Father Jerome Dennehy looks after the needs of his parishioners in the rural community of Annascaul.
Across the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry lies the parish of Annascaul. The local curate is Father Jerome Dennehy.
Father Dennehy is first and always the people's priest.
He carries out his duties guided by 'Mater Et Magistra', Pope John XXIII’s 1961 encyclical on the topic of Christianity and social progress.
The church's first care must be for souls. Here in Annusacul I must put first things first. I must offer mass and administer the sacraments. I must preach the word of God and I must care in a special way for the sick and for the young.
Pope John's words have particular application in rural Ireland where people face problems in their livelihood, education, general welfare and prosperity.
I do what I can to try and help resolve these problems.
Father Dennehy’s day begins with visits to the sick. On this particular day he makes the calls early as he is to say a station mass. Twice a year the station mass is celebrated in a selected farmhouse and the venue is rotated from farm to farm within the 20 districts in the parish of Annascaul. Confessions are heard in the parlour and the mass is held in the kitchen or living room.
Few things in country life excite such pride as having one's house selected for the celebration of the mass.
An important part of the experience is the station breakfast, which is a valuable social occasion for the women in the neighbourhood.
Father Dehenny’s parish is a Breac-Ghaeltacht meaning its people are bilingual for the most part. In Annascaul there is a long tradition of entry into the public services where a familiarity with two languages is a great advantage. The parish has five national schools and Father Dehenny pays a visit to Scoil Naisunta Luscair.
This episode of 'Horizon’ was broadcast on 6 June 1965. The scriptwriter and narrator is Jack Dowling.