Borrisokane – Golden Jubilee

Golden Jubilee of Sts Peter and Paul Church, Borrisokane

Mission Sunday, 22nd of October 2023

Mission Sunday

This weekend we have an embarrassment of richness in what we mark or celebrate.  Mission Sunday is held annually on the third week of October, a reminder of the great command of Jesus to go out and spread the good news of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  What a great theme Pope Francis has chosen for this Mission Sunday, from the Gospel of St. Luke, “Hearts on fire, feet on the move.”  May our hearts be on fire with the desire to share the Gospel and feet in action to reach out and do what is necessary to put the Gospel into practice.

Going forward in Faith Hope and Love

It also marks the launch of an updated Pastoral Plan for the diocese of Killaloe, entitled Going forward in faith, hope and love.  Celebrating the heritage of faith that we have going back to St. Flannan, looking forward in hope to the promise of eternal life and living the message of the Gospel here in the diocese in a manner appropriate for the world we live in.  Copies of the pastoral letter are available here today and on line.

Golden Jubilee

We also celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Church here in Borrisokane.

The biblical notion of jubilee is abounding with joyful connotations of celebration, making music and sounding the trumpets.  Golden, the most valuable substance we have, reflecting the enduring quality of something being half a century old.

Church of Sts. Peter and Paul

The Church we celebrate, like the Cathedral in Ennis is dedicated to the great saints, Peter and Paul.

Paul the teacher, the missionary. Mission Sunday.

Peter the leader. The human being who showed vulnerability but was also The Rock of Faith.


I thoroughly enjoyed reading the pictorial history of the Church and Parish produced for the jubilee today and commend those who put such tremendous work into the labout of love that it is.

Some of the many descriptions that stand out and resonate with me hugely include the following:

  • The Church here radiation a “Radical Simplicity, inviting prayer, reflection and meditation”.
  • The plain wood of the altar and seating – “shocks with simplicity”.
  • The brightness and light emphasised. The ‘A’ structure maximising light. The glow of the setting or rising sun in the window at the back.
  • The red carpet – giving a warmth and welcome.

The intricate Reredos, the Design of Richard King


  • Tree of Life – Biblical and Celtic Symbolism
  • The Lamb of God – the altar being the place of Sacrifice

The bronze Tabernacle, with the vine and the branches image.

The Blessed Sacrament chapel an oasis of peace.

The Bell

The Historic Bell that has called so many generations here to prayer has been such a familiar and audible feature here in the town for so long.

I recall Br Colman Ó Clabaigh, the historian and monk in Glenstal telling me that in the tradition the roll of bells were seen as:

  • The Vox Dei – The Voice of God
  • To Gather the clergy
  • Summon the laity
  • Implore for the dead
  • Enemy of demons

Vatican II – Liturgical Vision

The overall design of the Church reflects deeply the Liturgical Vision of the Second Vatican Council – the people of God assembled close to the priest and each other, calling for full and active participation in the liturgical celebrations.


I love the variety of landscaping around the Church:

So symbolic, embracing biodiversity and the ecological vision of Pope Francis in Laudato Si of 2015 and Laudate Deum just published on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.  No wonder this is so much to the fore with the green fingered pastor you have here in Fr. Tom O’Halloran.

The Cemetery

The Cemetery, the final resting place of so many from the hinterland at the back with the impressive iron gated entrance is truly a haven of peace and prayerfulness.  The light of heaven to all gone before us in this ancient and historic parish.

Parish Logo 2014

Not many parishes have a logo of their own.  I love the 2014 logo reflecting:

  • Pobal Dé – Community
  • The Eucharist
  • Bright colours inviting diversity of all sorts of people and welcome to all
  • The Bible, Word of God

Church Music

The Church here has been synonymous with Sacred Music, Choirs, Folk Groups and we recall that great tradition, St. Augustine telling us that the person who sings well in Church prays twice.

Church about people

Of course, the Church is not so much about buildings, but the Pobal Dé, the assembled body of Christ who come here to worship and pray every weekend and every day.

We remember countless Priests, Religious, namely the sisters of Mercy, sacristans, teachers, choir directors, maintenance workers, people who in various ministries and apostolates celebrated the faith of Jesus Christ here for so many years, all working together to build up the Kingdom of God, using their talents to the greater glory of God.


The story of great and colourful characters are things that stick out in our minds when the buildings fall into ruins.

I loved reading about Dean Cahil, the light of heaven to him.

As the books describes he was very self-contained and very much at home in his own company.  However because he didn’t have a TV and knowing the people of the parish so well, he chose a different household every evening to visit to go and watch TV!

Just imagine in the world of the time, the priest coming unannounced to drop in for the evening to watch TV!  Who would dare fight over access to the remote!

The aguisín to that story is also amusing in that the parishioners gave him a gift of a new TV for one of his jubilee celebrations, which he promptly returned when he realised his evening visits and no doubt tea and supper would no longer happen.

I loved also the story of he being a swimmer in the local lake 365 days of the year and when the frost came he was innovative enough to have a pick-axe in the boot of the car to smash through the ice to take his morning dip!  Padres at that time were made of stern and warm-blooded stuff!!!

Community Celebration

I warmly congratulate all who have been part of the story of Sts Peter and Paul Church over the past 50 years in so many roles.  May God reward each and every one for their labours as we celebrate and fete that on this jubilee occasion on the Mission Sunday. May this sacred space continue to be special place in the town and pastoral area of Cois Deirge for many years to come.

St. Peter and Paul Pray for us!