Monday, 1 February 2016

St. Connat of Kildare

Today is the feast given in the Martyrology of Donegal for St. Connat or Comnat or Comnantan who was Abbess of Kildare in succession to St. Brigid until her death in the year 590.

Nothing is recorded of her life but it is an excellent opportunity to recall to mind the many excellent women of the Convent of Kildare, particularly her sister Abbesses, St. Darlaugdach, Abbess of Kildare, who was the immediate successor of St. Brigid and lived for but a year after the great foundress, St. Tulalla, a near contemporary of St. Connat, St. Sebdana, Abbess of Kildare, who died in the year 726, St. Affrica, Abbess of Kildare, who died in the year 738, and St. Finnia, Abbess of Kildare, who died in the year 801.

All ye holy Abbesses of Kildare, pray for us!

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Our First Dublin Pilgrimage of 2016

 





On a glorious January morning, despite very short notice, members and friends of St. Laurence's Catholic Heritage Association make a pilgrimage north to St. Fintan's Church, Sutton.  The Mass was offered for a member recently deceased.  The Church is in the lea of the beautiful Head of Howth and looks across the northern stretches of Dublin Bay towards Bull Island and the harbour.  It was a magnificent way to begin our pilgrimage year in the Archdiocese of Dublin, which had ended in 2015 with the celebration of Mass in the Extraordinary Form by His Grace the Archbishop.  

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Achad Finglass Abbey (Walsh)

The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter xxxvii, at p. 366:

Achad Finglass This abbey was situated near Leighlin on the east of the river Barrow in the district of Idrone the precise time of its erection is not known St Fintan of Clonenagh may have been the founder This abbey was one of note in the year 864 as the Danes then pillaged it St Aidus was abbot of this monastery The festival of this saint is observed on the 11th of April St Fintan having been at Achad Finglass advised a bishop Brandubh who applied for admission into the monastery of Clonenagh to remain where he was as the rule was less severe.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Pilgrimage to St. Brigid's, Annacurra, Co. Wicklow

Your are cordially invited to join us for our first pilgrimage and Traditional Latin Mass of the new Year, the Year of Mercy, in St. Brigid's Parish Church, Annacurra, 3 km south of Aughrim, Co. Wicklow.  There is not, as Tom Moore's melody has it, in the wide world a valley so sweet as the vale of Avoca.  Set on the banks of the River Aughrim, a tributary of the Avoca River, Annacurra (or Annacurragh) possesses some of that sweetness in addition to charm of its own.  The lovely Church of St. Brigid celebrated its 150th year two years ago and this Saturday - Saturday, 23rd January, at 12 noon - it will host a Traditional Latin Mass for the first time in goodness knows how long.

Built to the design of Richard Pearse Jr., son of the noted Wexford Architect, the foundation stone for the Church was laid in 1859 and the opening ceremony took place on St. Patrick's Day, 1864.  The beautiful East Window depicting Saints Brigid, Patrick and Columba, was designed by Pugin and Ashlin, executed by McCann's of Middle Abbey Street, Dublin, and installed for the opening of the Church.  The bell was installed a year later and the organ in 1867.















Monday, 11 January 2016

Pilgrimage to Allen

We started the year well, with a pilgrimage to Allen, Co. Kildare, a spot rich in Catholic heritage.  For us, it is the home place and burial place of one of our founder members - it is a holy and a wholesome thing to remember our debt to deceased members.

At the Hill of Allen we have a traditional residence of Fionn MacCumhail, the son-in-law of King Cormac MacAirt, the greatest of the High Kings of Ireland, who, by a happy inspiration, renounced the Pagan Gods and embraced the One True God, even before the arrival of Saint Patrick.  Sir Samuel Ferguson's poem gives the account:

"Crom Cruach and his sub-gods twelve,"
 Said Cormac "are but carven treene;
 The axe that made them, haft or helve,
 Had worthier of our worship been.

"But He who made the tree to grow,
 And hid in earth the iron-stone,
 And made the man with mind to know
 The axe's use, is God alone."

Anon to priests of Crom was brought —
Where, girded in their service dread,
They minister'd on red Moy Slaught —
Word of the words King Cormac said.

They loosed their curse against the king;
They cursesd him in his flesh and bones;
And daily in their mystic ring
They turn'd the maledictive stones,

Till, where at meat the monarch sate,
Amid the revel and the wine,
He choked upon the food he ate,
At Sletty, southward of the Boyne.

High vaunted then the priestly throng,
And far and wide they noised abroad
With trump and loud liturgic song
The praise of their avenging God.

But ere the voice was wholly spent
That priest and prince should still obey,
To awed attendants o'er him bent
Great Cormac gather'd breath to say, —

"Spread not the beds of Brugh for me
When restless death-bed's use is done:
But bury me at Rossnaree
And face me to the rising sun.

"For all the kings who lie in Brugh
Put trust in gods of wood and stone;
And 'twas at Ross that first I knew
One, Unseen, who is God alone.

"His glory lightens from the east;
His message soon shall reach our shore;
And idol-god, and cursing priest
Shall plague us from Moy Slaught no more."

Dead Cormac on his bier they laid: —
"He reign'd a king for forty years,
And shame it were," his captains said, 
"He lay not with his royal peers."

"His grandsire, Hundred-Battle, sleeps
Serene in Brugh: and, all around,
Dead kings in stone sepulchral keeps
Protect the sacred burial ground.

"What though a dying man should rave
Of changes o'er the eastern sea?
In Brugh of Boyne shall be his grave,
And not in noteless Rossnaree."

Then northward forth they bore the bier,
And down from Sletty side they drew,
With horsemen and with charioteer,
To cross the fords of Boyne to Brugh.

There came a breath of finer air
That touch'd the Boyne with ruffling wings,
It stir'd him in his sedgy lair 
And in his mossy moorland springs.

And as the burial train came down
With dirge and savage dolorous shows,
Across their pathway, broad and brown
The deep, full-hearted river rose;

From bank to bank through all his fords,
'Neath blackening squalls he swell'd and boil'd;
And thrice the wondering gentile lords 
Essay'd to cross, and thrice recoil'd.

Then forth stepp'd grey-hair'd warriors four:
They said, "Through angrier floods than these,
On link'd shields once our king we bore
From Dread-Spear and the hosts of Deece."

"And long as loyal will holds good,
And limbs respond with helpful thews,
Nor flood, nor fiend within the flood,
Shall bar him of his burial dues."

With slanted necks they stoop'd to lift;
They heaved him up to neck and chin;
And, pair and pair, with footsteps swift,
Lock'd arm and shoulder, bore him in.

'Twas brave to see them leave the shore;
to mark the deep'ning surges rise,
And fall subdued in foam before 
The tension of their striding thighs.

'Twas brave, when now a spear-cast out,
Breast-high the battling surges ran;
For weight was great, and limbs were stout,
And loyal man put trust in man.

But ere they reach'd the middle deep,
Nor steadying weight of clay they bore,
Nor strain of sinewy limbs could keep
Their feet beneath the swerving four.

And now they slide, and now they swim,
And now, amid the blackening squall,
Grey locks aloat, with clutching grim,
They plunge around the floating pall.

While, as a youth with practiced spear
Through justling crowds bears off the ring,
Boyne from their shoulders caught the bier
And proudly bore away the king.

At morning, on the grassy marge
Of Rossnaree, the corpse was found,
And shepherds at their early charge
Entomb'd it in the peaceful ground.

A tranquil spot: a hopeful sound
Comes from the ever youthful stream,
And still on daisied mead and mound
The dawn delays with tenderer beam.

Round Cormac Spring renews her buds:
In march perpetual by his side,
Down come the earth-fresh April floods,
And up the sea-fresh salmon glide;

And life and time rejoicing run
From age to age their wonted way;
But still he waits the risen Sun,
For still 'tis only' dawning Day.




Allen was the seat of the Bishops of Kildare in hiding during the Penal Era.  Bishop Comerford in his Collections quotes from a letter of Bishop Doyle of Kildare and Leighlin from 6th July, 1823:

“I am here placed in the centre of an immense bog, which takes its name from a small hill under whose declivity the chapel and house are built, where I now write. What perhaps interests me most in the wide and vast expanse of the Bog of Allen is, that it afforded, for nearly two centuries, a place of refuge to the apostolic men who have gone before me in preaching the faith, and administering the sacraments to a people in every respect worthy of such pastors. The haunts and retreats frequented by the Bishops of Kildare in the times of persecution are still pointed out by aged inhabitants of these marshes with a sort of pride mingled with piety; and they say-‘There he administered Confirmation; here he held an assembly of the clergy; on that hill he ordained some young priests, whom he sent to France to Spain, to Italy; and we remember, or we heard, how he lived in yonder old walls in common with the young priests whom he prepared for the mission. He sometimes left us with a staff in his hand, and being absent months, we feared he would never return; but he always came back, until he closed his days amongst us. Oh! If you saw him; he was like St. Patrick himself.’ What think you, my dear friend, must be my reflections on hearing of the danger, and labours, and virtues of these good men, and what a reproach to my own sloth, and sensuality, and pride! They of whom the world was not worthy, and who went about in fens and morasses, in nakedness, and thirst, and hunger, and watching, and terror, will be witnesses against me for not using to the best advantage the blessings which their merits have obtained from God for their children. Their spirit, indeed, seems to dwell here, and in those remote and uncultivated districts there are found a purity and simplicity of morals truly surprising. From five to six o’ clock this morning the roads and fields were covered with poor people, young and old, healthy and infirm, hurrying to see the Bishop, and assist at his Mass, and hear his instructions. They thought he should be like those saints whom they had seen or heard of to have gone before him”

Allen was the parish where the famous Father Moore ministered towards the end of that Era and was killed in hatred of his Priesthood on 12th March, 1826, aged 47 years, and where his healing ministry continues at the nearby Father Moore's Well to this day.

The first Mass in the present magnificent Church was celebrated on Easter Sunday, 1872.  Despite being one of the gems of Church architecture in the Diocese - recently magnificently restored - it is barely mentioned by Bishop Comerford, the great historian of the Diocese.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Saint Iotharnaisc of Clane

Today marks the feast of a Kildare saint, Iotharnaisc of Clane and below is a post from my own site Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae in which I have gathered together some information on his life. In the Irish sources our saint is linked with another holy man, Ultan Tua, but Saint Iotharnaisc is even better known in Scotland where his feast day appears in the early sixteenth-century Breviary of Aberdeen:

December 22 is the feast of Saint Iotharnaisc of Clane, County Kildare, whom we met last year in a post on Saint Ultan Tua. It seems that Saint Iotharnaisc also had a Scottish link, where he appears under the Latinization of his name, Saint Ethernascus or as Saint Athernaise the Hermit or the Mute of Fife. It is interesting that he retains his reputation for maintaining the discipline of silence in both countries. Dom Michael Barrett has an entry for Saint Ethernascus in his calendar of the Scottish saints:
22 St. Ethernascus, Confessor. 
FROM his retired life and spirit of recollection this Irish saint was known as "Ethernascus, who spoke not," or "The Silent." He was one of the chief patrons of Clane, in the county of Kildare. It is difficult to determine what was his precise connection with Scotland, but his office occurs with a proper prayer in the Breviary of Aberdeen. The church of Lathrisk, in Fifeshire, was dedicated to St. Ethernascus conjointly with St. John the Evangelist.

Dom Michael Barrett, O.S.B., A Calendar of Scottish Saints (Fort Augustus, 1919), 180.

Bishop Forbes supplies the collect for the day from the Breviary of Aberdeen:
ETHERNASCUS, C. December 22.— 
The Breviary gives only a collect. "O God, who didst will that the soul of blessed Ethernascus, thy confessor, should penetrate to the stars of heaven, vouchsafe that, as we celebrate his venerable birthday, we may, by his intercessions, be deemed of thy mercy, in respect of his merits, meet to ascend to the joys of his blessed life, through our Lord." There is an antiphon to the Magnificat, but no lections to the feast. 
In the Irish Kalendars, under this day, we find, in the Felire of Aengus— 
Itharnaisc nad labrae.
[Itharnaisc who spoke not.] 
In the Martyrology of Donegal, "Ultan Tua and Iotharnaisc, two saints who are (buried or principally venerated) at Claonadh, i.e. a church which is in Ui Faelain in Leinster." This is Clane, in the county of Kildare. 
He is of Lathrisk in Fife, where we find a church dedicated to St. John the Evangelist and S. Ethernasc by David de Burnham on the v. of the Kalends of August 1243.—(Regist. Priorat. S. And. 348; 0. S. A vi p. 15.) The name Lanthrisk, or Lathrisk, contains evidently the Welsh Llan, which we find in Scotland elsewhere, as at Lumphanan, and Panmure and Panbride— the p and l being interchangeable, as we find in the Spanish where plenus becomes lleno. It is quite in accordance with probability that a Kildare saint should be found in the Church of Kenneth Macalpin. Thus we have a Cellach, at once abbot of Iona and Kildare, who died in 865.—(Grub, Eccl. Hist. i. 168.)

Alexander Penrose Forbes, D.C.L. Bishop of Brechin, Kalendars of Scottish Saints, (1872), 334.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Ember Days or Quarter Tense

Today is the Ember Wednesday in Advent. Etymologically speaking, however, the word is another example of the theological superiority of the Irish Gaelic language over the Saxon. In Latin, the term is Quatuor Tempora, the Four Times. French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish, as may be expected of Romance Languages, retain this form. However, even German retains this root in description of the four periods of fasting that equate roughly with the four seasons of the year.

In English, however, the term 'Ember' derives from the connection of the two roots ymb (meaning around), and ryne (meaning a circuit or course). From this, it might be thought that there is a confusion with Rogation Days. However, it seems to refer instead to the distribution of the days throughout the year. The potential for confusion with Rogations is the greater in Welsh, however, which speaks of Ember Weeks as Wythnos y cydgorian (the Week of the Processions). Quarter Tense, a more arcane English term, follows the general usage of Christendom.

Irish Gaelic, on the other hand, retains the general reference to the Four Times in referring to Laethanta na gCeithre Thráth or the days of the Four Times.

Guéranger assigns the practice of Quarter Tense to the Prophet Zacheriah, Chapter viii, Verse 19: "Thus saith the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Juda, joy, and gladness, and great solemnities: only love ye truth and peace."

The Douay-Rheims version notes for this verse that: "They fasted, on the ninth day of the fourth month, because on that day Nabuchodonosor took Jerusalem, Jer. 52. 6. On the tenth day of the fifth month, because on that day the temple was burnt, Jer. 52. 12. On the third day of the seventh month, for the murder of Godolias, Jer. 41. 2. And on the tenth day of the tenth month, because on that day the Chaldeans began to besiege Jerusalem, 4 Kings 25. 1. All these fasts, if they will be obedient for the future, shall be changed, as is here promised, into joyful solemnities."

The Irish understanding of the four quarters of the year needs no explanation for anyone familiar with the Gaelic calendar.

Some point to specific Celtic origins, linked to the Celtic custom of observing various festivals at three-month intervals: Imbolc, Baeltaine, Lughnasadh and Samhain. The quarterly or seasonal nature of Ember Time is typical of a society living in harmony with its environment and a society that recognises the inherant links between the spiritual and the natural.

Is it going too far to say that traditional Catholicism retained this sense of harmony but that it has been lost since Vatican II? Perhaps it is no coincidence that there has been a rise in interest in paganist practices and language relating the spiritual to the natural since the majority of Catholics have been deprived of traditional Catholic devotions.

A Latin rhyme gives the timing of the four Ember Weeks:

Dant Crux, Lucia, Cineres, Charismata Dia
Ut sit in angariâ quarta sequens feria.


An old English rhyme translates it as follows:

Fasting days and Emberings be
Lent, Whitsun, Holyrood, and Lucie.


There has been plenty of discussion on the blogosphere this week about the fact that the calendar rubrics of John XXIII place the September Ember Week after the third Sunday rather than after 14th September or "Holyrood".

Mention of the Irish links to Ember Days would not be complete without some mention of the Irish spirit of ascetisism and fasting. For example, in the Manuscript Materials of Irish History by Professor O'Curry there is reference to Laethanta na gCeithre Thráth in the Rule of St. Carthage, in that part where the Saint speaks of the order of refection and of the refectory, at line 114 he says:

A tredan [three days total fast] every quarter to those
Who fast not every month,
Is required in the great territories,
In which is the Faith of Christ.

Interestingly, it would appear that the Holy See dispensed from the abstinence from flesh meat on Ember Saturdays outside Lent in Ireland in 1912.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Religious Houses of Naas (Walsh)

The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter xlviii, at p. 489:



Naas formerly a place of importance as the kings of Leinster resided at Naas. It is a market town and borough.

The baron of Naas founded the priory of canons regular of St. Augustine in the 12th century.

AD 1317 Thomas was prior.

In the reign of Elizabeth it was discovered that part of the possessions of this house was concealed by Edward Misset of Dowdington. Richard Mannering obtained by patent AD 1553 the possessions of this house value yearly 35 18s 2d

The Dominican abbey in the centre of the town was erected by the family of Eustace for this order under the invocation of St. Eustachius, martyr, AD 1355 from whose family they were descended. At the dissolution of monasteries the property of this house was granted to Sir Thomas Luttrell who assigned them to John Travers, knight. A public inn has been erected on the site of this monastery.

The Augustinian abbey of Eremites was founded in the year 1484. Its ruins are still to be seen at the foot of the mount which lies at the farther end of the town. June 6th, twenty sixth of queen Elizabeth, a lease of this abbey for the term of fifty years was granted to Nicholas Aylmer.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Back on the Rails VII - The Newmarket Branch Line

Since I'm back on the rails again after a long pause, I hope you won't mind if I take a break from the West Cork line to go north and follow a branch line that covered nearly 9 miles, crossing the River Dalua at Kanturk and down towards the River Blackwater where it meets the main line (still open) between Mallow and Millstreet at Banteer. The Newmarket to Banteer Branch Line was opened in 1889, built by local notables who had formed the Banteer and Newmarket Railway Company. After four years it was taken over by the Great Southern and Western Railway.

A daily service ran until 'the Emergency' when, in 1942, it suffered a temporary closure. Only a goods service recommenced in 1956 and was finally closed in 1963. A few Parliamentary Questions set the scene, in 1946, 1948, in 1954 and in 1956.

We are in the Barony of Duhallow, a land of poetry. It boasts some of the most poetic scenery and some of the most poetic placenames in all of Cork, Lyre and Nadd, Assolas and Knocknanuss.

I started my journey at Newmarket. The town was founded in 1620 by the Aldworth family, to whom it has been granted by James I upon the forfeiture by the MacAuliffes, as their market town.  What remains of the terminus station is a small red-brick building now part of 'the Railway Industrial Park.  It sits in a natural valley just below the town formed by a tributary stream of the River Dalua.  The railway follows the valley of this stream and then the River Dalua down to Kanturk.


St. Mary's Parish Church, Newmarket

The beautiful St. Mary's Church was a benefaction of the Aldworths, who gave both the site and a donation towards the building.  The original Altar was a copy of that of the ancient abbey of Quin.

Newmarket's most famous inhabitants are the Currans, the Philpot Currans, who gave eminent members to the Irish Bar and to Irish History, and whose family plot may be found in the Anglican cemetery here.  Sarah was the sweetheart of Robert Emmet, the darling of Éireann.  Her father, John Philpot Curran, was Master of the Rolls for Ireland, who faught the famous case of Fr. Neale prosecuting Viscount Doneraile at the Cork Assizes, which, since Doneraile had no railway, we may conveniently mention here.

Fr. Neale, the elderly Parish Priest of Doneraile, had condemned from the Altar the adulteries of a parishioner.  The parishioner's sister was mistress of St. Leger St. Leger (sic!), Baron and later Viscount Doneraile, who horsewhipped the Priest, safe in the knowledge that a Protestant jury (Catholic Emancipation was 49 years off in 1780) would never convict him.  However, he did not reckon with JPC, who exposed the falsity of the Viscount's witnesses and turned the jury toward's Fr. Neale's case with his eloquence.  The Viscount challenged JPC to a duel, one of five he is known to have fought.


Sisters Aniceta and Petronella, Sisters of Saint Joseph, natives of nearby Meelin and the former St. Joseph's Convent

It's not too far to go to the O'Keefe Institute, built as Aldworth Court or Newmarket House in 1750.  In common with other great houses, it ceased to be a private residence in the 1920s and in 1927, the Sisters of St. Joseph, founded by St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, patroness of the recent Eucharistic Congress (and unofficially who are misunderstood in a good cause by their Priests).

The next stop, the only intermediate stop, on the Newmarket Branch Line is Kanturk.  As the confluence of the Rivers Allua and Dalua (Allow and Dallow, if you prefer) I will come back to Kanturk when I'm exploring the Blackwater and its tributaries.  Sufficing to say that there is a fine remnant of the railway station, if you know where to look on Percival Street below the Church, and the remnants of the bed of the line on either side of the road.

From Kanturk we follow the Railway along the line of the Dallua to where it flows into the Blackwater.  Finally, just crossing the Blackwater we reach the connection between the Branch and the Main Line at Banteer.  Banteer Station, on the main Dublin-Tralee Line, was opened in 1853 and continues as a passenger stop.

Near Banteer is Knocknaclashy, the site of the last open battle of the Confederate Wars.  I have already covered the execution of Bishop Boetius MacEgan in May, 1650.  A year later, in July, 1651, as the forces of the Catholic Confederation fell back behind the Shannon Donagh MacCarthy, Viscount Muskerry and later Earl of Clancarthy, held the last outpost in his native lands.  His forces moved from Killarney towards Mallow in the direction of the stronghold of Limerick.  They were intercepted near Banteer by Broghill's Parliamentarian forces, who won the skirmish.  Lord Muskerry's forces fell back upon Killarney.  From that point, the war was one of siege and the destruction of the Catholic Confederation assured. 

The final Catholic heritage point about Banteer is the dedication of the Church there to St. Fursey who was the son of a Munster Prince but was born in Galway and is best known for his missionary works in Britain, especially East Anglia.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

"Intruders and Desecrators"

This day in the Liturgical Calendar, the First Sunday of Advent, 1969, marked the coming into force of the Novus Ordo Missae. Pope Paul VI, in a General Audience on 26th November, 1969, spoke thus:

"We may notice that pious persons will be the ones most disturbed, because, having their respectable way of listening to Mass, they will feel distracted from their customary thoughts and forced to follow those of others...

"...Not Latin, but the spoken language, will be the main language of the Mass. To those who know the beauty, the power, the expressive sacrality of Latin, its replacement by the vulgar language is a great sacrifice: we lose the discourse of the Christian centuries, we become almost intruders and desecrators in the literary space of sacred expression, and we will thus lose a great portion of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual fact that is the Gregorian Chant. We will thus have, indeed, reason for being sad, and almost for feeling lost: with what will we replace this angelic language? It is a sacrifice of inestimable price."

* * *

The Sacred Constitution of the Second Vatican Council Sacrosanctum Concilium spoke thus:

"23. That sound tradition may be retained... there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing."

"36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites... 2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended..."

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Pontifical Low Mass - Annual General Meeting

On Saturday, 21st November, 2015, His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin honoured our Association by celebrating a Pontifical Low Mass for the feast of the Presentation in the Capuchin Church, Church of St. Mary of the Angels, Church Street, Dublin 7.  The choir of the Augustinian Church, John's Lane, lent great beauty to the ceremonies with their singing.  The Capuchin Community opened their doors and extended great hospitality to us for the use of the Church for Holy Mass, their refectory for refreshments afterwards, catered by the nearby Cinnemon Café.

Afterwards the Annual General Meeting of the Catholic Heritage Association of Ireland was hosted jointly with our Dublin branch, St. Laurence's Catholic Heritage Association.  Immediately following the election of the Committee of St. Laurence's Catholic Heritage Association, Judge Peter Smithwick introduced a talk by Lord Gill, retired Lord President of the Court of Session of Scotland.  Afterwards, Judge Smithwick made presentations to some of the members of the Association for distinguished service over the years.  The afternoon concluded with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament given by Fr. Padraig, O.F.M.Cap.

















Saturday, 14 November 2015

Saint Laurence O'Toole and Saint Brigid

November 14 is the feast of the twelfth-century saint Laurence (Lorcán) O'Toole. I have only recently begun to research his life and career but have been immediately struck by his links to the holy places of the early Irish church, most famously Saint Kevin's monastery of Glendalough. At my main site today I have published an address delivered in 1880 on the 700th anniversary of the death of Saint Laurence by the then Bishop of Ossory, the future Cardinal P.F. Moran. Interestingly, he begins with an account of the devotion of the family of Saint Laurence to the Irish patroness Saint Brigid:
St. Laurence O'Toole was born about the year, 1125. His father was chieftain of the Hy-Murray territory, which embraced all those fertile and picturesque districts now comprised in the southern half of the County Kildare. St. Bridget was the patron of the family, and her protecting mantle, and her blessing, were in a particular manner extended to the whole of that rich territory. The infant was sent to St. Bridget's shrine at Kildare to receive the waters of Baptism. Many signs and wonders foreshadowed his future greatness. The holy man who baptized him gave him the name of Lorcan, that is to say, one valiant and renowned, foretelling at the same time, that he would one day be magnified on earth and glorified in heaven. 

The rest can be read here. Blessings of the Feast!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Monasterevin (Walsh)

The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter xlviii, at p. 488-9:

Monasterevin in the barony of Offaley St Abban founded this monastery to which was annexed the privilege of a sanctuary Abban was of a Leinster family This monastery is supposed to have taken its name from its position as it was contiguous to the river Barrow the Irish word Abhan meaning a river AD 1178 Dermod O Dempsey prince of Offaley founded the Cistercian abbey of Monasterevin de Rosea valle under the invocation of the Virgin Mary and richly endowed it AD 1199 the abbot John was appointed bishop of Leighlin AD 1297 the abbot accused of harboring Irish felons plunderers and robbers of Offaley into his house appeared and pleaded that his monastery was situated in the marches and out of the pale and that he never knowingly received any persons of this stamp The jury however admitting that he had not voluntarily harbored such men nor had the power of resisting or detaining them fined him half a marc because he did not raise the hue and cry The abbot of Monasteverin sat as a baron in parliament At the general suppression this abbey was granted to George lord Audley who assigned it to Adam Loftus viscount Ely It has finally fallen into the hands of the earl of Drogheda by whom it has been modernised still retaining its venerable monastic appearance and is at present known as Moore abbey

Monday, 2 November 2015

Traditional Latin Mass for Deceased Members 2015


Please join us for a Traditional Latin Mass for the deceased members of the Catholic Heritage Association of Ireland, followed by refreshments and our Annual General Meeting.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Pilgrimage to the grave of Little Nellie of Holy God

To conclude our pilgrimage to Cork City we made a unique and precious pilgrimage to the grave of Little Nellie of Holy God.  This heroic young soul should be know to all but may not yet be known to you.  If you don't know of her, you can find accounts of her life here, here and here.

Fr. Willie Doyle, S.J., visited her grave in 1911.  His account can be found here.

Little Nellie should be better known, better loved, better honoured.  Her memory, like her earthly remains, seems to suffer the same fate as Holy God abandoned in the tabernacle.