Monday, 25 June 2018 Features


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All Saints' Church

All Saints’ is a Gothic Church with a bell tower.  It was erected by Father John Lynch who was in the parish from 1847 until 1889.  It was dedicated by Dr Denvir on 11 November 1860.

Father Alex McMullan (1889-1908) was responsible for completing the church tower and installing the magnificent bell, weighing thirty seven hundredweight. The bell is rung manually every day. Father McMullan also had walls and iron railings erected around the church and elaborate entrance gates and pillars.

In the interior of the Church he erected two side altars, the old Stations of the Cross (now in Crebilly Church), the Sanctuary Lamp and some of the stained glass windows.

His successor Canon O’Donnell (1908-1941) carried out extensive alterations and improvements, including extending the Sacristy to its present dimensions, the installation of a heating system, marble Pulpit, Communion rails and Baptismal Font.  He was also responsible for the mosaic floor in the Sanctuary.

Canon McLister was in the Parish from 1942-1958.  Although the Church required immediate attention, owing to war-time restrictions he was unable to commence this work until October 1945.  The improvements included re-roofing the Church, replastering the interior walls and having the entire Sanctuary walls done in mosaic.  A new Mortuary Chapel, in the Gothic design of the Church, was added and the aisles were laid in terrazzo.

Canon McGrattan (1958-1978) renovated the lighting system and had the whole Church rewired.  New carpets, incorporating a Celtic design with sacred symbols interwoven were provided for the High Altar, the two side altars and St Joseph’s Altar in the Mortuary Chapel.  The church grounds were renovated.

Monsignor WB Tumelty (1978-1990) rearranged the Sanctuary in 1979 in keeping with the changes of the Second Vatican Council.  The table of the altar was brought forward.  This was a difficult job but was successfully completed without destroying or disfiguring the monogram in the mosaic.  The Sanctuary Lamp which had become blackened was sanded, straightened and re-lacquered.  The same was done to the Altar gates. 

Mr and Mrs Noël Buggy paid for this as their parents had paid for them originally.  Two microphones were also fitted.

In 1980 work began on a new car park.  It was decided to make the use of the car park more attractive and so a new entrance into the Church was made through one of the confessionals.  The extension also incorporated a new toilet block.  The Mortuary Chapel was screened off with a hard wood glazed screen to match the confessionals and the new entrance doors.

The electrical wiring was found to be in an unsafe condition and had to be replaced in 1981.  New illuminated Name Panels were fitted to the new confessionals.

Monsignor Tumelty was known to be a man of many talents.  In 1982 he worked with a local stone worker – Stephen J Gallagher – together they took down the marble pulpit, reduced it in size and put it inside the Sanctuary as an Ambo.

In 1986 a pedestrian entrance to All Saints’ from the Cushendall Road opened.  The steps were made from the stones removed from the first parochial house.

Father Connolly came to Ballymena in 1991.  Since then he has had the Church repainted.  The ceiling of the Sanctuary had become blackened.  He arranged to have it cleaned.  For many months Cosi Sarkar and her partner Sean Butler worked behind nets high on scaffolding which had been erected around the High Altar.  Cosi had previously worked in London.  When the scaffolding was removed parishioners saw the gold in the paintings on the ceiling and the beautiful coloured frescoes around the roof.  The work uncovered the signatures of those who had originally worked on the ceiling in 1857.

The Stations of the Cross were painstakingly repaired and restored by Cosi and Sean. 

Recently new carpet has been purchased for the altar steps and green carpet has been laid in the aisles.


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