Offaly Independent

Published: Thursday, 23rd January, 2014 3:20pm

The return of St Manchan's Shrine is in sight

Profile by Laura Ryder

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St Manchan's Shrine
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St Manchan’s Shrine will be noticeably absent from Boher today (Friday), the Feast of St Manchan who is the patron saint of Leamonaghan Parish.

However, parish priest Fr James McKiernan has revealed special security casing for the shrine that was stolen and recovered in June 2012 is due to be installed in Boher church in mid-February, with expectations that the shrine itself will be returned to the church by the end of the month.

The precious shrine of St Manchan was stolen from St Manchan’s Church in Boher on June 1, 2012. It was recovered the next day, but has been kept in a separate secure location until such time as necessary security measures are in place in the church.

CCTV is already installed in the church, but getting casing to house the shrine itself proved more difficult. A highly specialised niche market, a UK company was contracted to provide the necessary casing. The project proved to be a little more complex than initially envisaged, and Fr James said hopes the shrine would be in place for this time last year were dashed.

“We really feel we have everything ironed out,” he said this week, however, adding that the case’s installation has been pencilled in for three days in the middle of next month.

“They’re nearly exhausted looking forward now,” Fr James said of his parishioners who are anticipating the shrine’s return. “We never envisaged it taking so long to get it back in situ.”

While the final figure needed for the shrine’s new security measures is not yet known, Fr James said it’s in the region of €50,000. Fundraising for the project is continuing, and has been helped by a generous donation by Offaly Historical Society and other individual donations according to Fr James. “We’re not at the target, but we reckon maybe in another six to twelve months we’ll have sufficient funds in place,” he said.

The Feast of St Manchan will be celebrated with Masses in St Mary’s Church in Pullough at 11am today in St Manchan’s Church in Boher at 7pm. St Manchan’s bones will be available for veneration during both Masses.

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