This film is part of Free

The Parish Centre

Celebrate parish life rich with performances ranging from school plays to a reformed Sunday Mass and the awkward rituals of the parish dance.

Documentary 1960

From the collection of:

Logo for Northern Ireland Screen


Father Michael Collins brings us a vision of the parish as somewhere to study together, pray together and play together. It begins with the quiet revolution of education as children learn to express themselves with a little guidance. As the Church then takes centre stage enjoy the congregation clambering in and out of tractors in their Sunday best for Mass. Finally the excitement of the parish dance steals the spotlight as opposing teams wait for the deadlock to be broken.

We don’t know the date of this film however it shows that the Latin Tridentine Mass has already been supplanted by the Novus ordo mass (which can be said in any language), suggesting that the Mass must have been filmed after the changes made by The Second Vatican Council in the mid-60s. Born in 1936 Fr Michael Collins was ordained in Rome in 1960 and went on to spend fifty years working in the Diocese of Derry. He could be often heard on BBC Radio Ulster’s Thought for the Day programme, contributing over 100 pieces. His passion for capturing parish life on film was mirrored in his love of photography, and his book of archive photographs, Travellers in Time and Eternity was published in 2013.