The Revd Sandra Pragnell To Be Installed As Dean Of Limerick And Rector Of Limerick City Parish
Added on 24/10/2012
Bishop Trevor Williams will install the Revd Sandra Pragnell as Dean of Limerick and Rector of Limerick City Parish. The service will be in St Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick at 7.30pm on Wednesday 24th October 2012. The preacher will be the Rt Revd Alan Harper, recently retired Archbishop of Armagh.
There have been 61 Deans of Limerick since the building of St Mary’s Cathedral in 1168. Sandra is the first woman in the history of the Cathedral to be appointed dean.
Sandra has been Rector of the Dundalk Group of parishes since 2005. Since her ordination in 2001 she has gained an MA (1st Class) in Pastoral Leadership specialising on ‘Spirituality and the Older Person: an ecumenical case study of two west Dublin parishes’. At present she is studying for a Doctorate in Ministry at Milltown Institute in Dublin.
Sandra serves on the Liturgical Advisory Committee; led pastoral training in Theological Reflection for NSM ordinands at the Church of Ireland Training College (now the Church of Ireland Theological Institute), from 2004 to 2008. She chaired the Archbishop of Dublin’s Working Group on combating racisim and co–authored the report ‘Welcoming Angels’. She is a member of the General Synod, and (from 2011) the Inter–Faith Affairs Working Group of the General Synod’s Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue.
Sandra notes her special areas of interest in ministry as Collaborative Ministry, Liturgy and Music, Ecumenism, Mission and Justice. She has been involved in supporting asylum seekers and was a founder member of Friends of Sabeel (Ireland), an ecumenical grassroots, biblically–based theology movement among Palestinian Christians in East Jerusalem.
Sandra loves animals, walking in the countryside and entertaining friends.
A short history of St Mary’s Cathedral 1169–2012
On this site the Vikings had their ‘Thingmote’ (meeting place) before the O’Brien’s took it over and built a palace. Later, Donal Mor O’Brien, King of Munster gave the land to build a church.
St.Mary’s Church, in the heart of the Norse city of Limerick. was declared to be the cathedral of the diocese, named by the Synod of Ráth Breasail (1111). It was the only cathedral in any diocese in the country so named. The original church was replaced between 1150 and 1174 by the core of the present building. It’s arches are among the earliest in Ireland. They represent the only intact native Irish church built on a Continental scale to survive from before the Norman Invasion 1169. The cathedral remains in use in 2012 for the purpose for which it was built!
Over the centuries the cathedral has been in the middle of many conflicts. The Cromwellians are said to have camped in it, evidenced by the marks of sword sharpening activities visible on the West Door and other place and the Pre–Reformation Altar Stone, has been restored as the High Altar having been thrown outside by the Cromwellian soldiers. Today a beautiful needlework frontal adorns it, the work of the Dublin– based Anglican Sisters (1968)
Many other features are located in the East End of the cathedral; the stone carved reredos was carved by Michael Pearse, father of the patriot Patrick Pearse; the founder’s burial stone; the Glentworth screen designed by Edward Conor O’Brien, the Victorian Bishop’s throne designed by the Pain brothers, who also designed the Jebb statue.
The Misericords are situated under the Ascension window. These are carved, solid oak,clergy choir–stalls dating from the fourteenth century and unique in Ireland. When services were long and standing with arms raised was required, provision was made, by tilting the seat, for the clergy posteriors to rest on the discreet ledges of the misericords while their arms were supported by the frame.
The cathedral has a wealth of stained–glass, mostly nineteenth century. However the Ascension window, the largest, by the Harry Clarke studio, was dedicated in 1961 to Horace Stafford O’Brien and his wife Eleanor, by the Right Hon. and the Most Revd. Michael Ramsey Archbishop of York and designate Archbishop of Canterbury. Other windows have O’Brien dedications and other prominent Limerick families including the Barrington’s, Westropp’s and Glentworth’s.
The cathedral churchyard has been extended over the centuries. To the east the remains of the old exchange can be seen. Some notables buried in the churchyard include the exiled Prince Milo of Montenegro, and Bishop Graves whose epitaph is written by three famous literary figures; in Irish by Douglas Hyde, in Latin by R.G.Tyrell and English by his son A.P. Graves.
For further information please contact:
Revd John Godfrey
Limerick & Killaloe Diocesan Communications Officer