Saturday, 3 July 2010

Our Catholic Heritage - Kildare and Leighlin (Part 1)

Reference to The Fold in a forthcoming postmade me look up the Diocesan Year Book of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. Over a relatively short period of the 50s and 60s it is a remarkably repetitious publication but it also gives us some side-lights upon the Catholic heritage of the Diocese.

The Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin is the successor to the two Dioceses of that name. The Diocese of Kildare being erected about 490, is the more ancient of the two by about 600 years, and is just past its fifteenth centenary.


The Diocese of Kildare once claimed the Primacy of Leinster and, as the seat of the Patroness of Ireland, St. Brigid, might claim a moral prominence over at least three of the four Arciepiscopal Sees.


The two sees were united in 1678 and is a suffragan see of the Archdiocese of Dublin, together with the Dioceses of Ferns and Ossory. The Archdiocese of Dublin has three regular locations where the Gregorian Rite is celebrated, one being St. Kevin's Church, Harrington Street, where a Chaplaincy of three Diocesan Priests offers Mass at least daily. The Diocese of Ossory provides Mass in the Gregorian Rite every Sunday in Kilkenny. The Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin provides Mass in the Gregorian Rite on the second Sunday of the month (usually).


The Diocese of Kildare includes the northern half of that county, part of Offaly east of Tullamore and the northern part of Laois. It contains the ancient territories of Offaly, Carbury, and Hy Faelain. The Diocese of Leighlin lies north and south, including one half of Laois, all of County Carlow, together with portions of Counties Kilkenny, Wexford and Wicklow. It encompasses ancient Leix, which connects it with Kildare and a portion of Ui Ceinnsealaigh.


Among the Saints and scholars of the Diocese can be numbered St. Fiacc of Sletty, author of a poem in Irish on the life of St. Patrick, a poem in Latin on St. Brigid; St. Eimhin of Monasterevan, author of the "Tripartite Life" of St. Patrick, the "Life of St. Comgall," "Emin's Tribute (or Rule)," the "Lay of the Bell of St. Emin,"; St. Moling, who wrote a poem on Clonmore-Maedoc, one on the Borumha tribute of which he obtained the remission; St. Brogan of Clonsast, who composed a litany in Irish to Our Lady, indulgenced by Pius IX, a poem foretelling the Danish invasion, and the lost "Book of Clonsast"; St. Aedh, Bishop of Sletty, writer of a life of St. Patrick; Aengus the Culdee, joint author of the "Feilire," the "Martyrology of Tallaght," "Litany of the Saints," "De sanctis Hiberniae lib. V," a history of the Old Testament in metre, and the "Saltair-na-rann"; Siadhal, Abbot of Kildare, who compiled notes on the Epistles of St. Paul; Anmchadh, Bishop of Kildare, who wrote the fourth life of St. Brigid; Finn Mac Gorman, Bishop of Kildare, under whom the "Book of Leinster" was compiled; Dr. Maguire, Bishop of Leighlin, to whom the "Yellow Book of Leighlin" is attributed.


In more modern times we can recall, Dr. Gallagher, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, whose Irish sermons are a model; Dr. Doyle, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin and famous essayist; and Dr. Comerford, Co-adjutor Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, whose historical and devotional works are still valued.


The united diocese is one of the largest in Ireland, having an area 1,029,829 acres. The Annuario Pontificio for 2007 records that the Diocese has a population of 220,427, of whom 93.1% or 205,185 souls are Catholics, compared with 1901, when, out of a total population of 149,168, 87.4% or 130,377 were Catholics. In 2006, the Annuario reports that the Diocese had 114 secular Priests and 98 religious Priests (although that is obviously an error). In 1908, the Diocese had 133 secular Priests and 18 regular Priests. Thus, in 2006, there was one Priest for every 1,068 Catholics in the Diocese, compared with one Priest for every 863 Catholics in the first decade of the last Century. Put into the context of a fall in practice from around 97% to 50% or less, that isn't a bad average.


The images that are included in this post are from the 1959 Year Book of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. Each year, a colour supplement was included, e.g., the Marian Year and the Canonization of St. Pius X in 1954-55, the Scapulars of the Church in 1956. In 1959, the colour supplement records a sight that would not be seen in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin for another 40 years...


It's our Catholic heritage and we want it back, please!

9 comments:

Knight of Our Lady said...

"It's our Catholic heritage and we want it back, please!"

Well said, that man!

Anonymous said...

Very true, sir Knight! Well done, Doc!

Rathlin Child said...

Interesting pictures. I liked the "sign off" too!

Anonymous said...

Was there any caption on the pictures about who or where?

Donnelly's Hollow said...

It's beautiful. Where did these good Priests go?

JTS said...

Good one Des. Where did it all go?

Anonymous said...

Here! Here!

Rathlin Child said...

Interesting

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