- “The Capuchins have been close to the heartbeat of Carlow for 44 years. Carlow town will be the poorer for their going, but much the richer for their having been here” – Bishop Denis Nulty
The Capuchins opened their friary in Carlow in 1978. The Order was looking for a new foundation to provide accommodation and a suitable training centre for new aspirants who would study at Saint Patrick’s College. They were welcomed by Bishop Patrick Lennon. Work in earnest began converting what had been the Bank of Ireland building on Dublin Street into a place of prayer. Bishop Lennon blessed and opened the new oratory dedicated to Saint Anthony in May 1978.
Today, the Feast of Saint Anthony, the father of monasticism, is a very sad day for the people of Carlow. The friary on Dublin Street has for the past forty-four years been an oasis of prayer in the middle of a busy town. The Capuchins who have served here and the present community have all been ‘Ministers of Mercy’. I thank you publicly for that ministry today. Over the years the Capuchins were Spiritual Directors to the seminarians in Saint Patrick’s; for that important role on behalf of the college alumni, I say many thanks. The Secular Franciscan Order (Third Order) has strong roots in many people across Carlow town and beyond and that membership has brought blessings on many. The assistance the community offer local priests and parishes is deeply appreciated. For many, including myself, the quiet moments of Eucharistic Adoration just in off the busy street is deeply treasured.
These are changing times for religious communities and for congregations. While the history of the Capuchin foundation in Carlow and in the diocese is relatively short, for us the people, it seems as if they have always been part of the fabric of the town for a long time. Today’s announcement that their friary will close next summer will be greeted across the town with great sadness. The Capuchins have been close to the heartbeat of Carlow for 44 years. Carlow town will be the poorer for their going, but much the richer for their having been here.
- Bishop Denis Nulty is Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin.
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