Excitement builds as Killina Presentation Bicentenary Celebrations draw near

Papal Nuncio Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo will be in attendance

Pupils, 1912

Pupils, 1912

As the weekend of celebration for this very special anniversary draws near, excitement is building up in the Rahan area.

The weekend of Friday, September 29 to Sunday, October 1 will see a number of events taking place to mark the arrival of the first Presentation Sisters in the parish, at the invitation of Maria O’Brien.

SEE ALSO - VIDEO: Offaly secondary school perform at Ploughing 2017

It is widely recognised that the Presentation Sisters have been a major influence in the life of the parish community, mainly through education. However, since 1817, the Presentation Sisters have also contributed to many other facets of parish life and the bicentenary provides an occasion to acknowledge this and to express our gratitude.

Schedule of events
The official opening of the weekend’s proceedings by Sr. Bernadette Flanagan at 7:30 on Friday night, will be followed by the launch of a book celebrating the two hundred years of Presentation Sisters in Killina and a concert featuring Rahan branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and students from Killina Presentation Secondary School.

On Saturday, September 30 a number of attractive events will get underway at 2pm. These include a re-enactment of the arrival of the first Sisters, which promises to be very colourful and involves the local drama group, a barge - courtesy of John Dolan in association with the Offaly branch of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland- and many extras dressed in period costume!

Later in the afternoon, one can take a guided walking tour around the Killina area, visit an exhibition of material related to the convent and school and be transported back in time in a ‘Classroom of Old’. Later still, on Saturday night, the teachers and students of the secondary school will perform an original dramatic production about which they are giving very little away! We are reliably informed that it will be very entertaining!

Papal Nuncio to attend
On Sunday, October 1 at 3pm, a special Mass will be celebrated in the parish church. The organising committee is very happy that Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, the recently-arrived Apostolic Nuncio, has confirmed that he has accepted an invitation to preside. Bishop Michael Smith will be the chief celebrant, with Bishop Leo O’Reilly, Fr. Martin Carley PP and a large number of priests concelebrating.

Directly after the Mass, Sr. Oliver Wrafter, who has spent all her religious life serving the people of Rahan and beyond, will plant a tree to mark the bicentenary. In doing so, she will represent the many Presentation Sisters who dedicated their lives in the spirit of Nano Nagle – to serve God by bringing education to those who were poor or disadvantaged. The Nagle motto of “Deeds, not words” was certainly true of the Killina Presentation Community over two centuries. The weekend will be rounded off with a buffet.

There will be plenty of opportunity for past pupils of the primary and secondary school to arrange to meet and catch up over a cup of tea! Don’t let this opportunity pass – contact former classmates and organise to get together and celebrate!

Please note that there may be some limited disruption to traffic owing to the nature of the events taking place. Information relating to this will be made public over the coming weekend, once the Ploughing Championships have ended.

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