Sunday August 25th will see the area of Gurteen celebrate the Golden anniversary of the dedication of St. Michael’s Church which took place 50 years ago on August 24th 1969. The construction of the church was completed in 1932/1933. During its construction Tommy Cleary, a plasterer from Athenry tragically fell from a scaffold whilst plastering the gable wall accommodating the three stained glass windows behind where the altar currently stands and despite his battle to live, he passed away the following morning. The tragedy numbed the area at the time. The aim was to have the Church fully constructed and open for the Eucharistic Congress in 1932. However, for some reason, the Church wasn’t consecrated until 1969.
As part of the Golden Anniversary celebrations, Mass will take place in St. Michael’s Church, Gurteen at 10am which will be con-celebrated by Bishop John Kirby and retired SMA Fr. Gerry Sweeney, former curate of Gurteen alongside Fr. Raymond Sweeney. In the past 50 years, Gurteen has seen many resident priests pass through the doors of St Michael’s Church, Gurteen: Fr. Jack Egan, Fr. Joe Clarke, Fr. Martin Haugh, Fr. Vincent Lawless, Fr. Gerry Sweeney, Fr. Joe Long to its current priest Fr. Raymond Sweeney.
There will be refreshments served after Mass and a memorial stone supplied by Rooney’s Monumental Works, Athenry will be unveiled to mark and celebrate the anniversary. Old memorabilia including photographs of the construction of the Church in the early 1930’s and the consecration of the church in 1969 will be on display.
All parishioners and all diaspora scattered around the globe are welcome to celebrate this special dedication of one of our local and beautiful cut stone Church that was built in memory of Fr. Michael Griffin, who was an uncle of Mrs. Clare Dooley and Mrs. Pam Lyng, Gurteen. Fr Griffin was a curate based in Galway who was interrogated and shot dead, supposedly in Lenaboy Castle, Taylor’s Hill, Galway in 1920. His body was found a few days later buried in a bog in Barna. It was the largest funeral ever seen in Galway at that time. The extract below is the inquest into the death of Fr. Michael Griffin taken from the Cork Weekly Examiner dated Saturday December 11th 1920.