The Prospect Heritage Trust Inc.

The Church of Saint Laurence O’Toole

This was the iron Catholic Mission Church that was built at Prospect Reservoir, and was known as The Waterworks Church. It was built by Archdeacon Rigney, who was at that time Parish Priest of Parramatta.

Fr. Patrick Augustine Holland, O.F.M. was appointed Parish Priest of Prospect in 1885, and the Waterworks Church would have been an important part of his parish, as the construction of the dam was not yet completed, and there was a very large community living in the area.

Monsignor Rigney became the Parish Priest of Prospect in 1889, after the Reservoir construction was completed, but the Church remained in use for some time, with Msgr. Rigney celebrating Mass there each week.

Source: Faith of our Fathers, living still. Pam Tromp

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Who is St. Laurence O’Toole?

Lorcán Ua Tuathail, also known as Saint Laurence O'Toole (1128 – 14 November 1180) was the first Archbishop of Dublin at the time of the Norman invasion of Ireland. He played a prominent role in the Irish Church Reform Movement of the 12th century and mediated between the parties during and after the invasion. He was canonised in 1225 by Pope Honorius III.

He was born at Castledermot, Ireland, the youngest of four sons of an O'Byrne princess and Muirchertach Ua Tuathail. The family were of the Uí Muiredaig branch of the Uí Dúnlainge kindred and took their name from Tuathal mac Augaire, King of Leinster, who died in 958. They resided at Maistiu (Mullaghmast) in what is now County Kildare.

However by the time of his son's birth Muirchertach was subordinate to the new kings of Leinster, the Uí Cheinnselaig. The king from 1126 was Diarmait Mac Murchada (Dermot MacMurrough). At the age of 10 he was sent to Diarmait as a hostage for his father.[2] However at one point Muirchertach's loyalty to Diarmait must have become suspect as Lorcán was imprisoned for some two years in extreme austerity and barely given enough to live on. Due to the intercession of the abbot of Glendalough – members of Lorcán's family had been buried at one of its churches for generations – relations were amicably restored between Diarmait and Muirchertach.

One result of his confinement was the strengthening of Lorcan's wish to enter the religious life. The story goes that when Muirchertach arrived at Glendalough for Lorcán, he stated that he would draw lots to have one of his sons made a priest, at which Lorcán laughed as he had long thought of doing so. No lots were drawn, and Lorcán stayed at Glendalough.

When he was 32 he was elected unanimously Archbishop of Dublin following the death of Archbishop Gregory in 1162, at the Synod of Clane, and was consecrated in by Gelasius, Archbishop of Armagh and successor of St. Malachy. He was the first Irishman to be appointed to the See of this town ruled by Danes and Norwegians; it is notable that his nomination was backed not only by the High King Ruaidri Ua Conchobair (Rory O'Connor), Diarmait Mac Murchada (who had by then been married to Lorcán's sister, Mor) and the community at Glendalough, but also by the clergy and population of Dublin itself. He played a prominent part in the Irish Church Reform Movement of the 12th century, as well as rebuilding Christ Church Cathedral, several parish churches and emphasising the use of Gregorian Chant.

Source and further reading: Wikipedia