Fethard Players Mass for deceased members in the Abymill Theatre are committee members: Mia Treacy, Marian Gilpin, Rita Kenny, Ger McCarthy, Ann Walsh, Liam O'Connor, Mary O'Connell, Niamh Hayes.
Friday, November 1, All Saints Day – on the eve of All Souls – a gathering of sixty people assembled in the Abymill Theatre to join in the celebration of Mass for all deceased members of the Fethard Players, Musical Society, Choir Group, or indeed anyone whom had been on stage or involved in any way with these societies throughout the years.
It was a poignant yet memorable occasion. A sweet sadness, as chairperson of the Fethard Players, Rita Kenny, welcomed all. Fr. Iggy O’Donovan OSA of the nearby Augustinian Abbey was the celebrant, and spoke briefly on the long tradition in our walled town of Fethard, of theatre and the love and legacy these performers gave us since the Tirry Players, previously named the Sodality Players, started out in 1913.
Mia Tracy of the Fethard Players read a beautiful piece by Fr. Brendan Hoban, entitled ‘Remember Me’, and the prayers of the faithful were individually expressed by Michael McCarthy, Gerry Fogarty and Niamh Hayes, remembering particularly Anne Connolly and Percy O’Flynn the two most recent deaths in the Fethard Players. Both, all their lives, had tirelessly and unselfishly devoted their immense talent to plays and musicals, and were truly and inspiration to all.
Marian Gilpin, who organised the evening, read a reflection after Communion taken from John O’Donohue’s ‘Benedictus: A Book of Blessings’, appropriately named ‘On the Death of the Beloved’. The Mass concluded with Fr. Iggy reciting that very beautiful Cardinal Newman prayer, “O Lord, support us all the day long, till the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging and a holy rest, and peace at last.”
The kettle was then on the boil and all gathered in the foyer, bedecked with chrysanthemums from Pat Culligan’s garden, and an autumnal arrangement from Mandy’s Flowers, to enjoy a cuppa and chat, along with wonderful homemade cakes and buns for which we thank, Heather Bailey, Marian Gilpin, Fionnuala O’Sullivan, Rita Kenny and Jodie Gilpin. And of course, Vincent Murphy of McCarthys for supplying the crockery.
A special word of thanks to Ann Walsh, Ger McCarthy, Niamh Hayes and Margaret Lawlor for their very efficient ‘dishwashing duties’, Michael Kenrick, sacristan Augustinian Abbey, Austin O’Flynn and Christy Mullins for having the theatre warm and cosy.
Simple but serene, it was an occasion of quiet reflection, and yet warm encounters between our friends who were there to remember their loved ones. Thank you sincerely to all – you were the night, and made the occasion.