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Urlaur made headlines in the New York Times

Posted in Connect on January 22, 2019.


Urlaur Chruch will celebrate its 50th anniversary in May thanks to the audacity of a local nun and the generosity of a Jewish newspaper director. When US-based Sister Mary, formerly known as Margaret Cafferkey of Tullyganny, received a letter from Canon Hunt in her native Urlaur telling her of plans to build a church in Urlaur , she sent a letter to the New York Times seeking assistance. The letter ended up on the desk of the newspaper’s circulation director Nathan W. Goldstein who sent two journalists to interview Sr Mary in her enclose d convent in New Jersey. Incredibly, the journalists were Sr Mary’s first visitors in 50 years.

Enthralled by her wish to fundraise so “people could build a place of worship” back home in Ireland, Mr Goldstein donated half of the proceeds from his 40th-anniversary celebrations in the New York Times to the cause . He also asked friends to donate $5 dollars to the cause and the Western People reported in May 1969 that the American newspaper – man raised between $15,000 and $20,000 – half the cost of the build.

Goldstein, along with the New York Police Commissioner, attended the opening of St Joseph’s Church in 1969. Describing the story as a “remarkable” one, Fr Vincent Sherlock said he plans to notify the Goldstein family of the golden jubilee celebrations, which will take place on May 5 next.

“It’s a wonderful story. It’s good to mark occasions and the building of the church is in the living memory of most people in the area. They sold tickets all over the country to build it,” explained Fr Sherlock.

When the Dominican Abbey closed in 1846, after 500 years in existence, locals had to travel to nearby churches for Mass until Canon Hunt began celebrating Mass in the local national school. It was then that the idea of building a church was first mooted.

by Marian Duggan, Western People 21st January 2019

Image by  @niamhronane

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