Oratory Enfield

The Presbytery and Oratory in Enfield

The Presbytery and Oratory, EnfieldThe Presbytery and Oratory, Enfield


On April 5, 1973, an area of land measuring one acre, three roods and five perches in Enfield village was registered in the name of Saint Finian’s Diocesan Trust.[1]   It was purchased from Phyllis Corrigan, Enfield, for the purpose of building a future presbytery and oratory.[2]   Michael Heffernan, building contractor, Rathmolyon, carried out the work, based on plans drawn up by Pat Hayes, Trim.  The presbytery was to be the home of the curate in the parish and on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, June 2, 1981, Fr. Timothy Buckley, C.C. took up residence and said his first Mass there.[3]  The late Jimmy Gorry, Enfield, opened and closed the oratory each day and generally kept an eye on it from 1981 until his death on September 21, 1999.


The oratory was originally designed to accommodate twelve to fourteen people attending morning Mass.  As the numbers present on a regular basis became much greater, it was decided to extend it in order to accommodate up to forty people.  In 1991, under the direction of Fr. T.P. Gavin, C.C., it was re-ordered by Michael Heffernan.  The existing garage was altered to form part of the oratory and a section of the existing oratory was partitioned off by means of large double doors, to form a dining room.  These doors could be opened to permit the use of the dining room to seat an overflow of people, when a larger than normal number attended Mass.  An altar from Kilkenny Hospital Oratory was provided.  A new tabernacle was purchased and the old one was donated to a Dublin school, which was opening an oratory at that time.  A new garage was built. 


Interior Oratory, EnfieldInterior Oratory, EnfieldNew stained glass windows, a tabernacle and a cross, all by the renowned stained glass artist, George Walsh, Sandford Road, Dublin, were installed.  The large window behind the altar has the Blessed Sacrament as its central theme.  Grain stalks, grapes, fish and the Greek letters KHR (a monogram for the Greek word Khristos meaning Christ) are included in the design.[4]  At the bottom of the window is the symbol of flowing water, representing the waters of Baptism and of life.  A side window portrays the hand of God reaching down on the world, and a stained glass cross depicts the crucified Christ, with God the Father at the top.


A wooden cross made by Mervyn Heffernan, Possextown, hangs on the front external wall.  A wooden plaque of Our Lady of the Infant Jesus, carved by Brendan O’Donoghue in 1977, was presented by his brother Brian, and was hung in the front hall of the presbytery.  In January 2002, the oratory was re-painted and during the following month, a new candle shrine was provided. 


In 1996, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament began in the oratory for one hour after ten o’clock morning Mass on the first Saturday of each month.  To prepare for the Great Jubilee, this practice was extended to every Saturday morning during Advent 1999 and this continued until Easter 2000.  In October/November 1990, a Holy Hour began to be held in the oratory on Tuesday nights and at a later stage, this was combined with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.  This devotion continued until December 4, 2002, when silent Eucharistic adoration commenced on three days per week.  A rota of people was drawn up and at present, the times are Tuesday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Wednesday: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.  Apart from these dedicated times, people often drop in for a quiet prayer and the oratory is also used occasionally for christenings and weddings.  In this busy world, it provides a religious focus in the village and is much appreciated by the many regular attendees at morning Mass.


[1] Registry of Deeds, Chatham Street, Dublin, County Meath, O.S. 48/14, Plan 114, Folio 473F No. X 1589/73.

[2] Registry of Deeds, Chatham Street, Dublin, Co. Meath, Folio Numbers 22904, 11763, 15656.

[3] Chronicon of Enfield Parish.

[4] The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2000, Houghton Mifflin Company.


Conversations with local people, whose names are included under Acknowledgement to contributors.