On the 3rd May 1959 the Very Rev. Dr. William J. Fitzpatrick cut the first sod in front of a cross erected on the site of the high altar for the new Raheny Church.
The old St. Assam’s Church which had opened just 100 years before was now too small to serve the spiritual and community needs of the rapidly growing housing developments in Raheny.
On April 24th 1960, his Grace the Archbishop of Dublin Most Rev. John Charles McQuaid assisted by V. Rev. Dr. Fitzpatrick, Frs. R. Maher C.C., J. Stone C.C., and J. Randles C.C. laid the foundation stone.
As you come along the Howth Road towards Raheny, the first part of the church you see is the belltower. This is fitting, for the tower of a church is held to symbolise Our Lady, who is always beside the Church, showing those who are far away where it is and calling them to it.
As you approach, the entrance to the church is emphasised by the tall pediment with its
triangulate window. This feature, though wholly contemporary in feeling, echoes the ancient pediment of Clonfert Cathedral. Perhaps the sculptors of that remote age had the Blessed Trinity in mind when they formed it.
Beyond is the Baptistry (not in use at the present time) which could be entered without going into the church. Thus the infant could receive the sacrament which makes it a member of the Church in a separate building in the traditional manner. The step down to the area about the baptismal font is said to symbolise the step Our Lord took when He descended into the Jordan for the first baptism.
The bell tower, (which has since been repaired and re-surfaced) the pediment and the baptistry, forming as it were an introduction to the church, are sheathed in green slate. This slate is about a half-inch thick and is affixed to precast concrete slabs into the face of the structure, but independent of it. The three units are linked by a low narthex, a traditional feature which has been revived here.
You enter the church under the choir gallery. The nave (navis, a ship), symbolising the Barque of Peter, is defined by tall, slender columns. It would have been best, with modern construction, to span the structure without these columns; but apart from the loss of the traditional form, so wide an area would distract the eye, which here is led by the perspective of columns to the sanctuary and the altar. The sanctuary is further emphasised by dark-green screen walls at each side behind the side altars. It is lit from the sides through large windows of reinforced concrete tracery.
The wall behind the altar is blank, except for a crucifix. Thus the worshipper is not distracted during the celebration of Mass.