Saturday, 5 August 2017

St. Manman of Clonaslee

The village of Clonaslee, nestled in the Slieve Bloom Mountains of County Laois, was the site of two seventh century monasteries founded by St. Manman. One was Carrigeen, meaning hermitage of the rocks, and the second, almost two miles north of the village, is Kilmanman, meaning the Church of Manman.

Carrigeen, also know as Lanchoil or Lahoil, is said to have been the hermitage of the Saint. Kilmanman was the larger of the two foundations and is the site of considerable remains of a later fifteenth century Church. Nearby, there is a Holy Well called St. Manman's Well.

Information upon the life of St. Manman is so scarce that even Dr. Comerford in his Collections relating to the Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin, Vol. 3, 1886, gives the mere fact of his existence and passes on to later times for which more material was available. Likewise, Canon O'Hanlon's History of Queen's County gives but passing information.

His name, at least in the form in which it is known today, does not appear on any of the ancient Irish Calendars but local tradition establishes his pattern day as 5th August. However, that his name survives and that his memory holds the respect that it does is a lesson to us to remember, however dimly, our holy Fathers in the Faith.

St. Manman of Clonaslee, pray for us!

Monday, 24 July 2017

Pilgrimage to St. Ailbe's Church, Emly

There is no doubt that St. Patrick's place as Apostle of the Irish is unassailable and it was a joy to share in the National Latin Mass Pilgrimage to his shrine at Armagh last month. However, it is equally incontrovertible that the faithful of Munster - and really of all Ireland owe a debt of gratitude to Saint Ailbe, a debt that we made some effort to repay today by means of a pilgrimage to his Church, built upon the site of his Church and monastery, at Emly, Co. Tipperary.

Our Pilgrimage culminated in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form the Roman Rite.

Samuel Lewis' Topographic Dictionary of Ireland tells us that the ancient geoographer Ptolomy referred to Emly in his second century writings as "Imlagh" one of the three principal towns of Ireland. St. Prosper of Aquitainerecords that Pope Celestine sent Palladius in 431 "to the Scots believing in Christ, to be their first bishop"

We know of four pre-Patrician Saints of Ireland, St. Ailbe of Emly, St. Declan of Ard More, St. Ciaran or Abban and St. Ibar. In the life of St. Declan he is "secundus Patricius et patronus Mumenie" a second Patrick and Patron of Munster.

The Rule of St. Ailbe, a rule of life for his monks, is still extant in 58 verses:
Let him be steady, let him not be restless, let him be wise, learned, pious; let him be vigilant; let him be a slave; let him be humble kindly.

Let him be gentle, close and zealous, let him be modest, generous and gracious; against the torrent of the world, let him be watchful, let him not be reproachful; against the brood of the world, let him be warlike.

The jewel of baptism and communion, let him receive it.

Let him be constant at prayer, his canonical hours let him not forget; his mind let him bow it down without insolence or contention.

A hundred genuflections for him at the Beata at the beginning of the day… thrice fifty psalms with a hundred genuflections every hour of vespers.

A genuflection thrice, earnestly, after going in past the altar rail, without frivolity and without excitement, going into the presence of the king of the angels.

A clean house for the guests and a big fire, washing and bathing for them, and a couch without sorrow.
The monastery at Emly became the seat of the Diocese of Emly in 1118 at the Synod of Ráth Breasail. The diocese was placed into the administration of the Archdiocese of Cashel after its last Bishop, Blessed Terence O'Brien, was martyred in 1651.

This place, noticed under the name of "Imlagh" by Ptolemy, as one of the three principal towns of Ireland, is of very remote antiquity, and was formerly an important city and the seat of the diocese. A monastery of canons regular was found here by St. Ailbe, or Alibeus, who became its first abbot, and dying in 527, was interred in the abbey. His successors obtained many privileges for the inhabitants. The abbey and town were frequently pillaged and burnt. King John, in the 17th of his reign, granted the privilege of holding markets and fairs in the town, which, since the union of the see of Emly with that of Cashel in 1568, has gradually declined, and is now comparatively an insignificant village, containing only 115 houses. It has a constabulary police station, and fairs are held on May 21st and Sept. 22nd.

The present Church was built about 1880 and houses a stunning collection of stained glass windows, well worth visiting.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Latin Mass in Ballyhea - Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene

We returned to the shores of "gentle Mullagh" in the lea of Ballyhoura today for the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene. There we attended the Traditional Latin Mass celebrated in St. Mary's Church, Ballyhea.  The report of the Mass on Easter Monday can be found here.

Garret Mac Eniry's A Tale of the Munster Peasantry contained in P. W. Joyce's 1911 The Wonders of Ireland (to be found here) contains the following description of the Ballyhoura Mountains:
The Ballyhoura Mountains extend for several miles on the borders of the counties of Cork and Limerick. Commencing near Charleville, they stretch away towards the east, consisting of a succession of single peaks with lone and desolate valleys lying between, covered with heath or coarse grass, where for ages the silence has been broken only by the cry of the heath-cock or the yelp of the fox echoing among the rocks that are strewn in wild confusion over the sides of the mountains. They increase gradually in height towards the eastern extremity of the range, where they are abruptly terminated by the majestic Seefin, which projecting forwards—its back to the west and its face to the rising sun—seems placed there to guard the desolate solitudes behind it.

Towards the east it overlooks a beautiful and fertile valley, through which a little river winds its peaceful course to join the Funsheon; on the west "Blackrock of the eagle" rears its front —a sheer precipice—over Lyre-na-Freaghawn, a black heath-covered glen that divides the mountains. On the south it is separated by Lyre-na-Grena the "valley of the sun," from "the Long Mountain," which stretches far away towards Glenanaar; and immediately in front, on the opposite side of the valley, rises Barna Geeha, up whose sides cultivation has crept almost to its summit. Just under the eastern face of Seefin, at its very base, and extending even a little way up the mountain steep, reposes the peaceful little village of Glenosheen.[2]

Gentle reader, go if you can on some sunny morning in summer or autumn—let it be Sunday morning if possible—to the bottom of the valley near the bank of the little stream, and when you cast your eyes up to the village and the great green hill over it, you will admit that not many places even in our own green island can produce a prettier or more cheerful prospect. There is the little hamlet, with its whitewashed cottages gleaming in the morning beams, and from each a column of curling smoke rises slowly straight up towards the blue expanse. The base of the mountain is covered with wood, and several clumps of great trees are scattered here and there through the village, so that it appears imbedded in a mass of vegetation, its pretty cottages peeping out from among the foliage. The land on each side rises gently towards the mountain, its verdure interspersed by fields of blossomed potatoes laughing with joy, or of bright yellow corn, or more beautiful still, little patches of flax clothed in their Sunday dress of light blue.[3] Seefin rises directly over the village, a perfect cone; white patches of sheep are scattered here and there over its bright sunny face; and see, far up towards the summit, that long line of cattle, just after leaving Lyre-na-Grena, where they were driven to be milked, and grazing quietly along towards Lyre-na-Freaghawn.

The only sounds that catch your ear are, the occasional crow of a cock, or the exulting cackle of a flock of geese, or the softened low of a cow may reach you, floating down the hill side; or the cry of the herdsman, as with earnest gestures he endeavours to direct the movements of the cattle. But hear that merry laugh. See, it comes from the brow of the hill where the women of the village are just coming into view, returning from Lyre-na-Grena after milking their cows. Each carries a pail in one hand and a spancel in the other, and as they approach the village, descending the steep pathway—the "Dray-road," as it is called—that leads from "The Lyre," a gabble of voices mingled with laughter floats over the village, as merry and as happy as ever rung on human ear. Observe now they arrive at the village, the group becomes thinner as they proceed down the street, and at length all again is quietness.

Happy village! Pleasant scenes of my childhood! How vividly at this moment do I behold that green hill-side, as I travel back in imagination to the days of my boyhood, when I and my little brother Robert, and our companions—all now scattered over this wide world—ranged joyful among the glens in search of birds' nests, or climbed the rocks at its summit, eager to plant ourselves on its dizzy elevation. Why did ambition tempt me to leave my peaceful home?

Why did I abandon that sunny valley, where I might have travelled gently down the vale of life, free from those ambitious aspirations, those struggles with fortune that only destroy my peace? But though exiled far from my home, my heart shall never cease to point to its loved retirement; and ever, as release from business grants me the opportunity, I shall return to wander over the scenes of my infancy, to hold communion once again with the few companions of my boyhood that remain, and to think with feelings of kindly regret on those that are gone. And when weary from the incessant struggles of life, I seek an asylum from its turmoil, grant me, oh, kind Providence, to spend my declining years in that beloved valley, and to rest at length my aged head in the grave of my fathers on the green hill of Ardpatrick.[4]

About a century and a-half ago, that part of the valley where the village now stands was almost uninhabited. It was covered with a vast forest of oaks, which not only clothed the valley, but extended more than half way up to the summits of the surrounding hills; and to this day the inhabitants will tell you, in the words of their fathers, that "a person could travel from Ardpatrick to Darra (about five miles) along the branches of the trees." No human habitation relieved the loneliness, save only one small cottage that stood near the base of the hill. It was inhabited, from times too remote for even the memory of tradition to reach, by a family named MacEniry, descendants of that princely sept that once possessed the Ballyhoura Mountains with many miles of the surrounding country. About three acres of land just in front of the house, and a small garden in the rear, had been rescued by some of the early dwellers from the grasp of the forest; the produce of these, with the assistance of a cow or two, and a few sheep and goats that browsed on the mountain side, afforded each succeeding family a means of subsistence; and they lived as happy as the days are long in the quiet of their mountain solitude.

[2] See "Sir Donall" and "The White Ladye" in Robert Dwyer Joyce's "Ballads of Irish Chivalry" for all these places commemorated in verse.
[3] Flax was grown there then (1845); but there is no flax now (1911).
[4] All this sentiment was natural enough for a young man, homesick, after leaving his native place; but sixty years or more will bring changes of feeling (April, 1911).

Friday, 21 July 2017

Annual Latin Mass in Letterkenny Cathedral

You are warmly invited to join us in prayer for the Annual Traditional Latin Mass in the magnificent Cathedral of Ss. Eunan and Columba at 4 p.m. on 15th August, the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Pilgrimage to Emly, Co. Tipperary

On 22nd July, the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, our Association will make a pilgrimage to the ancient See of Emly in honour of St. Ailbe, the Proto-Saint of Munster. You are cordially invited to attend a Traditional Latin Mass including Gregorian Chant and Traditional Hymns in the Church of St. Ailbe, Emly, Co. Tipperary, at 3 p.m. on Saturday, 22nd July, 2017.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Latin Mass for 200th Anniversary of St. Brigid's Church, Milltown, Co. Kildare

We were privileged to be invited to join the celebrations for the 200th Anniversary of St. Brigid's Church, Milltown, Co. Kildare, by organising a Traditional Latin Mass there last Sunday, 9th July, 2017, Fifth Sunday after Pentecost.  The Vestments, Altar Cards and Missal used were those that had been used in that Church for decades and had happily been preserved.  The Rite of Mass was ever ancient, ever new, the Rite that found its home there for 150 of the Church's 200 years.

It was a very special occasion for our own Association too, marking, almost to the day, the 10th Anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum, and the 9th Anniversary of our very first pilgrimage, which started with a Traditional Latin Mass in St. Brigid's after which the intrepid pioneers walked to the nearby Fr. Moore's Well and then across the Curragh of Kildare, St. Brigid's pasture, to Kildare, town of St. Brigid, and finally to her well at Tully.

Many thanks to the people of Milltown for making us so welcome.

To conclude, and courtesy of the Milltown Heritage Center, this picture of St. Brigid's Church c. 1960, showing the beautiful traditional Sanctuary as it was then.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Bicentenary Pilgrimage to Milltown

St. Brigid's Church, Milltown, Co. Kildare, was erected in 1817 " Rev. John Lawler, P.P., and the subscriptions of the faithful..." Dr. Comerford tells us in Vol. 2 of his Collections relating to the Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin under the entry for the Parish of Allen.  On Sunday, 9th July, at 3.30 p.m., there will be a Traditional Latin Mass in St. Brigid's Church to mark that Bicentenary.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

National Latin Mass Pilgrimage to Armagh 2017

To mark the 10th Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum the Catholic Heritage Association of Ireland made our second pilgrimage to St. Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh.  A report of the first pilgrimage can be read here.  It was a truly National Pilgrimage with members coming from Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Limerick, Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Wexford and Wicklow - the Four Provinces of Ireland all represented - to assist at Holy Mass and attend our Annual General Meeting held afterwards in the Synod Hall attached to the Cathedral.

However, one element of the pilgrimage above all made it a most blessed occasion, the presence of His Eminence Seán, Cardinal Brady, Archbishop Emeritus of Armagh, to celebrate the Mass.  In his homily, Cardinal Brady reminded the congregation that the Traditional Latin Mass had been the Mass of his Altar service, of his First Communion and Confirmation, and of his Ordination and his First Mass.  He also reminded us that this day, the feast of St. John the Baptist, was his own feast day.  Cardinal Brady is to attend the Consistory on 28th June with Our Holy Father, Pope Francis.  His Eminence was assisted by Fr. Aidan McCann, C.C., who was ordained in the Cathedral only two years ago.  It was a great privilege and joy for the members and friends of the Catholic Heritage Association to share so many grace-filled associations with Cardinal Brady and Fr. McCann and the Armagh Cathedral community.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Archbishop Sheen in Dublin

Archbishop Fulton Sheen was born in El Paso IL on 8th May, 1895. He was ordained a Priest on 20th September, 1919. On 11th June, 1950, he was consecrated a Bishop in the Basilica of Ss. John and Paul in Rome. He was named as Bishop of Rochester NY on 26th October, 1969. He died on 9th December, 1979.

These recordings of Archbishop Sheen speaking about St. Thérèse of Lisieux in the Carmelite Church, Whitefriar Street, Dublin, Ireland, in 1973, are introduced by the late Fr. J. Linus Ryan, O.Carm. Archbishop Sheen was a regular visitor to Whitefriar Street, particularly in 1969, 1971, 1973 and 1975. He was a firm friend of the Community there.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Pilgrimage to Fairview 2017

As the Archdiocesan website tell us, the building of the Church of the Visitation started in 1847 and it opened on the 14th of January 1855 and was dedicated on the 12th of October 1856. The Parish was entrusted to Conventual Franciscans March 1987.  However, this part of Dublin, so close to the site of the famous Battle of Clontarf, is steeped in history.  

The Parish has its origins in the Parish of Coolock, one of the medieval Parishes of Dublin and one of the few still operating during the Penal Era.  Until 1829, the whole of the area including Clontarf was part of this then rural Parish.  The Parish of Clontarf was formed in the auspicious year 1829 and building of the Church of St. John the Baptist commenced soon afterwards.  A monastic chapel for a community of Carmelite oblates served as the chapel of Fairview for the first half of the 19th century.

By the time the Church of the Visitation opened, the area had begun its rapid development.  All Hallows College had opened in 1842 and Clonliffe College opened in 1854.  The Archbishop was not to move from Rutland (now Parnell Square) to the present Archbishop's House - designed by our good friend William Hague - until 1891.  The Church of the Visitation was among the later designs of our good friend Patrick Byrne.  In 1879, the new Parish of Fairview was erected.  In the late 1920s and 1930s, the area just to the north and east of Fairview Church was developed for housing and the new Church of St. Vincent de Paul on Griffith Avenue completed in 1928 as the chapel of ease - forming its own Parish in 1942.  

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Pilgrimage to Loughrea Cathedral 2017

On 27th May last members of the Catholic Heritage Association and friends from far and near made a pilgrimage to St. Brendan's Cathedral, Loughrea, for a Traditional Latin Mass.  I was very struck by the kind hospitality of the Cathedral team and to the gentle reverence of the Liturgy that we joined.

If you haven't been to Loughrea Cathedral - and one of the best things about the Catholic Heritage Association is that we devoutly go where few have gone before - you really should see this magnificent House of God.  While almost all of our Churches - prayers in stone - are in the language of Greece or Rome or the simple words of poverty a few have tried to recapture something that is distinctly Irish.  St. Brendan's is predominantly gothic, which is an imported style, rather than the hiberno-romanesque that may be considered a native by adoption in the earliest days of stone church building, but by a happy combination of circumstances it contains so much fruit of the late nineteenth century Celtic revival.

The foundation stone of the cathedral was laid on October 10, 1897, and took six years to complete. The basic fabric is to the design of William Byrne. The cathedral features stained glass windows from An Túr Gloine, the famous Irish stained glass studio, including Michael Healy's Saint Simeon, Madonna and Child, Saint Anthony and Saint John, St. Joseph, Christ the King, Our Lady Queen of Heaven, The Ascension and The Last Judgement, a Saint Brigid window by Evie Hone, an Annunciation, Agony in the Garden, Resurrection, Baptism in the Jordan, St. Ita, St. Patrick and Centurion of Great Faith, all by Childe. There is also a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary by John Hughes, bronze angels by Michael Shortall and metalwork including communion rails, nave lanterns and stands by William Scott and Michael Shortall. The Stations of the Cross are mosaics by Ethel Rhind. The cathedral was very sensitively reordered with almost nothing removed - except the fine Episcopal Throne now reigning in solitary splendor in the porch under the tower.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

St. Garbhan of Clonshambo and Athgarvan

Regarding Clonshambo in the Parish of Kilcock, Dr. Comerford tells us:

Cluain-seann-both, i.e., "the meadow of the old tent or hut"); this parish may have derived its name from the hermit’s cell of one of the saints who made it their abode. St. Garbhan, brother of St. Kevin of Glendalough, was culted here on the 14th of May. In the Life of St. Kevin it is related that at one time he was inclined to wander about as a pilgrim, but St. Garbhan (probably of Clonshanbo) prevented him by observing that "it was not by flying, birds hatched their eggs.

The patron saint of this district is St. German; the parochial register has "Parochia Sti. Germani de Clonshanbo;" and in Bishop MacGeoghegan’s list of parish churches, compiled about 1640, we find Ecclesia Sti. Germani de Cluenseannbo set down.

Which of the saints of that name was patron here it is not easy to determine. St. Patrick having preached the Gospel in this locality, gives probability to the supposition, that St. German, Bishop of Auxerre, the great spiritual guide under whose direction our National Saint prepared himself for the future Apostleship of Ireland, some say, for 14 years, others, for so many as 30 years, - is meant. Another opinion is that St. German, nephew of St. Patrick, who helped him in his missionary labours, and was afterwards the first Bishop of the Isle of Man, was the saint honoured at Clonshanbo. There is yet another theory on this subject. In the Life of St. Ciaran of Saighar, mention is made of a holy hermit named Geaman, or Gemman, who is called German by Colgan, and is identical with a bard of that name "who lived in Leinster, near the confines of Meath."

It is related that St. Columba, after receiving the Holy Order of Deaconship in the monastery of St. Finian of Mohill, set out for Leinster, and became a pupil of this Gemman, then advanced in years, and after passing some time with him, he entered the monastic school of Clonard (Loca. Patr., p.298). Between these three the choice seems to lie. The second-name is honoured in the Martyrology of Tallaght, at the 30th of July: German MacGuill."

Regarding Athgarvan in the Parish of Newbridge, he also relates

Father Shearman (Loca Patr. Gen. Tab. 10p.180) surmises that the name of this place may be derived from St. Garbhan (Ath-Garbhan, i.e., “the Ford of Garbhan”), nephew of St. Finnan of Clonard, and kinsman of St. Kevin of Glendalough. This Saint, whose feast was assigned to May 14th, was identified also with Clonshambo, as already stated in the Paper on Kilcock."

St. Garbhan of Clonshambo and Athgarvan, pray for us!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Latin Mass in Ballyhea for Easter Monday

Ballyhea lies just south of Charleville, Co. Cork, in the lea of the Ballyhoura Mountains and along the waters of the Awbeg River, the tributary of the Blackwater once immortalised by Edmund Spenser as "gentle Mullagh".  On Easter Monday morning, some members and friends made their way to the Parish Church of St. Mary for the offering of the almost monthly Traditional Latin Mass there.