THE new Catholic church in the dioceses of Killaloe will open on December 8 at the Town Square.
Bishop Willie Walsh will bless and dedicate the new Adoration Chapel, which will replace the Oratory in SkyCourt Shopping Centre. The Oratory was provided as a place of worship, rent free, since 1976, four years after the opening of Shannon Town Centre. Since then, mass has been celebrated at the Oratory and people have went there daily to pray.
With the redevelopment of the town centre as SkyCourt, the Oratory moved to temporary premises in the shopping centre in 2004. SkyCourt later commissioned a new standalone building in the town square to replace the old facility. The Adoration Chapel was developed by SkyCourt at a cost of €250,000.
The new chapel is an oval-shaped building and will be able to accommodate up to 60 people. It was designed by Thompsons & Partners and architect Michael Pledge said the project presented an interesting and unusual opportunity.
“The chance to design a church in a new town square is a challenge that’s rarely presented to us in modern times. We decided on an oval shape so that it would stand apart from other buildings in the area.
“The objective was to give the chapel a unique shape and thereby make it the focal point of the town square.”
Parish Priest Father Tom Ryan said that he was pleased to see the church being located in such a busy area. “It’s great to have a presence in the marketplace. Shannon must have been unique in the 1970s in providing a place of worship in a shopping centre.
“The primary use of the Oratory is for daily mass from Monday to Friday at 10am and it is open as an Adoration Chapel for 55 hours per week, during which time 500 parishioners have committed themselves to pray for one hour each. Shoppers also drop in regularly. It is used as a community facility on the death of a parishioner when a photograph and funeral details of the deceased are posted at the Oratory,” he added.
SkyCourt manager Pat Kelly said that the people of Shannon had been very patient with the temporary facilities that were available during the reconstruction of the town centre. He also said it would increase the vibrancy of the area.
“We are very pleased that this important community facility is now open to the public. It is centrally located in front of SkyCourt and Shannon Development offices and I believe the new building enhances the new town square and will make it a more active and vibrant space.”