Sister Rosarii with her Benemerenti Medal, with Fr Noel Dunphy, Fr Frank McNamara, Bishop Denis Nulty and Fr Micheál Murphy PP in St Joseph's Church Mountmellick.
Two of the most dedicated religious figures in Mountmellick have had their decades of commitment acknowledged in a special presention attended by Bishop Denis Nulty in St Joseph's Church.
Presentation Sister Rosarii and retired Parish Priest Fr Frank McNamara have given almost 80 years of religious service between them to the town.
Sr Rosarii was presented with the Benemerenti Medal for her 48yrs as sacristan in St Joseph’s Church.
A specially commissioned Gemma Guihan painting was presented to Fr MacNamara marking his retirement, by the very first child he baptised in the town in 1989, Marie Cleare (pictured with Fr MacNamara, Bishop Nulty and Mountmellick artist Gemma Guihan).
The presentations were held on Saturday June 29 at the 7.30pm evening mass.
Bishop Nulty praised their lifelong ministries.
“The ministry of both Sr Rosarii and Fr MacNamara to the parish has been remarkable and their marvellous commitment is rightly being honoured,” he said.
Sr Rosarii, a native of Stradbally, made her First Profession as a Presentation Sister in 1949.
She taught in the Presentation Primary School until 1971 when the new schools on Davitt Road were built. She subsequently taught in Scoil Iósaif Naofa and Scoil Phádraig Naofa for some years until her retirement in 1992.
It was in 1971 she took over as sacristan in St Joseph’s Parish Church. She continues to look after the sacristy today and is training in her successor Annette Dempsey in all the minute and specific details of the job.
It was for her work and commitment as Sacristan that the Benemerenti Medal, bestowed only by the Pope on people who have exhibited long and exceptional service to the Church, was awarded to her.
“Her attention to cleanliness and tidiness meant that it was always a pleasure to walk into the sacristy in Mountmellick,” said Bishop Nulty.
As well as taking care of vestments, linens and sacred vessels, he said “her beautiful handwriting in all the parish registers will be admired and appreciated forever making it very easy for generations to come to source details of baptisms, marriages and funerals”.
“Sr Rosarii’s kindly manner and céad míle fáilte for everyone speaks volumes of the respect and understanding she showed people throughout her life and work, both as a múinteoir and a sacristan,” the bishop said.
After 58 years of dedicated, thoughtful and generous ministry as a priest of Kildare and Leighlin Diocese, Bishop Nulty accepted the retirement of Fr Francis MacNamara from active ministry last August.
Ordained a priest in 1960 Fr MacNamara came to Mountmellick in 1989 and for 29 years (the longest of his various parish appointments) has been a considerable part of the fabric of Mountmellick.
Bishop Nulty also noted in his homily that Fr MacNamara’s “service to his brother priests and to the Diocese in the various posts of responsibility he carried alongside his parish ministry for many years was truly generous”.
Bishop Nulty wished both Sr Rosarii and Fr MacNamara many more years of good health and contentment.
“I am very proud to have had the opportunity of honouring their great work in Mountmellick parish,” Bishop Nulty said.
The mass was attended by family and friends of both Sr Rosarii and Fr MacNamara.