass was followed by a social evening with refreshments served in Templeport Resource Centre immediately afterwards during which a presentation of a Mass Kit was made to Bishop Francis from the parish by Fr. Phair.

Bishop Francis Duffy subsequently wrote to express his thanks to those who organised the Mass and Presentation Function to mark his ordination as Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois. In his letter, he wrote: "It was a very memorable and moving celebration for me and my family. It was great to meet so many people that I have known from my youth in Templeport. The liturgy was very well organised and meaningful to me. Please extend my thanks to all who participated in the liturgy and to the beautiful choir". He also thanked all those involved in organising the Presentation Function in the Resource Centre afterwards and for the gifts received. We will continue to remember him in our prayers.


Bishop Francis is a native of the townland of Port and the eldest of four children born to Mary and the late Frank Duffy. He was educated in Munlough National School and St Patrick's College, Cavan. After seven years at St Patrick's College, Maynooth, he was ordained in St Mogue's Church, Bawnboy, on 20 June 1982 by the late Bishop Francis Mac Kiernan.

For eleven years, he taught in St Patrick's College, Cavan and served as Principal of Fatima and Felim's Secondary School, Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim for a further twelve years.

In 2009, Bishop Leo O'Reilly appointed him as Diocesan Secretary and Chancellor in the Diocese of Kilmore. In 2009, he also took up the position of Resident Priest in Clifferna in the parish of Laragh in Co. Cavan.

On 17th July 2013 Pope Francis appointed him as Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois.

The Episcopal Ordination took place in St Mary's Church, Athlone, Co. Westmeath at 3.00pm on Sunday 6th October 2013. The church, opened in 1861, has served as a Pro-Cathedral for the diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois since the destruction of St. Mel's Cathedral in Longford by fire in 2009. It is home to the cathedra or bishop's chair which was designed for St Mel's Cathedral in 1891. Bishop Francis is the sixth Bishop of the Diocese to have used it.

The Principal Consecrator was Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh, assisted by the Apostolic Nuncio, Most Rev. Charles J. Brown and Most Rev. Colm O'Reilly, Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois. Fr. Peter Burke, Parish Priest of Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim, gave the homily. Cardinal Brady was on the staff of St. Patrick's College in Cavan when the future bishop was a student there.

Bishop Duffy's Coat of Arms

On the left of the shield is the Coat of Arms of the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois. The cross and fleur-de-lis, flowers of light, with horizontal key is traditionally associated with the Diocese.

On the right of the shield is Bishop Francis' Coat of Arms: on the lower part is a river, symbolising the great River Shannon, rising in the mountains of west Cavan and flowing along much of the western boundary of the Diocese. The tower is reminiscent of the monastery and round tower of Clonmacnoise, a place of worship, learning and pilgrimage from the earliest years of Christianity on this island. The door is open in welcome.

The motto 'Veni ut vitam habeant' - 'I have come that they may have life' is taken from John 10: 10. It highlights the value of each human life, its value to God and its value to us. It also leads us to consider how we make the lives of one another better, more peaceful and more enjoyable.

Diamond Jubilee for Fr Killian Mitchell

On Friday 9th August 2013 a Mass and social evening was held to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the Ordination of Father Killian Mitchell.

Chief Celebrant was Father Mitchell assisted by Father John Phair PP Templeport, Fr Tom Mc Kiernan and Father Felim McGovern.

A notable feature of the evening was the presence of the four altar servers who served Fr Killian's first mass in St. Patrick Church, Kilnavart 60 years ago.

Ecumenical Service for those interred in Bawnboy Workhouse Graveyard.

The Service was held in St Mogue's Church, Bawnboy on 8th November 2013, the One Hundred and Sixtieth Anniversary of the opening of the Bawnboy Workhouse