Posted by murrisk on April 13, 2001 at 02:10:17:
Access to St. Mary's church was originally restricted to patients, doctors and attendants (male and female nurses) who were on duty. The doctors always used the front rows and mass was served by some male nurses. Over time non staff were gradually allowed in to attend mass. Several older or self concious people from the avenue and Westport Road used to congregate in the sacristy and received holy communion at the door. It must have been very inconvienent for the priest and server with all these people underfoot. Maybe the same thing is happening today. The main door is shown on Muirsín Durcans photo but opposite it is a similar door through which the patients and nurses entered. The church is higher than the hospital and was accessed by a steps. There were two confessionals at the back and quite ornate stations of the cross. Do they still exist? Mass was and probably still is at 7:45 AM and 9:45 AM on Sundays. I think the first mass was timed to allowed staff to be at work at 9:00 AM. When Fr. Tom Shannon first came to Castlebar as a curate in the 1950's he had the responsibility of saying first mass in St. Marys. He had a brand new bicycle with three gears which we young fellows thought was great. From time to time he may have slept in as he would come cicycling furiously up the drive, dress quickly and hurry out onto the altar while patting ruffled hair into place. He always said a fast mass. In later years, at Easter cermonies, Brendan Hoban then a seminarian played the small organ that was in front of the altar on the right hand side of the church. I suppose it too has gone.
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