The Irish Naval Association received an invitation from Father Des Campion, Chaplin to the Irish Navy, inviting the President of the Irish Naval Association and his wife Bernie to attend the 100th Anniversary and Rededication of the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea in Haulbowline.
The church had been closed for a number of years and had been given a makeover with a beautiful mural to Our Lady on the back wall behind the altar.
Bernie and I travelled down to Carrigaline the previous evening, staying in the Carrigaline Court Hotel overnight and
driving over to the Naval Base on the morning of the Ceremony, which was at 1200 hrs.
There were twelve Priests in attendance, as well as the Bishop of Cork and Ross, Fintan Gavin. The priests in attendance included the Head of the Army Chaplaincy, Father Paschal Hanrahan, Monsignor Eoin Tighe, and some current and retired Army Chaplains from different barracks around the country.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence, Simon Coveney TD, Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Sean Clancy, Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service Commodore Michael Malone, along with current Officers, retired Flag Officers, Captains, Commanders and Retired Chief of Staff were also in attendance.
Members of Father Des's family were also there, along with parishioners from surrounding areas. The two Altar Servers were new recruits, a male and a female who had joined the Navy only four weeks previously.
At the end of the mass, there was a very special Papal Award Ceremony, when the Benemerenti Medal was presented to Mrs Crowley, the organist, for her more than 40 years of service to the Church. She had been a school teacher in the area and has played the Organ in the Church at wedding, funerals, christenings and special occasions for many years.
After the Ceremony there was plenty of time for photographs. We then adjourned over to the Men's Dining Hall for lunch.
Bryan Gildea, President,
Chief of Staff Lt.Gen Sean Clancy