Church Review notes February 2011

Saint Catherine and Saint James with Saint Audoen

Sunday Services

10.00 Eucharist, St Audoen Cornmarket (parking in Francis Street).
11.30 Eucharist, St Catherine & St James Donore Avenue (service of the Word Second and Fourth Sundays) and Sunday School. Family Service 13 February.

Family Service at St Catherine’s and St James

A number of events coincide on Sunday 13 February. Church Coffee will be provided (as it usually is) on the Second Sunday of the Month. It’s also the Vicar’s birthday. As well as that, the Sunday School children will lead us in worship with the theme of St Valentine, an early Christian martyr. Your support for the children in the context of Family Service will be very much appreciated.

St Catherine’s NS

Tribute must be paid to the members of staff who gave up their holiday time to attend to the School, where first the water supply failed, then the snow in the valleys on the roof started to melt. It was ironic that there was no water in the tap, but the melted snow flowed through the ceilings. Several times, the floods were mopped and dried, but then the floods returned. Finally the heating broke down. Grateful thanks to the stalwarts who worked with mops and buckets, and attended to the workmen and engineers, and cleaned and tidied in time for School to open as planned on Monday 10 January.

Drama at St Audoen’s

Watching the meltwater pour through the ceiling of St Audoen’s was bad enough, but then, a few days later, it rained heavily. Again, water dripped from ancient arches onto the carpets below. To walk on them was like walking on wet grass. The tower was particularly badly affected. Staff from Dublin City Council visited, accompanied by the Architect, John Cowan, and workmen. The trapdoors were lifted and floor coverings dropped with a splash to the base of the tower, then spread on the floor of the Visitor Centre. Tourists stood in awe, cameras at the ready. Water continued to trickle onto the granite flags from pools lodged on the concrete braces above, and ran down the stone stairs. The intense cold and ice must have done some serious damage to the flat roof of the tower. Despite all that has happened, services have continued without interruption.

‘Parking in Francis Street’

This note appears regularly in the Irish Times Church Notices – which don’t always appear! That’s because ‘Church Notices’ is a free service provided by the paper, but if they haven’t room, they leave them out, in favour of family notices for which people pay. Parking is free on Francis Street on Sunday – all day, I think – and on other days the Tivoli Car Park, behind the Theatre, is very convenient. It is a short walk eastwards along Cornmarket to the pedestrian crossing opposite the Church steps. I would recommend anyone coming to St Audoen’s to avoid trying to park any nearer, and to avoid crossing the main road at any other crossing.


St Audoen’s is a Church in need of friends, and the faithful few will be glad to welcome visitors. Ivor Bulmer Thomas, of the cider-making family, was Churchwarden of St Andrew by the Wardrobe in the city of London, and founded a society called ‘The Friends of Friendless Churches’ in the period after the Second World War, when so many city Churches of London were damaged, and the resident population had been decimated. He published a little book about them. The society went on to inspire the Redundant Churches Fund, now the Churches Conservation Trust. is full of interest, for those with internet access. The cooperation between Church and state is most constructive.


Dublin Council of Churches has succeeded in persuading the organisers of the St Patrick’s Day Festivities to include an ecumenical service in the Festival programme. This is no small achievement. The Dean has kindly offered the use of St Patrick’s Cathedral at five o’clock, and it is intended that the service will be based on the Deer’s Cry. When St Patrick was threatened by attackers, he and his companions appeared to them as deer, according to legend, hence the name of the poem familiar to us as St Patrick’s Breastplate in the hymn verses of Mrs Alexander, wife of the Bishop of Derry. Fr Pat O’Donohue and his choir will provide the music, and it is hoped that students from nearby institutions will provide dramatic interpretations of the poem. This evangelical opportunity will benefit greatly from your support, as many of the expected attendance may be unfamiliar with Church service.

Mark Gardner