top of page


A warm welcome from the Parish Priest Rev. Jim Crudden PP

The beautiful Parish of Maghera is one of 88 parishes in the Diocese of Down and Connor. Situated at the foot of Slieve Donard the Parish enjoys some of the best scenery in Ireland - where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

St. Donard was a follower of St. Patrick. He built a church Rath Muirbuilc, now called Maghera, at the foot of the mountain near the sea, but he also had an oratory on the very summit of the mountain. His death is given as 507 AD. The faith community established by St. Donard  in the 6th century continues to thrive in this part of County Down. The Parish of Maghera is a faith community centred around our two churches, Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Newcastle and St. Patricks Church in Bryansford.


This is a Parish where involvement at all levels and in all ministries is actively encouraged. Indeed, the Parish functions well simply because so many people are prepared to participate in whatever way they can. This is a community marked by a sense of welcome and belonging, a spirit of caring and concern.


On behalf of the priests and people of the Parish, we would like to extend a particularly warm welcome to parishioners who are new to the Parish and those who visit us in the summer months. We are here to work with you and we hope that you will be a part of all that we do together.

Meet our Spiritual Team

Very Rev. Jim Crudden

Brenda Webb

Parish Priest, Fr. Jim was born in Belfast in 1963. He attended the local De La Salle schools - St. Gall's Primary and later the La Salle Secondary School.


He undertook his training for the priesthood at St. Peter's Seminary in Wexford and was ordained in St. Paul's Belfast in June 1988.

As Parish Manager, Brenda plays a vital role supporting the priest of the parish. In addition to being the key link between the the 47 groups in the parish and the priests, Brenda is responsible for:

Ensuring that all parish groups have met parish standards in safeguarding, policy and procedure; 
Coordinating the preparation for sacraments in the parish's primary schools;

Coordinating the bereavement ministry;
Overseeing youth ministry in the parish including the children's liturgy, altar servers club, GIFT and JP2 award. 
Chairing  the parish safeguarding committee. 
Preparing the liturgical calendar for the priests and group leaders; and
Forming  new groups in the parish ie hospitality group, new communications committee. 



First opened on 12th June 1966, Our Lady of the Assumption Church was built to replace St. Mary's Church,

Main Street, which had become too small for the ever-growing population, especially during the tourist season.
The church's circular style was a departure from the traditional style of church. In the 60's, as the emphasis on
participation of the laity grew, it was felt that the circular style would allow the congregation to be involved
more closely in the liturgy taking place on the central sanctuary.

Our Lady of the Assumption Church is now a listed building as 'an example of sixties' architecture'.

In May 2005 a major refurbishment programme began involving, among other things, the relocation of the choir and organ, the creation of a side chapel (oratory) and the placement, behind the main altar, of a tapestry depicting the Risen Christ. On 15 January 2006 the church was re-opened and a new altar dedicated by Most Rev. Patrick Walsh, Bishop of Down and Connor.


Parish Churches



Represents the Risen Christ who triumphs over death on the cross, over sin and the power of Satan. He is the
life-giver, whose arms are stretched wide in forgiveness and welcome to all who come to him. 
When I am
lifted up from the earth I will draw everyone to myself.  (John 12:32)


The symbols, representing the four evangelists, surround the living Christ. They represent the word of God leading us to know the Word,  Jesus, the Son of the Living God. These symbols are frequently used in the Book of Kells. Matthew is represented by the human figure with wings, Mark by the lion, Luke by the ox, and John by the eagle. Each carries the book of the Gospel.


The symbolism goes back to the early centuries of the Church, and is taken from the Book of Revelation (Apocalypse), 4:6-8, where there is a vision of the heavenly court surrounding the throne of God, including four of the noblest creatures of creation, giving praise to God. In the centre, grouped around the throne itself, were four animals with many eyes, front and behind. The first animal was like a lion, the second like a bull, the third animal had a human face, and the fourth animal was like a flying eagle. Night and day they never stopped singing:
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty; he was, he is, and he is to come.


The architecture of the roof is echoed in the triangular sections of colour:

Pale blue : The sky      Ochre :– The light of Christ     Dark blue :– The sea.



 According to Fr. James O’Laverty, Mass was celebrated in a “bohog” at Cross in the townland of Tullyree in the neighbouring parish of Kilcoo and at
Burren-Rock before the erection of the old chapel at Bryansford or Ballyhafry in or around the year 1760.


The Church of St. Patrick in its present form, has stood on the site as Ballyhafry Road since of 1830 and continues

to be a place of private and parish prayer and devotion. St. Patrick's  was, as it is today, a sanctuary which

shaped the identity of all who built, supported and maintained it.


St. Patrick's was re-opened on Palm Sunday 2010 following extensive refurbishment.



bottom of page