Parish News
We Pray For...
Anniversaries
Pilgrimages & Retreats
Prayers & Readings
Past News
Get In Touch
The Parish of Melmount, Derry Diocese.
...last updated on the 21st October 2009.
 

 

St Mary's Church.

St Mary's Chapel Melmount,
Melmount Road,
Strabane, Co. Tyrone BT82 9EF

Telephone : 028 7138 3777 (+44)

Fax : 028 7188 6469

Email : melparish@aol.com

Established in 1970.

Facilities available for those requiring wheelchair access, and those who are hard of hearing.

In 1970 the present St Mary's church replaced the earlier and much smaller church which was located on the other side of the Melmount Road, in the cemetery area. It wasn't just a matter of change of location: the population was increasing rapidly with the new housing developments, and there was a change of approach to church building, based on a combination of architectural progress and changes in the liturgy following Vatican II.

A mixture of foresight and providence has given the parish a fine church building which has become increasingly central, as the housing has grown up around it and extended outwards on the Sion side to include Five Acres, Laurel Drive, Beldoo, Carlton Drive, Greeves Park, Melmount Park and Brookvale. Part of the foresight was the change of size from the original plans for a church to seat 800 to the present structure which seats 1200 and has spacious aisles radiating from the altar to join a wide processional area at the back. The potential of the modern engineering was exploited to provide a huge roof span without the need for interior pillars, so that there is an uninterrupted view to and from the altar and a strong visual expression of a community at worship. The wooden beams in the ceiling, filling the squares between the metal beams, and running in alternate squares at right angles, create a strong textured effect, varying with a light falling from two directions on the warm brown of the wood, and avoiding the possibility of monotony in a ceiling which covers such a wide area. The wood blends beautifully with the Tyrone brick of the walls. The unplastered brick, in its varied natural colours, gives a very attractive texture to the walls both inside and out. The building was given the Award of Merit of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects in 1971, a significant honour for the architect, Mr Patrick Haughey.

The tabernacle, the baptismal font, the ambo and chair, the wooden crucifix and the brass lettering for the Stations of the Cross are by Oisin Kelly.

In 1992 the sanctuary was renewed with Richard Hurley as the architect. The new altar, ambo and baptismal font, all in a beautiful cream-coloured stone, were carved by Tom Glendon. The presidential chair, in oak, for the main sanctuary was made by Strabane Training Services as were the altar, ambo, chair and furnishings for the Day Chapel.

The church looks at its best on a big occasion like a Confirmation or First Holy Communion day, when the full sweep of the seats is filled with all the colours of the brightly dressed children, parents and friends. It provides a beautiful setting for special liturgical celebrations like Easter ceremonies. But it is also a homely place, where people can relax at the ordinary Sunday or weekday Mass, or in the quiet atmosphere of prayer during the day.

 

Like the householder in St Matthew’s Gospel, the parishioners of Melmount – the parish of Mourne – can bring out of their treasury things both new and old (Mt 13:52).

The tradition of the parish stretches back through the old parish of Urney to the Penal times and to the early Irish church and great figures like St Eugene of Ardstraw and St Colman, to whom Bishop Neil Farren dedicated St Colman’s High School in 1958.

 

St Mary's Melmount, Stabane.

 

The new is evident both in the modern design of St Mary’s church, and in the fast growing housing developments which have brought the population from a few hundred in a mostly rural environment in the first quarter of the century, to about 8500 at present in a compact and fairly densely populated urban cluster.

St Mary's Melmount, Stabane.

 

On a more symbolic level, the parish website is a statement of identity and belonging, of shared needs and common interests for long-term residents and recent arrivals alike. Whether you can trace your Melmount roots back for generations, or whether you have only recently settled here (maybe from as far away as the Strabane or Derry Road parishes!), this is your parish: it is alive and growing, and it both needs and welcomes your full participation. A parish has its roots in the past, builds in the present, but must also look to the future. The bond of continuity, even in terms of practical action, is the presence of Christ among people of the parish. Fr Anthony Mulvey wrote, at the time of the opening of the Melmount Centre in 1985:

“Christ is present in the simple, sincere, natural goodness of people, holy and

happy. The people in the parish are the Body of Christ. They are all Christ’s, the

people of God, showing God to the world and to one another”.


 

 

 

Melmount Parish (STRABANE) : 41 Melmount Road, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, BT82 9EF. Tel : 028 7138 3777 (+44)