The final mass was held this past Sunday at one of the largest churches in Ireland. The church is set to be demolished because of low attendance and high upkeep costs.
The Church of the Annunciation in Finglas West, a large church capable of seating 3,500 people, opened in 1967. It has since become one of the more recognizable churches in Ireland.
As attendance numbers have dwindled over the years, church leadership has struggled to keep up with building repairs. After last winter's particularly devastating cold, the decision was made to vacate the church before this upcoming winter.
The church will be replaced with a much smaller church that seats 350 people, a tenth of the size of the current building.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin spoke before the congregation Sunday where he said, "This Church has been not just a landmark physically, but a landmark in the history of the community. Even those who no longer have any link with the Church have an affection for it and a recognition of what this Church has meant over the years for Finglas."
He concluded the mass by saying, "Go away from this Mass being proud of Finglas. You have so much to be proud of and make sure that the many things of which you can be proud of can flourish in new ways in the years to come. God bless this community."
This is reminiscent of the troubles the Church of England is facing. In July, I wrote about the severe financial problems that some of the larger cathedrals in Britain are struggling with. Like The Church of the Annunciation, high building upkeep costs and dwindling attendance are a constant theme.
Perhaps this will be how some of these larger religions are ushered out of society. They will move into smaller and smaller buildings, continually retreating further and further from prominence in the public discourse, and eventually being relegated to the fringes of our communities.
One can only dream...