Category Archives: Weddings

Celebrating Union in Union

On Friday June 27th, I had the happy duty of celebrating the Wedding Mass of Sinéad Gray and Bob Coggins.  I’ve known Sinéad since she was a young child during my five years in Collooney Parish and have, through the years, kept in contact with her parents Brendan and Sheila, herself, brother and sister.  Always a welcoming home, I was happy to be part of this celebration – the first of their family weddings.  They live in a lovely part of Collooney parish, immersed in what is known as Union Wood. Appropriately, Sinéad’s father is in the “wood” industry and a gifted tradesman.

The Wedding Mass was in Collooney Church, a favourite of mine and the reception afterwards at the back of Sinéad’s home.  Well the “back” is a bit of an understatement!!  The entire area around their home was turned into a venue – including the construction of a “honeymoon” suite by her father.  It was an amazing and beautifully local setting. Full credit to all involved.  And there were many involved!

I came home after a lovely meal and left, what I have no doubt, was a wonderful and musical celebration of a memorable day.  Took a few photos along the way so sharing  ….

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West Point

Recently had the pleasure of celebrating a Wedding Mass in West Point, NY.  This is the Cadet School for the US Army and the groom, James Malinda, graduated from there in recent weeks.  His bride, Dominique Robbins, is a cousin of my cousins – if that makes sense! In recent years, I celebrated the marriages of two of her first cousins in Rockvile Centre.  I met Dominque and her parents at both weddings and they kindly asked me to officiate at Dominuque’s Wedding.  I was happy to do so.

It was good to catch up with my cousins again, to meet some old friends and, hopefully, make a few new ones.  The setting at West Point was very special and the Church, beautiful.  I’m told it’s the only Catholic Parish attached to a Military Base anywhere in the world. The Catholic Community at West Point has its own parish and clergy. The town of West Point is a separate parish and is actually in another diocese.

There was a great dignity to the celebration and it was a refreshing experience.  One I am very glad to have been part of.

God bless this newly married couples and, for that matter, all married people.

And a short moment from their First Dance.  The song “Jersey Girl” sung by Bruce Springsteen is obviously chosen since Dominique’s childhood years were spent in Jersey.

A lovely occasion

"The icing on the cake"
“The icing on the cake”

Had the chance this week to attend the wedding of two parishioners.  It was a lovely gathering under sunny Spanish skies!  I was pleased to be part of this special days in the lives of Andrew and Rhona.  Met some very nice people along the way and had a chance to spend some time with some of “our own” as well since there was a good number of neighbours and friends from the parish there.  I didn’t stay too long but spent enough time to form some good memories of decent people, a special gathering and a Sacrament celebrated.

Congratulations Andy and Rhona.  (I know Andrew keep an eye on this blog so he’ll know he’s wished well!)

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Wedding

Will get back to a bit more writing in the coming days ….  Thanks for checking in.

I had a wedding on Friday last in Lisacul Church.  It was the wedding of two friends – Brian Tansey and Claire Corrigan and I was glad to be involved.  I’ve known both of them for many years and look forward to keeping in touch with them long into the future.

With Brian and Claire Tansey after their wedding

“Just married” …..

I celebrated today (August 12th) with my cousin Lauren Gaffney and Jeremy Sternberg as they married in St Agnes’ Cathedral, Rockville Centre.  It was a lovely gathering of family and friends.  I was happy to be part of it and wish them every happiness and blessing as they start out on the journey of marriage.  May God bless them and keep them ever close and loyal to each other.

Later we went to the Bridgeview Yacht Club for Jeremy and Lauren’s reception.  It was a lively affair with such a huge variety of food on offer.  I had to go for a walk to stop myself eating!!  Okay, I didn’t rush into the walk but I DID go!  I took some photos outside the reception that give a flavour of the day and place.  A few indoors as well, from First Dance to evening’s end.  I met some McDonnell cousins there too and it was good to catch up with them.

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Maura and John

Sunday, August 16th, saw us all in Coolaney, Co. Sligo for the marriage of John Duffy and Maura Conheady. 

John is a parishioner here in Ballaghaderreen and the younger brother of one of our diocesan priests.  Maura has been one of my best friends since we met in sixth class at primary school in Mullaghroe in 1975-76.  She moved, with her family, from Tulla in Co. Clare and her father taught in the Vocational Schools in Gurteen and Ballymote. 

We lost contact for a while when I went to St Nathy’s College and Maura to the Convent Boarding School in Swinford.  Neither did we see each other when I was in Maynooth and she in Teacher Training College in Dublin.  Our paths did cross though, shortly after my ordination when I said Mass in Ballymote one day – filling in for a local priest – and Maura came to see me after Mass.  She was with her mother Teresa (R.I.P.).  I suppose that was over twenty years ago now and, since then she has been one of my most constant friends.

I had a part to play in John and Maura meeting and I am so glad that their meeting led to yesterday’s gathering in Coolaney.  They were both so happy.  There was a guest book passed around and I wrote something along the lines that if I have the chance to look back over my life, this day and having a part in making it happen, will certainly be one of the good things I will look back on and take some joy in.

Fr Eugene was the Chief-Celebrant at the Wedding Mass and Fr Pat Holleran, the parish priest in Coolaney and I concelebrated.  It was a worthy celebration!  Pat Holleran even supplied “roses” of the chocolate kind after Mass.  Nobody complained!!

Ann, Maura's sister and Terri (her niece) arriving at church
Ann, Maura's sister and Terri (her niece) arriving at church
Bride and Flowergirl
Bride and Flowergirl
Just before Mass (Maura used to teach in the school in the background)
Just before Mass (Maura used to teach in the school in the background)
The photo is out of focus but they're FOCUSED!
The photo is out of focus but they're FOCUSED!
Candles representing Teresa, Maura's mother and Henry, John's father, R.I.P.
Candles representing Teresa, Maura's mother and Henry, John's father, R.I.P.
Eileen, John's mother
Eileen, John's mother
Paddy, Maura's father
Paddy, Maura's father
Vows and Rings exchanged
Vows and Rings exchanged
The family that prays together ............
The family that prays together ............
Marriage candles - new light - new life
Marriage candles - new light - new life
Le cheile!
Le cheile!
Leaving the church - John and Maura Duffy!
Leaving the church - John and Maura Duffy!
Parting shot!  Photo taken just before I left the reception ...
Parting shot! Photo taken just before I left the reception ...

Aoife and Brendan

On August 1st I celebrated with Brendan Carroll and Aoife Spelman their marriage in the Cathedral, Ballaghaderreen.  It was a later than usual wedding – taking place at 4pm and was followed by a reception near Brendan’s home in Urlaur (Parish of Kilmovee).  Interestingly, when filling in Aoife’s marriage details (today) I realised that she was baptized and married in the Cathedral on the same day of the year – August 1st.  I won’t say how many years have passed between the two gatherings!

Brendan and Aoife just after the wedding Mass
Brendan and Aoife just after the wedding Mass
Reguster signing (thanks to Noelle for taking this picture)
Register signing (thanks to Noelle for taking this picture)
The Bridal Party
The Bridal Party

Ben and Sarah’s Wedding

The Wedding Mass has just ended.  Heading to the reception in a while. Thought I’d post a few (the only few I have) photos.  Ceremony went well.  Different to home in some ways but the same in the central ways so was comfortable enough. 

Sarah waits in car before the ceremony.  Ahead of time!  That's different to home!
Sarah waits in car before the ceremony. Ahead of time! That's different to home!
Bestman James and Groom Ben wait in sacristy before Mass
Bestman James and Groom Ben wait in sacristy before Mass
Altar Servers ready for the moment
Altar Servers ready for the moment
Soon to be blessed and always to be worn
Soon to be blessed and always to be worn
The procession begins
The procession begins
Cathedral View
Cathedral View
Husband and Wife - Ben and Sarah Barbarotto
Husband and Wife - Ben and Sarah Barbarotto
Greeting Guests
Greeting Guests
The Robbins Family (Sarah's aunt, uncle and cousin)
The Robbins Family (Sarah's aunt, uncle and cousin)
With Ben and Sarah after Mass
With Ben and Sarah after Mass

Three Grandmothers and one Grandfather were there.  Sarah’s Grandmother was married for sixty-five years – her husband died about two years ago.  Ben’s paternal grandparents will be married sixty years next month so all points towards a long and happy marriage.

Later in the day I went to Ben and Sarah’s Wedding Reception.  A very lively affair – music and dancing accompanied the food throughout.  People wanted to dance and they did!  I met a good number of the guests and it was good to have some time with them.  Among them, I met more of my cousins and was at table with Barbara McDonnell, her daughter Teresa Ganly and her daughter Jennifer.  Also at table was John and Diane Gaffney, Diane’s sisters, mother and brother-in-law.  Certainly I felt I was treated as family.  Borrowing from the movie title of some years ago, John referred to me as “my cousin Vinny”!!

With Barbara McDonnell
With Barbara McDonnell
Theresa, Barbara and Jennifer
Theresa, Barbara and Jennifer
John and Diane
John and Diane
Ben and Sarah - enjoying the moment
Ben and Sarah - enjoying the moment
Sarah's Grandmother
Sarah's Grandmother
John and Lauren
John and Lauren
"Dance with my father"
"Dance with my father"
Let's dance
Let's dance

Wedding Rehearsal

Tonight we had the rehearsal for Ben and Sarah’s wedding on Saturday next.  The rehearsal was taken by Brendan Donegal who works here in the parish.  I was pretty much an onlooker so had the chance to take a few photos.

Gathering for rehearsal
Gathering for rehearsal
Sarah putting her niece and flower girl on the right path!
Sarah putting her niece and flower girl on the right path!
Standing with the groom
Standing with the groom
Standing with the bride
Standing with the bride
Ben and Sarah listen carefully
Ben and Sarah listen carefully
Taking it all in
Taking it all in
Sarah's parents look on
Sarah's parents look on
Ben's parents
Ben's parents
Rehearsal nears conclusion
Rehearsal nears conclusion
Lauren, Sarah's sister and bridesmaid
Lauren, Sarah's sister and bridesmaid
Mother and daughter - Diane and Sarah
Mother and daughter - Diane and Sarah