Mallow Apostolic Workers bow out
The Association of Apostolic Work Ireland was established in Mallow in June 1970 when Mrs J J Nihill (National President) addressed the members of the Sodality of Our Lady on the aims and work of the Apostolic Society. There was already a Mission Group dedicated to supporting the work of Irish missionaries around the world. Those who gathered with Mrs Nihill had decided that the time had come for the diocese of Cloyne to have a formal means of supporting the missionary work of the Church.
Now the time has come for the Mallow Apostolic Workers to formally bring their work to an end, though each will continue, in their own way, to support ‘the missions’.
At that first meeting – on 1 June 1970 – the following Diocesan Officers were elected: Miss Mimi Roche (Diocesan President), Mrs W Ware (Vice-President), Mrs T O’Connell (Hon Secretary) and as Treasurer: Miss Teresa Geaney. The Minutes of that first historic meeting reads: “Thus the Diocesan Centre of Apostolic Work for the diocese of Cloyne was established in Mallow.” In the early months the group grew steadily with 17 active members and 27 Honorary members. A Junior Branch was also established.
There was also, for some years, a Group in Castletownroche. It was founded in 1979 by Anne Cox and Sr Peter (Mercy Convent). Its President was Mrs Bridie Cox, mother of Anne. The two groups had about 50 members in total at one stage.
It is a credit to the Apostolic Work members, their Honorary members and the people of Mallow and beyond that in the 42 years of its existence, more than €150,000 was given to needy projects and missionaries all over the globe. This is in addition to the many vestments, chalices, knitted goods etc etc. Funds were gathered through Secret Bag, Sales of Work, Coffee Mornings and other fund-raising efforts organised by the Apostolic Workers. An example was the three bedspreads (knitted / crocheted over three years) by Hannah Brennan which helped raise €5,000 for the Missions in 2011. As one Apostolic Worker put it: “Our supporters were very generous with donations.”
The Minutes from two meetings gives a flavour of what matters were considered by the Apostolic Workers:
In May Fr Bluett agreed to replace Fr O’Loinsigh, who had transferred to Midleton, as Spiritual Director. Fr Hartnett, Mill Hill, celebrated Mass at the Mercy Centre on July 23rd 2007. The June Coffee Morning raised €1,045 and the August 2007 Church Gate Collection raised €2,665.
The August 2008 Church Gate Collection realised €2,550. A new fund-raising venture was initiated during the year by placing some mission collection boxes on shop counters. To date in excess of €600 has been collected.
Among the highlights of the year was the nomination of the President for a Community Award. Members enjoyed a Gala Meal and entertainment in the Springfield Hotel. Mrs Hannah Brennan was awarded a beautiful Galway Crystal Vase.
Grants given at a meeting on 17 September 2008 listed the following countries: Brazil, Japan, Morocco, Nigeria, Philippines and Zambia as well as other missionaries whose mission was not listed. In total €5,800 was granted at that meeting to 12 missionaries.
Irish, and other, missionaries (and in particular members of the SMA) will be ever grateful for the prayers and support of these co-workers in mission. More importantly, there are Catholic communities with chapels, wells providing clean water, medical facilities etc which owe their existence to the support of the Mallow Apostolic Workers. As well as those listed above, some of the other missionaries and communities which Cloyne Apostolic helped were in Cameroon, El Salvador, India, Kenya and Pakistan.
Sadly, the Mallow Apostolic has decided to close as the membership has dwindled to just five members. Four of them are pictured with Fr Martin Kavanagh SMA. They are, from left, Mary Blake, Sr Caroline, Hannah Brennan and May Murphy. Missing from the photo was Sr Aine of the local Mercy Convent. For many years, the Apostolic Group met in the Mercy Convent and, more recently, in the Mercy Centre nearby.
The neighbouring diocese of Cork & Ross does not have the Apostolic Work Society but has many Mission Groups who support the Missions. The SMA Parish in Blackrock Road has a Parish Aid For Africa (PAFA) group who for many years has raised funds for SMA and other missionaries, particularly in Africa.
The stained glass window in honour of St Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, Patroness of the Missions in St Patrick’s Church, Millstreet, Co Cork. Even though Mallow no longer has a formal Apostolic Work Society there is no doubt that the former members, and the people of the town, will continue to support the work of the Missions. May God, through the intercession of the Little Flower, continue to bless all of them, our co-workers in mission. Rath Dé oraibh go léir.