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Elvis sings at Freshford Masses

by Jimmy Rhatigan

FÉILE Lachtain 2022 closes this weekend with Mass in both parish churches in what may well be a world premiere.

Sacred music for Mass will consist of the spiritual songs of Elvis Presley. There is no record of a similar Mass taking place. 

The songs will be sung by Alexander Rafter, accompanied on the organ by his mother Maura and well-known local musicians Garry Barnaville, Jerry Delaney and David O’Reilly. 

The musicians will be joined by the combined choirs of Tulla and Freshford churches.

 Anyone who heard Alex sing at the recent Rafter Family Concert in Freshford will know that there is a treat in store. 

Some of the hymns include well-loved numbers like It Is No Secret What God Can Do, recorded by Elvis for the first time 65 years ago in 1957 and Crying In The Chapel which topped the British charts in 1965. 

In 1972 Elvis won his second Grammy award for his final gospel music album. Alex has chosen Amazing Grace and He Is My Everything from that album. 

The final hymn, How Great Thou Art was a high spot in Elvis’s live act and, sadly, it was the last number recorded for a TV special on June 21, 1977 two months before he died.  

Mass in St Nicholas’s Church, Tulla is at 7.30 on Saturday, November 12; the following day, November 13, Mass is at 11am in St Lachtain’s Church, Freshford. 

Monsignor Kieron Kennedy PP Freshford will celebrate both. 

This brings to a close a special year in the history of the parish of Freshford. 

The Year of St Lachtain marked the 1400th anniversary of the death of Lachtain and celebrated over 1400 years of worship in the parish. 

Thanks went to all who helped to make it a success. Féile Lachtain 2023 also promises much as the committee at Ionad Lachtain Church, Arts and Heritage Centre is quietly confident of getting a one-day loan of the Shrine of St Lachtain’s Arm from the National Museum.

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