Mass Times: Church of the Sacred Heart, Rath, Ballybrittas, Co. Laois
First Friday: Eve of Friday( Thursday):- 7.30pm
Holy Days: 9.00am
Date of Church: 1877
Building Pastor: Fr. John Phelan P.P.
Rath (Rath or Fort)
On the death of Fr. Terence O’Connell P.P., Portarlington, in 1875, the old parish of Courtwood was united with that of Emo as a new Parish. Following the erection of the church at Emo it was decided to replace the wooden structure at Courtwood. The site was donated by Mr. E. Dease M.P. of Rath House, Ballybrittas, who also gave a generous donation. The parishioners held a meeting and decided to tax themselves 10s in the pound of their valuation towards a building fund, thereby raising £1,400. Fr. John Phelan, the new P.P., gave £100. The church was built in 1877, in the Gothic style. Blue limestone from a quarry near The Heath was used. The church is 95ft. by 58 ft. divided into a nave and aisles, these being separated by ornamental pillars resting on cut stone pedestals. Stone for this section came from Stradbally and Bagenalstown. The entrance is of rich design with granite moulding. As in ‘modern’ design of the period, galleries were dispensed with. Bishop James Walsh performed the opening ceremony on 25th August 1880, attended by 4,000 people. the local choir, led by Mrs. Dease, was assisted by the girls from the orphanage in Stradbally. In 1950, the bell tower was struck by lightning and fell to the ground. The church was then re-roofed. In 1990 a Lourdes Grotto was erected in the church grounds.