Special Mass marks re-opening of Honan Chapel

The Honan Chapel at University College Cork has been reopened after a €1.2m refurbishment. The occasion was marked by a special Mass in the 106-year old chapel.

Fr. Gerard Dunne, secretary of the Honan Trust, Bishop Fintan Gavin with Michael and Joan O’Flynn at the Honan Chapel, UCC. Pic: Brian Lougheed

Addressing the congregation at the Mass, Principal Celebrant, Bishop Fintan Gavin said it was appropriate that the rededication of the chapel would happen in the context of Mass.

“The word Eucharist comes from the Greek word Eucharistia which means thanksgiving – to give thanks – and that is what tonight is fundamentally about asking God’s blessing on the newly restored chapel and giving thanks to the many people who through their generosity and hard work have made this possible.”

The bishop welcomed the chairperson of the Governing Body of UCC, Dr Catherine Day, the President of UCC, Professor John O’Halloran, and the members of the Honan Trust, staff and students of the UCC community.

The Honan Chapel, Bishop Fintan said, is a sacred space where all are welcome.

“Some come to participate in Mass and the other sacraments; some gather here in the mornings for ecumenical morning prayer led by the chaplaincy team, so many former students celebrate their marriages here.”

Others may just wander in at a quiet time to sit and reflect, he said.

“It is a space where those who are searching are especially welcome.”

“The Honan Chapel is a prayer space where thousands have prayed personally and liturgically for over 100 years. Its simplicity and Eucharistic focus owe so much to those who designed it, inspired by the art forms and liturgical norms of the time.”

Bishop Fintan welcomed especially all who made this restoration possible by their extraordinary generosity. “Thanks to Michael O’Flynn, chair of the development committee for this project, for his generosity, his vision and determination that this project be ‘executed with attention to every last detail’.”

“We’re grateful to the design team and crafts people who carried out the work. Collectively, you have ensured that this chapel, which dates back to 1916, is secure into the future.”

“In acknowledging the completion of the renovation, it is appropriate that we remember the Honan family whose inspiration and financial legacy enabled the chapel to be built in the first place.”

“We pray for the Honan family and all who worked on the original building. Leaba i measc na naomh go raibh acu.”

The occasion was also marked with a dinner in the Aula Maxima hosted by The Honan Trust.