Derry's St Eugene's Cathedral turns 150: Tribute to factory girls, Dana to sing at special Mass
The anniversary will also focus on the important part the cathedral has played in the spiritual life of so many people in this city and beyond, with a special Masses this weekend and next week led by Bishop Donal McKeown with Derry’s Dana singing at one service.
St Eugene’s Cathedral in Derry was opened and dedicated on May 4th 1873. The foundation stone of the Cathedral was laid in 1851.
It took 22 years to build and the first Mass was celebrated on the morning of May 4th 1873.
A Derry Diocese spokesperson said: “Over the next 150 years many generations of people have celebrated their faith in the Cathedral. It has been both a parish Church and the mother Church of the diocese of Derry. It has been where so many significant moments in people’s lives have been celebrated. It is also where many people come every day to prayer.
“To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Cathedral there will be a Mass on Sunday April 30 at 3:00pm celebrated by Bishop McKeown. At this Mass Bishop McKeown will be wearing a new vestment that has been made for the occasion. The chasuble was made by Marie Horton, a former shirt factory worker. The chasuble is to remember and celebrate the women of Derry who worked for so many years in the shirt factory industry. The chasuble has embroidered on it the name of every shirt factory in Derry as well as an image of the Rosemount Factory, in the Cathedral parish. There are also others images from shirt making. The cross on the chasuble is made from shirt material.
“At the end of this Mass every parish in the diocese of Derry will be presented with two oak trees.”
Also to celebrate the 150th anniversary a new statue has been commissioned for the Cathedral. This is a statue of Blessed Carlo Acutis. Carlo was born on May 3 1991 and died on October 12 2006. He was an amateur website designer. He has deep faith, especially in the Eucharist and the Rosary. Carlo was beatified on October 10 2020.
The disocesan spokesperson said: “Carlo is a powerful example of faith for young people. Having his statue in the Cathedral encourages young people to come to the Cathedral to pray and it makes the Cathedral a place to pray for young people. The statue was carved in Italy in the factory of Ferdinard Stuflesser. Carlo’s mother Antonia has gifted the Cathedral will a lock of his hair which will be beside the statue in a reliquary. Bishop McKeown will bless the statue of Carlo at 10.00am Mass on his birthday, May 3.
“On the anniversary day itself, May 4, Bishop McKeown will celebrate the 7.30pm Mass. Dana will sing her new song dedicated to St Patrick at that Mass.
“Everyone is welcome to come to all the Masses to celebrate this wonderful anniversary. People are also invited to visit the Cathedral for quiet prayer too.”