The opening of the new Blessed Sacrament Chapel located underneath St. Mary’s Cathedral was marked with a Mass on Wedneday, July 3.
Significant renovations have been done and the impressive new oratory can now be accessed through a corridor which was previously blocked off by walls and old coal boilers. Fr. Mark Condon, who celebrated the Mass, said that the area that once contained a sacristy and which has been unused for many years has been transformed. “It’s going to be an adoration chapel,” he said. “There will hopefully be morning Masses and prayers as well. It holds up to sixty people, so it’s a place that will be open for people to come for adoration or for personal prayer.”
A lift has been installed to allow access from the main church, and people can also enter through Black Mill Street. The new heater, combined with the smaller space, also means that the oratory is much warmer than the main cathedral, a fact that was appreciated by those who attended the afternoon Mass. “I think it was lovely, with the heating and all,” Rita Dawson said. Pauline Kenny agreed, and said she was struck by the beauty of the chapel. “It’s absolutely beautiful,” she said, “really gorgeous. I thought the Stations of the Cross in particular were beautiful and the church itself is lovely.”
Afterwards Fr. Condon, who will soon leave St. Mary’s for his new parish in Thomastown, treated massgoers to a display of some of the cathedral’s most prized contents, particularly those related to Eucharistic adoration. These included a cope which was sewn by a local Presentation nun around 1960, as well as a monstrance - the vessel in which the Eucharist is displayed - that was donated to the cathedral in 1901 by a member of the House of Habsburg who had married a woman from Johnstown. “I think they were amazing,” Pauline added.