Almost seven years after our first pilgrimage to Rathangan, which took place during the Holy Year for Priests (see here) the members and friends of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association returned for a traditional Latin Mass during the Holy Year of Mercy.
The following article was contained in the 1956 Year Book of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin:
The New Church and Schools are a Credit to Ireland
On Sunday, 6th November, 1956, the little town of Rathangan, by the River Spate, with a proud past that can be traced back well over a thousand years, added one more page to an illustrious history of Catholic devotion. For this memorable day witnessed a twin triumphant accomplishment, the laying of the foundation stone of the new Church of the Assumption by his Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Keogh, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, and the blessing and opening of Rathangan's new schools named in honour of Saint Brigid.
Speaking with characteristic sincerity Most Rev. Dr. Keogh paid tribute to the priests, nuns, and faithful to whose devotion and self-sacrifice the new Church and Schools present so lasting a monument. "The people have dona a grand work in building their Church, the laying of the foundation stone of which symbolises that Christ and Christ's teaching should be the foundation stone of our lives."
And so, almost two hundred and fifty years from the year in which the first humble Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin was built in Rathangan, and one hundred and forty years from the founding of its successor, St. Patrick's Church, this second Church dedicated to the Assumption of Our Blessed Lady into Heaven is rearing its graceful lines to the sky.
The site upon which the new Church and Schools were destined to stand were donated by the local Order of Mercy nuns. Most Rev. Dr. Keogh visited these sites on Monday, 14th February, 1955. One week later fundamental operations were under way. Building started on May 16th. on the 6th November of 1955, the Feast of all Saints of Eire, "under the invocation also of St. Patrick," the cornerstone was solemnly blessed and laid. Already progress is well in evidence, and it seems a foregone conclusion that this beautifully planned Church will be completed well within the scheduled period of 15 to 18 months.
Designed in the Irish traditional style the Church will cost £60,000 and accommodate a congregation of four figures. One hundred and ninety feet long, sixty feet wide, and fifty two feet high, it will be graced with a belfry rising to an imposing height of one hundred and twelve feet. Its front elevation shows a dignified proportioned piece of architecture with gentle, graceful lines, the whole effect in perfect taste and symmetry.