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Bishop of Killaloe Fintan Monahan uses oil of Chrism at the consecration of the columbarium at The Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul, in Ennis. Looking on is Deacon Antun Pasalic who will be ordained as a priest next year. Photograph by John Kelly

First ashes interred in columbarium

THE first interment of ashes has taken place at the new columbarium at the Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul.
Ennis Cathedral is the first Cathedral in the country to offer a columbarium for the interment of ashes.
The development of the columbarium was approved by the Pastoral and Finance Committees of Ennis Parish last year while planning permission was granted by Clare County Council.
Local builders Michael Clancy and Michael McInerney recently installed the facility which was consecrated as a place of rest by Bishop Fintan last month.
On Saturday the ashes of Michael Fitzgerald were the first to be interred in the Columbarium in a ceremony led by Fr Tom Ryan.
Mr Fitzgerald, who passed away in August made the decision with his wife Ann and his family that he would be cremated and interred in the Cathedral.
Mary Quinn, who was married to Ann Fitzgerald’s brother Jim and who died in London in May 2019, was also interred at the same ceremony.
Fr Ryan told The Champion, “The columbarium which was recently consecrated and received its first internments last Saturday is now a holy and special place within the Cathedral for people to pray and remember loved ones.
“For families and individuals who choose the Columbarium as their resting place, they can be assured of daily visits and prayers of so many people who visit the Cathedral.”
Located in the Mortuary Chapel, there are 240 niches in the columbarium.
Each niche accommodates one urn with the ashes of one person and to date over half of the niches have been reserved.
The front of the vault depicts a cross with fish and doves.
The inspiration for the design comes from the bell of St Senan found on Scattery Island off the coast of Kilrush.
The fish is one of the oldest symbols used by Christians while the dove represents the Holy Spirit.
Ennis Cathedral partnered with Eternum Columbarium in providing this facility. According to a spokesperson for Eternum, “A columbarium in a church echoes the ancient Christian tradition of churchyard burial and offers people the opportunity to be buried in a beautiful building at the centre of their faith.
“Many people who have purchased a niche have received all their sacraments in the cathedral and are overjoyed to know they will be laid to rest there.
“In addition to the many local people who have bought a niche, a number have been bought by people from other counties and countries.
“Niches have been reserved by people in England and America for the remains of loved ones who had a wish to be buried in Ireland.”

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