The History of
Our Lady of Victories Parish
by Séamus Shelly, Éamonn MacThomais, and Fr. Philip Bradley.
Meaning of "Our Lady of Victories"
The Church’s title “Our Lady of Victories” is one that dates back to the Crusades. Perhaps the best known church bearing the name is the Basilica of Notre Dame des Victories in Paris. Our Church is to remind us of Mary’s role in Christ’s victory over sin and death.
New Church and Parish needed
The rapid growth in housing during the late fifties and early sixties in the Dublin suburban areas saw the need for a parish church to cover the areas now covered by Our Lady of Victories, Ballymun Road. At this time Whitehall/Larkill Parish was very large and included Ballymun and Santry. St. Pappin’s Church on Ballymun Road (now a nursing home) and Our Lady of Victories Hall were Chapels of Ease in Whitehall/Larkill Parish. Overflowing congregations, at Sunday Masses in particular, both at St. Pappins and our local School Hall, bore witness to the space problem. Fr. Seamus Moloney, C.C. must be given full credit for spear-heading the movement for a parish church. Fr. Bernard Brady parish priest in Whitehall and St. Pappins at that time, gave full support to this project.
Fund raising for church activities at that time were haphazard affairs consisting of weekly collections, averaging a pre-decimalisation shilling per household. In the sixties a church building programme was inaugurated throughout the diocese. Archbishop McQuaid and his advisers felt that this programme could not be successful without the input of fund-raising consultants. An American fundraising group – The Wells Foundation was appointed and our parish together with three other parishes were chosen as pilot schemes to introduce a more professional approach to fund raising called “Planned Giving”. The ultimate objective was to secure monetary pledges from families in the parish which would enable the parish to negotiate satisfactory loan arrangements with their banks.
Horse Shows in the field in Santry Lane were held annually as fund raising events for the new church as well.
The highlight of the fundraising campaign was the invitation to supper extended to each household both in Whitehall and our own locality. In May 1965, the supper was held for two nights in the Kennedy Stadium, Santry. 8,000 parishioners sat down to a three course meal in a huge marquee.
The success of the planned giving and entire fund raising campaign enabled the parish to raise the necessary loan and plan the building of our Church.
Parishioners were invited to view the Church plans and comment at a meeting held in St. Pappins School.
The Church of Our Lady of Victories, Ballymun Road, was solemnly blessed and dedicated by the Archbishop of Dublin, Most Rev. Dr. John Charles McQuaid, on Sunday, 2nd February, 1969. The Archbishop inspected a guard of honour from C Company, 20th Battalion, F.C.A., under Lieutenant Pat Sheehan when he arrived. All who were present remember the heavy fall of snow that day. The headline in one of the newspapers the following day read: “Dublin’s newest Church dedicated in snowfall.” The ceremony began at 11.30 a.m.
After the Ceremony of Blessing, the Archbishop presided at Mass celebrated by Very Rev. Bernard Brady, P.P. The homily was preached by the Auxiliary Bishop, Dr. Joseph A. Carroll, who described the Church as “modern but not eccentric.”
The attendance included the Lord Mayor, Mr. Frank Cluskey, T.D., a parishioner, as well as the Minister for Finance, Mr. Charles Haughey, T.D.
That evening, the Bishop of Nara, Most Rev. Dr. Dunne, presided at evening Mass and imparted Solemn Benediction.
Our Lady of Victories Church was built in accordance with the directions of the Second Vatican Council for church design. The design emphasises the full and active participation of the congregation in the Mass. The Church cost £220,000 to build and has seating for 1,900 people. The design incorporated new concepts such as the crying room.
The Creation of More Parishes
In 1969 the Parish of Ballymun was constituted with Our Lady of Victories as the Parish Church. Fr. Brady then became Parish Priest of Our Lady of Victories.
When Our Lady of Victories became a parish in its own right in July 1969, Archbishop McQuaid contemplated naming it the Parish of Stormanstown, as a reminder that Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, was born in Stormanstown House in 1778.
Ballymun Parish was later divided with the formation of Sillogue Parish 1972 and Balcurris in 1975.