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On the 8th December 2003 we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Church of St John the Evangelist, Ballinteer. It was a great occasion of joy and thanksgiving for the Eucharistic Presence among us.
On 8th December, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Mass was celebrated by our area Bishop, Dr. Martin Drennan and the local clergy, Fr John Battelle, P.P., Fr Jim O'Sullivan & Fr Martin O'Farrell.
This was a Mass of Thanksgiving for all the graces we have received. A Mass of Remembrance of all those baptised, who received first penance and communion, those confirmed, married, anointed with the sacrament of orders, all who offer continuous daily prayer in our church, those anointed with the oil of the sick, and those buried.
Also a remembrance of all the sacrifices needed to build the church and to maintain it over those 30 years. It was also a plea to continue to maintain the faith received under its roof until death and to be a witness to it in the Parish and in the home.
The following web page is a reproduction of the special Booklet which was launched that night to celebrate the anniversary. The booklet will be delivered to each house in the parish over the Christmas period. A special word of thanks is also due to the late Chris Ryan, a parishioner, for his excellent work in producing the booklet at the request of Canon Battelle who was Parish Priest at that time.
The following is a reproduction of the Booklet celebrating 30 years of our parish including photos and page numbers.
As we celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the Church and Parish of St. John the Evangelist in Ballinteer, one cannot but witness the profound changes that have occurred within the parish community. This is especially so within the past few years. These changes have affected people's way of living, moral and social values, education, and communications - virtually every phase of human existence. Even our language has changed radically due of the constant introduction of new words as well as a new meaning given to old words.
The speed of change is so great that nothing in our society seems stable or reliable. This modern phenomenon takes its toll on all but the young. The constant need to adjust and keep up with the times is a constant challenge for the person who occasionally lives in a state of anxiety. The result is that many people live in an unrelenting state of anxiety and confusion. Perhaps without realising it, we look for something familiar and comforting. For many of us that means our faith, our religion.
One thing we always used to hear about the Catholic Church that it could not change. And yet, the Church too has witnessed a lot of changes in recent times - for example, in the Mass and even in some of our religious practices, such as Friday abstinence as well as the transfer of the celebration of Church holidays to the nearest Sunday. These are referred to as incidental changes. The Church remains unchanged in essentials. We ourselves throughout life remain the same essentially and change incidentally.
One may still take a stroll in Marlay Park and yet be within the parish bounds. These bounds have not altered since their initial definition by the diocesan mapper in 1973 when the parish was first established. A map of the extent of the parish bounds may be examined in the appendix of the Jubilee parish publication. Also in this appendix is a diagrammatic representation which illustrates the Ballinteer parish as part of the Donnybrook Deanery family of parishes - dating back to 1616.
Parishioners in the early 1970s - faced hefty mortgages in the region of £4,500 to £5,000, without church, school or shop - just green fields - will have witnessed many changes as the parish grew to its present stage of development. For the younger generation of to-day, these are images which may be difficult to comprehend.
In more recent years, the life of the parish has seen an extraordinary evolution. The salient features of the parish growth will be referred to within the limited space for this publication. During the past year or so, the most outstanding development has been the completion of the Southern Cross Route motorway - over thirty years after it was first planned.
The last part of the M50 bisects the parish as it facilitates the constant flow of traffic. The morning radio listener will be familiar with the regular up to date constant reminder as to the state of traffic at the Ballinteer part of this M50. M50 Motorway near Ballinteer Exit
Marlay View Apartments,Ballinteer Avenue
The development of Marlay View apartments on Ballinteer Avenue commenced the accommodation expansion programme within the parish. This was followed by the construction of the Brehonfield Road - known as the Green Route - the development of forty-six homes at Grange Hill with the Grange Hall apartment blocks. The completion of this residential property development was followed by the building of the residential units in the vicinity of the Kellystown Road/College Road junctions as well as those units at Brehons Chair (Grange Ford).
And more recently, the one-hundred-and-three two-bedroom apartments were completed at Taylor's Hill. The total compliment of all those recently completed residences in the Ballinteer parish will together contribute an extra five-hundred family units to the parish population. By way of contrast, such residences as Ballintyre Hall, its gate lodge, and Hilton are some of the only residences still in existence since the early 1890s. The total occupation of these and other residences in Ballinteer contributed to a total population of sixteen families (i.e. eighty-three persons) in the 1901 Census.
The other residences - not identified in the Jubilee parish publication - from the early 1900s are those six stone-cottages on Harolds Grange Road; these were constructed in 1914 while those ten cottages around the corner on Grange Road were built in 1918.
Ballinteer St John's GAA Clubhouse
T o accommodate these extensive changes and dramatic population increase, the social and physical needs of the younger members of the community are provided for within the parish. There is, for example, the recent completion of the clubhouse for St. John's GAA, which was founded in May 1982. There is also the 115th Ballinteer CSI, with similar beginnings in 1982. Extensive programmes are provided for some 200 members of the younger generation.
Dundrum Credit Union has been in operation in Ballinteer since the early 1970s. A sub-office was first opened in Our Lady's School and then moved to a caravan in the Superquinn car park. The Health center became our new home and we have operated there ever since. We have over 5,000 members in the Ballinteer area and we have been seeking a suitable office to cater for their needs for a long time.
At last, we are delighted to say that Dundrum Credit Union will be opening a NEW OFFICE in Ballinteer Shopping Centre in the near future. The office is located in the old Xtravision unit. We will provide a full service to our current members in our new office and we hope to attract new members from the area who have not yet discovered the benefits of Dundrum Credit Union membership.
Watch out for further details!
Despite the considerable number of changes which has occurred within the past five-year period, the parish has kept itself up to date with the technological innovations of a modern age. It is proud of its own well administered and constantly updated parish website, which not only is an instrument of communication but is also a link for those parishioners who have emigrated to other countries.
The address of this website is located at the head of this publication. The user of this parish site is provided with all necessary news and information regarding the parish and its parishioners.
The user of the parish website will not only discover the profile, aspirations and facilities for at least eighteen of the organisations within the parish but will also discover the contents of the entire collection of parish newsletters since first published in November 2000. The site contains a host of other parish data located on the Bulletin Board; examples of news items range from such activities as walking tours to getting that local painter.
And the amateur user who thralls through the links-page of this site will be provided with access to readily available information on most subjects - like, for example, travel the world or one may take a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel, conduct an examination of the contents of the Vatican libraries, and explore its museums. One may also find a selection of sites available to assist the amateur genealogist with the location of that elusive ancestor or alternatively take a virtual tour of Aras an Uachtaráin.
Educational needs of the parish youth are provided for by Our Lady's National (boy's and girl's) Schools which were established in 1970. Over the past ten years there has been a gradual downward trend in the number of pupils attending the boy's section; the current annual average pupil attendance ranges between 180 and 200.
The resulting vacant classrooms are utilized to the optimum advantage - two are devoted to the special needs of autistic children for the catchment area of south County Dublin; four classrooms are leased to St. Michael's House. A further classroom is devoted to a computer laboratory which was set up in 1996. In the case of the girl's school, the current attendance would seem to be similar to the boy's.
Pilgrimages to places of religious worship has been an annual feature of the parish since its first pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1974. Interest in those spiritual visits has increased over recent years, especially since the parish jubilee year.
Four pilgrimages will have taken place from the parish by the end of this anniversary year. These include the following: the December annual night vigil to Knock; the Lourdes Easter pilgrimage; the Rome, Assisi and San Giovanni visits for September 12th -19th; the St. Padre Pio Knock pilgrimage in September, and the Fatima pilgrimage in October 2nd - 9th.
The tapestry banner of St. John the Evangelist which hangs on the wall at the rear of the altar was woven and designed in Canada by Maison Bouvier. This firm was also responsible for designing the vestments for the occasion of the Papal visit to Toronto in February 2002. It represents St. John the Evangelist, author of the Fourth Gospel, and beloved disciple at the Last Supper. On closer examination, the observer will notice that it includes a bunch of grapes and wheat, which represents the Eucharist, and Scripture. It may be observed that the tapestry is in three separate parts for better visual impact.
Rev. Fr. John Battelle P.P., Fr. Jim O'Sullivan and Fr. Martin O'Farrell are assisted with the administration of the parish by the participation of reliable coordinated teams of dedicated parishioners. These provide the essential back-up support of meeting the spiritual needs. These are as follows - The Parish Pastoral Group (PPG) evolved from the fruits of the parish mission in 1998. The main role of this group of thirteen volunteers is to coordinate and represent the other parish groups.
The Mission Statement of the PPG might be outlined as follows - the promotion of a greater sense of togetherness and participation as we gather in our parish church; to spread this togetherness in church out into our parish community in a way that is inclusive and embracing; and, to build a community which gives expression to our faith where we feel that we belong and that our unique presence is valued.
A total of forty-seven parishioners form the Ministers of the Eucharist team. These ministers provide an essential link with those ill and elderly parishioners with First Friday and home visitations as well as those who are hospitalised. To assist with the liturgical functions at the church of St. John the Evangelist, a team of thirty-six Ministers of the Word dedicate their free time. They also share in the lay participation of the Sunday Masses as well as those ceremonies for Easter, Christmas and other important parish events like First Communion and Confirmation.
The liturgical ceremonies and religious events in the church are complimented by the organists and dedicated members of the three choirs - the senior, the children's, and the folk group - with their leaders.
The contribution of these is acknowledged by the PPG, which recognises that the smooth running of these events can be attributed to the dedication of the sacristans with the boys and girls who serve the Sunday Masses. Gratitude goes to the sacristan for his constant daily attention to the security of the church and its grounds.
The Parish Pastoral Group
Front Row: L-R: Fr. Jim O'Sullivan, C.C.; Sean Roche; Alice Sarsfield, Chairperson; Fr. John Battelle, P.P., Fr. Martin O'Farrell, C.C.
Back Row: L-R: Patricia Campbell; Aiden Leonard; Patricia Leonard; Donal O'Dalaigh.
The remaining members of the PPG are as follows...
Jim Finlay, Secretary
Children's needs are facilitated with two active structures which help to guide their needs as well as coordinating their participation in the liturgy of the Sunday Mass.
The Rainbows Listening Service was set up by a group of parents in 2000. This highly motivated and active group facilitates and runs courses for children who experience traumatic situations within the home. Details of this International organisation are to be found on the parish website. This confidential service was initially established in the USA by Suzy Yehi Marta in the early 1980s and has spread to parishes throughout the World.
There is also the Children's Church Group which has been active over the past seven years or so. It means that children, from the age of four, actively participate with their parents, in the liturgy of the Mass. The 12 o'clock Mass is set aside for this experience. For further information of this group-have a read through the parish website.
The Repository shop provides an important role in the church. This is administered by a cadre of fourteen devoted parishioners divided into six teams. A selection of cards is available for every event in a person's life - from birth to death - is in stock. The most popular sell is the range of the ''Christmas Greetings Card from Ballinteer''. Besides a collection of religious objects there is the recent introduction of video and book lending facilities.
Prayer amongst the laity in the homes of parishioners takes a number of forms. One of these is the Christian Meditation Group. This has been in progress within the parish for the past number of years. Six parishioners participate in this form of prayer by meeting weekly (except for a summer break) on a Thursday night, for one hour, in a parishioner's home.
This form of meditation is based on the principles of a Benedictine monk - with forefathers from Ballinskelligs, - Dom John Main, OSB, (1926-82), and who established an ecumenical Christian Centre in London (1975). With the assistance of another Benedictine monk, Dom Laurence Freeman, OSB, the movement was established for religious and lay people.
It soon spread throughout the World with the establishment of over a thousand groups in sixty countries. Dom John had the assistance of his sister, Yvonne Fitzgerald (d. July 24,'03 in Booterstown) to establish such groups in most of the Irish counties. There are over thirty such groups in Dublin alone.
Fr. O'Sullivan conducts a lectio divina on Thursday nights in the Oratory. He also runs successful directed prayer sessions annually. The first Monday of each month is set aside for Saint Padre Pio devotions and the celebration of Mass. This is co-ordinated by Fr. John. Battelle, P.P. A life-size statue of the Saint was acquired by the parish for display in the church.
St. Padre Pio
Another such form of prayer in the homes of parishioners is the Parish Cell. This has had a longer history in the parish, and takes the form of ninety-minute meetings on a fortnightly basis. The aim of this group is to offer a support structure, through prayer, sharing scripture and friendship to parishioners wanting to explore and share their faith with family friends and colleagues.
The main trust of the cell movement is evangelization; the word ''cell'' refers to the smallest possible organism which must multiply if it is to grow. This is also the case with groups, which will grow, and multiply through time.
There is also Alpha, which is an interdenominational group; it has been in existence since Lent of 2002; it conducts courses in the parish, and its aim is to get to know Christ through scripture.
The PPG acknowledges the tremendous efforts through the years of those dedicated collectors at the Sunday Masses and supported by the weekly door-to-door collectors. A sincere appreciation goes out to the excellent contributions made by members of so many voluntary groups towards the smooth running of the church and parish - like the many weekly routines of running the Golden Age Club, those who clean the church and ensure constant supply of fresh flowers for the sanctuary.
A sincere appreciation is due to those involved with the recent heating intensive fundraising project. The heating system was installed in 2000 at a cost of IR£96,000, which converts to over €121,800. A sincere appreciation is also due to the goodwill of the parishioners for the €52,465.00 which has been collected through church-door monthly collections. This was run for about five months each year since May 2000. Amongst the major tasks facing Rev. Fr. Battelle P.P. and the parishioners include the replacement of the church roof. This has been estimated to cost just under €1M. And in the near future, the needs of the elderly will be addressed.
We have completed thirty years of the life of the parish. The priests of the parish thank you for your generosity and support during those years we since have a vibrant congregation at our five Sunday, and daily Masses.
We look forward in confidence and faith to spreading the Gospel of Christ through our many prayers and assistants. No words can describe the amount of voluntary help we get from so many parishioners. We hope that we will have the support of all our people as we face the daunting task of providing finance for the re-roofing of our parish church and presbyteries in the near future.
We priests wish all God's blessing on you and your families.
Rev. Fr. John Battelle, P.P., Fr. James O'Sullivan, C.C., Fr. Martin O'Farrell, C.C.
In conclusion, the many excellent contributions of other parish organizations are acknowledged by the PPG. These provide an excellent service for the needs of parishioners like the St. Vincent de Paul, and The Pioneer Total Abstinence Association as well as those who maintain an excellent communication system for the parishioners with the Parish Newsletter.
Finally, a sincere appreciation to all those who have assisted with the production of this commemorative booklet on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of our community, parish, and church of St. John the Evangelist at Ballinteer; a special thanks goes to the two main sponsors - Superquinn and Dundrum Credit Union - for their financial assistance. Lastly, I thank Fr. Battelle for inviting me to compile this booklet.
December 8th. 2003, Feast of the Immaculate Conception.