Stand together to make parish a truly welcoming place – New Rector of Castleknock and Mulhuddart with Clonsilla
The Parish of Castleknock and Mulhuddart with Clonsilla welcomed their new Rector with open arms on Friday evening (May 20). The Revd Colin McConaghie was instituted at a service in St Brigid’s Church, Castleknock, by Archbishop Michael Jackson. The Archbishop described the parish as energetic and welcoming with a great sense of community, openness and belonging and its people had awaited the arrival of their new Rector with excitement.
Colin was joined in the church by his wife Janice, his three daughters Madison, Sienna and Ava, his parents and extended family and friends, including many from his former parish in Carrickmacross. Among the many local parishioners and people from the wider community in attendance, was An Tainaiste Leo Varadkar, much to the delight of Colin’s older daughters who are preparing for their politics A Levels.
The preacher was the Ven Ricky Rountree, former Archdeacon of Glendalough and parishioner of Carrickmacross. He had spent his early childhood in Castleknock and shared some of his earliest memories of the church and school. Commending the new Rector he said they were very sad to see him leave Carrickmacross.
The arrival of a new Rector signalled the start of a new phase for both the parish and the Rector, he said. “The beginning of any new ministry is a step in faith both for those who respond to the call and those who invite and welcome that ministry. Colin and Janice take that step in faith today as they move to this new phase in Colin’s priestly and pastoral ministry praying that this is truly God’s call and that he will have the gifts needed to build upon the ministry of his predecessors here. You, the people of Castleknock and Mulhuddart with Consilla, have taken a similar step in faith in trusting that God has guided you in calling the right person to serve in this community to ensure that it is the whole Christian community it is called to be. So at a time like this both the new Rector and the parish community begin afresh. For both of you it’s a new beginning. It needs a fresh commitment and a fresh burst of energy and initiative,” Archdeacon Rountree stated.
He described Colin’s background in event management and his gifts in computing and digital media, as well as the drafting of liturgy, all of which were particularly useful during the Covid–19 pandemic meaning the parish community never lost touch. Through all of this, he said, Janice played a very big part.
He said Colin was called to be pastor to parishioners and to reach out to those in a diverse and growing part of Dublin. He added that Colin had an interest in children’s and youth ministry and was a committed ecumenist.
But, he said that Colin could not do everything himself and added that he believed that every parish community had the ministry gifts within it that were needed to fulfil its calling. He urged parishioners to be willing to get involved, recognise the Rector’s gifts and see that the whole parish shared in the work of ministry. He also encouraged Colin to draw out the gifts within the parish.
“Together as priests and people you are called to identify the ministry gifts needed to fulfil your calling to be a vibrant parish. Seek to find those gifts among you. Equip them and put them to work. That is the task Colin is called to in this place. Work with him and discover new ways of being the body of Christ in which every part is valued and plays its part,” he concluded.
Speaking after the service, Archbishop Jackson said that the area of Dublin in which the parish was situated was one of the most engaging parts of the city and it was through interacting with people that the community could move forward and the church could move outward. He thanked the members of the parish who helped organise the evening and Dr Gamble who supported the parish during the vacancy.
Speaking on behalf of the local ecumenical clergy, Fr Damian McNeice, Parish Priest of Castleknock and Laurel Lodge, welcomed Colin and Janice to the parish. He said that his parish had been going through a process of discernment and was currently working on building hope. He read the prayer they were using in this process.
Mark Ellis welcomed Colin and Janice on behalf of the parish. He said they were delighted that he had agreed to be their rector and looked forward to supporting him. He said he had watched Colin’s farewell service from Carrickmacross and it was clear that he had made a significant impact on the parish. “We knew from our first meeting that you would be an excellent fit for our parishes… We were so impressed by your energy, enthusiasm and desire to share your love of God,” he commented.
The final word of the evening went to the new Rector who thanked everyone for their warm welcome. He thanked his wife, daughters and parents for their support. Highlighting his support of Ulster Rugby and what Diocesan Reader and parishioner Stella Obe said about inclusion at General Synod, he urged parishioners to stand with him “to support, encourage and love one another and in doing so we make this church a truly welcoming place for all. No one is excluded from coming to any church that I am in charge of,” he said.