From notes written by Father John Jones, P.P for the booklet produced at the opening of the new church in 2002.
The present parish of Huntstown was founded in 1981. Its administrative origins are a little convoluted. The parish was constituted from Blakestown Parish which in turn was constituted from Corduff in 1979. Corduff emerged from Blanchardstown Parish in 1976.
Huntstown is one of a dozen parishes in the Dublin archdiocese spawned by the ancient parish of Castleknock. Castleknock or Crucha is celebrated in the legendary annals of Ireland, and is connected with Conn of the Hundred battles. In the early Christian era, it was one of the residences used by the Kings of Ireland.
At the time of the Anglo-Norman settlement Hugh de Lacy, who came in the train of Henry ** , received the palatinate of Meath which probably included Castleknock. When Hugh de Lacy left Ireland in 1173, he appointed Hugh Tyrrel in his place, and, on behalf of the King, granted him the lands of Castleknock and the modern parishes of Clonsilla, Mulhuddart, Blakestown and Huntstown.
Huntstown would have formed part of Mulhuddart from the 13th century. The first mention of Huntstown in the annals comes in reference to a medieval guild. The guild, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, was erected by royal charter in Mulhuddart in the middle of the 15th century. The guild lasted until 1573 and its income was supported by the acquisition of a number of plots of land including the purchase of 25 acres in Huntstown. By the early part of the 16th century, part of Huntstown came into the possession of St Mary”s Abbey, a wealthy Cistercian foundation.
In 1980 Father Bernard Brady was appointed as a curate in Blakestown parish and given special responsibility for the then developing area of Huntstown. The following year saw the opening of the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a temporary structure, and the creation of a new parish of Huntstown. Appropriately, Father Brady became the first Parish Priest.(He was installed as Parish Priest on 8th November 1981). He was succeeded as pastor by Father Louis O”Sullivan in 1986. Father Paul Freeney served from 1991 to 1996 when he was succeeded by Father John Jones.
In addition, the Parish has, since 1995, had the good fortune to enjoy the services of a Parish Chaplain. The first priest to serve in that capacity was Father Brian O”Toole. Father Liam Walsh was appointed in 1996. In 1998 Father Joseph Connolly arrived and served until 2002.
Since 2000, the developing area of Castaheany has been served by Father Eugence McCarthy, a member of the Passionist Congregation. The parish of Huntstown has also been fortunate to be served by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary who, since 1982, have made important contributions in the fields of education and pastoral work in the parish.
Our Church, (Dedicated and opened by Cardinal Desmond Connell on Sunday, 10th November 2002).
Written at the time by then Parish Priest of Huntstown, V Revd Father John Jones, now parish priest of St Brigid”s, Blanchardstown).
For twenty years the people of Huntstown had kept alive the vision of one day worshipping in a permanent church building. That dream became a reality in November of this year when the new church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was opened and blessed by Cardinal Desmond Connell. A strong vibrant community of believers had been established over those twenty years and this enabled the journey to be completed. There were issues to be resolved four or five years ago — community issues: Was there a need for a new church building? Why build a church at all? What kind of church was required by the community? A number of well attended and lively meetings facilitated by Jack Dunphy of Crosscare helped to clarify the issues and discuss the ideas. Finally a decision was taken to proceed with the venture.
What could be called phase two last six months or more. This was time spent on working out a design brief, a process helped in no small measure by Fr Tom Whelan(Kimmage). It was a time of learning, sharing and completing a liturgical task. The dedicated and committed group who spearheaded this were convinced that, as a community of faith, we should worship in a space that reflects the people of Huntstown in their journey with God. “The worship environment of our new church building should itself articulate something of our beliefs as a faith community as well as help us express and celebrate the deepest aspirations of our faith. We believe that the very design will either enhance our faith or work against it.”(Page 7 of Design Brief).
Practical steps followed. Diocesan authorities were consulted. The Archbishop gave his permission. Financial support was obtained from the SHARE fund(*1). Builder(Ellen Construction Ltd) and Architect(Fitzgerald, Kavanagh and Partners) were appointed. An artist(Michael Burke) was commissioned. Flesh was put on the bones of the design brief. This was a time of watching the experts work and in the relatively short space of nine months the building took shape. I think the finished result lives up to our aspirations. It is large enough to meet our needs – 380 or so seated. It is intimate enough to convey a sense of inclusivity and welcome(*2). There is a sense of space in the central worship area, with the tabernacle placed to one side. The placing of the Irish limestone Baptism font with flowing water near the entrance is a constant and strong reminder of the new life we enter through the sacrament. A special dramatic and inspiring feature of the building is the figure of the Risen Christ rising above the sanctuary space.
From the beginning, people were adamant that the building should be a church and look like a church. Equally the need for ancillary features was recognised. So in the two wings of the building spreading out from the church space are housed small meeting rooms, sacristies, a parish office, children”s liturgy room, and a larger parish meeting room with kitchen facilities. The sitting of the building is alongside mature trees and adjacent to our still expanding primary school.
The journey has been worthwhile. This stage of it is neither a beginning nor an ending. As one of our communication newsletters says it is more like a “coming of age” for the parish. Planning for the future is underway. An enthusiastic liturgy group is working with the help of Jane Ferguson. We hope and pray that the full wealth of our Christian community will be harnessed and we will continue to build up God”s reign of justice, peace and love. In the 16th century, Huntstown was called a hamlet – it is far from that today. The parish is now home to over 5000 family units. Today, the temporary church structure of 1981 is replaced by a very fine permanent building, a credit to all involved.
(*1) The cost of the new building was fixed at 1.688 million euros.
(*2) The fine timber ceiling combined with good church furnishings suggests a simple beauty in which the work and praise of God may be accomplished.
Canonisation Of Saint Charles Of Mount Argus The parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at Huntstown and Littlepace celebrated this event on 10th June 2007.
Saint Charles had been canonised in Rome on the previous Sunday, 3rd June 2007, by Pope Benedict.
The parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus here in Huntstown and Littlepace is, was, in the care of the Passionists, the Congregation to which St Charles belonged. The Parish is celebrating its Silver Jubilee this year. So it was thought fitting to celebrate the occasion here also.
The principal celebrant at the Mass was V Revd Martin Coffey, C.P., the Provincial of the Passionists. Among others who joined us were some of our African Passionists who had come to Europe for the occasion.
A liturgical dance was performed at the Mass of Celebration by Katie, Claudia, Rebecca and Kimberley, four young parishioners. They had prepared with the help of Sister Clare and Collette Fay of our Parish Liturgy Group.
Refreshments were available afterwards in the Atrium of Scoil an Chroi Ro Naofa.