Gratitude and sadness were the two predominant emotions at the final mass at the Myross Wood Retreat Centre in Leap at the weekend.
Fr Kevin Blade – who stepped down as parish priest of Kilmacabea Parish and celebrated his final mass in Glandore on Friday, August 14th, one day before the final mass celebrated by Fr Michael Curran, Fr Dan O’Brien and Fr John Fitzgerald at Myross – told The Southern Star, ‘A lot of locals are going to miss it.’
He said, ‘The local community has a long association with Myross, dating back to its foundations in the 1950’s, and each year hundreds of people from all over West Cork – from Skibbereen to Clonakilty to Bantry – would come for the novena.’
Fr Blade said, ‘Sad was the word on everyone’s lips because everyone is sad to see it close. They are anxious too about what is going to happen next.
‘Everyone had a kind of ownership of it. It was “theirs” and that is the best indication you could have of the affiliation and deep affection in which Myross was held. ‘It was an open house. The grounds too were open. People would go there, and sit down in silence because it was an ideal setting for that kind of quiet reflection.
‘Everyone was made to feel welcome. Now they are anxious, wondering if they will be able to do that anymore.’
According to Fr Blade, a large part of its appeal was the tone set by Fr Michael Curran of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, who has since relocated to the parish house in Leap.
Fr Blade described Fr Curran as ‘a very unassuming, non-judgemental person, and a deep spiritual thinker.’ Fr Blade wished him and Fr Terry O’Brien, his replacement, well for the future.
The former parish priest said one of the hallmarks of Kilmacabea is their generosity of spirit, and their generosity in other ways too.
More than €170,000 was raised by locals and the diaspora within a two-year period to replace the church roof.
Fr Michael Curran also spoke to The Southern Star. He simply said, ‘I am hoping to continue to serve the people of West Cork for as long as the Lord allows.’